Pic credit: Matt Dolinar
Lately I’ve refined my style in terms of tone, making sure each note has more presence, hang out in the room better, tweaking my gear to see what effects I can get by using different speaker cabinet configurations. I’m still playing four-string basses exclusively. I’ve played five and six in the past. This is another ‘less is more’ situation. I think more resourcefully with fewer options. My style is very percussive, slapping without actually slapping. The fact that I can get that tone out of a passive-electronics style bass is something I’ve always prided myself on. My first bass was a Sears bass that somebody took and put another sticker on. My favourite bass to date is the Bill Clements Signature model from Regenerate Guitar Works in Seattle. The name’s not going on the front of the headstock, people don’t need to promote me every time they pull the bass out: it’ll be on the back, they’ll know it’s there. My bass heroes are the same as they are for everybody. You seek out the great ones, even if they’re not famous. If I happen to sound like Jaco, or anyone else, especially after the accident in which I lost my hand, it’s purely coincidental. If you play a Strat, with a certain kind of sound, you’re going to sound like Jimi Hendrix or Stevie Ray Vaughan. The best recorded bass tone ever? Well, none of the albums I consider qualifying were recorded by somebody playing with one hand. All of those great albums were recorded by somebody with two hands. I’m not magically able to execute that. The best tone I’m achieving currently is the realistic one. My situation is totally unique in that regard. Right now I’m working with Regenerate Guitar Works developing the Bill Clements Signature model for production. I’ve got a couple of recording projects in the works with a variety of different line-ups. I’m most excited about what hopes to be a double-CD with a DVD. I also have a prog-trio called the Bill Clements Axiom, one of the few times I’ve leaned into a genre-specific style. I also work as a… ‘teacher’: I hesitate to use the word, but someone who might enable people who are amputees, stroke victims or veterans who have combat-related injuries. Maybe they played before, and think they’re not able to. Also, I’m doing more live dates in Detroit and Colorado this Winter and Summer.
Youtube/Facebook: search for Bill Clements
Basses Regenerate Guitar Works Bill Clements Signature, Kalium (Circle K) Strings
Amps Hartke, Eden, Peavey, Blackport cabinets, ProCo cables, Gruvgear, Fretwraps