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The Rolling Stones Sound


Blues Rock Dawn
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I'm very new to playing the bass, but I realise now that right from being a little girl, it is the bass part of music which usually makes me like a particular piece. I'm very, very lucky as my lovely husband has just treated me to a Sire Marcus Miller P7 Swamp Ash 4 White Blonde (on its way from Germany as we communicate) as a special present.

Can anybody tell me what I might do to alter the sound of my new bass to replicate that Stones sound please as closely as possible please? I like their 60s and 70s stuff best of all (not so keen on their disco era, although I do like Miss You and Emotional Rescue) and that's what I want to play.

I am very new to this; you have all been great with your help and advice up to now. I have a hell of a lot to learn, but I'm loving it, and can't wait to get home after work to do my practice once the usual house jobs are done with!

Thank you very much folks for any shared wisdom 🙂

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Yes and no, it’s just that you then just use volume and tone only, rather than a hidden amplifier (the active option) which changes the sound to be “more hifi”and modern. Think of it as the difference between hearing vinyl and cd recordings of the same song. Your desired era is very much low-fi both in amplification and recording. 


Bill wyman  just had a passive bass with a fairly Wooly thuddy tone and flat wound strings  and you won’t get that sound in the sire’s active mode. roll down the tone a bit to remove higher tones and you’ll be closer. Fewer knobs to fiddle with too

Play around but bear in mind you’ll only ever get close. There are too many other variables to consider to get it exact and some people spend £££s trying to get the exact sound they hear in their head. I don’t know of anyone who’s got exactly what they wanted. 
A degree of the tone you hear comes from the individual way a musician plays, the way their fingers touch the strings (both hands), the pressure they use etc. Example Bernard Edwards in chic used his fingernails to “Chuck” at the string whilst also using his fingertip pads. 

Edited by Geek99
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Try the link at the end of this page 

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-much-gear-so-little-time/1195167-bill-wyman-isolated-track.html

it’s bills “bass only” aka isolated track from gimme shelter, so you can hear his tone more clearly 

this demo isn’t a million miles away 

looks like passive mode is the little toggle. There are many sire owners here so I’m sure they can advise you better than me about controls. 
@Machines I think this is probably in the wrong forum, suggest it be moved somewhere better so a newbie can get better qualified help than she is getting from me :) 

 

 

Edited by Geek99
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1 hour ago, chris_b said:

I don't know about the 60's but the Stones touring rig in the early 70's was all Ampeg.

The SVT debut was the 1969 Stones US tour. Bill, Keith and Mick Taylor all used them, because their UK spec Fenders were all burned out in rehearsal in Los Angeles by a dodgy power conversion. There were five prototype SVTs at Ampeg in LA, which ended up as the Stones backline for the tour. Why they didn't just get replacement Fenders from down the road in Fullerton isn't known. Likely it was another of many cockups by the new owners of Fender, CBS.

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I assume you're looking for the sound you hear on your records from the time. If so, the advice above is all good. One point worth bearing in mind is that it can be difficult to mimic the exact tones on records, which is produced via of a lot of studio-quality equipment. Reproducing that at live volumes without spending a fortune can be tricky. Have fun with the new bass.

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1 hour ago, Dan Dare said:

I assume you're looking for the sound you hear on your records from the time. If so, the advice above is all good. One point worth bearing in mind is that it can be difficult to mimic the exact tones on records, which is produced via of a lot of studio-quality equipment.

The sound of the records through at least 1970 was likely a mic'd amp. Even after that when it was probably direct the mix on the records was bass shy, because the average consumer playback systems of the day couldn't handle much below 80Hz. Modern re-mastered mixes sound completely different, and not just with the bass. The re-mix of 'Satisfaction' is dominated by piano, which for the first 40 or so years after its release I never heard at all.

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2 hours ago, EssentialTension said:

Passive short scale bass, flatwounds, played with a plectrum near or even over the end of the fretboard.

That's absolutely the right place to start.  AFAIK Bill always played short-scale basses (as I do) and the shorter strings produce a distinctively different sound.  This is further reinforced by using flat-wound strings (less bright than round-wounds) and the electro-acoustic construction of many of his earlier basses (e.g. Framus).  Fyi, The Bass Centre in London made a Bill Wyman signature bass some time ago designed in consultation with the man himself.  This was a lightweight, compact bass made to fit a lightweight, compact player.  The lovely bass you 

http://www.basscentre.com/british-bass-masters/BBM-Wyman.html

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14 hours ago, Geek99 said:

Try the link at the end of this page 

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-much-gear-so-little-time/1195167-bill-wyman-isolated-track.html

it’s bills “bass only” aka isolated track from gimme shelter, so you can hear his tone more clearly 

this demo isn’t a million miles away 

looks like passive mode is the little toggle. There are many sire owners here so I’m sure they can advise you better than me about controls. 
@Machines I think this is probably in the wrong forum, suggest it be moved somewhere better so a newbie can get better qualified help than she is getting from me :) 

 

 

Thanks for letting me know. Alas I haven't been a mod for well over 5 years 😁

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20 hours ago, Blues Rock Dawn said:

Thank you very much folks for any shared wisdom 🙂

Just this week I've been jamming along to the '50th Anniversary Edition' of Sympathy, available for free on The Stones youtube channel. 👍

It's been a long time since I played it. Simple, but fast enough to be a good workout for the fingers.

Not sure about wisdom, but it's said that Keith played bass on that track.

Edited by Ricky 4000
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11 hours ago, scrumpymike said:

Have you got one?  It's one of the few s-s basses I've not owned or tried.

I'm in the "would like to try one" category. I love the look, not sure if the sound would suit me.

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On 25/04/2020 at 03:16, Blues Rock Dawn said:

I'm very new to playing the bass, but I realise now that right from being a little girl, it is the bass part of music which usually makes me like a particular piece. I'm very, very lucky as my lovely husband has just treated me to a Sire Marcus Miller P7 Swamp Ash 4 White Blonde (on its way from Germany as we communicate) as a special present.

Can anybody tell me what I might do to alter the sound of my new bass to replicate that Stones sound please as closely as possible please? I like their 60s and 70s stuff best of all (not so keen on their disco era, although I do like Miss You and Emotional Rescue) and that's what I want to play.

I am very new to this; you have all been great with your help and advice up to now. I have a hell of a lot to learn, but I'm loving it, and can't wait to get home after work to do my practice once the usual house jobs are done with!

Thank you very much folks for any shared wisdom 🙂

Great choice of bass - congratulations! I recently got a P7 (5 string) and am loving it - it holds it own really well against the other basses that cost several times as much and has a great P bass tone.

I particularly like the versatility of the active circuit on the Sires - 3 band EQ, separate tone control and semi-para mids! You will rarely get something so versatile on a bass in this price bracket.

Chris and others have mentioned Ampeg tones for the Stones. It's a great tone, regardless. A couple of ways of getting that, outside getting an Ampeg rig, would be a pedal such as the Tech21 VT Bass DI or if you wanted to go budget the a Zoom B14 multifx which has an Ampeg sim, as well as a host of other effects, tuner, drum machine and looper. In fact just get a B14 anyway! :) 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 26/04/2020 at 07:11, Trueno said:

I'm in the "would like to try one" category. I love the look, not sure if the sound would suit me.

Vox Wyman? I had one in the early '70s. Didn't really get on with it, neck too skinny, way too heavy (chrome scratch plate) and the sound wasn't great. Sold it and bought a Futurama Coronado IV which was a huge improvement as far as I was concerned. Bill didn't really use his much either, I think he preferred the Framus.

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13 minutes ago, pete.young said:

Vox Wyman? I had one in the early '70s. Didn't really get on with it, neck too skinny, way too heavy (chrome scratch plate) and the sound wasn't great. Sold it and bought a Futurama Coronado IV which was a huge improvement as far as I was concerned. Bill didn't really use his much either, I think he preferred the Framus.

No, the BW signature bass that Trueno and me are talking about is the relatively recent one made by the London Bass Centre as part of their British Bass Masters series.

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