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John Deacon sound?!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by him666, Dec 21, 2003.

  1. Ive saved like 1500 dollars for buying a new bass.
    I like the sound of John Deacon, does someone know on what bass he plays? I know he plays on some precision fender..but for the rest i dont know..
    So i think im going to buy a fender precision, but i wanna know which one Deacon plays..
    Or im going to buy a Music Man Stingray or Sterling..don`t know yet, does someone know the difference??

    Please answer..

    Thanks in advance
  2. Well, in my limited knowledge of queen gear, i remember deacon playing a natural finished stingray, he did play a pbass, but if i was going to spend 1500 dollars on a bass, i'd get the musicman stingray, because i think the stingray has more tonal flexibility (compared to the pbass) and it just has a better feel than the pbass (of course, keep in mind, this is just my opinion, plenty of people like the pbass) i would even think you could get a pbass sound with the stingray!
    in any case, good luck
  3. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    For that John Deacon (one of my favorite bassists of all time, in my favorite band of all time) sound, nothing will beat a good old fashioned P bass. And for $1500, you can get one hell of a P bass, American Deluxe for the tonal versitility of the dual J at the bridge.
  4. bovinehost

    bovinehost Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: Ernie Ball Music Man/Sterling By Music Man
    If you're thinking of that tone he had on "Another One Rides The Bus", my bet is that was the Stingray.

    People talk a lot about fat P bass tone and I don't disagree, but try a Stingray with good flatwounds (TIs, for example) through a big fat old timey Sunn head and a couple of Ampeg cabs and see if there's anything skinny about THAT.

    There ain't. I do it all the time.
  5. Scott D

    Scott D

    Apr 21, 2003
    Minneapolis, MN
    IME, that bass is crap. I could never get a good sound of any of them i played, and some of them the preamp would distort. Maybe if you slapped a new Pre in there it would be alright...
  6. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
  7. do you meamn this fender american deluxe bass?

  8. Ian Perge

    Ian Perge Supporting Member

    May 11, 2001
    Evansville, Indiana
    I'm thinking it's going to be very hard to get Weird Al's accordian sound out of either a P-bass or a Stingray. ;)
  9. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member


    Deacon used a Stingray for awhile, but the classic Deacon tone is P-bass with flats.
  10. steve-o

    steve-o Guest

    Apr 17, 2002
    i haven't heard that song...lol

    what cd is it on? any links

  11. CaptainWally

    CaptainWally Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2000
    Sandy Eggo, CA
    In the few videos I've seen, he's always playing a 70's era P-bass with Ampeg stuff.

    Pretty standard issue rock gear for that time.

    If I had $1500, I'd probably look hard at a Lakland Bob Glaub or a Mike Lull P Bass.
  12. Or you could spend $400 or $500 on a used G&L Legacy or LB-100 (you can't buy a new one any more) and pocket the other thousand bucks! That's what I did - my Legacy is the best P bass I've ever played. Period.
  13. JimS

    JimS Supporting Member

    Every Queen video I've seen has him playing a Stingray. But what instrument people play in videos often does not correspond to what they played in the studio.
  14. On the first albums (Queen I, Queen II, Sheer Heart Attack, A Night at the Opera, A Day at the Races, Jazz...) I remember he played his P-bass (of course in 1975 stingray wasn't in production, yet). He played the stingray on some stuff (another one bites the dust) in "the Game" LP (1980).
  15. Bassman_1980


    Sep 21, 2008
    to straighten things out a bit, this is what John has been using through the years:

    -Around '72/'73 he used an Rickenbacker, but couldn't
    get a usable sound from that bass

    -So during approx. mid '73 he bought 2 almost identical
    sunburst Precision basses, a '67 and a '68
    one of those got strung with Flatwounds and the other with
    stainless steel roundwounds from the brand Rotosound, this
    set up has been used throughout his whole career as his main

    -Around '75 he stripped of the sunburst laquer and gave the
    bodies an oil treatment, and as from then they where both natural

    -Towards the Wembley '86 concerts he got the '68 Precision re-finished

    -The last time he was seen with his (still natural looking) '67 Precision was in the video from the song The Miracle
    in a black colour and also had the hardware goldplated

    Now we go back in time take a look at his backup basses:

    -In '74 Queen did a performance on Top pop, during that mimed performance from the song Killer Queen John used a natural '74 Jazzbass with maple neck and pearl block inlays, but the sound of that bass didn't seem to work for John, so he hasn't used it anymore since then

    -During the American tour in '76 he got his Sunburst Musicman
    Pre-Ernie Ball Stingray with the radioknobs, he strung these with Rotosound flatwounds, he used it for some songs on A day at the races and also used it live during Earls court '77, and from that concert the bass solo during the song Liar you can hear very clear he uses flatwounds

    -Then in '77 he got his fretless Precision with a fretless maple board, the colour was sunburst, which he used live for the song '39, and in the studio on several songs like: Melancholy blues, Bicycle race, Radio gaga, Show must go on and Slightly mad

    -Somewhere between '78 and '79 the Fender custom shop gave him a '54 sunburst Precision, he didn't used it a lot, as far i know he only used it on the song Coming soon (with Rotosound swingbass)

    -In 1980 he got a hold of his Kramer DMZ-4001 bass in natural finish, he used this bass for things like Play the game and Las palabras the amor

    -Around '81 he got a Precision Special, this one has a maple neck and also features a 2-band E.Q., he ended up using this bass for Under pressure (live as well), on the studio version you can clearly hear the flatwound strings

    -Between '83 and '84 John got a Precision Elite-1, this bass had a special electronic circuit and special P-bass pickups, John used it on: One vision, I want it all and Headlong, and most likely on Innuendo as well

    -Around the same time he bought a Roger Giffin bass, this bass can be seen on these video clips: Princes Of The Universe, Breakthru, The Invisible Man and Scandal

    -Then finally, being influenced by The Who's John Entwistle in '86 Deacon also got a Warwick Buzzard bass, he only used it for the video Friends will be friends and some mimed performances

    The amplification:

    *.... - '73: Orange
    *'73 - '76: Hiwatt
    *'76 - '80: Acoustic corp.
    *'81 - '84: Sunn
    *'86 - '91: SWR

    That's all folks!
    basscow likes this.
  16. Wow, well done Basssman! Thank you for that, as a huge Queen/Deacon fan, that was fun and informative.

    I might also point out that, as with so many things "Queen," John Deacon holds a degree in electrical engineering and was the main electronics tweaker in the band, even helping Brian May shape his enormous tone pallette. It wouldn't suprise me if Deacon had some other tricks up his sleeve with his basses and signal chain that resulted in that incredible, round, fat, even tone on all strings and frets.

    Plus, and I hate this cliche, but in this case, it really is in the hands as well.

    Good luck to OP. It is a most worthy grail you seek.
  17. Hehe :D

    Ok, so I'm going for a P-bass then..

    Kidding, I've had 3 Stingrays and one Precision in the last 7 years. Sold them all. I'm not after the Deacon sound anymore :) However, I still love his sound and playing.

    For the ultimate Deacon sound you need a P. A Stingray is the way to go if u r after the another one bites a dust sound.
  18. thisSNsucks

    thisSNsucks Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Yonkers, NY
    Heck for $1500 you could get a Squier Classic Vibe precision AND a Sterling by MusicMan Ray34 and have both vibes covered and have cash left over.

    I'd say a P-bass is a must no matter how much ya spend.
  19. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    You guys do realize this thread is from 2003!