I only need four strings. In fact I really only need two. I don't slap,
because I can't! Besides, in order to play that way you would have
to have your bass up to your chin, and that's not cool in my book.
The secret of playing bass well is keeping it simple. Don't over-
elaborate. Remember the song is more important than your bass
playing. Your connection with the drummer is also crucial. You
must know each other inside and out, as you are the backbone of
the band. My first bass was a Fender Precision. My favourite bass
ever to date is my pre Ernie Ball Music Man Stingray. The greatest
bass player that ever lived would have to be Bernard Edwards. He
had it all, style groove and most importantly, feel. Our new album
is out now.
I like to think that my playing strikes a balance between
rhythm, melody, technique and musicality. After years of playing
four-string I recently switched to a six-string. It's been a real
challenge but a lot of fun. It's not my main technique but I do slap
from time to time. I grew up on Larry Graham, Marcus Miller, Les
Claypool, Stuart Hamm and Victor Wooten, so the influence is
there. My first bass was an all-white Vester PJ bass. Look out Larry
Graham! My favourite bass ever to date is my new BN6 from F Bass.
It's a work of art. The greatest bass player that ever lived? How
could I not say Jaco? He just set the bar so high! I don't play rock, but
man I would love to get Chris Squire's tone on
I hear and
read it over and over again. Don't play this, don't play that, that's
not musical, blah, blah, blah! My current favourite is 'You won't get
hired if you do that!' Who cares? Find like-minded players, start your
own band, be creative, put on your own shows - there is more than
likely an audience for what you want to do. I was very fortunate to
grow up with musicians around that encouraged me. They never
told me not to tap or slap or solo, but they expected me to lay down
a groove and play good notes. Shouldn't you be able to do it all?
My new album
Man Of 40 Faces
is out now. It features eight solo
performances and three duets, including one with the legendary
Alain Caron. It's a huge honour to have him play on the album.
I would describe my bass style as a mix of 60s and 70s rock,
soul and jazz with lots of distortion. I do not slap, because if
you can't do it as well as Larry Graham, why bother? Know
your role in whatever ensemble you happen to be performing
with. Does it call for something over the top, or something
more laid back and supportive? Pick or fingers? Clean tone
or distortion? Also, learning another instrument such as
guitar, piano or drums can help immensely in understanding
how bass guitar fits into the big picture. My first bass was an
early-80s Squier P-Bass. The neck had a bow in it that sort
of resembled a crescent moon. Ha! I'm not sure I've found a
favourite bass yet, but I really like the Fender Jazz basses that
I've played for the last 12 years. If I could get the bass tone of
any album ever released, I would choose Jerry Scheff's tone
on the 1972 album,
Elvis: As R ecorded At M adison Square
G arden
. Check the fuzz bass solo on 'Pork Salad Annie'. I
often hear drummers and bass players talk about how they
are, as the rhythm section, the backbone of whatever group
they're playing with. While there is definitely truth to that
statement, I find that in the hard rock/heavy metal context,
the real engine is the rhythm guitar and drums. If either of
those elements are weak, I tend to not really care about the
bass playing, as I'm usually just turning it off and moving on
to something else. To understand what I'm talking about, just
watch some classic live footage of Page/Bonham, Townshend/
Moon, Van Halen/Van Halen or Hetfield/Ulrich and watch
how these guitarists and drummers all interact with each
other. And in all of those cases, there is a great bass player
laying down some creative and solid lines to provide the
mortar between the bricks, so to speak. The new Acid King
album is titled
M iddle O f N o w h ere, C en ter O f E v ery w h ere
0 1 4
previous page 13 Bass Guitar 2015 Issue 118 June read online next page 15 Bass Guitar 2015 Issue 118 June read online Home Toggle text on/off