Roundabout tone

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by Thurisarz, May 1, 2005.

  1. Thurisarz


    Aug 20, 2004
    I have always wondered about chris tone on that track, has he done anything to his bass or does the stock rickenbacker sound like that?
  2. johnvice


    Sep 7, 2004
    I love the Chris Squire tone! This applies to his tone in general, not specifically to Roundabout
    1. You need a pick to get that sound. Chris has been known to use an American quarter but a thick plastic pick will suffice. (“Roundabout” is not “bass picking for beginners” song)
    2. EQ wise, I emulate his sound with a boost at 800 Hz boost and a slight boost at 1.3 kHz to get that “metallic” characteristic and a parametric shallow-q scoop at 2khz.
    3. Slight distortion
    4. Part of “that sound” is bi-amping. This was also part of the sound of : John Entwistle, Billy Sheehan, and Doug Pinnick.
    5. The bass was accidentally too loud in the mix, so if your playing it live, crank it :)
  3. I would also put part of that sound in the strings. At the time I think the Rotosounds were pretty much IT for the Brits in roundwounds and they do have a characteristic tone. Combine that with the Ric's unmistakable clank and you've got Squire.

    Bi-amping was also used by one of my fave bassists, Andy West of the Dixe Dregs. His rig inspired my rig and I do it too - only 30 years to late :rolleyes:
  4. johnvice


    Sep 7, 2004
    I ALMOST said this. Hamy is right that Chris has always used Rotosounds.

    It's pretty hard to put on new set of round wounds by any manufacturer and not have the Chris Squire sound.

    I would guess he uses a fresh set of strings for every song and probbaly chnages them every few days while touring.
  5. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    I'm not a pick player and I'm not interested on developing big pick skills, but when my band played "Roundabout" I decided to use it because it's a key part of the bass tone in the song, and I must say that it's not that difficult. Of course it's not a beginner song, but to me it's the next step after playing AC/DC-style songs with a pick, because the only thing you must learn and practice carefully is the main riff, which is repeated lots of times during the tune. The other sections are pretty easy. The only really difficult parts to me were the 16th note runs at 6:16 and 6:42. Keeping that upstroke-downstroke steady and clear is still a nightmare to me.

    My point is, this song can have difficult parts, but they're not so many. You can focus on them while practicing and you'll get the whole tune in no time. I wanted to (try to) emulate Pat Badger's wonderful pick tone (I love it!) when we played Extreme's "Cupid's Dead", but I played it fingerstyle because there are so many things to learn in this song that can keep you busy for a long time if you're not a pick player (as in my case).
  6. Thurisarz


    Aug 20, 2004
    Sorry for my low knowledge on the topic but, what is bi-amping?

    Is the distortion guitar or bass distortion? Did he use a pedal or his amp to achive his sound? What does you use/recommend to get close to it?

    I play with flats, is there a way to get close to the sound or is the sound in the roundwounds?
  7. Blazer


    Nov 27, 2003
    The Netherlands
    Rogue luthier employed at Knooren Handcrafted bass guitars
    Bi Amping is having your bass amplified through two amps one for highs and the other for lows. In Cris Squire's case, he amped his Rickenbacker through Two Marshall amps, one clean, the other overdriven which resulted in that roar he is known for.

    I can really recommend you all to check out the live version where you truly can hear that Container-ship-ramming-the-rocks-at-full-speed bass sound Squire is known for.
  8. johnvice


    Sep 7, 2004
    I tried a simple bi-amped rig for a while where I borrowed a guitar 50w combo amp and used a 'y' chord to spliut the signal. I turned the bass to zero on the guiitar amp and the treble to zero on the bass amp. It gave a really cool and unqiue sound!

    I get the effect now with a distrtion pedal that only distorts the upper frequencies and leaves the bottom clean. It's not as good but I don't play ina Yes clone band so I don't need to bi-amp

    A big part of that sound is the rounds. Rototsound make a good flat wound, very bright sounding.
  9. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I have been playing with the idea of building a pedal like that. What pedal do you use?

    I think for a first shot I will just use a high pass filter to a distortion, blended with the dry input. But I would be interested in knowing if the clean bottom was passed through a low pass filter.
  10. On the main riff, pick by the bridge! :)
    Under the 'In and around the lake...' bit pick up by the neck for a looser tone.
    That's how Mr Squire do it. :bassist:
  11. Another part of the tone was obtained by Squire doubling the part on one of Steve Howe's semi-acoustic Gibsons. It wasn't plugged in, but miked acoustically.
  12. Thurisarz


    Aug 20, 2004
    Does he use both the neck and bridge pickups on this song?

    Some recommendations on Yes DVD's to check out? :)
  13. Oddly enough, The Yes Symphonic DVD sounds fantastic. The bass sound and sound of the band in general is excellent.
  14. johnvice


    Sep 7, 2004
    A BOSS ME-50b set for "high band" for the distortion and most of the EQing. (I use a Yamaha NE-1 for the mid-range scoop.)
  15. Thurisarz


    Aug 20, 2004
    The mids are scooped?
  16. I dont know if this is true or not but ive heard this rumor about his sound. Supposedly during the sixties he covered his white Ric in wallpaper for the flower power look . Well then he wanted it off so he went to this guy who shaved the wood and wall paper down and it made the body thinner and gave it a different sound. Thats just what I heard.
  17. Prahainspring


    Oct 22, 2002
    New Jersey
    I read that in some interview. I think he was quoted saying something along the lines of some Asian luthier saying, "It no good, I shave off" and they got rid of that layer of wallpaper-flowers (along with some bass with it).
  18. zombywoof5050


    Dec 20, 2001
    He also had some off-the-wall brand stereo effect pedal that he used to use a lot which gave a sound like rotating speakers or something. I don't know if he used this on "Roundabout" but I wanted to mention it since no one else did.

    As far as the shaving of wood off his bass, I've heard that it's been shaved down several times and is missing a lot of the original wood.

    For a DVD recommendation, "Keys To Ascension" is my all-time-favorite YES DVD. Of course I'd recommend them all, but if I could only own one it would be 'Keys'. The bass is very prominent in the mix, Squire's performance is 'spot on', and Wakeman's on keyboards (which IMO makes takes it a cut above 'Symphonic').
  19. iamthebassman


    Feb 24, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    As stated above, the bass part on "Roundabout" is doubled on archtop acoustic guitar. Chris's fuzz is an old Maestro Bass Brassmaster which has a wet/dry blend control. Very important on a bass fuzz/distortion unit. The DOD Bass Overdrive works well.
    Here's my 4001CS:
  20. johnvice


    Sep 7, 2004
    As part of my emulation of the Chris Squire sound, I do a shallow-Q scoop at 2 khz .