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Violent Femmes 1983

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by Edgar, Mar 24, 2013.

  1. Edgar


    Nov 4, 2000
    Montreal, QC, CA

    I would like to have the details on the gear used by Brian Ritchie on Violent Femmes 1983 self-titled album. Any info you have on the recording has well will not go to waste.

  2. No idea, but that is one of my favorite albums of all time.
  3. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    Mine also Blister In the Sun is one of my favorite songs.
  4. chee666


    Jul 24, 2008
    I know he used a stand-up and a acoustic bass when i have seen them live.
  5. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    Really? now that you say that I can hear it.
  6. Yeah, my impression has always been that the first album is all upright bass. That was an extraordinary feature when it came out and it was much talked about---it seems less outlandish now, but in the 80s it was an incomprehensible instrument for a band whose audience was basically a punk demographic.

  7. Etienned


    Jul 16, 2010
    I heard them in an interview mention a mariachi acoustic bass.
  8. Edgar


    Nov 4, 2000
    Montreal, QC, CA
    Actually, that would make sense...
  9. Edgar


    Nov 4, 2000
    Montreal, QC, CA
    ...I'm starting to think that it's a Ernie Ball Earthwood acoustic bass.
  10. +1

    This is what Ritchie played on the Violent Femmes stuff.
  11. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Yes. They are gi-normous and quite hard to come by.
  12. OOTB68


    Dec 23, 2010
    It's always been my understanding that that's what he used.
  13. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    Why has nobody ever reissued that thing or copied the concept?
    If all they have to do is apply good construction to a large body size, somebody needs to get on this right away!
  14. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    I'll guess that, due to the outrageous size, limited tonal palate and ultimate price, there's just not much demand. Acoustic basses just don't sell well.
  15. chee666


    Jul 24, 2008
    Yeah the bass was very big.
  16. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    I'm not savvy to the ways of embedding photos here, but if you do a Google image search for Earthwood Acoustic Bass you'll see some pics of it being played which helps you get a reference point on its size. It really was a gigantic instrument, not just in surface area of the body but in depth (front to back) as well.
  17. Primakurtz

    Primakurtz Registered Nihilist Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2011
    Denver, Colorado
    Brian is a tall guy, so the bass kinda fit him. I saw them live multiple times back in the day, and he always played the stroller bass - never a stand-up.
  18. This is interesting---I distinctly remember people in the 80s talking about him playing upright bass, but it's clear from a whole bunch of sources that he was using the Earthwood. Back before widespread inet access, I guess there was a lot of misunderstanding of what "acoustic bass" meant...?

    Now that I know this, I'm really impressed with the instrument! I've listened to that album a lot over the last 30 years (ugh, I'm old!) and it never occurred to me to question that the sound was coming from an upright.

  19. miles'tone


    Feb 26, 2008
    Wales, U.K

    *The above vids are listed on YouTube as being filmed in 1981 but this is wrong as it was actually 1984. I've got the DVD - "No Lets Start Over" - awesome gig! :)*

    Yep he used an EB Earthwood which had an 8" deep(!) body as in the beginning they used to busk alot and also they would play acoustic gigs in coffee shops with no amps or p.a. whatsoever so he needed that bass to really project.
    Later on he started using the 6"deep Earthwoods with a soundhole pickup for the bigger gigs as it was easier to play and of course was being amplified anyway.

    I have a brilliant interview with him somewhere from Bassplayer I think which describes all this. Really wanted to find it once as it mentions the electric bass guitar he also used which I can't remember the name of. It had creme P/J pups and was a dark burst kind of colour with 2+2 tuners. All I can remember is that it was a brand I'd never heard of before. I'm sure he used this on the debut as well as the Earthwood. He later retired that trusty electric to use an orange pre-Ernie Ball Stingray with a Badass bridge fitted.

    Love the Femmes! Peerless.
  20. Brian Ritchie

    Brian Ritchie

    Jul 28, 2005
    On the first album I used an Ernie Ball Earthwood on most songs and a Peavey T-40 on "To The Kill", "Gone Daddy Gone" and the bonus tracks "Ugly" and "Gimme The Car".

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