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Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by powermans, Jul 7, 2002.

  1. Greetings Fellow Bassists around Planet Earth! As I'm the new kid on the block(new member) I first would like to give thanks to the people who set up this great site for the help of all bassists.
    My question involves the "Great Dane" NHOP. I have followed his every footstep over the past 20 years and claim to have about 80% of everything he has recorded. Over this time, I have searched for any info on what the master uses to get that sound ( some refer to it as an Electric bass sound ??) however, I would love to hear from anyone who has SOLID knowledge of what he uses!
    I have heard some say he uses the Wilson system... is this true? It would appear that the amp he uses makes little difference to that SAME sound he gets everytime he plays as I,ve seen him LIVE on 5 different occasions and,he used everything from a Roland Cube 100 , GK , and numereous others!
    Anyway , I would like to know the following PLEASE.
    What's his set-up? ( transducer )
    What's his strings?
    What's in the suitcase(Box) beside him wherever he plays ? I note it travels the world with him.
    And last ,what are his settings on the amp (EQ) ?
    Would love to hear your comments !


    Brisbane Australia.:confused:
  2. Greetings, welcome to Talkbass.com! I don't want to be facetious, but I think that, like most bass-players, NHØP's sound is "in his fingers". A while ago I was talking with my teacher about this, and he told me of a Ray Brown (RIP) gig that he attended and (for whatever reason) Mr Brown wasn't playing his usual bass, but still managed to sound exactly like Ray Brown - the point being that everybody has their own sound, and no matter what the equipment is, "their" sound will come through. Come to think of it, I think there may be a thread hereabouts on NHØP's gear and settings (you might want to check the "search" function). Welcome again! Have fun - there are lots of great people here, as well as a vast mine of information!

    - Wil
  3. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    Wil Da Beast:
    Confirming your point, Dave Holland told of being called to audition for Miles after a show with Ron Carter and Jimmy Garrison playing in two different bands. Holland took due note of the different sounds the two bassists got. After the gig, he learned that they both had played Carter's bass; Garrison's was in the shop!
  4. Buddy Lee

    Buddy Lee

    May 5, 2002
    What is NHOP?
  5. In all fairness, guys, I think he's asking how to get that "amplified" upright sound that was really popular in the '70s. NHOP may sound like himself playing unamplified DB on any DB in the world, but he chooses to use a plugged-in sound that's a different matter entirely from his acoustic tone.

    It's like saying that Eberhard Weber is gonna have his sound on an unamplified DB with gut strings. I don't see that happening anytime soon :D

    (My personal upright sound can be had by bad intonation and insufficiently developed right hand calluses. ;) )
  6. In regard to Peter Mc Ferrin ,thanks for your thoughts regarding NHOP,yes , I take your point on the 70's electric sound.... this comment I have heard on a number of occasions, however, I feel that you're saying (correct me if I'm wrong) that it's a "dated" sound ! anyway,I note that he still uses that sound right up till his recent cd releases "This is all I ask". and hearing him Live here "Down Under" just last year ....he still had that same sound.

    Regarding sounds , I figure it what grabs YOUR ear, I can listen to 20 different recordings of DB's and maybe only like the sound of maybe two or three. One that immediately comes to mind is Brian Bromberg on the Dave Grusin"Hommage To Duke". I'd kill to get a recorded / LIVE sound like that .or maybe Patitucci sound on "Echoes of Jilly's" Monty Alexander. Mind you .... There would be a lot of bassists out there who would also disagree with the above!

    But that's what makes us ALL different!


    Mick Power
  7. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Yes indeed we are all different. I hate NHOP's sound and I have heard various things about his pickups and his little box he has beside him when he plays. I know one guy who says he went and saw NHOP live and he had something like twelve pickups on the bass one of which was a Wilson. I have seen an ad with NHOP endorsing the Pierre Josephs String Charger and I believe that might be one of the things gives him that awful electrified tone.

  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I love NHOP's sound as well - his perfect intonation and clarity - I have seen him live and have a couple of records. I don't think anybody can deny that he is great technically, if they may prefer the style of other bassists - especially in the Jazz idiom.

    I think there are different styles and sounds in Jazz and there is definitely a "European" school which is different to the US, which to my ears is more "Blues-based" whereas Europeans are more inluenced by orchestral/avant-garde?

    Just my opinion though.....
  9. Oh, definitely. I would add, though, that much of what I perceive to be the inspiration of the European jazz scene lies in the work of Bill Evans, Gerry Mulligan, Paul Bley, the Tristano school, etc.--American musicians who themselves looked to Europe for inspiration.
  10. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    A sick half-joke: Lennie Tristano never 'looked' anywhere for inspiration.
    Seriously, Michael Moore told me a story of a pianist soloing during a lesson with Lennie. Just on the basis of his hearing, Tristano barked "SIT UP! You're slumping like Bill Evans!
    For those of you who don't know, Lennie was blind. His musicianship puts me in awe.
    I'm reminded of this by the fact that in my lessons with Michael Moore, I play behind him while he plays piano; yet he knows exactly what I'm doing technique-wise, calling out instructions as we play.
  11. Alex Scott

    Alex Scott

    May 8, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Something I used to overlook a lot and discount was a sound I thought was an electric sound on the upright. I thought this was a completely electronically produced sound, like NHOP, Bromberg, maybe Eddie Gomez sometimes,
    until I had a teacher who leaned towards that esthetic, and when he would demonstrate ideas on my bass, he would sound exactly like he did amplified, and I realized that it really is in your fingers, also listen to jaco, no matter what bass he was playing he would get about the same sound.

    It has to do with setup, which for this sound has to be a little to the low side maybe 7mm on the g to 10 on the e, and might end up lower than that.

    You might try some fresh thomastik weich gage, that's a pretty narrow gauge string that can sound a little more "electric" sometimes, if you pull it the right way, they can also sound very "acoustic" if you pull them another way.

    Any good pickup system will probably work, gomez and marc johnson used underwoods for a long time,
    and you might want to turn the pre amp setting on your amp a little higher in relation to the post amp, watch out for feed back on some amps. A Walter Woods amplifier does this without a feedback problem.

    then, you will have to practice, with the sound you want firmly conceptualized, moving your right hand in a way that sounds electric, articulate, whatever you are hearing, you also probably want to start your left hand from a place where your finger tips are more involved, and keep the notes down longer so they sustain in a way consistent to your hearing.

    Also, listen to the vibrato of the artists you like, and this can help you define things,

    Most importantly, don't let others unduly influence the way you want to sound. Bass players tend to be more biased about how other bassists should sound, it is very personal and important. other musicians, however, are usually more impressed with a sound that they can hear through the band, and that supports the style they like to play. Some instumentalists will like an acoustic sound, some an electric, even more will tell you they like one, and then drool over a player who actually sounds more the other way, usually because they have a stronger musical concept.

    I prefer to change things depending on the situation, the instumentation, and what I had for breakfast, my mood etc.

    It might be interesting to compile a list of ways people try to sound, how they think they achieve that timbre, and who their influences are.

    Any ideas?
  12. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    Amen to that! I've insisted on using a Realist for the last four years, because I love the *thump* that it reproduces and because it sounds good through my amp in my living room. Recently, though, I've done a couple of concerts on borrowed basses with Underwoods and amplified tones that I would never accept out of my own rig, and my bandmates were ecstatic over being able to hear me so clearly. One was on a huge outdoor stage where I was playing with some of my jazz heroes for the first time, and I was soooo thankful not to be playing on my own bass because I knew that my sound would fall to pieces if I cranked it as loud as turned out to be necessary. It was an eye-(and ear)-opening experience.
    Which brings me to another point: the bass I was borrowing belonged to a Swedish (I think) bassist named Anders Jormin, have you all heard of him? He has a total Eddie Gomez "Three Quartets"/Marc Johnson w/Bill Evans tone (whatever you may choose to think of that), and the things he does with it are astonishing. Before he went on (with the Bobo Stenson trio), Dave Liebman told me "This guy is one of the best bassists on the planet. YOU need to go hear him!" It was good advice, and I must make the same recommendation to everyone who hasn't heard him, regardless of their bass-tone preferences.
  13. Alex Scott

    Alex Scott

    May 8, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Yeah, just when you think your tone is undesirable, someone complements you on it.

    Murphy's Law of Bass Tone Preference

    With the right sound system, though, I would use that schertler Dyn-B Electrodynamic Bass Transducer.

    On occasion, when I had the knobs just right on my Walter Woods, and was running this thing through a mic pre-amp- one of those $100 ones, nothing fancy, I got the most living room tone, but super loud enough for the band to hear.

    Comments were no longer like " good sound" translation- I can hear you, but were like "Man, I never really appreciated the overtone series quite this much, or "I really like how the 5th partial enhances the richness on those ballads" or "A zesty, robust sound, complex and chocolaty, with well placed tannins"

    We need to be sound connosieurs for the movement to take hold!

    Keep it rolling, does anyone use mics and preamps to good effect/ any suggestions?
  14. Alex Scott

    Alex Scott

    May 8, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Hey Ed, I always like what you have to say, You are a very well thought-out individual.

    Sorry for my lack of profile, I am slightly computer illeterate and attention-deficicient.

    I have been playing for more than half my life, about 14 yrs, went to UT Austin to get a classical degree, play here in Austin, professionally, practice unamplified, teach, have a day job, etc.

    I have always been more interested in the different sounds my bass can create, from experimental rants to Ray Brown R.I.P. badness.

    Being a graduate from a classical degree program, and having been to various masterclasses/ teachers/concerts, and listening to various recordings by many diverse artists, etc. I come from what I feel is a pretty well educated and objective place.

    My comments about that "living room sound" are meant to invoke a spirit of how you would want your bass to sound in an ideal, silent place, free from drummers, too loud guitarists, out of tune pianos, etc (actually my living room has an out of tune piano in it, priorities suck ha ha), so take me for a figurative type (I will attempt to put this disclaimer in a signature at some point, because I tend to get inflammatory emails and responses without it)

    Anyway, my concept, from seeing all this diversity, is that in different situations, I seem players adjust their usage of components of the infinite musical lexicon, adjusting volume, tuning conceptions (solo is different than with piano etc.) But rarely if ever, there timbre. Why not? It is any easy thing to change, and sometimes you want to make a dark sound, sometimes a brighter sound. Your emotions are pretty flexible, I hope, and I can tell from your writing, so why not timbre?

    Marc Johnson playing with Bill Evans sounded one way, later projects with bill frisell another- there is a good example. How about Dave holland on that miles tribute with joe henderson vs. triplicate? different styles, and yes, some time passed between, but both are good and appropriate.

    Sometimes I choose different notes with singers than with a guitar trio, and I sub-conciously or conciously change my timbre somewhat.

    If I am playing with a band that is getting a little wank-fest and I can't hear myself, up goes the midrange, and I concentrate on a stronger articulation, time feel and let some chops out.

    Maybe it's just because I play classical and jazz, new and old music, or just feel that's the way it should go.

    Any comments? please increase the dialogue
  15. Alex Scott

    Alex Scott

    May 8, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Yes, Ed, Same thing different ways, sorry about the living room confusion.

    I do think personality should transcend timbre. I'm sure everyone will still know its you, I guess one could even choose to have multiple personalities. What I gues I'm trying to say is I try to be more versatile, maybe it was my somewhat orchestral upbringing, but I think once who become sensitive to timbre, it's hard to go back.

    Tell me a little more about your low amp setting, Maybe I am just not getting a loud enough attack, but it seems that my fingers bleed if I try harder. Any advice?

  16. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    Okay, Ed, I have filled in my profile like a good boy! We've actually corresponded before on the acousticbass.com list, I'm Jeremy Allen in Park Slope and before you ask I'll tell you that my username is that of my bass which I was considering selling when I finally got around to registering here (instead of just eavesdropping).
    My living room comment refers to those times when you buy a new speaker cabinet or pickup or amp or strings, and you try them out in your living room and they sound great, but then you get them on a gig and you see their true character, for better or for worse. (I don't practice at home with an amp! in spite of what Rufus suggests doing occassionally in his method book.) I'm fairly pleased with the acoustic tone I've settled on, and I'm generally very pleased with the tone I get out of the Walter Woods+Realist, but some rooms just don't work. Just as some rooms are more suited to unamplified playing than others, which is something I do every chance I get.
    I also find that the style of music makes a great difference. For example, if I'm playing fairly standard stuff and doing a lot of walking and/or a (hopelessly inauthentic) Paul Chambers/Sam Jones imitation, I find that an amp is often unnecessary or, if in a big band situation, that a relatively low amount of volume can suffice. More "modern" material, however, seems to demand more volume (that is, if you want to be heard, which I tend to care less about than my bandmates--I get a little p.o.'d when it gets that loud myself). This type of material can be anything from 60's Coltrane (or at least when your drummer is trying to play like Elvin), which many ear-witnesses I know who saw it live said was basically a sax-and-drums duet with two other guys on stage gesticulating, to over-enthusisatic ECM stuff. When I played in concert with George Russell's big band, the orchestration and writing were such that I had to crank my volume beyond the comfort level, and it didn't sound as good as I would have wanted. And in the episode I mentioned in my earlier post, where I was playing with Billy Hart and Dave Liebman at a big festival, the sound levels on stage were more like that of a rock band than a group playing standards (which we were). And even before being mic'ed, Billy Hart can be one LOUD mother-shut-yo-mouth.
    Another thing to add to this, though, is that often when I feel (or am told) that I have to turn up louder than is good for my tone, I find that recordings of the shows indicate that the sound in the audience isn't as nasty as it was onstage. The natural sound, we all hope, carries more than we can tell.
    Oh, and what am I doing around NYC? Very little--playing a few dinky gigs at little places for $0-$40. What do you guys DO around here to make a living, anyway? Even at the Knitting Factory with a "name act" the pay was negligible. Cornelia Street on the 30th of July with this excellent young tenor player named Mark Small should be musically interesting, though, if anyone has the night off.
    And, Ed, I read about your move to Queens. Congratulations! My wife and I are living in about 370 square feet right now in Park Slope; good thing we like each other!
    Sorry about the long post, but...
  17. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    Mark Ferber--the brother of Alan, the trombonist, right? Those guys are both great, I went to their house once down on Greenwood Avenue below Prospect Park.
    Yes, I've been doing some rehearsals with McNeil and Andy Green for their new "Shags" cover band. You guys know the Shags? Seriously weird stuff.
    Ed, feel free to put me on your email list as well. I went down to that Italian place on 9th street one night with my wife to hear you with Charles Sibirsky, but your teacher (Joe Solomon, right?) was on instead. Nice to hear him play.
  18. Alex Scott

    Alex Scott

    May 8, 2002
    Austin, TX
    thanks Ed, you go all the way with the master?
    I'll have to give that a try
  19. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    A Shags cover band?! You mean the sister act from a couple decades ago? They were out there! No bassist, if I remember correctly.

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