Tony Levin and "bowed" sound from Chapman Stick

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by draftsmann, Jul 27, 2009.

  1. Just back from the UK WOMAD festival; Peter Gabriel's set being one of many highlights, and reminding me (as if I needed reminding) why Tony Levin is one of the very few non-jazz bassists who hold my attention.

    The man is just so versatile! Aside from some great EUB playing (arco and pizz) and showing off by doubling basslines on keyboard while left-hand tapping on his Musicman, I noticed he was getting some fantastic slow-attack "bowed" sounds out of his Chapman. Does anybody have any idea how he does that? The sound was very rich and fat - much more so than is normal for a Stick, which I guess may rule out a volume pedal or Boss Slow Gear type of effect. My best guess is that it's Midi-enabled. However he did it, his playing and sound were as good as ever.

    Adrian :)
  2. I don't think TL uses MIDI. He does use a Dunlop volume pedal and heavy compression. Somewhere on TB is a pic of his pedalboard, but I don't know that he runs everything through every pedal. He has an Analog Man BiComp, a Radial DI box, a Boss delay of some sort and a reworked Big Muff. The Stick has a very unique sound on its own, but if you're hearing bowed, I'd bet it's the vol pedal.

    I found this pic of TL's pedalboard, taken by someone about a year ago at TL Band show. Explanation he gave for routing is below:

    Stick Output 1:

    Ernie Ball VP Jr. (tuner out to Peterson Strobostomp) >
    Analog Man Bi-CompROSSor >
    Electro-Harmonix Stereo Memory Man With Hazarai >
    AMT Electronics FT-1 Fatal Tube

    Stick Output 2:

    Ernie Ball VP Jr. (tuner out to Korg Pitch Black) >
    Boss Heavy Metal HM-2 >
    Tonebone Radial JX-2 Pro Switchbone

    The Switchbone has one output to an Analog Man Beano Boost, while the other one goes to a Boss pedal I can't read. (If you know what the mystery Boss pedal is, let me know.) For most of the pedals, you can probably figure out the knob settings if you look closely enough.
  3. Thanks for that - must have been volume pedal. The HM2 may be responsible for the fat sound. I have one of those in a cupboard somewhere - I'll have to give it a try!