John Entwistle

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by jackmurray, Oct 27, 2005.

  1. How does John Entwistle get that awsome sound. You can hear it clearly in the breaks in My Generation. What kind of bass does he use, EQ, effects etc?

    If anyone knows anything it would be great. I'd love to try and recreate that sound.

  2. byrdsfan


    Feb 9, 2004
    in the early days he mostly used a Precision. On My Generation he played a Danelecto Longhorn, which is a shortscale. It's shaped like a horseshoe. Supposedly he broke a lot of strings on it and had to buy new one each time as the strings for that bass are a special order and nobody had them in London at the time.
    He is also credited with inventing round-wound strings for the bass, showing his preference for the twanging sound. He was also unique in that, at least early on, he played like a guitarist, with a pick and his fingers.
    He was also classically trained and played French horn on many Who songs.
  3. Vysous


    Mar 29, 2005
    John played on the tons of various basses... He played Rickenbackers, Gibsons, Fenders.... I don't think his sound depended so much on bass... I think it's mostly in his very strange fingering style.... He wast "sweeping" with four fingers incredibly fast.... I tried to play like he did, but I didn't foun how to do it right....
  4. Thanks for the answers, but there's deffinatly something else. I don't know if its his EQ or his amp or if he had some effects or what, but it sounds awsome. I don't know. If it was a guitar you'd say it was peizzio (sp?) pick-ups. I can almsot get the sound on my acoustic bass, but just can't quite. It's frustrating me because I know if I turned up to a rehearsal and I sounded like that the band would pay me more (at all) or something.

  5. johnvice


    Sep 7, 2004
    As far as I know John Entwistle was the first bass player to bi-amp for sound tonality reasons.

    Other bass players who have used seperate amplifcation of high and low frequencies to get a killer tone include;
    - Chris Squire
    - Billy Sheehan
    - Andy West
    - Doug Pinnick

    Check out for a description and pics of his "small" rig ;)
  6. Great answer. That would explain a lot. I love Billy Sheehan's (apostrophe?) tone too. If I was going to try and do this one a budget, what do you suggest?

    Thanks, Jack
  7. bigtexashonk

    bigtexashonk Supporting Member

    The Precisions he preferred were the very early ones. The bodies are more like slabs with no contour cut away. Don't think I've ever seen one up close. The Ox claimed these basses have a distict tone very different from what we usually associate Precisions with.

    Anybody have one of these beasts? Can't be too many of them floating around.
  8. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    maybe his playing style contributed also, on their dvd he looks like he has a very strong attack.
  9. Pete skjold

    Pete skjold

    May 29, 2004
    Warsaw Ohio
    I seem to remember as time went on he went to Tri-amp and then quad-amped set ups !! You can really hear this on the Who Live in Boston DVD . But I see now from the link that he went back to the Bi-amp system .

    I also think Squire is doing at least a Tri amped setup now .

    It must be nice having all those roadies :D

  10. I got some rotosounds with his name on it and they sound awsome. I'm deffinatly half way there.
  11. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    He also played with a pick a lot in the early days. :bassist:
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    A huge biamped rig definitely helps. Also, Entwistle's tone was dependent upon tons of fret buzz. He played pretty hard and had his action extremely low. He used to joke that he liked the strings on the other side of the frets.
  14. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    :confused: Live At Leeds was recorded five years after My Generation was originally recorded.
  15. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    True, except for the "playing hard" part. I met him a couple of times, and he'd say part of his technique is to play with a feather-touch and "let the amp do the work".
  16. But that doesn't stop him playing the original solo does it! Entwistle reverted to playing the original, unaltered solo live pretty soon after My Generation was first released. You can also hear it on the Smothers Brothers clip.
    Of course by LAL it had progressed somewhat.
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Hmmm, maybe he and I have a different idea what a feather touch is. I know he didn't slam the strings, but I would never have thought of his style as "feather touch." Oh well, maybe looks can be deceiving and he really did have a feather touch.
  18. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
    "My Generation" was recorded on a Fender Jazz Bass with LaBella tapewounds. Here's John's quote:

    “I bought this Danelectro bass and it had these tiny, thin wirewound strings on. They were so thin, they sounded just like a piano, an unbelievably clear sound. the only thing was that you couldn’t buy these strings. When we recorded ‘My Generation,’ I ended up with three of these Danelectros just for the strings. The last one I had, the string busted before we actually got into the studio to re-record it, so I did it on a Fender Jazz in the end with tape-wound La bella strings.”

  19. Wow, it almost seems as though no one knows anything about this guy. As far as I understand, on the recording of my generation he used a P bass, a J, a horseshoe. He used roundwounds and flatwounds. He bi-amped and tri-amped. He played with 4 fingers and a pick. He must have been one very talented guy to do this all at once.