Bass can have a profound effect on the feel of a song, often in very subtle ways. Being completely tuned in with the drummer at all times, having the right tone for the song and leaving the right spaces are all crucial skills. I would describe my bass style as a mix of soul, rock and hip-hop. I occasion- ally play five-string for recordings, but I like the simplicity of four-string for most gigs – anything that cuts down the temptation to do too much is a plus. I don’t slap much, but I’ll often throw in a couple of percussive pops on funky tunes – definitely a Pino Palladino/D’Angelo influence.
I can get most of the bass tones I want from either a Precision or a Stingray. Some songs might need a much less refined sound, in which case a gnarly old Vox should do the trick. One of my current bass heroes is Michael League, who MDs and writes for Snarky Puppy. The power and musicality of his live bass tone is unreal, and he’s always thinking about the texture of the whole band in deciding what to play from one bar to the next. If you’re talking about all-time greats, it doesn’t get much better than ‘Duck’ Dunn.