COVERING THE BASSES
TUITION
MIKE BROOKS
COVERS BAND GURU
BROOKSY SELECTS THE
RIGHT TOOLS FOR THE JOB
W
hen it comes to
selecting your bass
and amp arsenal for
playing in a covers
band, it can be hard
to know what to pick.
If you're playing in a tribute
act or genre-specific band - say
disco, soul or 70s/80s/90s -
your decision will already be
quite defined. However, if your
band is intending to cover a
wide array of songs spanning
the decades, it can be difficult
to choose a bass that does
everything you need.
Some players argue that you
only need a Fender Precision
and a bog-standard amp to do
the job, and I've heard claims
that the audience can't hear
the difference between a cheap
bass and something a little more
pricey - but over the years, I've
experienced the shortcomings
some basses possess when
it comes to certain types of
material. A bassist in a meat-
and-potatoes rock band will
probably be able to use one
bass to cover all of the material
they play, but don't be afraid to
employ a couple of instruments
if you need a selection of tones.
Also, some instruments work
better within your band's overall sound - and how your band covers the full frequency range - than
others, so take that into account too.
Your backline will be dictated by the types of venue you will be playing and what you can afford.
Starting out, it can be daunting to assess exactly what you need but for more than 10 years, I found that a
single 4x10 cabinet and a 350-watt head covered virtually every show that came my way. As time passed,
and the range and type of shows I play expanded, I've been able to build a number of different set-ups
to cover the multitude of gigging situations. Power and portability should be your prime considerations:
fortunately, the proliferation of Neo cabinets and Class D amplifiers has made things so much easier
for us all. So unless you need a heavy-duty set-up, the extra cost of a lightweight rig may be beneficial,
especially in health terms, in the long run.
Effects are an odd area: some bassists insist on them, but a lot of players prefer to go
au natural.
I
guess it depends on your repertoire and whether you want to replicate specific sounds and tones, but
sometimes the floor space available dictates that it simply isn't possible to plonk your pedalboard at your
feet without the front row of the audience trampling all over it.
A drunk pub audience really don't care what gear you've got: you're there to entertain them and keep
them in the bar, so if it means leaving your ego and your pristine new addition at home, then do so.
You're only as good as your last gig in the guvnor's eyes - and in this day and age, with so many pubs
and venues closing, that has never been more relevant.
• Improved Performance
• Enhanced Playing Experience
• Extended and Refined Range • Great Tone - Long Life
Find out more and spread the word about your playing experience
www.elixirstrings.co.uk/bass
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strings
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