W hat do you feel the London Guitar Show
means to the bass guitar community?
I really think this event is a linchpin for
the bass world here in Europe. There's a
brotherhood, or camaraderie, that goes on
with bass players. It's very cool. It's scary to
say I've been playing music for 45 years!
You've made your name as a double bass
player, but do you ever dabble with those
small electric contraptions?
The upright bass is completely the focus of
what I do, but I also play electric bass. My go-
to setup is a Kolstein upright bass. They do a
Lee Rocker model. I've collaborated with them
for the past few years. We also do a Busetto,
which has a full-size neck but a smaller
body so that the airlines have to take it. I use
Ampeg, but I do have a couple of other amps,
like Gallien-Krueger and Hartke.
W ho or w hat inspired you to become a
bassist, and who is the greatest bass player of
all time?
My parents are both classical musicians, so
the one rule in our house was that you took
music lessons. As for the greatest player, I'd
have to say Willie Dixon. In a lot of ways
I've walked down that same road, in terms of
being an upright bass player, a singer, writer
and producer.
Mark King
Tell us about the gear you used at the show?
It starts with a set of double ball-end
Rotosound strings on my favourite bass,
which is a Status Kingbass Paramatrix, which
Rob Green of Status Graphite made for me.
They're lovely basses and Status are great to
work with: over the years the body shape
has changed quite a bit. I'm going through a
load of TC Electronic pedals, starting with a
Vortex flanger, and a Corona chorus, which
is the bedrock of 80s jazz-funk. Some people
asked back in the day when Level 42 did 'The
Chinese Way' if I was using a fretless bass,
but I wasn't, I was just using a heavy chorus.
Then there's a Flashback pedal, which I use
as a looper and delay. It's a great songwriting
tool. Then there's my TC Blacksmith rig, a
1600-watt programmable digital head. It has
three settings on it, which is useful when
bass players are sharing a rig. Then I've got
two 4x10 cabs, plus I use a Radial Design amp
splitter and a guitar amp.
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