I use a LOT of different gear, depending on what kind of thing I’m doing. Obviously a solo acoustic original show will be very different from a major large stage bass/bg vocals thing, and a small local club or mid size venue will also have various changes, so here’s a few breakdowns on the types of stuff I use in some of these various scenarios, with mentions of the gear I either endorse or have some help from the manufacturers in getting the stuff into my hands and on the stage.
BIG STAGE Gear –
- In Ear Monitors (IEM) – Ultimate Ears UE-Live. These are the ONLY IEM’s that I’ve found that give me the kind of separation, clarity and “soundstage” that I like to hear, and I tried a BUNCH. They made a dramatic difference for me, and although they DID help me out on the price a tad, they were still pretty dear, but I’m happy to have them!
- PRE-AMP/DI/SWITCHING – Jad Freer CAPO – This thing is AMAZING, and has now become vital to not only my sound, but with all the send/returns/switching and options for routing and filtering etc, it’s now kind of the brains of my pedal board….from subtle to outrageous crunch, this thing is amazing, on stage and off. *I officially endorse this product, it’s killer!*
- Fake Standup Acoustic Bass – So, a confession…..I DON’T play regular standup bass, never did, and never had any interest in it. I consider it a totally distinct and separate instrument from normal scale/size bass, and while I respect and admire those who develop that skill and become great at it, that won’t ever be me. That said, it HAS come up from time to time that I need to make that kind of sound, so I have come up with some options…
Right now with Kenny’s show I’ve been using a Kala U-Bass on the acoustic section of the show and I must say we all love it! It’s a little bitty thing with a BIG sound and while it doesn’t sound EXACTLY like a standup, it’s a pretty good facsimile. For the money/size/ease of transportation, and the resulting sound, it’s very tough to beat! They have been VERY generous in making sure that I have always had one when I needed it, but that said I wouldn’t use it if it wasn’t the BOMB!!
If I’m in town and want to go the extra mile with something a bit more sophisticated and capable as well as a LOT more like a real standup bass (and a GOOD bit more dough too, but worth it) then I go to my NS Designs CR Omni Bass. This thing is a VERY serious instrument that does a very good job of coming close to the sound and vibe of a real standup bass, again without the size and transportation difficulties of moving a real standup around. It’s not as easy to get around as the U-Bass, but it’s an order of magnitude easier than a standup, and if standup was my primary thing, this is what I would take on the road. The range of tonal options, the great accessories for different styles of playing, and the sheer craftmanship and beauty of the thing are hard to beat! They helped me out a bit when I started working with Glenn Frey and I needed this type of sound, but anyone who has used one of these will tell you that they are well worth the money, it’s REALLY good!
- TUNER PEDAL – Awhile back I asked Facebook about a tuner pedal that could be seen in blasting sunlight, and my buddy Matt from IdolX suggested the Peterson Stomp Tuner, and he was dead right, it works great, has a ton of functionality, and most important I can SEE the damn thing in the blasting sun! They helped me out a bit on the price, but if you want to see your tuner in the sun, this is your gadget!
- EFFECTS – This is a never ending battle. I mean c’mon, there is ALWAYS something new and awesome, right? So I’m just gonna list what I’m using right now on Kenny’s tour, and add/subtract as the mood hits me. As it turns out, MXR Bass Innovations from Jim Dunlop has me covered on most all that I’m using for this tour. I use the bigger versions of their Compressor/Octave Deluxe/Chorus Deluxe/Envelope Filter and I’m very pleased with them. Once again I DID get a pretty nice price, but the fact is even at full pop I think they’re totally worth it!
- STRINGS – I use GHS Super Steels in light gauge and have since 1986, end of story.
I mean, they *SPANG* when I want to, bend when I need to, have a nice throaty growl when I get agro, but can also calm down and play a ballad when the time comes… I’ve never felt like I’ve needed a change, so I don’t.