Sean Tibbetts: Bass Ballast

April 17, 2013
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SEAN TIBBETTS HELD DOWN THE BOTTOM END FOR KAMELOT LONG before the symphonic power-metal band was signed. “Unfortunately, the original drummer and I didn’t get along, and we parted ways before any deal was inked,” recalls Tibbetts. “Within months of me leaving, the band got signed and took off .” As cutthroat as the business can be, Tibbetts says he was nonetheless happy to see Kamelot’s hard work pay off . And when he rejoined the band full-time in 2009, replacing his replacement, Glenn Barry, he was given a gift that rarely happens in the music industry: a second chance. On Kamelot’s latest, Silverthorn, Tibbetts’ playing forms the best sonic foundation the band has had yet, and his snarling, growling tone provides the ballast between heavily orchestrated guitars and keyboards and soaring vocal melodies.

How did you go from ex-member to Glenn Barry’s super-sub to finally reclaiming your post in 2009?

In 2006, Glenn needed time off for his family, and my name was brought up. Glenn actually called me, and I was happy to help him out. I filled in for the fall tour of 2006. In 2007, Glenn’s family life took full priority and I began touring with the band full time. In 2009, Glenn officially stepped down and I was asked to rejoin the band.

How did you come up with your parts to the tunes on Silverthorn?

Thoughts and ideas may come to me at any place and time, not necessarily when I am in the studio. I keep an acoustic bass guitar by my bed and immediately record any lick, line, or riff as soon as it enters my head. My phone is full of short recordings for future use.

Your tone adds serious weight to the music. How do you get it?

The biggest component is quality gear. It’s a very simple formula—good sound going in equals good sound coming out. My bass of choice for recording is my Warwick Streamer Stage II. It has a tone that isn’t just a note; it’s more of a growl. When I need distortion, I use a Pigtronix distortion pedal.

What’s your logic for employing both pick and fingerstyle right-hand technique?

It’s strictly a tone thing. Because Glenn recorded most of the Kamelot records with a pick, I have to maintain his playing style. I do, however, intentionally rehearse all of our songs with my fingers, as I have a tendency to drop my picks onstage and have to be prepared to play with my fingers at any time.

Live, you often play a flamenco-inspired solo.

I have always been a huge fan of flamenco guitar. When I got my first acoustic bass guitar I had never seen anyone try to play flamenco on one, so I thought, Why not? I began studying this style and started applying the technique and eventually incorporated it into my live solo with Kamelot. My whole life I just wanted to develop my own style that was uniquely mine.

INFO

LISTEN

Kamelot, Silverthorn [SPV/Steamhammer, 2012]

EQUIP

Basses Warwick Streamer Stage II, Warwick Infinity NT, Warwick Streamer Stage I, Warwick Alien acoustic bass guitar
Rig Warwick WA 600s heads, Warwick WCA 410 cabinets
Strings Elixir Nickel Plated Steel (.050–.105)
Effects Pigtronix Disnortion, Behringer UC200 Ultra Chorus, Wireless Sennheiser ew100 Lavalier Receiver Transmitter System, Line 6 Relay G30 Digital Wireless Guitar System,
Monitor Sennheiser ew300 G3 In-Ear Monitor System, AlienEars ear buds
Picks Dunlop 1.0 mm

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