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647536 Posts in 25905 Topics by 3700 Members - Latest Member: BigRed June 17, 2019, 07:51:19 AM
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Author Topic: Synths in the Brian's Back Era  (Read 579 times)
wjcrerar
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« on: June 10, 2019, 08:09:08 AM »

So, I know that a Moog 55 was used to produce all of the synth sounds in the home studio era (and they had the custom ribbon controller theremin-imitation Moog but I'm not sure that was ever used in the studio), and Brian used an ARP Odyssey during the Iowa Spring sessions in late '72/early '73, but am I right in thinking the synths at Brother '74-beyond were a Minimoog, Moog Taurus bass pedals and ARP String Ensemble?

Basically, the reason I'm asking is I'd read that Brian used the Taurus bass pedals a lot on Love You, but not knowing much about the instrument I was wondering if that could've been used for all of the basslines on the album or if it was more likely some combo of that, the keys on a Minimoog, and/or a full Moog modular if they had one at the time. There's the really distinctive, crunchy fart bass across most of the album that's kinda Love You's signature sound (Mona, I'll Bet He's Nice, Let Us Go on This Way etc), meanwhile a few random tracks from the era like The Night Was So Young, I Wanna Pick You Up and Marilyn Rovell have a totally different low-key sort of tone and I have no idea if those sounds would've come from the same synth or not. The bass sound on the non-big-band Adult Child songs is different again.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2019, 08:09:37 AM by wjcrerar » Logged
c-man
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« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2019, 08:44:34 AM »

So, I know that a Moog 55 was used to produce all of the synth sounds in the home studio era (and they had the custom ribbon controller theremin-imitation Moog but I'm not sure that was ever used in the studio), and Brian used an ARP Odyssey during the Iowa Spring sessions in late '72/early '73, but am I right in thinking the synths at Brother '74-beyond were a Minimoog, Moog Taurus bass pedals and ARP String Ensemble?

Basically, the reason I'm asking is I'd read that Brian used the Taurus bass pedals a lot on Love You, but not knowing much about the instrument I was wondering if that could've been used for all of the basslines on the album or if it was more likely some combo of that, the keys on a Minimoog, and/or a full Moog modular if they had one at the time. There's the really distinctive, crunchy fart bass across most of the album that's kinda Love You's signature sound (Mona, I'll Bet He's Nice, Let Us Go on This Way etc), meanwhile a few random tracks from the era like The Night Was So Young, I Wanna Pick You Up and Marilyn Rovell have a totally different low-key sort of tone and I have no idea if those sounds would've come from the same synth or not. The bass sound on the non-big-band Adult Child songs is different again.

I've never seen that said (or written) about the Taurus pedals...I agree that the synth bass sound on most of Love You is quite a bit different than other synth bass-used tracks from the era, but I always chalked that up to effects used on mixdown. If he DID use the pedals, I'd assume he pounded them with this fist or palms rather then feet. Is this from reliable source?
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wjcrerar
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« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2019, 09:06:15 AM »

So, I know that a Moog 55 was used to produce all of the synth sounds in the home studio era (and they had the custom ribbon controller theremin-imitation Moog but I'm not sure that was ever used in the studio), and Brian used an ARP Odyssey during the Iowa Spring sessions in late '72/early '73, but am I right in thinking the synths at Brother '74-beyond were a Minimoog, Moog Taurus bass pedals and ARP String Ensemble?

Basically, the reason I'm asking is I'd read that Brian used the Taurus bass pedals a lot on Love You, but not knowing much about the instrument I was wondering if that could've been used for all of the basslines on the album or if it was more likely some combo of that, the keys on a Minimoog, and/or a full Moog modular if they had one at the time. There's the really distinctive, crunchy fart bass across most of the album that's kinda Love You's signature sound (Mona, I'll Bet He's Nice, Let Us Go on This Way etc), meanwhile a few random tracks from the era like The Night Was So Young, I Wanna Pick You Up and Marilyn Rovell have a totally different low-key sort of tone and I have no idea if those sounds would've come from the same synth or not. The bass sound on the non-big-band Adult Child songs is different again.

I've never seen that said (or written) about the Taurus pedals...I agree that the synth bass sound on most of Love You is quite a bit different than other synth bass-used tracks from the era, but I always chalked that up to effects used on mixdown. If he DID use the pedals, I'd assume he pounded them with this fist or palms rather then feet. Is this from reliable source?

If you google there are quite a few offhand mentions of Brian using the Taurus on wiki and forum threads and such, I'm not sure what the original source for all of those is though. The attack and simple lines on Mona and the Airplane tag sound pedal-y to me but I don't know what the logistics would be for pulling off something like the bridge of Let Us Go on This Way. Maybe Earle Mankey would know?
« Last Edit: June 10, 2019, 09:11:32 AM by wjcrerar » Logged
guitarfool2002
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« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2019, 09:46:41 AM »

This gets into similar areas as other recent discussions about real sitar versus Coral Electric Sitar, etc...

In this case the Moog Taurus comes down to form, function, and design. If you get a chance to check one out, it is designed primarily for *stage* or live use, and designed almost 100% to be played and controlled with the musician's feet. Obviously it's the design of traditional organ pedals, so a traditional organist from church, jazz organ combos who did not have a bassist (like Jimmy Smith, Groove Holmes, etc), and the like could add this to a full Moog rig - and that was the original concept. The Taurus was supposed to be part of a larger rig.

All the controls on a Taurus are designed for foot control, from the actual note pedals to the sound/channel bank changes (footswitches) to the extra wide slider controls on the top left and right. The only things not for the feet are controls under a little clear plastic screen top-center.

Did players use the Taurus with their hands, mounted at normal keyboard level? Of course, many did and do. However it's not an instrument built for that purpose or function. I'd argue there may be some unique sounds in the Taurus, but I'd also argue there would be nothing you could not dial in on a standard Moog with keyboard controller, and have the playability level increase greatly (obviously...)

What makes this interesting is there is at least *one* very well documented example of Brian getting on the floor and playing the bass pedals of his Baldwin in 1967 to get the Fall Breaks bassline. There are also the cases of Brian asking either Don Randi, Larry Knechtel, or another organist to play the pedals of the Hammond B3 in the studio with his hands for Good Vibrations sessions at some point.

But Brian himself was *not* a pedal organ player. Many rock players of that era did not play the pedals of their various Hammonds because it was superfluous, especially if there already was a bass player in the group. And many were *not* traditional organ players to begin with, and did not come from the backgrounds of learning full church or theater organ. So they often didn't have the pedal assembly attached at all, especially on the road.

Taking all of that into consideration, is it possible Brian used a Taurus on some of those tracks? Absolutely, yes. Is it probable that he played it as designed, using his feet with the unit on the floor? I'd say 99% not possible...but who knows except those who were there. Is it more probable Brian played those bass lines on a MiniMoog or a similar Moog that could get most of the same sounds and even attack using a keyboard controller versus pounding foot pedals, when dialed in the same way? I'd say yes.

So basically where I stand - happy to be corrected as usual - is suggesting you could hammer in nails on a construction job using a screwdriver handle, but why would you do that when you have a hammer available?

If a Taurus were used, I highly doubt it was played using the feet. And if it were used, I'd think it was used as a novelty if used at all, as in "let's try this new gadget" while an easier and more user friendly way already existed through a Moog keyboard controlled device.  The Taurus ultimately was designed for live on stage or live in studio performance, to give keyboardists who played traditional organ pedals the same tools they had on other organs for several decades (and centuries lol) prior, or to give guitarists or other band members the ability to lay down bass grooves with their feet while playing their regular instruments...see Geddy Lee for the most obvious example.

Just my 2 cents.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2019, 09:48:35 AM by guitarfool2002 » Logged

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wjcrerar
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« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2019, 10:03:10 AM »

That's a great breakdown, thank you!
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ReggieDunbar
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« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2019, 09:09:20 AM »

Found this on youtube a while back.


The infamous Beach Boys "Love You" bass synth recreated on a Moog Sub 37. Sorry for bad timing playing this song, is just to demonstrate the sound Smiley. Non sure but I think the original one was made with a Moog Taurus.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSNk86B5XNw
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