GROWING UP IN PERTH,
had some unique advantages for Jon Stockman and
his bandmates in Karnivool. “We weren’t driven to
conform to a sound that would guarantee success,”
he says. Still, on the band’s most recent release,
Sound Awake, Karnivool achieved international
acclaim. The melodically dense and rhythmically
complex prog-rock soundscapes on the album—on
“Goliath” and “Set Fire To The Hive” in
are dominated by Stockman’s monolithic bass line,
which utilizing a 6-string bass in BF#BEGC
On Sound Awake, you have a wicked combination of
groove and growl.
[Producer] Forrester Savell and I spent a lot of
time giving each track a signature bass sound. We
really tried to get the right elements that suited
what was going on with the drums and guitars—
we were able to hear where the bass could sit and
function the best.
How does that translate to live performance?
I’ve got two basses I use live, and that’s enough
for me to get the basics of what I used in the studio.
Studio magic is better left for the studio; some-
thing that sounds cool in the studio might be too
hard to get out of a PA speaker in a club.
How did your sound develop?
When I started playing with Karnivool, I had
no idea how to get a good bass tone. Forrester
was at my first gig, and he introduced himself
and said, “I need to talk to you about your bass
tone … it’s terrible.” Ever since then,
developing my understanding of my bass sound.
In terms of EQ, I’ve found it’s more about getting
rid of things you don’t want in the mix.
What’s up with your tuning?
When I went from 4- to 6-string, I felt it was a huge
jump to go from the B to G. I needed
F# so I could just play the 5th above the B. Most
of our songs are in the key of B, so my tuning now
is BF#BEGC. We’ve developed other tunings, but I
try to stick with that because I don’t want to take
a bunch of different basses on the road with me.
Was there a learning curve adapting to that
Definitely. And there wasn’t anyone to teach
me. There are some really interesting patterns you
can do, especially in the high registers—a lot of
minor stuff is really easy to play on the top three
strings. It’s not logical where things are laid out,
but once you get used to it, it’s got a really beau-
tiful, open sound and feel.
Bass 6-string Warwick Thumb
NT, 6-string custom Warwick
Rig Ashdown BTA 400, ABM
500RC EVO III, and 427 Small
Block heads; Ashdown USA 8x10
and Neo 810 cabinets
Strings Elixir Nanoweb (.032–
Picks Dunlop Tortex Triangle
Effects Boss GEB-7 Bass Equalizer, Boss ODB-3 Bass OverDrive,
Boss OC-3 Super Octave, Boss
NS-2 Noise Suppressor, Boss
DD-20 Digital Delay, Boss ME-20
Guitar Multiple Effects, Eventide
ModFactor, Eventide TimeFactor, Tech 21 XXL Bass Edition
Overdrive, Tech 21 SansAmp Bass
Driver DI, Tech 21 VT Bass, Tech
21 Red Ripper, Ashdown James
LoMenzo HyperDrive, MXR M288
Bass Octave Deluxe, MXR M-80
Bass DI, Radial JDI direct box,
Bigshot i/o true bypass instrument selector, Bigshot ABY true
bypass amp selector, Aguilar
Tone Hammer DI/Preamp, Gig-
Rig Midi 14, GigRig Generator,
GigRig EvenFlo Adapters, Lehle
Little Lehle Looper, Lehle P-Split,