Gear and Endorsements
I am blessed to use the absolute best gear any bass player could ever ask for. Whether live or in the studio, the gear I use is consistent. I use this gear because it's reliable, durable, sounds fantastic, and delivers great results every time I go into a performance environment. I also use this gear because of the people behind it. You can tell a lot about a company by the people who stand behind the gear they build.
My choice of basses in the studio and on the road are made by the incomparable Paul Reed Smith and his stellar builders at PRS Guitars. The Grainger Bass, which also goes by the designation of the "Core" Bass, may be the most versatile instrument I've ever used, while also being the most balanced and best-feeling bass I've ever strapped on. Equipped with one of the most versatile active/passive preamps on the market, there's no tone this bass can't get, but it also retains a character all its own. The first time I plugged the Core Bass in, it was obvious that it was going to be my main axe. I need a bass that can cover a wide range of musical situations, so finally having a bass that "does it all" gives me a sense of confidence every time I step onstage or into a recording studio. The PRS Grainger Bass is that bass! Check it out at www.prsguitars.com!
No matter where I travel, my Reunion Blues gig bag is always with me. I use the RB Continental, RBX, and Leather gig bags on the road and in the air. The RB Continental is easily the most reliable gig bag I have ever used. Visit Reunion Blues at www.reunionblues.com.
When searching for an upright bass, I wanted to have the feel and tone of a traditional acoustic upright, but without all the feedback, transportation difficulties, and cost of ownership. The NS Design NXT series upright bass was the answer. Anyone from the studied classical upright player to the electric player looking to cross over to upright will be comfortable on this bass. See for yourself why the NS upright basses are the most trusted electric upright basses in the world. Visit www.thinkns.com!
Radial Engineering is undoubtedly the most trusted name in quality direct boxes, and I'm blessed to use an array of road-worthy, tonally superior direct boxes from this Canada-based company, including the world-famous Bassbone, the JDV, and my new favorite, the Firefly, which has the most headroom of any tube DI I have ever used! Visit Radial at www.radialeng.com!
My love affair with Gallien-Krueger amps and cabinets begin almost immediately after I started playing bass...after playing through a 2001RB head and a pair of 410RBH cabs at a local music store. It is the tone I've sought for my entire career, and now I get to use it every night onstage, regardless of whether I have a rig or not! My go-to rig is the unstoppable 1001RB amplifier, which has become a backline standard, along with a single Neo410 bass cabinet...easily the most powerful and best-sounding rig I've ever run. However, thanks to the "Plex," Gallien-Krueger's new pedal preamp, I still have that unmistakable GK tone in my ears even if I can't have a rig onstage! Versatility, power, tone, durability...these are the reasons why I choose GK. Visit them at www.gallien-krueger.com.
For over a decade, I've been blessed to use in-ear monitors from a company that innovated in-ear monitoring for musicians, Westone Audio out of Colorado Springs, CO. Since 1959, Westone has been the most trusted name in the world for custom in-ear monitors as well as multi-driver universal-fit monitors. I use Westone's line of ES Series custom monitors, the ES50 in particular, every night onstage, and have relied on several other monitors in Westone's vast product line over the years. They truly are the in-ear experts! For information about their products and to order your own, head over to www.westone.com!
I'm a huge fan of Hercules Stands, not just for their functionality, but because of their durability. In my time on the road, Hercules guitar and mic stands have consistently stood out as being able to stand up to the hardships of touring. I trust the AGS guitar stand, as well as the famous Transformer microphone stand. You should give them a try too! Visit www.herculesstands.com for information!
When it comes to wireless technology, there's Lectrosonics, and then there's everybody else. This Rio Rancho-based company is the leader at innovative wireless systems for music, television, and film. I proudly use the Lectrosonics R400a wireless unit with LMa transmitter, which produces the most clear, consistent, and uncolored signal and tone of any wireless I've ever used. I have performed over a thousand shows on this system without a singular hiccup, and it is also extremely rugged, making it the most reliable and consistent wireless system you could ever hope to obtain. Visit www.lectrosonics.com!
D'Addario never ceases to impress me with their increasingly versatile lineup of bass strings, each with its own unique character and feel, and each with unsurpassed durability and longevity. I depend on D'Addario strings for their consistency, and I don't dare trust any string other than D'Addario to deliver the tone I need every time I set foot onstage or in the studio. My new favorites are the EXP Nickel coated strings, but I'm also a huge fan of the NYXL line, and I also use the ProSteels and the Chromes flatwounds. For my upright, I use D'Addario's line of traditional electric upright strings made specifically for the NS Design upright! Check out their wide selection of guitar, bass, and orchestral strings at www.daddario.com!
There are two factors for me in terms of choosing cables. Sound is obviously an important factor, but even more important is durability. In terms of tone and durability, the most consistent cable I've used is made by Pig Hog. These cables are built to withstand the hardships of touring, but also deliver a beautiful, fat tone night after night. I'm VERY impressed with how my sound has changed for the better by using these cables. They are available at Guitar Center and Sam Ash, but if you'd like more info, visit their site at www.pighogcables.com!
I'm pretty simple when it comes to my setup...I tend to avoid "gimmick" products, which is what I thought the Backbeat was at first. After two shows, it became clear just how big of a game-changer this unit is. It situations when backline isn't an option, or even in situations where it is, the Backbeat is an awesome piece of technology that allows a bass player to "feel" what he's playing. It's basically a "Buttkicker" for bass players, but it's fully mobile, can be used with a wireless unit or cable, and is very responsive to dynamics and articulation. As a bass player who relies primarily on in-ear monitors for personal monitoring, the Backbeat is the PERFECT solution to getting the "feel" out of what I'm playing, and a perfect substitute to bulky and cumbersome backline rigs. If you're a bass player, you owe it to yourself to try one out. Get 'em at www.getbackbeat.com!