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652233 Posts in 26061 Topics by 3717 Members - Latest Member: My1stBonerWasCamDiaz November 20, 2019, 12:26:13 PM
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Author Topic: Ray Pohlman's 57 Fender Bass  (Read 927 times)
aeijtzsche
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« on: October 30, 2019, 11:33:31 PM »

Check it out:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BuCEaDLBj6Y/

That might very well be the bass we hear on Here Today, IJWMFTT, IKTAA, GV, and GOK...  Great to know it's accounted for.
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« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2019, 08:30:51 AM »

Nice! Your 10-20 minutes spent searching for photos certainly paid off yesterday. Wink
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« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2019, 09:06:31 AM »

So great to see legendary instruments like this and the Barney Kessel mando-guitar...so great to know they still exist and are accounted for these many decades later!
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aeijtzsche
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« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2019, 09:19:18 AM »

Nice! Your 10-20 minutes spent searching for photos certainly paid off yesterday. Wink

It very occasionally does pay off.

Cool to see the wear spot where the anodized layer of aluminum is worn away from where Ray's hand sat.  It's funny, because on the Beach Boys tracks he plays on, he is nearly always using a pick and a heavy palm muted sound, but when left to his own devices, Ray preferred to play with his thumb, not unlike Brian, thus the wear underneath the strings where he would anchor his hand.
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« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2019, 09:37:18 AM »

Nice! Your 10-20 minutes spent searching for photos certainly paid off yesterday. Wink

It very occasionally does pay off.

Cool to see the wear spot where the anodized layer of aluminum is worn away from where Ray's hand sat.  It's funny, because on the Beach Boys tracks he plays on, he is nearly always using a pick and a heavy palm muted sound, but when left to his own devices, Ray preferred to play with his thumb, not unlike Brian, thus the wear underneath the strings where he would anchor his hand.

God, he was a monster when playing that thing with a pick! So many people assume his rapid-fire bass playing on "Here Today" or the slower, deliberate picking on "IJWMFTT" was on a 6-string bass, but it was actually this Fender 4-string!
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aeijtzsche
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« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2019, 10:25:36 AM »

Nice! Your 10-20 minutes spent searching for photos certainly paid off yesterday. Wink

It very occasionally does pay off.

Cool to see the wear spot where the anodized layer of aluminum is worn away from where Ray's hand sat.  It's funny, because on the Beach Boys tracks he plays on, he is nearly always using a pick and a heavy palm muted sound, but when left to his own devices, Ray preferred to play with his thumb, not unlike Brian, thus the wear underneath the strings where he would anchor his hand.

God, he was a monster when playing that thing with a pick! So many people assume his rapid-fire bass playing on "Here Today" or the slower, deliberate picking on "IJWMFTT" was on a 6-string bass, but it was actually this Fender 4-string!

I am only 95% convinced it's not Dano 6-string on IJWMFTT.  There's something about the tone quality of the lower notes when he's doubling Chuck Berghofer (rather than the high stuff) that sounds a lot like the sort of loose-string, short-scale honk of a 6-string bass.  That's a sound I've never been able to get on a Fender.

Good fodder for a video!
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« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2019, 12:02:59 PM »

Nice! Your 10-20 minutes spent searching for photos certainly paid off yesterday. Wink

It very occasionally does pay off.

Cool to see the wear spot where the anodized layer of aluminum is worn away from where Ray's hand sat.  It's funny, because on the Beach Boys tracks he plays on, he is nearly always using a pick and a heavy palm muted sound, but when left to his own devices, Ray preferred to play with his thumb, not unlike Brian, thus the wear underneath the strings where he would anchor his hand.

God, he was a monster when playing that thing with a pick! So many people assume his rapid-fire bass playing on "Here Today" or the slower, deliberate picking on "IJWMFTT" was on a 6-string bass, but it was actually this Fender 4-string!

I am only 95% convinced it's not Dano 6-string on IJWMFTT.  There's something about the tone quality of the lower notes when he's doubling Chuck Berghofer (rather than the high stuff) that sounds a lot like the sort of loose-string, short-scale honk of a 6-string bass.  That's a sound I've never been able to get on a Fender.

Good fodder for a video!

Speaking of that...what do you make of the bass sound on "Warmth Of The Sun" and "Hushabye"?  To me, those almost sound like the Dano 6-string...that kind of loose sound, where you can kind of hear the frets...I wouldn't call it fret buzz, exactly, but you know what I mean?
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« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2019, 12:09:01 PM »

I've managed to get an almost identical tone on a 4-string when my strings were just really dead, muted as much as possible without much low end and playing pretty forcefully with a thin pick near the neck. Wasn't a Fender but... I think it's doable. Love to Say Dada (Part 2) is another one sounding like a classic Ray clicky lead melody (or at least I think it's him rather than Bill Pitman on 6-string) that suddenly turns into an almost Dano-ish 'honk' in the breakdown when he hits a lower note.

To add to the Ray appreciation list: Vegetables fade! That one's wild, feels more like it's functioning as percussion than anything else.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2019, 12:20:24 PM by wjcrerar » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2019, 12:26:02 PM »

A trick I've used to nail that sound is to play through a Fender guitar amp, which is how many of these tracks were cut...if it wasnt an Ampeg. Also, factor in EQ both on the bass and amp, and at the mixing board. They wanted high end to cut through the mix, and when you accent highs over lows, you hear more string and fret noise. A lot of times they recorded Fender bass more like a guitar, which was opposite what Motown and Stax were doing at that time.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2019, 12:27:26 PM by guitarfool2002 » Logged

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aeijtzsche
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« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2019, 12:32:20 PM »


Speaking of that...what do you make of the bass sound on "Warmth Of The Sun" and "Hushabye"?  To me, those almost sound like the Dano 6-string...that kind of loose sound, where you can kind of hear the frets...I wouldn't call it fret buzz, exactly, but you know what I mean?


Well, yeah, and Brian was definitely into using the Dano at that time, especially when Al was playing Fender...  Hushabye is such a dark, low sound, I could definitely see that being Al on Fender and Ray or whomever on Dano.  Are there AFM sheets for those?  Warmth of the Sun Could could be the same deal but I'm not sure about the personnel situation there, since there's definitely two guitars, so I'm not sure if there were enough people for two basses.  I would bet against WOTS being JUST Dano, though--there's definitely some 34-inch scale bass on there to my ears.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2019, 12:34:19 PM by aeijtzsche » Logged
aeijtzsche
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« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2019, 12:39:03 PM »

A trick I've used to nail that sound is to play through a Fender guitar amp, which is how many of these tracks were cut...if it wasnt an Ampeg. Also, factor in EQ both on the bass and amp, and at the mixing board. They wanted high end to cut through the mix, and when you accent highs over lows, you hear more string and fret noise. A lot of times they recorded Fender bass more like a guitar, which was opposite what Motown and Stax were doing at that time.

Yep, Ray seems to have favored a 4x10 Bassman for his Fender and Dano work.

EDIT: Whops!  After finding a better version of the Budimir chat photo, that's a 1X12 or 1x15 and thus maybe a Pro?Huh


« Last Edit: November 01, 2019, 10:09:57 PM by aeijtzsche » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2019, 02:07:09 PM »

As for that classic '63-65 Fender Bass sound, like Warmth Of The Sun, Catch A Wave, Hushabye, Wendy... Those, to my knowledge, are solely Al on Fender Bass. He likely would've used a pick. On Fun, Fun, Fun and I Get Around, for example, Al (on the Fender) was doubled by Ray (and I believe Glen Campbell) on Dano. But a lot of those '64 tracks were just Al. I think that sharp sound can largely be attributed to using a pick- that's why it's not as prominent when Brian plays Fender Bass, since he uses his thumb. Think about the difference in Fender Bass sound between Surfin USA, Little Deuce Coupe, and 409 - round and warm - versus stuff like Catch A Wave, All Summer Long, Merry Christmas Baby - sharp "string noise". That's the difference between Brian playing with his thumb and Al playing with a pick.

Of course by Today, Summer Days, and Pet Sounds, the bass lines were becoming much more layered. It wouldn't be uncommon for a song to feature String Bass, Fender Bass, and Dano Bass, and that's where things can get a little tricky. Also interesting to note that, Brian seems to have played the Fender and Dano Bass on That's Not Me, which has some parts in unison and some complementing each other- typical of most of BW's arrangements at the time.
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aeijtzsche
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« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2019, 08:35:21 PM »

As for that classic '63-65 Fender Bass sound, like Warmth Of The Sun, Catch A Wave, Hushabye, Wendy... Those, to my knowledge, are solely Al on Fender Bass. He likely would've used a pick. On Fun, Fun, Fun and I Get Around, for example, Al (on the Fender) was doubled by Ray (and I believe Glen Campbell) on Dano. But a lot of those '64 tracks were just Al. I think that sharp sound can largely be attributed to using a pick- that's why it's not as prominent when Brian plays Fender Bass, since he uses his thumb. Think about the difference in Fender Bass sound between Surfin USA, Little Deuce Coupe, and 409 - round and warm - versus stuff like Catch A Wave, All Summer Long, Merry Christmas Baby - sharp "string noise". That's the difference between Brian playing with his thumb and Al playing with a pick.

Of course by Today, Summer Days, and Pet Sounds, the bass lines were becoming much more layered. It wouldn't be uncommon for a song to feature String Bass, Fender Bass, and Dano Bass, and that's where things can get a little tricky. Also interesting to note that, Brian seems to have played the Fender and Dano Bass on That's Not Me, which has some parts in unison and some complementing each other- typical of most of BW's arrangements at the time.


Al was definitely the unsung de facto studio bassist for a bit there.  What's kind of interesting is that on a lot of the tracks in 64-65, they'd be doubling almost the entire track when it was just the Boys playing, like ASL or WIGU(TBAM) among others, so there would end up being that distinct doubled bass sound from Al playing the line twice.

Then as Brian brought more and more musicians in to augment and then completely replace the boys, he did go nuts with the basses (and other things) and didn't need to double track the basics anymore.  And that's where your That's Not Me comment comes in.  The one all BBs track on Pet Sounds goes back to the old formula in a way of players doubling themselves in overdub.  Although like you say, it's not an identical bass part any more, and reflects similar two distinct bass part tracks like IJWMFTT, Here Today, Caroline, GV, and others.

In any case, it's a great topic.  One day I really do hope to do a demo video about it.
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« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2019, 10:48:38 PM »

Yep, Al used a pick on the Fender bass each time, to the best of my knowledge. "Don't Worry Baby" is a great example, where it sounds every bit as growly as Carol Kaye's Fender bass/pick performance on "Please Let Me Wonder" or "Sloop John B." One interesting tidbit, though, is that Brian - while rarely if ever using an actual pick - actually did use his thumbnail to get a "pick" sound on a few things (Bruce told me that once, in person, when we were discussing Brian's approach to the bass).

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« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2019, 10:55:31 PM »

Yep, Al used a pick on the Fender bass each time, to the best of my knowledge. "Don't Worry Baby" is a great example, where it sounds every bit as growly as Carol Kaye's Fender bass/pick performance on "Please Let Me Wonder" or "Sloop John B." One interesting tidbit, though, is that Brian - while rarely if ever using an actual pick - actually did use his thumbnail to get a "pick" sound on a few things (Bruce told me that once, in person, when we were discussing Brian's approach to the bass).



When I met Brian in 2006, one thing that really struck me was that his thumb nails were really long.
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« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2019, 02:17:20 AM »

I think there's an example of Brian's thumbnail in action on the first version of You're With Me Tonight, the one with two electric basses. On the basic track it's got the rounded Brian thumb sound, but on the overdub where it's doubled (right channel on Sunshine Tomorrow) there's a kind of brittle edge to it, not just a thumb but not quite as firm as a pick would be either.

The second Wild Honey version of Been Way Too Long (last half of the twofer and GV set mixes) could be another. Neither soft nor particularly thumpy.
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« Reply #16 on: November 03, 2019, 04:27:07 AM »

I think there's an example of Brian's thumbnail in action on the first version of You're With Me Tonight, the one with two electric basses. On the basic track it's got the rounded Brian thumb sound, but on the overdub where it's doubled (right channel on Sunshine Tomorrow) there's a kind of brittle edge to it, not just a thumb but not quite as firm as a pick would be either.

The second Wild Honey version of Been Way Too Long (last half of the twofer and GV set mixes) could be another. Neither soft nor particularly thumpy.

Hi, SM, and welcome (seems like centuries ago you talked SMiLE with other SM at PSF).

I hope someone whose ears are not made of cloth will respond to your post! Wink
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« Reply #17 on: November 03, 2019, 05:28:23 AM »

He's been posting here long time - as wjcrerar.
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« Reply #18 on: November 03, 2019, 05:48:46 AM »

Forgot my password, apparently logged in with an another account I didn't know I had? Oh well.
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« Reply #19 on: November 03, 2019, 06:01:14 AM »

Thanks to back things I stated. Even listed long time ago "who is who in boards" to which I been thanked. But seems they forgot ha.
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« Reply #20 on: November 04, 2019, 12:01:55 AM »

 Roll Eyes
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« Reply #21 on: November 04, 2019, 12:07:21 AM »

Roll Eyes
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Short notice: the cat you see to the left is the best. Not counting your indoor cat who might have habit sitting at your left side when you post at SmileySmile.

Guys should clad evening gowns, dames - posh suits. It'll be new fashion party.

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« Reply #22 on: November 04, 2019, 04:04:18 AM »

My goodness. To recap, wjcrerar originally said:

"I think there's an example of Brian's thumbnail in action on the first version of You're With Me Tonight, the one with two electric basses. On the basic track it's got the rounded Brian thumb sound, but on the overdub where it's doubled (right channel on Sunshine Tomorrow) there's a kind of brittle edge to it, not just a thumb but not quite as firm as a pick would be either.

"The second Wild Honey version of Been Way Too Long (last half of the twofer and GV set mixes) could be another. Neither soft nor particularly thumpy."
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« Reply #23 on: November 04, 2019, 11:35:25 AM »

Yep, Al used a pick on the Fender bass each time, to the best of my knowledge. "Don't Worry Baby" is a great example, where it sounds every bit as growly as Carol Kaye's Fender bass/pick performance on "Please Let Me Wonder" or "Sloop John B." One interesting tidbit, though, is that Brian - while rarely if ever using an actual pick - actually did use his thumbnail to get a "pick" sound on a few things (Bruce told me that once, in person, when we were discussing Brian's approach to the bass).


I've always loved the bass sound in "Don't Worry Baby". I never would have guessed it was played by Al. He just doesn't look like an ace studio bass player to me.  LOL
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