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b a s s p l ay e r. c o m






JUNE 2017
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C ontents

JUNE 2017 | VOLUME 28, NUMBER 6 | B A S S P L AY E R . C O M D B S T W


Lowdown, Dig My Rig,
the Real World,


Court of Opinion
Mitchell, DAddario,
Rainger FX

The Inquirer

Joe Zon of Zon Guitars


Having a Ball with
other bassists
Triple doubler with the

Trying new colors with

With a Grammy, diverse high-profile collaborations, and heaps of critical praise
at his back, Stephen Bruner just might be emerging as the bass voice of a
generation. By E.E. Bradman

The Kings X 12-stringer is rocking a lean four strings with his mean 44 STONEFIELD 1-5S 5-string

supergroup trio, KXM. By Freddy Villano 46 CHADWICK Folding Bass

48 API TranZformer
Ray Shulman winds his way through rollicking odd-time grooves on this tortuous
1975 gem.

Cover photo:
Thundercat photographed in Comix Experience, San Francisco, by Paul Haggard 52 JAZZ CONCEPTS

Seven heaven
Bass Player (ISSN 1050-785X) is published 13 times a year, monthly plus a Holiday issue to follow the December issue, by
Been there, Dunn that
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6 bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7

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bas522751_0617.indd 1 3/31/17 9:58 AM
Vol. 28, No. 6, June 2017

Editorial Director Michael Molenda, mmolenda@nbmedia.com

Editor Chris Jisi, bpeditor@nbmedia.com
Consulting Editor Karl Coryat
Senior Contributing Editors E. E. Bradman, Jonathan Herrera
Contributing Editors Ed Friedland, John Goldsby
Web and Contributing Editor Jon D'Auria
Staff Writer Jimmy Leslie

Art Director Paul Haggard

Production Manager Amy Santana


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Phil Chen, Stanley Clarke, Art Davis, Nathan East, Mark Egan, Andy Gonzalez, Barry Green,
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Manring, Christian McBride, Marcus Miller, Pino Palladino, John Patitucci, Josh Paul, Dave
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Gerald Veasley, Verdine White, Gary Willis, Doug Wimbish, Victor Wooten


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C ommunity

Web Slingin


time to properly introduce myself in these pages. Ive been on board as a writer at Bass Player for six years now,
but for the past two years Ive taken over as the web editor. So along with writing artist features and reviews, I post
all the content to our social media and website, bassplayer.com. Whether its through digital articles, web exclu-

sives, breaking bass news, or the fuel that makes the internet runmemesweve been trying to build our com-
munity online and bridge the gap between writers, artists, and readers. We love all of your support in following us
and being part of our online discussions.
In the spirit of uniting print with the web, digital to analog, emojis and cat gifs (the internet is ruining me), this
issue is full of opposites connected by central themes. From E.E. Bradmans candid cover story dissecting Thunder-
cats intricate playing and even more complex headspace, to bass maestro Ed Friedland describing the merits of play-
ing simply. Bunny Brunel discusses his new album thats based solely on collaboration, while working alone was the
impetus behind Jenny Lee Lindbergs latest album. No matter how different our approaches and musical identities
are, were all here for one reason, and thats that we love bass. If this issue helps further your passion for it, then
weve done our job. Ill see you on the web!



purchased a Fender MIM Jazz Bass when
I received a life-changing FedEx docu-
ment stating that I had won the Grand
Prize giveaway from Bass Players February 01 issue. That Warwick
Infinity LTD 2000 will be with me until I die. While studying at Berk-
lee, I sold the Warwick 4x10 with Quad VI head for the more manage-
able Epifani UL502 head and UL212 2x12 cab. Also in this picture is
a 1980s Kawai FIIB, Yamaha John Patitucci TRBJP1, fretless P-Bass
copy with EMGs, Jazz Bass copy with Fender Reissue pickups, and a
Kala SMHG U-Bass. I hope I dont insult too many mariachi musicians
by playing this Lucida guitarrn like a bass. CHRI S J OY E

Got a rig you think wed dig? Send a photo and description to

10 bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7

bas0617_community_ph2.indd 10 4/12/17 1:00 PM


Bryan Dean
Home base San Francisco, California
Occupation Bassist
Main gigs Felsen (Indie rock) Jesse Brewster Band (Americana)
Main basses Lakland Deluxe 55-94, Bass Mods 535, Xotic XJ-1T5
Rig TC Electronic RH 750 heads with RS 2x10 and 2x12 cabs
Effects MXR Bass Fuzz Deluxe, MXR Bass Octave, DigiTech Bass Synth Wah Introducing Players
Strings Dunlop Super Brights (.045.125) Circle - Buy Strings,
Heroes and inspirations As far as bassists go, theres a gang of them, but Get Points, Claim
the cats who stick out the most are George Porter Jr., Doug Wimbish, John Rewards
Enter to win 2,500
Paul Jones, and Meshell Ndegeocello. I was also inspired by movements like
Players Points by
the Black Rock Coalition and 2 Tone. Speaking of the BRC, Fishbone was a visiting bassplayer.
huge influence, and a couple years back, I was in an eclectic project called com/realworld And
the Madd Vibe Orchestra, led by the one and only Angelo Moore. Working go to Playerscircle.
daddario.com to join
with him was a dream come true!
Website bdeanmusic.com

How did you come to play bass? Whats a lesson youve learned along the way? What are your musical goals?

A few days before the start of my junior year in college, Be prepared, be dependable, be nice, and never Ive been a bandleader, but for the last 15 years,
I mentioned to a high school friend that I always wanted stop learning. If I were to do it all over again, I Ive been more or less a sideman. Im getting the
to play bass.He was kind enough to give me one, and would have hit the books harder and sooner. hankering to bring my own tunes to life again. Ive
just like that, I went from finance major to bass player. been in projects ranging from country to metal,
(Thank you, Mike Weiss!) and I would like to tap into that diverse talent pool
to manifest some unique beauty!


Whats more important: becoming a knowledgeable and proficient working bassist, or

developing a singular style?
Depends on the circumstances. If youre a session musician, youre Some players are fortunate enough to come up with a truly
going to need to be proficient in many styles. If youre part of a original style (as Larry Graham did), but the odds of doing so are
single band in a particular style, you dont need such a broad remote. Its better to concentrate on understanding the fundamen-
range of skills. Cliff Williams, for example, had no need for slap or advanced tals of music and be a versatile player. Mel Dugas
chordal techniques. Jeff Ussher
Each bassist can only speak for him/herself. I am driven to develop
Carving out your own niche in a world full of technically proficient my own unique style. I feel this is the highest calling of an artist.
yet unknown bassists is better. Id rather be Steve Harris, Geezer Blair Barbero
Butler, or Geddy Lee than some guy who sounds like Victor
Wooten or Jaco.Actually, Id rather be me and let my audience decide if they
like me or not. Chris Ewers Being a knowledgeable and proficient working bassist is more
important. Ben Rollans
Being knowledgeable and proficient will get you work and may also
lead to a singular style, but Im not convinced that a singular style, in
and of itself, will assure that you work very much. Jeff Peters The singular style will naturally evolve from a solid knowledge base
and proficiency. Jay Michael
Style comes first. You wont become a knowledgeable and
proficient working bassist without it. Tim Miller
Its an apples and oranges comparison: You need both. Doug
Being a working musician should be first and foremost, whatever
the instrument. Learning many genres helps to keep one working,
but also helps to develop a style. John Hefty The most appropriate answer is neither. Whats most important is
that one finds happiness in the music one makes, never stops
Style is everything. Andrew Wilson learning, and shares the gift for others to enjoy. Mark Macio

bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7 11

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Bunny Brunel & Stanley Clarke

Teaming Up To Celebrate Bass



BUNNY BRUNEL AND STANLEY CLARKE HAVE label obligations, we put out the record under my name.
been best bass buddies since meeting at the late-70s wed- You and Stanley have contrasting but complemen-
ding of Chick Coreas manager. Back then, Clarke was amid his tary styles.
School Days-fueled solo glory, and Brunel was Chicks new bass We have the experience to know how and when to support
ace (thanks to keyboardist Patrick Moraz bringing Corea to see the other, and when to step forward. We were both fortunate
Bunny play with Tania Maria in London). Although the two have to play with Miles Davis 60s sidemenChick, Tony Williams,
played together countless times, it has taken until now for them Herbie Hancock, and Wayne Shorterwho all know that ulti-
to team up on a projectone that serves as a stewardship of the mately, if you make the whole band sound good, you sound good.
instrument they helped revolutionize. Bass Ball sports a loaded You also both have a gift for soloing outside of the
lineup, with ten top bassists who field new and classic compo- changes.
sitions by Brunel (on fretless, fretted, and piccolo 5-strings) Were jazzers using classic chord substitutions in the tradi-
and Clarke (on standard, tenor, tion of Miles and John Coltrane

and piccolo electrics, plus acous- Stanley is a master of it. As I tell
tic bass). Slap & Tickle boasts my students, on bass we have a
Victor Wooten, Hadrien Feraud, distinct advantage over the trum-
and drummer Dennis Chambers; pet, the sax, and even the piano in
Lopsy Lu is revisited with Steve that we have a visual, geometric
Bailey, Billy Sheehan, and drum- grid that we operate on. We can
mer Simon Phillips; Stand Out play a C major scale and move up
and Nothing But the Bass fea- a fret and play a C# major scale;
ture Armand Sabal-Lecco; and five thats very complicated to do
of Brunels plucking pals from his on other instruments. Whether
native France, including the excel- youre playing a scale, a pattern,
lent Marc Bertaux, also appear. We or a melodic phrase, those kinds
asked Bunny about the big dance. of half-step shifts will make you
sound out in a hurry.
How did this project get started, Whats next for you?
and what was the concept? Stanley and I would like to take
The title came first, many years Bass Ball live, and the plan is to do
back from the late George Duke, a Bass Ball 2, with the bassists we
who thought Bass Ball would be couldnt get in time for the first
a good name for a bass project. albumeveryone from Marcus
About five years ago, Stanley and I began talking about making Miller to Federico Malaman. Im also trying to get the origi-
a bass-centric album that would feature other bassists, as well. nal CAB back together, with Brian Auger; I borrowed some of
The idea was to start out with our two basses and a rotating chair Brians arrangement of Freedom Jazz Dance for our cover on
of great drummers, and then fill out the roles typically played Bass Ball. And Im working on a new project with Patrick Moraz
by other instruments with additional bassists. Due to Stanleys and Virgil Donati called iNow. BP

12 bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7

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Bunny Brunel, Bass Ball [2017,

Basses ESP Bunny Brunel

Signature LTD BB-1005 fretted
and fretless; BB-1004 fretted
and fretless; Bunny Brunel
Electric Upright Bass; Carvin
BB75 piccolo bass
Rig Eden EM275, EC 15, and

TN 2251 combos
Strings La Bella M42 Hard
Rockin Steels (.040, .060,
.080, .100); La Bella 7720
Series Upright Bass
Other DigiTech pedals, ART
preamps, Snap Jack cables

Watch Stanley Clarke inter-

view Bunny Brunel.
Check out Bunnys electric-
upright bass site.
See Bunnys collaborations
with ESP Guitars and Eden


bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7 13

bas0617_bassnotes_ph2.indd 13 4/12/17 2:58 PM



The Mavericks, Brand New
Day [2017, Mono Mundo]

Bass Chadwick Folding

Bass, 75 Fender Precision
THE MAVERICKS Rig Genzler Magellan MG-
800, Greenboy Audio F215
Pickup Barbera Trans-

Ed Friedland ducer
Pedals Radial PZ-Pre, BBE

From Bass Whisperer To Bass Slinger Sonic Stomp, TC Elec-

tronic BodyRez

Strings DAddario
Helicore Orche-
stra Light,
HES HAD A STORIED CAREER AS ONE OF Friedland has finally decided to take on a gig worthy DR Strings
the bass worlds top educators, thanks to his 20-plus of his full calendar. As a highly accomplished sideman, Legend
books and instructional videos, his tenure teaching at Friedland has played with greats from pretty much every Flats
Berklee and other universities, his columns and reviews genre imaginable, which is why he is the perfect fit for
in this magazine, and his influence on his well-known the wide-encompassing sound of the Grammy-award
students John Myung (Dream Theater), Tom Hamilton winning Americana/country-pop rockers the Mavericks.
(Aerosmith), and David Dyson, among others. Now, Ed After being asked to sub for a gig with the

14 bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7

bas0617_bassnotes_ph2.indd 14 4/12/17 2:53 PM

The one instrument that can keep up with your
expanding musical repertoire is the Mitchell FB700
fusion bass, offering more tone-shaping choices for
rock, pop, jazz, country and anything else you
want to throw at it.

Carved mahogany body with stunning quilt maple top
Five-piece maple/rosewood bolt-on neck with 24 jumbo
frets provide incredible playability
Dual MB4 paraffin-dipped alnico V humbuckers offer
tons of sonic options
Master volume, pickup blend, and 3-band active EQ
Graph Tech TUSQ XL friction-reducing nut prevents
binding and improves tuning stability
Available in 4, 5 and 6-string versions


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3/30/17 4:06 PM

Nashville-based outfit, Friedlandwho has equal skills on upright and elec- everything else going on. If you were to analyze what
tricplayed to a crowd of around 20,000 fans without a rehearsal. Apparently I do in this band, I play mostly triad walking lines, or

the Mavericks liked what they heard, as he was asked join their lineup perma- root5octave Latin patterns. But while Im delib-
nently. Many tours and packed concert halls later, Friedland hit the studio with erately working within set parameters, the most
the Mavericks to record their ninth studio album, Brand New Day. The diverse important part of my job is to inhabit the rhythm
record finds Friedland supplying a firm backbone with a woody, earthy tone, and play with my full presence.

and lines that perfectly underpin hooks, guitar solos, horns, and accordions. How did you have to change your technique
With so much going on in the music, its hard to say exactly what the Maver- for this music?
icks sound truly is. But for a man who has held a hundred different gigs in the This kind of upright playing is very different

bass world, thats exactly why he likes it. from the Scott LaFaro school I came out of, where
the focus is on articulation and freedom. With the
How did you capture your tone in the studio? Mavericks, I supply a big, fat, thumpy tone that takes

I used three different uprights, and we used a lot of different techniques to up a lot of space. It forces you to play less and pay
capture them. We recorded I Think of You at Capitol Studios in Hollywood, more attention to note placement and length. I often
and we put a condenser mic inside the body of my Chadwick Folding Bass by use a monkey grip left-hand technique that is pur-
opening up the back panel and running the cable out of the -hole. We put the posely inefficient. It decreases sustain and accentu-
pickup through an old [Ampeg] B-15, and then we used a condenser mic in front ates the thump at the front of the note. It may look
of the bass and blended them all. Thats my favorite bass sound on the whole bad to technique snobs, but it sounds right. I also
album; its got that classic 1950s studio upright tone. employ several different right-hand techniques like
Given your technical ability, is it hard rooting down for simple grooves? the hook [one-fingered plucking], a two-fingered
You simply have to commit to it. Ive learned how to find enjoyment in play- pluck, a classical pluck, and more. I want to play with
ing simply and staying in the background. Duke Ellington used to say, I play the sound that best complements the demands of
the orchestra, and thats kind of how I feel. Every note I play is connected to the music at that moment. BP

Mike Watt has always known that you cant be an original if youre playing what everyone else is. Start your own legendary journey at reverendguitars.com.

bas0617_bassnotes_ph2.indd 16 4/12/17 2:43 PM

bas522742_0617.indd 1 3/30/17 12:56 PM


Warpaint, Heads Up [2016,
Rough Trade]; Jenny Lee
Lindberg, Right On! [2015,
Rough Trade]

Bass 1978 Rickenbacker

4001, 1950s Kay bass
Rig Fender Bassman,
Fender Bassman 610Neo,
Ampeg SVT-CL, Ampeg
Pedals Boss CE-2 Chorus,
Boss OC-3 Super Octave,
WARPAINT Boss DD-6 Digital Delay,
Way Huge Pork Loin Over-

drive, EHX Holy Grail, Pro

Jenny Lee Lindberg Co Turbo Rat

Battle Tested

JENNY LEE LINDBERG IS ALL ABOUT She plays a Rickenbacker bass, but opts for a deep, low
opposites. She loves traveling the world, but hates flying. tone, rather than its signature treble-heavy sound. And
She feels cramped up in a tour bus, but loves spend- on her band Warpaints upbeat album Heads Up, she Strings DAddario Medium
ing time in her tiny bunk (she calls it her cozy coffin). unleashes brooding and contemplative bass lines instead Roundwounds

18 bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7

bas0617_bassnotes_ph2.indd 18 4/12/17 2:43 PM

The moment
i played the
firsT note...
...That was
the sound.
oskar cartaya Oskar Cartaya and
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of succumbing to the radio-friendly pop creations of her genre contemporaries. because of that. I like a lot of bottom end, but not
A lot of her confidence to experiment and write boldly on Warpaints third to where its too muddy. A chorus pedal is a big com-

album came from her experience in releasing her first solo record, 2015s Right ponent of my sound. I leave it on most of the time,
On!, during a break from the band. Taking on a different role as the sole song- which started as an accident because I had one built
writer brought out an independent creativeness that stuck. Perhaps because she into an amp I used to use. Then when I got a new
felt inspired and more grounded in her musical identity than ever, Heads Up is amp, I had to go out and get a chorus pedal.

the bands most poised and bass-driven album yet. Her entrancing rhythms, How and when did you first start playing bass?
interesting chord choices, and airy vocals very much put her in the lead of a tal- I had just moved to L.A. when I was 18, and I
ented quartet that isnt interested in playing it safe. wanted to start playing an instrument, but I didnt

want to play the guitar. Randomly a friend said they

How did creating your solo record impact your mentality going into had a bass and an amp to give me, and they taught me
Heads Up? a few songs so that I could play on my own. It gave me

It showed me that I am capable of doing things on my own, which is really a boost of confidence, and then I started writing my
important being a bass player in a band. I showed myself that I can do it and own bass lines nonstop for years. I absolutely loved
that I can be fully in charge, direct other musicians, and produce songs. It was it. It was really natural for me, but I had to work hard
extremely liberating and empowering, and when I came back to work with the at getting decent on it. It can be an easy instrument
girls on this record, I was able to relinquish more control than I had in the past to learn, but a hard instrument to get really good at.
because it wasnt my only outlet to express myself. Why do you love the bass guitar?
Instead of the classic bright and punchy Rickenbacker tone, you get Whether Im playing bass or not, it gets my
a deep, warm sound. bottom half moving and it always makes me dance.
I like a big, well-rounded tone. I dont want any type of pluck sound in what Its very grounding when I hear it, and even more
Im doing. I play with my fingers, and I keep my fingernails really short because so when I play it. It just hits you right in the root
I dont like the sound of them on the strings. I personally dont like using picks chakra and gets you going. BP






For a free catalog, visit rockabilia.com, call  or write: 76)V_ +LW[*OHUOHZZLU45<:(

bas0617_bassnotes_ph2.indd 20 4/12/17 2:43 PM

bas520604_0617.indd 1 4/7/17 12:00 PM

Peter Hook

is a bit more refined, of course, with Hookys voice a bit rougher

around the edges than a young Ian Curtis or Bernard Sumner, but
all the compelling dynamics are there, from the spacey, spread-
out low end of Unknown Pleasures Candidate to the bright open-
ing bass line, clean-picked to perfection, of Movements Dreams
Never End. Pristinely recorded and impeccably performed, this
is Peter Hook in his prime. If youre gonna bootleg yourself, why
not do it in style? B I L L MU R PH Y

[Crown Town]
Ex-Alien Ant Farm bassist Tye Zamora has
PETER HOOK & THE LIGHT always been a superb talent both in the studio
UNKNOWN PLEASURES: LIVE IN LEEDS 2012 and onstage, which is why we were excited to
CLOSER: LIVE IN MANCHESTER 2011 find him in a new progressive alternative trio, mk. The bands
POWER, CORRUPTION & LIES: LIVE IN DUBLIN freshly minted concept album seems less like a debut effort and
2013 more like a later release from an established band. Frontman
MOVEMENT: LIVE IN DUBLIN 2013 Zamora shines with his drifting presence on Dreaming, gritty
[Let Them Eat Vinyl/Westworld Recordings] riffs on Were In Trouble, and speedy fingerwork on Rise &
Only a guy as singularly audacious as Peter Hook would task Fall. J ON DAU RI A
himself with reinterpreting four classic albumsall of which he
had a vital hand in creatingon the road and without a net, and AT THE DRIVE-IN
then release the results as a limited-edition set of LPs and CDs. INTER ALIA [Rise]
But thats what we love about Hooky: He essentially invented an Reunion albums are always a risky proposi-
unheard-of approach to punk-rock bass on Joy Divisions 1979 tion, especially when its been 17 years since
debut Unknown Pleasures, making use of the upper registers and your last one and your music is as customar-
repeating melodies that were plucked straight from a rhythm gui- ily pugnacious and volatile as At The Drive-
tarists vocabulary, with the discerning ear of a self-taught bass- Ins. Hardcore post-rock in particular aint a young mans game,
ist whose only desire was to rock, and screw the consequences. but none of that seems to matter to ATDI; just take a listen to Paul
Recorded with his band the Light behind himfeaturing his Hinojos propulsive P-Bass lines on the single Incurably Inno-
son Jack Bates on bass, with Hooky himself taking up the requi- cent, or the way he locks up a seamless, punch-laced groove with
site accents and filigrees when hes not belting out the vocals drummer Tony Hajjar on Continuumdoes this sound like a guy
these four albums come damn close to what Joy Division and New whos lost a step? Didnt think so. B I LL M U R PH Y
Order, in their heyday, actually sounded like live. The musicianship

22 bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7

bas0617_bassnotes_ph2.indd 22 4/12/17 2:43 PM


Lakland is a registered trademark of Lakland Guitars, LLC

bas501365_0217.indd 1 12/14/16 5:25 PM





When it comes to big sound, Monique Ortiz knows Leland Sklars playing on Welsh-born Judith Owens
how to make a lot out of a little. Whether shes riffing on latest is a masterclass in accompanying a vocalist/pia-
her two-stringed slide bass or wildly plucking her fret- nist in the singersongwriter genre. The brilliance of

less 4-string, Ortiz has an uncanny knack for making an his bass lines on tracks like Send Me a Line, We Give
impressive wave of sound in her drum and bass duo. On their latest EP, the In, Arianne, and More Than This may seem effortless and obvious, but
Texas-based pair blends a bold mix of soulful blues and vintage rock thats Sklars virtuosity sneaks up on you. He complements piano parts, enhances

all ignited by Ortizs massive presence. JON DAU RI A vocal melodies, and establishes killer grooves with fluid tone and a pop sen-
sibility that remains simply unmatched. FR E D DY V I LLA N O


Julie Slick and Marco Machera are back with a new III [robertbubbylewis.com]
album from their two-bass outfit Echotest, where theyve Robert Bubby Lewis long-awaited solo album has
switched gears from their previous two records predom- come to fruition, and the soulful bass ace has packed his
inantly instrumental vibe. With heavy pedal use and experimental composing church-grown chops, booming grooves, and vibrant per-
still at the root of their sound, the duo welcomed talented guests to contrib- sonality into a 25-song powerhouse of a debut. Through short burst tracks
ute to an album that uses vocal-based structure and hooks. Supercell and and longer compositions, Lewis takes you on a journey using odd chord phras-
Sense of Urgency are two great examples of how well Slick and Machera ings and finger-twisting lead riffs, all captured with his distinctive MTD bass
complement each other as partners in low end. J ON DAU RI A tone. Even with lots of great guest cameos, some of our favorite moments
come from Lewis lone bass moments. JO N D AU R I A BP

24 bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7

bas0617_bassnotes_ph2.indd 24 4/12/17 2:43 PM

History is Waiting.

1965 Fender Jazz Bass

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bas524563_0617.indd 1 4/12/17 11:29 AM



Deep Space Pulsar Mini-Pedal

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Chromatic Pedal Tuner
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TB500 4-strings & TB505 5-strings
Mitchells latest basseswhich feature custom-
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Other highlights of each instrument: separate
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the 5-strings available only in black.
Street $400 (4-string), $440 (5-string)
Contact mitchellelectricguitars.com

26 bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7

bas0617_newgear_ph2.indd 26 4/12/17 1:29 PM

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bas514149_0317.indd 1 1/4/17 3:45 PM


By E.E. Bradman

28 bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7

bas0617_coverstory_thundercat_ph2.indd 28 4/12/17 1:23 PM

Astral Traveler
book world, hed be the stocky, bearded black superhero wearing flashy socks
with sandals, low-slung black jeans, a smart piece by Rad Hourani or Dries
Van Noten, and a knit cap with Ewok ears; onstage, he might sport a Native
American headpiece atop his custom-madeDragon Ball Zsuit or perhaps a
black T-shirt, shawl, and red satin shorts. You couldnt miss him if you tried.
In the last few years, however, it has become just as unlikely that you
havent heard Thundercats music. Thanks to his soulful falsetto, distinctive
bass sound, and stellar work with high-profile artists equally comfortable
in forward-thinking R&B, jazz, and hip-hop, 32-year-old Stephen Bruners
appeal has grown far beyond the circle of bass nuts whove worshipped his
gorgeous Ibanez archtop 6-string and dazzling chops for years. Witness the
118,000 Twitter followers, the GQ Style profile, the Rolling Stone, NPR, and
Billboard raves, and the jam-packed rooms full of club kids who couldnt care
less about Bruners jazz credentials. For someone who doesnt take himself
that seriously, he certainly knows how to make an impression.
Raised by flautist Pam Bruner and drummer Ronald Bruner Sr. in Los
Angeles, Thundercat picked up bass at age four, spending his teens and 20s
playing with Snoop, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Erykah Badu, J* Davey, Sa-Ra,
Bilal, and Suicidal Tendencies. For many listeners, Bruners breakout moment
was his appearance on studio soulmate Flying Lotus 2010 Afrofuturistic mas-
terpiece, Cosmogramma. Bruner followed up with three albums on FlyLos
Brainfeeder label: 2011s Golden Age of Apocalypse (with its Stanley Clarke
and George Duke homages, plus a bass duet with Hadrien Feraud), 2013s
Apocalypse (with Heartbreaks + Setbacks and Oh Sheit Its X, a Mu-Tron-
flavored jam about being on ecstasy), and The Beyond/Where the Giants Roam
EP, released in 2015 (with Them Changes, viewed three million times on
YouTube). They all showcase the basic elements of his sound: 70s/80s jazz-
funk fusion, arpeggiated bass chords, distinctive harmony, bebop guitar-like
solos, and vocals that set him apart from every other bass hero.
Meanwhile, Bruners headlining tours and growing list of sideman/co-
writing credits continue to elevate his profilewith Jhen Aiko, Wiz Khal-
ifa, Kimbra, Ty Dolla Sign, Taylor McFerrin, Mac Miller, plus appearances
on Grammy-nominated albums by Childish Gambino (Because the Internet,

bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7 29

bas0617_coverstory_thundercat_ph2.indd 29 4/12/17 1:23 PM


2013, Glassnote/Island) and Terrace Martin (Velvet Portraits, 2016,

i INFO Ropeadope). Last year, Bruners pivotal role on Kamasi Washing-

tons widely acclaimed The Epic (2015, Brainfeeder), as well as the
Grammy he took home for These Walls, his collaboration with
Kendrick Lamar, brought Bruner a new level of attention. Con-
BASS IN THESE STREETS currently, he and a tight circle of L.A. friends, including Washing-
ton, Martin, upright star Miles Mosley, and older brother Ronald
THUNDERCATS MAIN AXE, CREATED Bruner Jr., were warmly praised for jumpstarting a new genera-
by Ibanezs L.A. Custom Shop in 2012, is a tion of jazz excellence. Hes insanely busy, with no end in sight:
highly customized 34"-scale Ibanez Art- Look for him with WOKE, a supergroup with Flying Lotus, George
core 6-string. Its a neck-through with a Clinton, and Shabazz Palaces; on the soundtrack to FlyLos first
maple top and back, five-piece maple/ja- film, the surreal Kuso; and on his brother Ronalds explosive Brain-
toba neck, rosewood fingerboard, Graph feeder debut, Triumph.
Tech Ghost Modular MIDI pickup system Out of this dizzying maelstrom of activity comes Drunk, a 23-track
with a Quickswitch, and custom EMG-HZ peek into the mind of a man-child/wizard/supernerd who spends
pickups. The controls include master vol- lots of time pondering relationships, anime, his friends, partying,
ume, tone,piezo volume, volume for the MIDI video games, his cat, alcohol, technology, drugs, and scatalogical
system, a 3-way Les Paul-style switch, and a humor. More hi-fi than its predecessors, Drunk is concise (only one
dark/mids switch. Onstage, he strings it with track makes it to the four-minute mark), but it packs all of Thun-
La Bella 760FM-CB Deep Talkin Bass Flats dercats favorite flavors. There are spacey songs about death (Lava
(.029, .049, .069, .089, .109, .128) and 750G- Lamp, Jethro), nods to Motown (Where Im Going, 3AM),
CB Gold White Nylon Tapewounds (.043, cool guest spots (Pharrell Williams on The Turn Down and Kend-
.050, .065, .085, .105, .135). In the studio, he rick Lamar on Walk On By), fleet-fingered excursions (Uh Oh),
uses medium-light Dean Markley SR2000 complex vocal arrangements (Inferno, Blackkk), a cat fantasy (A
strings (.027, .047, .067, .087, .107, .127). Fans Mail), a love letter to Japan (Tokyo), advice for a would-be
His Ibanez 6-string/8-string double-neck, friend (Friend Zone), and, of course, songs about getting wasted
built in 2015, is also a 34"-scale neck-through. (Drink Dat, DUI, and Drunk). The sparkling retro gems Bus
Both necks are five-piece maple/bubinga in These Streets and Jameels Space Ride bear the mark of co-
with maple fingerboards, and the body con- writer/Knower mastermind Louis Cole, but the albums sweetest
sists of a spalted-maple top, ash middle, and ear candy just might be the yacht-rock throwback Show You the
crotch mahogany back wings. The Way, featuring Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins.
preamp is an Ibanez EQ; the Live, Bruners vocals and stage presence are more confident than
controls include a 3-way toggle ever. Its a thrill hearing him grab fistfuls of notes while locking in
(for the neck selector switch) with drummer Justin Brown and singing over unusual harmonic
and two 3-way toggles (for colors. Although Bruners muscular approach guides the music as
Aguilar 6P-60 P-Bass pickups much as (if not more than) keyboardist Dennis Hamms sophis-
on the 6 and Seymour Duncan ticated parts, a high-flying Thundercat solo is always around
NYC humbuckers on the 8). The the corner. Between songs, hes funny, self-deprecating, and
double-neck is strung with a mix honest, and off stage, hes exactly the samea just-passing-
of La Bella RX and SN nickel strings. through astral traveler whos bemused by all the attention but
Both the 6-string and the double- definitely having a good time.
neck have jumbo frets, Hipshot
tuners, and Hipshot bridges. Youve been getting lots of praise from the mainstream
Thundercat amplifies his press. How does it feel?
instruments through Agui- Its been pretty trippy, to say the least. I dont know
lar DB 750, DB 751, or Tone what to think of it.
Hammer 500 heads with two Congratulations on the Grammy for These Walls.
DB 410 or GS 410 4x10 cabi- Did it change your life?
nets. He uses a Pigtronix Bass Everything got crazy. It was so intense! I needed some
Envelope Phaser and a DigiTech sort of buffer, so I changed my number. I looked at it like self-
Whammy pedal. preservation: I try to stay focused and stay sane.

30 bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7

bas0617_coverstory_thundercat_ph2.indd 30 4/12/17 1:23 PM

dUg Pinnick. Unmistakable in every way --that voice,
the songwriting, his style, and, of course, the dUg tone.

Since the formation of Kings X in the 80s, dUg has

been one of the most influential players to garner
attention for the then hardly used, 12-string bass.
dUg also devised his own method of using guitar and
bass amps together to merge high-end distortion with
low-end bass. The combination resulted in a sound
as subtle as a freight train, yet ironically musical and sen-
sitive. Just like dUg.

And just like dUg, there is an unconventional structure

to the design of his Signature Ultra Bass 1000 bass amp
head. The intent is to use both channels mixed or the Bot-
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bass amp sounds. Mixed together, you get dUg.

We are honored dUg chose Tech 21 to collaborate with in

the creation of his own signature amp, the dUg Ultra Bass
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dUg Pinnick
Kings X, KXM, Pinnick-Gales-Pridgen, Grinder Blues

dUg Ultra Bass 1000

2 Channels
1000 Watts 12 lbs.



bas526346_0617.indd 1 3/31/17 10:37 AM


You certainly seem more comfortable onstage these days. with two 4x10sthats the one. Aguilars stuff is
For the most part, I feel comfortable but I never get used to it. I was very known for being really powerful, and thats what I
quiet as a kidthis is like, the opposite. Every now and again, singing freaks need onstage. People are telling me to turn down,
me out just a little. Nonetheless, I enjoy every part of it. and Im like, No! Im trying to burn down the stage.
Youre singing a lot more on Drunk. Thats the whole point! [Laughs.]
On the first two albums, there were lots of instrumentals, and I was trying Are you still using heavy-gauge strings on
to convey ideas that way. Now songwriting has taken a front seat. your Ibanez signature bass?
Has focusing on vocals changed the way you play while you sing? I dance between two sets of strings, one for
Dennis and I were just talking about what your brain has to focus on between live and one for recording. In the studio, I still use
playing and singing. Usually, you dont think when youre playing, but singing tapered, medium-light Dean Markley SR2000s, and
forces you to think. Its always like, How am I supposed to play this and sing live, Ive been using a custom flatwound 6-string
at the same time? set by La Bella. I use La Bella nylons a bit now, too.
The lines youre singing are so How do you like your Ibanez double-neck?
Juxtaposed against what Im playing? Yeah, its pretty messed up [laughs]. Its fantastic. Its got this Pink Floyd-ish tone
Singing and playing looks easy when you see guys like Sting do it, but having thats really openit rings out because theres the
two different melodies going at the same time is always difficult. One comes 6-string on top and an 8-string on the bottom, both
first, you put them together, and then you have to figure out how to improvise with EMGs. I wanted to go for that vintage P-Bass
and still hit the changes. One thing I do enjoy about touring is that its an open sound, but theres hardly any lacquer on the wood,
practice. You get better with repetition. and its like this open baaaaang! Its pretty funky;
Your live bass tone is gigantic. How long have you been using Agu- it has its own life.
ilar amps? How often do you play it?
[Aguilar rep] Justin Huth recommended Aguilar gear to me four or five Weirdly enough, I wind up playing it at really
years ago because it was straightforward, and I like that. The DB 750 [head] big shows, like when I did the Hollywood Bowl

32 bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7

bas0617_coverstory_thundercat_ph2.indd 32 4/12/17 1:22 PM

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bas52664_0617.indd 1 3/30/17 1:26 PM

with Michael McDonald. I did something for Com- pickups; I can stay in one area and itll be the same
plex [magazine], and I play it live in L.A. Its so spe- amount of intensity on each pickup. Sometimes Im
cific. The first time I played it was in London at the strumming and sometimes Im playing fingerstyle,
Koko, and it was intimidatingit sounded so open and with the ramp, itll feel seamless. I still move
that I was trying to bring it back. But I figured out my fingers closer to the neck to dig in. Its a small
over the course of the show that its just something change, but it keeps my hands a bit more preserved.
you have to embrace for what it is. I love it to death. How do you find melodies over your chord
You dont use a pick, even on the 8-string? changes? Do you come up with the melody first?
Nah. Total fingers. They go hand in hand. Sometimes, Ill hear the
Im curious to see how it settles in. How was changes first, and Ill ask myself what Im supposed
your main 6 changed since you got it in 2012? to find inside the harmony. Every once in a while, Ill
Its definitely done some morphing. I broke a be hearing a melody, and Ill try to create the changes
couple tuning pegs, bent the neck in a little every around it. It comes from different places, and I try
time I bring it in to Ibanez, Im like, Can you guys not to be scared or put limitations on myself. Ill try
redo the frets a bit? And Ive added a ramp in- anything, even if I hear something I dont like. Ill
between the pickups. go for it. Theres no wrong way.
Why? Dissonance is such an essential part of
To be honest, having played like this for almost your sound.
30 years, my hands hurt every now and again. Im I like to try to think naturally, even if something
not gonna liesometimes I have to have somebody is completely dissonant. And theres a way to convey
carry my bass. I had to start taking glucosamine, and dissonance: If you play a major #11 chord, for exam-
Ive slowed down drinking a lot. ple, hitting the #11 at a higher frequency may freak
Do you feel a difference? someone out because it sounds so dissonant, but if
Now I can feel how terrible everything is! [Laughs.] you play it as a b5, its more comforting.
Yeah, on this tour, they have a whole bunch of veg- When youre writing a song, do your vocal
etables and stuff. I had to stop drinking because of lines affect your harmonic choices?
the wear and tear on my hands. Im not super old, The more I sing, the more I try interesting har-
but it was one of those things where I can feel it. mony. A lot of the time, it has to do with reference
How do you like playing with the ramp? points, the things you listen to that influence your
Its low, but its not super low. The truth is that I ideas. One of my favorite melodies is Descent to
still feel pain, but theres more of a flat surface, so I Madness from Flying Lotus Youre Dead. I knew
dont have to worry about where Im playing on the it made sense harmonically, and the melody was

bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7 35
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bas0617_coverstory_thundercat_ph2.indd 35 4/12/17 1:23 PM


within the changes, but I remember thinking, What Room, because of what Jack Bruce is singing over Live, Im using a DigiTech Whammy pedal with
the fuck am I singing? [Laughs.] Im very influenced that descending harmony. Those are the things that the octave up, because if I dont, its a bit muddled.
by guys like Gentle Giant. The Power and the Glory I draw from, those bands and guys like Gino Vanelli, My bass still sounds super-thick like a P-Bass, but
thats my album right there. And of course, groups the Bee Gees, Kenny Loggins, and Michael McDon- I have to give some sense of openness, so I have to
like Yes. My heroes! And Cream. ald. Its about writing songs instead of attacking a have that octave up. And thats why my Ibanez basses
What is it you like about those bands? moment and trying to say everything at once. are made a certain way; some basses wouldnt do as
The way the harmony and the melodies sit Your chords are so thick. How do you keep well with chords. Theyd be going all over the place.
together. One of my favorite songs is Creams White things from getting muddy? What other effects are you using onstage?
Just the Whammy and a Pigtronix Bass Envelope
Phaser. The Pigtronix is powerfulit reminds me
of a Mu-Tron Bi-Phase, but its nice not to have to
deal with the weight of a Bi-Phase. Ive also played
with a Moogerfooger MF-103 12-Step Phaser, and
I used to have a Boss SYB-5.
Lets talk about the album. Whyd you name
it Drunk?
Its a bit cheeky, but Im a touring musician, and
everybody I know is an alcoholic. Its just a reality.
Ive had friends die because of it, and Ive had life-
altering moments with people thanks to alcohol.
Its interweaved in our profession.
Why are the songs so short?
People think a song has to be three minutes so
it can be radio friendly. Come on, man! Bands like
DRI exist. Bad Brains exist. Suicidal Tendencies. It
comes out the way it does, and you let it be the way
it is. One of my favorite sayings by Erykah Badu is
that this is not a race. A song is supposed to come
out the way its supposed to come out.
What are you thinking when you sit down
to write songs?
Flying Lotus and I try to create without bias. The
process becomes like a current, and I pick from it.
I try to see things through. Somebody else may see
something else, and Im open to that; thats how I
write with my friends. But I try to go as hard as I
can with what I have.
How was working with Kenny Loggins an
Michael McDonald?
Theyre the kings of cool! I was a bit nervous at
first because they are who they are, and what the
hell do I have to offer those guys, you know? At the
same time, theyre looking at me like, What are you
talking about? Michael McDonald is a songwriting
geniusthe ideas would just be flying. Kenny was
very precise about what we were doing and how we
were doing it. By the time we finished Show You
the Way, I didnt want to play it for them because
I didnt want them to change a thing. When I saw
Kenny later, at Sundance, he was like, Good job,
man. Good stuff. I was like, Thank you for even
taking the chance. We also worked on a couple
tunes other than Show You the Way; they might

36 bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7

bas0617_coverstory_thundercat_ph2.indd 36 4/12/17 1:23 PM

come out someday. life together. Plus, theyre better than me. Its like an ass-whippin every night!
You definitely turned up the production There were a few shows where you had another bass player.
on this album. Yeah, Joel Whitley was playing bass for me for a second. When I played with
Yeah, we spent a lot more time on that. There [upright player] Miles Mosley in Kamasis band, we complemented each other,
was a funny moment: I had been sitting with Them and it wouldnt clash because the frequencies were so far apart. I did it with
Changes for some time, and I loved it. I brought Stanley Clarke once, and the truth is, you have to be cognizant of the other per-
it to Flying Lotus, and he said, I dont think there sons tone and the role theyre playing; you have to be constantly watching them
can be a better mix than what youve done with but also thinking about how to keep it funky. At first, I was cool with having
it. I was like, Flying Lotus thinks Ive produced a two basses in the band, but then I needed to have more control over things.
song very well, and theres nobody there to see it. As much as I enjoyed playing with Joel, it just felt like the trio was the format.
Wheres the studio audience? This isnt fair! I real- Who are you listening to these days? I noticed that you gave a shout-
ized that my ears had started tuning in to the pro- out to Mononeon on Twitter.
duction side of things. Monos a sweet dude. He should move to L.A.; its cool that hes removed from
What software are you using? everything and living in Memphis, but being in L.A. will allow him to dig in in a
Ableton [Live], always. I went from Pro Tools to different way. He can be himself and nobody will mess with him. Hes such a beau-
Ableton. It was the game-changer and still is, espe- tiful individual, and his ears are massive. I want to see the best shit happen to him.
cially for the songwriter. It makes your process easier. Whats in the future?
The band is sounding tight. How long have Im very excited for a couple things that are in the works. Ive been work-
yall been together? ing with Anderson .Paak a lot. Now, theres a guy who can sing and play! Lotus
About four years. Justin and Dennis are two of and I are working on stuff. And Im interested to see what people think of this
the main reasons I love doing this. We communicate album, because Im singing more. Besides that, trying to keep a level head and
a lot onstage, and its great to have people that you trying not to dieso many of my friends have. And Im already ready to start
can genuinely talk to and understand. Weve lived writing again. BP

bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7 37

bas0617_coverstory_thundercat_ph2.indd 37 4/12/17 1:24 PM

which were championed
f hisPinnick
time. His
dUg Pinnick
dUg Pinnick is a man ahead of his time.

the late 8 0s with masterpieces like Ou
were and
championed of
t play
Goes to some
peers as ver
the fut

is aband
was just 18 years old and first star
his first taste Buddy
a little outside of my co

the to
DUG PINNICK IS A MAN AHEAD 1990, Megaforce] and Human Behavior

of his time. His band Kings X broke

[Dogman, 1994, Atlantic] feature shim-

through in the late 80s with master- mering highs and subterranean lows

pieces like Out of the Silent Planet [1988, wrung from a Hamer 12-string bass, an

Megaforce] and Gretchen Goes to Nebraska instrument that became his calling card

[1989, Megaforce], both of which were for a time.

championed by peers as the future of Pinnick grew up in Joliet, Illinois,

rock music. Even when he was just 18 and got his first taste of touring when

years old and first started playing in he joined the Sperlows, a nationally tour-

rock bands, he had his first taste of being ing vocal group that held tryouts after a

somewhat radical. Black kids didnt play show he attended. I tried out and made
rock very much, aside from Jimi Hendrix it, he recalls. I traveled with them for
and Buddy Miles, he recalls. So, I was a six or seven months, but I quit because
little outside of my community playing I wasnt happy. It was choreographed,
rock music with all the white kids. These Top 40 music, playing high schools, two
days, hes got a slew of highly revered col- shows a day, barely any money. But it
laborations under his belt, ranging from was the first time I ever did anything like
Pinnick Gales Pridgen to Grinder Blues that, and I got the bug. I left the city and
to KXMhis collaboration with guitar- got to play with people, and that was the
ist George Lynch (Dokken) and drummer obsession after that.
Ray Luzier (Korn)all deviating from the He went on to play bass with several

the lP
norm in one way or another. Christian artists, including Petra, Phil

Pinnicks bass playing has been no Keaggy, and Morgan Cryar and bounced

exception to this rule, either. Those early from Joliet to Springfield, Missouri to

Kings X records established him as a sin- Houston, Texas in the process. It was with

gular voice on bass. Through meticulous, Keaggy that he met Kings X drummer

of h
prog-inspired song craftsmanship and an Jerry Gaskill. Later, after Kings X was

attempt to emulate his childhood hero, forged with Ty Tabor on guitar, the trio

Chris Squire, Pinnick inadvertently crafted backed Cryar for a time. These experiences Now, with KXMs most recent release,

one of the most distinguished, influen- helped Pinnick formulate his own game Scatterbrain, dUg brings his distinc-

tial bass tones of a generation. Songs plan. When I started Kings X, I decided tive playing and gospel-tinged vocals to

or a
like Faith Hope Love [Faith Hope Love, we were not going to be a Christian band another project thats sure to fire up the
or play Christian music. I decided it was fan base and ignite accolades from his

By Freddy Villano
not the world I wanted to play music in.
I felt judged, and I wanted to be free to
say what I wanted and be what I wanted
musical peers. Songs like Scatterbrain
and Noises in the Sky feature Pinnicks
distinctive tone anchoring some crazy
to be. So we kept on moving forward. riffs and rhythms, courtesy of Lynch

38 bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7

bas0617_feat_pinnick_ph2.indd 38 4/12/17 1:35 PM

KXM: dUg Pinnick, George Lynch, Ray Luzier

ke OutHis
emewhat ofband
the King
Silent s X broke
Planet through
[1988, in
ery much,radical.
les, [1989,
of Megaforce],
he recalls.
community aside from
in rock
So, Irock
playing was both
bands, which
he Jimi

he Pinnick
late 8 0sis a man
with ahead of
masterpieces his time.
like Out H
Buddy being
Walks by
the somewhat

as to
With radic
His of [19
Georgeto of
or another.
ranging from Pinnick Gal
deviating and
collabor pla
bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7

bas0617_feat_pinnick_ph2.indd 39

4/12/17 1:35 PM

and Luzierdemonstrating that while the context and musi- You created one of the most influential bass tones of
cians may change, dUg Pinnick remains the auteur at the heart the 90s. Was this the unintended result of trying to emu-
of all these projects. late Chris Squire?
I saw Yes in 1976, when I had just started playing bass. I was
How did KXM come together? mesmerized by his tone and did not know how to get it. And
I was at Rays house. He was having a birthday party for his then he came onstage with his Rickenbacker that had two pick-
son, and George was invited, too. We were just hanging out talk- ups and two cords coming out of it, and one went to a Marshall
ing, and Ray said why dont we do a project together, and we all guitar amp and the other went to an Acoustic bass amp, and he
agreed. George rented a studio, and we went in and wrote 12 songs blended the two. From that point on I started doing that. Then,
in 12 days. The next thing I knew, we had a record done. It was so about two years ago, Tech 21 made me my own signature bass
quickno thought. We just went in and had fun. amp. It has two preamps, one high EQ and one low EQ, made to
When you first got together with George and Ray, were sound like a guitar head on top with low end on the bottom. Its
there any preconceived ideas about what you would play? exactly what I used to do, but now its in one little box that weighs
Nope. We just walked the plank. On paper, it sounded cool, so only about 12 pounds.
we just wanted to see if we could make it happen. Nobody brought You are one of rocks great purveyors of the 12-string
any songs innobody had any ideas. We just started jamming, and bass. How did you gravitate towards that instrument?
everybody came up with what they came up with at that moment. That was because Cheap Trick was another one of my favorite
We overdubbed guitars and I wrote lyrics later, but we basically bands; Tom Petersson is probably my second-favorite bass player.
wrote all the songs in 12 days. Ive never seen Cheap Trick without Tom playing a 12-string
Did you follow the same template for Scatterbrain? even back in the day when they didnt have a record deal in Chi-
Yeah, pretty much. The only difference with Scatterbrain was cago. Tom originated the 12-string. He got with Hamer, and they
that we would jam a part and record it, then jam four or five more started making them for him. We [King's X] were on tour with
parts and go into Pro Tools and cut and paste them together until them in 1988, and I was standing at the side of the stage talk-
the songs made sense. Then Ray would go back in and play the ing to him as they were getting ready to walk on, and I was like,
whole song straight through, so wed have a full drum take, and Dude, that 12-string is so cool. And he just handed it me and
then wed overdub everything after that. said, Try it out. I played it upside down because Im left-handed,
Are you coming up with vocal parts when youre jam- but I loved the way it felt. He said, Call Hamer and get one, and
ming, or does that come later? then he walked onstage and started playing.
Vocals always come later. I never think of vocals until were Do you play 8-string as well?
done with the musicwhich is the wrong thing to do, but I do it. No, 8-strings dont have enough high or enough low. They dont
When you make up melodies and lyrics, it dictates what the music sound right. They have this ugly midrange thing that I cant deal with.
is going to be. You might not be able to make the music as creative Do you always play with a pick?
because the melody requires a whole other thing. So, for me, I like I started with my fingers, but Chris Squire changed that. Ive
to do music first and then try to figure out what I want to say and been ridiculed in the past for the use of the pick. But I went to
how I want to say it in the song. It makes me think outside the box. Joliet Junior College for one semester and took music theory, and
Your bass playing takes up a lot of sonic space. Its big the first thing the music teacher said to us was, All rules in music
rather than busy. Has this always been your approach, are meant to be broken. Before you learn anything, I want you to
being a singer? know that. And from that point on I decided to do whatever I want.
When I first started playing bass, Chris Squire was my favorite You are currently playing left-handed instruments, but
bass player. Hes probably the guy I imitated more than anybody you used to play right-handed instruments strung lefty.
else. James Jamerson was the other bass player I loved, but Chris Any reason for the change?
Squire had a way of holding out notes and making space between I never played a left-handed bass until 1984, I think it was. We
the notes. If you listen to Close to the Edge by Yes [Close to the were doing cover music in some town in Arkansas, and a guy in
Edge, 1972, Atlantic], theres a part where he just plays whole-notes the opening band had a left-handed Peavey bass, and I said, Can
every four measureshe had a unique way of playing great lines I play that? Ty laughed because I played leads on it all night. But
but knowing not to overstep. He had a real creative way. Even on I could never get up that high before because of the cutaway on
90215 [1983, Atco], he plays some of the most amazing bass lines. the right-handed instruments. From that point on, I thought I
Every time I listen to Yes, I laugh because I can hear how much I should get left-handed instruments, but when I started work-
sound like him. Roundabout [Fragile, 1971, Atlantic] is a per- ing with Hamer I continued getting right-handed basses, strung
fect example. Its probably my favorite song in the world and the lefty, because I was just used to it. When I started playing Yama-
template for everything that I write. has, they started making me left-handed basses, and from that

40 bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7

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bas506368_1016.indd 1 7/18/16 7:39 PM

point on I never looked back. Ray Luzier is a much different drummer because Jerry plays a lot simpler. With Ray, I really
What was your method of tracking bass on from Jerry Gaskill. Did you have to adjust your must listen to what hes doing, because whatever I
Scatterbrain? approach to crafting bass lines to accommo- come up with, its got to match him. Its been cool
For room volume and sound, I had an SVT cab and date his busier style? to close my eyes and listen to everything that hes
I used my Tech 21 dUg 1000 amp, but for recording I did. Ray has so much going on that I can find doing and try to find a part in it.
we just ran my amp straight into the board. Thats multiple licks in all the rhythms that hes doing, which Do you have any advice for someone who
how I always do it. Ive been doing that since I got the made it completely different for me. With Jerry, I wants to be a singing bass player?
amp. Its made to be plugged straight into the board. have more freedom to do more things if I want to The thing is, both should be natural to you. It
takes time. I dont remember ever working hard at
singing and playing. Every now and then there was
something that I couldnt get. I remember One Thing
Leads to Another by the Fixx. We were going to do
that as a cover tune back in the day, and I could not
get that melody and bass line together. I tried and
tried and just couldnt do it. I think thats the only
thing Ive ever been defeated by. BP


[2017, Rat Pak]

Basses Schecter dUg Pinnick Baron-H

Bass LH, Schecter Model-T, Yamaha
Custom AES 12-string

Amps Tech 21 dUg Ultra Bass 1000

head, Ampeg SVT-810E cabs
Strings DR Strings Hi-Beams
Picks Custom-made medium-gauge

Check out official KXM videos for the

songs Scatterbrain and Noises in
the Sky. bassplayer.com/june2017

BP 142 Apr Half Page Advert.indd 1 31/03/17 3:30 PM

42 bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7

bas0617_feat_pinnick_ph2.indd 42 4/12/17 1:53 PM

bas524473_0617.indd 1
SamAsh_BP_JUNE2017.indd 1 3/29/17 1:33
3/30/17 8:57 PM


Stonefield 1-5S
B Y J O N AT H A N H E R R E R A |

RARE IS THE DAY IM TASKED TO REVIEW A BASS lower-bout knobs are joined by another on the upper horn. Flip-
thats as thoroughly unusual as the Stonefield M-series instru- ping the bass around reveals that the neck-through instruments
ment here. In nearly every facet of its design, the Stonefield body wings are not flush with the neck, which itself is composed,
takes a left-of-center approach. There are so many dizzying dif- unusually, of numerous vertical laminations. Viewing the bass on
ferences between this bass and the average axe, Im not sure the its side reveals that the neck is back-angled about three degrees
space allotted is sufficient for a deep dive. relative to the body, which among other things, places the strings
First, its origin. Bass player and designer Tomm Stanley (see, remarkably highlike, one inchabove the body.
even Tom gets an unusual twist at Stonefield!) builds his instru- So yes, as I mentioned earlier, the Stonefield is strange. Yet,
ments in New Zealand, and they are the end result of a years- closely scrutinizing each eccentric design decision reveals a uni-
long quest that deeply tested Stanleys commitment to realizing fying purpose and pervasive thoughtfulness. For example, the
his vision. Through early imagination, trial, error, and perse- bass has amazing balance. Most instruments neck dive on my
verance, a set of key design principles emerged for Stanley, and lap, but the Stonefields proportions and lightweight tuner-free
he spent the ensuing years refining his processes to crystallize headstock planted it firmly in playing position. That saved left-
his at-times amorphous design ideas. The tenets of Stonefields hand effort that would otherwise be partially dedicated to hold-
approach include excellent ergonomics, innovative passive-elec- ing up the neck. Its length and neck angle combine to place the
tronics packages, the pervasive use of genuinely exotic woods, strings and neck in an idealized playing position, too. Its ergo-
and a visual aesthetic that pays homage to his adopted country. nomics are excellent, except for my one major beef: I dont get
Where to begin? First, the look. The Stonefield is a big bass. the crazy neck profile. Granted, neck shape is subjective, but Im
Its about two inches thick and three inches longer than the not drinking the Kiwi Kool Aid on this one. Its a really deep D-
typical Fender-ish bass. Stanleys inspiration for its assertive profile, with a nearly flat back and steep sloping shoulders. Its
contour was both the waves on New Zealands beaches and sin- way thick, almost like an upright. Your mileage may vary.
uous Maori koru patterns. It has a headstock and what look like The Stonefield uses a variety of proprietary anodized alumi-
tuning machines, but further inspection reveals that the tuning num and stainless steel parts, and its bespoke tailpiece is a thing
machines are merely anchoring posts, and that tuning actually of machining beauty, placing each string on roller bearings as it
happens at the tailpiece. The trademarked Tomm Stanley Tuning travels to the ferrules on the bodys back. Tuning is precise, easy,
System does not function as the bridge, however; that duty is left and stable. String changes, while not difficult, do require a spe-
to a much lower-tech floating bridge, akin to that of an orches- cial tool thats included with the bass. I dig the floating bridge,
tral stringed instrument. The q" jack protrudes from the body and could possibly even be convinced that it imparts some sort
it sort of looks like an inverted Stratocaster designand three of organic Old World vibe to the instruments sound, but it is

44 bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7

bas0617_soundroom_f_prod.indd 44 4/13/17 12:54 AM

inarguably less precise to intonate than the more GOOD ON YA, MATE
typical saddle-based system. You have to loosen
the strings and nudge it around, checking intona-
I could go on and on about the Stonefields many little
design details, but its a musical instrument after
tion in typical fashion, until you get close. all. For my fretless tester, I used a variety of amps, 1-5S
In a bass filled with notable features, one including high-end rigs from Bergantino and Agui- Street $4,800
of the Stonefields most remarkable is its elec- lar and vibe-y vintage amps from Ampeg and Klemt. Pros One-of-a-kind boutique bass that
tronics package. Its an elaborate passive design In my studio I paired it with a Tube Tech MEC-1A, hosts a plethora of intriguing design ideas;
that, despite the single humbucking pickup, is a Universal Audio SOLO/110, and a Kern IP-777. full-throated and beautifully textured

capable of coaxing a remarkably diverse array of Out of the gate, I could not get a sound that sound; excellent balance
sounds out of the instrument. There are bass and worked well for me. Usually, when Im testing a Cons Neck profile is unusually chunky and
deep; unique passive circuit takes time to
treble controls and a 6-position rotary switch for bass, I set everything flat and check out the instru-
make sense of
sweeping a midrange notch filter. Strangely, the ments essential personality. But the Stonefields
Bottom Line If youre in a rut of Fender-
bass control is a push/pull pot that changes the elaborate electronics defied that strategy, ini-
style basses or same-old coffee-table-
behavior of the midrange switch. Since the system tially, as I didnt have much precedent for its pecu- topped boutique beauties, the Stonefield
is passive, no boost is on offer; any perception liar idiosyncrasies. I persevered, though, and was will shake things up. Its as quirky and lov-
of boost is merely the result of the attenuation quickly rewarded. My Stonefield tester was capa- able as New Zealand is to us Americans.
of frequencies around the boosted frequency ble of an impressive variety of excellent tones,
range. Bass players are used to seeing passive from a thumpy and dark upright-style sound to a ConstructionNeck-through
tone controls, consisting of a simple lowpass assertive and punchy, midrange-focused attack. BodySalusalu
circuit built from a potentiometer and a capac- The EQ, such as it is, shapes the overall sound Top Anigre
itor. Yet, many more frequency-selective filters immensely, and its high interactivity meant there Binding Fine line, Australian blackwood
sap; thick edge, black maire
can be made out of various combinations of was a learning curve. I found a handful of tones
Nut Black maire
pots, capacitors, and inductors, and thats the I dug, remembering what knob cocktail got me
Bridge Solomon ebony
approach taken with the Stonefield. Analyzing there, and sticking with those as I played. The
Hardware Titanium
the exact means by which this is accomplished is Stonefield had a rich and blooming quality, with NeckAircraft-grade okume & marine-
well outside the scope of this review, but suffice a harmonically dense midrange that somehow grade keruing, vertically laminated
it to say, the system does dramatically alter the seemed analogous to the instruments aesthetic. FingerboardSolomon ebony

instruments sound. Its just not predictable in The B string was taut and well controlled, and the Neck width at nut 52mm
the way were accustomed to with opamp-based bass exhibited excellent evenness throughout its Neck width at 24th fret 73mm
onboard circuits that offer precise equalization. range. While I was initially apprehensive that its String spacing 16mm
The Stonefields electronics are highly interac- single-pickup design might be a substantial sonic Pickup OEM humbucker
tive, imprecise, and require significant experi- limitation, I found myself able to emulate a range Scale length34"
Controls All passive: volume, 6-position
mentation to grok. But, given that its passive, of tones that evoked two-pickup circuits.
midrange notch filter, treble, bass (push/pull
the system has an immediacy, speed, and dare- With time, I came to appreciate the Stonefield.
to change midrange filter center frequency
I-say organic quality thats a joy of its own. The Its holistic coherence evinces a visionary designer
range for 10 total positions plus bypass)
installation is also top-notch, and the anodized with an undeniable commitment to detail. It obvi- Weight9.5 lbs
aluminum covers, extensive use of conductive ously wont be for everybody, but any imaginative
shielding paint, and humbucking pickup com- player open to new concepts may find a compan- Made in New Zealand
bine for a beautifully noise-free instrument. ion with the Stonefield. BP Contact stonefieldmusic.com

bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7 45

bas0617_soundroom_f_prod.indd 45 4/13/17 12:55 AM


Chadwick Folding Bass



WE UPRIGHT BASSISTS HAVE CHOSEN A TOUGH SB100, a high-quality plywood instrument with a spruce
life. Not only are we confronted with the challenge of master- veneer, inlaid purfling, and lacquer finish. The African

ing a beast that stands six feet tall and kicks our butt on a daily ebony fingerboard attaches to the maple neck with a row
basis, it influences the type of car we drive, where we can live of aluminum hooks that securely hold it in place, while
and invites total strangers to comment that we probably wish making removal for storage a simple task. The Suzhou
wed taken up the harmonica instead. We have to transport this tuning machines are reliably smooth, while the ebony
giant but relatively fragile creature, hoping it will be playable tailpiece, braided tailpiece wire, high-quality
when we arrive at our destination. For those brave souls who tour maple bridge (with adjusters), and graph-
with upright bass, the perils are exponentially greater. Weve all ite endpin round out a pro-level feature
heard the stories and seen the pictures of basses destroyed by set that clearly separates the Chad-
slippery-fingered TSA security screeners, careless baggage han- wick from the infamous CCB cat-
dlers, or drunk local crewsnot only is it gut-wrenching to see egory. A hybrid model based on
an instrument in pieces, it also represents a significant loss of the Shen 150 offers a carved top
property and income potential to the owner. for an additional $400. The Fold-
Given the instruments indispensable nature, trying to ing Bass comes stocked with your
make the upright bass more portable has been a driving market string of choice (up to $300), and
force for many decades, but many attempts fall short of sat- while not included, most com-
isfying upright bassists. Charlie Chadwick, a Nashville-based mercially available pickups can
player with a penchant for tinkering, came up with a unique be installed at the shop.
solution that not only falls within most airlines limits for There are a lot of moving parts on the
oversize baggage, his bass fits into one case, sets up in min- Chadwick, but much care has gone into
utes, and feels and sounds like the real thingbecause it is. preventing rattles that could affect the
Frustration with bad rental instruments on fly gigs inspired sound. The back panel and fingerboard
Charlie to start disassembling basses to develop a mechanism use compression fittings to keep
that allows the neck to pivot into the body through a remov- things tight, and a polyester
able panel on the back. Chadwick dialed in his first folding gasket seals and cushions the
bass in 2005 for personal use, but despite demand from his back panel. Internally, there
touring brethren, the modifications were too complex and is an acetal framework (an
expensive to go into production on his own. In 2008, Chad- extruded material simi-
wick connected with Sam Shen, the worlds largest producer lar to nylon) that holds
of upright basses, and had the company craft parts with all the neck in place during
of the pre-cuts necessary to build the Chadwick Folding Bass. storage and secures the
The raw instruments are sent to Chadwicks Nashville work- fingerboard in its rest-
shop, where the critical assembly, setup, and testing occur. ing place. The remov-
With over 800 instruments out there on the road, Charlie able endpin has its own
has used player feedback to continuously refine his concept, recessed cup to hold the
resulting in a fool-proof, player-friendly instrument that can rubber end, while a clamp
boldly go where no bass has gone before. makes sure the rod stays in
place during transit. Vibration-
ALL IN THE DETAILS stopping urethane rubber sockets
The standard Chadwick is built from the platform of the Shen suspend the neck-storage framework in

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bas0617_soundroom_f_prod.indd 46 4/13/17 12:55 AM

place. The entire mechanism can be easily removed found myself tuning up all through the gig. Even-
in seconds. The soundpost is loosely pinned in tually I switched to steel-core DAddario Helicore
place so it stays put when taking down the string Orchestra strings, which cut my total setup time
tension, but it can be moved if an adjustment is down to ten minutes.
needed. The Chadwick Folding Bass also comes with In addition to the potentially fatal damage an
a removable internal travel brace that fits between airline could do to your bass, they will also make
the back and top, providing extra strength in the you pay dearly for the privilege if your instrument
event a TSA gorilla decides to stand on your case is considered oversize. Southwest Airlines pub-
and it offers a significant, though unintended, lished guidelines for size and weight limits require
advantage I will discuss later. the instrument to be under 50 pounds and under
Because the Chadwick was designed by some- 62 linear inches total (L+W+D). The Chadwick is a
one who actually plays it, there are many seemingly pound short, and while the total inches add up to
small but practical features that address the real- For my situation, perhaps the most critical 82, my tour manager confirms that it has escaped
ities of setting up and breaking down an instru- advantage the Chadwick offers is purely serendipi- any oversize fees for the past two years. Naturally,
ment on a daily basis. At the peg box, a holder tous. Put bluntly, the Mavericks are a loud-ass band, there is no guarantee it will fly as regular baggage,
keeps the strings secure around the tuner post, and I spend two to three hours a night standing in but based on my experience, the Chadwick stands
and felt washers hold the ball end in place behind front of a Genzler Magellan 800-powered Green- a better chance of flying without extra charges or
the tailpiece to keep your strings in place when you boy F215 pumping out the worlds loudest quarter- damage than other full-size travel basses.
break down the bass. The bridge feet are strapped notes. Feedback is my enemy, and the Chadwicks The Chadwick Folding Bass is an ingenious
to the bridge top so the adjuster wheels stay put, internal travel brace has been my Excalibur in the solution to the upright bassists greatest logisti-
the bridge-feet placement is clearly marked on the fight against howl. The tightly fit brace effectively cal problem, but it also sounds and plays great.
top to eliminate guesswork, and Charlie installs a cuts most of the body vibration, leaving the instru- Some of the top touring players in the world rely
simple piece of shrink wrap on the E string behind ment practically silent when played acoustically on it every day, and the peace of mind you get from
the bridge to help visually adjust the bridge perpen- but in the high-volume world I inhabit, my sound knowing it will show up in good working order is
dicular to the top. The Chadwicks price includes is all amp and pickup, anyway. There is no discern- immeasurable. BP
a crushed-velvet-lined, reinforced fiberglass case ible change in the tone that comes out of my amp
with recessed wheels and low-profile metal latches. with the brace installed, but without it, I couldnt

Empty and open, the case seems flimsy, but the play two notes. Conversely, in the studio, I leave
bass fits tightly inside the strategically padded the brace out for the full acoustic volume, and the SPECIFICATIONS
interior and gives the final package surprising Chadwick sounds as good as any plywood bass
sturdiness. The price also includes free shipping Ive ever played. Ive even used the storage clamp Folding Bass

to 80 countries. that holds the neck in place to mount a condenser Street $3,800, $4,200 (hybrid)

Pros Full-size acoustic upright that flies

mic inside the bass, with great results. While I
SIMPLY LEGIT havent traveled with one, I have played several
Cons Show and tell time whenever you
For the sake of full disclosure, I must mention of Chadwicks hybrid models, and the carved top
set up or break down
that I am one of those road dogs who relies on the produces a richer, more complex tone that would Bottom Line A super-convenient way to
Chadwick Folding Bass to do my job. As a touring satisfy someone looking for a more legit classi- travel with a real upright bass.
member of the Mavericks, I have logged hundreds cal or jazz sound. Unlike some mail-order instru-
of shows with the instrument, including countless ments that require additional tweaking, Charlie BodyMaple plywood w/spruce veneer
miles by air, sea, and land (overseas and domestic), personally sets up each instrument to your pref- top, carved top w/plywood sides (hybrid
and I have always been happy with what came out erenceas a result, my Chadwick played perfectly model)
of the case. The Chadwick has never failed to meet right out of the box. NeckMaple, D neck

the musical demands of my gig, and the designs Assembling the Chadwick seemed complex at FingerboardAfrican ebony
Scale length41.25"
tight tolerances have shown no signs of loosening first, but I can now go from zero to 60 in under

Upper bout 20"

up after two years of heavy use. The slick paint on four minutes without breaking a sweat. Im always
Lower bout 26"
the fiberglass case gets scuffed up quickly, and after amazed at how consistent the instrument feels
Thickness 9"
two years of hard use, rough treatment has created from one day to the next, but your choice of string HardwareSuzhou gears
some wear spots in the fiberglass that were easily will influence how much time you need to let it Weight49 lbs (with case)
repaired with epoxy. It aint prettybut the case settle in to pitch. While I initially used gut strings,
has protected my instrument, and I project it will they took many hours to stretch out. Next, I tried Made inChina, USA
survive several more years of brutal treatment. synthetic-core strings that emulate gut, but I still Contact foldingbass.com

bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7 47

bas0617_soundroom_f_prod.indd 47 4/13/17 12:55 AM


API TranZformer LX

B Y J O N AT H A N H E R R E R A |

NOW THAT IVE BEEN RUNNING bottom end that is authentically among the better
a recording studio for a couple years, Ive Ive heard in a bass preamp. The thoughtfully
become keenly aware of the heightened chosen EQ frequencies are further enhanced

level of voodoo associated with certain gear with the circuits musical and creamy sound.
brands. If you think the average Talkbass.com The one-knob compressor, based on APIs
thread or Bass Player meetup gets geeky, slightly eccentric 525 design, goes from

its nothing compared to the discussion typi- subtle to aggressive, and makeup gain is
cal among recording engineers, and like us bass built into the circuit, with the 6-position
players, certain brands are universally associ- switch essentially controlling threshold. Its
ated with good tone. It makes sense, given that not flexible, but it imparts delicious harmonic
some gears mythical reputation is due to its his- richness and control over a peaky sound.
torically integral role on the legendary record- Given the astronomical cost of most API
ings that are the very definition of killer tone. gear, the luxurious components and construc-
Near the top of the gaga-gear pyramid lies API, tion on offer, and its unimpeachably great tone,
short for Automated Processes, Inc. The Amer- demographic, but Im happy to report that the at under $500 the TranZformer LX is a remark-
ican answer to Englands Neve (another equally TranZformer LX is every bit the sexy pedal it ably good deal for such a serious piece of gear. If
legendary studio gear brand), API consoles, EQs, ought to be. you want a small taste of that sauce that makes
and compressors have lent their muscular, rich, The TranZformer is essentially a floor- studio nerds swoon, its a no-brainer. BP
and tight sound to countless recordings we all mounted bass channel strip. Its a preamp, not
know and love. The API TranZformer LX is APIs a DI. While it does have a balanced xlr output,
first purpose-built piece of bass gear, although it sends a line-level signaldont go connecting

that doesnt mean its products havent been a this to a mic pre, like you would with a DI. While
part of thousands of bass signal chains on record. simple, the API offers an effective combination
At the heart of API gearand a lot of high- of tone-enhancing features, whether live or in
end studio gear, generallyis a proprietary dis- the studio. To me, the two obvious use-cases are TranZformer LX
Street $492
crete operational amplifier (opamp). Opamps in front of a power amp as part of a live rig, or
Pros Super-sweet and sophisticated tone;
consist of bundles of components that, when in a studio with its output going straight to tape
good price, considering the quality on
packaged together, produce a remarkably versa- or to a digital systems A/D converters.

tile and high-performing amplifier, easily tasked The TranZformer LX is built to a standard Cons None
to provide a dizzying array of functions in analog thats uncommon in the bass market. API uses Bottom Line A worthy member of the
circuits. Most modern opamps come as a single three of its legendary 2520 discrete opamps legendary API family, the TranZformer LX
chip in an integrated circuit, although bou- and two 2510 line drivers, bespoke input and is a carefully designed piece of serious
tique audio brands like API still produce opamps output transformers, and an EQ (based on APIs studio gear disguised as a stompbox.
consisting of discrete components, sometimes own 553 EQ) that utilizes custom-wound induc-
packaged together in what looks like a small tors for the low and midrange bands. The sur- Input q"

box. Much of the aforementioned voodoo that Input impedance 500k

face-mount board is beautifully laid out, and
Outputs q" unbalanced, variable gain; xlr
follows certain pieces of gear can be traced to overall construction is top-shelf. While big for
balanced, line level
these discrete opamps. a stompbox, popping open the pedal reveals a
EQ 16dB @ 100Hz, 400Hz, 2kHz
The above digression is to contextualize thoughtful layout thatd be easy to repair, should

Compressor One-knob, 6-position circuit

the fact that brands like API have reputational the need arise. with 2:120:1 ratio, depending on setting
baggage, and that baggage is largely due to cer- The big question, obviously, is whether all the Power 18 volts @ 250mA, adapter in-
tain proprietary bits, like discrete opamps. Itd APIs fanciness combines for good tone. Does it cluded
be easy for API to slap its hallowed brand on a ever! The TranZformer is uncommonly smooth
bass pedal, stuff it with jellybean parts, and rake and sophisticated-sounding. Its overall person- Made inUSA
in the dough from our somewhat less finicky ality is balanced and full, with a precise and tight Contact apiaudio.com

48 bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7

bas0617_soundroom_f_prod.indd 48 4/13/17 12:55 AM

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4:46 PM


TECHBENCH Studio Skills


B Y J O N AT H A N H E R R E R A |

WHILE I DONT REMEMBER THE SPECIFICS OF MY your bass and the recorder without degradation. It may seem
first real recording session at a proper studio, I do remember counterintuitive to convert the signal to mic level, given that

how I felt. I know I wanted to seem slick, like the session was its lower than instrument level, but consider that most record-
just a another blip in my thriving music career, but in truth ing consoles and other studio gear are designed to work with
I spent the whole time trying desperately not to betray my microphones. The DI tricks the signal chains next step into

intimidation, deep sense of inadequacy, and general bewil- thinking its seeing the output of a mic, which is where the
derment. Theres a big difference between making music in gear is optimized to work.
the warm embrace of a familiar room and entering the clois- In addition to a DI, you may also be given the opportunity
tered confines of a well-outfitted recording studio. The poten- to mic an amp, resulting in two recorded bass signals that are
tial sources of anxiety are numerous, whether its the pressure later blended together at the mixing phase. The engineer will
to track fast and clean, the racks of esoteric knob-laden gear, undoubtedly have a selection of preferred mics for this pur-
the awareness that a good performance might weigh heav- pose, with the E-V RE-20, AKG D12, Sennheiser MD-421, or
ily on future opportunities, or the intrinsically permanent, Neumann U-47 being especially popular options. While youll
tangible nature of record-making. While this anxiety may be likely be given the chance to mic your own amp, dont dismiss
inevitable initially, I hope this column helps a bit. Think of it the in-house options too soon. The studio is a singular envi-
as rhetorical Xanax. ronment, and amps that youd never use on a gig may surprise
Its useful to roughly divide the recording process into two you when you listen back to their sound on tape. The undis-
broad categories of equal importance: technical and social. puted king of studio amps is the all-tube Ampeg B-15, partic-
Ill talk tech in this column and dive into the softer side next ularly if youre after a fat and warm sound.
month. Whether youre recording to tape or to a computer, the The engineer will likely apply a small amount of compres-
studio is at its core a sort of sound laboratory, with all the sion to your bass to help even out our instruments unusu-
attendant specialized equipment one might expect. ally broad dynamic range. Ill leave the details of
Unlike most live gigs, the sound you get to tape compression for another column, but suffice it to
(Ill refer to all recording media as tape for con- say that this is another practice that may differ
venience) will be the result of a collaboration from your habit on a gig. Stay open-minded and
between you and a recording engineer. Acqui- remember that the end result of your session
escing control can seem initially unusual, but is not a solo recording of your bass, but rather
its for your benefitengineers know their gear a mix that needs to balance the sound of multi-
and room. Despite this, its still critical that ple instruments. To that end, an engineer may
you advocate for your vision in the studio, and further sculpt the sound on the way in with
thats only possible if you have a basic working Bass Player Senior EQ. Allow this process to unfold before rushing
knowledge of the options. Contributing Editor Jona- to judgment; the engineer is likely envisioning
Unlike most acoustic instruments, bass is than Herrera is the maga- what will work from the aggregate perspective.
surprisingly easy to record. There are essen- zines former Editor-in-Chief. Its weird, but good bass tone on record is often
tially two ways. First, youll likely plug your bass An accomplished player, not as lovely alone.
into a direct box or DI. A DI is a simple device Jonathan has been a full- Once your signal chain is set, be sure to con-
that performs a single function: It converts time musician and producer sistently advocate for the tone you envision.
the high-impedance, unbalanced instrument- since first leaving the mag- Given how easy it is to record bass, its often the
level output of your bass to a low-impedance azines staff in 2010. His one instrument at a session that an engineer
balanced mic-level signal. The impedance and latest endeavor is Bay Area may under-think while contemplating which
balance transformation is important to ensure recording studio Airship Lab- ten mics theyre going to use on the drum kit.
the noise-free, high-fidelity integrity of your oratories. Catch up with him The challenge of this advocacy is gracefully bal-
signal. Among other benefits, it allows a record- at jonherrera.com and at ancing your concept with the engineers expe-
ing engineer to use long cable runs between airshiplaboratories.com. rience. More on that next month. BP

50 bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7

bas0617_techbench_f_prod.indd 50 4/13/17 1:14 AM

bas000001_0116.indd 1 11/20/15 7:15 PM



Mixed Up!

Playing Odd & Mixed Meters


DO YOU GET MIXED UP WHEN YOU which means a quarter-note pulse under- For a straightahead
play something not written in 4/4? Common pins every measure of the chart. Even when guy, John Goldsby
time is another name for 4/4, and common the top number changes from 4 to 3 to 7, has played a lot

it is4/4 has been pounded into our brains the underlying beat remains a quarter-note of odd and mixed
and feet for generations. The fat downbeat because the bottom number is always 4. This meters in his career.
on beat one, the comfort of thunder-clap- is important, because the bottom number Check out his
ping backbeats on two and fourwhats points to the groovein this case, a quarter- new video lesson
not to like? Other time signatures also feel note pulse anchoring the entire bass line. series, The Upright
Bass Handbook, at
good, if you spend time learning to relax in Look at the chart without your bass. Tap
truefire.com and
those meters. Come on, free your mind and quarter-notes slowly with your foot while
fingers from the 4/4 shackles. you sing or clap the rhythm of the bass line.
This month, lets look at a chart I recently The first trap you might step into is the rest Sharpen your
played with saxophonist Bob Mintzer. His on beat three of bar 1. Remember that rests studio chops! Read
tune In the Canyon uses mixed meters should be in time, just like the notes. If the real-life examples of
a combination of several time signatures. rests are in time, the line will groove. If the studio bass parts that
Take a listen to our version (see Connect), rests are too long or too short, the line will use mixed meters.
and hear how Mintzers bass line flows. On sound jerky and labored. Listen to John
the first listen you might not notice anything The second trap comes in bar 2. The quar- Goldsby glide
rhythmically odd, even though the meter is ter-note rest on beat one is also an important through the mixed-
meter bass line of
changing from 4/4 to 3/4 to 7/4. component of the groove. To frame the rest
In the Canyon with
Before we tackle the chart, lets review on beat one, you have to play the last eighth-
Bob Mintzer and the
what the two numbers in a time signature note in bar 1, and the two eighth-notes on
WDR Big Band.
mean. The top number indicates the number beat two of bar 2, precisely. If the notes sur- Hone your odd-

of beats in each bar (also called a measure). rounding a rest are precise, youll feel the rest meter rhythmic skills
In Ex. 1, the first three bars are in 4/4 time. as a strong part of the groove. with this classic text
The number 4 on the top means that there The time signature in bar 4 changes to from drummer Louie
are four beats in every bar. The beats in a 3/4. Now there are only three quarter-notes Bellson: Odd Time
bar can be filled up with any combination in the bar (indicated by the top number), and Reading Text: For All
of notes and rests, provided they add up to the pulse (indicated by the bottom number) Instruments.
a total of four beats. In bar 4, the time sig- remains a quarter-note. The tendency when bassplayer.com/
nature changes to 3/4. This means there are we see a time signature changeespecially a
only three quarter-notes, or subdivisions of new time signature with fewer beatsis that
three quarter-notes, in this bar. we rush the tempo in an effort to not miss
The bottom number of a time signature any notes. Remain calm! Remember that the
indicates which kind of note corresponds to quarter-note pulse is steady, chugging down
the value of one beat. In this example, the the canyon road at 150 beats per minute.
bottom number in each time signature is 4, Besides the change to 3/4, the other

52 bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7

bas0617_woodshed_f_prod.indd 52 4/13/17 1:29 AM

tripping point in bar 4 is the quarter-note rest the bar, regrouping the 7/4 time signature as 3/4 through a part almost as if there are no bar lines.
on beat one. The same principle applies here as + 2/4 + 2/4. Subdividing might help you keep your If the note-lengths and rests are correct, the line
in bar 2 on beat one: Feel the quarter-note rest as place in the ever-changing line of eighth-notes will be spot on.
if it were a full-length note. The eighth-notes on and harmonic changes. Count: 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 1, 2. How can you get comfortable playing mixed-
beats two and three lead into bar 5, which changes Sometimes I will mark a couple of bars of a meter and odd-meter bass lines? The goal is to feel
back to 4/4. part with a particular clave (CLAH-vay, a repeated the groove, and not have to actively count. Inter-
The tunes bridge begins in bar 10, and the meter rhythmic pattern) if I think subdividing might help nalize the pulse, dont forget to breathe, honor
changes to 7/4. You could subdivide the beats in lock in the groove. More often, though, Ill read the rests, and concentrate! BP

Straight eighths,
Bb6/9 Fsus4 Bbmaj7(#5) Fm7 Bb6/9
= 150

2 7
1 1 3 1 1 3 1 1 3 5 1 1 3 1 1 3 5 1 1 3 1 1 3
3 1

Fsus4 Bbmaj7(#5) 1.
Cm7 F13(b9) 2.
Fm7 Bb13(b9) Ebmaj9

2 3 5
3 5 3 5 3 1 3 1 1 5 3
1 1 3 3 1 1 3 1 1 3 3 1 3 3
3 3

Ebm9(b6) Fmaj7/G Eb/G Gmmaj7/A Aaug7

EX. 1

1 3 2 2 5 3 2
1 3 1 4 5 3 3 5 5 5 3 5 5 5 7
1 1 4 5 5 0

Dm(b6) D9 D13(#11) Cm9(b6) Bb/C

2 5 5 5 5
2 3 2 2 4 2 3 5 5
5 0 1 1 5 5 5 5 5 5 3 5 3
3 5 3

Fsus4 F13(#11b9)

3 3 3 3 3 3
3 3 3
1 1

bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7 53

bas0617_woodshed_f_prod.indd 53 4/13/17 1:02 AM



Duck & Cover



HAVING SPENT A FAIR AMOUNT OF INK long before then. The Duck-fueled MGs were the wed walk out and listen to the playback, and the
perusing the early-60s Motown/James Jamerson default house band for Memphis Stax label, play- bass would be as round as it could be. Somehow,

archives, I thought it would be interesting to take ing on a slew of Southern soul/R&B cornerstones, our sound always made it to tape.
a look at what was happening in other parts of the such as Wilson Picketts In the Midnight Hour, While there are many classic MGs tracks to
country during that time. While Motown acquired Otis Reddings Dock of the Bay, Sam and Daves check out, one that caught my ear is the rela-

the trademark Hitsville, USA, Memphis was Soul Man, and Albert Kings Born Under a Bad tively unknown non-album track Be My Lady
also a major hot spot for R&B music, earning the Sign. Although not as technically oriented as from 1965. The mix is particularly favorable to
sobriquet Soulsville, USA. We looked at some of Jamerson, Ducks simple directness and his mag- the bass, and you can really hear Dunns muscu-
Memphis Boy Tommy Cogbills work last month, ical lock with drummer Al Jackson were a perfect lar right hand pushing the amp into the brown
but undoubtedly the most well-known 4-banger recipe for hit-making grooves. His tone was thick zone. The track is based on a 1b34 progres-
from that hallowed city is Donald Duck Dunn. and round, but with a clear top sion that reeks of groovy 60s vibe,
Born in Memphis in 1941, Dunns high school end that brought out the attack. and the agile bass part is well played
band, the Royal Spades, would eventually change Duck attributed this in part to INFO i
by Duck. Example 1 is the basic idea
its name to the Mar-Keys and have a national hit the Stax studios room dynam- behind Be My Lady: This riff moves
Ed Friedland is
with their recording Last Night. The Mar-Keys ics: I thought we sounded ter- to the IV chord to give the A section
also featured guitarist Steve Cropper, who would rible in that roomI hated it, E D F RIE D L A N D
currently touring
a blues-like feeling. The B section
with Grammy
eventually bring Duck into the legendary instru- he told Bass Player. They were Award winners the
(Ex. 2) cuts back to a simpler, dot-
mental outfit Booker T. & the MGs in 1965. always asking me to play with Mavericks. ted-quarter-note rhythm over a b3
While most people know Duck from his a lot of highs, and it sounded edfriedland.com b 7b 65 progression, but Duck is
appearances in the Blues Brothers movies, his sig- too trebly for me. The drums pumping the crap out of each note,
nificance to the world of music was established never sounded right, but then creating an almost square-wave-like

Ab B Db
= 107
EX. 1

6 4 4 6
6 2 2 3 4 5 6
4 4

B Gb

2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
EX. 2

E Eb

8 8
8 8 8 8
6 6 6
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

54 bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7

bas0617_woodshed_f_prod.indd 54 4/13/17 1:02 AM

distortion. The amp sounds like its going to bust songs chorusits a great example of locking in verse (Ex. 5). Notice that while the verse chords
a gut! Pure awesomeness. By the way, to avoid the with the kick drum. are dominant 7s, Duck uses the E major scale to
nightmare of reading Cbs and Fbs, Ive notated Wilson Picketts In the Midnight Hour is part walk back up to the E7, playing a D# to approach
the b3 of the key enharmonically as a B natural, of the bedrock of soul/R&B, and Ducks presence the E7 chord.
and the b6 as E natural. on that track alone places him in the Hall of Greats. Much has been written on Duck Dunn; in fact,
Another great, underappreciated Dunn per- But another less-covered track with The Wicked you can read details of his gear and setup, analy-
formance is on Don Covays See Saw. Covay got Pickett is Ninety Nine and a Half (Wont Do). sis of his style and technique, and see other tran-
his start as a member of the Little Richard Revue Its a must-know tune for your deep R&B reper- scriptions of his work in my book The R&B Masters:
and had a minor hit in 1957 with Bip, Bop, Bip toire, and while essentially simple, it has a quirky The Way They Play. The official Duck Dunn website
under the name Pretty Boy, but he is best known intro that is frequently played wrong. Example 4 announces that an authorized biography, Soul Fin-
as the writer and original performer of Mercy, sets the record straight, but examining the melody/ gers by Nick Rosaci, is scheduled for release May
Mercy (featuring a young Jimi Hendrix on guitar), harmony relationships, its easy to understand 1, 2017. While his early work weighs in at several
which was later covered by the Rolling Stones. See the confusion. The first chord is an Em11 on the tons of R&B Gold, once he was unchained from his
Saw was also covered mightily by Aretha Franklin guitar, with the bass outlining a Bm triadnot Stax chair, his career carried him far and wide. The
on her 1968 disc Aretha Now, but the Queen Of too weird, but the guitar voicing makes it ambig- Blues Brothers became a multi-generational cultural
Soul also hit paydirt earlier that year with Covays uous. The second chord is an Edim7 on the guitar touchstone, and his recording career also included
Chain of Fools. The Covay version of See Saw with the notes BbDGb on the bass, which could work with Tom Petty, Ray Charles, Eric Clapton,
has a rougher, less polished feel, but Duck holds be interpreted as a Gb, Bb, or Daug triad. Any way Jimmy Buffett, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Bob
the line with an insistence that makes up for the you slice it, the D doesnt completely gel with the E Dylan, John Fogerty, Albert King, Freddie King,
rushed drum fills. Once again, we can hear the dis- diminished chord, but its not fatal. Next comes a Levon Helm, Herbie Mann, Jerry Lee Lewis, Rod
tress coming though the amp as Dunn digs into straightforward G major triad, with the bass play- Stewart, and many more. Duck left this planet in
his La Bella flatwound-strung Fender Precision ing the first inversion (BDGB), which walks 2012, but his vast recorded legacy will continue to
Bass with ferocity. Example 3 is similar to the down to the IV chord, an A that sets up the tunes influence and inspire for generations. BP

= 118

5 5 0 0 4 5 5 0 0 4 5 5 0 0 4 5 5 0 0 4
EX. 3

F# D E A

4 2 2 2
5 5
5 5 2 2 5 5 0 0 4 5 5 0 0 4

Em11 Edim G A
= 103
EX. 4

0 4 2 0
0 4 0 4 0 2 0 1
2 1 2 4
EX. 5

4 4 4 2 0
2 2 2 4 1
2 4

bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7 55

bas0617_woodshed_f_prod.indd 55 4/13/17 1:02 AM



Gentle Giants Mobile

Gentle Giant in the 1970s, with
Ray Shulman (center)

Ray Shulmans Complete Bass Line


MAJOR-LEAGUE PROGRESSIVE ROCKERS SUCH AS YES, With a professional trumpeter as a father, the
Genesis, and Jethro Tull did much to alter the musical landscape during the early Shulmans were surrounded by music from an early
to mid 70s, but many less-commercially successful acts helped push the prog age. As a youngster, GG bassist Rays main instru-
envelope, too. Structured around three brothersPhil, Derek, and Ray Shul- ment was the violin, but he also learned the trum-
manthe U.K.-forged outfit Gentle Giant combined complex arrangements, pet and guitar. After being roped in to join a band
multi-instrumental flair, rhythmic and contrapuntal adventurism, and eclectic put together by older brother Derek while they were
influences to create some of the most original and innovative music of the era. still at school, Ray bought his first bass, a second-
The Shulmans first came to prominence in the late 60s as part of Simon hand Grimshaw semi-acoustic. It must have held
Dupree & the Big Sound, scoring a major hit in the U.K. with Kites. However, the record for the bass with the least sustain in the
dissatisfied with being perceived as psychedelic popsters, they disbanded in worldit was unbelievable, he laughs. It kind of
1969, re-emerging the following year as Gentle Giant. Over the next decade, GG altered my playing, because to keep anything at all
crafted 11 studio albums that fuse rock sensibilities with jazz, classical, blues, at the bottom, I had to keep playing fast. I suppose I
folk, and medieval-inspired sounds. developed my style around that. As early influences,

56 bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7

bas0617_transcription_f_prod.indd 56 4/13/17 1:10 AM

Ray name-checks James Jamerson, Charles Mingus, later shapes the verses. That was the starting point for the song, i
and Percy Heath. says Ray, singing the thematic phrase from bars 1213. Dig how
Gentle Giants seventh studio album, Free Hand the bass is doubled a 5th above on the organ by Kerry Minnear Giant Steps
[1975, Chrysalis/Capitol], was the bands highest- and further colored by guitarist Gary Greens root-5th dyads a Heres a quick guide to help
charting long-player, peaking at #48 on the Billboard minor 3rd above the bass. This often key-defying linear approach you through the slightly tricky
album chart (eldest brother Phil had departed the characterizes much of the bands output. Explains Ray, Back in notational structure:
band by this point). The disc closes out with Mobile, the day when I composed using the Revox [recorder], it was tape Play from start, including all
a pulsing, folk-rock shuffle number that offers a con- on tape, going from one track to another, adding the next part repeats, through to bar 123.
cise overview of Rays bass style: melodic, intricate, There were no chord sequences or anything; I wrote in mono- Follow the D.S. al Coda
and inventive. phonic lines and just overlaid them until they kind of worked. instruction at bar 123, which
For the recording, Ray used a medium pick on I composed on guitar more than anything else. Note also how takes you to the dal segno mark
a 72 Fender Precision Bass, with the volume and the music glides effortlessly through the shifting time changes of at bar 53 (which now serves as
tone knobs dimed. He strung up with Rotosound the intro and letter A (and elsewhere). Says Ray: I like that the bar 124).
roundwounds and captured his part via DI and a time signature alters, but its quite seamless. I think [drummer] Play through letters E and F,
Yamaha solid-state amp with a miked 2x15 cabinet. John Weathers straightforward playing helped with that a lot. heeding the To Coda instruc-
The song begins with a lilting 12/8 violin melody, Rays nimble E Dorian line in bars 1617 and rumbling climb tion on the repeat at the end
with the bass accentuating beats two and four, making in bar 18 help propel the song into the first verse at B, followed of bar 67 (now bar 138), which
it slightly tricky to discern if the melody has started by a brief return to the violin melody and a second verse (C). A takes you to the Coda in bar
on the downbeat. Vocalist Derek Shulman and the shift to 9/8 and a chromatic descent in bar 43 herald letter D, the 139.
rest of the band enter at letter A, which is founded first of several instrumental interludes. Check out the guitar-like Play to end.
upon an undulating B Dorian-grounded bass line that double-stops and the way Ray retains the same basic rhythmic

Mobile Transcription by Stevie Glasgow

= 128
N.C. (E) (Bm) (E) (Bm) (E) (Bm) (E) (Bm) (E) (Bm) (E) (Bm)

9 9 9 9 9 9
7 7 7 7 7 7

G#7sus C#7sus
(E) B7sus B7sus F#5 E5
8 A

4 2
7 2 2 4

G#7sus C#7sus C#7(no 3) G#7sus C#7sus G#7sus C#7sus C#7(no 3)

B7sus B7sus F#5 E5 G5 B7sus B7sus F#5 E5 B7sus B7sus F#5 E5 E

4 2 4 2 4 2
2 2 4 4 2 2 4 2 2 4 4
4 3 4 4 0

Words and Music by Kerry Minnear, Derek Shulman and Ray Shulman. Copyright (c) 1975 Alucard Publishing. Copyright Renewed. All Rights Administered by
BMG Rights Management (US) LLC. All Rights Reserved Used by Permission. Reprinted by Permission of Hal Leonard LLC.

bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7 57

bas0617_transcription_f_prod.indd 57 4/13/17 1:10 AM


E5 C#5 A5 B5 G#7sus C#7sus

D5 D5 B5 G5 A5 F#5 E7(no3) B7sus B7sus F#5 E5
16 B

(2nd time)
9 7 9 7 6 4
9 9 7 5 7 4 0 4 2
7 0 1 2 2 4(4)

0 0 1 2 4

G#7sus C#7sus E5 C#7(no 3) G#7sus C#7sus 1. G#7sus C#7sus E5 C#7(no 3)

B7sus B7sus G5

20 B7sus B7sus F#5 G5 B7sus B7sus F#5 E5 F#5


(2nd time)
4 2 4 2 4 2
2 2 4 4 2 2 4 2 2 4 4
4 3 (3) 4 4 3

2. G#7sus C#7sus E5 C#7(no 3)

26 B7sus B7sus F#5 E

4 2 9
2 2 4 4 7
4 0 0

pattern and melodic shape as the key shifts from E minor (bars doubled a 5th above by the guitarwhich require both stamina
4448) to G minor/major (bars 4952). The pace slackens slightly and precision to nail cleanly. Rays low-E stabs help punctuate the
at E, where a little thought is required vis--vis picking direction finale at M, before he reinforces the concluding unison phrase in
to safely navigate the wide string-skips in bars 5457. bar 171. [Listening back] the main thing I hear more than any-
A third verse (F) and a second dance-like interlude at G (fea- thing else is how hard I hit the strings. It sounds like Im picking
turing strong root-5th doubling between the bass and organ) leads right over the pickup; I think you get a bit more of an aggressive
to H, a tightly organized, double-stop-heavy transitional section sound that way.
that steers the rhythm back to 12/8 and culminates in a zigzag- Ray numbers Free Hand among his favourite GG discs, noting:
ging whole-tone-scale bass fill in bar 83. It was our most successful album; top 40 in America. We were
Letter I presents more new, yet organically related, material. hitting our stride and had some good success at the time. It was
Here, the band employs the same basic rhythm as the verses, very enjoyable to make. Wed been through a bit of a rough time
but conjures a darker harmonic atmosphere via use of b5 and before that, so it was made in really good spirits.
#11 seasoningsavor the tangy zest between Rays downbeat Following the bands dissolution in 1980, Ray embarked upon
F and the beat-two Cb in bars 8487. A wah-wahd violin solo a successful career as a composer for commercials, before drifting
(J) is followed by a further bass-driven interlude at K, where, into record production, working with such acts as the Sugarcubes
again, some thought is required to deal with the tricky string- and the Sundays. He subsequently wrote music for computer games
skips. Ray reports that his fluid right-hand picking technique is before becoming involved in graphics work for DVD and Blu-ray
not based on a single approach, such as strict alternate strokes: releases, as well as music editing and encoding for 5.1 mixes
My picking was definitely based more on what the lines dic- work he continues to do today.
tated, he explains. Asked if he still plays bass, Ray counters, I do occasionally,
The dal segno (D.S.) returns us to letter E, then F for a final but the worst is the violin, because its an instrument you cant
verse that extends into the coda at bar 139. The outro starts in just leave and pick up again. Its a little easier with the guitar and
earnest at L, as Ray kicks on a Dunlop Cry Baby wah-wah pedal bass. The last time I picked up the violin, I kind of disgusted myself
and unleashes a series of cascading upper-register figuresagain, and put it back in the case, he laughs. BP

58 bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7

bas0617_transcription_f_prod.indd 58 4/13/17 1:10 AM

bas0416_hse_bpcome.indd 1 2/18/16 2:13 PM

G#7sus C#7sus

D5 E5 D5 C#5 B5 A5 G5 B5 A5 F#5 E#7(no 3) B7sus B7sus F#5 E5

33 C

7 9 7 6 4
9 7 5 7 4 2 3 4 2
0 1 2 2 4
0 0 1 2 4

G#7sus C#7sus E5 C#7(no 3) G#7sus C#7sus 1. G#7sus C#7sus E5 C#7(no 3)

B7sus B7sus F#5 G5 B7sus B7sus F#5 E5 B7sus B7sus F#5 G5


4 2 2 3 4 2 4 2
2 2 4 4 2 2 4 2 2 4 4
4 3 3 4 4 3 3

2. G#7sus C#7sus E5 C#7(no 3) C7(no 3)

B7sus B7sus F#5 E B7sus D5 Em D/F# Bm Em D/F# Bm
42 D

4 2 2 4 2 4
2 2 4 4 3 2 1 0 0 5 2 4 2 4
4 0 3 0 3 4

E5 A5 D5 Gm F/A Dm Gm F/A Dm Gm F/A Dm


4 9 0 2 0 2 0 2
2 7 7 0 2 0 2 0 2
5 2 2 2 2 2
3 3 3

Gm F/A Dm E5 A5 D5 F#7b5(no3)/B
52 E

0 2 4 9 7 9 7 9 7 9
0 2 2 7 7
2 5
3 7 7 7

G#7sus C#7sus
E5 A5 D5 G5 Bm C#m D E5 E7(no 3)
58 F B7sus B7sus F#5 E5

(Play repeat on D.S.)

9 7
9 7 7 5 2 3 4 2
7 5 4 5 7 0 1 2 2 4
7 0 0 1 2 4

60 bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7

bas0617_transcription_f_prod.indd 60 4/13/17 1:10 AM

G#7sus C#7sus C#7(no 3) G#7sus C#7sus 1. G#7sus C#7sus E5 C#7(no 3)
B7sus B7sus F#5 E5 G5 B7sus B7sus F#5 E5 To Coda B7sus B7sus F#5 G5

(2nd, D.S times) (D.S time)

4 2 2 3 4 2 4 2
2 2 4 4 2 2 4 2 2 4 4
4 3 3 3 4 4 3 (3)

2. G#7sus C#7sus C#7(no 3)

B7sus B7sus F#5 E5 E E5 F#5 A5 B5 A5 D5 E5 F#5 G5 F#5 D5
68 G

2 4 2 7 7
4 2 2 2 3 4 4 4 5 4
2 2 4 4 5 7 7 5
4 0

A5 A5 1. F#5 2. F#5 A5 B5 N.C.

E5 F#5 B5 D5 E5 G5 D5 E5 G5
71 H

2 4 2 7 7 7 7 9 9 11 11
2 2 3 4 4 4 5 4 5 7 7 7 9 9
5 7 5 7 7 9 7 9

E5 Eb5 D5 Db5 Cmaj9#11 Bb5 F5 Ab5 Eb5


10 8
9 8 7 6 5 8 10 6 (8)
10 7 6 5 4 3 8 6

Eb7/G Db9/Eb
Cb5 Bb5 Cb5 Bb5 Bb5
F5 Eb5 Ab5 Ab5 F5 Eb5 Ab5 Ab5 Ab5
83 I

11 12 8 8 10 1 3 1 1 3 1 3 1
11 11 13 9 9 11 1 3 3 1
2 2
1 1

Cb5 Bb5 Cb5 Bb5 Bb5

F5 Eb5 Ab5 Ab5 F5 Eb5 Ab5 Ab5 Ab5 (Ab/C) Db7#11 A7b5

1 3 1 1 3 1 3 1
1 3 3 1 6 5 6 7
2 2 3 3 4
1 1

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bas0617_transcription_f_prod.indd 61 4/13/17 1:11 AM


Db7#11 A7b5

4 6 8 6
6 6 5 6 7 5 6
6 5 4 4
3 4 5

96 J D5

7 5 6 7 5 6 7
3 4 5
3 4 5 3 4 5

108 K

(2nd time)
(2nd time) S (2nd time)
7 9 7 9 7 10 9 7 7 9 ( 10 9) 7 9
0 (7) 9 0 0 7 9 0 (7) 9 9
9 9 9 9


0 2 0 2 0 3 2 0 0 2 0 2 0 2 0 3 2 0
0 2 0 2 0 2
2 2 2 2
3 3 3 3 3
D.S. al Coda

Coda G#7sus C#7sus E5 C#7(no 3) G#7sus C#7sus G#7sus C#7sus E5 C#7(no 3)

139 B7sus B7sus F#5 G5 B7sus B7sus F#5 E5 B7sus B7sus F#5 G5

4 2 2 3 4 2 4 2
2 2 4 4 2 2 4 2 2 4 4
4 3 3 4 4 3 3

(F#5) (C#5) (F#5) (C#5)

G#7sus C#7sus G#7sus C#7sus C#7(no 3) E5 Gmaj7b5 (G5) (E5)
B7sus B7sus F#5 E5 B7sus B7sus F#5 E5 G5 F#5 C#5 (E5)
3x L

11 9 11 9 11 9
2 3 4 2 4 2 11 11 11
2 2 4 2 2 4 4 10 10
4 4 3

62 bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7

bas0617_transcription_f_prod.indd 62 4/13/17 1:11 AM

(C#5) (F#) (C#5) (F#5) (C#5) (F#5) (C#5)
F#7sus (E5) (B5) (E5) Em6/9 (E5) (B5) (E5)
C D Em D
4x 4x

*Omit 4th time

11 9 11 9 11 9 11 9
11 9 11 11 9 11 4
9 3 0 3 5 0 7 7 5 0

C Gm (4th time) M A5 N.C.

(3rd time)

3 3 (3) 0
3 (0)

E5 N.C. E5 N.C. E5 N.C. E5


5 5 7
0 0 0 7 5 7 0

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bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7 63

bas0617_transcription_f_prod.indd 63 4/13/17 1:11 AM

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64 bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7

bas_jun17_SPOT_SHOW.indd 64 4/12/17 12:07 PM


bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7 65

bas_jun17_SPOT_SHOW.indd 65 4/12/17 12:08 PM


By Jim Roberts

Zon Guitars Joe Zon

instruments. An important part of what Trujillo, which led to the introduction of
you get with every Zon bass is Joes expe- Zons wood-neck models. Robert was
rience in guiding you to the right com- trying to replicate some of the sounds
bination of components. Thats the big from the older Metallica records, Joe
difference between working with someone explains. He needed something that
like me and a newcomer whos just put- responded differently from his compos-
ting together something from parts, he ite-neck basses. A similar request came
says. Its like buying an expensive bottle from fusion virtuoso Baron Browne, who
of wine. Youre not buying it because wanted to emulate the sound of his vin-
the winemaker picked the grapes and tage Fender Jazz Bass.
crushed them himself; youre buying his The development of those basses led
years of experience at knowing how to to both domestic and import wood-neck
put together the right elements to make Zon basses, the latter being the Stan-
that exceptional wine. dard Series, available as Legacy, Sonus,
Perhaps the best-known example of and Mosaic models. The import instru-
Joes skill at helping an artist achieve his ments are made in China and QCed at
musical goals is the Hyperbass, which the Zon factory. The response has been
he created in consultation with Michael enthusiasticin a BP review, Ed Fried-
Manring. The result of this collaboration land praised the Mosaic Mojo 4-string
IT WAS NEVER OUR MISSION was an instrument that offered thousands for offering time-honored tone in an
to build quantities of cookie-cutter instru- of tuning possibilities, thanks to Hip- affordable platform that benefits from
ments, says Joe Zon. Weve always tried shot Xtender keys and a custom retun- Zons many years of boutique building.
to address the individual needs of every able bridge. And theres a new version in More Mosaic models are in the works,
player we work with, to create an instru- the works, Joe says, with an improved including a U.S.-made version with a
ment that first and foremost expresses bridge that will allow even more tunings graphite-reinforced neck.
what that player wants in the tone of plus a Roland bass-synth pickup that will Other upcoming changes to the Zon
their bass. expand its tonal palette. Not content with line will include more pickup options and
Joe got his start as a bass player and that, hes building another new instru- updated electronics. Joe is also overseeing
repairman in his hometown of Buffalo, ment for Manring that will incorporate a retooling of the production process for
New York, in the 1980s. He developed a the Gizmotron 2.0 bowing device. Zons composite necks that will increase
reputation for quality repairs and skillful Another unique Zon creation is the efficiency while maintaining their unique
Jim Roberts was custom work, which led him to introduce Zemi Acoustik, built for Dick Lvgren sonic characteristics and stability. The
the founding editor his own line of basses. After trying differ- from the Swedish metal band Meshug- goal, as always, is to combine improve-
of Bass Player and ent materials, he found the formula that gah. Its a composite-neck hollowbody ments in materials with the experience
also served as the has fueled his success: composite necks 6-string with a floating flame-maple that allows Joe to guide his customers
magazines publisher joined to handcrafted wood bodies with top that vibrates freely. The Zemi has to instruments that meet their creative
and group publisher. proprietary pickups and electronics. In a custom-wound Bartolini single-coil needs. We want to convey our knowl-
He is the author of 1987, Joe moved his operation to Red- pickup, piezo bridge pickups, and 3-band edge to the end users. We want them to
How the Fender Bass wood City, California, where he has been active electronics. Lvgren says the bass understand that this is a handcrafted
Changed the World making instruments with a small crew has exactly the sound I was hoping for, instrument that may take eight or ten
and American Basses: of skilled builders ever since. plus some it just sings! months to build, but in the end will sur-
An Illustrated History Zon basses are available in multi- Many of Joes innovations are driven pass their expectations and provide a life-
& Players Guide (both ple configurations with a wide range of by his relationships with artists such as time of playing enjoyment.
published by Backbeat options, but Joe doesnt want his cus- Manring and Lvgren. Another exam- For more about Zon instruments, go
Books/Hal Leonard). tomers to think of them as la carte ple is his work with Metallicas Robert to zonguitars.com. BP

66 bassplayer.com / j u n e 2 0 1 7

bas0617_backpage_f_prod.indd 66 4/13/17 12:57 AM

bas513669_0617.indd 1 1 09.03.17
4/3/17 08:39
10:28 AM

The New 5-String BTB745NT and 6-String BTB746NT take the acclaimed BTB to the next level

bas524332_0517.indd 1 3/9/17 12:14 PM