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'66 Slab Precision...Anyone seen one/got one?


Rick's Fine '52
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I'm sure this will have been covered before but as it's fresh in my mind...

I was watching guitar heros at the BBC V last night in iPlayer. The bass player from the Skids was playing a slab, BUT it looked like a Jazz body ? Rosewood neck, block and bound, the body was the correct blonde.

Any ideas ?

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  • 2 months later...

[quote name='The-Ox' timestamp='1469061549' post='3095516']
that basscentre replica is nowhere near a Frank in my opinion. Yep Ben you're correct, could give some credence to the extra bark that Slabs had, as John used the same Hiwatt rig for IoW as he did for Leeds, but used a stock P bass. Then again that was a rosewood neck, could explain the warmer tone
[/quote]

I think the Isle of Wight gig was maybe recorded oddly. There are times when Roger Daltrey is standing closer to Entwistle's amps and you can hear his treble signal bleeding into the vocal mics. It is possible that only the bass amp in his bi-amp rig was committed to tape for whatever reason. The second thought I've had is that Entwistle might have taken that black Precision bass along at the last minute, as we don't see it again onstage. It might not have been setup to his exacting low-action specifications. I do sometimes wonder if the 'Slab tone' is actually a conglomeration of newly introduced roundwound strings on a P bass, with the foam mute removed and the action lowered. This is combined with newly invented 100 watt amplifiers setup in a newly invented bi-amp setup. If, prior to that, the only P bass tone committed to tape was that created with stiff flatwound strings, foam mutes, high action and an Ampeg B15 rumbling away. I think that maybe a few different things happened to converge in one place, right at the time that the first Slabs hit the UK market.

I think the following Move clip has a Slab-like grind to the bass tone, but it looks like a normal P bass.

[media]http://youtu.be/ELRHD4UCo74[/media]

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[quote name='Meddle' timestamp='1480199179' post='3182527']


I think the Isle of Wight gig was maybe recorded oddly. There are times when Roger Daltrey is standing closer to Entwistle's amps and you can hear his treble signal bleeding into the vocal mics. It is possible that only the bass amp in his bi-amp rig was committed to tape for whatever reason. The second thought I've had is that Entwistle might have taken that black Precision bass along at the last minute, as we don't see it again onstage. It might not have been setup to his exacting low-action specifications. I do sometimes wonder if the 'Slab tone' is actually a conglomeration of newly introduced roundwound strings on a P bass, with the foam mute removed and the action lowered. This is combined with newly invented 100 watt amplifiers setup in a newly invented bi-amp setup. If, prior to that, the only P bass tone committed to tape was that created with stiff flatwound strings, foam mutes, high action and an Ampeg B15 rumbling away. I think that maybe a few different things happened to converge in one place, right at the time that the first Slabs hit the UK market.

I think the following Move clip has a Slab-like grind to the bass tone, but it looks like a normal P bass.

[media]http://youtu.be/ELRHD4UCo74[/media]
[/quote]

Also here, standard P, no Hybrid Slab.

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[quote name='Meddle' timestamp='1480199179' post='3182527']
It is possible that only the bass amp in his bi-amp rig was committed to tape for whatever reason.
[/quote]

This has been mentioned a couple of times now, and has got me wondering...was he actually bi-amping this early? I am fully prepared to stand corrected, but I thought he only started splitting the signal when he moved over to Sunn amps and more exotic basses.

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[quote name='Meddle' timestamp='1480199179' post='3182527']
I think the Isle of Wight gig was maybe recorded oddly. There are times when Roger Daltrey is standing closer to Entwistle's amps and you can hear his treble signal bleeding into the vocal mics. It is possible that only the bass amp in his bi-amp rig was committed to tape for whatever reason. The second thought I've had is that Entwistle might have taken that black Precision bass along at the last minute, as we don't see it again onstage. It might not have been setup to his exacting low-action specifications. I do sometimes wonder if the 'Slab tone' is actually a conglomeration of newly introduced roundwound strings on a P bass, with the foam mute removed and the action lowered. This is combined with newly invented 100 watt amplifiers setup in a newly invented bi-amp setup. If, prior to that, the only P bass tone committed to tape was that created with stiff flatwound strings, foam mutes, high action and an Ampeg B15 rumbling away. I think that maybe a few different things happened to converge in one place, right at the time that the first Slabs hit the UK market.

I think the following Move clip has a Slab-like grind to the bass tone, but it looks like a normal P bass.

[media]http://youtu.be/ELRHD4UCo74[/media]
[/quote]

Although the balance is a bit different to Live at Leeds - IOW seems to have the bassier side more prominent, whereas Leeds is all about the treble - I don't think the IOW recording is defective in any way. The treble is side is still clearly there, as heard on the My Generation solo and the into to 1921 for example. It's just not as prominent as it is at Leeds.
Also, the IOW recording as a whole sounds less polished and more raw.
another argument is that JE would never have allowed the IOW set to be released had his bass not been recorded properly!
As mentioned before, the black P bass was used because it matched the skeleton suit - nothing more.

As for the Move clip, the main similarity I can hear is that the bass is being played through - presumably - a guitar amp. However it sounds to me like flatwounds, and very much a 'standard' Precision.

I don't think I've mentioned it before on here but a few months ago I got hold of an old Yamaha Attitude bass - the humble mono version from the 90s. To my absolute delight it seems to have that distinctive extra growl to the tone usually attributed to the Slabs. Now, appearances aside, my Attitude is very much a Precision, but with one difference - a maple-capped neck. As we know this is one of the fabled Slab 'oddities' that could have contributed to the tone. On my experience with the Attitude, I honestly think this could be the key to the tone.

I'm now itching to get my hands on a Roger Waters sig as this also has a maple-capped neck. If my logic is correct this [i]should[/i] be able to pull of a similar trick - once the pickup had been changed of course. :rolleyes:

[quote name='EliasMooseblaster' timestamp='1480331473' post='3183340']
This has been mentioned a couple of times now, and has got me wondering...was he actually bi-amping this early? I am fully prepared to stand corrected, but I thought he only started splitting the signal when he moved over to Sunn amps and more exotic basses.
[/quote]



Although JE's rig became more complicated in later years with the stereo Alembics and frequency splitting etc, his setup at the time of Leeds/IOW was to run two stacks, one clean(ish) and bassy, the other driven and trebly, with the bass running to both.

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having played John's 66 Slab and remakes, I'm not so sure that the tone can be put down to just the neck. I think at the end of the day it comes down to the player. You have to remember John was playing at a volume we'll never play and was really pushing the Hiwatts to the limit - the distortion he got with the slab he could get with any Precision given his equipment and general skill level.

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[quote name='The-Ox' timestamp='1480344191' post='3183532']
having played John's 66 Slab and remakes, I'm not so sure that the tone can be put down to just the neck. I think at the end of the day it comes down to the player. You have to remember John was playing at a volume we'll never play and was really pushing the Hiwatts to the limit - the distortion he got with the slab he could get with any Precision given his equipment and general skill level.
[/quote]

Maybe there's more to it than just the neck, but I don't think volume or choice of amp has any bearing on the real discussion here. The overdrive from the Hiwatt (or Marshall, or Vox) has little to do with the inherent tone of the instrument - when you played the original Slab and noticed the difference in tone, was that at Entwistle volume?

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[quote name='Cosmo Valdemar' timestamp='1480349537' post='3183592']
Maybe there's more to it than just the neck, but I don't think volume or choice of amp has any bearing on the real discussion here. The overdrive from the Hiwatt (or Marshall, or Vox) has little to do with the inherent tone of the instrument - when you played the original Slab and noticed the difference in tone, was that at Entwistle volume?
[/quote]

With my above comment, I was trying to explain John's slab sound in particular. I get what you mean that the overdrive of the amp has little to do with the instrument, but then again when we listen to the slabs, they're through these amps, so it does affect the tone we're hearing? Its been a while since I played it, but I got just as much of the slab bark from the original as I did from the reissue I played from what I remember, I'll try and play it again soon and report back.

I still believe it really depends how you play, that is the overriding factor in my opinion. Live at Leeds is cited a lot on this thread for the slab tone as its made out of slab parts, but the body itself was an Alder P. Listen to this (I'm sure you guys have) live at the Marquee is 1967, this is an actual slab played through a Marshall

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdRs1gKpeGg

This is his Frankenstein played through Hiwatts:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgfiW5XcOUw

Its mainly the player. Which then had me thinking - we're attributing John's playing to the slab sound here, but could others at the time get that sound? If not (which I would not be surprised if they couldn't) then again its the player. I'll try out the original again, but putting this player rhetoric that I'm banging on about aside, I think the electronics must be different. Either in the bass, or its just his amps. Otherwise any old maple capped neck Precision would do the job

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[quote name='The-Ox' timestamp='1480351338' post='3183608']
With my above comment, I was trying to explain John's slab sound in particular. I get what you mean that the overdrive of the amp has little to do with the instrument, but then again when we listen to the slabs, they're through these amps, so it does affect the tone we're hearing? Its been a while since I played it, but I got just as much of the slab bark from the original as I did from the reissue I played from what I remember, I'll try and play it again soon and report back.

I still believe it really depends how you play, that is the overriding factor in my opinion. Live at Leeds is cited a lot on this thread for the slab tone as its made out of slab parts, but the body itself was an Alder P. Listen to this (I'm sure you guys have) live at the Marquee is 1967, this is an actual slab played through a Marshall

[url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdRs1gKpeGg"]https://www.youtube....h?v=YdRs1gKpeGg[/url]

This is his Frankenstein played through Hiwatts:

[url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgfiW5XcOUw"]https://www.youtube....h?v=DgfiW5XcOUw[/url]

Its mainly the player. Which then had me thinking - we're attributing John's playing to the slab sound here, but could others at the time get that sound? If not (which I would not be surprised if they couldn't) then again its the player. I'll try out the original again, but putting this player rhetoric that I'm banging on about aside, I think the electronics must be different. Either in the bass, or its just his amps. Otherwise any old maple capped neck Precision would do the job
[/quote]

I think one of the problems we have when discussing the Slab tone is that there is very little recorded evidence to hand - most of it comes courtesy of JE and then it is quite overdriven. We have to separate how much of the tone is coming from the bass from what the amp is responsible for.

From the two clips you posted, they both sound like Slabs but through different amps. Admittedly one is Frankenstein, which to me discounts the importance of the slab-style body.

I think we can discount JE's playing style as being responsible for the tone as there's recorded evidence of him playing a standard Precision and it sounds different.

As we know, Frankenstein was cobbled together from various parts and stil retained that tone, and the only Slab parts used were the neck and the electronics, so... :rolleyes:

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[quote name='Cosmo Valdemar' timestamp='1480352222' post='3183616']
I think one of the problems we have when discussing the Slab tone is that there is very little recorded evidence to hand - most of it comes courtesy of JE and then it is quite overdriven. We have to separate how much of the tone is coming from the bass from what the amp is responsible for.

From the two clips you posted, they both sound like Slabs but through different amps. Admittedly one is Frankenstein, which to me discounts the importance of the slab-style body.

I think we can discount JE's playing style as being responsible for the tone as there's recorded evidence of him playing a standard Precision and it sounds different.

As we know, Frankenstein was cobbled together from various parts and stil retained that tone, and the only Slab parts used were the neck and the electronics, so... :rolleyes:
[/quote]

yeah, its an interesting one indeed! :) Then again, going back to IoW, take the My Generation performance, if someone told you that was a slab, you'd believe it. The solo sounds near identical to Leeds (My Generation starts at 1:28:48):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVf5wW5J_uA

And this was a stock Precision with rosewood neck. The constants here are John himself and the Hiwatts. Perhaps the slab sound is there within the bass, but most of it is John?

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[quote name='stinson' timestamp='1480361995' post='3183744']
Andy Rourke of The Smiths played one for a while

[url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1viBJ_ih64"]https://www.youtube....h?v=e1viBJ_ih64[/url]
[/quote]

cheers for this. Even though hes a totally different player to John, it sounds different to your usual P bass

Edited by The-Ox
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[quote name='The-Ox' timestamp='1480344191' post='3183532']
having played John's 66 Slab and remakes, I'm not so sure that the tone can be put down to just the neck. I think at the end of the day it comes down to the player. You have to remember John was playing at a volume we'll never play and was really pushing the Hiwatts to the limit - the distortion he got with the slab he could get with any Precision given his equipment and general skill level.
[/quote]

I agree with a lot of this. I spoke to John Kallas on Talkbass about Slabs once. He claimed that the wiring was a normal P-bass wiring scheme and that the pickups were stock as well. To quote John Entwistle:

"There is something different about the sound of these Precisions…I’ve tracked it down to the pickups and tone circuit — the sound is much raunchier and gutsy and has a hint of distortion when the volume is flat out.”

I admire John as a bassist and musician, but I don't think he was right in this instance. There is no source of distortion within a Precision circuit as nothing is clipping.

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[quote name='The-Ox' timestamp='1480353682' post='3183636']
yeah, its an interesting one indeed! :) Then again, going back to IoW, take the My Generation performance, if someone told you that was a slab, you'd believe it. The solo sounds near identical to Leeds (My Generation starts at 1:28:48):

[url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVf5wW5J_uA"]https://www.youtube....h?v=aVf5wW5J_uA[/url]

And this was a stock Precision with rosewood neck. The constants here are John himself and the Hiwatts. Perhaps the slab sound is there within the bass, but most of it is John?
[/quote]

Now, that sounds very different to me from the Leeds recording, both in terms of the bass itself and the sound of the amps. IOW sounds like a Precision to me, with a lot of emphasis on the bass side of the rig, resulting in an almost farting tone. Leeds sounds razor sharp and precise with a much cleaner low end, and with the distinctive extra 'something' of the Slab (albeit Frankenstein). Of course there are so many other variables in play, all we can do is trust our ears in situations like this.

That said, in the footage of Monterey JE is playing a Slab through rented Vox amps, giving a very odd sound most unlike the normal Who roar (Townshend sounds particularly weedy) - however the tone of the Slab is still very apparent.

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[quote name='Meddle' timestamp='1480368258' post='3183845']
I agree with a lot of this. I spoke to John Kallas on Talkbass about Slabs once. He claimed that the wiring was a normal P-bass wiring scheme and that the pickups were stock as well. To quote John Entwistle:

"There is something different about the sound of these Precisions…I’ve tracked it down to the pickups and tone circuit — the sound is much raunchier and gutsy and has a hint of distortion when the volume is flat out.”

I admire John as a bassist and musician, but I don't think he was right in this instance. There is no source of distortion within a Precision circuit as nothing is clipping.
[/quote]

In my youthful naivety I always took JE's comments about the Slab as gospel but it does seem highly unlikely that that pickup and circuit is reponsible for the unique tone. Which brings us back to the neck. I'll have to try and cobble together some recordings of my Yamaha to see what everyone thinks. It's definitely got something extra going on.

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[quote name='Cosmo Valdemar' timestamp='1480415137' post='3184119']
Now, that sounds very different to me from the Leeds recording, both in terms of the bass itself and the sound of the amps. IOW sounds like a Precision to me, with a lot of emphasis on the bass side of the rig, resulting in an almost farting tone. Leeds sounds razor sharp and precise with a much cleaner low end, and with the distinctive extra 'something' of the Slab (albeit Frankenstein). Of course there are so many other variables in play, all we can do is trust our ears in situations like this.

That said, in the footage of Monterey JE is playing a Slab through rented Vox amps, giving a very odd sound most unlike the normal Who roar (Townshend sounds particularly weedy) - however the tone of the Slab is still very apparent.
[/quote]

yeah, I suppose there are differences, the way in which the two concerts were recorded may have been different? I think it was Meddle who said somewhere where you can hear the bass bleed into Roger's mic, I've listened to IoW countless times and I still hear the times when John's bass sometimes gets a more Leeds sound than the rest of the concert, which was quite bassy as you've noted. Then again, when I remember that slab neck it was very heavy, like a baseball bat. It could affect tone somewhat, but I don't think to a great degree.

I personally think his IoW My Generation solo sounds a lot closer to Leeds than say his Monterey one, which has some growl (the player?) but isn't as close. The key being the different amps. Then again, we have to rely on our ears for this one :)

[quote name='Cosmo Valdemar' timestamp='1480415408' post='3184125']
In my youthful naivety I always took JE's comments about the Slab as gospel but it does seem highly unlikely that that pickup and circuit is reponsible for the unique tone. Which brings us back to the neck. I'll have to try and cobble together some recordings of my Yamaha to see what everyone thinks. It's definitely got something extra going on.
[/quote]

that would be cool. I'll try record that slab if I get a chance

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[quote name='The-Ox' timestamp='1480439663' post='3184425']
Then again, when I remember that slab neck it was very heavy, like a baseball bat. It could affect tone somewhat, but I don't think to a great degree.
[/quote]

Purely anecdotal, but I have heard of some guitarists moving to deeper neck profiles because (they reckon) it affords better sustain. Could that baseball-bat neck have provided some similar sustain or other qualities to the tone, or do the jury reckon these guitarists are just talking cobblers?

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[quote name='EliasMooseblaster' timestamp='1480697820' post='3186570']
Purely anecdotal, but I have heard of some guitarists moving to deeper neck profiles because (they reckon) it affords better sustain. Could that baseball-bat neck have provided some similar sustain or other qualities to the tone, or do the jury reckon these guitarists are just talking cobblers?
[/quote]

good point! I had another go at the slab recently, only held it, and the neck was not as heavy as I first remembered. They could have a point

I think it plays a part, but not a huge part. In the context of John Entwistle, whats being discussed here is his slab sound, which is very barky and overdriven. I very much doubt a slightly bigger neck can cause such overdrive, its certainly the amps

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  • 2 weeks later...

played the slab again today. Whilst the strings were old, it didn't have that same growl. Now I'm nowhere near John's level, but I can get a similar tone to his through a Precision, but I really do think its to do with the amp and application of the player in this case. The strings were old mind you

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[quote name='The-Ox' timestamp='1481739294' post='3194761']
played the slab again today. Whilst the strings were old, it didn't have that same growl. Now I'm nowhere near John's level, but I can get a similar tone to his through a Precision, but I really do think its to do with the amp and application of the player in this case. The strings were old mind you
[/quote]

Is this an original Slab or your Slab 66?

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