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Vanheusen77

Sultans of Swing bass ID

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Posted (edited)

This might seem strange to some but ever since I started playing I always loved and chased the tone on the first Dire Straits album. For the longest time I assumed that it was a P bass based on a lot of photos of John Illsey from this period (he mostly played a jazz later on). Then through the power of internet i heard this isolated track, and I don´t know what to make of it. It sounds more like a jazz with both pickups I think, it has that phasey thing going on in the high end but I am not sure at all. But it sounds amazing! It is through an amp for sure at least. I´m hoping for some knowledgeable Dire Straits nerds to chime in! Here´s the video:

 

 

Edited by Vanheusen77
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Used to listen to that album loads. It does sound like a jazz bass, with a tiny bit of overdrive, recorded from a 15" cab.

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Posted (edited)

Hmmm, I was gonna say Precision, possibly a 70s ash-bodied one hence the more scoopy element to the sound.

Whichever it’s great playing, def my fave DS song.

Edited by Lozz196
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He answered, and what a nice guy!! It was the 59 P bass through the Basing street Ampeg amp. Yay!

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1 hour ago, Vanheusen77 said:

He answered, and what a nice guy!! It was the 59 P bass through the Basing street Ampeg amp. Yay!

Oh well, only 2 decades out!

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I'm amazed he can remember the details, that's impressive. I can't remember what bass and amp I used in the studio 6 months ago!

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I would have guessed Precision bass. Sounds like a contender for the Wilton Felder Ponk thread.

I really don't like this P bass tone, but when you listen to the final track you hear what the engineers can do. As long as you give them definition they can fill out the rest of your tone in the mix.

Again, this was intended to be heard on transistor radios, so no bass frequencies in the sound.

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7 minutes ago, Muppet said:

I'm amazed he can remember the details, that's impressive. I can't remember what bass and amp I used in the studio 6 months ago!

I remember every bass I played on every record I played on and I had no success at all. That was their first hit. They went from starving in a flat in SE London to total success. I'd remember every second if that were me.

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1 minute ago, chris_b said:

I remember every bass I played on every record I played on and I had no success at all.

You have a good memory then.  I still have no idea! But also no success either. 

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17 minutes ago, chris_b said:

I really don't like this P bass tone, but when you listen to the final track you hear what the engineers can do. As long as you give them definition they can fill out the rest of your tone in the mix.

Or make it completely bland. I did a demo using my old Ric 4003s and in the rough mix it had that lovely Ric growl. When it came to the final master, it was reduced to an anodyne, beige sound - I was not happy, but didn’t want to ask for a remix as it wasn’t about me and would’ve probably cost more.

I thought it was a P bass at the get go, but didn’t stick my head above the parapet (easy to say now 😉).

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It's amazing how "straight" it sounds in isolation - doesn't swing at all.

 

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56 minutes ago, franzbassist said:

It's amazing how "straight" it sounds in isolation - doesn't swing at all.

 

Drives the song forward doesn't it. More urgent than if he'd swung it.

 

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2 hours ago, Aidan63 said:

useful online nerd info, including his favourite settings for the SVT

 

Great info there

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2 hours ago, franzbassist said:

It's amazing how "straight" it sounds in isolation - doesn't swing at all.

 

That was my observation, too. 
Very well played, I especially like how the pick with the ghost notes gives an extra drive to the lines. 

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3 hours ago, Aidan63 said:

useful online nerd info, including his favourite settings for the SVT

 

I think those settings are for the guitar amp since they include reverb. Damn those guitar players always get more info! As someone mentioned, not much super low end on 70’s and 80’s records but that’s part of the charm.

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I love listening to isolated bass tracks. When you hear them like this you realise that most of them aren't really too difficult or fast but in the mix they sound amazing. Even YYZ in isolation sounds (just) do-able if you put the work in, the little solo runs are even punched in!

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The Live at the BBC album mixes JI’s Precision a little differently - it’s right in your face. I prefer Muff Winwood’s approach...

 

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I prefer the black Wal on the Alchemy live album... but to be fair I am very biased! 🤣🤣 Though, it’s a good example of how different a Wal can sound from the Geddy, Justin and Percy tones everyone goes on about...

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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, TrevorR said:

I prefer the black Wal on the Alchemy live album... but to be fair I am very biased! 🤣🤣 Though, it’s a good example of how different a Wal can sound from the Geddy, Justin and Percy tones everyone goes on about...

When Pick left the band, Sultans became a bland plod, IMO. I don’t think any line-up (band or solo) has done it justice since.

Edited by wateroftyne
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12 minutes ago, wateroftyne said:

When Pick left the band it became a bland plod, IMO. I don’t think any line-up (band or solo) has done it justice since.

True dat! Those first two albums are the best!

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3 minutes ago, TrevorR said:

True dat! Those first two albums are the best!

For clarity, my comment above was specific to Sultans. I love all the band’s albums, but there’s something unique about Pick’s style that suited the band so well.

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16 minutes ago, wateroftyne said:

For clarity, my comment above was specific to Sultans. I love all the band’s albums, but there’s something unique about Pick’s style that suited the band so well.

Yeah Alchemy was a facetious bass tone preference comment, of course. Still, there’s a feel about those first two albums I love. Making Movies I like, there are lots of songs on BiA that I like but I quickly get tired/bored of both. Never happens with the first two.

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29 minutes ago, TrevorR said:

Yeah Alchemy was a facetious bass tone preference comment, of course. Still, there’s a feel about those first two albums I love. Making Movies I like, there are lots of songs on BiA that I like but I quickly get tired/bored of both. Never happens with the first two.

Agreed. Whilst I like MM and some of the tracks on BiA, those 2 first albums border on perfect for me. Just when I think that I definitely prefer one over the other, I hear a track from the ‘loser’ and it’s all tied again. Communique has a special place for me, as it was the first DS album I bought. However, it was hearing Sultans in a pub that made me rush to the jukebox to find out what the marvellous sound was. Favourite track from those days for me is probably Single Handed Sailor, or is it Once Upon A Time In The West? GAH! So much goodness. 😌

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