The Gear Page (for the double bass geeks)

Us double bass players need help! Carrying the thing around is difficult enough... playing it: don't get me started, the many many many hours of pain and frustration that never ever end... and then, when we get on stage, if we don't choose the right gear, we sound like a tin of sardines!

So, this page is not a show-off endorser page, but just my contribution to the cause of the struggling double bass player in search of a decent live sound. Over the years I have learnt what works for me...unfortunately this may not work for everyone...

1) MY BASSES

I have 3 basses. To be clear, I am poor!...but a lovely set of circumstances  just seemed to happen, which led me to have 3 basses!.. . My main bass is a beautiful big magical instrument made for me by the wonderful and legendary Paul Bryant of Kidderminster (England) in 2019. Paul is a lovely man and a great luthier. He has retired from making basses and this, I believe, was his last commission, which makes it all the more special. It’s a variation on his Lott model, inspired by the famed English maker of the past. It’s huge and has a huge tone to go with it. I loved it instantly...It suits me perfectly and that’s what it’s all about with basses and instruments in general, I think. I called it “Guido”, a long story which I will tell whoever is interested, but it may be a bit too long for this blog. 
Before I had the chance of having a bass made by Paul, my main bass was a lovely big carved bass also made in England by Ken Miller in 2006. It is very unusual, full of battle scars and character (a bit like myself), and I love her too. She's called Fortuna.

 

“Guido” made by Paul Bryant, 2019.

“Guido” made by Paul Bryant, 2019.

Fortuna

Fortuna

My other bass is a plywood called Mags, with Frank Zappa stickers on and frankly it's not the best sounding bass in the world, but it has a lovely story of kindness attached to it. I use it for festivals and spaces where I'd be nervous to take Fortuna.

Mags with Freak out sticker

Mags with Freak out sticker

2) STRINGS

Thomastik Spirocore Mittel (Red) - you try them all...then go back to Spiros!

3) PICKUPS

For live I use a Realist lifeline, which gives me a good sound and no problems.

For studio and some live applications, I love my Remic 5400 microphone. I am a REMIC endorsed artist. https://www.remic.dk/shop/upright-bass/remic-d-5400-lb/

4) PREAMPS

An essential part of any gigs on double bass.

I have a old Headway which is great and a newer Fishman too which suits most Live applications.

If I need to blend with a microphone, I use the wonderful Acoustic Box II from Vintage Revolution. This and the Remic have been total game changers for getting a studio sound on stage, but you do need a little bit of setting up. https://www.vintage-revolution.com/acousticbox2

5) AMP

I almost never use an amp, it doesn’t fit too well in the car with a double bass and my family! But, when the need arises, my favourite is the Markbass CMD121P http://www.markbass.it/product-detail/mini-cmd-121p/

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