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Who owns a Normandy archtop bass and how do you like it?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by blizward, Feb 27, 2016.


  1. blizward

    blizward

    Feb 21, 2013
    Rennes - France
    The title says it all. I've been playing this bass for 5 years mainly to play à la Mark Sandman. It's a bass that feels and sounds quite special.
    What's your opinion?
     
  2. dukeplaysbass

    dukeplaysbass Supporting Member

    I like mine, but I don't find it gives me a Sandman vibe. Are you playing it 2-string, with the slide?
     
  3. blizward

    blizward

    Feb 21, 2013
    Rennes - France
    Thanks for your answer. I've set up the bass fairly high with flatwound strings and I tune it EADA and play with a slide. I wanted to get a feel that was closer to a double bass with a higher action and flats.
    That's my take on Sandman's sound but I didn't try to match his bass/amp configuration. He used a fretless bass with roundwounds for starters, my bass is still fretted, hence the higher action.
    Fact is, I don't use my bass in a traditionnal fashion and I wanted to know how other people enjoyed the Normandy.
    What king of music do you play?
     
  4. dukeplaysbass

    dukeplaysbass Supporting Member

    I actually play in a Morphine tribute band, as one of the projects I have going. My other projects are blues/rock stuff, and a couple of other tribute acts here and there, too.
    I haven't used the Normandy for a while, but did in a rock project a couple of years back.
    For the Morphine tribute I use an Epi Jack Casady, stripped down to two strings, actions jacked way up and played with rounds and a brass slide. It's pretty close. You can check us out here: - Video
     
    NightCat and castelletti like this.
  5. blizward

    blizward

    Feb 21, 2013
    Rennes - France
    Wow cool, a Normandy user AND a Sandman fan? How were the odds. I agree rounds are better for Morphine, that's why I settled on a bright set of flats. The roundwounds' zing under the brass slide was getting on my nerves.
    Your band sounds great and you've got the voice to match.
     
  6. dukeplaysbass

    dukeplaysbass Supporting Member

    Thank you -- that was our first gig, so we're still settling into it a bit...
    I have loved the Normandy thing since I first saw one a few years ago. I love hollowbody guitars and basses and this seemed too cool not to try it. I bought mine off TB, I think, a black anodized one....
    Are you playing full chords on yours? Or single strings, just with the slide? And what kind of slide are you using? I bought and tried about 12-15 different slides before I found one I really liked....
     
  7. blizward

    blizward

    Feb 21, 2013
    Rennes - France
    I have the black anodised one too. I'm not playing full chords on it. Mainly fourths and fifths on two strings. I had trouble finding a slide too. I began with the run of the mill Dunlop metal one but it proved too light. Had success using a moonshine porcelain bottleneck, then found the weight I wanted using a tonebar tucked between my middle and ring finger but it proved real heavy and I'm pretty sure I'd drop it if I was in the heat of the moment. I finally found the perfect fit with a brass rockslide.
    I still use the tone bar every now and then because it's an intesresting feel and I don't gig yet. I'm playing original material and haven't made it out of the shed so far. I found the last piece of my personal puzzle by buying a Cali76 compressor. It's amazing how it made everything fall into place.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2016
  8. dukeplaysbass

    dukeplaysbass Supporting Member

    Funny that you settled on the rockslide. I tried those, but eventually took the Dunlop Eric Sardinas Preachin Pipe ( http://www.amazon.com/Dunlop-Eric-Sardinas-Preachin-Medium/dp/B0007WSMKG) and filed down an edge so that it fits like the rockslide. Yes, it was a long way to go, but mine seems to stay stuck on my finger better than the rockslide and isn't quite so heavy.
    I checked out a YouTube vid of the Cali76 -- that sounds pretty amazing. I'm going to see if I can find one to try.
     
  9. blizward

    blizward

    Feb 21, 2013
    Rennes - France
    I'm also trying to find a suitable capo to get a larger variety of tunings. Have any experience with capos for slide?
     
  10. dukeplaysbass

    dukeplaysbass Supporting Member

    No, Haven't tried that. I've got a pair of Casady's, just switch them for various songs….
     
  11. blizward

    blizward

    Feb 21, 2013
    Rennes - France
    Ahah. I'm yet to buy a second Normandy Archtop. I will probably go a more easy route and buy whatever archtop with a full scale I can find. That said, I doubt I need another archtop because the Normandy is really built to last.
    Good luck with your new band. I'll try and post some of my own stuff in the following weeks. It's in the works.
     
  12. dukeplaysbass

    dukeplaysbass Supporting Member

    I'd like to hear your music - it sounds very interesting....
     
  13. blizward

    blizward

    Feb 21, 2013
    Rennes - France
    I'll post something in the following weeks. I'm trying to record an LP which is code for "I have 3-4 songs ready but I have to get over playing them for someone else".
     
    dukeplaysbass and charlie monroe like this.
  14. blizward

    blizward

    Feb 21, 2013
    Rennes - France
    Hi @dukeplaysbass.
    Here is a sample of what I'm working on. It's far from perfect as it is the first time I record on my own playing every part. The drums are just samples but the rest is live playing.
    Still struggling to nail it in one take :)



    Here's another one where the bass is in front in the mix.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2016
    dukeplaysbass likes this.
  15. dukeplaysbass

    dukeplaysbass Supporting Member

    Hey @blizward -
    I was on the other side of the country last week, and saw that you posted. I really wanted to listen to the tracks until I got home to a good set of headphones. I am really glad I did.
    This is VERY COOL!
    From our discussion above, I wasn't entirely sure what you were doing. Then I listened to those tracks. It's a great concept and effect, and I can completely hear why you chose the Normandy. To me, that bass has an attack (and, for lack of a better word, clarity) that you might not get with any old archtop.
    I went looking for a Cali76 but they are pretty expensive, and a little hard to come by it seems. I Had zero real experience with compressors, so I did some research and found a very low priced MarkBass Compressore that I got to try a little before I left. I think it's going to make a huge difference....
     
  16. blizward

    blizward

    Feb 21, 2013
    Rennes - France
    Thanks for the answer.
    Fact is I chose the Notmandy because I could have for a decent price (was well under the price they usually go on Amazon) and because I wanted a bass I could play without worry for its safety. Not that I'm jumping around or anything but archtops make me nervous somehow even though I love their resonant quality.
    Long story short, the Normandy has a sound of its own that got me building the music around.
    I read nothing but great stuff about the MarkBass Compressore. That would have been my choice if I wasn't such a geek for effect pedals.
    Compression made a huge difference in the slide sound and I'm sure you'll have fun.