Looking for the 70s Roger Waters sound

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Papalampraina, Jul 25, 2016.


  1. Papalampraina

    Papalampraina Need.More.Fez.

    May 13, 2009
    Athens, Greece
    Hey guys. I'm currently gathering the pieces to make my own Precision and I'm stuck on the pickup. I'm looking for the pickup tone of Roger Waters, which is more or less aggressive, not mellow and has a lot of lows and mids.
    I ordered one a couple years ago from a pickup maker, who unfortunately stopped doing that, so I can't order one more.
    Do you have any suggestions as to what could come close? Except of course from buying an original 70s pickup.
    I understand that this topic might have been discussed before, but I've been reading this specific forum for 3-4 days now and haven't found anything relative.
     
  2. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    Remember that Gilmore actually played bass on many of the tracks, and Waters mostly played live. So...
    1) standard P-bass with vintage-style pickup and stock strings
    2) use a pick
    3) set the pre-gain at the edge.
    4) set tone knobs to suit
     
    Frenchy-Lefty and shawshank72 like this.
  3. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    In the 70s I believe he was using 60s era Ps. Fralin, Duncan, and Fender (among MANY others) make great 60s style P pickups.
     
  4. imdkoz

    imdkoz Supporting Member

    Nov 16, 2006
    Tennessee
    I believe that he used Schecter Custom Shop pickups.
     
  5. P-Bass with Maple Fretboard, with Rotosound 77's. That should get you awfully close. If not there are a ton of aftermarket late 60s early 70s bass pickups out there
     
    Stefan Verbeeck likes this.
  6. Papalampraina

    Papalampraina Need.More.Fez.

    May 13, 2009
    Athens, Greece
    So, would you say that a Fender '63 would be a good choice? His basses were both bought in 1970, after the theft, so they were 99% CBS Fenders and their pickups were different than the 60s models.
     
  7. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    Maybe you're right, I always figured this bass was early 60s but that's a late 60s / early 70s headstock ...

    maxresdefault.jpg
     
  8. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    I have an older fender 60s reissue pickup in my '71. It is perfect.
     
  9. Papalampraina

    Papalampraina Need.More.Fez.

    May 13, 2009
    Athens, Greece
    I'm thinking of going with the Fender '63 pickup too. From what I heard, I prefer it more than the '58. It's either that or a +5% overwound Fralin.
     
  10. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    Scotland.
    There isn't a clear consensus on exactly where and when Gilmour subbed on bass beyond Hey You, one channel of One Of These Days and a few other bits and pieces.

    Roger Waters' bass was probably bone stock, so anything that models a '60s P pickup would do the job. I wouldn't go with a hotter pickup simply because he had a feisty tone, or anything like that.

    What is probably more important is strings, amp and technique. Roger mixed Hiwatt and HH IC100 amp heads live. In the picture posted at the top of this thread you can see two HH IC100 amp heads with a Binson Echorec P.E. 603-T sitting on top. Quite how what is routed into which is debatable, but Roger's live tone is way more rounded than the 'grind' of an SVT or similar; a twangy flatwound tone with fairly limited bottom end (if live recordings are anything to go by), lots of mids and no discernible 'scoop' to speak of. Then you need an aggressive pick and need to focus on octave leaps!
     
    Papalampraina likes this.
  11. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    I'd stay away from overly hot pickups. I've grown to dislike them over the years. With a lower gain pickup, you can always gain up with pedals or at the amp, but with a hot pickup you're just always there, all the time.

    I'd say get a period-correct 60s pickup, flatwound strings, and play with a pick. You'll get there...
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2016
  12. I am pretty sure that a new am std Precision with Rotosound Stainless and a pick would sound totally identical. After that there are all the studio artifacts of course. But I can make my stock Fender Precision sound exactly like Roger's bass on The Wall.
     
    NKBassman and Axstar like this.
  13. Especially the rotosounds I guess.
    Here is a video showing of the strings on an Ibanez Roadstar II from 1984.


    I'd say the player nailed the tone of 'Money' there.
     
  14. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    50% Rotosound Swing Bass strings and PBass; and 50% pick and how he played it with some judicious palm muting in places.

    Shouldn't be hard for you to duplicate. I've heard bass players in bar bands with the same setup who routinely nail it. It's a classic sound.
     
  15. vdgg

    vdgg

    Oct 8, 2013
    There is one more thing...he used to play with the pickup cover ON. This makes a difference in tone. And I agree with the answers above...go for an American Vintage Split Single-Coil '63 and a .05UF 100V 20% tone capacitor. Cheers!!
     
  16. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    Scotland.
    With all due respect, I don't think the cover contributes anything tonally. The only influence it can potentially have on tone is in the way it prevents you from picking directly over the pickup, so you are forced to pluck closer to the bridge or out over the end of the fretboard. The cover contributes nothing electrically to the instrument. It isn't even grounded.
     
    SteveBass5 and meatwad like this.
  17. vdgg

    vdgg

    Oct 8, 2013
    What really makes the difference in a P's tone is where you pluck the strings and how hard you pluck them. So, i will agree with you about that. But in both cases...you should keep it on if you want to achieve that "waterish" tone, as Roger did with his Ps.
     
  18. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    Scotland.
    I did see a Pink Floyd tribute band a few years ago. The bassist had a couple of nice old P basses ('70s at a guess) and he had removed the covers. I wanted to see the covers on the bass, even if it made his life a bit harder. An absolute nit-pick on my part.
     
  19. Papalampraina

    Papalampraina Need.More.Fez.

    May 13, 2009
    Athens, Greece
    I went with this suggestion. Got me a Fender vintage '63.

    Btw, thanks for all the answers!
     
    pickles and Axstar like this.
  20. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Jul 30, 2021

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