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What are the essentials in obtaining the Vintage/Oldschool tone?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by RicPlaya, Apr 19, 2006.

  1. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    The Mitten
    When I think of vintage tone, bassists such as Jammerson, Dunn, Entwistle, Jones..etc. There has been many of debate of what is best to get the vintage vibe..Fenders, flatwounds, Bodywoods, etc.. So my question is what's the verdict once and for all? What basses cop this, what strings, what body woods and fret boards, which pups and pup configurations? What is the essentials?
  2. ebe9


    Feb 26, 2006
    South Africa
    Really old school - Upright

    Old School - Jazz bass, rotosound/fender strings

    0.2 cents
  3. flatwoundfender


    Feb 24, 2005
    3/4 of the players you mentioned played pbasses and I believe both Dunn and Jamerson used the strings now called Labella Jamersons . I know Jamerson did. So I'd a pbass with flats. The best IMO would either be Labella Jamersons or Fender 9050m.

    The Jamersons are the classic style Labella Deep Talkin Flats.
  4. Split-P pickups
    LaBella Deep Talkin' flats

    ... just my .02
  5. AngryJason


    Feb 23, 2006
    Sacramento CA
    Pbass with flats, preferably OLD flats.

    For added old-school thump, install a chrome bridge cover, then stuff some foam into it, to dampen the sound considerably.
  6. flatwoundfender


    Feb 24, 2005
    Yeah the foam gives a more upright like sound. It was a big part of James Jamerson's sound. Pbass's used to all come with foam under the bridge cover because they were designed to sound like an upright but be portable.
  7. mlove


    Jun 12, 2005
    p bass pickup, flatwounds, passive electronics, maybe a spong placed under the strings.
  8. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    The Mitten
    P Bass..not P/J or Jazz?

    What about Bass woods?
  9. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    'Old School' has much more to do with playing style, feel and approach than with the rig or bass.... I've heard many a player using a high end, modern boutique instrument turn down the passive treble control, play with the meaty part of his thumb, and make the bass sound totally like a PBass with flats... which is one version of 'old school'.

    I myself define 'Old School' as more a Larry Graham or 70's Marcus Miller sound.... again, a different definition of old school. While roundwounds are required for this sound, a good slap technique and groove can get you there on a live gig with almost any bass IMO.

    However, since this is a gear thread, here's my 'hardware' answer:

    Duck Dunn type old school.... any PBass with any brand of reasonably new flatwound strings

    Larry Graham/Marcus Miller old school.... a 70's style J Bass instrument, preferably with bright roundwounds (DR, etc.) and single coil pickups... maple neck and ash body preferable, some sort of active preamp.

    70's P Bass funk..... a heavier PBass (ash) with maple neck, roundwounds and a preamp.

    Motown Old School..... any PBass with old flatwounds, preferabley a lighter model with RW board.... passive

    IMO of course
  10. JKwo


    Jan 12, 2006
    Well, not playing a Ric for one... :D
  11. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Hey, that early 70's Chis Squire sound would be another definition of 'old school'... old school prog rock:D
  12. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    For my old skool Jamerson sound I went out and bought the oldest P I could afford, and spec'd like Jamerson's:

    (1972) light alder body sunburst P, rosewood board, flatwounds and the covers with foam mute installed.
  13. BassFelt


    Mar 26, 2002
    I guess you didn't see that old Sly & The Family Stone video with Larry Graham slappin' 'n poppin' away on an a Ricky :) Definately Old School.
  14. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    I think Flatwounds are a lot bigger part of the equation than they get credit for.

    That and anything Alder/Rosewood.
  15. savit260


    Mar 6, 2006
    Tubes, Passive bass, + technique
  16. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003
    Add a Ampeg B15.
  17. cabcreaser

    cabcreaser Supporting Member

    Feb 12, 2005
    I agree with others that have stated that you can get a fairly convincing old school tone out of a wide variety of basses. Of course a p with flats drips with old school tone, but if you are using an active bass be careful not to boost any of the lowest lows or highest highs (if anything feel free to cut them--old fenders just don't go as high or low as modern basses do). IME the magic of old school bass tone lies in the presence of high and low mids and the complete absence of the airy top and thunderous lows that modern basses are capable of providing.

    If you don't like flats, you may want to try the Thomastik Infeld Jazz Rounds. They don't have the zing associated with round wounds but they aren't as thuddy as flats.

    Technique is a factor as well, play as smoothly as possible.
  18. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    A vintage, old-school bassist.
  19. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Still rockin'

    Nov 22, 2004
    Deep E Texas
    ...playing a P bass with flat wounds through a B15N.
  20. Worn-out strings.

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