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Bass Player - January 2018

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ELTON JOHN’S “CHAMELEON”
LEARN KENNY PASSARELLI’S NUANCED BASS LINE
b a s s p l ay e r. c o m
MUSIC
& TAB
®
REVIEWED
BOOTSY
NEW ALBUM!
WORLD WIDE FUNK
SUZI QUATRO
ROCK TRAILBLAZER
TIM COMMERFORD
FINDING THE PULSE
COLUMNS
INSTANT VINTAGE SOUND
NEW!
BERKLEE BASS
BABYLON
JANUARY 2018
A N E W BAY M E D I A P U B L I CAT I O N
BERGANTINO
FORTÉ HEAD
TWA
DYNAMORPH
CLOUD
MICROPHONES
CLOUDLIFTER ZI
DEEP PURPLE
BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION
GLENN
HUGHES
THE TOUGHEST MAN IN ROCK
WE’VE
GOT ALL
THE
BASSES
COVERED.
At GHS, we know you’re only as good as your last gig. So while
our bass strings are legendary for their tone, playability and
high break points, we’re constantly improving them. Here are
the latest additions to the GHS bass lineup––all new, innovative
strings that play the way you play, so you can find your own
unique sound:
BALANCED NICKELS: Balanced construction yields a smooth
sound and balanced tonality across the entire fretboard.
PRESSUREWOUND BRONZE: Delivers smooth, squeak-free
performance on acoustic bass guitar or electric bass.
BEAD TUNED BASS BOOMERS: For the players wanting the
lower range of a five-string on a four-string bass.
ROUND CORE BASS BOOMERS: By applying our balanced
construction to our Bass Boomers we balanced the sound of
the round core sets even more.
PRECISION FLATS: An expanded lineup that includes custom
medium (45-60-80-105) and medium scale sets, ensuring more
players can enjoy the “sound of chocolate,” no matter the bass.
All GHS strings are designed and perfected by bass experts,
who are on-call in our office. We’re always listening, thinking,
reinventing––improving––our strings. As a result, when you play
GHS, you always Play With The Best.
Visit ghsstrings.com/strings/bass to learn more, and download
the free GHS Bass Strings Tension Guide.
PLAY WITH THE BEST™
E L E C T R I C G U I TA R
BASS
ACOUSTIC
CLASSICAL
MANDOLIN
BANJO
NOZZ[YPUNZJVT
BAJO
DULCIMER
PEDAL STEEL
R E S O N AT O R
UKULELE
AND MORE
PULSE
Bass Speakers
Step forward bass players. New Celestion Pulse speakers combine
thrilling dynamics with a rock solid low end and rich, deep tone.
But what really sets these drivers apart is their lightning response and
focus, enhancing every detail of your performance.
A bold new voice for bass players: put some Pulse in your cabinet.
Find out more
celestion.com
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PLAY
LEARN
C ontents
|
VOLUME 29, NUMBER 1
|
B A S S P L AY E R . C O M
D B
TECH
JANUARY 2018
LINK
FACE
D E PA RT M E N T S
10
24
44
TABLE OF CONTENTS
66
T W
COMMUNITY
Lowdown, Dig My Rig,
the Real World,
Court of Opinion
NEW GEAR
Aero, Mooer, Dr. No,
Ashdown
THE INQUIRER
Comfort from the bass world
THE INNOVATORS
Tomm Stanley of Stonefield
16
SUZI QUATRO
Still breaking ground
TIM COMMERFORD
Taking it higher with
Prophets Of Rage
20
BP RECOMMENDS
38
BERGANTINO Forté head
26
GLENN HUGHES
32
BOOTSY COLLINS
No one is funkier, and no one works harder—touring, recording with top-tier
guests, and mentoring up-and-coming artists. By E.E. Bradman
56
ELTON JOHN’S “CHAMELEON”
SOUNDROOM
How do you stay on top for four-plus decades? From Deep Purple to Black
Country Communion, Hughes can tell you what it takes. By Freddy Villano
NEIL ZLOZOWER
Kenny Passarelli brings a fretless aesthetic and a conversatinal approach to this
classic ballad from 1976.
EITAN MISKEVICH
BASS NOTES
12
S
40 TWA Dynamorph effect
pedal
42 CLOUD MICROPHONES
Cloudlifter Zi DI
Cover photo: Neil Zlozower
BASS PLAYER (ISSN 1050-785X) is published 13 times a year, monthly plus a Holiday issue to follow the December issue, by
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WOODSHED
46
50
52
JAZZ CONCEPTS
Lucky 7ths
R&B GOLD
“Vintage” sound!
NEW! BERKLEE BASS
BABYLON
Approaches to teaching
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www.bassplayer.com
Vol. 29, No. 1, January 2018
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
ADVISORY BOARD
Kenny Aaronson, Jeff Andrews, Steve Bailey, Jeff Berlin, Brian Bromberg, Ron Carter,
Phil Chen, Stanley Clarke, Art Davis, Nathan East, Mark Egan, Andy Gonzalez, Barry Green,
Stuart Hamm, David Hungate, Anthony Jackson, Darryl Jones, Dave LaRue, Will Lee, Michael
Manring, Christian McBride, Marcus Miller, Pino Palladino, John Patitucci, Josh Paul, Dave
Pomeroy, Chuck Rainey, Rufus Reid, Steve Rodby, Billy Sheehan, Lee Sklar, Steve Swallow,
Gerald Veasley, Verdine White, Gary Willis, Doug Wimbish, Victor Wooten
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TECH
PLAY
LEARN
C ommunity
COMMUNITY
LINK
FACE
LOWDOWN
CHRIS JISI
Berklee In The House
ALTHOUGH BOSTON’S BERKLEE COLLEGE OF MUSIC OCCUPIES A PROMINENT SPACE IN
my bass-saturated brain, thanks to the long list of bass alumni and faculty who have gone on to play and write on
important records in all corners of music, I’ve only been to the school a handful of times, including for a week in
the ’90s to do a BP story. But even being around for that limited time—getting to sit in on classes, private lessons,
performances, and jams in the music rooms—gave me a terrific sense of the energy, community, and high-quality
education available to students in what is the largest, most thriving bass department in the world. Add in my many
conversations with the alumni and faculty, and I have a good inside-out view of this Beantown institution. So when
Steve Bailey approached me about having a regular BP column that would feature lessons from the current faculty,
I nodded yes faster than I could type the word back to him. There’s history here, as well: Steve’s predecessor, longtime Berklee Bass Department Chair Rich Appleman, wrote a music-theory column in BP’s early years, and Steve
himself wrote a column from 1993–99. To launch the new column (see page 52), Steve’s idea was to ask everyone
on the faculty to touch on a key aspect of their teaching style. Future columns will be focused on specific topics,
with one or two instructors contributing. So if there are any areas you’d like to see covered, reach out (bpeditor@
nbmedia.com), and join me in welcoming the Berklee faculty to the pages of BP.
DIG MY RIG!
HERE’S ONE FOR ALL THE DOUBLERS!
My smaller setup includes an unknown 2x10 cab
that I picked up at a second-hand store. The cab, loaded
with two SWR Workingman 10s, is powered by a Fender
Rumble 500 head. The larger setup is a Greenboy Audio
F212 2x12 powered by a Quilter Bass Block 800.
My two uprights are a 1947 Kay M-1 (with a K&K
BassMax pickup, Deuce Bass Co. Bridge, and Superior Bassworks Deluxe strings) and a King Doublebass
Slap King (with Vic Victor pickups, Deuce Bass Co.
bridge, and Pirastro Evah Pirazzi Slap strings). The
electric bass is a Watson Guitars J-bass with mahogany body and bubinga top. I run my uprights through
a phantom-powered Radial Engineering PZ-DI and a
Behringer EQ700 EQ pedal (to match the impedance
on the piezo pickup and better dial in a room). I run
my electric through a SansAmp Bass Driver, Mooer
Ensemble Queen Chorus, Mooer Bass Sweeper Envelope Filter, TC Electronic BodyRez Compressor, and
a Nocturne BassBrain Pedal.
Go ahead, throw it at me. I’m ready! — E R N E ST
E S C AL E RA
Got a rig you think we’d dig? Send a photo and
description to digmyrig@gmail.com.
10
bassplayer.com / j a n u a r y 2 0 1 8
THE REAL WORLD
Linda Garber
Home base San Francisco, California
Occupation College professor
Gigs Nothin’ But Fun
Basses Lakland Skyline Hollowbody 30 (main bass); e-size Fender Precision copy with ’78
Fender Musicmaster neck
Rig Fender Rumble 200; SWR Cube
Effects SansAmp Bass Driver DI
Strings, etc. Lakland flatwounds, Elixir nickelwounds
Heroes & inspiration Tina Weymouth, Carol Kaye, Kim Deal, Meshell Ndegeocello,
Miiko Watanabe, Alison Palmer
Contact nuthinbutfun.com
Join D’Addario’s
Players’ Circle for
exclusive rewards,
previews of new
gear, invites to
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chances to win
select prizes. Earn
bonus points by
sharing, posting,
and spreading the
word! playerscircle.
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How did you come to play bass?
What’s a lesson you’ve learned along the way?
What are your musical goals?
I was a casual banjo picker until my guitar-playing
If I’m not having fun, I’m doing it wrong.
To keep learning and improving.
brother needed a new bassist and taught me the
ropes. That’s when I figured out that I belong on the
low end.
COURT OF OPINION
Do you go to NAMM shows and check out the latest bass gear?
Meh. I did it once. The cacophony of the scene makes any serious
I love NAMM! The gear, the hang, the rock stars—it’s heaven!
research of the gear rather ludicrous. It’s mainly just show-offs
— J OH N O’B OY L E
showing off for other show-offs. —MARK STEARS
Sound is what fuels inspiration, and NAMM is where you find the
Not especially for the new gear, but to meet our idols. I can’t wait to
source of the music that will come in the future. The music is in you,
go again! — C H RI S DU NKI NDONU TS
and at NAMM you find what will make it come out. — RU I J ORGE
It would be a great thing to do, as I am a gear nut, but I lack any
I’m so broke I can’t pay attention, let alone afford to fly out to
connection to obtain a pass, so it’s just a dream. —M I KE F E V
California. Maybe I could mail myself in a box or something.
— GRE GORY S MART
Not many bass-gear reviews are written for extended-range bassists
Being an endorsing artist, I’m not there to meet artists—I’m there to
like me, so I have to spend lots of time and money to see what
represent companies and network with other industry peers.
works. NAMM can be overwhelming, but it is a good one-stop test
—ALEXANDER GARCIA
for nontraditional players. —GARRY TODD
NAMM is extremely inspiring on so many levels, but since I lost my
I prefer to experience the thrill of new gear myself, and I don’t feel I
connection to obtain a visitor badge, I have been unable to attend.
can rely on others who are paid to give positive gear reviews. I miss
— RI C ARDO RODRI GU E Z
the days when it was possible to read a negative product review.
— J ON W I L LI S
It used to be something I lusted after, before I began really learning
to play. Now I care much less about what instrument I have in my
I love meeting the luthiers and builders with their showpieces on
display, but after a while, the gratuitous bass shredding is a little
hands and more about taking the sound out of any instrument to
match the sound in my ears. — J OH N F. H E B E RT
much. —TO N Y BLACK
bassplayer.com / j a n u a r y 2 0 1 8
11
Suzi Quatro Born Ready
BASSNOTES
BASS NOTES
LINK
FACE
TECH
PLAY
LEARN
B
BY JOE BOSSO
|
PHOTOGRAPH BY TINA K
MANY AMERICANS’ FIRST GLIMPSE OF SUZI QUATRO
came in the late ’70s when she portrayed Leather Tuscadero,
the wise-cracking, street-smart rocker (and sister of Fonzie’s
girlfriend, Pinky Tuscadero) on the hit show Happy Days. But
before she traded quips with the Fonz, Quatro already enjoyed
an enviable career as a real-life and groundbreaking rock star in
England. Wielding a bass guitar and leading an all-male backing
band, the Detroit native stormed the U.K. charts with a string
of stomping, glammy, proto-punk smash singles such as “48
Crash,” “Can the Can,” and “Devil Gate Drive.”
Quatro’s early-’70s records didn’t make much of a dent in the
States, but some people took notice: Tina Weymouth, who would
later play bass in Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club, learned to
play by listening to Quatro’s records. Joan Jett fell under her spell,
as did Kathy Valentine, who went on to play bass in the Go-Go’s.
And another Midwest girl with dreams of rock stardom, Chrissie
Hynde, saw Quatro’s career path as one she, too, could follow.
“Chrissie was one of my biggest fans,” Quatro recalls. “She
came to England and worked as a journalist. She sat on my floor
and said, ‘I’m going to do what you’re doing.’ And I went, ‘Yeah,
right.’” But then she played me a tape of her stuff, and I said,
‘Hey, cool. Go for it.’ A bit later, she had a #1 hit with ‘Brass in
Pocket.’ I sent her a telegram: ‘I thought you were a dreamer.
Now you’re a winner. Congratulations and much love.’ When
they did a This Is Your Life show for me, Chrissie came on and
thanked me for that.”
Before Quatro set foot in England, however, she was already
a seasoned performer. By age eight, she played drums and piano
in her father’s jazz group. At 14, inspired by seeing the Beatles
on the Ed Sullivan show, she announced to her dad her intention of starting a band with her sisters Patti and Arlene, and
she asked him to get her a bass. With the gift of a 1957 Fender
Precision and a Fender Bassman amp, Quatro, her sisters, and
a couple of friends donned miniskirts and hit the Detroit clubs
as the Pleasure Seekers.
Throughout the mid-to-late ’60s, the poppy, garage-y girl
group released several non-charting singles before morphing
into another outfit, Cradle, which featured another Quatro
sister, Nancy, who replaced Arlene. Although she professed to
be a team player, Suzi’s skills as a musician and her undeniable
star appeal made her something of a focal point in the band,
and she soon caught the attention of two record impresarios,
Elektra’s Jac Holzman and Mickie Most from the British label
RAK Records, looking to sign her as a solo act. “Jac came to see
us, and he offered me a contract. The next week, Mickie flew in
12
bassplayer.com / j a n u a r y 2 0 1 8
and offered me a solo deal, as well. There was one big difference
between them, though: Jac said, ‘I’ll take you to New York and
make you the next Janis Joplin.’ Mickie said, ‘I want to take
you to England and turn you into the first Suzi Quatro.’ That
was a no-brainer for me. I went with Mickie.”
So many people cite you as a pioneering female bass
player. When did you realize you were doing something
a little different?
That’s a hard question to answer. I’ve always been very selfaware, from day one, and especially when I was 14 and I started
the first band. When I picked up the bass, I knew I was different. I didn’t know why, but I knew it. What I wanted to do—
play bass and sing in a band—didn’t exist for girls. But I was
just being me. I didn’t think I was opening doors for anyone.
Your father got you your first bass.
He sure did—a 1957 Fender Precision with a gold scratch
plate, stripe up the back of the neck, and a sunburst finish.
I went, “Okay, I have to master this.” I’ve still got it. It’s my
favorite. John Entwistle once tried to buy it, when I was in the
Pleasure Seekers. He came to Detroit with the Who, and he
saw an 8x10 of my band in a local music shop. One day I got a
call from him. He offered me $1,000, which was a lot of money
back then. I don’t know why I said no, because I really could
have used the money. I just liked that bass.
How did you go about learning how to play? You played
with your thumb at first, right?
I played with my thumb because I didn’t know any better.
I was never a pick girl—I still can’t play with one. Playing with
my thumb felt natural to me, but eventually I got a huge blister and it started bleeding. Then a guy from another band came
over to the house and saw what I was doing. “No, no, no,” he
said. “This is how you do it.” And he showed me how to hook
my finger on the pickguard and play with my fingers. After
that, I was home free.
I understand James Jamerson was an influence.
Jamerson was my first guy. I took a lot from him. That’s how
I grew up—I heard Motown on every corner. I still love that
stuff; the bass and drums on those records have never been
equaled. He left these big, open spaces. It always felt like the
right approach with vocals.
Did you play songs from the radio in the Pleasure
Seekers?
Sure—people wanted to hear what they knew. We were an
all-girl band playing instruments, right on the cutting edge of
LISTEN
i
INFO
The Best of Suzi Quatro:
Legend [Chrysalis],
Quatro, Scott & Powell
[Rhino]
Basses 2012 Fender Jazz
(blue), 2016 Fender Jazz
(sunburst), 1957 Fender
Precision
Rig Two Orange AD200B
MK3 200-watt heads,
four Orange OBC410 4x10
EQUIP
cabinets
it. Dave started doing the beat, and Mike said, “We need
something here,” so I came up with the bass riff and did
my scream thing.
You start playing a Gibson EB-2. Why?
I went through a few different basses. I came to England with a Les Paul Professional Recording Bass, which
weighed a ton. I can’t believe I carried that thing around
London by myself. I went from that to a Gibson EB-O and
an EB-2. The EB-2 had a great authentic bass sound in the
studio, but it wasn’t so good live; semi-acoustic basses are
hard to amplify onstage. After that, I tried a Gibson Ripper,
and I played that for quite some time. I got the best out of
that, and then I changed to a Gibson Grabber for a while.
And then I tried a Status bass for about five years. I liked
the graphite neck, but I didn’t like that it had no headstock. I always liked basses with big, heavy headstocks.
In the late ’70s I started playing B.C. Riches. I had a
Suzi Quatro model that I designed. And then I went back
to Fender, which is what I’m using now. I like my Fender
Jazz for my solos—the neck is a bit slimmer, so I can get
fancy. But in the studio, I stick with the Precision. You
can’t beat that bass.
What amps were you using in the ’70s?
Effects Electro-Harmonix
Switchblade+ (to give a
clean signal to each head)
Strings Rotosound Swing
Bass (.040, .060, .080,
.100)
• Watch live videos for
Suzi Quatro’s “Can the
Can” and QSP’s “If Only”
and “I Walk on Gilded
Splinters.”
CONNECT
it all. We did a little of everything: a Motown set, a Sgt.
Pepper set, a Top 40 set. As a bass player, that gave me a lot
to work with. I really got my skills together in that band.
Mickie Most assigned you the songwriting/producing team of Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn. Did
they ever give you instructions on your bass parts?
Oh, my God, no. They wouldn’t be alive today had they
done that [laughs]. I’ve never needed any kind of instruction. Mickie signed me as a singer–musician–songwriter,
so he knew I could play. And Mike Chapman let me be who
I was. He wrote three-minute singles tailored to my sound.
Did you and drummer Dave Neal click quickly as
a rhythm section?
We clicked instantly. I’ve had a couple drummers since
then, both great players, but Dave and I really connected.
You can hear it on the records. The bass and drums sat
together—we were the engine for those songs.
“Can the Can” was built around a tribal rhythm of
the bass and drums. That seemed to be a thing in Britain at the time, with acts like Slade and Gary Glitter.
I guess so. I put an unusual little bass spin in there, kind
of like in [the Who’s] “My Generation”: Mike brought in
a rough demo of the song, and we all started to rehearse
bassplayer.com/
january2018
bassplayer.com / j a n u a r y 2 0 1 8
13
LEARN
PLAY
TECH
FACE
LINK
BASS NOTES
B
I went with Acoustic for a while. Those amps were good because they had
reflex [folded horn] speakers—you could actually get the bass out into the audience. Then I went to Orange, Ampeg, and Boogie, and now I’m back to Orange.
The amps I have now are fantastic. But I’m not that particular about my bass
sound; I’m not a gadgety person. I like a volume and a tone control. Two pickups, plain and simple. Let me feel the bass up my backside, and let it be clear
enough to hear the notes in the audience.
When did you start putting a bass solo into your shows?
Right back in the late ’60s, and I did it throughout my hit period. Dave Neal
and I worked it up. He kind of marked time, and I improvised it a bit. Then he
left and I started working with another drummer; he asked me what I was doing
with it, and I said, “I don’t know—it changes every night.” So that’s when we
worked it up more, developed it into sections and orchestrated it a little. It’s
become a different animal now.
During your Happy Days years, you finally had a hit in the States
with “Stumblin’ In.”
I was having a great time doing my first acting job, and it was nice to have a
big hit in America. I should have done a little more, but I had “If You Can’t Give
Me Love,” which hit in England and was huge all over the world. I had my feet
in two different camps with the acting and playing rock & roll; I did a lot more
acting, but after a bit, I had to get back out there and rock again.
You hinted at retirement a few years ago.
I actually just announced my final Australian tour, and people thought
I was retiring. I’ve learned never to use the word
“final.”
You recently reissued four of your ’70s
albums, along with a compilation album, Legend.
It’s all remastered, and it sounds fantastic. For
the compilation album, I put on the big hits and my
favorite tracks from the albums. Anybody who wants
to get an idea of what I did back then, here it is.
And you’ve got two new bands.
I’m really excited about these. I formed a new
band with KT Tunstall, who’s always been a big fan.
We got together and bang, bang, bang—we got along
like a house on fire. We’re writing songs together,
and it’s so cool. I knew I would love her. This whole
thing was written in the stars.
The other band is QSP—Quatro, Scott & Powell.
That’s me, Andy Scott—he’s the original guitarist from the Sweet—and Don Powell, the original drummer from Slade. We made an album that
was only released in Australia and Asia at first, but
it did really well, so now it’s going to be released
everywhere. So, no, I’m not retiring. Far from it.
There’s still a lot left for me to do. BP
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PROPHETS OF RAGE
Prophets Of Rage,
Tim Commerford
BY JON D’AURIA
|
Prophets Of Rage [2017,
Raging On
Concord]
PHOTOGR A PH BY EI TA N MI SKEVICH
Bass Ernie Ball Music Man
HH and HS with Nord-
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bassplayer.com / j a n u a r y 2 0 1 8
What led Prophets Of Rage back into the studio
for this album so soon after releasing your EP?
During the tour we did right after our EP, we had
so many soundchecks and so much down time on the
road to jam and write together, it all started to really
gel. B-Real was the one who said we needed to put out
a full record when we got back. A couple months later,
we were in the studio, and we just rode that wave of
being a band. Three months later, we had the record
mixed and ready to go.
What was the studio process like?
We recorded it the way we know how to record. Brad
[Wilk, drums], Tom [Morello, guitars], and I know how
Brendan works in the studio, so everything went smoothly
and efficiently, and Chuck D and B-Real fit right in with
that. Coming from the hip-hop world, they do things
differently, so it was neat to figure out how to work and
do it. We just got another message from B-Real saying
we should make another record this winter. We’ll see.
Was it a collaborative writing process?
I brought in a ton of material, and so did Tom, and
then we let the songs write themselves. Brad would
bring in beats, too, or Chuck would have a vocal hook
that would lead to something. There isn’t one primary
strand pickups
Rig Ampeg SVT-IIPRO,
two 1970 Ampeg Blueline
SVTs, 1972 & 1974 Ampeg
Blackline SVTs, Barefaced
Audio Eight 10, Four 10,
Two 10
Pedals Source Audio
Soundblox Pro Classic Distortion, homemade distorEQUIP
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU MIX TWO PARTS
rap revolutionaries with three parts of the most politically
driven, riot-instigating rock groups of the past three decades?
The members of Prophets Of Rage will gladly answer that
question with firm fist raised in the air. Tim Commerford
and two other Rage Against The Machine members have
united with Public Enemy’s Chuck D and Cypress Hill’s
B-Real to form a supergroup fit to revolt against even the
most formidable of political regimes. Just over a year after
releasing their 2016 EP The Party’s Over, the rabble-rousers
of revolt have returned with a self-titled debut album that
contains enough rancor to spark a movement.
On the bass front, Timmy C is holding it down like
never before. After swapping Fenders for Sadowskys for
Steinbergers and everything in between over the years, the
49-year-old is currently smitten with Music Man Stingrays. He buckled down with longtime producer Brendan
O’Brien to make sure his recorded sound embodied all
of the gritty qualities that he’s known for. Commerford
also applied his marathon practice regimen from the
past few years to his writing, and the results are funkmeets-metal-meets-punk riffs with a whole lot of swagger—a vibe that’s met and matched by his bandmates.
And it just might ignite a revolution.
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songwriter; it’s been that way in every band I’ve been in, from
Rage to Audioslave to this.
The album is very politically charged, which has always
been your M.O.
Well, now it feels like it’s getting worse and worse every day.
Look who’s president right now. Donald Trump being in office
makes it easy to write songs—especially angry ones. We’re more
than an anti-Trump band, but it’s outrageous what’s happening
every day, and writing songs that have something to say about it
isn’t a choice for us. It’s an obligation. All you have to do is open
up your computer, grab a newspaper, or turn on a TV and there’s
always something fucked up happening in the world. Being in
a band that writes about politics is tough, but we’re used to
it. If being in a band were like playing a videogame, we choose
difficulty level: extreme.
What was it like working with Brendan O’Brien this
time around?
Brendan always knows what I’m going after, but I wasn’t really
happy with how my bass sounded on that first EP, and I knew I
could have done better. I made that clear to him going into this
record and let him know that I wanted to be psyched with my
sound. I love how it came out on this record and how my tone
sounds on all of the songs.
What were you going for?
I’m always going for the same thing, which requires a clean
amp and an overdriven amp, but in this situation I had two overdriven amps that blend with my one clean amp. Right now my
amps and basses are at an all-time high. Everything sounds so
good, and my bass is so touch-sensitive. We did a little club run
that made me re-think how I do things. I used to run just a clean
tone when we first started out, but now I know that switching
from clean to dirty channels makes the heavy parts feel so much
bigger, because of the drastic contrast of the sounds. That’s a lifelong passion of mine. Experimenting with amplifiers and basses
is just a part of me. My tone is always a work in progress, and the
stage is my laboratory.
“Unfuck the World” has a seriously grooving bass line
in the verse.
18
bassplayer.com / j a n u a r y 2 0 1 8
That was the first piece of music I came up with, and it came
from a phone call I made to Chuck where I asked him to give me
something to chew on—a vocal hook or a lyric or anything. He
said, “How about unfuck the world?” And I loved that. That song
is kind of a mixture of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” and Rage’s
“Killing in the Name.” I jokingly called it “Killing Sandman” when
we first started working on it.
Your playing is heavy, but with a lot of funky undertones, like in “Take Me Higher.”
Tom brought in that guitar part, and I tried to figure out something that worked with it. We’re always focused on locking in and
playing riffs together, but for this album I was focused on not
always doing it that way. It does a lot to the song to play something rhythmically different from what Tom is doing on guitar, and
it can make the riff more funky and three-dimensional.
Has that changed your outlook on your playing?
For sure. Lately I’ve been focusing on what I call “the pulse.”
I’ll never be Jaco Pastorius or Rocco Prestia or John Paul Jones or
Louis Johnson, but they all have the pulse. Even if they’re playing a
simple line, I know in their heads they’re hearing that 16th-note or
maybe even a 32nd-note pulse that drives everything they’re playing throughout the entire piece. I’m trying to harness that pulse
more, and I feel like that’s the key to how bass players should be
playing, regardless of the song, the time signature, or the tempo.
What have you been practicing?
In the last couple months I haven’t done anything but play
scales and modes and arpeggios. I’m trying to run all the modes,
all the way up the neck and back down, and be comfortable with
making the right movements from that. It might seem monotonous, but I do that for hours. So many riffs and song ideas come
from that.
You seem highly motivated to play right now.
Dude, I am. It’s such an amazing thing that I’m almost 50 and
I’m still able to get better on bass and learn new things about this
instrument every day. I’m playing all the time—more than I’ve
ever played in my life, and I love every minute of it. I love my tone,
the parts I’m writing, and the people I’m playing with. My love
for the bass just keeps growing. BP
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BP RECOMMENDS
THE ORIGINAL BLUES
BROTHERS BAND
FACE
THE LAST SHADE OF BLUE
BEFORE BLACK [Severn]
BASS NOTES
LINK
This star-studded outing by the Blues Brothers covers a broad spectrum of classic R&B,
from guitar-greased blues to horn-driven funk, with such luminaries as band members Steve Cropper, John Tropea, and Lou Marini,
and guests Dr. John, Eddie Floyd, Paul Shaffer, and Matt “Guitar”
Murphy. It also serves as a eulogy to longtime Blues Brother Eric
Udell, who died after falling on a New York City street. Udell’s
wide pocket, versatility, and hook-up with big-eared drummer
Lee Finkelstein stand out via his stuttering boogaloo on “Itch and
Scratch,” his “Bootsy-fied” take on “Sex Machine,” his Duck Dunnlike pocket on “Blues in My Feet,” his funky eighth-notes on “You
Left the Water Running,” and his Crescent City pulse on “Qualified.” Rest in peace, bass brother. — C H RI S J I S I
BOBBY VEGA
MATTERS OF THE HEART [bobbyvega.com]
Bobby Vega may be best known for his
funky pick mastery and long resumé with
artists such as Sly Stone, Etta James, and
Tower Of Power, but on this 18-minute EP, he lays back and plays
seven unaccompanied, evocative originals, all but one with his signature model Rebecki Halfling acoustic bass guitar. Thanks to great
arrangements, gorgeous production, and Vega’s masterful use of
chords, space, dynamics, and harmonics, Matters of the Heart is a
tour de force solo bass performance that lingers in the memory
long after the music has stopped. — E .E . B RADMAN
SHARON JONES & THE DAP-KINGS
SOUL OF A WOMAN [Daptone]
As bassist and producer Gabe “Bosco Mann”
Roth describes the Dap-Kings’ last sessions
with Sharon Jones before she succumbed to
cancer in late 2016: “The band was cresting.
We hit the studio hot off the road, and you could feel it.” Roth himself is right in the pocket, as usual, whether he’s swinging hard
on the opening cut “Matter of Time” (with the woody, direct-tothe-board tone of his distinctive early-’70s Carvin SB60) or laying
back, Willie Weeks-style, on the orchestral ballad “These Tears (No
Longer for You).” Big-hearted and bittersweet, Soul of a Woman is
carried by the dauntless power Jones brings to her final performances, while Roth and his bandmates draw added sustenance
from the sheer weight of the moment. —B I LL M U R PH Y
ALBERTO RIGONI
DUALITY [PRS Music UK]
The sixth solo studio album by Alberto Rigoni
is a seven-track instrumental amalgamation
of prog, funk, and fusion that weaves together
his many strengths as bassist, songwriter,
and producer. From his mellow, atmospheric use of harmonics
and fretless on “Afterneath” and the delicate, keyboard-driven
smooth-jazz flavor “Song for My Soul” to his creeping, formidable
intro bass line on “Obsessions,” it’s clear that Duality is intended
to illuminate the many facets of Rigoni’s immense musicality.
— F RE DDY V I L L ANO
JOE SATRIANI
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
MATTHEW LUX’S
COMMUNICATION ARTS QUARTET
CONTRA/FACT [Monofonus Press/
Astral Spirits]
Matthew Lux has been referred to as “the
Kevin Bacon of Chicago music,” having played
bass with everyone from Isotope 217 (featuring members of Tortoise) to a slew of groups led by avant-jazz cornetist Rob Mazurek. Contra/Fact is his long-overdue first album as a leader, and like
his wildly diverse credits, it isn’t easy to pin down. Lux is known
for his distinctive use of Elrick basses as well as his love of low-end
synthesis, and it all comes through, from the electric-Miles dub
vibes of “C.G.L.W.” to the tranced-out acoustic bass and Middle
Eastern rhythms of “Israels,” which conjures the hypnotic astral
jazz excursions of giants like Ron Carter, Cecil McBee, and Charlie Haden. —BILL MURPHY
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bassplayer.com / j a n u a r y 2 0 1 8
[Sony/Legacy]
If you remember the raw, raunchy sound of
Chickenfoot—Satch’s team-up with the unlikely
supergroup of Michael Anthony, Chad Smith,
and ex-Halen screamer Sammy Hagar—then you have a taste for
What Happens Next. Joined by Glenn Hughes, with Smith returning on drums, Satch gets down to brass-tacks power-trio rock, and
Hughes sounds more than happy to sharpen the knives right along
with him. From the head-stomping “Catbot” (with Hughes channeling Nick Oliveri-era Queens Of The Stone Age) to the loping
“Righteous” (punctuated by Hughes’ tasty neck-walking and slapand-pop fills) and the aptly titled “Super Funky Badass,” it’s a clinic
for how a veteran trio can rock as one. — B I LL M U R PH Y
Continued
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ELEPHANT WRECKING BALL
ENGAGE [Elephant Wreckords]
Instrumental, trombone-led power trio Elephant Wrecking
Ball melds several styles on Engage, including jazz, hip-hop,
funk, and dub. One might think an ensemble of monophonic instrumentalists would lack harmonic content, but
Dan Africano’s deft playing and creamy tone provides such strong counterpoint to Scott Flynn’s trombone that a chordal instrument isn’t missed one bit.
Songs like “Suspension Bridge,” “Case in Point,” and “Chipmunk Crusher” benefit from such sparseness. Clearly, Africano’s Berklee-honed skill set emboldens the material, shaping the tunes’ harmonic structure and neutralizing the
need for a guitar or piano. —FREDDY V I L L ANO
LEE ANN WOMACK
THE LONELY, THE LONESOME & THE
GONE [ATO]
Country music’s outlaw renaissance gets an East Texas-style
kick in the chops on Lee Ann Womack’s latest. It’s not just
that she can wail like Dusty Springfield or Tammy Wynette, but with an insanely talented band behind her that includes session aces
Glenn Worf and Jerry Roe on upright and tic-tac basses, Womack taps a seam
that’s rich in soulful, psychedelic texture—whether it’s in the funky back-to-Stax
sound of “He Called Me Baby” or the trippy barroom tearjerker “Hollywood,”
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with Worf recalling the ’60s Wrecking Crew touch
of Carol Kaye. — B I L L MU R PH Y
ALTER BRIDGE
LIVE AT THE O2 ARENA
+ RARITIES [Napalm]
Live is dominated by the gritty,
detuned bass and massive,
earthshaking tone of Brian
Marshall, who also has an uncanny knack for knowing when and how to elevate the material. Whether
it’s doing tasty runs in the chorus of “Come to Life,”
outlining the chord structure of the verses in “Ghost
of Days Gone By,” or simply digging in to articulate
the grooves of “Addicted to Pain,” Marshall seems
to effortlessly tap into the essential components of
stellar rock bass. — F RE D DY V I LLA N O BP
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Mini Turd Fuzz
This limited-edition mini version of Dr.
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The headphone output on this bass DI—
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CS
26
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TAKE ME
BACK TO THE
BLACK
COUNTRY
Decades after Deep Purple,
Glenn Hughes is hitting a new peak with
Joe Satriani & Black Country Communion
GLENN HUGHES HAS BEEN ON AN EMOTIONAL ROLLERCOASTER THESE PAST FEW YEARS.
Early in 2014, his heartbreak over the premature demise of Black Country Communion, the supergroup featuring Hughes on
bass and vocals, Joe Bonamassa on guitar, Jason Bonham on drums, and Derek Sherinian on keyboards, reverberated throughout the industry. The break-up was further exacerbated by his heart surgery to replace an aortic valve, the operation resulting
in near-fatal complications. Miraculously, however, he was back only four months later with California Breed and its brilliant
eponymous debut record. As with BCC, Hughes had high hopes for California Breed—but by the end of 2015, the band had run
aground, and Hughes faced yet another health concern: dual knee-replacement surgery.
The procedure postponed an eagerly anticipated, long-overdue U.S. solo tour—his first in nearly 40 years. But in early 2016,
after literally getting back on his feet again, things were back on the up-and-up. Deep Purple’s Mk. II and Mk. III lineups, the
latter of which he was a part, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That long-overdue accomplishment (Deep
Purple had been eligible for 25 years and nominated two other times) was overshadowed by the death of his father only three
days after the New York ceremony. But Hughes bounced back again, this time with Resonate, a bona-fide rock solo record—his
first in eight years. He also got around to that U.S. tour, performing a set that included music from his storied past, including
Trapeze, Deep Purple, Hughes/Thrall, and Black Country Communion.
Unfortunately, a crisis again usurped good news. Black Country Communion announced that it would reunite to record
a fourth record. No one seemed happier about the comeback than Hughes. The band was scheduled to be in the studio in
Los Angeles from January 5–10, 2017, with producer Kevin Shirley, but Hughes’ mother fell ill. So, he left for England on
January 4, causing him to miss almost the entire session. He eventually returned to L.A. with just two days to spare—just enough
Continued
time to cut his tracks and get BCCIV in the can. Sadly, his mom passed shortly thereafter, on February 1.
BY F R E D DY V I L L A N O
P H OTO S B Y N E I L Z LOZOW E R
bassplayer.com / j a n u a r y 2 0 1 8
27
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GLENN HUGHES
Despite all these hurdles, Hughes isn’t feeling sorry for himself. He’s creating some of the most inspired music of his career,
as Resonate, BCCIV, and the forthcoming Joe Satriani record,
What Happens Next (reviewed on page 20) attest. “I’m not
religious, but I am spiritual,” he says. “I’m just channeling all of
that emotional energy.”
Glenn Hughes was born in Cannock, England, on August
21, 1951. He originally started out playing guitar, but when his
band Finders Keepers needed a bassist, he made the transition
and ingested the contrasting styles of James Jamerson and Paul
McCartney. Finders Keepers eventually morphed into the funkrock power-trio Trapeze, which released a slew of seminal records,
including Medusa and You Are the Music … We’re Just the Band. Trapeze captured an element of Hughes’ R&B influence, and the band
achieved modest international success, often touring the States
supporting acts like the Moody Blues. But Hughes was destined
for more, and Deep Purple soon came knocking.
In 1973, at the height of its popularity, Deep Purple made the
unconventional move of parting with two key members, bassist Roger Glover and vocalist Ian Gillan. Hughes had been on
Purple’s radar for quite some time. “They had me earmarked for
a while and watched me for six months. They saw me play in Los
Angeles at the Whiskey and at the Marquee in London. I had no
idea they were looking at me as a potential bass player. They just
As “The Crow” Flies
though the drums are playing double-time.
Hughes dives in with his trademark use of the
By Chris Jisi
blues scale, adding pull-offs, hammer-ons, a
string bend, and slides as he goes. Among the
GLENN HUGHES’ STEP-OUT ON “THE
his ’62 Jazz Bass down to Eb, but it’s written
ear-grabbers are his bent Fn in bar 2, the chro-
Crow,” from Black Country Communion’s BCCIV,
here a half-step up from the track, in E, to
matic motion in bars 4 and 5 (dig bar 5’s non-
may have been producer Kevin Shirley’s au-
reflect the open strings in the tab. Breathe
bluesy Bb passing tone), and the syncopated
dio creation, but both the solo and Hughes’
and leave space on the beat four of bar 2,
phrase in bar 6. In addition to his signature
opening bass line capture key elements of his
and then get ready for the funky fill at the
fingerboard moves, what stands out about the
style. Example 1 contains the Joe Bonamassa-
end of bar 4.
Hughes bass approach is his R&B and funk-
doubled bass line, equal parts metal and
Example 2 shows the solo, written in
funk. Hughes played with a pick and tuned
half-time (and up a half-step, like Ex. 1), even
Driving rock
H
2
2 2
0
Driving rock
= 90
0 2
0
2
2
2
0
EX. 2
2 2
2
0
2 2
0
0
2
0
2
2
0
0
4
2 2
0
6 7 7
0
B5
PO
7
57 8 9
797
9
7
9 87575
Bw
H
79
R
(9)(10) 9 7 7
9
7
9
57777
7
S
97
9
7
9 875
H H
16 14 14 14
14 15 16
16 16 16(15)14 12 13 14 9
7 5 7 19
5
7 9 7
28
sive, fearless, go-for-it gusto.
Em
EX. 1
= 90
rooted pocket, his gnarly tone, and his aggres-
9
7
H
9 8 7
9
bassplayer.com / j a n u a r y 2 0 1 8
7
9 8 7 5
7 5
5 7 7
5 7
8 9
7 9
9 7
7 9 7
9 7
9 7
9
7
9 7 5 7 5
7
kept showing up, as a lot of bands did in those days.” In addition
to Hughes, Deep Purple Mk. III would ultimately include future
Whitesnake singer David Coverdale, who was plucked from obscurity in place of guitarist Ritchie Blackmore’s first choice, the unobtainable Paul Rodgers (Free/Bad Company). Burn, released in
February 1974, was the first record to feature this lineup. Its mix
of bluesy swagger and prog-inspired, neo-classical rock became the
only Deep Purple record besides 1972’s Machine Head to crack the
Billboard Top Ten, thereby cementing the Mk. III lineup’s place
among rock royalty.
Stormbringer and the Blackmore-less Come Taste the Band followed, but Deep Purple was slowly imploding, and the group officially broke up in 1975. Hughes went on to release inspired solo
work and a pairing with guitarist Pat Thrall, Hughes/Thrall, in 1982.
In the ’80s he fronted Black Sabbath for a spell, which ended with
his dismissal, but ultimately led to his sobriety. That was followed
by a long string of mostly excellent solo records that flew completely under the commercial radar. Things changed rather suddenly in 2009, when Glenn teamed up with Bonamassa to form
Black Country Communion, and he was subsequently catapulted
back into the mainstream rock market.
That leaves Hughes in what might be the most prolific moment
of his career. His 2016 release, Resonate, features songs like the
crushing, bass-driven “Flow,” “Steady,” and “How Long”—heavy,
well-crafted gems highlighting his bass prowess. On BCCIV, he
wrings every drop of emotion from his instrument with roaming,
upper-register solos and signature left-hand trills on songs like
“Collide” and “The Crow.” Joe Satriani’s What Happens Next is the
first album he’s ever recorded that he did not sing on, and without
his otherworldly vocals, the record reveals just how commanding
he is on bass: Check out “Headrush” or “Super Funky Badass” for
bass lines that are equal parts foundation and fireworks. He calls
the record “powerful, epic, and soulful, with big grooves and insatiable guitar melodies.” After five decades in the biz, Glenn Hughes’
bass playing is as relevant and in-demand as ever.
You played bass, but didn’t sing a lick, on What Happens Next.
It was a complete blast playing in a trio with Joe and [Red Hot
Chili Peppers drummer] Chad Smith. We recorded live, and it was
a moment that will live with me forever—big love to Joe and Chad
and all music lovers who dare to dream.
Do you prefer recording live?
When I left Purple in the mid ’70s and went back to doing other
work, it was all about getting the drums right, and then building a
bass track, and so on. I never liked it. When I started working with
Chad [on 2005’s Soul Mover], he kindly insisted we record live, and
together. We did the same in BCC and California Breed as well.
You work a lot with Chad Smith. What is it about his
drumming that moves you?
Chad is like the new John Bonham. I’ve worked with some
great drummers, like Ian Paice, Jason Bonham, Kenny Aronoff,
and Chad fits comfortably into that lineage. He’s been my right
arm—I call him my wife. In addition to playing drums, he’s helped
produce my records, and he’s a great writer.
How does that compare to playing with Jason Bonham?
There’s nothing like having a Bonham behind you. His dad
played with Trapeze 15 times or so. Jason simply makes me a
better bass player. He’s very musical, and he’s got a very good
ear—great light and shade. He plays with a flair that comes from
the wrists. It’s blissful for me as a bass player. John [Bonham]
was a big part of the arrangements of those Led Zeppelin songs,
and Jason is a big part of that process with BCC. On “Sway,”
for example, it was his idea to use a drum groove like Michael
Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal.”
How did BCC decide to reunite?
I was in New York for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction
with Deep Purple in 2016, and I got a call from Joe [Bonamassa]
congratulating me. He asked if I wanted to have dinner when I
got back to L.A. During dinner he asked me if I wanted to make
another record, and of course I said, “Yes!”
BCC doesn’t tour much. Are you okay with that?
The thrill that keeps me going is the live sound. I love playing
live. I’m a live bass player.
What was the songwriting process like for BCCIV?
Joe and I wrote the whole album at my house—just the two
of us. It’s a band, but Joe and I came up with most of the material, because we didn’t have a lot of time to make this record.
“Wanderlust” is a good example of us partnering on a song; Joe
wrote the intro and I wrote the chorus.
Do you write on bass?
I write everything on guitar. But if I write a progression that
has a lot on minor 9’s and major 7’s, I can automatically hear what
I’m going to play on the bass.
You seem to write a lot of songs around minor 9 chords.
I like jazz chords in rock, and I use chords that are usually a
no-no for most rock guys—a lot of triads and major 7ths. The
minor 9 is a very sad yet sexy chord.
Are you always writing?
I probably write 100 songs a year. I do it because it makes me
happy. I always say, “I sing and play freely. I get paid to travel”
[laughs]. I am so grateful for what God has freely given to me—
to give back is so important.
Are Black Country Communion’s nods to Led Zeppelin
and Deep Purple intentional?
Absolutely. Look, we recorded live to tape just like we did with
Purple in the ’70s. I am the ’70s. Why would I want to be something other than that?
How did you end up with a bass solo in “The Crow”?
It wasn’t supposed to be a bass solo; it’s just what I was playing. Kevin called one day and said, “Can I send you something?”
And that was it. He just carved out the space around what I was
Continued
already doing.
bassplayer.com / j a n u a r y 2 0 1 8
29
CS
GLENN HUGHES
Black Country
Communion
(L–R):
Joe Bonamassa,
Glenn Hughes,
Jason Bonham,
Derek Sherinian
There’s more distortion on your bass on this record.
What were you going for with your tone?
I was going after more of a Deep Purple vibe. I used a Black
Cat Bass Octave Fuzz, and I have a big pile of Orange amps. It’s
the greatest rig for me. It sounds like my Hiwatt rig from 1972.
Every bass player has somebody they look to as the basis
for their style. Who was yours?
That’s Andy Fraser. I saw Free in 1969, and I was like, “Stop.
What the hell is that? What are you doing?” But my very first
influence was Paul McCartney. You can ask anybody in my age
group from England, and they’ll acknowledge Paul—Magical
Mystery Tour, Sgt. Pepper, that period. The bass lines on songs
like “Fixing a Hole” were so amazing melodically. And then you
throw in what was going on in San Francisco in ’68 with Larry
Graham and Sly & the Family Stone. So, there’s the McCartney
influence, a little Larry Graham, and Andy Fraser—that’s what
you get with Glenn Hughes.
I hear a Stevie Wonder influence as well.
If you ask a white kid from Nebraska what he’s listening to
today, it’s probably going to be hip-hop. For me it was originally
the Beatles, but very quickly I jumped to Booker T. & the MG’s,
Marvin Gaye, Al Green, and Stevie Wonder. I grew up listening to
Detroit music, so I’ve got this rock voice that is timbred on American music. Because of that, I’d love to be remembered as someone
who created his own style of bass playing and singing.
You’ve always been a very free-form vocalist.
There are five different Glenn Hughes voices: the rock voice,
the soulful voice, the rock-turbo voice, the whisper voice, and the
30
bassplayer.com / j a n u a r y 2 0 1 8
vibrato-melodic voice—and when you throw all five together, it’s
very soulful and aggressive.
If you had to analyze your playing style in BCC, what
would you say about it?
My style is ultimately about the notes I don’t play. It’s about
laying down that nasty groove. I’m really going back to my youth,
playing how I would have played in Trapeze and finding the holes
in the grooves. The notes I don’t play are probably more important than the ones I do. It comes from my taste for James Jamerson and Carol Kaye.
What basses do you record with?
Bill Nash makes me the most amazing basses. If you know anything about the Black Country sound or the Black Country look,
it’s Nash—and my ’62 Fender Jazz Bass, which still has the £250
price tag on it [laughs].
How’s your relationship with Deep Purple these days?
Non-existent, but David Coverdale and I were always close—
even more so today than ever before.
You are often “blamed” with making Deep Purple funky.
I didn’t make Deep Purple funky—the band was changing.
David Bowie was staying with me in Beverly Hills for seven or
eight months, and when you’ve got a guy like that living at your
house, you’re going to change. I was in love with what he was
doing on Young Americans [1975, RCA], so that was an enormous
influence on me.
You slapped on “Gettin’ Tighter” from Come Taste the
Band, though. That’s funky.
It’s the only song I ever really slapped on. I can slap, but for
i
INFO
Joe Satriani, What Happens Next [2018, Sony Music]; Black Country
LISTEN
Communion, BCCIV [2017, Mascot/J&R Adventures]; Glenn Hughes,
Resonate [2016, Frontiers]
Basses 1962 Fender Jazz, 1965 FendEQUIP
er Precision, Nash PB57, Nash JB63
Rig Orange AD200B MK3 head,
Orange OBC810 cab
Picks Dean Markley .96 mm
Effects Black Cat Bass Octave Fuzz
CONNECT
me, what I have to do comes from playing with a
pick and the trills with the left hand.
Do you ever feel that your bass playing has
been undermined by your singing?
I don’t think so. Playing bass to me is as important as singing. People probably don’t realize that,
because they generally know more about my voice
than my bass—but if you know my bass playing,
you know that I really enjoy playing bass. And
playing bass allows me to breathe better when
I’m singing.
There’s nothing better than seeing a bass
player sing great.
There are only a few of us—Sting, Paul McCartney.
It’s a great club to be in. It’s also a win-win situation when you get me in a band; I’m good at working
out harmonies, and I love to sing with other singers, especially ones who push me. I love playing bass
and singing. It’s the greatest thing.
What keeps you inspired?
It’s learning how to grow and learning who I
am as a bass player, as well as a singer. That’s really
important to me. BP
Check out Black Country Communion’s official videos for “Collide” and
“The Last Song for My Resting Place.”
bassplayer.com/january2018
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bassplayer.com / j a n u a r y 2 0 1 8
31
BOOTSY
COLLINS
STILL
STRETCHIN’
OUT
WITH ITS ROBUST, RADIO-READY PRODUCTION
and supremely thumpin’ bass tones, World Wide Funk is everything you’d expect a Bootsy Collins album to be. The low-end
shenanigans roll deep, and the guest list is wide-ranging and
distinguished: Stanley Clarke and Victor Wooten join upand-coming bass stars Alissia Benveniste and Manou Gallo
on “Bass-Rigged-System,” and neo-soul smoothness and
OG hip-hop royalty meet on “Hot Saucer,” featuring Musiq
Soulchild and Big Daddy Kane. Other highlights include the
Snoop Dogg-co-produced slow-jam “Hi-Heels,” the countrytinged blues of “Boomerang,” epic Bernie Worrell solos
from beyond on “A Salute to Bernie,” and the blazing
Buckethead and Chuck D contributions to “Illusions.”
There are dancefloor killers and bedroom groovers, a
multigenerational cast of characters, as well as the vocalisms, double-entendres, and ear-tickling, envelope-enhanced
street wisdom that have been his signature for four decades.
In other words, it’s a Bootsy party, and it feels damn good.
At a time when so many 20th-century music icons
are walking offstage, a vibrant new album by 66-year-old
William “Bootsy” Collins, the first in six years, is cause
for joyful celebration—and a recap, perhaps, of his jawdropping legacy. This year is the 50th anniversary of his
band the Pacemakers, who became the J.B.’s when James
Brown drafted them to help lay the foundations of funk
in 1969. Bootsy’s subsequent work with Parliament and
Funkadelic (as well as Parlet, Brides Of Funkenstein, Eddie
Hazel, Fred Wesley & the Horny Horns, Bernie Worrell,
By E. E. Bradman
Photo by David Carlo
32
bassplayer.com / j a n u a r y 2 0 1 8
COURTESY ROGERS & COWAN
bassplayer.com / j a n u a r y 2 0 1 8
33
F
i
BOOTSY
INFO
Solo albums World Wide Funk [2017,
Mascot]; Tha Funk Capital of the World
[2011, Mascot]; Fresh Outta P University
[1997, Private I]; Keepin’ dah Funk “Alive”
4: 1995 [1997, Rykodisc]; What’s Bootsy
Doin’? [1988, Columbia]; The One Giveth,
the Count Taketh Away [1982, Warner Bros.]; Bootsy? Player of
the Year [1978, Warner Bros.]; Ahh …The Name Is Bootsy, Baby!
LISTEN
[1977, Warner Bros.]; Stretchin’ Out in Bootsy’s Rubber Band
[1976, Warner Bros.]. As Zillatron Lord of the Harvest [1994,
Rykodisc]. With James Brown Sex Machine [1970, King];
Funk Power 1970: A Brand New Thang [1996, Polydor]; Love,
Power, Peace: Live at the Olympia, Paris, 1971 [1992, Polydor].
With Parliament Motor Booty Affair [1978, Casablanca]; Live:
P-Funk Earth Tour [1977, Casablanca]; Funkentelechy vs. The
Placebo Syndrome [1977, Casablanca]; The Clones of Dr.
Funkenstein [1976, Casablanca]; Chocolate City [1975, Casablanca]; Mothership Connection [1975, Casablanca]; Up for the
Down Stroke [1974, Casablanca]. With Funkadelic Uncle Jam
Wants You [1979, Warner Bros.]; One Nation Under A Groove
[1978, Warner Bros.]. With Axiom Funk Funkcronomicon [1995,
Axiom]. With Hardware Third Eye Open [1994, Black Arc].
Basses Warwick Bootsy Collins Spacebasss, Warwick
Bootsy Collins Infinity Bass
Strings DR Strings Bootzilla Bootsy Collinss signature
Rigs Mesa Subway D-800 head, Ampeg B-18 combo,
arwick
Hughes & Kettner Bassbase 600 head, Wa
Hellborg preamps, SWR Mo’Bass head, Me
esa M9 Carbine
head, Alembic F2-B preamps, Monster Pow
wer PRO2500
power amp, SSI 1x12 cabs, Mesa Subway 1x
x12 cabs,
b
Crown power amps, JBL 2x18 Sub-Cabs
zer, Boss Digitall
Effects dbx 120XP Subharmonic Synthesiz
EQUIP
Delay DD-1, Boss BF-2 Flanger, Mesa Flux Drive, Even-tide H-9, Electro-Harmonix Big Muff, Electro-Harmonix
HOG 2, DigiTech Bass Whammy, Stone Deaff Fig Fumb,
Electro-Harmonix Bass Micro Synth, Darkgl
glass Micro-Tubes, DigiTech Whammy, Electro-Harmon
nix Metal Muff,
ff
DOD Thrash Master FX59, Pigtronix Mothe
ership
h
2 Envelope Synth, Panda Audio Future Imp
pact,
Darkglass Duality Dual Fuzz Engine, Chunk
k
Audio Octavius Squeezer, DOD Envelope Filter
Fl
F25, Mu-FX Tru-Tron 3X, Xotic Robotalk, M
MuTron (Haz Labs reissue), Amp Tweaker Fatt
Metal, Lovetone Ring Stinger Ring Modula-tor, Radial Firefly Tube Direct Box, Korg
Toneworks G5, Digitech XP300 Space Stattion, Eventide
d
Pitchfactor, DOD Bass Synth Wah, DOD Sy
ynth Wah
34
George Clinton, and the P-Funk All Stars) is still the gold standard of organic
Afrofuturist dancefloor magic; a 2016 tour celebrated 40 years of kick-ass solo
albums that began with 1976’s Stretching Out in Bootsy’s Rubber Band. In the ’80s
and ’90s, Bootsy expanded his footprint, collaborating with a long list of characters that includes Bill Laswell, Buckethead, Deee-Lite, Fatboy Slim, Ryuichi
Sakamoto, Manu Dibango, Keith Richards, Herbie Hancock, Cyndi Lauper, and Paul
Shaffer. To his fellow bassists, he’s a constant source of inspiration (witness Funk
University, as well as his mentorship of Benveniste and Freekbass). He’s so
thoroughly hard-wired into pop culture—from West Coast hip-hop and outthere bass effects to soundtracks (Superbad, Guardians of the Galaxy), sports
(Monday Night Football), commercials (Motorola, Old Navy), television (Yo Gabba
Gabba!, Everybody Hates Chris), and games (Grand Theft Auto)—that it’s safe to say
Bootsy’s right up there with George Clinton as the pre-eminent elder statesman
for the funk in the 21st century.
bassplayer.com / j a n u a r y 2 0 1 8
You’ve been on the road since 2011. How’d you find time to do a new
album?
It was a blessing to just create and be in the studio, you know? It’s a whole
different thing. Back in the day, we used to do it all together—you’re on the
road, you get a few ideas, you jump in the studio. But now I feel like I need to
do one at a time. It just seems to work better for me.
World Wide Funk features a cross-section of hip-hop icons, bass
heroes, and newcomers.
That was the main focus, especially with the young musicians and artists.
When I was coming up, there were clubs everywhere; playing live was the thing.
No
ada s yyoung players don’t have all those opportunities. So I want to help
Nowadays,
th
them be
b seen
n and heard. If I can fit in there, cool; if not, I’m cool with that, too. It
just feels
l go
ood to see other people light up and really be into what they’re doing.
H
d you find Alissia Benveniste and Manou Gallo?
How d
did
I met Ali
lissia at Berklee. We got a chance to vibe, and after I let her know I
k g on a new album, we started sharing tracks, and then she came into
was working
th
d I met Manou over the internet; we started talking about tracks and
the studio.
l
playing
togeether. She came in and stayed for two weeks, and not only was she
rrecording
d
ome stuff on my album, I started recording on hers.
so
Y
g t Alissia singing, too.
You got
I talked
lk d her into it. She was trying to back out of it, but we hooked it up
[l
gh ] And
d now she’s taking vocal lessons and getting it together. That’s what
[laughs].
I llike
k doing
d
now, coaching. The player in me is cool and everything, but I like
beingg a coacch now, too.
Wh
What do you look for in young artists?
kers are missing a lot of the organic, real stuff. Everything is kind of
Hitmake
m
man-m
made, and you don’t get that real gut-bucket stuff anymore. I want
th
the stuff that the hitmakers don’t want, that raw-dog stuff. Don’t get me
wrongg: Everybody’s looking for a hit, but that’s not my main goal. I want
tto highl
g light others.
You
Y brought lots of guests to World Wide Funk. How’d you sort
through
t
everything?
I had to allow everyone to get it all out, but at the end of the day,
I listened for what people would want to hear. Everyone should have
their own sp
th
pace to shine; otherwise, they’re falling all over each other.
Th
That’s
’ p
part of the production process?
F
BOOTSY
Yeah. We recorded so much stuff—I don’t know how many records we got
after this one. There’s more to come.
It’s awesome that Stanley and Victor are on the album, too.
For me, it’s an honor to be able to reach out to these mugs, period. And
they’re right on board. To have people surround you with love—“whatever you
want to do, let’s do it”—Vic and Stanley have always been like that.
You also feature hip-hop OGs like Big Daddy Kane and Doug E. Fresh.
The hip-hop people I got on this record were important to hip-hop and for
hip-hop, so to me, it only makes sense to have them involved. Each one of them
has so much wisdom. I know what it was like for us, and I found out that it was
pretty much the same for them—“funk” was a bad word, and when hip-hop
came out, [radio stations] were like, “Oh no. We can’t play that!”
Your solo work and P-Funk legacy are part of hip-hop’s DNA.
I feel comfortable speaking about hip-hop and being around it because I’m
a part of all of it. Funk is the essence of all that is.
What’s the connection between funk and hip-hop?
Hip-hop came from folks making something out of what they had, and what
did they have? Records. We had instruments, they had records; different times,
different era. But they made something out of nothing. That’s what funk is.
What does being funky mean to you?
Being funky is something that has to come up in you. There’s a certain amount
of learning how to be funky, and that, to me, is not really funky. You got mugs
running around playing this, that, and the other and trying to be funky, but can’t
nobody fake the funk like that and be really funky.
The only way to be funky is, you have to know
how to work with whatever you’ve got, and in the
end it still comes up funky. Whatever you come
out with, it comes up funky. You don’t really have
to work at it; it’s in there. It can be in any style of
music. You got funky jazz players, funky rock & roll
players, funky country players.
Who needs to learn to not “fake the funk”?
We all can learn from that. We’re all guilty of
faking the funk sometimes, but some of us are closer
to bein’ on the one than others [laughs]. Players who
have to work really hard and go without, those are
the muthas that’s funky. When I grew up, the ones
that were really hot, the really bad musicians, were
the ones that didn’t make records. The cats I knew
around the block, those mugs were fonk-kay! But they
never made it. I consider myself blessed to come off
the street knowing these bad mugs, yet somehow I
got placed up in there some kind of way.
And now you’re passing that blessing on to
the next generation.
That’s what it’s all about.
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What inspired you to get into effects?
When I started out, I was searching for ways to
not sound just like a bass player. When I hear an
effect, it makes me play something different. It’s
like certain women that touch you—you get a different feeling from different touches. Different sounds
make you play different. I guess I was led by that,
and it was always mysterious to me: “What does
this sound like? What does that sound like?” And
then I messed around and fell into that underwater
bubble sound. I didn’t know that was going to be a
signature sound that would be with me for years. I
just knew I liked it. I was like, Wow! It was incredible. It was something I wasn’t hearing.
Folks must have been knocked out!
When I first brought it to the studio, the engineer
was like, “Nah, you don’t need no pedal. Just do it
like we’ve been doing it. Plug in and play.” Nobody
was down with me when I did it. After the fact, of
course, everybody thought of it. “Yeah, I bought
Bootsy that pedal. Yeah, I bought him all that stuff,
his glasses and those sound effects.” But the real
deal is, didn’t nobody want to hear that stuff until
it got recorded.
And the collection just kept on growing.
I kept adding pedals, the engineer stopped resisting me, and he started being like, “Whatever you
got, bring it on!” We did that first thing, and next
thing you know, they wanted me to hook everything
up. One thing led to another, and eventually I had
to get a pedalboard. Nobody else was using a pedalboard with bass back then. I just started hearing
this stuff in my head, and I was like, how can I get
this sound? I started looking around, going to music
stores, and I was always looking and trying to find
something that moved me. Whatever moved me
some kind of way, it got out into the audience, and
it started moving them, too. Once that started happening, everybody was like, “Yeah! That’s the sound!”
What did you learn from that experience?
It taught me a lot about how people react to
your first thing. If they resist and you feel goodheart-heavy about it, go with it. I started building on it, and I’m still building on it. You’d be
shocked at all the pedals that are hanging around,
waiting to be used. On this album, I tried to give
a little variety to my pedal thing, using old stuff
and new stuff, too.
W hat can you say about the album’s
production?
I record everything to tape, and then I have an
engineer who helps me put it in Pro Tools, where
I arrange, edit, and cut and paste. We mix in Pro
Tools, as well. It’s the old world of analog and the
new world of digital. I used to have to sit at the
mixing board, moving faders and poppin’ buttons,
but now, as long as I get everything on tape that
sounds good, all we gotta do is put it into Pro Tools
and move it around.
What’s your relationship to technology?
I embrace it, but you can’t just throw everything else away. That’s what this record is about—
embracing the old stuff, the analog stuff, and the
digital. But it’s bigger than me and this album.
I’m trying to figure out ways to resist [the current
paradigm] in a way that’s non-threatening, that
pushes the peace, the power, the love, all that. It’s
gonna take a while. I might not get there, but I’ve
gotta do my part.
You did so much stretching out on the
albums you made with Bill Laswell in the ’90s.
I’ve always looked to the underground, people
like Bill Laswell, who isn’t your “formula” cat. I like
the experimental thing. People who are into that
gravitate toward me, as well. When I see that and
feel that around me, I try to encourage it, because
we’re losing that creative edge.
Do you think you’ll ever revisit the freaky
flavors you conjured with Buckethead back
in the day?
Funny you should mention that. We’re working
on it right now. We have about eight tracks so far,
and I’m really getting into it. We’re going all the way
out this time. I’ll be busy with promotion and stuff
for this record, and then I’ll take a couple months
to get into the thing with Buckethead. It’s gonna
be outside on the out—it’s already headed in that
direction. All I gotta do is put the envelope on it.
It’ll hit the streets around May or June.
I assume it’ll be different from World Wide
Funk.
I’ve gotta have different outlets. It’s like wearing clothes: I gotta be able to wear whatever I feel
like wearing. People look at us and say, “Oh, yeah,
that Bootsy and Buckethead … they’re crazy,” and
that’s cool with me, as long as I can express myself.
With all the stuff happening in the world
today, how do you stay upbeat?
You’ve gotta be able to laugh about it. This ain’t
our world, man. We’re just passing through. But get
all the information that you can, all the wisdom
you can, and pass it on. If I don’t pass it on, ain’t
nobody gon’ get it, because they ain’t teaching it.
And that’s the truth.
Thank you for being you!
I came, they saw, we funked! BP
bassplayer.com / j a n u a r y 2 0 1 8
37
SOUNDROOM
SOUNDROOM
LINK
FACE
TECH
PLAY
LEARN
S
Bergantino Forté
B Y R O D C . T AY L O R
|
ABOUT A YEAR AGO, FELLOW WRITER AND ALLaround tech guru Jonathan Herrera put the feature-laden
Bergantino B|AMP amp to the test, noting the benefits of its
assortment of digital effects, tone options, and various cabinet
profiles—all adjustable via a large LCD screen. The B|AMP earned
a BP Editor’s Award, a testiment to its high quality and flexibility.
At the end of his review, Jonathan noted, “Whether or not you
make use of the B|AMP’s innovative features, the head’s versatility and superb tone make it one of the best amps on the market.”
As the newest member of the Bergantino lineup, the Forté provides an amp for those players who fall into the “not” category of
that “whether or not” equation.
K.I.S.S.
I like my gear simple. Give me a bass with as few knobs as possible, and I’m good. In fact, I hardly ever touch the tone knobs on
my basses, easily falling into the “set it and let it” category of players. I feel the same way about my amps: I prefer a few tone controls that require little or no adjustment between my basses, and
38
bassplayer.com / j a n u a r y 2 0 1 8
if I can get by without thinking about anything but gain adjustments, I’m thrilled. And, I talk to a lot of players who feel the same
way, especially here in Nashville. “Keep it simple, stupid” goes a
long way when you play behind multiple artists, as many players
here do. I tell my students that on a gig, they need to quickly dial
in their amps and then focus on the tunes they’re playing. Tweak
less, play more. That’s easier to do when you have high-quality,
easy-to-adjust gear, like the Forté.
The Forté is a more basic version of the previously reviewed
B|AMP, at least in terms of features. In terms of power and tone,
it’s identical—good news, because it’s far more affordable (about
$300 less). Since Jonathan did such a thorough job in his review
explaining the features, I won’t rehash most of that information
here; rather, I’ll point to a few of the amp’s other attributes that
set it apart in terms of practical use, including a few that might
at first go unnoticed.
The first thing I noticed when pulling the amp out of the
box was its feet. Yup, feet. I’m referring to the often-anemic,
cheap rubber pieces the size of a dime that outfit the bottom of
TONE PROFILE
Tonewise, the amp kills. In fact, as I was writing
this review, I realized I had not once touched the
S
SPECIFICATIONS
Forté
BERGANTINO
tone knobs—the default profile is that good. When
I took the setup to a theater gig where it was backlined for three different bassists, I noticed that
none of us tweaked the amp’s tone. Everyone left
it flat. Additionally, since the profile comes after
the DI output, it doesn’t jack with the FOH mix,
which may have contributed to the sound engineer coming up to me after soundcheck that same
night and saying, “What kind of amp is that? It
sounds awesome!”
Such thoughtfulness of design doesn’t stop
with the chassis, DSP tone, and outputs, though.
From the dynamic response of the VRC (variable
rate compressor), to the size of the master control
knob (which can’t be confused with any others), to
the way the ol indicator LED allows proper adjustment between the input gain and DSP section of
the amp, designer and engineer Jim Bergantino
demonstrates a thoughtfulness and design philosophy that explains his company’s success—something that became clear in a long phone chat I had
with him about the amp.
There’s nothing simple about how the Forté
was designed and built. Like its predecessor, every
aspect reflects purposefulness and careful attention to what works well on the stage for us bass
players—and that’s what each of us wants from
our amp companies, right? At $900, you’d be hardpressed to find a better buy for this level of quality, power, and tone. BP
Street $900
Pros Amazing tone profile, simple interface, pairs well with any cabinet
Cons None
Bottom Line A well-priced, pro-level micro
amp, with tons of power and thoughtful
design features.
Power rating 800 watts @ 2ȍ; 700 watts
@ 4ȍ
Preamp Solid-state DSP-based
Power amp topology Class D
Power supply Switchmode
Input impedance 1Mȍ
Outputs Two parallel Speakon jacks, q"
effects send and return, XLR balanced line
SPECS
our amps. Not the Forté: Its feet are NBA-shoeendorsement worthy. Feet matter, especially for
lightweight micro amps; ask players who have
watched their amp slide around (or off) the top
of their cabinet during a gig when just slightly
pushed or pulled. I’ve seen this happen even
by using a heavy power cable. The Forté’s large,
heavy-duty (and proprietary) feet make that a
non-issue. I toted the amp around with me to
various gigs over the past month, and it never
moved an inch—even when I tilted the cabinet
back a few times. The heavier steel casing (vs. aluminum) aides in adding some heft to the amp,
but at six pounds, the Forté is still plenty light
enough to throw in your gig bag.
The amp arrived with a Bergantino HDN410
cabinet, and having that on hand proved useful
for comparing how well the amp paired with nonBergantino cabinets. The HDN410 costs $1,600—a
big chunk of change, especially compared to the
Forté’s price, and I wanted to know if the head
delivered as well with cabinets that a player might
already have on hand. It does, thanks to the carefully crafted generic profile programmed into the
DSP. I ran the amp through Aguilar, Ampeg, and
Epifani cabinets, and it performed well with each.
out, q" headphone
Inputs q" instrument, r" aux
Tone controls
BASS:
±10dB @ 63Hz; LO-MID:
±10dB @ 250Hz; HI-MID: ±10dB @ 1kHz;
TREBLE:
±10dB @ 3.5kHz; BRIGHT switch:
+6dB @ 6.5kHz
Effects Adjustable VRC (variable-ratio
compressor)
Weight 6 lbs
Made in USA
Contact bergantino.com
bassplayer.com / j a n u a r y 2 0 1 8
39
FACE
TECH
PLAY
LEARN
S
|
NOT EVERY BASS PLAYER IS A SONIC
adventurer. There’s something about our instrument’s culture that traditionally eschews anything other than solid, full-bodied, and supportive
tone, and sound-mangling effects can disrupt
the fulfillment of our basic duties. Thankfully,
there’s no rule that says we must be functionaries, dutifully working in the trenches while our
bandmates fancifully flit above our unyielding
foundation. We don’t have to be craftsmen—
we can be artists, too. Many of the most interesting players on the contemporary scene, from
Thundercat to Victor Wooten to Juan Alderete,
embrace the bass’ exciting sonic breadth, and we
all admire their approach as much as we adore
the role-defining contributions of icons like
James Jamerson, Duck Dunn, and Joe Osborn.
Beyond developing new techniques, the quickest route to a broader sonic palette is through
effects. An intrepid bass player will likely first
build up an arsenal of must-have stompboxes,
like an octaver, a fuzz or distortion, a phaser
or chorus, and a delay. Much can be accomplished with this fundamental array, especially
when creatively used in combinations, but more
ambitious effect-hounds inevitably seek everweirder sounds. The TWA DM-02 Dynamorph
is an exemplary representative of these exotic
breeds. There’s nothing that sounds quite like it,
and that alone could be its biggest selling point.
The Dynamorph is hard to categorize. It’s a
distortion pedal at its core, but its innovative
circuit and dynamic sensitivity make it unlike
any other distortion on the market. The circuit’s
basic topology involves a pair of high-gain preamps driving a string of full-wave rectifier diodes.
As the diodes are hit with increasing amounts of
gain, they clip the audio signal in unpredictable
ways. The result of all the clipping is a host of
40
bassplayer.com / j a n u a r y 2 0 1 8
new waveforms that further interact in erratic,
sonically insane ways. In short, the bass signal is
put through a high-speed blender, resulting in a
sound that can be synth-y and sputtering, massive and industrial, and everything in between.
The Dynamorph further ups the ante with
the inclusion of its switchable morph function.
With morph engaged, an envelope-detection circuit tracks input dynamics, tying them to the
drive amount. The result is that the insanity’s
severity becomes linked to how hard one plays.
The sensitivity of the morph control is adjustable via the instar knob. This gets me to another
point, although I’m not sure where I stand on
the subject. The DM-02 offers a lot of parameter controls, including adjustable ratios of dry
to wet signal, the envelope-detector speed, the
gain amount driving the diodes, and a pair of
preset EQ curves that tailor the output’s frequency response. This is all objectively cool to
have on hand. My criticism-cum-plaudit is that
each control is named with no regard whatsoever for what it does. For example, is just me or
is it not obvious that the holometaboly knob
works in conjunction with the ametaboly knob
to govern the wet/dry mix? The reason I don’t
know where to stand on the crazy naming conventions is that the pedal itself is so wacky that
the naming somehow suits its aesthetic. That
said, the bizarre names significantly steepened
my learning curve.
As a bass player who loves to mangle my
sound in wild ways, I loved the DM-02 for its
unique sonic signature. It surely won’t be for
everyone, and it’s about as confusing a pedal to
master as I’ve come across, but I think such confusion is itself exemplary of the kind of player
it’s bound to please. Sometimes it’s better to
just turn knobs and get weird. BP
S
SPECIFICATIONS
Dynamorph DM-02
Street $300
Pros One-of-a-kind sonic mangler capable
of a ludicrously broad array of synth-y,
fuzzy, and overall weird tones; dynamic-
T WA
SOUNDROOM
B Y J O N AT H A N H E R R E R A
sensitivity option adds a exciting dimension of interactivity
Cons The most confusing parameter
labels in the biz
Bottom Line Anyone who likes to dramatically alter their sound would find the
Dynamorph an exciting playmate.
Input q"
Outputs q"
SPECS
LINK
TWA Dynamorph DM-02
Expression pedal q" for external control
of drive amount
Power 9 volts via external jack
Made in U.S.A.
Contact godlyke.com
LINK
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TECH
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Cloud Microphones
|
ONE OF THE COOLEST THINGS ABOUT
owning a studio is having access to a vast spectrum of interesting kit. There are big-ticket
items like mixing consoles, mics, and outboard
compressors, but legions of less-glamorous gadgets are required to make the recording process
work. For a long while, one such gadget has been
the Cloudlifter CL-1 from boutique mic builders Cloud Microphones. The dead-simple CL-1
does one thing exceptionally well: It uses phantom power to add up to 25dB of clean gain to a
mic’s signal. Many iconic microphones, like the
Shure SM-7B and most ribbon mics, sound great
but have severely low output, requiring the connected mic preamp to provide 50dB or more of
gain for a workable recording level. Unless you
have exceptionally clean mic preamps with a
ton of gain on tap, this huge boost substantially raises the signal chain’s noise floor. By
transparently adding 25dB of gain to a quiet
mic’s output, the Cloudlifter doesn’t push the
preamp into its upper limits, resulting in a quieter and often more high-fidelity signal. The
CL-1 is of limited use to us bass players—but
now with the Zi, Cloud has introduced a clever
product that’s a unique addition to our corner of
the gear world. It offers the same functionality
as the CL-1, but adds an instrument input and
a cool dual-purpose variable-impedance/highpass filter knob to further tailor tone.
The Zi is nicely constructed, with a ruggedfeeling steel case. All the components are topshelf, including the Neutrik combo jack and
CineMag input transformer. The surface-mount
42
bassplayer.com / j a n u a r y 2 0 1 8
PCB reveals the JFET circuitry that provides
gain, and everything is orderly and well engineered. Boxes like this get thrown around a lot,
and the Zi’s durable feel seems up to the task.
While it may look the part, the Zi isn’t
exactly a DI. Traditionally, a DI converts a bass’
high-impedance, instrument-level signal to a
low-impedance, mic-level signal appropriate
for recording. The Zi adds a bit of gain to an
instrument-level signal, which is itself typically a
bit higher than mic level. It’s no big deal in practice, as almost every preamp will deal with the
slightly higher output, but it’s worth mentioning. More important versus traditional DIs, the
Zi lacks a “through” output. The through jack on
a DI allows a player to utilize the DI for feeding
a PA or recording preamp while also providing
signal to an amp. It’s a vital component of a DI,
especially for live use.
While the Zi is a bit left-of-center compared
to most DIs, it also offers a few features that
make it well worth attention. First, its variable
impedance can alter the frequency response of
a passive bass, adding a new dimension of tonesculpting to the typical signal chain. Also, its
built-in variable highpass filter can clean up the
muddy low end that can plague some instruments in a dense mix, and it’s easily switched
off if you want to retain your full-range output.
Most interestingly, since the Zi retains the cleangain feature that made the CL-1 an indispensable tool for recording engineers, any two-timing
bass player/recording engineer would easily find
a range of uses for it in their studio. BP
S
SPECIFICATIONS
Cloudlifter Zi
CLOUD MICROPHONES
B Y J O N AT H A N H E R R E R A
Street $380
Pros Beautifully constructed in the U.S.;
flexible tool for bass players and recording
engineers alike; variable impedance and
highpass filter offer interesting dimensions
for tone shaping
Cons No through output
Bottom Line The Zi is a great-sounding,
slightly eccentric DI that’s especially useful for bass players who also moonlight as
recording engineers.
Input q"
Input impedance 1M1 (instrument input)
SPECS
SOUNDROOM
Cloudlifter Zi
Outputs q"
Power 48 volts via phantom power
Made in U.S.A.
Contact cloudmicrophones.com
T H I S C A N R E B U I L D A C O M M U N I T Y.
At the D’Addario Foundation, we believe the most effective
instrument for creating lasting, positive change for children
and their communities is music education. That’s why we
work with over 200 successful, diverse community-based
programs to help bring music to kids who may never have
access otherwise. And 100% of your donation to the
D’Addario Foundation goes directly towards giving music
education to children. So every dollar you give makes a real
difference. Learn more at daddariofoundation.org
TECHBENCH
TECHBENCH
LINK
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THE INQUIRER
Shelter From The Storm
B Y J O N AT H A N H E R R E R A
|
GIVEN THE PECULIARITIES OF THE MAGAZINE
and generally lament and celebrate our field in equal parts.
production cycle, you’ll be reading this sometime in December
This part of the experience is what left me most touched. Life
or January—but I’m writing it fresh off Bass Player LIVE!,
has been a little rough for me lately, and I found great comfort
which was the first weekend of November. Forgive the tempoin the reminder that not only are we bass players bonded in our
ral gap, but the experience catalyzed a lot of self-reflection, and
shared passion, we also tend to extend our instrument’s supit’s in that mood that I write this month’s column.
portive demands into the way we support each other. Finally, we
For those who have never been to Bass Player LIVE!,
all share the most important perk of all: the ability to express
I’ll try to set the scene. First, it’s at S.I.R. in Hollywood, one
ourselves, heal, and share love through music.
of L.A.’s premier rehearsal and gear-rental facilities. It’s a
In talking to my friends at the event, I felt the anxiety of our
building steeped in music history, laden with the presence
times in their own stories of the past year. We’re all affected difof countless icons that have walked its labyrinth of halls
ferently, and we all have private struggles, but there’s no denyand rehearsal rooms. Then there’s the gear. It’s everywhere.
ing that a confluence of long-simmering trends in society is
There are windowed display cases filled with the most droolpushing us all into a state of insecurity regarding the future.
worthy stuff on earth, and that’s not even counting the
We live in strange times indeed, and wherever one falls on
warehouse of road-cased equipment of every possible sort.
the socioeconomic or political spectrum, we’re all enduring a
In short, the building is an organism in symbiosis
transitional moment in the world that is fundamentally
with the music industry; walking in, one can’t
altering our perspective, or at least undermining our
help but feel they’re in a vortex of music and
certainty about what comes next.
all its incumbent requirements. It’s invigoThe point of this column is to hopefully serve
rating and intimidating.
as a reminder that our advantage in this conMore saliently, though, Bass Player LIVE!
fused storm is twofold. First, we are members
is about the people. There is no other gatherof one of the most tolerant, welcoming, and
ing that so clearly demonstrates the special
noble communities I know. Our solidarity as
bond among bass players. Whether it’s the
brothers and sisters in bass is not just comrapt enthusiasm attendees display during one
forting, it’s there to be counted on in times of
Bass Player Senior Contribof the many clinics, the giddy excitement at
trouble. Reach out and lean into the commuuting Editor Jonathan
playing some of the coolest gear around, the
nity in any way you can; it rarely disappoints,
Herrera is the magazine’s
chance encounters with friends, or the opporand it’s a source of security when the world
former Editor-in-Chief. An
tunity to forge new friendships, the event has
seems upside down. Second, don’t forget that
accomplished player, Jonaa joyful spirit of connectivity. It’s a moment
music is the best medicine. It’s easy to take
than is now a full-time musiwhen each of us, long siloed in our corners of
for granted, but sitting with our instrument
cian and producer. His latest
the bass world, gets to revel in our art and find
and respecting its therapeutic power is not
endeavor is Bay Area recordinspiration in our community. This doesn’t
insignificant. Whether it’s coupled with the
ing studio Airship Laboraapply just to the attendees, either. Those of
broader social benefits of playing in a band,
tories. Catch up with him at
us privileged to count top professionals and
or the more contemplative distraction of deep
jonherrera.com and at
the like among our friends and colleagues also
practice, we are so lucky to have an outlet in
airshiplaboratories.com.
love the chance to catch up, share trade secrets,
music. Use it. BP
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LINK
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TECH
WOODSHED
PLAY
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JAZZ CONCEPTS
WOODSHED
7th Heaven
i
Mastering Arpeggios
John once com-
bassplayer.com / j a n u a r y 2 0 1 8
bined a diminished
|
J O H N G O L D S BY
chord with an
augmented chord
and came up with
a demented chord.
Check out his video
lesson series The
Upright Bass
Handbook, at
truefire.com and
johngoldsby.com.
• James Jamerson
knew his 7th-chord
arpeggios! Watch
“the Hook” in action
as the master
performs with
Marvin Gaye.
• Scott Whitley
patiently explains
and demonstrates
C ONNEC T
BY JOHN GOLDSBY
IN MY NOVEMBER ’17 WOODSHED, WE LOOKED AT SIMPLE TRIAD
exercses. This month, let’s grab some 7th-chord arpeggios up and down the neck. There are
five main 7th-chord types: major, minor, dominant, half-diminished, and diminished. We’ll
explore four of these chord types this month, and we’ll save one for next month (I’ll reveal
why in a minute).
Before you pick up your bass, think about James Jamerson, who holds the title of #1 bassist of all time, as rated by the BP staff [The 100 Greatest Bass Players of All Time, February
’17]. Jamerson’s fluid use of arpeggios enhanced his incredible groove and bodacious tone.
Listen to any Jamerson track, and you’ll probably hear arpeggios.
You’ll find 7th-chord arpeggios in all styles of music, so mastering them will make you a
better bassist. There are several ways to understand 7th-chord construction: stacked majorand minor-3rd intervals, scale degrees, or triads with an added 7th on top.
Example 1 shows a C major 7 arpeggio (Cmaj7), followed by the notes arranged as a
chord, plus the C major scale. The Cmaj7 chord is constructed with intervals of a major 3rd
(marked “3” on the music, C to E), minor 3rd (“m3,” E to G), and major 3rd (G to B). Thinking in scale degrees, the C major scale generates the Cmaj7 chord from the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and
7th—the notes C, E, G, B.
The C7 chord in Ex. 2 is generated from the C dominant scale, also called the C Mixolydian
mode. The intervallic construction is: 3 (C to E), m3 (E to G), and m3 (G to Bb). Notice that
the difference between the Cmaj7 and the C7 is the 7th note of the scale. In the Cmaj7 chord,
the 7th is B; in the C7 chord, the 7th is Bb.
Example 3 gets dark. The minor-3rd interval between the root (C) and flatted 3rd (Eb)
defines the C minor sound. The intervallic construction of the Cm7 chord is: m3 (C to Eb), 3
(Eb to G), and m3 (G to Bb). The scale in Ex. 3 is C natural minor (also called C Aeolian), but
the Cm7 chord also occurs in C Dorian and C Phrygian modes.
Even darker than minor, the diminished sound is the most mysterious-sounding of the
five basic chords. Example 4 shows the Cdim7 arpeggio, Cdim7 chord, and the Db harmonic
minor scale. Why Db harmonic minor? The chord built on the 7th degree of any harmonic
minor scale is a diminished 7th. In this case, the note C is the 7th degree of the Db harmonic
minor scale. The Cdim7 is built in 3rds from the root C, using the notes found in the Db harmonic minor scale: C, Eb, Gb, Bbb. The intervallic construction of the Cdim7 chord is all minor3rd intervals: m3 (C to Eb), m3 (Eb to Gb), and m3 (Gb to Bbb). Bbb is the enharmonic equivalent
46
INFO
how to build various
arpeggios on the
bass.
• Play chord games
with the Teoria
music trainer.
bassplayer.com/
january2018
2
3
4
5
3
2
3
5
3
EX. 3
Cm7
3
EX. 4
Cdim7
Medium
Motown
groove
2
3
6
3
4
6
7
5
6
4
7
3
5
3
5
6
5
7
6
4
5
5
2
3
3
8
Bbmaj7
7 10
9
10 7
C7
8
8
5
6
8
7
8
5
6
6
Eb7
2
3
2
5
3
5
5
8
2
3
Gb7
5
6
5
8
6
8
8
5
6
A7
4
2
5
Fmaj7
5
EX. 6
5
2
4
EX. 5
3
3
7
m3
m3
Cmaj7
Slow &
precise
5
Db harmonic minor scale
Cdim7
1
3
5
3
5
6
m3
4
m3
3
3
2
5
C natural minor scale
Cm7
m3
3
m3
m3
3
2
5
C dominant scale (Mixolydian mode)
C7
EX. 2
C7
3
of the note A. You might see either the
note Bbb or the note A written in bass
parts, depending on the key signature
and the nerdiness factor of the person
notating the chart.
Now that we’ve slogged through the
theory detailing 7th-chord construction, let’s work out on the bass. Example
5 moves major-7th chords through the
circle of 4ths. Play the three chords shown
here, and keep traveling around the circle
to play all 12 major-7th chords.
Shout out to James Jamerson! The
chords in Ex. 6 move in intervals of minor
3rds: C7, Eb7, Gb7, A7. You should continue through all 12 keys by playing the
same pattern over Bb7, Db7, E7, G7; and
Ab7, B7, D7, F7.
Example 7 outlines minor-7th chords
moving down in half-steps. Play the four
arpeggios shown here, and then continue
the pattern down chromatically through all
12 keys. Note: You’ll have to jump up the
octave when you reach the Ebm7 arpeggio.
Example 8 demonstrates the magic of
diminished chords. This exercise targets
a minor-7th arpeggio, which is preceded
3
m3
3
5
C major scale
Cmaj7
EX. 1
C
1
1
4
4
2
2
4
1
2
5
4
4
7
7
5
7
4
5
bassplayer.com / j a n u a r y 2 0 1 8
47
PLAY
LEARN
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FACE
TECH
by a diminished-7th arpeggio. Think of the pattern in two-bar
groupings: Bdim7 to Cm7, Edim7 to Fm7, Adim7 to Bbm7. Once
you get these six bars down, move the pattern around the circle
and play all other combinations of diminished to minor chords:
Ddim7 to Ebm7, Gdim7 to Abm7, Cdim7 to Dbm7, Fdim7 to Gbm7,
A#dim7 to Bm7, D#dim7 to Em7, G#dim7 to Am7, C#dim7 to Dm7,
and F#dim7 to Gm7.
WOODSHED
EX. 7
LINK
Medium
slow
Cm7
3
2
5
6
4
3
Bdim7
Bbm7
1
5
Cm7
2
3
Am7
4
Edim7
5
1
Fm7
2
3
5
Adim7
Bbm7
EX. 8
Medium
slow
Bm7
We’ve heard how minor chords sound dark, and diminished7th chords sound even darker. Next month, we’ll ponder the inbetweenness and functionality of the half-diminished chord (e.g.,
Cm7b5). Half-diminished chords sound minor-ish, but not really
diminished. Also called minor 7 flat 5, the half-diminished chord
is often misunderstood, and deserves special consideration in
the next Woodshed. BP
2
5
3 6
4
5
3
5
6 3
0
3
1 4
2
3 1
3
4 1
0
3
1 4
2
3 1
3
4 1
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50 Years as Rock’s
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Lavishly illustrated with archival shots, this is the
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TECH
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R&B GOLD
WOODSHED
LINK
“The Sound,” Or How I Ditched
My High End & Learned To Love It!
BY ED FRIEDLAND
|
AS A BASSIST, YOU CAN PLAY THE RIGHT NOTES, HIT THE
is a screenshot of the waveform produced by my upright bass—there is a
groove, know every possible version of a song—even wear a hat and sunlarge initial spike, which tapers down relatively fast. In contrast, the waveglasses—but if you don’t get “the sound,” the music doesn’t fully happen.
form produced by my electric bass (Fig. 2) shows that the initial attack is
While this is true in any musical situation, the bass tone of the R&B Gold
not as big as the upright’s, and the waveform holds a more consistent volume
timeframe (1940–75-ish) has been practically eradicated by years of product
level from beginning to end.
development and innovation, so achieving that tone can be a bit mysterious.
Listening to older music, you’ll notice that bass notes were shorter. For
Virtually every advance in bass-gear technology has replaced the instruupright players, this was largely a result of playing pizzicato with gut strings
ment’s dark, indistinct thump with full-range clarity. As players pushed the
and high action to achieve volume. The string’s material and tension proboundaries of what a bass could do, gear designers met and fueled that chalduced a strong attack and fundamental, but the notes did not sustain well. As
lenge, creating many of the advances we now take for granted: steel strings,
steel strings took over, the envelope of upright notes began to change. String
advanced pickups, and hi-fi amplifiers for upright bass; roundwound strings,
heights also lowered, which decreased the attack and lengthened the decay.
active electronics, exotic woods, and sophisticated hardware for electric bass;
As a result, pickups and amps became more of a necessity to compete in the
and full-range speaker systems and Class D amplification to make it all loud.
rhythm section. Players like Ron Carter began to emphasize the growl and
Like many contemporary players, my tone ideals were bassists who stood
length of each note instead of the thump, and this opened up an entirely difout in the mix, such as Stanley Clarke, Larry Graham, Jaco, Marcus Miller,
ferent (and distinctly modern) approach to the instrument that has inspired
John Entwistle, and Jack Casady. The equipment I chose was designed with
several generations of players. But when you hear Lloyd Trotman’s introducmodern sensibilities in mind: clarity, full-spectrum tone, even response,
tion on “Stand By Me,” or James Jamerson’s upright on Marvin Gaye’s “Once
and flexibility. While I appreciate the advances our instrument has experiUpon a Time,” or Bob Moore’s playing on any record he’s ever done—that is
enced, and I enjoy playing in contemporary styles, over the past ten years
“the sound” I’m talking about.
my personal preferences have shifted toward a more vintage aesthetic. My
For the past few years, I’ve been touring and recording with the Mavericks,
gigs have been predominantly based in the Americana/roots/country realm,
a band with musical influences as far-flung as traditional country, Cuban son,
where a fat, dark, punchy tone is the standard, and there are no bass solos.
ska, Tex-Mex, and swing, with a big dollop of classic R&B on top. My priGetting “the sound” can be as simple as using vintage gear—but outside of
mary instrument for the gig is upright bass, although for a handful of songs
a controlled environment like a recording studio, it can be a challenge to get
I switch to a Fender Precision. As the gig’s tone palette is decidedly vintage,
modern performance standards out of such gear. While heretical to the vinit’s been my quest to reliably produce “the sound” really freakin’ loud! While
tage purist mindset, it’s possible to produce “the sound” even with modern
the thought of miking an old Ampeg B-15 is quaint, my stage volume needs
equipment, if you understand its nature.
to be loud enough to give the lead singer a solid backstop, and
Words like full, fat, thick, round, warm, and punchy are
keep me out of his wedge monitors. Feedback is the first issue
used to describe “the sound,” as opposed to the modern tone
to deal with—standing in front of a roaring 2x15 cab is quite
INFO
palette that can be called bright, clear, full-range, and crisp.
a trick for an upright bassist. While upright players combat
However, “the sound” is not just a product of timbre; it also
feedback by putting foam under the tailpiece or inside the bass,
Ed Friedland of
involves the note’s envelope. ADSR is an acronym used in
taping up the ƒ-holes, or taking even more extreme measures,
Tucson, Arizona, is
music synthesis to describe the attack, decay, sustain, and
I found a different solution. My Chadwick Folding Bass came
currently touring
release of a note. We bass players are concerned mostly with
with a removable internal brace to protect the top from being
with Grammy
the attack and decay, and if we look at “the sound” in these
crushed during travel, and I found that playing with the brace
Award winners the
terms, we see it has a strong attack and a quick decay. Figure 1
installed effectively removes 90 percent of my acoustic volume
Mavericks.
ED FR IE DL AND
i
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bassplayer.com / j a n u a r y 2 0 1 8
crams the fingers together, mashes down on the string with the
pads, and uses a solid monkey-grip on the neck. It’s “wrong,” but
it shortens the decay times, emphasizes the attack, and adds a
ton of low-end thump. The crudeness of the technique creates
the desired sound and articulation; call it “harnessed slop.” The
right hand also plays a large role in the shape of the note: The classic “hook” technique gives a firm bump up front, but it can cause
more string excursion, which means longer decay. A more classical pluck that pulls the string away from the neck can produce a
decent attack with a short decay, and using one or two plucking
fingers, and varying one’s hand placement, can open up a good
dynamic range. Plucking with the pads of the index and middle
fingers together gives a strong meaty bump with medium decay—
and in combination with the thumper left-hand technique, it gives
you a lot to work with.
Getting the right envelope is the first step, but then we have
to make it loud. My rig, although thoroughly modern in design, is
a critical link in bringing this texture to life at high stage volume.
While it’s a modern Class D design, the Genzler Magellan 800’s
beefy power plant and semi-parametric midrange can just as
easily make my three-way Greenboy Audio cabinet sound like an
old bass rig without a tweeter: super loud, without feedback, and
with improved definition. My Barbera Transducers piezo pickup
is full-range, with even response and tons of gain. To shape all
that sonic information into “the sound,” I cut the mids deeply
in the 800Hz–1.5kHz range. A slight bass boost helps make it
plump, and because the strings are fairly dark, I leave the treble
flat. Even with the feedback resistance of the muted Chadwick, a
highpass filter rolling off everything under 80Hz is necessary to
keep howling at bay.
This modern setup allows me to convey the upright-bass version of “the sound” at stadium-rock levels. But first you have to
know what “the sound” is, and understand what produces it. If
you can’t replicate those conditions, figure out another way to produce the same result. Next time, we’ll talk about “the sound” as
it relates to electric bass—but until then, keep digging for R&B
Gold. It’s everywhere! BP
EX. 2
EX. 1
and therefore my feedback problem—although it does add sustain, much like a center block does in a semi-hollow instrument.
The next step is getting the proper attack and decay. My first
inclination was to use gut strings, as they naturally have the thumpy
attack and rapid decay, but after one year on the road, I gave up on
them. Constantly changing climates, rainy outdoor festivals, and
the many hours needed prior to a show to let the strings settle in
became problematic. Synthetic-core strings can exhibit gut-like
qualities, but I found they still took too long to stretch out, as I
have to assemble the Chadwick for each gig. Steel-core strings
settle in quickly, as the material is less pliable, but pizzicatooriented string sets tend to growl and sustain rather than thump.
It occurred to me to use strings designed for arco playing, as they
typically have an underwrap of silk to calm down the high-frequency
transients and sustain. A set of light-gauge D’Addario Heliocore
Orchestral strings put me on the right path. Due to marathon sets
lasting up to three hours, I keep my action relatively low, which
unfortunately decreases attack and lengthens the decay. To balance these tendencies, I use a variety of hand techniques to get
“the sound” in different registers and dynamic levels.
When photos of me on my new gig first started circulating, a
thread on talkbass.com lit up about my atrocious left-hand technique. People were surprised to see me grabbing the neck like a
baseball bat—something I’ve told all of my students not to do. This
primitive technique is dead wrong by “legit” standards, but it’s the
way most “bass thumpers” approach the instrument. In the world
of upright bass, you have classically trained players, jazz players
with various levels of training, and “thumpers.” Thumpers just pick
up the darn thing and start playing. They didn’t take lessons; they
just thump away until they get something going. In educated circles, there is a tendency to scoff at this approach, but the reality is
many of the greatest records ever made had a thumper on bass. In
early jazz, bluegrass, country, blues, and other “rustic” genres, the
bass playing was often crude, but effective. If you’re playing this
music, perfect classical technique is not going to get “the sound.”
Instead of cleanly pressing the string to the fingerboard with the
tip of the finger for optimum clarity and intonation, the thumper
bassplayer.com / j a n u a r y 2 0 1 8
51
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BERKLEE BASS BABYLON
The Many Facets Of Teaching
BY STEVE BAILEY
|
IN ITS DAY, BABYLON WAS THE LARGEST CITY IN THE WORLD—
melody is key to developing meaningful bass-line counterpoint as well as
and in this day, the Berklee Bass Department is the largest bass department in
improvisational phrasing.
the world. In many ways the department, both students and faculty, is like a
Steve Bailey Technical foundation. Like a skyscraper’s foundation, one’s
city: it’s multicultural, stylistically diverse, vibrant, progressive, and not afraid
technical foundation is critical to support virtuosity, consistency, and musiof change. Collectively, our faculty have made thousands of records, written
cality. Bass is physical; good form and strength are key to good time, tone,
hundreds of books, toured the world, won Grammys, and influenced several
technique, and expression!
generations of bassists. What better way to share this with the world than
Whit Browne The first items on my study list are sound/tone and beat/
to partner with the most venerated purveyor of all things bass, Bass Player
rhythm. A legendary musician once said, “They hear ya before they hear ya!” A
magazine? BP’s history of providing quality instructional content makes for
big, fat bass tone and a deep, groovin’ beat will bring you to the attention of all.
an ideal educational partnership. Dave Buda Simplicity. Part of effective teaching is the ability to make the
In the Berklee Bass Department, our teaching methods,
complicated seem simple. We discover together how you learn,
pedagogical philosophies, and stylistic approaches may vary,
and then we proceed to break down new material in ways that
but our endgame is always the same: We do absolutely everysuit your learning style.
INFO
thing we can to prepare our students for what awaits them in
Dave Clark Practice habits. Choose tempos supporting
their careers, regardless of where they will live or what kind
musical
success and technical ease. Face the unmastered with
Steve Bailey is the
of music they will play.
courage.
Savor repetition. Employ panoramic awareness, creChairman of the
Our first column features a sample of some of our teachative problem-solving, and self-reliance.
Bass Department
ing’s approaches and focuses. While it may seem like a long list,
Bruce Gertz Practice. A disciplined routine is key to sucat Berklee College
of Music and the
it’s only a fraction of where we are coming from—and where
cess. My students combine warmups, scales, arpeggios, readgrandmaster of the
you could be going. In future columns, we will drill down into
ing, listening to and emulating the masters, and improvising
fretless 6-string as
some of these concepts, feature some faculty members, and
in various contexts.
a veteran sideman,
provide insight into the serious musical foundations we build,
Lincoln Goines Stylistic diversity. Keep your ears and
author, educator,
and the fun our team has doing so.
spirit open to all kinds of music. At some point, especially as
and solo artist. In
For a deeper look at our program, faculty, and philosophy,
a bassist, you will find a use for it.
addition to touring
go to berklee.edu/bass.
Susan Hagen Classical repertoire. Studying the masterwith Victor Wooten
works
is a path to technical and musical mastery, while solidin Bass Extremes,
Name one important concept and focus of your teaching.
ifying
pitch
makes for a better bassist, regardless of style.
he is at work on his
Tom Appleman Learning repertoire. Learning a song’s
Fernando Huergo Musical flexibility. It is very important
next solo record.
STE V E BA IL EY
i
52
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for the working musician to adapt to many different situations. Studying myriad
styles and repertoires, and listening to music with an open mind, are a path to
this flexibility.
John Lockwood Listening. That’s the key ingredient that allows us to connect and communicate in every musical setting.
Chris Loftlin Practice habits. Focused listening, disciplined practice, and
concentrated effort are habits that will foster the skills and confidence necessary to succeed musically and academically.
Ed Lucie Application of theory. It’s not enough to have a theoretical knowledge
of harmony—one must be able to apply it to building bass lines and improvising.
David Marvuglio Pick technique. Facility with a pick adds another dimension to your playing. More attack, clarity, punch, and grind—and driving eighthnotes—are some of its virtues.
Danny Morris Transcription and analysis of current bass lines. This process
leads to discovery, mirroring what many students will encounter after they graduate.
John Patitucci Rhythm is the most powerful tool we use in communicating musical ideas. Time feel, bass lines, compositional and harmonic movement, accents, articulations, inflections, and more—they all rely on rhythm as
the primary mode of communication!
Mike Pope Phrasing and the use of space between ideas frames them so
they’re more clearly defined and communicated. Our natural speaking skills provide a springboard for understanding that in a musical context.
Joe Santerre Teamwork and cooperation. In addition to learning and
navigating the fingerboard and applying harmonic and rhythmic knowledge, it is imperative
to impress upon students the importance of being
a team player.
Sandro Scoccia Sound and tone. I have students
focus on exploring tone, manipulating it, and eventually finding a sound that they love. Great tone
inspires more practice, playing, and confidence.
Oscar Stagnaro Rhythmic awareness. Regardless of style, it is imperative that a bass player have
an understanding of basic percussion and drumset rhythms, as this will enhance bass line creation.
Anthony Vitti Consistency—the ability to evenly
maintain and control note length, time, swing, volume,
and sound from the beginning to the end of a song.
Gary Willis Command of technology. I try to
enable students to teach themselves by getting a
handle on their practice environment and leveraging that for the best results.
Victor Wooten Expressing your greatness. Like
your fingerprint, there’s a musical part of you that
is unique. The key to clearly and easily expressing
it lies beyond the 12 notes. BP
Music lives
and your hearing survives!
Protect
the hearing you have now,
and for years to come.
H.E.A.R.® today,
hear tomorrow.™
We can help. H.E.A.R.® is
a non-profit organization
co-founded by
musicians and hearing
professionals that
is dedicated to
the prevention of
hearing loss in
musicians.
Support
Purchase your
hearing protection
at www.hearnet.com
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Elton John’s “Chameleon”
Kenny Passarelli’s Complete Bass Line
BY CHRIS JISI
|
THINK SIR ELTON JOHN FROM THE BOTTOM UP AND IT’S
impossible not to summon the late Dee Murray, whose R&B-rooted melodic
might powered a dozen John discs. But another highly original bass philosopher, for whom melody and R&B was king, also left his mark on the Rocket
Man’s recordings. Kenny Passarelli cut Rock of the Westies [1975, Mercury] and
Blue Moves [1976, MCA] with John, appearing on such hits as “Someone Saved
My Life Tonight,” “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” and “Island Girl.” The full
scope of Passarelli’s plucking prowess can be found on “Chameleon,” from Blue
Moves. The song title perfectly sums up Passarelli’s Zelig-like career, as well, so
let’s first follow that path and return to the “Chameleon” session with some
proper perspective.
Born in Denver, Colorado, in 1949, Passarelli studied classical trumpet from
ages seven to 15, before being bitten by the Beatles bug. When no one wanted
to play bass in a neighborhood band, Kenny strapped on a Mosrite. He felt a
kinship to the trumpet, given his right-hand dexterity and experience playing single lines as opposed to chords. “Unlike playing legit trumpet, the bass
let me swing,” he notes, “and I quickly figured out I could have the best of both
worlds dealing with melody and rhythm.” Feasting on the bass lines of Chas
Chandler, Paul McCartney, James Jamerson, and Jack Bruce, Passarelli—by then
on a Gibson EB-3—earned a local reputation. This led a friend at a music store to
recommend him to Stephen Stills, who had moved to the mountains nearby, in
early 1969. After jamming with Stills, he was offered the CSNY gig, with a date
at Woodstock looming (although Neil Young had simultaneously hired Motown
bassist Greg Reeves), but he fell ill and was unable to travel.
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bassplayer.com / j a n u a r y 2 0 1 8
A call from childhood friend and guitarist Tommy
Bolin brought Passarelli to New York City in a band
with Bolin, Eddie Gomez on upright, Jan Hammer,
Alphonse Mouzon, and Jeremy Steig, to open for
Tony Williams Lifetime. While there, he connected
with John Hammond Jr. and spent the next year
touring with Hammond, playing the blues and learning the true foundational role of the bass from legendary New Orleans drummer Charles Otis. It was
Bolin who provided Passarelli’s biggest break, recommending him to ex-James Gang guitarist Joe
Walsh, who had moved to Boulder and was looking
for a bassist, in 1972. Walsh dubbed his new band
Barnstorm, and when Fender sent him an array of
guitars to try out, he handed Passarelli a fretless Precision. With his melodic background and love of the
signature upright growl of bassists like Ron Carter,
Ray Brown, and Miroslav Vitous, Passarelli made
the instrument his trademark, using it on Walsh’s
albums and sides with Dan Fogelberg, Michael
Stanley, and Hall & Oates. When Barnstorm disbanded, Passarelli joined Stephen Stills’ band,
Manassas, and again came close to getting the CSNY
gig, only to lose out to Tim Drummond.
While on tour with Barnstorm drummer Joe
Vitale in 1975, Passarelli got a call from Walsh telling him he had recommended him to Elton John,
who was forming a new band. He flew to Paris, settled into John’s famed Honky Château to rehearse
for a summer tour, and watched John write Rock of
the Westies (on which Kenny played a Hofner Beatle
Bass). By the time Blue Moves was underway, quite
a lot was going on behind the scenes. Tired from
years of extensive touring and having problems with
his manager and his lyricist Bernie Taupin, John
was about to take a break from performing. This
is reflected in the double-album’s darker tone (yet
John maintains it’s one of his favorites). On the bright side, the new band—with
Passarelli, longtime guitarists Davey Johnstone and Caleb Quaye, drummer Roger
Pope, percussionist Ray Cooper, and keyboardist James Newton Howard—was
on fire. So, for Blue Moves, the band convinced producer Gus Dudgeon to move
away from overdubbing to cut the songs live as a unit, resulting in spontaneous magic moments throughout.
Which brings us back to the “Chameleon” session at Toronto’s Eastern Sound,
where Blue Moves was rehearsed and recorded over a month in March 1976.
John originally wrote the song for the Beach Boys, who passed on it (although
Beach Boy Bruce Johnston and Toni Tennille provide background vocals).
Passarelli recalls he had the changes memorized, and that he, Pope, Quay, Cooper
(on vibes), and John on piano and scratch vocal cut the track live, using the
first take. Although isolated via headphones, he stood next to the piano, where
bassplayer.com / j a n u a r y 2 0 1 8
57
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10 Other Great Kenny Passarelli Tracks
1 Joe Walsh, “Days Gone By” [The Smoker You Drink, the Player You Get, 1973]
FACE
2 Joe Walsh, “Book Ends” [The Smoker You Drink, the Player You Get, 1973]
3 Michael Stanley, “Let’s Get the Show on the Road” [Friends & Legends, 1973]
4 Rick Derringer, “Uncomplicated Man” [All American Boy, 1973
5 Dan Fogelberg, “Part of the Plan” [Souvenirs, 1974]
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6 Elton John, “Feed Me” [Blue Moves, 1976]
7 Hall & Oates, “I Don’t Want to Lose You” [Along the Red Ledge, 1978]
8 Hall & Oates, “Sara Smile” [Livetime, 1978]
TRANSCRIPTION
9 Joe Walsh, “Life of Illusion” [There Goes the Neighborhood, 1981]
10 Joe Walsh, “Funk 50” [Analog Man, 2012]
he could watch John’s left hand, and he plucked his new fretted
Alembic Series I short-scale bass with Rotosound roundwounds,
recorded both direct and through a miked Ampeg B-15. “Elton
would never tell me what to play; he let me add my voice to the
song. If he really wanted something different, he would tell Davey,
and Davey would let the rest of us know.”
The song has an interesting form, with an eight-bar verse, a
seven-bar pre-chorus, a 14-bar chorus (12 bars the second time),
and an outro. John begins the track on piano for a four-bar intro and
then sings the verse and pre-chorus, with Passarelli and his rhythmsection-mates entering at the fourth measure of the pre-chorus
(letter B), and continuing through the first chorus (C). The band
quickly establishes several key components, including the underlying 16th-note pulse and John’s use of non-root tones. Kenny offers,
“The 16th-note feel probably came from having Ray Cooper in the
band, augmenting our rhythms. Elton’s use of non-root tones fascinated me from my first rehearsal. I wasn’t very familiar with his
music or Dee’s brilliant playing coming in, but I quickly gained
massive respect for both, even as I found my own way through the
songs.” Also apparent is Passarelli’s fretless influence, as in bars 19
“Chameleon”
and 20—even though he played his fretted Alembic on the album—
and his use of chromatic passing and leading notes, as in bars 22
and 23. “I still retained a fretless approach on fretted, especially as
it pertained to what I called ‘controlled frequencies’—knowing how
wide or short to make the notes. The chromaticism came from my
melodic trumpet background and my love of Jamerson and jazz
bass. My concept going in was to add an American R&B flavor to
the song, and fortunately Roger Pope was a funky foil.”
Letters D, E, and F repeat the first verse, pre-chorus, and chorus,
with Passarelli subtly developing his part, as he continues to play
in the holes between the vocals. “I approach bass playing as a conversation, understanding the storyline, what’s being sung, what’s
being played by the other instruments, and then conversing with
everyone.” For the outro, at G, John and band kick it up a notch
via a heavy, gospel-tinged backbeat, with Passarelli in particular
stretching out. “We went to another place, and Elton allowed me
to express myself,” he says. Using drop-downs, climb-ups, syncopations, and melodic motifs, Passarelli keeps spinning out new
ideas as he bounces between C and Bb7. Among the coolest are
the four-string drop in bar 65, the use of the 9th (D) in bars 71
and 75 and the final three measures, and the 10th (E) in bar 77.
After giving up the touring life in the ’80s, Passarelli wrote,
recorded, and sang on a new age Spanish-language album with
David Foster, and he produced and played bass on discs by Cat
Stevens and blues guitarists Otis Taylor, Eddie Turner, and David
Jacobs-Strain. In August 2017, Joe Walsh and Barnstorm (with
Passarelli on his fretless Pat Wilkins P-style bass, pictured on page
57) performed at their induction into the Colorado Music Hall of
Fame, leading a delighted Walsh to commit to future live dates.
As for his revisit of “Chameleon,” Passarelli advises, “There are a
lot of notes on the page, so get comfortable with the bass line to
the point that it doesn’t sound busy, but more a part of the conversation. Laying it back in the pocket will help with that. As
Charles Otis told me, bass is the basement of the house, so bring
the foundation first.” BP
Transcription by Chris Jisi
Med. rock ballad
= 62
Intro
A
G
B
A/G
D/A
S
10
3
3 3 3
3 3
5
5 5
5 5
Chameleon
Words and Music by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. Copyright (c) 1976 HST PUBLISHING LTD. and ROUGE BOOZE, INC. Copyright Renewed
All Rights for HST PUBLISHING LTD. in the United States and Canada Administered by UNIVERSAL - SONGS OF POLYGRAM INTERNATIONAL,
INC. All Rights for ROUGE BOOZE, INC. in the United States and Canada Administered by UNIVERSAL - POLYGRAM INTERNATIONAL PUBLISHING, INC. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.
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F#/A#
18
D7sus
D7
S
7
6
C
22
3 3
7
D
5
5
5
G/D
5
4
2
Bm/F#
3
6 7 8
5
4
0 4
2
7 4
2
5 2
B7
9
9
2
3 4 5
2
2
Em
9
5 6 7
2
2 2
3 4 5
2
3 5
7
7 6 5
5
C
2
2
G/B
D
0 2 3
Am7
5
0 2 2
C
D
2 3
3 5
5 5 5 5
5
7
3
G/D
2
4 0
5
A7
7
7
2
C
7
3 5
3
Em
G/D
Em
4
5
3 3 3 3
Em
Bm/F#
5 5
5
Bm
Em
4
G
5
D/F#
5 5 5 7
3
Bm/F#
3
A/E
3 5
S
5 4
3 4
3
5
3
G
F/G
S
7
G
30
5
G
3
C/G G
5
38
2 3 4
F/G
S
7
5
G/D
D7sus
26
S
6 7
5
D/C
3
34
3 4
6 6
C
3 3
C
3 5
5
G/D
3
2
2
3 4
G/B
3
C
3
0
2
5
5
Am7
2
3 4
G/B
5
2 3
2
Am7
5
5 6
7
7
7 5
5
5 4
3
3 3 2
2
3 4
5
5 5 5
5 5 4 3 2
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E
Am
C/G
D/F#
D7/F#
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5
3
49
F
2
4
2
0
A/G
G
45
2
2
2
4
5
5
0
3
D/A
3
3 4
5
G
0
5
4
5 5 5
F/G
5 5
2
6 6
C
2
S
3 4
7
5
D/C
2
2
0
2
D7
H
3
6
G
4
2
D7sus
7
3 3
3
F#7/A#
5
F/G
5
5
S
S
7 5 7
5
G/D
A/E
S
3 5
3
4 5
3 3
D/F#
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3
2 5
4 5 6
Bm
3 4
2
2
7
2
2
C
60
5
3
5 5
0 2 3
5 7
D
0 1 2 3
0
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1 1
(3) 3 3 3
2 3 4
4
2
7
5
5
5
2
0 1 2 3
5 5 5
C/G
4
1 2 3
2
G
7
(5)
Bm/F#
3
5
3
3 3
3 3
Em
4
5 6
3
3
5 3
G/D
7
C
2 3
3
3
G
Bb7
3 3
2
D7sus
7 6 5
C
2
4 5
3
5
A7
Em
3 4
G
2 5
3
Em
6 7
2
61
3
B7
4
57
5
2 5
7
7
7
5
5
5 4
Bb7
2 3
0 1 2 3
3
0
1
2 (2) 3 3
0 1 3
1
1 1
4
0 1 1 2
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65
D
By Jim Roberts
Stonefield’s
Tomm Stanley
Jim Roberts was
the founding editor
of BASS PLAYER and
also served as the
magazine’s publisher
and group publisher.
He is the author of
How the Fender Bass
Changed the World
and American Basses:
An Illustrated History
& Player’s Guide (both
published by Backbeat
Books/Hal Leonard).
66
LOCATING YOUR BASS COMPANY
“in the middle of nowhere,” as Tomm
Stanley puts it, might not be the best
idea. Then again, it could provide the perfect setting for an operation founded by
a luthier determined to make “the bass
you’ve always wanted.”
Stonefield basses are built in Christchurch, New Zealand, more than 6,000
miles across the Pacific from California.
Tomm, who grew up in Florida, was introduced to the city when he was working
for the U.S. Antarctic program. “It was
the last stop before you hit the ice,” he
says. Tomm was a supervisor in logistics and materials supply, and during his
second contract, he was responsible for
the teams supplying building materials to research sites, which gave him
access to the McMurdo Station woodworking shop. A bassist since age 19,
he thought it would be fun to build an
instrument there. “I took apart my bass
and looked at how it was done. I came
to the realization that about 90 percent
bassplayer.com / j a n u a r y 2 0 1 8
of it was just fine woodworking.”
So, in 1993, Tomm put his woodworking skills to work and built a bass. And
then he built another one. “The second
one was usable,” he says, “and that was
the moment when I thought, It would be
really cool to do this.” Although he stopped
traveling to Antarctica, Tomm’s work as
a management contractor in the motor
industries kept him busy, with assignments all over the world. In 2009, after
returning from Dubai, he decided to get
serious about building basses. “I didn’t
want to make what everybody else makes,
so I wrote out a list of all the things I
wanted on a bass.”
At the top of that list was balance.
Tomm admired what Ned Steinberger
and Philip Kubicki had accomplished
by moving the tuners to the body, but
he had his own ideas about how to do
that. Several years of experiments with
tailpiece tuning led to the Tomm Stanley
Tuning System. He also wanted a floating
wooden bridge and wooden nut. “That
was influenced by playing archtop guitars and listening to cellos and violins,”
he explains. “Wooden bridges are tonally
superior to brass bridges, and wooden
nuts complement that beautifully.”
Tomm also wanted passive electronics with a midrange control. Once again,
experimentation led to a unique design:
a 6-way switch with a push/pull, creating an 11-position notch filter. In a June
2017 BP review of a Stonefield 5-string,
Jonathan Herrera noted that the circuit
takes some getting used to, but ultimately
has “an immediacy, speed, and dare-I-say
organic quality that’s a joy of its own.”
For bassists accustomed to alder, ash,
and maple, the woods that Tomm uses
can be puzzling. He admits that it took
time to learn about them, but says that
some woods indigenous to New Zealand
and the South Pacific are “just spectacular” for instrument building. “The timber
I use for body cores comes from Fiji
and is kind of a secret weapon. It’s very
hard yet quite lightweight, and it has a
beautiful ring tone.” Tomm also praises
Solomon Islands ebony as a fingerboard
material, saying it’s “dense and heavy and
pretty, and amazingly stable.”
Stonefield basses are available as M
Series instruments, with the full complement of features and hand-rubbed
oil finishes, and C Series instruments,
with streamlined electronics and lacquer finishes. Coming up are F Series
basses, slated for introduction at the 2018
Winter NAMM Show; they incorporate
many of the Stonefield design elements
into lower-priced instruments. They will
be built by an Indian contractor based
in Chennai under Tomm’s supervision.
“I’m hoping that people will connect with
the F Series and get comfortable with
the shape of the instrument and other
Stonefield features,” Tomm says. “And
then they’ll want to step up.”
Tomm is also putting his passive electronics into a footpedal, again hoping to
expand his visibility by providing another
entry point to Stonefield gear. “I can’t
stop,” he says with a laugh. “The whole
market is anywhere but where I am, in
New Zealand, so I’ve got to keep going.”
For more about Stonefield basses, go
to stonefieldmusic.com. BP
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