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that 60s bass sound

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  • that 60s bass sound

    ive noticed a lot of the music i love has a really good bass sound, but it sounds nothing like the bass of tdays music.
    probably the best example i can think of is the bass on the bullit theme, low, warm and clear but bassy.
    any ideas what equipment they used for this kind of sound? im guessing its a pretty simple set up. something like a P bass into a standard cab?
    instagram.com/vinylhoard

  • #2
    There's some interesting detail on Carol Kaye here - she played bass on Bullitt, but perhaps not on the main theme. However, one of the things that stood out in that article was -- "In the ’60s, most session bassists played with flatwound strings and a pick (with James Jamerson, who always played with his index finger, being one of the key exceptions). Bass pickups had lower output back then, so the strings had to be plucked with authority, and roundwound strings tended to chew up a pick in short order."

    Yeah, I've only ever used flatwound strings on a fretless bass. Roundwounds are way more popular today. So, maybe that's one of the major differences in tone?

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    • #3
      wow she certanly played on a lot of things i like.
      She played on the Mission impossible soundtrack, so im guessing thats her on the portishead track that sampled it. which is what set me off in the direction of 60s soundtracks 20 years ago.
      instagram.com/vinylhoard

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      • #4
        Ah, I love that sound.

        Yes, flatwound strings (heavy guage) with a pick. Little bit of foam under the bridge.

        Bass sounds today, like most other sounds, have gone to the dogs.

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        • #5
          It's everything. Instruments, mics, mic pre-amps, mixing desk, outboard FX, reel to reel recorders. Then there's all the mastering stuff and what sound was fashionable at the time.

          Ironically, symptoms of the weakness in fidelity of the period tech are desirable these days.

          One tip with bass - experiment with lower mid in the EQ range.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Xann View Post
            It's everything. Instruments, mics, mic pre-amps, mixing desk, outboard FX, reel to reel recorders. Then there's all the mastering stuff and what sound was fashionable at the time.
            True in most cases, but Paul K is asking about a specific bass sound - and that sound is more about the strings and the playing technique rather than the bass, amp, all the other stuff it goes through.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Sonovox View Post
              James Jamerson, who always played with his index finger, being one of the key exceptions
              There's also an interesting technique using the bone of the thumb, to get that Bullitt sound - there's an example of it about 29 seconds in on this...

              http://www.garthfielding.com/instructional.php

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              • #8
                Who plays bass on Love Is Blue By Paul Mauriat, sampled to great effect by the Superimposers among others. I love that sound. Early Axelrod stuff too. Is that sound gone forever, or has anyone got any authentic modern examples?. Bass player with the Dap Kings seems to pull it off live.
                Everyone tear down your own little wall
                That keeps you from being a part of it all
                Because you've got to be one with the one and all
                You've just got to be close to it all

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by treeboy View Post
                  Is that sound gone forever
                  Nah, they'll be modelling it with the click of a mouse soon enough.

                  Interestingly, my mentor when I was working in recording studios reckons that the digi multitracks are only very recently beginning to get there, as far as drums and bass go when compared to the reel to reels.

                  He recorded Bob Marley, Zeppelin & Talk Talk, I believe him.

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                  • #10
                    This thread immediately conjured up this scene from "Le Pacha" in my head...



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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SirSlim View Post
                      This thread immediately conjured up this scene from "Le Pacha" in my head...
                      SNAP!

                      wonder if any of my guests will be bringing that to The OST Show tomorrow afternoon?

                      as an aside, i was looking yesterday for my Gainsbourg double DVD thing, can't find the damn thing anywhere

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                      • #12
                        Read an interesting piece from Dave Richmond somewhere about how he got the bass sound on Melody Nelson - he used the Burns Bison (probably the same one he played at the KPM Allstars gigs), but instead of a piece of foam under the strings he used the palm of his hand to mute them, which meant he could change the sound if needed.

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                        • #13
                          I love that sound too. Carol Kaye does it best, and it's all about playing with a plectrum. There's a clank to the harsh attack that's exhilarating. This is her in a classic example:

                          http://youtu.be/5hVF4u01kKs

                          She plays a similar riff during this great interview, and explains a little about the sound a development of her technique:

                          http://youtu.be/q4JWqK6r6N4
                          http://www.blaxploitation.com
                          Chops for show, groove for dough.

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