The Ultimate John Kahn Bass

The Ultimate John Kahn Bass

Postby Rusty the Scoob » Sun Feb 27, 2011 5:28 pm

I'm designing the ultimate John Kahn bass. The two basic tones you need are a stock P-bass and a Steinberger... you could argue that the modded '58 P from 78-79 has it's own tone, plus the G&L L2000 from '83 is pretty distinctive too. But really for most years the stock P and Steinie do the trick.

I discovered the other day that the P and Steinberger are actually pretty compatible and it got my wheels spinning. Not only is the neck pickup in the exact right spot, the pole pieces inside are actually split-P in configuration!

John Kahn Bass Idea.jpg
John Kahn Bass Idea.jpg (63.33 KiB) Viewed 2876 times


In my mind the primary characteristic of his Steinberger tone is that it's punchy and extremely mid-scooped. Well, P-basses are plenty punchy and mid-scooping can be accomplished by any number of commercially available preamps. So I'm taking a stock P, adding a bridge pickup http://www.bestbassgear.com/emg-pickups-hb-bass.htm and probably a Sadowsky 2-band preamp, and there you have it.
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Re: The Ultimate John Kahn Bass

Postby Charlie » Sun Feb 27, 2011 5:41 pm

I was led to believe a lot of the Steinberger sound came from the graphite neck. Will this be an issue.
(Never liked Steinbergers much. Always felt like I was playing a toy bass)
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Re: The Ultimate John Kahn Bass

Postby brbadg » Sun Feb 27, 2011 10:21 pm

I never dug the Steinberger sound that much.I was never close enough to actually hear it,but it sounded like a bunch of mud to me.I saw a show in Georgetown in 81 and that old P Bass just cut right on through.I never saw the G&L is there a pic online somewhere? Looks like an interesting project,I'll be following along.
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Re: The Ultimate John Kahn Bass

Postby Rusty the Scoob » Mon Feb 28, 2011 4:55 am

The guy in the current JGB lineup with Melvin and Stu plays an actual Steinberger and gets a tone that doesn't even really resemble John Kahn's. IMHO I'm getting a lot closer on an ash-bodied, maple fretboard J-bass copy with a good mid-scooping preamp.

I think the Steinberger takes too much blame for John sounding muddy, I think they buried him in the mix on purpose due to all the H destroying his playing. In Live at Shoreline it's a crime.. you can hear him under the verses and choruses but he just disappears in jams. Check out 4/24/94 at the Warfield on the other hand, It's the same tone but he's a lot clearer, he plays a lot better, and you can hear him pretty well.


Plenty of pics of the G&L on The Jerry Site, it's definitely an early L2000. In some pics it looks brown or blueburst but I've seen ones where it's definitely solid metallic blue. Go to the Gallery and start at page 30 and you'll see it. http://www.thejerrysite.com/images?page=30


Image

Image



That's super cool that you saw him in 81!!! You must have seen this bass:

Image

I modded my old cheap but good P-copy to match it and it does rip right through a mix. The trouble is that lately I'm a little TOO loud in the mix so I want something warmer and rounder.

viewtopic.php?f=309&t=8038&hilit=john+kahn

My other motivation is practicality... my J-bass is a pretty expensive thing to drag out to a Fennario show just to play one or two songs, and my modded P-copy is unreliable... it needs nearly constant truss-rod and intonation tweaking to play well. I'm really looking forward to the graphite-reinforced neck on the US-made Fender.
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Re: The Ultimate John Kahn Bass

Postby tigerstrat » Mon Feb 28, 2011 8:44 am

Ruklick took those top two shots from '83...

I have seen Tebeau on bass with JGB once, in 2009 just a couple months after he joined. Looking forward to checking him out again their Portland show on 3/11! :cool:
"There, in huge black letters, was 'The Grateful Dead'. It just... cancelled my mind out."-Garcia
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Re: The Ultimate John Kahn Bass

Postby brbadg » Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:07 am

Hey,thanks for posting the pics! I guess I'll have to do some more scavenging.Wish I could carry around that rig in those pics,but hey I'm scaling way back these days.I'm working on my own Kahn bass,it's just going to be a copy of the P bass.I've got all the parts,I'll post pics when I'm done.Enjoy your project!
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Re: The Ultimate John Kahn Bass

Postby Rusty the Scoob » Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:34 am

Sweet, are you doing the sunburst/maple-neck/gold-pickguard one?
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Re: The Ultimate John Kahn Bass

Postby brbadg » Mon Feb 28, 2011 2:19 pm

Yes,it's getting flatwounds too,although I've not seen mention of what type he actually used.
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Re: The Ultimate John Kahn Bass

Postby tcsned » Mon Feb 28, 2011 2:42 pm

brbadg wrote:Yes,it's getting flatwounds too,although I've not seen mention of what type he actually used.

LaBellas? That's what a lot of folks from that era used.
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Re: The Ultimate John Kahn Bass

Postby Rusty the Scoob » Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:44 am

brbadg wrote:Yes,it's getting flatwounds too,although I've not seen mention of what type he actually used.


To my ears he definitely had rounds on the G&L and definitely had flats on the '74-76 basses.

I'm not sure about the 77-81 years but I'm thinking that he switched to rounds when he went to the Badass bridge and DiMarzio pickup and that's why it cut through so well. Let me see if I can find a recording of my DiMarzio/Badass equipped P with rounds when I get home so you can see what you think.
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Re: The Ultimate John Kahn Bass

Postby brbadg » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:56 pm

The stuff I work on and the tone I like is the 74 Legion and also the tone on 3-18-78,although it's compressed alot on the soundboard,it's still nice and chunky.Oh and how bout Rhapsody in Red on Cats? Sick tone on that one too.I guess I better go put some Phil on ,gotta keep it balanced!
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Re: The Ultimate John Kahn Bass

Postby Rusty the Scoob » Thu Mar 03, 2011 9:29 am

I just checked out 3/18/78 and I believe you are right... flats. Good call! Maybe I'll switch my maple/Badass/DiMarzio bass over to them, it needs to be tamed a little.

As far as which flats, I just found this link which may be helpful. He compares the following strings on the same lick on the same bass:

FLATWOUND STRINGS (on "P" bass):

La Bella "Deep Talkin" 760FS

Fender 9120M

D'Addario Chromes

Thomastik-Infeld JF344

Rotosound SM77

http://www.atkinsonbasses.com/library/
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Re: The Ultimate John Kahn Bass

Postby brbadg » Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:54 pm

Hey thanks for sharing this,I'll check it tomorrow.I'm really interested in the woods comparison too
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Re: The Ultimate John Kahn Bass

Postby Rusty the Scoob » Fri Mar 04, 2011 5:46 am

The wood samples are cool. I had a cool experience when I bought my Sadowsky J-bass - I had a chance to A/B two basses that were well made and identical in construction but one was Ash with a maple fretboard and the other was Alder with rosewood. The differences are subtle but noticeable.

So here are my John Kahn twins:

Image
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Re: The Ultimate John Kahn Bass

Postby Rusty the Scoob » Tue Mar 08, 2011 5:08 am

Preamp with 2 band EQ is installed. Sounds awesome, install came out pretty clean.

Before:

Image


After:

Image

During, if you're interested: http://www.flickr.com/photos/danfcrea/s ... 222508684/
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