“Here are some of my current instruments. I have chosen them because they have serve a purpose, and in some cases, more than one, but they have become more than tools. They have become family members.”
2002 Fender Mark Hoppus Signature P-bass
Jazz-bass Alder body, a precision-bass style neck, string-through-body bridge, Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounder single-coil P-bass pickups, 21-fret rosewood fretboard, single volume knob. My preferred strings are La Bella “Original ’54” flatwounds for tone, but recently I have been using DR Neon Green Mediums for their unusual look and solid tone. The action is very high.
This is the bass on which I play most of my gigs. I play this bass with a very strong attack and typically use a limiter. They respond nicely to heavy strumming with a pick, even if though I am using flats. It stays in tune well. I like that it has very simple circuitry, so that it is reliable, and even a novice electrician like myself can fix it should a short appear. It was a pawnshop score, and it is a great instrument.
Ken Smith bsr5j-mw
All hardware and electronics are Ken Smith brand except for the preamp which was replaced with an EMG. The preamp is very powerful, providing me with:
Volume for each pickup
I added an aftermarket push-pull true-bypass for the preamp on the volume knob so I can access the passive tones, or if the battery dies, I can bypass it and still play the gig.
Something that I find both good and annoying about the Ken Smith bridge is that it requires Ken Smith strings to function correctly. Their low strings taper at the bridge, and other non- tapered strings are too wide, and they can break at an inappropriate time, something that guitar players are used to, but bassists are often not prepared for, on a equipment or technical level. But, if you are using the right strings, this bass sings! I keep it set up with a low action with light strings.
Karl Knilling Bucharest Double Bass
It’s a fully carved flatback 3/4 double bass, made in Romania, model 1308T, serial no. 9994. It has an ebony fingerboard, adjustable bridge, a K&K Bass Max pickup, and Spirocore strings.
I don’t know a know lot about this bass, but it sure sounds great! More pictures of it on my blog.
Markbass Mini CMD 121P Amplifier
This amp is pretty incredible. It is light at under 30lbs, and it has 300W and can boost to 500W when connected to an extension cab. It is very loud for it’s size! I routinely fight against cranked 2×12 tube combos and can keep up. It has simple 4 EQ knobs that I use to adjust the room plus two more complex EQ knobs called the “VLE” and the “VPF” that I use for color. The VLE is a “vintage” knob, disabling the tweeter and adding bass, and the VPF is a “modern” knob, providing a deep mid-scoop. The DI is powerful and the preamp features a convenient XLR input for mics, which is very useful for when I play double bass gigs without a pickup. It has drive and master volume knobs, so you can keep your sound man happy while adjusting the stage volume as you wish.
The Visual Volume VV10 volume pedal has LEDs on the left, providing me with more accuracy in dynamics control.
I run the modulation effects, the Boss BF-3 and CE-5, through the send/return of my amplifier if I have the option. The flanger especially benefits from this tonally, and it moves two buffers from before the preamp to after a long cable-run, making them useful instead of just sucking tone when bypassed.
This setup gives me a consistent variety of modern and vintage tones that is never too loud or too soft. I use the TC Helicon Harmony-G vocal harmonizer with certain bands to augment my backing vocal abilities. It is powered with a T-Rex Fuel Tank Chameleon power supply, which I found to be very convenient because it provides power for four pedals at 12V or 9v while also leaving me the option to power an 18v.
The signal routing goes as follows:
- Markbass Compressore
- Boss OC-2 Octave
- MXR Bass Fuzz Deluxe
- Visual Volume VV10 Pedal
- (tuner out)
- Boss TU-2
- (tuner out)
- Markbass CMD121
- Boss CE-5
- Boss BF-3