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 “Bill”, after a wonderful man that has been so important in the lives of my wife Lara and I back when we met, in Birmingham, many years ago....
Then I have Albert...oh lovely uncle Albert...
Albert is a custom-made David Gage Czech Ease travel bass that had a globetrotting first life with my friend and mentor, the legend Danny Thompson. Then Danny allowed me to be Albert’s new companion and I am working hard to give him at least a little of the excitement he’s been accustomed to with Danny...I love Danny and I Albert.
I have another bass called Mags: it is a factory made plywood with Frank Zappa stickers! Needless to say, it is not a pedigree instrument, but it sounds great plugged in, so I’ve been using it at big festivals or random local sessions...I haven’t seen Mags for a little while...last spotted as a prop on Scot legend Dougie MacLean’s solo streamed concerts in pandemic times...
Thomastik Spirocore S42 mittel E and A, Gamut gut strings D and G.
I am an endorsed artist for REMIC microphones. I love my Remic 5400lb: a complete game changer, allowing me to get acoustic sound at gig volumes, whatever the venue. https://www.remic.dk/shop/upright-bass/remic-d-5400-lb/
I also use a Realist Lifeline pickup and whatever amplifier is in the club. That's if I really have to, because as a rule I prefer not to use amplifiers and go from my mic into a preamp and into Front of House. If the club is very small, I'm happy to go acoustic.
Albert sports the unique Highlander pickup: Danny Thompson’s own invention! It’s great!