Steely Dan Bassist - what gear

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by Big String, Jul 10, 2003.

  1. Big String

    Big String Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2000
    Northwest Indiana
    I've been listening to a lot of older Steely Dan these days and just love the sound the Bass Player, I think Tom is his name, gets especially on the Asia Album - Decon Blue.

    I believe I saw a video once with him playing a P-Bass. Sounds like a tube amp too. Probably and Ampeg B4 ????
  2. incubass68


    Jun 21, 2003
    el paso, tx
    If I remember correctly, Walter Becker (their usual guitarist/bassist) uses Sadowsky basses through demeter preamps. I think Tom Barney (a session player, may be the guy you're thinking of) uses sadowskys as well, he is also on the EDEN artist list. Don't quote me on any of this though.
  3. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    SD was using a host of session players to handle bass duties in the "Aja" era. Chuck Rainey played on many of the big SD hits. He used a Fender Jazz.

    Anthony Jackson also played on a few cuts, as well as on Donald Fagen's solo album. I never researched what basses AJ played on these records. The timeline and the sound kind of points to either a Ken Smith or a modified Fender jazz.
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    The best bass lines on 'Aja' (sic!)are by Chuck Rainey going straight into the desk - he's a great player and gets the same sort of sound no matter what gear he uses - it's more to do with him than the gear - is what I'm saying!! ;)
    arbiterusa and JimK like this.
  5. I found this info in the Bass Player article archives. I was pretty sure that Chuck was a Pbass man until the 80's:

    Dancing Machines
    Unlike James Jamerson's Funk Machine and Jaco's Bass of Doom, Chuck Rainey's main Fender from the '60s and '70s hasn't disappeared--although it has long been retired. The '57 Precision has a blond finish and a rosewood fingerboard. His early backup instruments were a Lake Placid Blue '62 P-Bass and a sunburst '62 P-Bass, both with rosewood boards.

    In the early '80s, Chuck switched to a Spector NS prototype. From there, he moved to Ken Smith basses, with brief stops at Warwick and Peavey. Inspired by Anthony Jackson, he contacted Smith to make his first 6-string; shortly after, Smith introduced the signature CR line of bolt-on 4-, 5-, and 6-string basses.

    Chuck's collection is now in transition. It currently includes six Smith basses: CR 4-, 5-, and 6-strings, a CR Wide 6, a Burner 4, and a BT 6--as well as a Roscoe 6-string and a Pedulla 5. In addition, Rainey is eagerly awaiting the arrival of three new instruments: a Fodera 36"-scale 6-string, an SSD NS 4, and a prototype signature-series 4-string built by Alvarez and Conklin's Bill Moll, which Chuck is helping to design. Rainey has been using Dean Markley strings since 1974; his basses are strung with nickel-plated Round Wounds, gauges .045, .065, .085, .100, with a .030 C string and a .125 B. He also uses Smith and D'Addario strings.

    In addition to his Fenders, Chuck made a lot of music from the early '60s to the late '70s with his Ampeg amplifiers ("B-12s in the studio and B-15s on the road," he notes). Ever-evolving with the times, he switched to modular rack gear when it was all the rage in the '80s. His current road rig consists of a Gallien-Krueger 400RB or 800RB head with an SWR Goliath 4x10. His home studio includes a Trace Elliot GP7SM300 head with a Bag End D10XD cabinet, as well as an Ampeg SVT-III Pro head and two Ampeg SVT410HE 4x10s. He also keeps his old Ashly power amp and preamp on hand.

    Though it's not widely known, Rainey was an early effects user, having first been introduced to them by King Curtis and effects pioneer/session guitarist Vinnie Bell. "I used to bring pedals on film dates to provide sound effects, because if you brought them along you were paid as if you played a second instrument. When I was subbing in the pit of Hair on Broadway I used a wah-wah pedal, and there's a lot of wah-wah on my Coalition album." For present-day soloing dates, Chuck carries his pedalboard. It includes flanger, octaver, digital delay, digital reverb, and compressor pedals made by Boss; chorus, digital delay, EQ, and compressor pedals made by DOD; and an old Maestro Echoplex. He also stomps on Ernie Ball volume and wah-wah pedals, and he stays in tune with a Boss tuner, switched into his circuit with an A/B box.
  6. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.

    I always had the Jazz bass image burned in my mind with Rainey because he is pictured with a blond one in his instruction books.:D
  7. That's true.....
  8. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    Chuck now plays a Warrior. Also, for Fagan's solo work, Marcus Miller and Abe Laboriel also sat in the bass chair. Tom Barney plays an ESP Jazz 5 and an MM5.
  9. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Yes, all the tracks on Aja were played by Chuck Rainey, with the exception of Deacon Blues, which was played by Walter Becker. Lots of great playing on the album. Everytime I hear Peg or Josie, I'm just blown away with Chuck's groove. That man has great feel.
  10. Big String

    Big String Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2000
    Northwest Indiana
    Thanks Gents.
    That was a lot of data. Good stuff. Everyone who recorded with SD had the most superb bass tones and chops. Some of my very favorites. I need to pick up the CD's all of them. I used to have some albums but they got wet in a flood....
  11. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...Rainey was a P-bass man; I don't think I have ever seen him with a Jazz. Weird.
    I do have a picture of him in a mid-'70s Guitar Player with a P-J bass. In the interview, he goes on how he was talked into putting a single-coil pickup in the bridge position 'cause some producer(Quincy Jones?) said it would record 'better'.
    I think Rainey said he wasn't too thrilled & usually didn't use that pickup.

    In the Making of Aja DVD...there's some early footage of SD performing when they were a playing band(Fagen, Becker, Dias, Baxter, et al).
    Becker is seen, albeit briefly, playing a Thunderbird bass with a pick. Pretty cool. ;)
    Rainey is interviewed throughtout this DVD.
  12. jerry

    jerry Too old for a hiptrip Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    There is a great DVD about the making the album AJA with interveiws with Chuck Rainey.....pretty funny! He talks about them telling him not to he just turned his back to them, they never knew:cool: Very interesting DVD!!!!!
    PhinDog likes this.