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Mel Schacher's (Grand Funk Railroad) Setup

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by zecabass84, Dec 31, 2004.

  1. Does anyone knows what was Mel Schacher's setup during his time in Grunk Funk around '68-'71?

    All I know is that he used a Fender Jazz Bass (maybe a '64 model) with an extra pick-up, but don't even know its location in the body of the instrument.... :meh:

    If someone could help...
    I'm planning to build a tube amp like his to use with my P-Bass. I just don't think I'll use the 8x15" he used to use so soon.. :D
  2. 73jbass

    73jbass Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2004
    Mel used both P-basses and Jazz basses back then.The most memorable one being on the cover of the red album, which was a block inlayed J bass.I read somewhere a while back that they used Park amplifiers.The may have sounded pretty cool in the day, but I heard that they were not very reliable.I also read that in the studio that he used a combo amp cranked real hard,which accounts for his overdriven tone.Mel was "the" reason I started playing bass. I used to listen to my brothers GFR records every chance I got! His unusual tone and constant moving bass lines really put the hook in me as an early teen. The easiest thing to do is get Jazz or P-bass,put a set of flats on it,and use an Ibanez Turbo Tube Screamer on the Turbo setting.That will get real close to what you want. Good luck!
  3. Stu L.

    Stu L.

    Nov 27, 2001
    Corsicana, Texas
    Weren't Park's just Marshalls with a different logo? I'm pretty sure they were.
  4. Razor


    Sep 22, 2002
    I've heard this as well...

    This was taken from Bass Guitar Magazine's summer 03 issue..

    "Schacher's singular tone was achieved using a Fender Jazz Bass through two West "Fillmore" amplifiers rigged with GEC KT88 tubes imported from the U.K. Pricey as hell, the GEC tubes frequently blew up in the middle of gigs, due to their horrible impedence mismatch with the West heads. Schacher's bass tech-wearing heavy flame resistant gloves-would stand on a stool behind Schacher's rack of JBL D140 speakers and wait for the tube to "flame out" then instantly plug in a new one." :bassist: MAN THAT ROCKS!!!
  5. At that time Parks were "just" rebranded Marshalls. Nothing different other than the face plate and the cabinet. Starting more towards the middle of the 70s they started doing different things like cascading gain channels and such. I'm the proud owner of one of the last "real" Park amps- a 1981 50w Master Volume head- it's nearly the exact same amp as my 78 Marshall- same circuit board and all. Marshall started using the Park name for cheap Asian made amps in the early 90's.

    FWIW I've always heard that both Mark and Mel used those West heads...
  6. One of the ultimate dirty bass tones on record, along with playing that, together, just stuns, has to be "People Let's Stop the War" on "E Pluribus Funk".
  7. 73jbass

    73jbass Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2004
    It was West amps! I knew it was something like that! Where did I get Park from? (lol).
  8. OiBass


    Apr 9, 2003
    I feel he had a better, less "fart-laden" tone with the Gibson
    (Grabber or Ripper, I forget which) on the 1976 live L.P.,
    "Caught In The Act"
  9. wildbill59


    Feb 27, 2005
    I was just reading about Gibson EB-3s, this guy was saying how Mel used a Gibson Sidewinder from an EB-O in the neck position on his Jazz Bass. Don't know how it was wired, or if he left the original Jazz neck pickup on, but I'll bet that humbucker in tandem with that Jazz bridge pickup sounded pretty wicked! Also, just wanted to agree with MichaelVee, "People lets stop the war" has got to have one of dirtiest, distorted bass lines of all time! That album, E. Pluribus Funk, was a HUGE influence on me! I'd love to find some good, accurate tabs from that album. If anybody can help, that would be great. P.S. Just found this site tonight, looks very cool, ought to keep me informed & buzy. Thanks! Distort it til it hurts, Wild Bill!
  10. DHowardAir


    Apr 26, 2009
    Tulsa, OK
    Bill, I just ran across this 1969 video of Grand Funk... at about 6:18 into it you can see a good closeup shot of that Jazz Bass with the humbucker pickup in the neck pickup position... thought you might like this.

  11. Every time one of these threads comes up it brings back so many happy memories for me, and I'm sure many other old timers who were playing in rock bands back then. We were young musicians on the road making good money and seeing the country. We played a lot of Grand Funk. But in the back of our minds was the hope that one of our originals would catch on and we would make it big, too. On the road there was the option of driving myself, but I had a '57 Vette with no radio, heater or defrosters and in this part of the country the inside was dripping wet for half the year. Or you could ride with the equipment and listen to country western. Or you could ride with the guitar player and drummer in his '64 Impala. The guitar player loved Grand Funk and wore out a a couple of their eight track tapes on every road trip. Occasionally he would break it up with a James Gang or Cream tape. But on a run from Seattle to State Line Idaho you were bound to hear "Inside Looking Out" and "Into the Sun" at least twenty times, each. They don't write 'em like that anymore.
  12. DHowardAir


    Apr 26, 2009
    Tulsa, OK
    BRAVO JB696 !!!

    BRAVO !!!!
  13. Guiseppe


    Oct 26, 2003
    Vancouver, WA
    "Are You Ready" from the Live Album was my intro to rock. I was hooked by the time they hit the chorus...
    the harp unstrung likes this.
  14. Desuh

    Desuh Supporting Member

    May 28, 2011
    Does anyone have any idea how he routed that Sidewinder pickup properly into the Jazz Bass?
    yodedude2 likes this.
  15. Jeffrey Wash

    Jeffrey Wash Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2011
    Santa Cruz
    KT88 power tubes - yeah baby!

    Attached Files:

  16. SwitchGear

    SwitchGear Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2005
    I too was influenced by Mels bass playing off that live album. Into The Sun was a crowd fave played by the band i was in back in the early seventies. Those where some really good times i look back on fondly. I played a cheap Japanese made short scale bass into a Supro Thunderbolt combo sitting on top of a Fender 2x12 cab, miced into a crude Kustom pa. Not loud, but it copped that distorted bass tone admirably. Fun times i had as a rockin lad. Lol
  17. First time I saw Grand Funk was at the 2nd Atlanta Pop Festival, or Byron Pop Festival, which was near Macon Ga.
    I didn't know a J from a P bass then, but it was a Fender. That was Summer of 1970. BTW.

    Amps: Used at Byron:WEST.It was the largest bass rig I had ever seen; made his pants flap.When he faced his rig to make adjustments, it actually moved his hair with each pulse from his cabintets as well as his bass.

    Second time was in ealy 2000's at Variety Playhouse..couldn't get close enough to see.

    A couple of yeas ago, we saw G Funk, minus Farner, with Bruce Kulick handling leads. Mel used a Zon Sonus 4-string and a single cab SVT, with another SVT on standby. The ZON really cut through the mix well.
  18. Rebmo


    Aug 19, 2006
    Into the Sun OH YEAH! Heard it and started looking for a bass & rig.
  19. AltGrendel

    AltGrendel Squire Jag SS fan. Supporting Member

    May 21, 2009
    Mid-Atlantic USA.