my gear page
Aria Pro II Integra
Aside from the tenor I use in ubik, I still own several actual bass guitars, the oldest of which being my Aria Pro, which I've been playing since I was fifteen years old. It's the bass I learned to play on-- slender neck, low action, 24 frets. Back before we formed Ubik, Joel and I started playing together, each on normal basses: me on my Aria and him on a Fender P-Bass. I had already developed a fairly melodic style (when I was a kid, the middle break in Powerslave blew my mind) and this was sort of my "foundation" bass. A few years ago, I replaced the noisy stock pickups with a pair of Bartolini's, but beyond that, it's still the same old bass I've been playing for so many years. Though it is still passive and a little low-output, it sounds "creamy," a gorgeous smooth tone, playable up to the 24th fret of the G string, and strung (as most of my basses are) with DR Black Beauties.
Ephiphone "Vinnie" Les PaulThough I had always been slightly turned off by Gibson style basses, the last time I went home to visit my father, he had taken to collecting them; I spent most of that vacation playing Les Pauls and SGs, I couldn't argue with how nice they played and sounded. My favorite of the lot was actually the Epiphone Vinnie (a signature bass from a band I've never actually listened to), an active Les Paul with super hot EMG's that sounds very Rock. It's a great bass playin' bass... I don't use it for much high end work-- it rocks the bottom, are really, really does its job. This was the first bass I ever played with DR Black Beauty strings, because they look so damned sexy on the black bass... and then I found out I really like those DR coated strings, and use them on all my basses.
The thing about the Gibsons-- I always assumed I didn't like them, because of the width of the neck. As it turns out, I find the width very comfortable, and since the neck is wide but not thick (my biggest problem with Fender basses-- that "half of a baseball bat" neck), it's actually a pretty fast bass, and my absolute favorite neck for two handed tapping. Not only that, but there's some real craftsmanship here: a gorgeous archtop... compare that to the "we bolted two planks together and called it a day" of a Fender P.
So, for a general piece of crap I bought for maybe a hundred dollars, I think I play my hollowbody more than any other bass I own. It was in terrible shape when I got it, and (as far as I know) there's no way to get into the body cavity to fix the dodgy connections and replace the awful, noisy pickups... but then again, I never plug it in-- after putting a shim in the neck to make the poor thing actually playable (the action was so bad when I got it, it was barely usable), it stays in my bedroom, and is usually played while I am half watching DVDs in various mental states... that's how I write songs (if you ever wonder about ubik.s prediliction for odd time signatures,some of them are the result of me getting pretty messed up and playing this bass without thinking too hard about it).
The Spector is my only 5-string, and, I have to admit, I've never been comfortable with it. 5-string basses throw me off my game, and I greatly prefer 4-strings. It's a good sounding bass, though, with a really thunderous low end, and it's the only neck-thru bass I own: a really solid, heavy piece of wood. The Spector has an odd, sort of lumpy look to it, too, which is actually pretty cool. It's a good instrument to have on tap for covering the low, low end (sometimes necessary, since my recorded "guitar" parts are actually a tenor than goes all the way down to A), but the neck gets a little funny in the higher ranges, which just doesn't affect me, as all of my other basses can cover that range, if needed.