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Paul McCartney fuzz tone

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by fesem, Feb 22, 2005.

  1. fesem


    Nov 11, 2004
    Blacksburg, VA
    I'm playing a lot of Bealtes in a new band. I've never used effects in the past but want to get that fuzz tone used especially, it seems, on Abbey Road. I did a search and there was some earlier discussion about this and how Paul's efffects were custom made by Vox. Nice to know but I want to know if there is a box I can buy that would at least put me in the ball park of that sound. No big music stores where I live so I can't go and try some so any help would be greatly appreiciated. Will Lee are you reading this? Thanks.
  2. SubversivePinko

    SubversivePinko No use for an ironic title

    Feb 19, 2005
    Bellingam, WA
    It partially depends on how much you're willing to spend. I'm guessing a vintage Vox Tonebender fuzz off of eBay would get you the closest, but it'll probably run you around $200. Between $200 and $100, you have a lot of options from boutique pedal builders, who put out some really great products. For under $75, you can pick up a Guyatone "the Fuzz" and for under $40 you can pick up a Danelectro French Toast. There are billions of different fuzz pedals, and most of them with a bit of tweaking will get you in the ballpark.
  3. fesem


    Nov 11, 2004
    Blacksburg, VA
    Thanks, that is just what I was looking for. Of course other opinions welcome. Steve
  4. i would use the new electro harmonix English Muff'n, its a little expensive but it has two tubes on it so its worth, i also heard that the overdrive from Sir Paul on Drive my Car comes from a marhsall guitar amp, u kow he used to experiment
  5. Jimbo


    Dec 4, 2000
    Philadelphia, PA
    i just got a frantone lo-tone classic fuzz. i read in a harmony central review a suggestion to roll back the tone knob to get sir paul-ish type fuzz tone. i tried it out and yes sir it does with plenty of great low end in tact.


    ps-i also recomend this pedal to anyone looking for a good fuzz
  6. +1 for the lo-tone. great pedal, and it can get pretty beatles-ish. with my violin bass, and flatwounds, it sounds great.
  7. MAGUS®


    Dec 23, 2004
    Find out what he used on Paperback Writer, how he got THAT tone, as without a doubt, not only is it one of the top basslines ever, its a tone from heaven
  8. teleharmonium


    Dec 2, 2003
    The evidence points to George playing the Burns short scale bass guitar on "paperback writer" while Paul played guitar (and of course sang).
    The Beatles were definitely using the built in fuzz on their 7 series amps and solid state Conqueror/Defiant amps by Vox around that time (of course, they could have used other stuff too). These weren't custom made but the 7 series amps are rare. (There were some custom made 7200 amps that they apparently never got a chance to use before they were lost.) Anyway, the built in fuzz is apparently like an old germanium Tone Bender. I own a 7 series amp with built in fuzz, a 730, but I have not yet heard the effect because I don't yet have the right kind of footswitch and the amp should probably be serviced first anyway (but I'm pretty sure it will rock).

    The lads also are pictured with an old WEM fuzz pedal in the sessions for that song and "Rain".

    I would not recommend buying any old Tone Bender, because most of them sound crappy and are way overpriced. I would suggest a Fulltone Soulbender, or other high quality repro of the 3 knob circuit, preferably with vintage transistors, if you want to explore that tone, however all of these pedals will cut the deep lows and none of them can give you the speaker distortion that is a part of the sound you are talking about. Maybe somebody makes a 'bender with no low end roll off - which would probably give it more of a 70s tone - this could work well in front of an amp that is distorting somewhat on its' own.
  9. eqvolvorama

    eqvolvorama Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2000
    Arlington, Virginia
    I've heard (and have documented at a book at home somewhere) that the Paperback Writer tone was actually one of the first examples of Direct-Injection bass recording. Though I haven't heard the theory that George played the part, I think it definitely sounds like Paul's style of playing.

    According to the story, EMI's engineer Geoff Emerick was actually disciplined by the studio after the recording for mismatching impedances while tracking Paul's bass part.
  10. iamthebassman


    Feb 24, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    George did indeed play a Burns bass on Paperback Writer..on a demo. The version we are all familiar with is Paul, one of the first recordings with his new Ric bass. It was recorded in an unusual way. A bass speaker was placed in front of his amp's speaker and was wired to the input of the desk. This was done because John was bummed about the lack of bass on Beatles records compared to Motown sides of the same era.
  11. si_fi


    May 4, 2005
    London, England
    i used to play through a vox tonebender fuzz pedal that i borrowed off of a guitar playing friend for good few years (without either of us realising it's true value), unfortunately he's now playing a bit of bass, and uses it himself to give him that looooovely bass fuzz. however in my search for a replacement fuzz i found this:
    Bass Fuzz
    this is almost spot on in getting the same vibe as the vox fuzztone, and considerably cheaper than the real deal...definately worth checking out...... i guess you could always replace the valve with a vox valve if you wanted as well(...they have some more fuzz and distortion pedals if you lok at their other items).
    thought it might be of use...will try and get some sound clips if you need me toand if i can manage to ghet my hands on some recording gear... the only other time i've found anything close to the vox tonebender was playing through a handmade bass combo with a 10'' speaker and driving it as much as possible.
    take care

  12. MAGUS®


    Dec 23, 2004
    Wow - even at my ripe age i still live and learn.

    Burns / Rick ... whatever, but what a bassline. Top stuff
  13. Mike McGibney

    Mike McGibney Not impossible ... Inevitable

    Apr 13, 2005
    Essex, UK.
    Fasem - Why the reference to Will Lee? Has he some connection with that tone, or Beatles music or something? I'm a casual fan of his, but didn't quite understand what you meant there!

    Good luck in getting that tone! I'm a big fan of Macca - seeing him at Live8 very soon!


  14. iamthebassman


    Feb 24, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    I assume because Will Lee is in a Beatles cover band, but perhaps I should let Fasem answer.
  15. Mike McGibney

    Mike McGibney Not impossible ... Inevitable

    Apr 13, 2005
    Essex, UK.
    So he does! The Fab Faux! Cheers, bassman!
  16. The truth:

    1) Macca played rickenbacker bass miked up with a speaker on Paperback Writer

    2) Macca used a Arbiter Fuzz Face on Abbrey rd.