This year’s masterclass line-up is possibly the broadest in terms of style that we’ve seen at the London Bass Guitar Show to date. But if you were expecting a gentle introduction to the show, Saturday morning starts with an explosive blast of rock and metal, courtesy of the one and only David Ellefson.
So what can we look forward to, David? “I think most people know me as a thrash metal bassist, so I feel it my duty to demonstrate that specific style first and foremost. It’s quite a progressive approach, with extreme attention to detail. I’m primarily a pick player, so I think that technique deserves some attention and I’m honoured to be the one flying the flag for the genre at the show this year. I also like to do a bit of storytelling about my history as a bassist and my experiences in the actual music business. I think it’s important to talk about the bass player’s role in those situations, as any player can gain insight from another’s experiences, from a different genre.”
As an experienced clinician, we want to know if David has a specific format to his masterclass. “I really like the interaction at these events, especially the question and answer periods. I feel like people can see me playing on stage all the time, so I view these types of show as an ‘up close and personal’ time for all of us to share ideas with each other as fellow bassists.”
Ellefson is no stranger to evaluating his gear requirements and making a change when needed, and we wondered whether David will play safe with his tried and trusted gear. “You never know, because I’m always trying out new gear to keep my tones up to spec and I often stumble onto new gadgets along the way. For the most part, I always find that personal tone is in the hands, so I’ll probably keep things simple with my trusty Jackson signature bass, Hartke amplification, possibly a stereo chorus and anything else that may appear along the way to throw into the mix.”
As a virtual ‘Weekend of Bass’, is there anything in particular that David is looking forward to at the show? “Absolutely! To me, it’s a ‘bass players take over London’ weekend. I’m still a bass fan after all these years, especially of British and European music, so I’m looking forward to being inspired myself. Add to that that I’ve always been a big gear hound, from the big boys to the boutique innovators. You can find some real gems at shows like this.”
As the first masterclass of the weekend, David will be setting the bar for others to match – so does he have any words of wisdom for those attending? “To me, playing music is all about harmony with other musicians as well as opportunities to network with other players. Bassists are a unique gang who hang out in a very cool way, and are different from any other group of musicians, so be prepared to be inspired!” We can’t wait to see Ellefson in action. 2013 looks to be a busy year for him, as he recently announced the publication later this year of his long-awaited autobiography, co-authored with BGM editor Joel McIver. His appearance at the show will be the perfect way to kick off the 30th year that Megadeth have been in business… and business is good! (Megadeth fans will appreciate the reference.)