1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Robert "Kool" Bell's OLD setup?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Hofbrauhaus, Apr 15, 2004.

  1. Hofbrauhaus


    Feb 10, 2002
    Upton, MA
    Ok...this has been bugging me. Robert "Kool" Bell has a tone that just makes me...well...you know! :p I know he currently uses a Zon Sonus and Rotosound strings with more modern sounding amps such as Eden and SWR...but it's to my knowledge that he didn't use this equipment back in the 70s because wasn't the Sonus only introduced a little over a decade ago? The Zon website introduces the Sonus as the jazz bass of the 1990's, which supports my belief. Anyways..."Take My Heart" is a good track to listen to because I feel it allows his tone to stand out very well (although he stands out in all the tracks). To my ears his tone sounds a little thick for a jazz bass, so I'm guessing possibly a p-bass through what sounds like an Ampeg since he gets some good grunt. Yet his slap tone sounds like my Stingray5 with the switch in the series position. Any opinions out there? I'd love to add this sound to my arsenal somehow! :bawl:
  2. I saw footage of them doing "jungle boogie" and Bell was playing a P-bass, IIRC a maple neck one.
  3. I saw Kool and the Gang live around 1976. At that time he was using a P-Bass. I think that everytime I saw him on TV back in the day, he had a P-Bass. I never saw an amp though. :confused:
  4. I think back in the day he even slapped on a P bass but it was proberbly a 70's p bass with an ash body, maple neck and hot pick ups and the treble up on the amp. Alot of people don't agree (I know! alot will agree) BUT you can get a really decent slap tone out of a P bass...but you (in my opinion) rely on the amp a bit more than with alot basses...

    but yeah, that mother funker is a P bass groover!
  5. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    I saw kool and the gang around 1969 when they recorded their first record (and a bunch of times after that). They were dressed in dungerees and sneakers and in their late teens early 20's. kool was using a sunburst/rosewood p-bass. He used this bass into the 70's on most of his hits if not all. And btw he was using a Kustom 200 bass amp in the late 60's. If anyone has the "live at the sexmachine album" I think you can see his amp on the album. cover. And to my knowledge Kool never slapped! That just was not his style.
  6. Hofbrauhaus


    Feb 10, 2002
    Upton, MA
    Thanks guys! I thought it was a p-bass but I really couldn't tell...needed someone to confirm my beliefs! Now it also makes sense to me that it was a p-bass because like I said in my previous post...my Stingray5 on the series setting sounds much like the slap tone...and the series setting is supposed to be the Stingray5's immitation of a p-bass sound....ahhh it's all falling into place! Ok...I just purchased a Warwick Streamer LX5 and now I'm thinking I really should have gone for the vintage p-bass. doh!!!
  7. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...I'm pretty sure most of the time I've seen him('80s magazines, '80s TV, etc)-
    Bell was playing an Alembic.
    At least that what it looked like to me.
    (The old stuff on the records, "Jungle Boogie", "Hollywood Swinging", "Funky Stuff", etc sounds like a P-bass).

  8. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    Every tape I have of a Kool & The Gang Performance shows him using a birdseye maple Alembic Series I with a flat bottom (no point, no omega). In one I can even see a twin on a guitar stand just off stage.

    Somewhere in the late '90s he switched to a Modulus. As noted in the above posts, he's currently using Zon.

    I don't doubt that he has used a P-bass at some point in time. I'm just guessing it was before the Alembic.


  9. Kool did switch to Alembic in the 1980's. I remember him saying so in an article in Musician magazine. I guess that like everybody else, he has gotten into boutique basses over the years.
  10. there was a pic in a Bassist style analysis piece with him playing a white Steinberger XL - I guess he likes graphite necks now.
  11. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    In the late 60's there wasn't alot to choose from as far as basses were concerned. fenders, Gibsons, Ricks and then the garbage veriety (sp) stuff like Sekova, teisco, Univox and a host of other da dint da dint basses. Boutique basses came a little later after Fender's quality started to suffer and Gibson basses got to muddy for the time. Rick although great basses were a hard sell at the time. all those basses (boutique) named above came after the late 60's. Kool and the gang started out as a neighborhood jazzband called the jazzy-acts, they started playing funk at the start of the psychedelic era like all other funkbands. In the NYC area in which Kool & the gang are from (Jersey city) 90 to 95% of bass players used p-basses. I don't ever remember seeing a maple neck/rosewood p-bass in the late 60's. Kool used a sunburst/rosewood P, the one that sold for $219.00 new w/case back then!