Titans of Bass
We love bass and bass players at PATHWAYS magazine and Cordial Cables USA! A quick look at our Copper Corps roster reveals a mix of enthusiastic A-list bass players/endorsees that far exceeds the number you’d expect to see from a company that doesn’t specialize in bass instruments. And we couldn’t be more proud of the association. These exceptional players have collectively graced thousands of albums over the last five decades and played (and are playing) with some of the biggest bands of our lifetime—not to mention being genre trendsetters in their own right.
With tours ramping up and studios opening again, we gathered ten of our low-end heroes for a discussion of the state of bass, their personal musical origins, and what they see coming down the pike in the world of bass and modern music. All along the way, the deliver rock solid, foundational guidance for achieving success at the top of the bottom.
What inspired you to become a
Andrew Gouché: In 1973 I saw Larry Graham on Soul Train, and I knew right then that I wanted to play bass. My mom got me a Teisco bass and a 40-watt Sears Silvertone amp for Christmas and I never looked back!
Bootsy Collins: My brother Catfish was playing guitar in bands around town and I thought it was so cool to play music while the people watched, danced, and had a good time. Watching him inspired me to play guitar, however, I wanted to play in my brother’s band, so I was forced to play bass. One night his bass player could not make the gig, so I begged him to let me do it. I loved being with my brother so much that from that day we started our first band, The Pacemakers.
Eva Gardner: My father was a bass player, so it all started with him! I knew I wanted to be a bassist before I really knew what it meant; I finally had one in my hands at age 14.
Bakithi Kumalo: Growing up in South Africa, I watched my uncle playing saxophone all the time, especially with his band. One day I spoke to his bass player, and my uncle encouraged him to teach me. He played a big bass, not an electric. I really liked the sound of that bass and that’s when I got started.
Leland Sklar: I started as a pianist when I was five years old. Upon entering junior high school, I assumed I would be playing piano but there were already a number of pianists and they needed a string bass player. The teacher brought out an old Kay upright bass and I held it, plucked the E string, felt the vibration, and was sold. From that point on, I was a bassist.
Brian Allen: I was 11 when my brother told me I should play bass. I was like, “Ok, what’s that do?” My brother then turned the bass off on the truck radio and brought it back in; I loved how full it sounded. I did my first gig with him a year later and was completely sold on the idea.
Larry Seymour: My parents attended an Elvis Presley/Johnny Cash concert while my mom carried me inside her. She said I loved it, whatever that means. The Inspiration for bass itself came from listening to 60s and early 70s rock, funk, and jazz, as well as all the great rhythm & blues and soul—lots of great bass in those days. The inspiration for choosing bass as my instrument, though, was simply that I had a friend in a band that needed a bass player. So I jumped in, could
naturally play well enough, and instantly loved it. Maybe I just got lucky, and the right instrument happened to be what was needed for my friend’s band.
Blu DeTiger: My older brother, Rex, was playing drums at the time and I wanted to play an instrument too. I was only seven years old when I started but I remember thinking that guitar was too “mainstream,” so I decided on bass. I immediately fell in love with the instrument, and I’ve been playing ever since.
Jorgen Carlsson: Similar! There was already a guitar player in the band. I caught a live show with a local bass talent that played a lot like Mark King, and it was mind-blowing; I swapped my Marshall 100W amp for an Ibanez bass just a few days after. Gene Simmons also cleared the path from an early age. As I got older, I gravitated more towards Gene’s sound than the 80s slap frenzy.
Johnny Griparic: My start on bass—and for many others that I’ve spoken with—is not unique; it was all about necessity and timing. I was already playing guitar when a band that I really wanted to play with found themselves looking for a bass player, so I sold my guitar, bought a bass, and showed up at their rehearsal space begging them to let me join.
Freebo: Honestly, it was a question of “Life’s what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” I was supposed to be a doctor (other people’s plans). I didn’t relate well to the pre-med college agenda of “physics, chemistry, biology, & calculus,” but I always had a great relationship with music. I loved it, started on piano at five years old, learned a few chords on ukulele at 10, took up tuba and sang bass in choir in high school—see a pattern beginning to develop here—, learned guitar at 17, and naturally went to the bass strings. My college roommate said, “You’re a natural bass player. We need to get you a bass, and we’ll start a rock & roll band.” And so we did.
What’s your vision of the bass’ role in the musical genres you play?
Sklar: To be the foundation upon which the rest of the band is built. No matter the genre, it is where it all begins in my mind.
Gardner: Yes, bass is the foundation. It provides both rhythm and harmony, driving the band and acting as the “glue” that holds everything together.
Allen: Each style has its own nuance. I think that’s important to keep that in mind when playing in a particular style. Not to say that you can’t bring other influences into another genre, I just think that it’s important to know as much as you can about each style.
Kumalo: My vision of the bass is as the center of all music; it allows you to express yourself uniquely and get what you are looking for in terms of style. Traditional music of many countries may not include bass, but they use a low drum to provide the foundation and that’s what the bass role is; to provide the foundation, along with the drums.
Freebo: I think of the bass as a connector between the chords, the rhythm, the melody, and the lyrics of a song. One of my favorite things to do, and which I consider extremely important in bass concept, is leading from one chord to another, making the transitions as smoothly as possible, and subtly moving the listener harmonically from section to section. When playing acoustically with a singer, I think of the bass as a countermelody, offering different inversions I can make to the chords, as well as answering the lyrics, doing my best to never step on the singer, but rather to support.
Seymour: The bass’ role, in any music, is to fit into the sonic realm as an integral part, a cog in the precise mechanism. It is my job to make it all work, but if things are a little broken, I become the glue holding it together. My musical vision is as vast as my experience, knowledge, and execution allows, but always within the context of a given musical setting. I bring everything I have, no matter what the gig is, and I use what is called for.
Every time I am in a musical setting, I always think of what I’m playing as being what gets recorded forever. I try to make everything sound like a record, regardless of how qualified I may or may not be in that setting. Sometimes you’re overqualified, sometimes under, and you still must make everyone and the music sound good. You must listen, above all else, and you have a responsibility to make things work.
Griparic: The bass’ role in any style of music is to always, always, always be supportive. That doesn’t mean that you can’t be melodic, interesting, or innovative . . . just listen to what everyone is doing, lock in with the drums, and never get in the way of the vocals.
DeTiger: The bass is meant to be the backbone of a song, to help establish the groove. It provides rhythmic and harmonic character that bridges the gaps between all the instruments in the song. In my own songs, I try to capture all of that while also pushing the boundaries of what the bass guitar is known for.
How do you write for bass? What
are some considerations you take
Gardner: When I write on bass, it’s often riff-based. I like to explore different themes while allowing room for all the other layers that will be added later. It’s a push and pull process, especially on songs where vocals come into play.
Gouché: My writing style consists of turning on a drum machine (to make me feel like I’m playing with a drummer), rolling the dice on my bass, and seeing where I land!
Allen: I try to write for the song first and foremost. It’s as important to listen to the melody as it is to the bass drum pattern. Pick and choose your battles in the sense of playing fills. You don’t need to fill in every musical gap that you hear. It is also important to develop your bass part throughout the song. I don’t think the second verse should sound exactly the same as the first verse.
Freebo: I think “bottom up,” always starting with the root of the chord. But I don’t always play the root . . . I often pedal on the 5th and go to the 3rd more than most bass players I know. I do most of my songwriting on guitar, but even there, I’m thinking of the bass notes in the chord patterns.
DeTiger: I try to make sure a bassline establishes the groove of a song while also offering some melodic and harmonic counterparts. I want the bassline to sing; I want it to be a melody itself. When I’m making music, I try to bring the bass to the forefront of the song. It’s just as important as the vocal melody when I write.
Kumalo: I listen to what everyone is doing, then I can come up with the bass part that’s going to work within the song. Sometimes you’ve been given a bass part to play so you just have to play the way it was written. Of course, it’s your sound they chose, so when you have a good sound you can play what they ask you to play your way. When I am writing my own bass lines, I sometimes play other instruments to come up with one that works for my own music. It’s also important to learn from what other people are playing, and that sometimes changes my bass lines.
Seymour: For the most part I write for bass like I would write for just about any linear instrument, taking into consideration any limitations it may have, such as range, the level of technique the player is expected to have, what its proper role is in the ensemble or soloistically, etc. Aside from orchestration, when it comes down to writing instrumental music, there are only two big things to put together: harmony and rhythm; you can start from harmony, or you can start from rhythm. Keep in mind, I’m talking here about composing for bass, and not necessarily from keyboard or paper, although it’s still similar.
Sklar: The song dictates where I will go with the song. Having played in almost every genre, it is still the same. Let the song tell you what is needed.
Carlsson: I sing the parts in my head, exploring melodies and counterparts and the usual groove patterns. I don’t try to reinvent the wheel, but if there’s an opportunity, I’ll sure be there to investigate.
How did you end up discovering your voice in bass? Describe your sound.
Collins: I came up in a time where bass players were discovering new ways of playing and I always wanted to have my own sound. With Jimi Hendrix leading the charge, I wanted to be the Hendrix of bass playing. So, I started off playing with my thumb, then I switched to using my 1st two fingers because I was attempting to play upright bass in school, but it wound up playing me! I wanted to play tight like James Jamerson of the funk brothers at Motown. Once I found out that only Jamerson could be Jamerson I started to experiment with the sound of my bass. I had to have my own sound, my own look, my own music. P:Funk was born while I was experimenting between my solo albums & Parliament/Funkadelic albums.
Gouché: I started playing in church in the early 70s. There were no well-known bassists in Gospel music at that time, so my early inspirations were Gospel singers. I was basically the first well-known bassist in Gospel music. [Ed.Note: Andrew is considered the Godfather of Gospel Bass.]
Allen: That’s a tough one. I’m a bit of a chameleon musically. I play a lot of different styles and I needed to find the gear to help me facilitate that.
Kumalo: I discovered my sound when I got my fretless in 1972. I didn’t know anything about the fretless bass, but I needed a bass to work and, as fate would have it, the fretless was the only bass at the store I could afford. I worked hard to understand how to play in tune and how to make it work and listened to a lot of traditional South African music. I’d learn to play them on the fretless bass, without playing out of tune. On the Paul Simon song Boy in the Bubble, for example, I was trying not to play a regular groove, but to find a way of playing with the accordion to create the sound we were looking for. It became my signature sound.
Griparic: Ha, I’m not sure that I have found my voice on the bass yet! I guess my voice is that I always try to play what I think is right for the song and try not get so caught up in forcing “my sound” on everything and everybody.
Sklar: My sound is what came to me naturally; I did not spend a great deal of time creating a “sound.” I look for a rich bass tone that reflects the full range of the instrument. But I do not think about these things normally. I just plug in and play.
Seymour: I’m still discovering my “voice” in bass. One of the greatest things about being a musician is getting older and realizing there is always so much more. I started off playing along with records, going to school, studying privately, doing lots of gigs and recordings, practicing 20 hours a day… always with the goal of being the “greatest bass player in the world” (which I never became), making a living, and having a reputation of being able to do it all at the highest level of musicianship.
That got me to the successful “sideman” level, and I was pretty happy doing that, but my “voice” was dependent upon whatever artist I was supporting, and I was always trying to be the best I could be within any context. One day I was offered a composing job for a hit kids tv series. I tried it and succeeded, and that propelled me into several years of full time composing in film and tv. That turn from bass to composition freed my mind and ears in ways I cannot describe. When I started playing bass again, everything was different, including my ability to actually hear music, to hear something before I played it. I had improved vastly by removing myself from the instrument and through listening. It took about a year of getting back into practicing technique, but my playing really improved, and my “voice” is a little clearer to me now but still evolving.
Gardner: Some of my favorite bass players are Rocco Prestia, John Paul Jones, and James Jamerson. They are amazingly expressive and have a formidable presence in the music they are performing. Discovering my voice started with studying those that came before me and exploring from there. I appreciate a warm, vintage sound but with a punch that allows it to shine through. I’ve always used Fender Precisions and tube amps, which provide a powerful and driving tone.
DeTiger: I think finding your voice on an instrument just takes a lot of playing and experience. For me, it took a lot of learning and playing other people’s songs and then trying to emulate those players that I look up to. I would ingest different techniques of what I learned from those players and then mix it with my feel and touch. Eventually, all of it morphs into your own style.
Carlsson: I look to guitar amps over bass amps for quicker response and midrange. When I joined Gov’t Mule in 2008, Warren Haynes’ guitar tech Brian Farmer (who became my bass tech) helped me get to the sound that I heard in my head. To get an Ampeg amp to sound really good it often needs to be cranked up. Instead of running two SVT’s, we swapped out one for a Marshall 100W Plexi-style amp, which started the whole guitar amp thing I’ve become known for. I’m playing most of the time a 200W Marshall Major copy by Category 5 (Emily) coupled with a Homestead head into two 4x12 cabinets. There’s something about running two amps simultaneously . . . .
What are must-have tips for bass players getting ready for their first recording session?
Gardner: Make sure you are prepared for the session before you arrive: Know the songs, the parts, what will be required of you; memorize the songs and/or make charts/notes for reference. Practice with a metronome or click track—you’ll often track to a click in the studio. Test all your gear before you head to the session: basses, pedals, amps, cables, everything! Find out if they want you to play what’s on the demo or if they want you to expand on the parts that are there. Bring water, snacks—whatever you need to make sure your energy is sustained during the time you’re there. Also don’t forget to bring a smile and an open and positive attitude!
Sklar: If they send you anything to give you a hint of what the session will be, check it out! Come as prepared as you can . . . once the session begins you will find out what is needed. There can be many cooks in a session between the producer, artist, other band members, etc. Be flexible and involved. Be there early. If the session starts at 10AM, be there at 9:30. When 10AM hits you should be settled, set up and ready to work. That does not mean anyone else will be but if you are a professional you treat it as a profession. If there are charts or chord sheets, look at them and see if there is anything you must figure out before starting. If you are the new guy in a session, introduce yourself and break the ice. The music will be more enjoyable if you are connected.
Freebo: Keep it simple, stupid! Less is more . . . serve the song.
Kumalo: You have to know the music that you’re going to play. If you don’t know the music, you have to learn it in the studio, and even if you know how to read music, you have to play under pressure, which affects your performance. Everything starts with preparation. When your instrument and skills are in good shape and you have practiced the songs, you can be comfortable and confidently ready to play.
Gouché: You have to understand that recording in the studio is like being under a microscope! Your intonation must be correct, you should absolutely be using Cordial cables [Ed. Note: Andrew Gouché Signature Series, perhaps?], be on time, and know the music or be able to read it! There’s nothing worse for your fellow musicians than having to wait on someone who isn’t prepared.
Carlsson: Don’t have the click track in your headphones; listen to the drummer instead. Learn how to follow a chord chart and basic notation. Most importantly? Learn how to identify basic changes (I, IV, V etc.) by ear.
Seymour: Make sure your instrument is squared away: intonation, strings, batteries, tools, tuner, headphones, etc. Take anything you think you could possibly need to the session: your main bass, a p-bass, a 5-string, a fretless, a direct box, cables, a chair, pencil, glasses, music stand, etc. Get there early, don’t be a flake . . . you want some time to acclimate, meet others, get a vibe for what you are expected to do, set up, wash your hands, etc. When meeting people, introduce yourself, make sure to shake hands, look them in their eyes, be present, and be a human.
Once the session starts, learn the material as quickly as possible, and force yourself to keep it simple. If they want you to do something flashy you can do that after you get a good basic track, or perhaps on another take. Breathe, relax, don’t judge yourself, have fun, make it fun for others—nothing is quite as gratifying as a successful recording session. When you leave, make sure to give everyone your contact information, get theirs, if possible, but get out of others’ way: You’re done, and they are likely setting up for someone else. Always be courteous, and above all, be a professional.
Allen: Leave your ego at home! Recording can be and is a lot of fun, but you are also working with people that have equal creative input. If you take that personally you are not going to have a good time. You may learn some completely new approaches to a song that you wouldn’t have thought of.
Griparic: If there’s a chance to hear and learn the music you will be recording in advance, that will help you greatly. Otherwise, make sure that your gear is working properly. Nobody likes to hear scratchy pots in their headphones. But the most important thing is to show up on time with a great attitude.
DeTiger: Be prepared with the material and have a good attitude!
What should every bass player
know before they step on stage for
Seymour: That’s a tough one. There is no substitute for experience. Clubs are different from big clubs; arenas are different from stadiums, and so on. I’d say the main thing is how you will be hearing your bass. It is the wild west up there. You have to be ready for anything and that’s why you need to make sure you take full advantage of soundchecks on the bigger stages. If you’re playing a smaller club, get there early to make sure your sound is where it needs to be. I always supply the PA with a direct line, and I tape down or bundle as many cables out from under my feet as possible. I like to set upon the hi-hat side of the drums. It’s nice when you are on a big enough gig to have a bass tech take care of everything for you ahead of time.
Griparic: Preparing for a live show is obviously much different than a recording session. If you get a soundcheck, make sure that you get what you need in your monitor to help you play your best. Be aware of what’s expected of you during a performance; engage with the audience but know your place—don’t wrestle with the singer for the front spot. Hmmm . . . Eye contact and a smile goes a long way, and please have your “look” together; Everyone likes to say it shouldn’t or doesn’t matter but—it matters.
Gardner: Preparation is key. At the end of the day, you want to be able to have fun and relax into the show. Being prepared allows you to be confident, which opens the door for the most enjoyable experience possible.
Kumalo: Be prepared! You have to be ready to perform at your highest level, and that starts at home as you practice and put your gear together. When you go out and showcase your work, you have to learn to adjust to anything that’s going to come your way. The more prepared and together you are, the more you’re able to focus on the finer aspects of the experience. Performance skills, being on the road, getting along with the rest of the musicians, etc.; These are the additional skills for making it on big stages—when your hard work shines through so the people can receive and enjoy it.
Allen: Be Prepared! Have good-sounding equipment that works.
Freebo: It’s all about listening. If you listen to everyone else, if you respect everyone else as players and stay with your role, you will intuitively play the right stuff. And remember, it’s not about you, it’s about the song. But when you do have your moment, take it!
DeTiger: I think the best thing to do on stage is to be present and have fun. If you’re having fun, it will translate to the audience. It’s such a blessing to be able to play music, especially for an audience (no matter how many people are there). If you remind yourself to stay grateful, I guarantee it makes the whole experience better.
Gouché: Understand that if there is a singer or instrumental soloist, you are there to support them! Always remember that you never know who could be watching you. Many cats have been hired because someone saw them playing with another artist.
When did you realize you’d “made it?”
Sklar: I think when I started with James Taylor in 1970 and things took off for him we all felt like we were in a new world. Hearing yourself on the radio and playing larger venues than a club. We were caught up in a new world for us and it was magical every day . . . and still is!
Kumalo: I realized that I “made it” in 1985 when we were recording Paul Simon’s Graceland. That’s when I knew that my life was changing, because the way we were recording in the studio was not like the regular recording with the bands in South Africa. There was something special about recording that album. The Engineer (Roy Halee) understood how to mix the cultures together in the studio. I was playing my African kind of groove, but he understood the sound and he made everything easy for me. To have fun playing the music of my culture on that record really gave me confidence that something special was about to happen. I stayed focused, and because I was so relaxed and comfortable, I was able to put more magic on the recordings.
Gardner: As soon as I went on my first tour! I was riding in a van, playing in clubs and sleeping on floors. It was my dream come true, as all I ever wanted to do was go on the road!
Freebo: When I told my mother I had decided to be a musician instead of a doctor, she said, “Well, OK . . . but you’ll never be a success until you play at Carnegie Hall!” Some years later, when I had been playing with Bonnie Raitt for a few years, I called her and said, “Hi Mom, I have front row seats for you and dad at our Carnegie Hall concert.” That’s when I realized . . . ”Wow, I’ve made it!”
Blu DeTiger: I feel like I still haven’t in many ways! I’m always growing, learning, and getting better as a musician and artist. But I’m really grateful for where I’m at right now. I had one of those “I made it moments” when I played my first sold out headline show in New York City (my hometown). It was the first show back after the pandemic started and I walked on stage and felt a high I’ve never felt before. It was also the first time I saw/heard my fans scream my lyrics back at me. There’s nothing like that feeling.
Griparic: Not sure if I’ve ever felt like I “made it,” but looking back I feel very fortunate that I’ve been able to support myself playing music for over 30 years.
Carlsson: Never thought I did . . . if you have “a moment” you’re back to square one soon thereafter.
Gouché: I honestly feel like that if you start thinking “I’ve made it”, you become the person that’s sitting around at home talking about all the gigs you’ve done. This is a journey that has no ending; as long as you realize that you can always learn more and keep growing!
Seymour: I don’t know if I’ve felt that way. I’m not sure I even know what that is! For most of us, the life of a professional musician has ups and downs, even after moments of great achievement. You can be in the studio with Rod Stewart one day, then be on a lame wedding gig, then changing a flat tire in your tux in the rain on the way home at 2AM the next. I think of success as in the journey itself; one long arc, as opposed to a moment or several moments. There are a lot of little successes and failures along the way. There are successes and failures within successes; peaks, plateaus, and very dark valleys where you can feel all is lost. The trick is to persevere, work hard, work a lot, learn, don’t dwell on the rough spots, recognize and appreciate the successes as you live and experience them. To “stop and smell the roses” you have to be aware enough to acknowledge that there are roses, and then you have to accept them, thorns and all.
Have you seen any trends in how bass is being performed in new music?
Collins: Bass players were associated with the word funk back in the day, it was a bad word.
There were four main styles of playing. Picking, Thumbing, Fingering & Thumpin’/Pluckin’ which my friend Larry Graham is responsible for. I used all four of these styles throughout my career. Today Bass has evolved into new dimensions, conditions, and traditions.
The instrument itself has changed as well. Now you have as many strings as a lead guitar, custom basses made with as many strings as you like. Bass has come up from out of the depths of the earth into the new horizon of a parallel universe. I funkin’ love it—now we are equal in getting “Mouf” as the lead guitar players!
Kumalo: I hear a lot of changes in bass playing in new music, but they are still showcasing old-school funk. The younger generations are amazing because of what they’ve learned in music school and the internet. Hybrid music theory, harmonies, and so many different styles show how much music is evolving. All kinds of music is available now around the world, through the magic of the internet. What’s happening now in African music is we have many talented male and female amazing bass players. I’m just so happy for them.
DeTiger: I think the use of live instrumentation is becoming more prevalent in pop music. I think bass guitar is especially getting more love and recognition.
Griparic: It seems to me that the bass is given much more space today than in the past. A lot of modern players are absolutely mind blowing, but . . . sometimes the bass playing is so good that it’s distracting; they’ve missed the mark. The role of the bass is to be supportive. We can’t all catch touchdown passes; someone has to protect and play defense as well.
Gouché: Social media allows us to experience new ideas, techniques, and trends every day. I think the use of live instrumentation is becoming more prevalent in pop music. I think bass guitar is especially getting more love and recognition.
Freebo: In most commercial music on the radio today, bass lines are almost always the root note with little or no syncopation . . . to my mind, extremely boring and unimaginative. Of course, there are some rare exceptions, but overall, great bass lines are few and far between.
Seymour: I see some of the parameters of bass have expanded, but to me bass is still bass. Innovators show up, attempting to improve on the state of bass, showing everyone there is this new ground to conquer. I see players trending to the solo side, because of social media mostly, but as far as gigs and professional work goes, the requirements have not changed that much. You are still expected to show up, as a professional, and make the best music possible, with other musicians. I hope younger people can find a way to get together with other musicians face-to-face and learn to musically communicate in real time. That’s music to me. Nothing like it.
Sklar: There are a number of remarkable, virtuoso bassists on the scene that I sit back and just say amazing! But . . . at the end of the day, playing great-feeling music, in the pocket, that people are digging, is what it is all about to me.
Who is the player who inspires you?
Sklar: There are so many who inspire me in so many different genres—impossible to pick one or even 100. Almost everyone who plays has something unique to offer. I have always been proud to be part of the bass community and that is enough for me.
Gardener: I’m moved by players like Esperanza Spalding. She’s also an educator, Grammy-winner, singer, composer, producer, and more! Her ambition, creativity and versatility are so inspiring to me.
Collins: I would have to say James Jamerson, Marshall Jones from the Ohio Players, and Larry Graham.
Gouché: The list is long and distinguished: Marcus, Vic, Monon, Frank Bruno, Thaddeus Tribbett, Ethan Farmer, Matt Ramsey, Stanley [Clarke] and Bubby Lewis, just to name a few.
Griparic: Everyone I hear inspires me in some way, but if I had to pick one, I would have to say Pino Palladino. He is the complete package: his sound, touch, timing, and the vast knowledge of music and different styles he has is so impressive. And he never gets in the way of the music. Perfect!
DeTiger: I have a bunch! Bernard Edwards, Larry Graham, Marcus Miller, Louis Johnson, and James Jamerson are a few. When I started getting into funk and disco music I was immediately obsessed with all of Bernard Edwards’ basslines. The Good Times bassline is one of my favorites of all time.
Seymour: A lot of the players who inspire me are not alive today, but fortunately their recordings are. That said, a lot of my inspiration also comes from instrumentalists other than bass. I’m inspired by the great bebop improvisers, composers, rock, funk, and fusion bands. If I were to pick only three bass players who frequently come to mind, they might be Jaco Pastorius, Stanley Clarke, and Gary Willis. There are many, many, more; it’s hard to narrow it down like that. For instance, one of my most influential bass players is John Paul Jones, but that is within the context of the mighty Led Zeppelin, and that band is very inspiring as a rock band, as many others are. Another would be Bootsy Collins while he was with the great James Brown. In these instances, it is the band, artist, or music the bass player is playing with as much as the player himself. I’m inspired by music—certain music, but a lot of music—and all who make it.
Allen: There are several, including Anthony Jackson, James Jamerson, Lee Sklar, Jaco, Christian McBride, Les Claypool . . . .
Freebo: The bass players who inspired me over the years are James Jamerson, Ronnie Baker (Gamble & Huff), Chuck Rainey, Paul McCartney, Phil Lesh, Jaco Pastorius, Ray Brown,
Rick Danko . . . .
Carlsson: Hard to say. Often it’s guys that are singer/songwriters like Graham Gouldman (10CC), Jason Falkner, Kevin Gilbert, and Roger Waters—of course, McCartney, too! Could be people like Jeff Porcaro, Andy Newmark, Jimi Hendrix and Richard Carpenter. Who doesn’t shit in their pants when you hear Joe Osborne, Tony Levin, or Jaco!
What is it about Cordial cables that won you over?
Gouché: The absolute clarity and rich fullness of tone is unmatched! I can hear the tune of the woods in all of my basses!
Allen: Pure tone! The best story is when I was on tour with Jonathan Davis from Korn and I swapped out all of my cables with Cordial and the front of house engineer asked what I’d changed and immediately said “Whatever it is, it worked! Don’t change anything else!”
Kumalo: A few years ago I was on tour and trying different cables to find the right sound. I
couldn’t get the right sound because some cables simply couldn’t deliver all the tone and frequencies. My friend Andrew Gouché introduced me to the Cordial cables USA family. They gave me a cable and I have never looked back. It was exactly the sound I was looking for in a cable. I took it on tour and it changed my sound and my overall game.
Gardner: Cordial cables offer a product that focuses on the integrity of a musician’s tone. They are heavy duty and high-performance cables that surpass professional standards!
Collins: [Cordial] not only sells great products, as an Artist they treat me as more than a number (which I have found to be very special). Not only that, but they will also go the extra mile to help you achieve the excellence that you are looking for in a product by making sure that it works for you. Say hello to my little friend! 🎸 Bootsy baby!!!
Seymour: Ah Cordial . . . What won me over was plugging in the very first time and hearing my bass sound the way it was meant to sound. I was honestly startled at the difference and questioned whether they were adding frequencies. But I discovered they were allowing frequencies other cables were somehow not carrying—frequencies I didn’t even know were present. Frequencies associated with bass, of course, since the instrument was bass, but I use them in my studio, in my racks, on my amp and speaker cabinets, mixer, microphones, pedals, everything. I hear the difference.
The cables give me confidence and security, knowing they are of the highest quality and reliability. They provide the best link from instrument to ear in the business, hands down, end of story.
Sklar: They help reproduce my sound as I want it and they lay well and do not turn into a bunched-up nightmare on stage. I do not go wireless, so the cable is an essential part of my rig. Plus, some ‘bitchin’ colors!
Griparic: The main thing for me about Cordial Cables is that I could immediately hear a difference in my sound; there was a clarity and punch there that I had never heard before. Plus, another big, big thing for me is durability, as I stomp around on stage quite hard in boots. Cordial Cables are the only ones that have proven to be able to withstand the punishment that I put on a cable during a show.
DeTiger: I love the color—they stand out on stage! I also like the Neutrik Silentplugs.
Freebo: They sound great, they look great, they travel great . . . they are great! •