Covering All Basses
A talk with Paul of Melbourne band Anna Salen and his mix of basses.
WHEN DID YOU START BASS?I started playing bass in 1999 when I was in year 12.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO PLAY BASS? CAN YOU PLAY ANY OTHER INSTRUMENTS?I really wanted to play drums but then I discovered two bands that didn’t have bass players that sat in the background but stood out and really made a difference to the music as a hole. The first was the Grinspoon bass player, in particular the song Black Friday. It has an awesome bass line that doesn’t follow the guitar and that is how I approach bass writing today. The second was the Korn bass player, in particular the song Freak on a Leash. The low bass slap sound with heavy guitars blew my mind at the time and I still love to add slap to a heavy song today. After hearing these two bands plus a couple of others I said yes to bass.
Soon after starting I met David through friends at school and he gave me a computer program called Guitar Pro and it’s the best, it really accelerated my learning.
For about half a year in high school I played trombone, loved the slide but hated having numb lips from using the mouthpiece.
I stuff around with keys and play synth on stage, I wouldn’t say I’m good at it.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST DECENT BASS?My first decent bass was my Musicman Sterling. I picked it up in the shops because one of the bass players from Pre_Shrunk had one and I decided I liked it because of its easiness to play.
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM BASS?I have three categories
1. I would love to one day build my own bass with my own unique additions.
2. Basses I would love to try just because of who plays them and their look but I’ve never played them myself, Tool’s Justin Chancellor’s Wal, Les Claypool’s Carl Thompson, Faith No More’s Bill Gould’s Zon and a Traben Phoenix just coz they look killer.
3. Ones I’ve played, Dingwall and Spector basses are amazing.
WHAT BASS DO YOU PLAY MOST, AND WHY?My Fender Jaguar, it's so punchy.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR BASSES?Music man see above
The Fender Jaguar I picked up in the shops as a joke coz David (guitarist in my band Anna Salen) has a Fender Jaguar guitar and I ended up liking it and got it.
The fretless I got just for something different.
The electric upright I got because I liked the idea of having a double bass but without the body and using a bow.
DO YOU USE EFFECTS IN YOUR RIG?Boss compression sustainer CS-2, Boss bass chorus CEB-3, Boss digital reverb RV-5, Planet Waves Tuner, Digitech bass synth wah, Morley dual bass wah, Line 6 tremolo, Electro-Harmonix micro pog, Source Audio multiwave bass distortion, Line 6 DL4 delay modeler, Line 6 MM4 modulation modeler, Boss RC-20XL loop station, Digitech bass whammy, Electro-Harmonix freeze, Electro-Harmonix bass big muff, Boss bass overdrive ODB-3
I’m an experimental player and having these effects pedals and by using combinations I can expand and create new and different sound.
ARE YOU A TUBE AMP OR DIGITAL FAN?Digital has a lot of advantages but I prefer amps. It just sounds better and warmer whereas digital sounds flat and fake to me.
NS electric upright
TELL US ABOUT YOUR NS electric uprightThe NS electric upright is great. It’s much more compact the a double bass, because of its stand it can stand up by itself unlike a double bass, it has inlays in the finger board to highlight the notes unlike a double bass, it has a great output level and sounds great but it’s missing that great slap sound because of its body. Les Claypool uses one which brought them to my attention. It’s tuned to EADG.
Squier jazz bass fretless
TELL US ABOUT YOUR Squier jazz bass fretlessOne of the reasons I got the fretless is because of a Melbourne jazz/rock band Bucketrider. I like their sound, they use quartertones which you can’t do on a fretted instrument. I have it tuned to DADA.
Music Man sterling
TELL US ABOUT YOUR Music Man sterlingThe Music Man is tuned to AEAD because I want it like a 5 string, so wanted the low notes.