What did Mel Schacher use?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by JPJ, May 17, 2002.

  1. Now that is a REAL bass rig.
    I've always loved his sound and playing in fact i bought my first Fender in 1971 because of the cover of the red album. Only thing is I bought a sunburst P bass rather than a Jazz, I didn't know, I was a kid and in a hurry, haha!
    I don't know what happened to the link but the photo is a few posts up.
  2. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    Dave West of westlabs passed away a year ago. Probably why his web site is down.
  3. Mel was my biggest influence in wanting to play bass. The first live album opening with Are you Ready just blows me away to this day! Listen to it frequently when I'm at the gym as well as playing along at home.
    Rebel Rocker and bobyoung53 like this.
  4. b-bottom


    Dec 18, 2006
    Knoxville TN
    This thread seems to have a way of coming back to life every few years.

    Does anyone know how he got his recorded sound? I'm going to assume that it was a lower wattage amp cranked up. But does anyone have any more specifics?
  5. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I've tried to find specifics, but I haven't seen any. Would not surprise me if their early Terry Knight stuff was recorded with their stage amps cranked and mic'ed. Subsequent stuff sounds like combination of DI and mic'ed amp.
    bobyoung53 likes this.
  6. daveman50

    daveman50 Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2007
    Albany NY
    Hiwatt? I'm pretty sure they were using West amps.
  7. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    The story was the West amps were Heathkit, substantially downscale from Dynaco.
    I saw them during the Red album tour and yes they were Wests. That was a lot of distortion.:)
  8. daveman50

    daveman50 Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2007
    Albany NY
    OK, you win. However ... perhaps you were on a mind-bending substance that night? :) AFAIK, it was only the English bands that were touring with Hiwatts in 1969. Such as The Who; Stones; Tull; Moody Blues. Maybe GFR was using someone else's backline that night. I've sure never seen a photo of GFR using Hiwatts.

    Cheers!--good for you to see GFR in 69... my first show was 72. "Are you ready?"
  9. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    Heathkit was also a Michigan company (based in St Joseph, MI) - like GFR was a Michigan band.
    My family has a place south of there and I remember going up to St Joe to buy radio and stereo kits with my Dad.
    I seem to recall that many of those DIY/hobbyist amps (Heathkit, Dynaco, Radio Shack, Kinghts etc) pretty much used reference designs.
    chadds likes this.
  10. jaco944

    jaco944 Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2005
    Just keepin this thread alive.
    My dad circa '80 gave me my 1st real bass, Gibson G3. He also gave me Closer To Home and James Gang Rides Again and basically said "go to work" lol. He was a banjo player and bluegrass fanatic but the man knew his rock bassists.
  11. :crying: :dead:

    Looks like the bills were no longer being paid to the server-hosting company... I really wanted to look at that too.. Darn.
    . .
    beans-on-toast likes this.
  12. I know ACDC used to record with their live amps. . ...perhaps only one cab in the studio tho.... and loud 'like at the gig' Angus said... Co-Producer and eldest Young brother George. ..liked to get em into the studio directly after the gig. ..to capture the energy.
    As far as I'm concerned. ..it worked. ..their 1st few albums are full of power.
    Maybe Mel n co in GFR were similar.
  13. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I totally believe that to be the case. Reminds me of when I first recorded in a pro studio in 1979. We went in with giant amps just barely putting out sound, the engineer asks why our amps are so low, and I asked, parroting several articles I had read in Guitar Player, "You don't need to have your amps turned up loud in the studio, do you?"

    He replied, "No, but maybe you should turn them up enough for me to know they're at least on."
  14. Lucky you. My 1st "pro" studio experience was a few yrs later and it'd already gone to being as dead as possible and DI the bass. ...darn it!
    Glad the recent ones I've done have gone BACK to how it WAS done. ..imo...right! Mic'd cab plus DI
    JimmyM likes this.
  15. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Honestly, I could do without the DI :D
    b-bottom and rodl2005 like this.
  16. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    There are snapshots of his site in the intenet archive. Yes, the internet is backed up.

    Here is one instance of the web site. You have to look at other dates to find the best one.

    West Laboratories Guitar Amplifiers

    At web.archive.org, type in westlabs.com, then select an instance to view.
    Last edited: May 17, 2017
    LetItGrowTone and johnpbass like this.
  17. johnpbass


    Feb 18, 2008
    Glen Mills, PA
    I think I posted this earlier in the thread but Mel and GFR are the reason I started playing bass! Saw them many times here in Philly at the old Spectrum. And they were LOUD!

    There's a story about a GFR concert here in Philly. Billy Preston was opening for them - I was at that show. He ended his set with "Will it go 'round in Circles" but he kept repeating the ending. The band would end the song but Billy P. would say "we're going to do it one more time!", and do the chorus again. What had happened was that he was stalling for time. GFR was stuck in one of our famous traffic jams that happen down at the Philly stadium complex and could not get into the building.

    Thanks for keeping this great thread alive!
    Rattman and spiritbass like this.
  18. johnpbass


    Feb 18, 2008
    Glen Mills, PA
    And yes, West Amps. Mel uses SVTs now. Don't forget to add those to the count of the number of SVTs produced (to reference another thread LOL!)
    bobyoung53 likes this.
  19. Me too... but. .I gotta let the S.E. have some say in it. .. or he thinks I'm a complete know all.
    JimmyM likes this.
  20. Thegrandwazoo

    Thegrandwazoo Supporting Member

    Sep 8, 2013
    West Virginia
    The few times I've been in a studio with electric bass, we went with a mic'd bass rig because everyone but the engineer hated the way I sounded direct (especially me, but that's a given). I know there are applications for super-clean, sparkly hi-fi bass, but in my opinion rock and roll ain't one of them.
    SwitchGear likes this.
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