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Chipps

Getting that percussive Stranglers sound

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Hi! Mostly new here - and a guitarist-turned-bassist to boot... sorry! 🙂

I've been a bass lurker for a few years, but I'm trying to step it up and actually get round to learning more stuff than just good ol' blues... 

Anyway, I'm a big fan of that bright, percussive sound of the Stranglers (and from there on to Simon Gallup of The Cure) and I'm just wondering how best to get that sound. As a guitarist, it's easy enough to plug in a pedal and get 99% there, but the bass is a lot more subtle (or is it?). Is it the right amp? Strings? Bass? Effects? I'm currently playing a Fender Vintera Precision and I have a TC BG250 combo - at modest spare room levels. I can play with a pick or fingers, but I realise that both Gallup and Burnell are plectrummers. 

So, suggestions please! Thanks for your help.

 

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A vintage JJ tone is really rather simple. Precision bass, rounds, played with a pick into an overdriven amp. It's possible there was a torn speaker cone involved somewhere, but I wouldn't recommend trying to replicate that. I'm going to go out on a limb and say it probably won't be easily achieved with most modern amps. 

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6 hours ago, ZilchWoolham said:

A vintage JJ tone is really rather simple. Precision bass, rounds, played with a pick into an overdriven amp......

And the overdrive was from a guitar amp, not bass (at least for the pre-1980 stuff for which I guess is what we're talking here). And he hit the strings pretty hard. 

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@ZilchWoolham & @Beedster are both spot on here but @ZilchWoolham‘s correct comment about the torn speaker cone (a screwdriver accident) is a vital part of that tone. I believe I’m correct in saying he used a Hiwatt guitar head into a 4 x 12 combo (with punctured cone) in the early days and this ‘orrible slice of avocado shaped into a bass...

8CBDC4D2-904B-4EF8-BEED-DB70B6B24361.jpeg

Edited by Frank Blank

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Wow. Very avocado! 

I’ll have a play with some overdrive then. The screwdriver sounds like the old Link Wray trick of slashing your cone with a razor. I’ll leave that one for now. Thanks all. 

Edited by Chipps
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Touch of overdrive, boost the highs, keep your action low, and pick hard to get some clang off the frets. Tone control all the way up.

If you're wanting to get more specific he did use Hiwatts early on but basically all Hiwatt amps are built off the same circuit with different power sections anyway so there's not much in the guitar/bass distinction - anything valve and loud will get you there. He has an Ashdown signature designed to get that sound without blowing speakers.

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4 minutes ago, borntohang said:

He has an Ashdown signature designed to get that sound without blowing speakers.

The Ashdown JJ-500 doesn't do any driven sounds at all. It's a very clean amp, being based on the Mark King Ashdown.
Live he has a JJ-500 and an ABM, of some variety, not sure how the amps are split across the 2 4x10s and 2 1x15s.

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