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Sunday, June 21, 2020

THE RUMBLE BASS INTERVIEW : CHASING AFTER ALICE

1.Why Bass?


I like bass for  a few reasons. The first is from a musical standpoint. Bass functionally bridges the gap between the melody of music and the rhythm. It locks in with the drums often but also can have its own backing to a melody or its own countermelody that still makes musical “sense.” The second reason is for the sound and textures of the sound. It often is a rich and clean sounding instrument, but if you want to, you also can get other neat sounds from them via slapping and popping. And lastly, I personally like the preference in the coordination of my hands. I seem to coordinate more naturally between my hands when my right hand is plucking or playing fingerstyle as opposed to using a pick.


2.Do you think it is unfair or just lack of knowledge bass gets so little credit?


To your everyday listener, I think there is much lack of knowledge of bass and it is often overlooked because of this. When mixed correctly or well, bass livens up a mix. It aids the drums in the low end of the frequency spectrum and can make them sound more punchy. In addition, as you get higher on the frequency spectrum if a bass is mixed well and also has some slight overdrive, it can make the distortion from the guitars appear larger and wider.
  

3.What kind of bass do you use? Model , color , year , And why



I use and have always been very fond of the Ibanez Soundgear series of basses. My exact model is the Ibanez SR 405EQM with the Surreal Blue Burst (blue outside to vibrant green inside) finish that was released sometime at least around the past 3 years. I chose this bass largely for its sound and reliability but while not breaking my wallet in the process. Ibanez’s line of guitars and basses are pretty sturdy and have good enough specifications and electronics to sound decent at minimum. My bass in particular also has an active EQ system with my pickups that allows for a lot of tonal versatility. 


4.Tell us about your amplification

My entire signal chain comes from 3 pedals all made by Darkglass Electronics: a harmonic booster, a compressor, and a preamp/drive pedal in that order. The booster enhances the harmonic content of the signal coming immediately from my bass and makes it sound more lively and rich. The compressor I like for a little bit of sound shaping, but mainly consistency of volume. And lastly the preamp pedal has several great features and is integral to my rig. A few of these features is a 6-band graphic EQ and an impulse response loader. The impulse response loader allows me to have a simulation of a cabinet speaker being capture by a microphone so I do not need to have an actual amplifier on stage with me. I can run it straight into a venues front-of-house board and just give me volume in my monitor if present. If there is no monitor I still have a generic fender bass amp I could plug into for volume and monitoring for myself. 


5. With all of that being said do you feel tone is an important thing for bass?
Absolutely. Bass in the low end fills the room with rumble or so everyone thinks but there is more. There is a fair amount mid-range frequency that should be present to cut through a mix and be heard amongst several other instruments and/or vocals. However, this should not be overbearing, more like strong support. 
Aside from this, distortion on bass is a unappreciated and overlooked like I mentioned in another point. In any rock or metal, or anything with one or more distorted guitars, bass distortion done correctly makes the “wall of distortion” from the guitars sound larger. The bass can distort the regions of the frequency spectrum that guitars can not reach. And given the band I play in is based in metal, distorted bass helps sound large and “full.”


6.Do you prefer 5 strings over 4 string?
Not necessarily. I do enjoy the extended range for versatility, though. And no this is not to be lower for the sake of being lower. If the song needs to be lower its fine, but I also enjoy having higher range. Having higher bass range allows for a bit more versatility. It opens itself up to having more solo or lead type of playability and the use of tapping with your right hand. It also can promote the use of chords.


7.Who is your favorite bassist?


I do not have a favorite bassist. I like many different bassists for many different reasons. The ones I like would be ones that coincide with why I like bass in my aforementioned points, particularly good technique and demonstration of melody or countermelody to not be boring by backing chords.


8. Who is your least favorite bassist?


I can not think of any bassist I dislike or like less. It would depend on the context of their music if I don’t feel like it fits.


9.Why do you think women seem to be attracted to playing bass?


I can’t think of a strong enough supported reason for that, it’s just what they feel. I also know of several women playing guitar as well, so I don’t think there really is any bias toward bass.
  

10. What bassist dead or alive would you like a private lesson with?


Probably Victor Wooten who is an absolute bass legend and Jacob Umansky of the instrumental band Intervals. I would like a lesson from both for instruction of a technique known as “double-thumping” in order to sharpen up my bass playing technique repertoire. Victor Wooten arguably pioneered the technique, and Jacob Umansky regularly uses it in a current modern and progressive metal music context.


11. Bonus question
Bobby Doll , Nikki Sixx , Les Claypool , Billy Sheehan  which is more ridiculous and why

Probably Billy Sheehan because a lot of his playing is so chaotic but very good. He almost seems like he shreds on a bass like it’s a guitar!

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