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Red Mitchell and the Fishman Pickup

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by JAS, Mar 19, 2006.


  1. JAS

    JAS

    Jul 3, 2001
    California
    Once Red switched to the fifths tuning he used a combination of different pickups including a magnetic pickup to achieve the sound he was hearing. Towards the end of his life though he ditched all of that and switched to the Fishman pickup that no one else seems to like. I have a couple pictures of him playing with that pickup and a little GK amp. Quite a change from all those pickups and mixer and big 15inch aplifier he was using.

    Does anyone know why he did this and why he liked the Fishman? Does anyone else here still like that original Fishman.
     
  2. In 1990 I took part in a clinic lead by Red Mitchell where he was also talking about the BP-100. He said it's the only pickup which reproduces the high frequencies of the bass. He was playing through GK MB combo and sounded very naturaly - at decent volume.
     
  3. Are you sure Red used the same pick-up combinations on all three of his basses? The Kloz, The Claudot and the lions head Lowendall (Lowethal?)
     
  4. Roger Mouton

    Roger Mouton Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2003
    Southern California
    Red's comments in the Fishman p/u ads went something like: "I've tried them all and this is the one......." IMHO, no p/u is EVER the one. Red did a lot of unusual things, like putting little butons (studs) on the neck of his bass for feel of the differtent postions after he went to 5ths tuning. He made no bones about it. Someone at L.A. BASS '88 busted him for it and he didnt apologize. And his basses were so important an element in his music.
     
  5. I play in a quartet with a guy named Jim(James) Mooney who owned a recording studio in "Hollyweird" for 30 plus years called Sage and Sound. He recorded Red along with hundreds of other great bassist's. Jim told me that Red was a little quirky, but a great player, and was the one of the most melodic bassists he worked with. He told me a story about Red showing up with two large speaker cabinets for a recording sessions and Jim said "No way" your not these on the recording date! After a few sound takes, Jim convinced him to use the Neumann.
     
  6. JAS

    JAS

    Jul 3, 2001
    California
    Well,
    I think I might go and pick one of these old things up. I am using the Revolution Solo on my carved bass and it sounds great at softer to medium volumes - but doesn't cut through with a larger loud band - at least in some rooms. I need something that is easilly removable on that bass, so if Red liked it - I may as well try it out.

    By the way it is funny "hotdbass" mentioned the Neumann mic becuase I just recorded with one of those last night for the first time and it sounded so good. It is an old tube mic. Def. the best recorded sound I have had - to my ears at least.
     
  7. Yeah, John Donnelly, who bought Reds Claudot, posted a picture of that bass. There was just one metal stud on the back of the neck though. If you do a search under Johns name, it might come up.
    I'll try it and let you know.
    Roger, being the Red fan I am, I couldn't let this go...I did a search under John Donnely's name and a thread from a couple years back came up. Our own Lex Luthier, Jeff Bollbach posted a bunch of pics of the bass with two brass studs on the back, not one. There are several shots of the Claudot, coutesy of John Donnelly, but URLs are missing. I dropped Jeff a PM to see if we can get them up again.

    Even without the pictures, that thread is great fun. Any Red freak will enjoy it. It includes an Email from Reds wife Diane to John Donnelly. Just search John Donnelly and the thread name is Red Mitchells bass.
     
  8. pat.p

    pat.p

    Nov 20, 2004
    Poland, Poznań
    Does anyone know why he did this and why he liked the Fishman? Does anyone else here still like that original Fishman.[/QUOTE]

    Hi.
    I had very interesting experience with BP-100. Once I had to play gig with my second bass- small, 5-year old instrument with gut strings (Bernd Kuerschner), made by luthier. I use it in baroque ensemble and have no pickup installed. Having no choice, I played the gig with this bass and old BP-100 (plug directly into little GK combo)- and it was fantastic! The best sound I've ever had under my fingers. Yes, I like Fishman BP-100, although have also Realist and Stat-B.
    Regards
    Pat
     
  9. I use to use an Underwood going into the low channel on my Polytone 12" and the Fishman going into the high output...it was somethng I copped from Red as usual, from looking at an album cover picture. I felt I needed it to get a good blend on my five string Bohmann bass. Red, at that time was blending the Fishman with the magnetic pick up that some Swedish cat made for him.
    The only reason I could come up with is that the Klotz needed some highs that the Fishman provided.
    I don't know exactly how the other two axes were set up....anybody else? As we all know, every bass needs a little something to help it along. I'm assuming Red liked the long tone that the magnetic provided. His sound was, to me, the longest sound in the DB world.
    Again, until Jeff gets my PM about the other "Red Mitchell Basses" Do the search by using the name John Donnelly.
     
  10. Roger Mouton

    Roger Mouton Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2003
    Southern California
    Thanks to all for the replies. Whatever Red did was certainly OK with me. He was an amazing man and, of course, a great player. I had a date to see him at Bradley's one year. A friend who photograpahed him for some P.R. stuff had set-up a table for us right up front. My plane was fogged in at an airport somewhere and I missed the entire evening. Several months later, probably 6 months at least, I went back to NYC and finally got to see Red at Bradleys. He sat at our table during a break and he remembered the fog incident. I was blown away. He had never met me before that night.

    Fishman p/u's aside (I don't like mine, I play an Underwood) I'm so surprised that no one has chimed in on my recently posted question about Yamahiko pick-ups. Anyone??
     
  11. JAS

    JAS

    Jul 3, 2001
    California
    Well, I just ordered the BP-100 to check out. I figure at the very least, it is super easy to put on and take off. And if I ever need to use a bass that doesn't belong to me with no pickup, I can just throw this on it.

    The Revolution Solo sounds so good at low and medium volumes, but just didn't cut through at a louder gig I played on Saturday. I was really upset because it has such a nice sound.
     
  12. I am always using Don Underwood pu, when the cut through the mix is needed...
     
  13. This is so typical of Red. All our long-time TBDBers are saying:
    "There goes Warmbaton off on Red again"
    When I graduated from High School at about 16, I had saved up some bread to treat myself to something nice. I decided it would be to take my first plane trip out to L.A. to hear Red. This was in 1959. Bud Shank had just played a date in Denver, so I asked if he thought it would be cool to contact Red and he said sure, so I contacted the L.A. Musicians union and got his phone #. His wife at the time, Rosey answered and said in so many words "
    Yes, come on out, he's playing at a club called Sherry's that night. So I got up my nerve and went out.
    At this time he was using a fiver, on his way to the time when he would get to the fifth tuning era. He was also playing jazz cello als O.P. So was I. He asked me to play, so he would play piano and I would play bass or I woul play cello and he would play bass...or any combination thereof. What a night!! It took me a minute to get used to that fifth string.
    Point is, he treated me like an old friend because he had to have known I was scared ****less!
    The big thing I learned from Red and to this day is the importance off playing music for the pure beauty and communication rather than that old devil the ego.
    I've actually patterned not only my playing but my life in general after this cat.....He'll always be my hero!
     
  14. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    a few pics of the Claudot

    another

    one more

    Last. Sorry no close up of the brass pin in the neck. I think on one of the shots you can just make it out.
     

    Attached Files:

  15. bribass

    bribass

    Jan 25, 2006
    Northern NJ
    Endorsing Artist; Arnold Schnitzer/ Wil DeSola New Standard RN DB
    I've used a BP-100 on my German bass for almost 20 years. Every bass is different. On that bass is just sonds great especially when blended w/ a Realist. Started blending them w/ a Raven Labs about seven years ago.
    The Realist alone sounds great for soft to medium volume gigs, but for loud ones nothing seems to get the robustness of that bass' E string than the ol' BP-100. However, on my Juzek ply AND on my prized Prescott the BP-100 sounds terrible?! All pingy and high end. On the Prescott I use the Realist alone and on the Ply I use a Bass Max. I take the BP-100 and the Bass Max w/ me on out of town gigs when renting a bass. The Fishman is really EZ on and off and sounds good on most instruments especially after you tame some of the high end and maybe mids w/ EQ. On some bridges it's best to clip the elements to the underside (the side of the bridge that faces the tailpiece) because there is a flatter surface on that side and the disks make better contact. When playing all acoustic I always take the BP-100 off because there is the drawback of the muting of the bridge thing w/ the clips of this pup. Again this seems to adversly affect some basses worse than others. Ya just never know 'til ya try. For Arco in general the Fishman is not so great. The Realist is far better for bowing.

    Just IMHO,

    BG
     
  16. It's a special thing in our DB community when you need to ask a colleague for a favor...it's just done!
    I know this is OT, but do you remember the mensure on that mother Jeff? I know it's a big one. Is that Reds stool?
    Thanks again man!
     
  17. Since they are both mounted on the bridge wings, this would be next to impossible, but i'm very curious how mixing the Underwood and the Revolution Solo together would sound.
     
  18. JAS

    JAS

    Jul 3, 2001
    California
    So, I have been messing around with the Fishman an I have come to this setup -

    I have only the E string side clip on in between the E and A and the other clip is just hanging (not cliped on). This actually sounds pretty good and natural. I am even getting a pretty decent sound with the bow.

    With both clips on, it is very trebley and hard to manage, but with the E string clip on only, I am getting a pretty natural sound. Has anyone else tried this before?