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Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by TeenZombie01, Jul 29, 2006.

  1. TeenZombie01


    May 14, 2006
    People ask about him a lot and I would like to finally lay to rest anyone's questions about my favorite bass player Tim Commerford.
    "Tim's Basses

    Tim only plays passive Fender Jazz basses now. On the first Rage album he used a Musicman Stingray with the pickguard removed, as show here...
    His main gigging bass in Rage (for standard tunings) was a natural Jazz Bass with the pickguard removed. This bass is most well known for its pickups, which he wound himself, and have been said to be the mystery by his eleusive tone. He smashed this bass at the MTV awards (the same night as the scenery climbing incident, some claim he had a little too much to drink that night!), however, he salvaged the pickups from this bass and they are now used in one of his current touring basses.
    Tim's current gigging basses change quite often.
    On the current tour he is using the following Jazz Basses...
    - Sunburst Finish
    - Tuned EADG (standard)
    - Black Pickguard
    - Maple Neck

    This bass currently seems to be one of his main basses.

    - Black Finish
    - Tuned BEAD
    - Dark Tortoiseshell Pickguard
    - Rosewood Fingerboard
    - Neck from a left handed Precision Bass
    What makes this bass special is the reversed neck. In a recent interview Tim said he used the reversed headstock to keep the low B string tighter. Tim said in the Bass Player interview that...

    'I'm trying out new gear because I want to make the B string as punchy, loud and in-your-face as the E string is in regular tuning.'

    Some believe that reversing the headstock will not make any difference as the length of the string behind the nut has no effect on the string tension, however Tim thinks differently. Also, if you look closely you can see this bass does not have standard Jazz Bass pickups, the covers are different.

    - White Finish
    - Tuned DADG (I think...)
    - Dark Tortoiseshell Pickguard
    - Maple Neck
    This bass seems to be pretty standard. Hightlighted in this picture however is Tim's customised fingerrest. As you can see it is longer and thinner than a standard Fender fingerrest.

    - Natural Finish
    - Black Pickguard
    - Maple Neck
    A few more modifications to this bass. The rear part of the pickguard has been removed. Why? I'm not sure, but it looks like it has been done on purpose. The pickups, again, are not stock Fender ones, but I'm not sure what they are. The electronics have been modified, looks like there is a switch on the control plate, probably a pickup selector, also there is a different control knob on there. The bridge also looks like it is a Badass II.

    These are his main touring basses, he changes them around from time to time and I am sure others will make an appearance at shows, but I just thought I would highlight the main instruments.

    I must not forget his Fender Custom Shop double neck Jazz Bass. Desinged to have one bass (the higher neck) tuned EADG and the other (lower neck) BEAD, notice the same reversed headstock idea as the Black Jazz bass.
    So far we havn't seen this played live.

    Here is Tim's Ovation Acoustic Bass that he used on the AOL sessions.

    Tim's Effects

    Many took his joking paranoia from the Bass Player article about his gear a little too far, however it is true that Tim is very, very secretive about his effects and amps. Here is the picture from the inner cover of Out of Exile of Tim's pedalboard...
    1. Boss Super Octave
    2. Sadowsky Outboard Pre-Amp/D.I. (thank you Mr.Higginson!)
    3. Custom ABY Amp Selector
    4. Custom 'Full on' Overdrive
    5. Aphex Punch Factory
    6. DC Brick
    7. Two Dunlop 105Q Bass Wahs
    8. Boss DD-3 Delay
    9. Custom Overdrive (I assume)

    One of the 'Full on' overdrive pedals or the Overdrive pedal is rumoured to be based on a Jimmy Hendrix Distortion Box or a Marshall Guv'nor pedal. He definatly used a Marshal Guv'nor on the first Rage album, it can be heard in Know Your Enemy and Wake Up most prominantly.

    Despite this gear set up, in the most recent interview from 'Bass Guitar'magazine the set up looked like this...
    As you can see, both Boss pedals have gone (this may be because of the fact he is not a endorser of Boss pedals so it is not in his interests to advertise them, probably the same reason the Aphex Punch Factory logos have been taped over) An MXR micro-amp has also appeared and some other Custom pedals.

    In short, by the fact that both of these pictures are so different you can see how secretive Tim is. It is possible that both of these pictures have effects that he does not use and just have them on here as diversions.

    Here is another pic from the recent AOL sessions -

    As far as rack gear goes...your guess is as good as mine!


    Tims Amps

    Here are some quotes from the Bass Player interview...

    'I've moved it up to three amps: clean, overdrive, and an amp in between so I can blend it all.'

    (About working on his amps) 'If you replace a wire that's leading to the tube with a thicker wire, it makes a huge difference. There are all kinds of materials that are more conductive that what most amps come with. Tubes make a huge difference, too. If you pull out the tubes in there, it's a whole new head.
    That's an easy thing that anyone can do. I put these old Telefunken preamp tubes inside one of my heads for midrange and clarity and low mids. They're the best tubes you can get but they're old and hard to find, and they're hit or miss. That's why pickups are so important. My tone comes from my amp and the pickups in my bass. So many people say it's all about the wood. It's ain't about the wood; it's about the pickups, the amp, and how hard you play.
    Another part of my sound is the monitors. I went nuts with the monitor heads; I broke them down and resoldered the crossovers. If the **** ain't right, I will wield the soldering gun; I will break that thing out and start messing around.'


    So it is clear that Tim has modified all of his amps loads but as you can see in the 'Bass Guitar' magazine pic above, Tim's amp system is... 'One Ampeg SVT ZPRO feeding a full-range clean signal into an Ampeg 8x10. The other two Ampeg SVT-ZPRO heads feed two incrementally greater levels of dirty tone to Ampeg 4x10 cabs. The full-range rig runs all the time and Commerford switches in the distortion rigs for an even bigger sound.'

    Misc Tim Info


    Tim is a finger player, he has never played with a pick and does not slap anymore. Here are some quotes about his technique from the Bass Player interview...

    'Back in the early '90s, I was really into the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Brothers Johnson, and I loved to slap. But it became clear that if I slapped with Rage, we'd sound like another Chili Peppers clone band. I wanted to be in a band that sounded unique, so when we got into the second record I mad the decision to put the thumb up on the shelf and never use it again. I used to be good, but now I suck at slapping.'

    'When I'd go see Rush as a kid, I would wonder why Geddy Lee used one finger all the time. Did he do that because it made it easier to play while he was singing? I didn't get it. Later I realized that if you're just riding a note or trying to play a real straight part, it sounds more pulsating if you play with one finger. So I took every bass line and learned how to do it with one finger, and I started doing it that way as much as I could. Back then I thought I looked goofy, but now here I am using one finger whenever I can. One finger is ultimately the funkiest sound of all. If you can do it with one finger, you should. If you can do it with two finger, you should choose over three.'


    Straps, parts etc.

    Tim uses a really thick strap to spread out the weight of the bass as he suffered a biking injury to his shoulder, exactly where the bass sits.

    From the Bass player interview -

    'Levy's Leather made me these six- to eight-inch wide straps that rest on my whole shoulder instead of just on the clavicle, where most straps sit. I play a super heavy bass too; I tried a light bass but I truly believe that a heavier bass has a slightly thicker tone.'

    He also uses hipshot D-tuners. For those who don't know. D-tuners allow the E string of a Bass to tune down to a D tuning at the flick of a switch, and back again when flicked back
    Signal Flow

    Petary791's take on Timmys flow...

    And SGROCKER's....

    This is a guitar geek diagram of Tim's current signal flow. It seems to be pretty accurate. I don't believe that the Jimmy Hendrix Overdrive is still in use, I would probably put Tim's custom overdrive here instead. Other than that, I would say these is pretty damn close.
    Thanks to SGROCKER and Petary791 for their great work Smile


    Thats it, any other info anyone has to add, please PM me or reply to this tread.

    Thanks to - 'thenarrows' for his list of Tim's gear, which I used as a starter.
    The Timmy C Yahoo group, for the interview quotes.
    The Timmy C Appreciation Thread for the pics.

    A final disclaimer - I have said it before and I will say it again, Tim has a great tone, but unless you have a lot of money to spare, are willing to put a lot of painstaking time and effort into modifying your gear and have someone who will roadie your three amps around, you will never sound exactly like him.

    If you want to sound like Timmy, best advise I can give is get overdrive pedal (like the DOD 250) a Wah pedal (Dunlop or Morley depending on personal preferance) and a Jazz Bass. With this gear you will get close to Tim's tone, but on a budget."
    I got this from an Audioslave fan forum, it is everything you would ever need to know about Timmy C. and his gear, and more.


    This article on Tim Commerford was created in full by Pearl_jammin. I just posted it on TalkBass for everyone to see.

    HELLonWHEELS Supporting Member

    Jun 13, 2005
    VERY VERY nice.
  3. syciprider

    syciprider Banned

    May 27, 2005
    Inland Empire
    WOW! Timmy C's rig info!!! I never saw this before!;)
  4. Kubs


    Jul 26, 2006
    SO from this inteview is really CLEAR that nobody can get ORIGINAL Timmy C. sound :-( its sad information but now many people know that is impossible to get his sound-maybe try to STEAL HIS ORIGINAL RIG :D
  5. Dash Rantic

    Dash Rantic

    Nov 12, 2005
    Palo Alto, CA
    Good to see this info reposted, but sadly, the people who need to see it probably won't look at it :)

    However, maybe this should be stickied?

  6. TeenZombie01


    May 14, 2006
    That's what I was thinking.
  7. Dash Rantic

    Dash Rantic

    Nov 12, 2005
    Palo Alto, CA
    Hmm, you might also want to put a link to the forum you got this info from. I know you gave credit there, but a link would be nice too :)

  8. Toasted


    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    Thanks for putting this together.
  9. nad

    nad 60 Cycle Humdinger Commercial User

    Sep 22, 2005
    Not Mars
    The Overlord of Nordstrand Pickups
    Yeah could we sticky this so no more redundant threads will be made? It worked for that compressor sticky, oh wait... :rolleyes:
  10. Dash Rantic

    Dash Rantic

    Nov 12, 2005
    Palo Alto, CA
    Might as well try to do what we can, Nad. If people still choose to ignore available information, well, that's their problem :)

  11. wow so removing your pickguard really does help!
  12. Micolao


    Sep 7, 2005
    THANK YOU!:hyper:
  13. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    :crying: :bawl: :crying: :bawl:

    Ah he!!, sticky it anyway!
  14. TeenZombie01


    May 14, 2006
    I love the bass in the second picture, does it look like it was sanded down to that or he bought it new like that?

    Anyone know how to sand down a painted bass to have that natural look? I think I am going to do that with a Standard Jazz I am about to buy since none of the available colors strike my fancy and that natural just looks so good.
  15. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Probably bought new. Fender USA used to offer an actual natural finish instead of the blonde they do these days.

    I wouldn't recommend sanding down a MIM. There's a reason they have solid finishes ;)
  16. TeenZombie01


    May 14, 2006
    What about getting a Warmoth and just keeping it the way it is?
  17. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    That would work. Though I would recommend a finish just for protection. They can shoot a clear, or you can give it an oil finish, something like a Minwax just for protection.
  18. Tedintheshed

    Tedintheshed Banned

    Oct 8, 2004
    Columbus, Ohio
    Tim who?
  19. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ

  20. Great Info . Thank you .

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