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What exactly is "that seventies thing"?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Chris 'Wighat' Jordan, Oct 20, 2019.

  1. From the Talk Bass Trope Files:

    It goes something like "I just scored a Brand X head and cab and it does that seventies thing really well..."

    What is "that seventies thing"? Is it even anything? Is this just something people have heard other people say and thus repeat it?
    Potnonomica, Bassdirty, BOOG and 4 others like this.
  2. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    Likely similar to “old school”. The ultimate vague reference of all time
  3. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    Maybe it has tone for days.
  4. Grooveline


    Jan 24, 2012
    "That seventies thing" has many definitions. It could mean it the amp/cab looks good sitting on orange to brown stained carpets or a beat wooden stage. It could also mean they smell like road dust and cigarette smoke. I would guess what most people mean though is the amp/cab have a good classic rock/funk sound with some thump and a rounded off top end. Plenty of new offerings can do "that seventies thing" without that seventies weight.
  5. db59

    db59 Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2015
    Hmmm.....had an Acoustic 370....Now have a Mesa Subway rig.....Mesa all day !!!
  6. Acoop


    Feb 21, 2012
    I was the same height in the 70's as I am now, but all my amps were a lot bigger. ... So, a '70's thing', to me, means, a third floor walk up apartment and two big 15" cabs and a heavy amp I had to carry upstairs or someone would steal it out of my car. ... Looking back, that thief would've done me a favour.
  7. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    . . . . it's when you're getting old!!!
    Ed Byrnes, dramatwist, CayGee and 5 others like this.
  8. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    A brighter, snappier sound, and slightly less low end than the majority of 60’s bass, which was more throbbing and muffled. With a few exceptions, of course, like Entwistle, Graham, or maybe Joe Osbourne’s tone, sculpted to cut through on smaller speakers in cars, but because of those trends, and roundwound strings coming in at the start of the 70’s, that’s what eventually defined the decade, tonally.
  9. wmhill


    Aug 20, 2012
    upstate NY
    MTD basses endorsed artist Bartolini pickups emerging artist TECAMP bass players gear endorsed
    It's tort for the ears....
  10. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    In a nutshell? It varies.

    To me the 70s thing is:

    Ampeg SVT
    Acoustic 360 or 370
    Sunn Colosseum
    Alembic F-1X or F-2B preamp into a Crown DC-300A

    Cabs are 8x10, 2x15, or 1x18 folded horn.

    No FOH. PA only used for vocals.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019
  11. ad9000

    ad9000 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2004
    Leucadia, CA
    Since I started playing in the early 70's and bought my first amps then, I'd define "that seventies thing" as: underpowered, limited bandwidth amp heads, cabs that have a severe rolloff at about 80 hZ and no top end to speak of, rigs with way too much weight/size for the perceivable loudness they put out (like my refrigerator sized 1971 Quilter 215 cab, which was probably not as efficient as a modern 210).

    The advances in bass amplification since the 70's are monumental, and I am not the least bit sentimental about what was around then, with a few exceptions. I think these are some pieces that still sound great and deservedly have their place today: SVT, B-15, Sunn 2000S and 215 cab, Alembic F-2B (I have a 1976 F-2B, and it is hard to beat for a meat-and-potatoes tube sound). There are probably others but that's what immediately comes to mind.

    I know some people these days have a fondness for Acoustic 360 or 370's, but I have to think that's largely nostalgia. Even back then I thought they were loud but boxy sounding and lacking in definition. I expect there are some opinions contrary to that!
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019
  12. Its when the Jazz bass is heavy and the pickup is closer to the bridge.
  13. delta7fred


    Jul 3, 2007
    That 70's thing to me (having played in the 70's) is heavy as hell, lots of mids, not a lot of bass and beams like a flashlight.

    Give me a high power day class D amp and neo cab any day.
  14. It means it’s a tone monster and plays like butter. Everyone knows that seventies butter was creamier than recent butter.
  15. delta7fred


    Jul 3, 2007
    And probably a little rancid by now!
  16. ad9000

    ad9000 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2004
    Leucadia, CA
    That's very true of the bass sounds on 70's records, but there wasn't much around in the way of amplification that could adequately reproduce it, except with sound reinforcement if the bass was through a DI. I'd say that started to change at the very end of the 70's, when there was an emergence of some bass amplification with a little bit more "hi fi" consciousness.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019
    Dr Gero, 202dy and jamro217 like this.
  17. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Weighs 130 pounds and has no bottom end?? :)
  18. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    And I’d think you’re largely wrong. ;):laugh:
  19. Maybe folks ascribe "that seventies thing" to a rig just by it being from the seventies. Heck, maybe that's all there is to it.

    If I had to give an honest answer to what I think "that seventies thing" is, it would be the sound you get from a B25B head and cab at small rock venue volume. Not much very low bass, no treble, but a big sound marked by pleasant tube distortion and cone break-up.
  20. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    That's millennial slang for "I was too young (not born, yet) to have been there the first time around."
    bobyoung53, JRA, gebass6 and 4 others like this.

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