I play a custom five piece wood (ebony, bubinga, rosewood, maple, walnut) neck-through Ken Smith BSR6EG six-string electric bass. I originally ordered it back 2007 and I've been a satisfied customer ever since. I have a few other basses, but the Ken Smith is the only one worth mentioning since I use it for 99% of my performances. The neck through design and five pieces of wood give it the rich and smooth tone that works so well when using the instrument to create polyphonic textures in my many solo bass compositions and arrangements. The slim profile and wide body also makes it unbelievably easy to play and molds to my body.
Photo by Micah Seth Dubinsky and Dan Joseph Cohen
Over the years I have worked with many different amplifiers and had the chance to try out many others at showrooms and at festivals where backline has been provided. With Phil Jones Bass amplifiers and cabinets I have found my amps for life! My main rig the Phil Jones Bass BG-400 Suitcase Compact not only provides all the power I need for 90% of situations and a pristine tone capture the entire range of the bass even when I'm playing on all six strings at once and in many registers, but it does all of that with a uniquely compact footprint of only four five-inch speakers!
Whenever I need a little bit more power, I simply bring my Phil Jones Bass Compact-4 along for the ride.
I recently had the opportunity to compete and win first place at the NAMM 2020 PJB Solo Bass Competition and one of my prizes is my new favorite toy the Phil Jones Bass Double Four Practice amp. I can't believe the quality of sound and power that I get from this little guy. It only weighs 8.8 lbs for heaven's sake! I'll let you know if my pinky finger gets tired of carrying it.
Strings and Accessories
Gruv Gear Fretwraps are dampeners for your strings and they have served as an invaluable resource for all my two-hand tapping compositions and arrangements by making sure my strings don't ring out when playing two to three simultaneous parts.
The Gruv Gear DuoStrap Signature has saved my back when performing concerts where I'm standing for hours on end with my bass around my deck. There is only so much a healthy diet, good posture and exercise can do when you have an unbalanced single strap, Gruv Gear's DuoStrap Signature balances the weight of my bass evenly on both shoulders and others me to play pain free.
I tried many different brands and sets of bass strings over the years with mixed results, but finally I found a home with a custom set of La Bella Nickel Wound non-tapered bass strings. I use a light gauge strings (C-28, G-40, D-55, A-70, E-95, B-130) because I find them easiest to play on.
When I'm touring I prefer to have a gig bag whenever possible rather than a big clunky hard shell case. The new Gruv Gear Kapsule is literally the gig bag that you can strap to your back and casually walk around with at your final destination, but also check when you get to the airport. No more worries about trying to bring your bass onto the plane and being told "sir you will have to check that". Mine will be arriving shortly and I will be sure to post a review as soon as I test it out! When I'm playing locally I use my slim profile Gruv Gear Gig Blade Sliver!
Whenever I'm practicing on the road or recording I rely on my Phil Jones Bass H-850 Headphones to deliver an accurate and full bodied bass tone. I've tried recording with flat response headphones preferred by vocalists and other instrumentalists and they always brought out all the worst sounds of the bass and not the depth that I was looking for, the H-850 headphones sound the way I want my bass sounding out of an amp.
Lugging all my gear from my vehicle into a venue, especially when there is a lot of ground to cover has always been a pain in the neck until I started using Krane Carts.
Whether I go on tour spend many hours and nights in my bright orange Ford E-250 converted cargo van the BassMobile! Thanks to a good friend of mine Dave who donated his time and expertise to helping me convert this ________, the BassMobile has been up and running since the fall of 2017.