It’s Thursday morning and my shuttle to the NAMM Show is late. I’m waiting with great anticipation to see all of the latest gear and play on the hottest basses. I first ran into Ben Jones, the new bassist for the Neville Brothers. He told me about his new bass from David Minnieweather. I couldn’t wait to talk to David.
The crowds seemed larger this year. The sounds seemed louder and I felt older! I went to section E first. That’s where I first found most of the builders of the Extended Range Instrument movement. It was great to see Fred of Bee Basses. He makes some of the best ERI in the business. I stopped by to see Jake Kot, always a step ahead! And I found some very inventive products for our pursuit of happiness.
I planned to spend every waking moment looking at equipment until…I stopped by Jorg Schroeder’s booth. I must add that I’m a recording engineer when I’m not touring and I’ve been looking for “The Sound” for my 5 string bass for years. I needed the clarity of a studio reference speaker. When you spend thousands of dollars on a custom bass, you want to hear what it sounds like. Most speakers and amplifiers have their distinct sound. This may be the secret sound combination for many but I have been seeking clarity.
I purchased a 4×12 model from JORG since the Namm Show. It’s and Incredible addition to my sound. I love the Marcus Miller bass sound. I’ve been a fan since the 70’s. I bought his Signature Bass, his strings and played through the same kind of amp, but I didn’t come close to his sound. When I played on Jorg’s cab, while also playing one of his new Jazz Bass models, I heard “The Sound”. It was as if I could rest! I tried several bass styles with the rig and I was done with the whole NAMM Show!
I hung out with the Pro Tools people and went home the next day. I also found out that I love Pecan Pie from Denny’s. I knew then that GOD truly loved me! I found “The Sound” and Pie! Who could ask for more?
I have to tell you about equipment and me; I am VERY opinionated I know what I want and I am not looking for free equipment. I am blessed to have a career in music and I thank God that I can afford to buy the tools of my trade. It’s so hard to find versatile equipment that gives me what I need.
When you’re on tour, it all comes down to 4 feet. On stage, you’re 4 feet from your cab if you’re a sideman. If you’re far from your rig, they put you in the monitors. The name of the game is to have a low stage volume so that the Front of House engineer can do his job. You don’t want tons of stage volume fighting the PA system. As a bassist, sound guys love to hand you a direct box. I can’t stand that! A guitar player has his pedals and his vintage amp and you mike HIS SOUND, but when it comes to the bass they hand us a direct box and then they create a bass sound for us. I MUST have a bass rig with POST eq so that I can send the FOH engineer MY SOUND.
We all have an ideal of what we want to sound like. I love so many bassist styles and sounds. I used to dream as a child of sharing the stage with Miles, Jaco, Stanley and Larry, and I would always wake up before my solo! Truly a Nightmare!
For whatever tool you choose to play, you need the right rig. For my 11 string, I will always use my HYDRA cabs from Madison. They have 21-inch subs. They have a pleasing coloration for my thin high strings. When it comes to session work and recreating YOUR bass sound, you have to find what’s right for you. I’m finally HAPPY!! I am hard to please.
Your pal Al