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Patrick O' Hearn bass tone???

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by PBrown, May 1, 2009.

  1. PBrown

    PBrown Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2009
    Billings, MT
    Hello, this is my first post and the reason I know about this lovely Forum. I am racking my brain about a tone that Patrick O' Hearn is getting on his fretless and fretted basses during the 79' Baby Snakes era of Frank Zappa. I love the sound! Have no idea what it is. If anyone can help and offer any sort of suggestions that would be awesome. I have emailed everyone I can think of and to no avail.
  2. Hoover

    Hoover Banned

    Nov 2, 2007
    New York City
    I'm pretty sure O'Hearn was playing MusicMan Stingrays back in his Zappa days. No idea what his amp might have been; probably something Frank owned and told him to play through.
  3. PBrown

    PBrown Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2009
    Billings, MT
    His setup for the live show that I have is two P-basses one fretted one fretless. I don't know what amp he is using, what I want to know is what is making his bass sound the way that it does. There is also something duct taped over where a bridge pickup would be.
  4. Jaco who?

    Jaco who?

    May 20, 2008
    I know part of it is a chorus of some kind. I know Roland made one back then that could make farts sound good.

    Not implying that he needed it to sound good. I think his fingering style had a lot to do with it.
  5. PBrown

    PBrown Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2009
    Billings, MT
    Yeah, I think I found the sound. I am pretty sure it is a Flanger of some sort. I tried out the Ibanez and I am trying the Boss one out as well. The Ibanez sounds cool and at times sounds like the tone O' Hearn was getting.
  6. PBrown

    PBrown Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2009
    Billings, MT

    No bother whatsoever.

    "Live", I used an MXR digital delay with a short delay (80 - 120ms) with a slight, slow sine wave modulation. -- to achieve a doubled and subtle de-tuned effect.

    For "Live" recording or studio, Frank would, in post, use an Eventide H-910 to create the same effect.



    > Hello, sorry for bothering you about things that were in the past for
    > you. I have been looking for the sound you were getting on your
    > fretted and fretless P-basses during 79' Zappa. Was it mostly just a
    > Flanger set subtly? I am very inspired buy your music and appreciate
    > your musicianship! Thanks, Parker
  7. Hoover

    Hoover Banned

    Nov 2, 2007
    New York City
    Ha! I knew it! Was gonna say, the bass solo on "The Purple Lagoon" (from Live In New York circa 1976 or '77) sounds exactly like an H910.

    When I saw O'Hearn playing with Zappa in '78 he was playing a Stingray.
  8. David Vector

    David Vector Supporting Member

    Jun 4, 2006
    I have to admit I'm more familiar with Mr. O'Hearn's solo albums than with his Zappa years, but he's always been my favorite fretless player. Even when he did session work like Richard Marx's "Hold on to the Nights," it was hard to mistake his distinctive fretless style. Heck, even when Patrick took on doing the music for the final season of the Falcon Crest nighttime soap, I suspected it was him even before I saw his name in the end credits (What can I say? My parents always watched that show, LOL.) I've thought a time or two that it would be cool to email him, but I could never really think of an interesting question to ask. From his response to the question about his bass effects, he sounds like a very gracious fellow.
  9. BassLife77


    Nov 13, 2009
    San Diego
    just watched Baby Snakes and I was wondering why he had gray duct tape around the bridges on both basses. It looked like the tape was holding down something. great musician, one of my favorite bassists. any bass player that can play a blank fretless neck that fast in tune rules in my book :cool:
  10. You know I just asked him about that!


    You have no doubt have answered this a zillion times, but I have not heard. Your fretless P bass with Zappa, under the strings, by the bridge. Ramp or muting device or?

    I thank you for your time.


    Hi Phil,

    A device I fashioned to make playing bass guitar feel a bit closer to upright, which I was more accustom to at that time . (right hand pizz off the fingerboard) I eventually removed it as was no longer needed for feel. Also moved to playing closer to neck and fingerboard anyway. -- fuller, rich and darker tone for me.

    Best regards,

    So, what the kids refer to as a ramp I believe. like the Gary Willis thing. As always, you were ahead of your time. Still are :p
    And a big THANK YOU MAN for answering back.

    Do you mind if I tell TALKBASS.COM community about this, or is it our little secret ? :p

    Peace and love

    Thanks Phil. --and certainly feel free to mention.


    There you go! :hyper:
  11. PBrown

    PBrown Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2009
    Billings, MT
    I talked to him after a John Hiatt show for a few minutes and he said that he does Skype Lessons, if anyone is interested.
  12. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    I really like O'Hearn's tone on some of the Missing Person's albums, like Rhyme & Reason.

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