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Old School Combinations Of Amp & Bass

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Fergie Fulton, Apr 30, 2016.

  1. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    I was talking with a younger player the other day about their set up, a Line 6 rack through a 4x10 powered by a digital 1000w 1U amp.
    As we talked i came to realise he can get many sounds from his set up, but not always the feel.
    I spoke about how when i was growing up we physically matched bass to amp to cab, as guitarist had to do.
    So i talked about the difference of a P bass though a Marshall as opposed to a P Bass through a Marshall, or a Hi-Watt, or an Acoustic. How using flats or roundwounds was a factor, how cabinet combinations were a factor, and how whether you used your fingers or a pick was an option to the sound you created.

    Apart from the sound we learned about the feel, the amount of air moved, that these combinations created, some of them against tue natural tone of a bass, John Jacque Burnell for example was never a P bass sound, but Geddy Lee's sound in Rush was classic Ric, as was many players who used them.

    There are many example s from Jaco to Stanley Clarke, Jack Bruce to Paul McCartney etc, of players that once apon a time had to physically put set ups together, so learned on another level about bass playing sounds.
    So my new young friend had never done any of this, a great player, sure he has the chops, but i got the feeling that just in dialling in sounds he is missing out on something. The fact he could have that John Jacque Burnell sound and use his fingers rather than a pick was great, but for me it did not feel right.

    OK maybe because i am from a different era i know what feels can be got, because through trial and error, and wasted money, i have been through this, watched and talked to many players of varying basses and rigs.
    So I got first hand accounts, and got to hear and feel these combinations, so i got anoher level of learning, so to speak, to add to my experience, or predjustice, in later life to draw on.

    I will add, in the last 6-7 years i have recorded most things using my, Line 6 Studio110, in the R 'n' B setting, because it sounds like my old Ampeg, but does not feel like it.
    But in the studio it does not move air, so does not vibrate the room, or create overtones in the room.
    As it is being recorded its tone and feel is in a producers hands, not mine, so i do not sweat it using a software amp in a studio.

    So my question would be, do you feel that this learning was just of its time, it did not really make a difference?
    Or do modern combinations cover this ground, and more, because the only limits are your imaginations when using software amps?
    What were some of the classic combinations you grew up with, tried, liked or dis-liked?
  2. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    $ was always a factor in the day...so, I made a decision, made it work & stuck to it.
    Classic combo for me-
    Fender Bassman 100 cab (4X12)...bought in Dec 1974. Stock to this day.
    Musicman 65 amp (bought in '78 after my '64 Bassman amp died).
    Any bass (P, P/J or J; passive or active) sounded good thru this particular combination. I used this in a 10-piece horn band & never went past "3" on the Volume knob.

    Current set-up? I can't complain.
    Aquilar 500 SC
    Bergie 322 cab

    More compact than the above for sure. Something about that old Skool equipmnet, though (sigh).

    I do think some of this "learning" you mentioned has been engineered out of the equation...if that makes sense.
    Example: My '64 P-bass is a log. You had to learn how to play it.
    My Nordy Jazz? Everyone sounds good on it.
    Fergie Fulton likes this.
  3. spiritbass

    spiritbass Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2004
    Ashland, MO
    The church where I play is old school. No IEM's and the husband and wife pastor team like to hear and feel the music. My rig is a combination of old and new. The cab I use is (amazing!) cutting edge - one of Mike Arnopol's 110 Flex cabs which uses a 10" woofer, two 5 1/2" mid drivers and a tweeter. I drive it with a Reeves Custom 225 or Shaw B-150 which is, in essence, a 150 watt (Ampeg) B-15. The sound and feel is inspiring, to say the least. :cool:
    Fergie Fulton likes this.
  4. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Yes i know what you mean, i was invited to try a Trace Elliot rig in the mid eighties, so i took three basses.
    A P Bass with maple neck, Jazz bazz with rosewood fretboard, and a cheap £80 PBass sort of copy.
    All basses sounded fantastic, really no difference in the sound between any of them.
    Yet through my Ampeg they all sounded very different, through my friends Orange they again sounded all very different. I think for me this was the first time i ever heard an amp that could have such an effect on all instruments plugged into it.......great sound though.
    JimK likes this.
  5. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Sounds like a great combination, for me these days i should say i use a Tone Hammer 500 through a pair of Aguilar DB cabs. I went for the cabs first as i wanted that Black/Silver grill cover in a small light cab.
    Aguilar offered the best solution for me, so only a matter of time before i added the Tone Hammer to replace the Line 6 HD400 i was using.
    Got the HD400 on the back of how well the Studio110 performed as a recording amp.
    I still have the Ampeg, and the HD and each will offer a differ t feel to the DB cabs...so i will match any of the basses i use to the band/project i feel works best for them.
    It sort of makes a difference to me, but in the end people say it stiil sounds and feels like me, regardless of bass or rig i use, i suppose i have a style that comes through and it is the way i play, not what i play that they want.
  6. stacker

    stacker Banned

    Feb 24, 2010
    I went from a WEM 15" valve combo to a tranny HH head/Acoustic 360 and 2 x 15" cab which did me for years till I got a 2 x 4 x10" Trace Elliot rig. Sold the latter when I stopped gigging and when I resurfaced on the gigging scene several years ago I made the mistake of buying a Behringer V-bass which cut out on me on the first gig it did! After that, it was a Trace MP11 into a Yamaha power amp and a 4 x 10" cab. No more gigging so I use my '59RI Tweed Bassman 4 x 10" at home. Wouldn't touch modelling ever again.
    Fergie Fulton likes this.
  7. The first model of the bass I play came out in 1957. The first model of the rig I use came out in 1969. I don't even own any pedals. I did use a wireless for a little while but it took as long to set it up as it took to set up the rest of my rig. Being basically a very lazy person , I stopped bothering with the wireless. I guess that's about as "old school" as it gets.
  8. Robroy


    Jun 21, 2006
    Central Kentucky
    I get my tone mostly through the amp/speaker and my fingering style. The exception would be the active electronics on some of my basses.

    'Course, I'm a hi-fi salesman from the 70's. I've always believed that the biggest difference in sound for any hi-fi was, by far, the speakers used. No single component in your system colors the sound anywhere near as much as the speakers do.
    Fergie Fulton and sissy kathy like this.
  9. Bill Fatty

    Bill Fatty

    Feb 8, 2016
    Al Ain, UAE
    Classic rigs!

    I had a Fender Bassman with some sort of bullsh*t cab when I first started. I hated that thing; it was a valve amp, took years to heat up and it was so finicky. It never had a proper tone for me, and was always distorting, ugh.
    But a mate sold me his old rig which was an Ampeg SVT with TWO 8 x 10 cabinets. That f*cking thing would roar unbelievably. What a beast, I loved it. Huge and backbreaking difficult to transport, but totally the best. I miss that set-up! I got consistent advice from soundmen on how to use it, advice which has been often repeated to me over the years by different soundmen, advice which probably a lot of guys on this forum have been given by wise and experienced soundmen as well, which goes "turn the f*cking bass down", so I generally ignored it.

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