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sledgehammer.... HOW???

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by poomwah, Oct 16, 2011.

  1. poomwah


    Jan 26, 2008
    I'm listening to Peter Gabriel's sledgehammer.
    I'm so digging the tone of the bass. I read that Tony Levin uses a lot of compression on that, and thats how he gets that tone. I've heard others say that he uses a fretless.
    If he uses a fretless, I'm screwed. So, I ask you, the experts, what is the cheapest way I can get even close to that sound?
    only "effect" I have right now is a vt bass deluxe
  2. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    I've tried to copy the sound, the closest I could get was a synth effect off my Zoom B2.
    Sounded OK on a bar gig with horns playing also.
  3. Fretless, mostly bridge pickup, octave pedal. There is no "cheap" way to do it. You either have the gear or you don't have the tone. You absolutely need the octaver. The fretless you could skip over but you won't get those schweet slides or the mwah.
  4. kevteop


    Feb 12, 2008
    York, UK
    Yeah fretless, very trebly signal from the bass and the octaver will fill in the bottom, and play it with a pick.
  5. poomwah


    Jan 26, 2008
    thanks guys. and to think, I just added ANOTHER fretted bass to the stable two days ago , lol
  6. slopeshoulder


    Nov 1, 2009
    did he use the "funk fingers"?
  7. rob_thebassman


    Jul 26, 2010
    Normanton, UK
    playing bass since 2005
    i can hear abit of chorus too
  8. winterburn69


    Jan 27, 2008
    Okay, so to review, we all know Tony Levin used a fretless Music Man Sabre (which he calls a Cutlass :S), a Boss OC-2, compression and a pick.

    My only question is the tuning. I've heard some say the E string is tuned Eb? Any truth to that? I've played it both ways, and I'm still not sure which sounds more correct. Thanks guys.
  9. I used to play the song with one of my bands, listened to it many times and am very sure it's not the low Eb (meaning the open E tuned down half step).
    Strange thing, I've always played it on my 5 string using the low Eb, no octaver, but heavy compression and sometimes a tad chorus - didn't really sound authentic, but pretty good nonetheless.
  10. Jools4001

    Jools4001 Supporting Member

    + 1 to the first paragraph.

    Don't think the E string is downtuned, or should I say, more accurately, that I don't bother with downtuning and it sounds good to my ears
  11. ChrisHooker


    Jul 29, 2012
    Maryville, TN
    The low note that starts the verse riff is indeed an E[sup]b[/sup]. If you want to play that on a B-string at 4th position instead of an open (downtuned) E-string, you can, but you'll be doing extra stretching and have to move more quickly.

    The patterns of the other riffs/fills also fall in line with a down-tuned E-string (think "boxes" on the fingerboard), so in all, it makes it easier for me to play with the dropped E[sup]b[/sup].

    My biggest hang up on this song is that there are a few fills scattered between Verse1, the whole second half of the preChorus, and more fills in Verses 2 & 3 that REALLY sound to me like they are played on a B-string, NOT the octave up and harmonized with an octave lower, as the rest of the song sounds like it is to me. I've never seen Levin play it live, but YouTube shows him only on 4-stringers, and I don't hear the harmonizing octave throughout, but still hear the lower notes in the same spots, as if the octaver pedal were only used there and at full wet mix, though I can't see him switching any pedals, either. (Though I guess a tech guy could be doing it.)
  12. avvie


    Oct 12, 2010
    Maui, HI
    Levin uses a Chapman Stick for the funk/slap bit after the first verse.

    Just wanted to throw that in for whatever it's worth.

    EDIT: error: i was thinking of "Big Time", not "Sledgehammer".
  13. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    Were those even around back then? I don't remember ever seeing one until the mid 90's.
  14. Dark Barn

    Dark Barn Supporting Member

    Aug 3, 2010
    I think Tony Levin was using the Stick dating back to when he joined King Crimson in the 80's.
  15. winterburn69


    Jan 27, 2008
    Oh. Hmmm. Well another point to note is that for the last several Peter Gabriel tours, Tony always has a "Sledge" bass in addition to his regular 5-string fretless bass. For the tours including and before the 2009 South American tour, he had a black Sabre, for the So tour from earlier this autumn, he had a custom finished Stingray and Sabre, perhaps tuned EbADG. Or maybe he just doesn't like using a 5-string for a song where only 4 are needed.*

    As for a tech guy switching his pedals on & off, he only uses foot pedals, no rack effects. Yeah, the fills are über tricky, the only thing to do is practice, listen to it lots and watch Tony play it to get better.*I've seen a videos from the '80s where Tony had a stick.*
  16. winterburn69


    Jan 27, 2008
    Very nice pics of his various pedalboards, however only one was for Peter Gabriel (the first one, the 2012 So tour).*Second pic was from a solo tour where he used one board for Stick and one for bass IIRC.*Never seen the third pic before. Anyone know what the red pedal is?*Fourth pic is from his solo 2006 Italian tour.*Fifth pic was from some sort of 2009 tour.*The sixth pic was for his 2010 New Zealand tour with the California guitar trio and used with both Stick and bass.

    Anyone with alot of free time could probably sift through the hundreds of pics on papabear.com, usually the best pics of his gear from come the man himself. Yeah, I've never seen him use a Stick on Sledgehammer either.
  17. avvie


    Oct 12, 2010
    Maui, HI
    And yet.... it happened. And it's also really obvious that the part was a punch-in. A pretty unmistakeable sound.

    OH DANGNABBIT!!! I was thinking of "Big Time". My bad. :meh:
  18. winterburn69


    Jan 27, 2008
    Ahhh. No. Big Time wasn't a Stick either. That was recorded with Tony fretting the bass Jerry hitting the strings with his drumsticks... I believe that's a fairly well known thing (at least in my head).