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Mick Karn's bass sound.

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by GazzBass, Jun 19, 2010.

  1. GazzBass


    Apr 20, 2008
    Been listening to a lot of Mick Karn recently (Hope he gets well soon). Loving the solo albums, Dalis Car and the JBK stuff. That big fat wobbly bass sound is wonderful. Anyone got any ideas how he gets it. It sounds like some kind of thick warm flange/chorus thing with maybe and octave pedal or it could maybe some kind of double tracking. I don't know. I give up haha. Ive been trying to get it but not having much luck. Any ideas. Buying a Wal is out of the question unfortunately.
  2. BlackElan


    Feb 26, 2009
    I am going to be 100% honest, you cant get the Mick Wal tone on a budget.

    I spent all last week helping a friend record and we were using the XLR out on my Wal straight into the mixing board for the bass tracks. Everyone at the studio was blown away, no one has heard anything like it before.

    I was called in the studio and when they asked me where my amp and bass cab was, I told them "no need we'll just use the XLR out on my bass into the mixing board". They all laughed then later ate crow at the end of the session.

    Can you get get close to a Wal tone with another bass and Micks pedals, sure you could but IMO close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.
  3. pjmuck


    Feb 8, 2006
    New Joisey
    I would attribute Karn's tone just as much to his hands and note choice as his bass. He has played a few different basses over the years, including a Travis Bean, and it always sounds like him regardless.
  4. Makalu


    Jul 24, 2006
    I asked Pete 'The Fish' @ Wal what made Mick's sound so unique when I was having a Bass made. He simply said 'its all in how he plays, not what he plays'. I guess the answer lies somewhere between Mick's brain and his fingers.

    johnstimley and AlastairWatts like this.
  5. Hoover

    Hoover Banned

    Nov 2, 2007
    New York City
    As others have mentioned, it has more to do with Mick's touch, and his note choices, phrasing, ideas...his recordings with his Travis Bean or his Klein sound just as uniquely identifiable as those with his Wal(s), so the gear is just secondary. Or tertiary.

    That being said: yes, he does do a lot of double-tracking on his records.

    When I saw him performing live (in 1987 or '88, with Mark Isham's band) he had a Digitech DSP128 and a GK 800RB head into Trace-Elliot cabs...but I'll bet the rig was just rented backline.
  6. Buchada Azeda

    Buchada Azeda

    Mar 25, 2009
    Get a filter-based preamp, like an ACG/East preamp and humbuckers.

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