Looking for Tom Hamilton's Mama Kin tone

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by dabis, Oct 3, 2018.

  1. dabis


    Mar 27, 2016
    I've been recently hired on an Aerosmith's tribute band, so I have not only a challenge of learn/play well the songs, but to reproduce som old tones, whenever possible.

    One of the tones I would like to reproduce it's the Mama Kin thin clanky bass sound. The only thing for sure I detect is the use of the pick, but the original song it's from the seventies. don't know the bass (Precision) and the pres (direct to board?). I'm thinking on getting a pedal only for these old songs (Mama Kin, Dream On,...), better than use another bass and or rig on these.

    My actual rig is:
    MusicMan Stingray 4 HS
    Aguilar TH350
    SWR Goliath III 4x10

    I was thinking on the Ampeg classic pedal, or maybe use a Darkglass B3K clone pedal that I have, thinnering the signal with the bass switch (GRUNT). Has anyone experience with the Ampeg with MM-Aguilar combination?
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2018
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  2. dabis


    Mar 27, 2016
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  3. AdamR

    AdamR Inactive Supporting Member

    Sep 24, 2007
    Bethel CT
    That sounds like a P bass with flats played with a pick to me.
    REMBO, Rickter, onosson and 3 others like this.
  4. Ditto what AdamR said.

    That is what I'm hearing too.

    Disclaimer- I HATE Aerosmith, but I DO give Tom Hamilton total credit for being a serious Groove Linebacker!
  5. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    He mainly used a Telecaster Bass and some PBs back in the ‘70s. Today (last I saw) he’s got a dual humbucker Sadowsky Tele bass and some of his own signature G&L ASATs.

    No idea what (if any) effects he used back in the 70s. But if he did they'd likely be EHX, Maestro, or similar vintage. There weren’t that many choices back then. A lot of what Aerosmith did for effects on their early albums was done with studio gear.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2018
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  6. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    First and most important (obviously): learn the bass lines as well as you can. :)

    Next: see if you can get in the tone ballpark with your existing gear. FWIW, I hear more compression than distortion on that track (but compression is a tricky tool if you don't know how to use it).

    Do you really need to clone Tom Hamilton's bass tones? I have a bunch of OD pedals and a few compressors, but only like to set up 2-3 pedals per gig. Point being, if I ever joined a tribute band, I would try to get away with one generic tone appropriate for that band, perhaps tweaking it a bit for certain songs: brighter/darker, cleaner/dirtier.
  7. PunkRocker33133

    PunkRocker33133 Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2008
    Northern VA
    It’s definitely just a p bass with a pick, flats, and tone turned up. There’s some compression going on there for sure but honestly just play kinda hard next to the bridge.
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  8. dabis


    Mar 27, 2016
    Thanks @Fuzzbass! At the moment just learning the songs. I can achieve some different tones as you suggest with the pickups switch, but this song tone is particular out of what I can get without any external tweaking. It's the reason I'm asking for a pedal.
    Thanks! Not flats at the moment neither swaping basses during the gig.
    The first thing I thought when I saw the slot on that tribute band!
    Thanks. I'll look for some old EHX pedals locally, but you know, I'm so far from the US to get these vintage pieces cheap. Related to basses, I saw videos and old pics from him and used all that you mentioned, as MM's, Parkers, and Fodera to name what I can recall, but impossible to know what happens on studio.
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  9. b/o 402

    b/o 402

    Jul 14, 2015
    DC & MD
    Looks like he's playing with fingers but still getting a nice picky attack:
    dabis likes this.
  10. b/o 402

    b/o 402

    Jul 14, 2015
    DC & MD
    But here Tom is playing a Stingray with a pick, so...
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  11. b/o 402

    b/o 402

    Jul 14, 2015
    DC & MD
    Heck, I like Tom's tone on this better than the original track. Fingers, probably rounds, is that a Sadowsky?
    dabis likes this.
  12. By all means, try to dial in an appropriate tone. But I wouldn't agonize over getting the exact tone. After all, Tom himself probably hasn't played the song live with the same tone as the record for decades.
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  13. dabis


    Mar 27, 2016
    For sure not agonizing, just trying to find some cool tones to make the experience more "realistic" :roflmao:. Another thing I'm founding is that actually Tom doesn't play the songs as he recorded those, I mean, arrangements, ghost notes, etc. Usually he's on the harmony and the rythm but he plays what he wants. And the songs are walking perfectly
    yodedude2 likes this.
  14. Nickweissmusic

    Nickweissmusic Knows all intervals from one Fred, to Juan octave Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2014
    San Diego, CA
    I teach lessons and perform live music in and around San Diego CA. Sometimes I even make money doing it!
    Great point, my rig of choice for variety cover bands is an ancient bass pod pro, it really sounds great, wish they had gone further with that. I only use 4 patches, all very carefully sonically balanced so as not to irritate the sound guy, and I’m very adamant that my DI be taken from that box, but that’s another thread ;) I have a slightly overdriven rock tone, light shimmering 80’s chorus, focused finger style great for disco, and tubby low end for modern dance music/hip hop. These are quite subtle but it definitely makes a difference in making the band sound right, and again, you want to avoid the sound guy shaking his head when you kick on the OD and the bottom drops out.

    as far as OP’s need for an Aerosmith tribute, an OD pedal that sounds great, adds nice switchable compression, and doesn’t drop the lows, is the Route 66 pedal, now made by TruTone I believe. Just about every 70s rock bass recording has some wool to it, and the Route 66 can go very subtle and clanky. The newest models even have adjustable bass control, but my old model with a bass boost switch works just fine as well. I’ve actually had sound guys applaud when I kick in the OD with that pedal. Here’s a quick demo of it, people seem not to like the video but I’m not a pedalhead so I think based on comments I’ve gotten, pedal folk want to hear all the things it can do, so perhaps I’ll make a more in depth video. all I wanted was a nice grainy OD where the bottom doesn’t drop out, so here’s proof it can at least do that, you’ll just have to take my word that is sounds good used lightly as well :) listen with headphones to hear the low end.

  15. onamission

    onamission Supporting Member

    Compressed Telecaster bass played with a pick.
  16. Yes, that is just what I did when I did that song...I didn't have flats, but pick and close to bridge gets you close.
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  17. tycobb73


    Jul 23, 2006
    Grand Rapids MI
    Most players don't use the same tone in the studio that they do live. Get a good tone and call it a day.
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  18. lethargytartare


    Sep 7, 2004
    And don't forget that you could match any one of his tones you find in a recording, but you've still gotta mix with the rest of the band. Just think of what happens if you nail the studio tone and then it sounds like crap with the band.
    Bass_guy_2008 and b/o 402 like this.
  19. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    I’m only up on Aerosmith and Tommy Hamilton in the mid to late 70s. A guitarist in my band at the time was good friends with Brad Whitford. We used to rent rehearsal time in this hush-hush rehearsal space Aerosmith owned. Got to see the band’s gear occasionally since they used the place as a staging area before they went on tour. That’s the only reason I know about the Tele and Precision basses.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2018
    dabis likes this.
  20. bobba66


    May 18, 2006
    Arlington, Texas
    Is "Kings and Queens" on the set list? My favorite jam from those guys!:woot:

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