Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Gear Addict

So we've had two weeks off. it's been amazing. Can't say i was overly productive. I did go see a show in Vegas. KA by Cirque Du Soliel. Amazing performance! Our two weeks off couldn't have come at a better time. THE OLYMPICS!! So let's hear it for Nigeria winning the silver medal in soccer. Mr. Phelps was absolutely impressive. Usain Bolt was captivating to watch. and for the first time i watched volleyball. Woman's beach volleyball with the welsch/traner duo was awe inspiring. i've never been a fan of the sport, but it was absolutely entrancing watching their domination. The cherry on top for me was the Men's basketball aptly self dubbed "the redeem team"winning gold. How about that for domination. My brother had the opportunity to be in the Bejing area during the games. Being a large black guy, he was mistaken for an athlete/celebrity many times. funny stories. and how about those opening and closing ceremonies?!?!

I did however get back to my bass gear affinity in my ample time off. Three years ago in the infancy of our Matt Maher Band travels, i traveled with quite an elaborate pedal board. when i think back on it, i think i might have only engaged two of the pedals at most during a show. two of about 8. Sadly it had little to nothing to do with tone, or creativity. It was more so my intrigue with what kenny (our electric guitarist) had going on under foot, and how cool it looked to have gadgets. i ditched the board after discovering the pure tone of a good bass, and a good amp. Throughout our travels i have learned a few things. Picked up some neat tricks and ideas from other bassist whose tone i admire. And the fruits of my patience and discrete peering have produced what i believe to be the quintessential bassists pedal board. it's simple really, not tonally convoluted, and honestly, whether an effect pedal is engaged or not, the only people who will really hear the difference are sound techs, and musicians. But honestly, the crowd may not know it, but they'll be hearing better quality bass. blah blah blah, here's my gear:

1960's Fender Jazz bass Guitar

Tech 21 SansAmp Programmable Bass Driver
Home Brew Electronics Hematoma Bass Overdrive/Pre-Amp
Korg DT-& Tuner
T-Rex Fuel Tank Junior power supply
Ernie Ball Volume Pedal Jr.

Depending on the song, i'll use a bass pick. I use fender medium gauge bass picks.

I lucked out and found an Ampeg SVT DI. It's an active, tube bass specific DI (that sounds amazing with acoustic guitars). They were discontinued years ago, so your best bet is to check ebay and craigslist daily. Trust me, if you find one, don't pass on it. They are worth the buy. I also have an Avalon U5 which sounds pristine, but i'm hesitant to travel with it.

Monster Cables

Ampeg Amps

the sans amp has three programmable settings. mine are as follows:
Phat-e is my thick bassy tone i use on songs like Grace is Enough, and As it is in Heaven
Phunk-e is my higher end, treble funk sound i use for songs like It is good, everything you've done, or just like you
Brit is my most punchy sound. i use it to really cut through the sounds. songs like Look like a fool, or "Happy Day"

The Hematoma is my distortion/overdrive. i engage it on most songs honestly. i'll just dial more or less depending on the song

Well that's that. If anyone reading this is encouraged, or aided in their playing, that's great. if you have comments to help me at all or anyone else, by all means comment me.

peace and love

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Meeting Bass Players

Fr.Stan Fortuna

Rick From Jimmy Eat World

It's always exciting meeting someone who influences your craft. I like to think that my craft is the bass fiddle. And as with any other activity, there is always going to be some one at that next level. And above them the same, and so on. Creativity i think is circular. An original idea is at the beginning, but it's only the beginning. That original idea is taken, by another, and it evolves, but it continues to be passed and improved upon. So getting to met the originators of an idea is always fun. And those serendipitous encounters always leave me speechless. It's not until after that i think of picking their brains. The questions start pouring out, but by then it's far too late. What kind of gear do you use? how long have you been playing? who are your major influences? what are your practice regiments? from where do you draw your creativity? how'd you get your start with your band? where's the coolest place you've traveled? How do you maintain relationships being on the road so much? to what would you recommend i listen? i think from now on i'll just type all my questions on a sheet of paper in questionnaire form. this way, when i meet these "originators" they can fill it out. Any way, here are some of the bassists i listen to, respect and draw my influence.

Donald "Duck" Dunn

Third Day guys. Tai Anderson on the far left