What is 'Riding the Rails'?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Bassline_Delux, Feb 18, 2004.

  1. Bardolph


    Jul 28, 2002
    Grand Rapids, MI
    I believe that means you're playing at a volume high enough to start to push your amp and possibly create some distortion. Geddy Lee likes to ride the rails.
  2. Davehenning


    Aug 9, 2001
    Los Angeles
    I always thought it meant riding on a train...... :confused:
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I've never heard it used in a musical context in 20 - 30 years of playing and watching music ....I would suspect it was some kind of "drug culture" reference if somebody said it to me? :meh:
  4. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    This is like Call My Bluff :D

    My suggestion, based purely on speculation, is that it means playing a line that moves along the strings rather than across the neck, thus 'riding the rails' (strings) up and down.

    Where did you hear the expression. The horse's mouth would be the best place to fathom out this idiom...

  5. On here actually. And some other websites I guess. I dunno. It soudns wierd..I thought maybe it was playiing with the string bent to the 'edge' of the fretboard or something..I dunno.
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well you answered you own question!! :meh:

    "It sounded best when pushed to the distortion point. I think Dan Elliot from G-K calls this "riding the rails" I'm into tube amps now, but I would pick one up if the price was right."

    I've never heard anybody say that over here though - two nations divided by a common language!! ;)
  7. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Truckers on the Interstate have been known to do it on occasion, or so I've been told.
  8. Tim__x


    Aug 13, 2002
    Alberta, Canada
    My guess as to why it would refer to "rails" is that the main power lines in an amp are often called rails, so if you're pushing an output near the rail voltage you'll be "Riding the rails".
  9. I've always heard "Riding the Rails" was slapping on the edge of the fretboard

    maybe i'm thinking of something else
  10. zilla04


    Feb 11, 2000
    I don't know aboot that, Geddy uses a SansAmp. That's how he gets his distorted sound.

    From the Vapor Trails Tour book:
    "Avalon U5 Tube Direct box - for that "clean" sound / SansAmp R.B.I. Bass preamp by Tech 21 - for that "dirty" sound/ Palmer-PDI-O5 Speaker Simulator - for that "big bottom" ........3 Maytag dryers (coin operated) ... for that "clean, clean" feeling."

    :bassist: :cool:
  11. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings

    I thought it was something to do with pool...
  12. Goldsac


    Mar 15, 2004
    The 'Hill
    Hehe my thoughts exactly. :D