T-Bone Wolk's sound on SNL

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by tightbidness, Aug 17, 2003.

  1. Hi Folks,

    This is my first post on TalkBass. I started visiting about a month ago, and the forums have quickly become my primary resource for all things bass guitar.

    At any rate, T-Bone Wolk was the first bassist who awed me with his playing and sound. . . and that was back before I started on the electric bass. I seem to remember him with a Fender Precision with a jazz pickup added in the bridge position and a Gibson Grabber. Does anyone out there know what kind of amps and speakers T-Bone was using on SNL?

    Thanks for your time.

  2. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    I've seen T-Bone use a pair of classic Ampeg SVT rigs in the days when Hall and Oates were playing stadiums. He uses a smaller Ampeg rig with them now.

    On SNL, he used Hartke cabinets and an SVT head when I saw a live taping years ago. I asked him later what he used for effects. His reply was "a cable".

    It's important to remember that what you hear for Tom's sound on SNL is mostly direct.

    I think he uses rounds on his E and A, and flats for his D and G, as well as unfashionably high string action. These factors are probably the most important to his sound.
  3. Thank you for your reply and the information. When you write "Tom's sound on SNL is mostly direct," does that mean a dry bass signal into the television studio's mixing board? I'm not particularly knowledgeable about that sort of thing.

    I didn't know that Wolk is still playing with Hall and Oates.

  4. Davehenning


    Aug 9, 2001
    Los Angeles
    I have also seen him playing the old Ampeg "Devil Horn" basses from time to time.
  5. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    You're welcome.

    Yep. Direct (or DI) is a source signal straight from a musical instrument into a mixing desk. There's DI boxes, snakes and other stuff that make this possible, but that's the basic idea.

    On broadcast media, there's usually quite a bit of peak limiting happening by the time it reaches your ears. This is done to keep volume levels consistent.

    My point in mentioning the direct thing is that there's no amp sound in what you hear from T-Bone on SNL. I didn't see a mic on his rig, FWIW.

    Compression and/or limiting is also used live on bass for the same reason, as well as to make it sit in the mix better and protect PA drivers.

    Tom plays great stuff with H+O live. It's worth the time to check them out in concert or catch their occasional TV appearance. Unpopular as an opinion as it is, I think Darryl Hall is one of pop music's finest vocalists.
  6. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Anyone besides me have Wolk's Rock Riffs For Bass book?
    ...this book came out pre-Hall & Oates & SNL(late '70s?).
  7. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    T-Bone also is one of my favorite pick players!
  8. 20db pad

    20db pad

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

    Guilty as charged. I have it out in some box in the garage. Great book, and well written. Think I'll go dig it up.
  9. Funkster


    Apr 6, 2000
    Wormtown, MA
    I just taped a live special on A&E of H&O and
    T-Bone is the man, His tone is killer live and he sings plays percussion and does it all. If you have a chance to see it, do it, It's a lesson in itself.
  10. Dave Castelo

    Dave Castelo

    Apr 19, 2000
    yeah, more love to T-Bone!

    the guy seems to really enjoy playing the instrument, which is pretty inspirative IMO
  11. Thanks for the explanation, 20db pad.

    I'll have to look out for the Hall & Oates performance on A&E. Darryl Hall does have a great voice, and his song writing isn't too shabby either. I have been mocked in the past for admitting this, but "Sara Smile" is one of my favorite pop songs.
  12. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    'Sara Smiles' is a great song! Whoever mocked you for that, has no clue about great songwriting!
    I've noticed in my life that there are a lot of shredders on all instruments that play great, but wouldn't know how to build a good song with a hook if it fell on them.
  13. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Pretty darn sure "Sara Smile" is Leland Sklar on bass...
    I also think "Sara" is a damn fine Pop tune(so reminds me of my 1st day at college; the tune was playing in one of the student lounges).
    "She's Gone" is another nicely crafted Pop gem, IMO. Nice groove, nice vocals/harmonies, nice words.
  14. That should read Gibson Ripper.
  15. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    I saw T-Bone live last summer when he was touring with Hall & Oates. Todd Rundgren was the opener, and T-Bone played with both acts - long night for him. Used a precision through an SVT Classic setup with both acts, but the 8x10 cab was standing up when playing with Rundgren, and was layed on its side with a block under it to angle it upward when he was playing with Hall & Oates.

    I wasn't a huge fan of H&O (went because the wife wanted to go), but I am now. It was one of the best sounding live shows I've ever been to, and T-Bone is excellent, as were the other musicians they used. Darryl Hall was impressive as well.

    Rundgren sounded like total crap, though . . . even forgot the words to one of his hits, and with the exception of T-Bone, his band wasn't that good. Shame.
  16. I saw him live with Billy Joel, about ten years ago ("River Of Dreams" Tour) - he played Hamer 5-string basses then...and accordion, too!
  17. Exactly...:bassist: :cool:

    (inspirative... there's a word you don't see everyday... :D )