German was my first guess!
After some quick research, it seems she is from Austria, not Germany. Close though.
Must be a private investigator!
Oh, @terb I love that! I know what I want to play next, now! Great t-shirt!
ZZ Top - If I Could Only Flag Her Down
… the forgotten track of Eliminator …
So, a lot of things to say, this time.
As I already said on another thread, a very good friend of mine is a professionnal musician and he used to play as the bass player of a ZZ Top cover/tribute band. He was using a simple 51-style Squier Precision Bass and he only changed the pickup for a Seymour Duncan. He says that this bass has more punch and output level than its Warwick. But that’s not the most interesting. He already told me that Dusty Hill was using guitar amps to get a more midrange focused tone. And, about the plucking technique, my friend explained to me that Dusty sometimes used some kind of hybrid technique between pick and bare fingers : he plays down/up with its bare index, which gives a more percussive attack than a standard plucking, but much less of the agressive edge we all love with the pick (we talked about this hybrid technique on the pick thread).
Well, a few things to try. About this plucking technique, I chose a song with a relatively fast shuffle, which is in my opinion where the index down/up should be the more interesting. so, OK, it works … but I don’t like much this technique, I find I have way more control with a pick. Also it’s funny to realize that, watching the video, you could easily believe I’m using a pick. but no.
Also about the bass choice, Dusty Hill always uses strange Precision Basses, so I thought this cover would be a good first run for the resurected Jim Harley plywood P-thing its strung with 65/130 round wounds, tuned in BEAD but only used on the EAD strings here, so it’s pretty much the same thing than a standard tuning with an offset of one string.
is a plywood body a problem ? no. it is for a guitar but not really for a bass, in my opinion. of course it sounds more dull, less lively than a solid wood body, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially if you’re into vintage bass tones. it also sounds more percussive (which is the other side of “less sustain”) yet fat, which can be a good thing. I even regret to have used new strings ; well I had to change the rusty (!) strings anyway so I don’t really regret, but it would have sounded more vintage/fat with dead strings or flatwounds. Also the cheap pickup sounds pretty agressive and harsh in the high-mids, where the particular amp I used happens to be really agressive too, so I EQed it a bit in the mix (about -3dB notch around 800 Hz).
Speaking about the amp, I’m using one of my vintage Marshall amps : with 12 watt of power and a 10" speaker, this 1982 Lead 12 was the smallest amp of the JCM800 era. I love this amp, it’s so cute and sounds awesome. Fun fact : Billy Gibbons used an actual Marshall Lead 12 to record one or two songs on Recycler. Other fun fact : I also own a 1981 JCM800 head but I use the Lead 12 way more often.
Back to the record. The problem with using a guitar amp with a bass is the big risk of blowing the speakers, which are not at all designed for such low frequencies + in this case, this 1982 Celestion is pretty rare and would be very hard to find, if I ever needed to replace it ! I can’t take a chance with that. So, what I did is I unplugged the speaker (my Lead 12 is moddified for this / please note that this would not work so easily with a tube power amp like on my other Marshalls !) and ran the signal into the Bass POD XT. What’s pretty cool with this POD model is that I can disable the amp simulation and use only a cab/mic/room simulation. The Bass POD XT is obviously made for bass and has bass cab simulations, but it also has two Marshall 4x12 sims, loaded with Greenbacks from different years. Absolutly perfect ! So, the amp part of the sound comes from the actual Marshall, and the cab part comes from the Bass POD XT.
So, the setup is unusual and a bit complicated, but I find it’s funny to try weird setups like this ! and it ended up working pretty well in my opinion. nice warm midrange grind, as always with good Marshall amps.
I love the option to use the Bass POD XT as a cab simulator with an analog amp/preamp. It could be interesting to get a POD XT (the guitar version) for more cab simulations … may look for one
Great cover, @terb . . .
One of my fav bands, too!
Wait - you ran the preamp signal into the Bass POD, not the Power Amp output, right?
I’d have done that if this amp had a preamp out, but no, I ran directly the power amp into the POD at a low level of course. it’s way less risky than it appears, because the high input impedance of the POD makes the amp output a very low current (and so a very very low power, probably not more than an active bass for example). the only real goal is to avoid overloading the input (in voltage, not current) to avoid clipping, but it’s manageable with the master volume at a low setting.
also I thank about building a simple passive adapter, some kind of dedicated DI (I’ve done one for a friend in the past) but that’s not really necessary in this case.
again : I can do this because this is a very low power class AB solid state amp ! never ever do this with a tube amp or you will blow the output transformer ! and probably the POD too because of the much higher voltage. and I would not have done this with a class D or T amp either because of the load needed to remove the modulation wave.
Haha man that’s incredible, I never would have had the guts to do that.
Killer, and thanks for all the performance notes.
I think ZZ Top should be a mandatory chapter in any bassist journey.
So much simple, heavy groove.
Ultimate rock and roll.
That was great @terb!
One question though, are sunglasses required to post a video?
not at all ! sunglasses are required only for ZZ Top covers
Wow, I really admire how much effort you put into these covers and how you go to great length to re-create the right sounds, or create your own sounds that also serve the music.
You also seem totally “in the pocket” here!
yeah I admit that this last cover was a bunch of tests all stacked together that’s a part of the fun in my opinion, and I find covers make great supports for this kind of stuff.
sound-wise I must admit I expected less. I was not trying to recreate the existing tone but I wanted something coherent with the mix and with the Dusty Hill’s approach. it’s not the best tone ever, but it works not so bad in this context, I think !
about the song and the playing, there’s really nothing difficult if you master a “high speed” shuffle (almost 150 BPM here) and otherwise it would be an excellent exercise ! the hardest point is almost to keep the concentration and don’t forget to change note when this rarely happens !
anyway I totally agree with what said @Gio , those very simple / very efficient / very punch bass lines sould be mandatory at some point ! if you master a nice shuffle and a nice chug at a decent speed, you can play a lot of things and really play the role of the engine in a band ! that’s why people hire bass players, right ?
That’s what I’m working towards, @terb . . .
Haha, yes, I probably would totally walk into that trap
And even though plenty of people told jazz-degree, music-college me this… it didn’t sink in until much, much later. Still haven’t been asked to play sick and shredding arpeggio runs on any sessions… but a chugging shuffle groove? Yep.
So, where is it then?
Well, erh, ran into one or two roadblocks!?!?
However, if you check my post from Jan 4 in this very thread, you’ll find that I kinda kept my promise