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Here you can check out my bass collection and listen to some of the classic bass sounds and grooves I have recreated in my studio. For bass students there are transcriptions of all the examples, just click on the links to view them. You can download all the charts from the transcriptions page  here.

Overwater P bass.

A faithful replica of the Fender Precision. Built with the usual excellent quality by the guys at Overwater.

Lakland P Bass

My second P bass. Lakland make great off the shelf basses for a very good price. I keep this one strung with flatwounds.

Fender Jazz '76 reissue.
Another classic bass.

Overwater J5.

This is my 5 string "super jazz" bass - fitted with the John East preamp and dual inline Bartolini pickups. The B string sounds tight and consistent on the low notes, and the active blend and 3 band eq mean I can get all those classic Fender Jazz bass sounds, and do a pretty good impression of most other basses. The Bartolinis are hum cancelling so none of those single coil noise issues. A very useful bass!

Overwater Fretless Jazz Bass.

Again this bass is fitted with the John East preamp.

Ernie Ball Musicman Stingray5

The stingray is the other classic bass designed by Leo Fender. This 5 string version is light and comfortable to play for a 5 string and has a punchy sound.

Kala Bass Ukelele

My 'secret weapon' - it's tiny, but when you plug it in it has a surprisingly big sound, unlike anything else, but great for acoustic rock 'n' roll and country 'tic-tac' grooves. I use this with Joe Brown, it's a lot of fun to play.

Rock 'n' Roll Double Bass

I use this bass with Joe Brown.
We do rock 'n' roll, rockabilly and country music. To get the right sound I am using a plain gut G string and Innovation Rockabillys on the E,A and D.
I also use the Revolution solo pickup. It takes a bit of trial and error to find the sweet spot when you fit these pickups but when you get them set up right they are fantastic!

Hungarian Double Bass

I got this bass from the Contrabass Shoppe. They pick out good instruments and finish them to a high standard. I'm currently using Obligato strings, they work well for fingerstyle and arco.

Rickenbacker 4001

The bass used by Paul McCartney on later Beatles recordings. The mellow tone of this bass is instantly recognisable from classics like
‘Come Together’, ‘Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds’ and ‘Something’.

Ex 1. P bass with left hand muting. Tower of Power bassist Rocco Prestia uses left hand muting most of the time to achieve his trademark sound, and it's a really useful technique to have at your disposal whatever kind of music you play.

Left hand muting


Ex 2. Sixties rock 'n' roll P bass.
This is a good plectrum exercise, use down strokes throughout.

60s P Bass with pick


Ex 3. Late 60s rock.
Here I tried to emulate the style of Jack Bruce rocking out with Cream.
This was recorded on a Fender P bass with heavy gauge strings tuned a tone lower than standard. I played with a pick and put it through Ampeg SVX modelling software, emulating an SVT head, and 8x10 cab miked with a U87.

Late 60s rock


Ex 4. The Motown Sound.
I tried to make this as authentic as possible, using the Lakland P bass with flatwounds and a foam rubber mute. James Jamerson was usually DI -ed on the motown recordings, but according to Allan Slutsky in 'Standing in the Shadows' he used a B15 for live work. This was recorded through a late 60s  B15, mic-ed with a Neumann U87.



Ex 5. Fender Jazz - slap.
The jazz bass with both pickups and tone full up is the ultimate slap tone for me, and no-one does it better than Marcus Miller. He has a badass bridge on his bass and an onboard pre-amp (my bass has a badass but no pre-amp).

Jazz bass slapped


Ex 6. 5 string Overwater J5.
I'm utilizing the low notes on the B string here. Anthony Jackson is the master of extended range playing and I've 'borrowed' a couple of his concepts here - alternating open and fretted notes (which he 'stole' from James Jamerson) and angular melodic lines. For this I was DI into a Universal Audio channel strip.

Overwater J5


Ex 6a.Metal exercise. For this example I'm using the J5 with an active blend of both pickups, played with a pick. I recorded with the UA channel strip cranked for a bit of overdrive, and I also blended in an Ampeg SVX simulation of an SVT4 into an 8x10 cab with some distortion. This is a great exercise for alternate picking, and using one finger per fret in the left hand.

Metal exercise


Ex 7. Fretless Melody.
n this example I've utilized some of the qualities of the fretless for melodic playing. I love the sound Jaco got with Joni Mitchell on songs like 'God must be a boogie man'. I tried to emulate that, using just the bridge pickup and some reverb.

Fretless melody


Ex 8. Stingray 5 - Funky rock.
Flea played some killer grooves on his Stingray with the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. The muscular tone of this bass is great for funk and rock. Here is a funk/rock groove played on the Stingray, straight into a Universal Audio 1176 channel strip.

Stingray 5


Ex 9. Bass Ukelele.
Here's a rock 'n' roll 8th note walking line on the uke. Played with a plectrum and some palm muting.  I recorded this with the Neumann U87 on the Ampeg B15.

Bass ukelele


Ex 10. Rockabilly. Like slapping on the electric bass, the key to getting this sound is to make sure that the plucked notes and the slapped notes have a consistent dynamic.
I DI-ed the pickup and put a U87 two feet in front of the bass. There's a bass boost on the pickup and a 4K hump on the U87.

Rockabilly slap


Ex 11. A rockabilly walking line.

Walking slap


Ex 12. Double bass, laid back jazz.
This recording of my Hungarian bass is also a blend of the pickup and a mic, but mixed for a more natural sound than the rockabilly examples.More mic, less pickup and only very subtle EQ.

Laid back jazz


Ex 13. Rickenbacker 4001.
In this example the Rickenbacker is recorded direct into the Universal Audio 1176 channel strip.

Rickenbacker 4001