1963 Fender Precision
A “tried and true” sound, the Fender Precision is the most recorded bass in music history. It can sound warm and mellow if strung with flatwound strings (a la James Jamerson, Pino Palladino, etc.), or it can have a bit more edge when strung with roundwound strings and/or played with a pick. Simply put, this bass can fit perfectly into any style of music, and is the bass I record with on at least 80% of my sessions.
1960s Fender Jazz Bass
Another “tried and true” sound, the Fender Jazz is the second most recorded bass in music history. The bass is distinct from the Precision Bass in that its tone is brighter and richer in the midrange and treble, with less emphasis on the fundamental harmonic. Because of this, many bass players who want to be more "forward" in the mix prefer the Jazz Bass. This is another bass I record with quite frequently, and it fits well into many musical styles.
1975 Fender Jazz Bass
Because of the different woods used in the body and fingerboard, this bass has a slightly brighter and more aggressive tone than my 1960’s Fender Jazz. I like to play this one with a pick, and use it mostly for rock recordings.
Fender 5‑String Jazz Bass
A more recent model in the Fender Jazz line, with a fifth string for ultra‑low notes (down to a low B). This one has active electronics for a more modern sound, and works well with any kind of music that requires the bass to play extra‑low notes.
Celinder J‑Update Jazz Bass
A more modern version of the Fender Jazz, this boutique-made bass has active electronics and really cuts through a mix. Sounds exceptional when played slap‑style (ala Marcus Miller), but also works well with fingers, pick, or for palm‑muting. I prefer this one on any kind of contemporary Jazz, Funk, Pop, and R&B.
Music Man Stingray
I’ve been playing this bass since 1991, and it was my choice when I wanted to get a more “serious” bass. Very characteristic tone, this bass is extremely versatile and sounds great with fingers, a pick, slapped, or palm‑muted.
I’ve only had this bass a couple years now, and it’s becoming one of my favorites to record with. It’s a very round, big, distinctive tone, and sounds amazing in all of its configurations. It works well for all kinds of rock with roundwound strings and a pick, and when strung with flatwound strings, works great for old-school R&B and certain types of more “quirky” music.
Danelectro DC Bass
This semi-hollow body bass has a very unique, round, and resonant tone. Great with a pick or fingers, this bass sounds fabulous on any kind of old-school or lo‑fi rock.
Höfner Club Bass (hollowbody)
Nearly identical in sound to the Höfner Violin bass that Paul McCartney made famous on so many classic Beatles recordings... The main difference between the two is that the Club bass features a single cutaway design and slightly thicker body. I keep this one strung with flatwound strings exclusively, and prefer to play this one with a pick (although it does sound good with fingers as well).
Univox Coily Hollowbody (circa late 1960s or early '70s)
Similar to the Höfner in sound — warm and mellow, although slightly “bigger.” Like the Höfner, I keep this one strung with flatwounds, often play it with a pick, and most of the time keep a piece of foam wedged under the strings to make it sound muted and “thuddy.” This is one of my favorite basses to record with, although it’s a very specialized sound and not quite as versatile as the Fenders.
Roscoe 5-String Fretless
Sexy and slinky, the fretless bass has a distinctive sound that adds character to any style of music, particularly ballads and anything that’s a bit more mellow or “vibey.” This one in particular has a crystal‑clear modern tone to it, sounds best when somewhat upfront in a mix, and has a fifth string for the extra‑low notes.
NS Design Electric Upright
Basically, an amplified upright bass (or “stand-up” bass) without the body. Doesn’t quite have the fully acoustic tone that a real acoustic upright has but, man, this one gets pretty close. Works well on any recording where that upright sound is needed.
SWR Mini Mo Preamp
This is pretty much the “Secret Weapon” of my studio. It’s a great sounding bass preamp with amazing built-in analog effects such as Overdrive, Octave, Filter/ Synth, and Chorus. Individually, the effects sound incredible, and really unique sonic results can be achieved when combining them.
Rob Allen MB-2 Nylon String Fretless (5-string)
A very unique sounding fretless 5‑string, this one is semi-acoustic with nylon tapewound strings. I like to describe the sound as somewhere in between an upright and a fretless electric. Very mellow and “woody,” this works best with acoustic recordings. It’s an extremely unique and specialized sound, doesn’t work well with ALL types of recordings, but in the right setting it’s an extremely special bass. And like my other 5‑strings, this has a low B string on it for those extra‑low notes.
All basses (except the SWR Mini Mo) recorded through an A-Designs REDDI tube direct box, Universal Audio 710 mic pre, and Empirical Labs Distressor, with no EQ or plug-ins applied.