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pro signal chain

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by pfschim, Dec 6, 2011.


  1. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    I am looking for some input and discussion about professional quality signal chains, possibly effects too.

    I am asking because I just heard the track Chevrolet by Robben Ford and the Blue Line with Roscoe Beck on bass and was struck by the bass tone.

    I know that the tone in this tune is most likely a "studio sound", but I am interested in how to achieve tone quality like it.

    I have been playing for years (30+) and much of that in a pro or semi-pro setting. I have worked on, and am happy with, my live tone as well as my recorded tone over the years. I typically do not run much in the way of signal modification ..currently its just my bass (Lull MV4) into a Octostomp (modest compression level) and into a Walkabout 12 with the EQ pretty flat and the gain at 12:30 (warm but not buzzing).

    I seek a clean/warm/fat tone. Roscoe's tone on this particular cut is perhaps slightly tube driven (past simple tube compression) but not grindy at all. Just a fat, warm, articulate tone.

    so, anyone care to offer constructive views on how some of the basically clean/warm playing pro's achieve their tone ?

    (and, please, I DO get that it has a lot to do with their hands and playing styles)

    thanks
     
  2. Phagor

    Phagor

    Mar 26, 2002
    London, UK
    Just had a listen - great track. But you will need a double bass :)
     
  3. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    ha, well I know that Roscoe plays URB too, but I did not know that it was URB on this track.

    Still, my question still applies to many other players, the Chevrolet track was just one that prompted me to ask.

    So maybe I should offer further clarification.

    Aside from major changes in sound/tone, like phase shifter, chorus, reverb, heavy OD or distortion, and envelop filters, what are the pro's using in their signal chains to get big, fat, clean but warm tone ?
     
  4. Phagor

    Phagor

    Mar 26, 2002
    London, UK
    I don't know what Roscoe uses, but it might just be a question of the right amp. Maybe he plugs straight into an SVT and keeps the tone clean.

    You might want to look into a preamp or eq pedal like the Sadowsky preamp or the Yamaha Nathan East NE1 to fatten up your tone.

    I use the Tech 21 VT bass pedal for this sort of thing - you can keep the tone mostly clean but boost the low end.

    I would also recommend trying a second speaker - an extension or another amp. Not for additional volume, although that is nice :bassist: but it always gives me a deeper fatter tone than one speaker alone.

    Edit: just checked Roscoe Beck's website (Producer/Bassist Roscoe Beck - Gear) He endorses Fender amps and basses. Has the Sadowsky preamp.

    He uses a DBX 166 which is a really nice compressor for bass - another thing to try.
     
  5. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    for Roscoe's specific gear, he does list that on his web site.

    He uses the Fender Roscoe Beck jazz basses (4's and 5's) which have dual humbucking p/u's and in/out phase switch (somewhat like a strat I guess), and lists the outboard effects he uses (quite a few it seems).

    While I do like Roscoe's tone very much, I do not want this thread to be exclusively about Roscoe's tone. Other "clean/fat/warm" tone player that come to mind are Chuck Rainey, Ralphe Armstrong, Tim Smith (for Cheryl Crow), Will Lee, James Genus (SNL) and I'm sure there are tons more.

    I do get what you are saying about adding another cab for "bigness" of sound. I have played much larger rigs over the years and understand that more speakers will often give much more impact on volume than more watts. OTOH, I do not really need a huge rig for the gigs I currently have. When I do need more than the WA provides, I usually have FOH support.

    This is really about how some of the "clean/fat/warm" tone players are getting those sounds. For simplicities sake, I have not typically used effects very much over the years, a compressor currently, and long ago I used a Big Muff ...can you say Vintage ! :D Having done a reasonable amount of recording work, I also understand that a recorded, or studio, sound is not always simple to re-create in a live setting. I'm really just interested in ways I could work on my tone to get into the range of some the players I mentioned, and I am aware from reading their gear pages that they do use different processing options in their signal chain.

    So, lets keep talking about how to get this kind of tone.
     
  6. RickenBoogie

    RickenBoogie

    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    I feel like my tone is similar, and I play a Walkabout as well. (seen you in the WA megathread many times- howdy) There are numerous ways of acheiving varying levels of that greatness. I use a tube compressor, set for a very light level, (2:1, 3:1ish) with threshold, attack and release all set moderately as well, and that signal goes through a Barber Linden EQ pedal, pushing the low eq pretty deep, then on from there. My basses, those 2 pedals, and the walkabout are what makes my tone. I think you'd do well to look at a nice compressor, not to squish so much, but more as a tone generator. The Linden is awesome as well.
     
  7. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    Hey RB, good to hear from you.

    Compression is about all I use outside of the WA controls and Gain setting. I have moved the Gain on the WA (which is a control that has a big impact on the sound of this amp) between 9-10am for clean clean clean, to 12:30-1pm. This makes a big difference as you get some very nice tube compression, and slight break-up, without distortion. As a WA user, I'm sure you know this too.

    I have tried the VT pedal in the past, but found it did not give me a great deal more than the WA already provides. I have also used the EBS Multicomp instead of the BBE Octo, but in a long term A/B effort, I found I liked the sound of the BBE over the EBS.

    As I look into this signal chain question more, I see that a number of the players whose tone I admire use preamps before the main amp. I have wondered about this because it already seems as if I am hitting my WA with plenty of signal, and the tone control/para EQ section of the WA is very capable.

    You say that you use the Barber Linden EQ to "push the lows pretty deep". Given the existing bassy qualities of the WA, how does this effect the rest of your tone set-up.

    BTW, I am actually very happy with my current tone, just doing some slow season thinking about how I might reconsider it a bit.

    thanks for posting
     

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