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Tonal loyalty when playing covers

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by basscooker, Jul 2, 2016.


  1. basscooker

    basscooker Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2010
    cincy ky
    Owner, ChopShopAmps
    I'm curious to hear who chooses to stay as true to the tones on the songs you cover as you can.

    If there isn't a specific passage that's uniquely effected and stands out as an important part of the piece, how much tone-juggling from song to song do you do?

    I couldn't decide if this was the best subforum, but if anyone that spends time here in technique thinks pedals is a better choice, I'll happily ping a mod and have it moved.

    But I'm less curious about the gear part of the equation than I am the personal choice side of it. When do you choose to go beyond what your fingers and instrument controls can change, and start using your feet?
     
  2. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Not much at all. But then I've never approached doing covers as slavishly regurgitating any specific recorded performance as being the same as playing a song. Tone especially is all about how it fits in the mix with the other people I'm playing with and the acoustics of the room.

    jte
     
    Timmy-Watts, quickfix, Turock and 6 others like this.
  3. theduke1

    theduke1 Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2010
    Manitowoc WI
    I have my gear set to what sounds good to my ear and the mix and just play.
    I do pull the fretless on about 1/3 of our set list, but most are at the end of set one into set two. Less changing that way
     
  4. From an audience point of view, why see a live band that flawlessly executes the recorded version of a song? Might as well just put on the record/cd/radio. If I am seeing someone do a cover, I want to see their take on it.

    I may not be representative of the general public...
     
    MalcolmAmos, Creede, Qlanq and 17 others like this.
  5. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    MEXICANADAMERICA
    what's up, Cooker!
    if the tone is heavily effected i like to match that tone/sound as well as i can with what i have. generally though i put my own twist to most covers. i'm quite smitten with my own tone, hahaa.
     
  6. basscooker

    basscooker Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2010
    cincy ky
    Owner, ChopShopAmps
    Waddup, Paco.

    I'm there with you guys so far. Like I hinted towards in my OP, I draw the line at my bass's controls and my fingers. I just play the song. I was curious how far out away from the general classification of a bass guitar tone a specific tone would have to be to make one go to outboard stuff.
     
    blastbass and pacojas like this.
  7. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Connecticut
    I find a tone that fits the band mix, and other than rolling off the top end on a few songs, keep it there. That's much more important IMO.
     
    swooch, Steve23, obimark and 3 others like this.
  8. zontar

    zontar

    Feb 19, 2014
    J-5
    If you're doing a bunch of covers by different bands, there's no realistic way to fit the tone of all the originals--so fit the band overall.
    Some tweaks would be fine.
     
    gebass6 likes this.
  9. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Suspended Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    For years I have gone way out of my way to use everything BUT effects. Picks of several different styles/thicknesses, foam under strings if needed, two channels to the board (one DI with the tone dimed and and one beefy signal from the amp) and tweaking knows on the amp mid show and every kind of finger technique imaginable to get as many tones as possible.

    Recently I have really been searching for an overdrive or two simply because they have become so mainstream. I probably won't get after any chorus or flange but I may go with an octave pedal if need be.
     
    pacojas likes this.
  10. zontar

    zontar

    Feb 19, 2014
    J-5
    what about those guys who spend $200+ for a pedal they use for one song?
    They're out there.
     
  11. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Suspended Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    If they have the $200 and it makes them grin.....
     
  12. DChalo

    DChalo

    Dec 16, 2015
    Austin, TX
    It's hard to replicate many tones when playing different tunes live. That and the fact that all these bass tracks were enhanced with studio work, making it almost impossible. I personally don't use any effects and barely even attempt to replicate or think of the original tone when I play covers
     
    swooch and theduke1 like this.
  13. zontar

    zontar

    Feb 19, 2014
    J-5
    Sure, but many of them don't really--and they end up with a stack of pedals they never sue again--now if they want to sell them cheap--let me know.
     
  14. alembicguy

    alembicguy I operate the worlds largest heavey equipment Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2007
    Minnesota
    I apply me and my style and my tone to every cover song I do. After all it's me playing not the original bass player.
     
    quickfix, theduke1 and Turock like this.
  15. As a practical matter it's almost impossible to get a tone exactly like the recording for every individual cover song you play, and you'll likely make yourself crazy trying. Agreement with several of the posts above, making it fit into the band's mix and getting a sound you're happy with, in a live situation for almost all of us is likely as good as it gets.
     
    Gearhead17 and theduke1 like this.
  16. bassman10096

    bassman10096 Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2004
    MKE
    Too often people fixate on effects and studio production that aren't the point of the song - particularly when the performer was the songwriter. I'm never disappointed when I hear an artist perform a different take on a "classic". All that said, I think the fun of music is the performance - not the duplication of somebody else's performance on a particular day, in the studio. The audience generally wants enough original flavor to remember why they like a song, but duplicating every last detail is neither appreciated nor fun for the schlump who's been on stage for 3 hours.
     
  17. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    This. Our guitarist obsesses over his tone on every song. Maybe it's more important for guitars, but it gets irritating at times.
     
    cjlembo and theduke1 like this.
  18. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Connecticut
    No. The audience does not care that the tone is an exact match for the recording. They want a fulltight consistent tone. Let's see, Pete Townshend played live with Rics, Strats, Teles, Les Pauls, and I'm sure more. Still Pete.Clapton with Strats and Pauls. The list goes on.
     
  19. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    I like to think I can muster most of the tones I need to cop what I play out of what I have, so I do try to stay true to the original, if the arrangement allows. One of my biggest peeves is hearing that Geddy/Squire clang on a Motown song. It even bothers me when I hear that active preamp sizzle on same. If the rest of the band has stepped up the feel and given it a modern sheen, then it's no problem, but it really sucks to hear someone doing their best Fieldy impression over an old Stevie Wonder track.
     
    Blueinred and Gearhead17 like this.
  20. I like when people alter the song, but only when the whole song is altered.

    I remember I heard a cover band play Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" which too me, has some of the most memorable guitar solos. Anyways, they played the song exactly the same as the recorded version, until they got to the first guitar solo, when the lead guitarist decided to create his own solo... By staying true to the song up until that point, I expected them to be true the whole way through, which led to a lot of disappointment... Had they done their own rendition the whole way through, I wouldn't have expected a note-for-note take on the solo, and would have liked the whole performance more.
     

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