ZZ Top bass effects.....

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Joaquin, Apr 5, 2008.

  1. Joaquin


    Nov 4, 2006
    Does anyone know what effects the bass player for ZZ Top uses?........also is there an effect that makes a bass sound like a rhythm guitar?........I play in a 3 piece and I need some extra sound during the solo's...........we have bass/guitar/drums and a female vocalist........got to kick things up a notch.....
  2. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    Depending on the album/era you are talking about a bunch of different sounds. There is a major difference between La Grange (amp distortion) and Legs (keyboard synth).

    In the studio, Dusty generally went through one of Billy's guitar head for some grit. Live, probably an overdriven tube amp.

    I'd say just get a overdrive to start with and set it for more than unity gain to get you a little boost while the guitar solos. Dusty Hill is a pretty simple player, some adding in a little extra fills could also keep the song together.

    There are effects that mimic rhythm guitar. The Akai Unibass did that by adding an octave up and a fifth up from that (power chord) to your sound. Must then ran that through an overdrive/fuzz to mimic guitar.
  3. lug


    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    With a a three piece, you have to use some overdrive/distortion.

    A quote:

    My sound is big, heavy, and a bit distorted because it has to overlap the guitar. Someone once asked me to describe my tone, and I said it was like farting in a trash can. - Dusty Hill

    One thing that always helped (but didn't really match his sound) was hitting the Bass Boost button on my Ampegs. I actually used to call it my Dusty Hill button because I usually only used it when we were doing ZZ Top covers. :D
  4. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    There was a lot of overdubbing on their albums too, so what may be heard as an "effect" was sometimes just another track of guitar or keyboard on top of the bass. I do think something like the AKAI Unibass, or an octave-up fuzz, into a small guitar amp (with your clean signal going to a big bass rig) would get you pretty close. They did use octavers sometimes, especially the old blue-face MXR Pitch Transposer (one of my favorite units).