| Reggie Washington|
LAST MONTH, WE HEARD THE WORD
about doubling on acoustic and electric
bass—the gospel according to Reggie Washington,
Brian Bromberg, Tim Lefebrve, and
Reggie Hamilton. This month, we look at
the nuts and bolts of setup and equipment,
plus we receive big doses of sage advice from
our four experts. Whether you play the tree
or the slab, these guys are talking to you!
What does your live setup look like when
you are using both instruments?
Reggie Washington I always sit when I
play either instrument; I feel more centered
when I do. Amplification is always an issue
with acoustic bass. I have an idea of how
I want to sound, and I have control of my
sound before it gets to the engineer and the
house. I recommend that every bassist learn
how bass frequencies work. The research will
come in handy on a gig where the soundman
is bass-illiterate. You can avoid what
I call “the Long Night”!
| Brian Bromberg|
Brian Bromberg I either play through
a mixer to have control of each channel,
or use a two-channel preamp, because the
front end is totally different between the two
basses. This way, I can switch between the
two channels quickly and easily. I usually
use one or two 4x10 cabinets when I play,
depending on the venue size. I love playing
my upright through a rig like that because it
actually reproduces the frequencies that my
upright bass produces. I know that small,
portable rigs are easy to move around, but
they don’t reproduce the sound of my bass
accurately. Give me the beef, baby!
Tim Lefebvre Generally with Chris
Botti, I am spoiled by having either SWR
California Blondes or Ampeg B-15s for the
upright, and an Ampeg SVT-4PRO head
and 4x10 cab for my Sadowsky or Callow-
Hill. I also run the electrics through an
MXR Bass Octave Deluxe and Moollon Bass
Drive. Chris likes how I use those effects.
With my band Rudder, I use my Moollon
P-Bass with my secret weapon of choice,
a Boss OC-2 Octave. I also use a Moollon
Bass Drive, Electro-Harmonix ring modulator,
and MXR envelope filter.
Reggie Hamilton When using both instruments,
I run my bass guitar to an A-Designs
REDDI Direct box to a summing line mixer.
I amplify the double bass with a Fishman
BP-100 pickup and a Crown microphone,
and run both to a Fishman Pocket Blender.
Both bass signals go to the mixing board
from their direct lines and also get summed
to the mixer. From the mixer, both basses go
through my Fender amp. The size of the amp changes depending on the size of the gig.
| Tim Lefebvre|
What are the special challenges and
rewards of playing both instruments?
Washington The challenge is moving
all this gear around! The rewards include
playing a cross-section of different music
when you have an acoustic and electric at
your disposal. Players seek you out if you
have this talent, and the rewards far outweigh
Bromberg The challenge is that you have
to put in practice time on both to be able to
play both equally well. Each bass deserves
to be played and looked upon with the same
amount of respect and consideration. The
upright bass is definitely more challenging
physically than the electric bass, but both
are rewarding. You have to play both consistently
to keep your chops up.
Lefebvre The challenge for me on acoustic
bass is developing the right kind of functional
facility. It’s a lifetime of serious work.
The rewards depend on the kind of person
you are—they can be in an I-just-played-thegreatest-
music-ever, soul-satisfying way, or
in a remunerative way. Hopefully both! On
electric bass, it’s more about striking a balance
between playing what I hear, learning
new bass styles, but not sounding “muso”
at the same time.
| Reggie Hamilton|
Hamilton The challenge for me is keeping
up my skills on both instruments. With
life passing by, it’s more difficult to be disciplined
than ever before. I don’t mean just
facility and speed, but you need to study the
quality of the output. When I stay on top
of my game, the reward is being confident
enough to go into an unfamiliar situation,
play and interpret the new music, interact
with the players—in the studio or onstage—
and enjoy the event without stuffing my face
in the music, even though I’m sight reading.
What would you say to a young electric
player who is just starting to discover the
acoustic bass, or vice versa?
Washington They’re two different animals,
people! Learn what makes each instrument
unique. Take your time and be patient.
If you’re serious about making that move,
seek out the players who are doing it.
Bromberg Both instruments are wonderful
and a blast to play. When you play
both, you can play every style of music.
As a professional bassist, you double your
chances to work and do gigs. The bottom
line is they are both the bass, and the bass is
pretty badass! Enjoy what both instruments
bring to the music and to your big bass-playing
smile. In the era I grew up in, it was
mandatory for bass players to double. The
upright and electric both have an identity
and vibe. Plus, you increase your chances
of working as a professional bassist.
Lefebvre To any young electric player,
I’d say that doubling ain’t easy, but it definitely helps your financial picture. I would
also hope they learn it because they love
that acoustic sound. I encourage all of my
electric students to study acoustic bass. To
the young upright player, I would say again
that doubling ain’t easy, but it definitely
helps your financial picture.
Hamilton The opportunity to make
music should be the goal. They should take
a chance, while they can, and try both the
electric bass guitar and contrabass. Doing
this will open many doors, musically and
socially. Both instruments are now rooted
in all styles of music, and it’s cool to have,
at the very least, an understanding if not a
complete command of both. BP
DOUBLE CARTAGE: THE EQUIPMENT OVERVIEW
Double bass Tyrolean fl atback, miked with an AMT SP25B
Electric bass Phifer Designs Guitars “Woody” Bass. “I’ve been using it for
almost 30 years. Phifer is a genius; I owe a lot of sound knowledge to
Rig Markbass Little Mark Tube 800 head and New York 804 4x8 cabinet.
(“I keep the amp off the ground to reduce stage rumble, and so it’s closer to my ear.”)
For acoustic-only bass gigs, Markbass Markacoustic AC 121 combo
Strings Dean Markley
Other Essential Sound Products power cables
Double bass Mattio Guersam, Milano, Italy ca. 1700. “It is unlike any other
upright I have ever played. I have had it since I was 16 and have used it
on every single recording I have ever played on.”
Electric bass Carvin Brian Bromberg signature. “I have been working on
my bass design since 1981, and I couldn’t be happier with how these
American-made basses have turned out—Carvin did an amazing job with them.”
Double bass u-size carved Matthias Thoma with AMT microphone and
David Gage Realist pickup
Electric bass Moollon P+J Classic, Moolon Tele Classic, ’77 Fender Precision
and Jazz Basses, Sadowsky 5-string, CallowHill OBS-5, DeArmond
Rig Aguilar Tone Hammer 500, Ampeg B25-B, Gallien-Krueger 400RB, Markbass combo;
Trace Elliot 1048 and Hamhead 2x10 cabs
Strings D’Addario Helicore Pizzicato Medium, D’Addario Nickel Wound (electric)
Effects MXR M288 Bass Octave Deluxe, MXR M-82 Bass Envelope Filter, Electro-
Harmonix Frequency Analyzer, Moollon Bass Drive, Boss OC-2 Octave
Double basses Romanian copy of a George Panormo, Fishman BP-100
transducer, Crown mic, Fishman Pocket Blender; Janos Hejja copy of a
William Forster Sr., David Gage Realist pickup
Bows Augagnier and Bergeron Rollez, Hannings and Rubino
Electric bass Fender Reggie Hamilton V Jazz Basses
DI Box A-Designs Audio REDDI
In the studio A-Designs Audio P-1 preamp, EMP-EQ, Pete’s Place BAC compressor,
M-Audio Sputnik microphone, T-Rex and MXR effect pedals