The Real World: Lee Henderson

Home base Dublin, California
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Home base Dublin, California
Occupation Tech engineer/bassist
Main gigs Reflection (R&B band), Sharon D. Henderson (spiritual)
Main basses Carvin SB5000, Fender Precision Elite, Sire Marcus Miller V7
Rig Gallien-Krueger MB800 head, GK CX 210 2x10 and CX 115 1x15 cabs
Effects Two Notes Le Bass preamp, Electro-Harmonix Synth9
Strings Dunlop Super Brights (.045–.125)
Heroes and inspirations I have been moved and molded by many bassists, all for different reasons, including Rocco Prestia, James Jamerson, Larry Graham, Verdine White, Marvin Isley, and Andrew Gouché. Lately, I’ve started to get into Sting as both a singer/songwriter and a bassist.

How did you come to play bass?

In high school, I was a jazz trumpet player. I had a band, and my friend and bass player Tony left his bass at my house after a rehearsal. Although I may not have been playing bass, I always felt music through the bass lines. I would sit for hours with my friend’s bass, turn on the radio, and try to play everything that came on. In the next band, I had the opportunity to switch from trumpet to bass, and I jumped at it. I was a happy dude to be asked to play all those great bass lines in a semipro group at age 19. (Thank you, Tony Simpson.)

What’s a lesson you’ve learned along the way?

Realize what your job as the bass player is. Learn early that you will be coupling the melody to the rhythm. You will also have the most control over song structure on the stage. Know your music theory. I was lucky to have jazz music theory drilled into me in high school, but I still have to think my way through bass clef when I’m reading. Also, listen twice as much as you talk, and always go into rehearsals with your part prepared.

What are your musical goals?

I plan to retire from my technical career into full-time music. I currently play and produce. I think I have some songs in me that I want to produce into a couple of projects. I would also love to go on a European tour for my wife, Sharon, who is an incredible singer.