Thanks to Roy Abbate at Battery Plus in Mount Laurel NJ for making me the custom made, Battery Farm. It provides the ultimate in 9 Volt power.
I've got a great product for you, Big Bends Nut Sauce. Don't let the name put you off, it's an amazing lubricant to keep strings from hanging up in the bridge and nut area. It's also great for tuners too, especially the Hipshot bass tuner.
Thank you to InTune Guitar Picks. I am very happy to endorse these great picks from a great company. All of their stuff is custom made. I was able to select the precise materials, artwork, gauge and style. This is a boutique US operation run by actual people you can count on. My days of using generic picks are over!
Try this: the Batt-O-Meter. This unique device measures the amount of charge a battery has while it's still in the unit. No need to get a screwdriver to open up effects pedals and onboard preamps. And as an added bonus, it will let you know how long the battery will last in the unit it powers.
BASS STUFF: .... skip down below for drum stuff
I'm always on the hunt for certain effects pedals: clean boosts, and distortion. While l have this free time, Matt & Jimmy at 30th Street Guitars in NYC are helping me shootout a bunch of things. Let's see what makes the cut. Right now I'm really enjoying the Mandorla from Dusky Electronics in Durham NC. The tone control brings in all the low end, with none of the midrange and treble boosts that other pedals normally have. And it's very quiet. At the moment, it's in the signal chain of the wireless '51 Re-issue P-bass in the Tina Turner Musical. For rock and roll this wouldn't be an issue, but for recording and quiet theatre stuff, noise can be a problem. On to round 2....
TINA THE BROADWAY MUSICAL
This is a fairly crazy setup. I have to play on AND offstage. For the onstage parts representing Ike & Tina in the 50's and 60's, I play a wireless Fender '51 reissue. Flatwounds, and a complete overhaul by Matt at 30th Street Guitars. He put in a custom pickup, new pots, wires, and jack. Sounds amazing. For Ike & Tina in the 70's, and Tina in the 80's, my 90's era Fender Jazz, wireless. Also heavily modded by Matt with a custom, "Steve Count" tone curcuit. For the wired basses, a brand new Sadowsky Metro 5 string bass, custom made for the show, a 2019 Fender American 5 string, and my trusty black ROA P-Bass, now a Tina bass. The Fenders are all passive, and the Sadowsky is active. Pedals and effects. Once again, I'm using the Z-Vex Super Duper 2 in 1 to control the various gain level between the wired instruments. A Boss Waza TU-3W tuner does the trick for all the wired basses, and various clip on tuners for the wireless.
The set up for this is really easy. A P-bass, a cord, an amp. Maybe a distortion box every now and again for a little extra grit? If I need some more fuzz I'll step on a Z-Vex Super Duper 2 in 1. The songs come so fast and furious that tuning is a luxury! Since many of the gigs are outdoors, (in subzero weather, and snow(!) only the strongest gear can make the cut. For speakers, a 40th Anniversary SVT 8x10 cabinet. These are the ones with just speakers, no horns, thank you. Amps, a pair of 70's era Gibson Lab Series L2's named "Isabella" and "Ferdinand". The signal is a combination of a Radial JDI Passive Direct Box, and a Sennheiser 421 miking up the cabinet. Before hitting the road, these amps get a clean bill of health from Twin Cities amp guru Casey Gooby. For basses, a pair of mid 90's P-basses. Nothing fancy, stock everything. They're exactly the same except one is white with a black pickguard and the other black on black. They get set up by either Matt at 30th Street Guitars in NYC, or Eric Collier at Russo Music in Asbury Park NJ . My pedalboard is by Justin Sharbono who makes his own boards. He's pickier about pedalboard design than even the pros who do it for a living. Everything gets played with a pick, courtesy of InTune Picks.
BILLY HECTOR (bass)
I switch between two setups: For smaller rooms a Fender Bassman TV 15 combo amp. I'll throw an effects pedal into the mix now and then to liven things up a bit. For festivals and BIG rooms a new addition. A Darkglass Microtubes 500 bass head and a custom 4x10 cabinet made by Raymond Halgren. I swear this is one of the best sounding speakers I've ever heard. Completely handmade to specs I always wanted to see in a cabinet. For upright stuff, my upright gets amplified with either a David Gage Realist pickup if it's quiet, a Bisele magnetic if it gets louder, or some combination of the two. The upright signal gets fed into a Fishman Platinum Series Preamp.
GETTIN' THE BAND BACK TOGETHER-THE BROADWAY MUSICAL
A pretty simple setup. A 90's era P-Bass into a TC Polytune 2 tuner, Z-Vex Basstortion, Boss Bass Overdrive, and a Boss Bass Chorus pedal. All into a Radial J48 DI box and then straight to the house. For the last 3 songs onstage, an Epiphone Jack Casady. The crackerjack audio team (including Tommy Grasso (from Rock Of Ages) Kris Pierce, and FOH Mixer Stephanie, never let us down!
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS-THE BROADWAY MUSICAL
Another pretty straight forward setup. My trusty black 90's P-bass into a Boss OC-3, and a tuner. Done! The upright ran from a David Gage Realist pickup into a Fishman Platinum preamp. Done again! You want to keep things as simple as possible on Broadway.
THE WANDERER MUSICAL PRESS EVENT
For The Wanderer press event, I got a chance to play outside at Tavern On The Green. Growing up in NYC, I never thought I would go there,so it was nice to finally have the opportunity. Things were nice and simple again. My Blue P-Bass into a rental SVT 4 Pro head, with a SVT 8x10 cabinet. There are a lot of sad sounding rental SVT's out there, but this was a good one. Tuner, cord, done. The music is mostly from the 50's and 60's, so it's best to keep things simple.
DEMOLITION STRING BAND
This is probably the easiest set up of all. My blue P-bass, strung with flatwounds, a cord, into my Bassman. When we play at Skinny Dennis in Williamsburg NYC, I'm happy to plug into their Fender Rumble 200. If I want to tune, I slap a clip on tuner onto the headstock. This straight wire approach yields the best country western tone that this cool band requires. The blue P-bass has a little quieter output than some of the other basses I have, so it's super clean and sweet.
One of the nice things about playiing with her was, my setup changed with every show. I was constantly revisiting what to use. The most common was my ROA "black" bass, and my '62, both P-basses. My no-name upright was run through a Bisele magnetic pickup, blended with a David Gage Realist. The whole thing ran through a Fishman Platinum preamp, into my Fender TV Bassman. Electrics, to a pedalboard with a ZVex Super Duper 2 in 1, tuner, Univibe, and a Menatone Mail Bomb pedal. For the acoustic portion of the show, a tenor guitar with a Fishman onboard preamp, courtesty of Eric Collier at Russo Music in Asbury NJ. Love his work.
ROCK OF AGES THE BROADWAY & OFF BROADWAY MUSICAL
I'd like to give a shout out to all the guys in the audio department who made it sound great, and made my job easy: Front-Of-House engineer Bob Etter, (now retired, congratulations!) Monitor Mixer Rob Lindsay, and Sound Designer Peter Hylenski. I used my trusty black P-Bass, and a 5-string Fender P-Bass as well. The signal path was: tuner, Boss chorus pedal, Avalon DI and then off to the monitor desk into a Neve 4081 Quad mic pre and split, one way to in-ear monitors, the other to front of house. During the Covid-19 Pandemic, Rock Of Ages closed Off-Broadway, but I'm sure it will return again soon. And look for the Broadway's Rock Of Ages Band at a state fair, or corporate event near you this summer and fall.
My Nena setup was pretty simple too. My '62 P-Bass, and a late model 5 string P-Bass (yes, Fender makes a 5 string P-Bass) into a pair of Ampeg SVT-7Pro's into 2 Ampeg 4x10 cabs. The upright bass was run direct for the song "Wunder" All that gear lives year round in Germany.
This was a combo of electric bass (a 90's era Jazz Bass), the MicroKorg keyboard with the tiny keys, and Logic. All of it was running through one bass output channel, straight into an amp. The selecting was done with the mighty Boss Selector pedal.
BILLY HECTOR drums)
With Billy Hector, I use a Yamaha Power Special kit, 12" rack, 16" floor, and 22" kick, 14x6.5" Gretsch metal snare. For Cymbals, Paiste 2002 18" medium crash, 20" or 24" medium ride, and 15" Sound Edge hats. Yamaha hardware and hi-hat pedal, Vic Firth sticks, and Rhythm Tech percussion. I'm trying out theSonor Jo Jo Mayer bass drum pedal at the moment, and kinda liking it. Thanks to Rocky Bryant for turning me onto this. I made the switch to Evans drumheads and I'm very happy with that choice.
This is similar to the Billy setup above, but much more stripped down. Just the kick, snare, floor, one cymbal, and hi-hat. Done.
At Leisuretowne Studios I tried to keep busy during the pandemic. Tim Quick would send over weekly songs to track for a charity that supported folks who were out of work. Right now, I'm gearing up to do some recording for the great Billy Hector.
At Avatar Studios NYC (now called Power Station at BerkleeNYC)---I tracked the song, "Queen" for Frankie Grande. I was lucky enough to have as bandmates, Doug Derryberry, Matt Beck (co-producer), Jeremy Schonfeld (writer), "Hoops" on keyboards, and Clancy, Roy Hendrickson was behind the board. The bass was my black ROA P-bass, I plugged into one of Avatar's custom DI boxes, and then into their Ampeg fliptop.
At Avatar Studios with producer Walter A. I wound up using just my '62 P-Bass, and the Jack Casady. It was the debut of recording with the Fender Bassman TV 15 in the studio...
Nuthouse Studios Hoboken NJ--- T he Demolition String Band roared into Nuthouse to record their new record. Boo and Elena, plus Kenny Soule playing drums. For this, the setup was easy. I alternated between my '62 P-Bass, and my Trusty Black P-Bass. No effects. Straight into a nice B-15 that producer/engineer Tom Beaujour had in his collection. He's got a few, so I got a chance to audition a couple. Everyone is the same room, playing live. After we left, I tracked one of the new tunes at my place, Leisuretowne Studios. It was a fast moving punk rock song, so I dialed up my black Soul Asylum bass, "David Bowie" into my Reeves Custom 225.
Leisuretowne Studios is my place. It has a decent size control room, two iso rooms and a HUGE wooden 40X30 drum tracking room with high ceilings. Here's a taste of what's been happening there:
The new Daredevil Squadron record. Gear: My "Brown" jazz style bass tuned to low C#. On the DI side a little bit of parallel compression from a Barber Tone Press into a Radial JDI to a Grace 101 mic pre into Logic. The whole album was recorded with Logic and it sounds great. Amps were miked, through a Focusrite ISA One. They can squish it more when it's time to start mixing.
Bass overdubs and background vocal tracking for the new Soul Asylum record, "Change Of Fortune". The basic tracks were recorded at Waterbury Studios Minneapolis MN, The band cut live with producer John Fields behind the board. I found a nice Edison NJ era Ampeg B-15 buried in a road case in the band's rehearsal space, so it got drafted into service.
I played drums on a track for the new Oklahoma record. Produced by Justin Sharborno.
I played drums and percussion for the Kara Laudon's Christmas song, "A Holly Jolly Christmas", produced by Justin Sharbono.
If you have any questions about any of the devices that I use, just