9 months ago

BassPlayer 2017-01

BassPlayer 2017-01


BASS NOTES LINK FACE TECH PLAY LEARN B then two of the guys who subsequently sat in, David Phelps and Chris Bacas, eventually became permanent members. For the past few years you’ve been playing Ibanez basses with piezos. Yeah, the first bass they gave me several years ago was an Ergodyne, and it wasn’t so great [laughs]. It had a plastic body with both magnetic and piezo pickups. I eventually took off the magnetic pickup because I never used it; I just used the piezo, and I started hearing some possibilities with it. What were you hearing? More dynamics. Piezos are very responsive to how hard you play—they pick up the attack really well. A magnetic pickup will capture the high-end transients, but piezos will pick up a bit of a thump, like an upright bass, actually, so it’s a different kind of dynamic. The problem, though, was that I was getting clipping. I put a scope on the output of the piezo, and I was amazed that they were getting like 12 volts peak-to-peak off the pickups. The preamps just couldn’t reproduce that. The pickup was running off a 9-volt battery, so it can’t reproduce a 12-volt input, and there was no room for a second battery to bring it up to 18 volts. So I built some charge pumps and put them in there—a charge pump is a small chip and a couple of diodes, which essentially doubles the battery voltage. So that cured the clipping problem. What had you been playing before? Up to that point, I had been playing Wal basses, which I loved. They’re great instruments and I got a lot of good results with them, but I got to a point where I was getting a little tired of my sound, and I just felt like changing gear a little. So I asked Ibanez if they could make another version of the Ergodyne but with a wooden body, with a dense wood. They came up with a second one that was mahogany, a big improvement, so I played that for a while. Then they gave me two more with just piezo pickups, a bolt-on version and a neck-through version. And these sounded better again; it was just another increment in quality. Both are 5-strings, and you tune the low string to C instead of B. Why? When I played a 4-string, I would sometimes detune the E string down to a D or a C. For example, on the first Brand X record, Unorthodox Behavior, the bottom string is tuned to a C, so I sort of got accustomed to that interval. When I eventually shifted to 5-string, I just decided to make that bottom string a C rather than a B. Can fans expect any future live or studio Brand X releases? I think we’ll be doing some live CDs. A new studio album of the old material would be rather pointless, but when we eventually get to writing new material, it will definitely be in the cards. BP OVER 250,000 ITEMS FROM YOUR FAVORITE BANDS T - SHIRTS HOODIES JACKETS JERSEYS TANK TOPS SWEATERS LONG SLEEVES SHORTS BABYWEAR HATS BEANIES JEWELRY BACKPACKS BAGS POSTERS COLLECTIBLES TOYS FLAGS PATCHES PINS BUTTONS STICKERS WALLETS KEY CHAINS DVDS VINYL AND MORE For a free catalog, visit, call or write:

© 2016 PRS Guitars / photo by Marc Quigley Gary Grainger Bass These basses were designed over several years with Gary Grainger and input from many other artists and sound engineers with the goal of creating a solid foundation that is versatile enough to deliver stage. The EQ section gives you unprecedented tonal control and the radiused pickups provide balanced string attack and a fat, clear sound. Grainger 4 and 5-string basses visit

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