The real brown (and pink) sound on bass

Something Boogieman posted about his '51P and SVT pleasing the girlies made me think again about a subject that came up on The Bottom Line bass forum. Never mind EVH and his Marshall and a Variac trying to get the "brown sound". Have you ever experienced (better still, played) bass that, literally, produced the "brown sound"?

A tall, wooden stage is usually involved. I remember seeing Hawkwind at Stoke's Victoria Hall sometime in the late 70s/early 80s. The bass player, Harvey Bainbridge, was fond of these pedals that produced low frequencies. There was a point in the gig where the rumble just went through the stage and seemed to set up some resonant frequency through the floor. I've read (and seen on Sky's Brainiacs) that a frequency around 4Hz can cause some people to, erm, defecate, whether they want to or not.

Well, as the space-proggers continued their rumble, I found out that I was one of those people affected. Honestly, I was undoing my jeans even as I shouldered open the WC door. I was a decent sprinter so I got to a cubicle where the world fell out of my bottom. After the flush, I found guys with their trolleys round their ankles sitting in urinals, washbasins, you name it.

You'd think I was making it up, but I posted this exp on TBL and I got a few "Yep, it's happened" replies. One Aussie guy even saw Hawkwind down there and emailed me to say exactly the same kindof thing happened there, too. Being the sort of dirty-minded burger that Aussies are, he also mentioned that some bass playing at gigs can produce frequencies that certain girls apparently enjoyed immensely. Following the EVH analogy, he called it the "pink sound".

Weird. Purely as a scientist ( :lol: ), I'm interested in any other ops/exps. Post them in...

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

No idea how but I ended up with a cd from Fast Car UK full of 'choons' and 'drops' to 'test your ICE' and 'unleash your weapons of bass-destruction'...anyhoo, they label 33Hz as the 'honey pleaser' if thats anything to go by?!

It's only fitting that Hawkwind and shite come up in the same topic :P

Only a few weeks back I was doing a bit of research on 'Pink Sound.' Didn't come up with a great deal because I ran out of time.

The images you had me concocting with the brown sound story will haunt me for many years. Still, I'd like to hear more.

Nice one, Tim. So, my preferences for 5-string bass could bear fruit :lol:

I haven't actually done a gig since converting to 5-string (long story, another thread) so I'm waiting to see. Continuing the theme, I did once see a band called "Machine" (unsigned) at The Mill. Another highish wooden stage job. The bass player there was a 4-stringer and his rig didn't seem anything exceptional. Gawd knows what his eq setup was though. Everytime he played an open E, I felt this ghastly wringing of my intestines. Really unpleasant. I looked around and the doorman, a big, 2-metre bloke in very good shape, was also doing the facial expressions I knew I was making. Made me feel better that even the resident hardman was suffering likewise.

I used to have this this crazy stage-rumbling, vomit-inducing swell thing going on which we tried everything to get rid of, until I realised that the 'punch' button on the Peavey was pushed in, great for muted kick, but let the ...ker ring and it just builds and builds until you hurl and release the fret (cos we bassists can hang on that long of course!)

It worked in my old grunge setup and I kinda...forgot when I joined the new band...oops

"Eddie Van Halen also accomplished what he called "the brown sound" tone from his guitar setup on the Van Halen album "1984", which he achieved by using a chorus pedal with all its controls turned to the lowest/flattest settings possible, while still being activated."

His pants accomplished the pink sound for many a fan.

Good old Wikipedia. They even mention the "Brainiacs" show, which I saw. "Brainiacs" is spoof-science (my favourite "experiment" was which food produced the smelliest bottom-burps; sprouts, of course). As Wiki pointed out, I didn't exactly dive for cover because my TV speakers hadn't a hope of producing the frequency they reckoned to be blasting us with.

The missed point is resonant frequency. The "Machine" gig gave me unpleasant chest/stomach punches, but my buttocks were fine. The difference with Mr Bainbridge was that it wasn't his notes that bothered me. For all I know, he was doing 36Hz. What I actually felt was a very strange movement in the flooring where I was standing; a resonant frequency. Even then, out of quite a few hundred at the gig, only about a dozen of us unfortunates ran for the cubicles (IIRC, one guy had to make do with the big, cylindrical, litter bin).

EVH's mid-80s albums may well have forced me to head for a Forrest Gump/Brad Pitt, but that was nothing to do with resonant frequencies. To paraphrase Dave Lee Roth (and one of the better songs)

Awww, might as well dump (dump!) Go ahead and dump (dump!)

Well I therefore question what state is required of the person for it to effect them. Could that be the key. Because that's a small number out of the hundreds present.

Furthermore to the above, could alcohol play a role.

Not alcohol, as I hadn't touched. I'd be really surprised if everybody had been affected. There's a heap of variables (cancellation, differing resonances etc) and some individuals would be more susceptible than others. Wrong place, wrong time for me and some others.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions. Do not include any spaces in your answer.
Copy the characters (respecting upper/lower case) from the image.

Contact | Contents | Privacy Policy | Forum

Copyright © 1999 - 2023 , All Rights Reserved.

Affiliate Notice: As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.