While three piece bands are not uncommon, it’s rarer for bass to be the lead instrument in one. But what is VERY common is for Shawn to be asked after a show, “Dude… HOW are you getting those sounds?!” So Shawn is taking us to sBass camp today!
“In Hazel Blackburn we don’t have a guitar player and the bass plays rhythm and melody simultaneously. To make that work there are two separate channels of bass playing at the same time during most of the music. And because there is no frequency competition, I get to be LOOOOOUUUD!!!
One channel is a straight-forward bass channel with several different distortions and a delay. The second is a pitch FX sound made up of several octaves combined on a POG 2 through a reverb and delay. The amps are also turned up to get master volume distortion (sorry, sound guys around the world!) for feedback and punch. Most music revolves around the bass of a chord so it’s really not a bad place to start. Once you start stacking octaves and adding harmonic distortion, a bass line can end up sounding full and rich: that people don’t expect it makes that all the more satisfying.
All that stuff means nothing though if the instrument you’re playing doesn’t inspire you. That happens two different ways for me: tone and feel. I play a Gibson Grabber GB-3 and a short-scale Lero Telecaster bass copy. They each have very different feels but I love them both. When one is not inspiring, the other is so different that it shocks me out of whatever funk the last bass had me in. The Grabber is fast, aggressive and tuned down to C. The Lero is deep, gritty and bouncy tuned to D. Having a rig that inspires and challenges you makes music greater than the sum of player and gear.”