“Sugar Tumbs's” Gear For a Fat Bottom End!
Okay, Gear-Heads, if you wanna play like me, then this is what you’re gonna need.
My main bass for the past 25 years is a Washburn B-15 (the one with the active pick-ups that make it really cut through when you need it to). It’s my baby. It’s been with me through thick and thin, through four other bands, two major falls on stage that required emergency surgery (for the bass, not me), and I’ve been in love with it almost as long as I’ve been in love with my wife.
I also play a gorgeous little Fender Jazz that sounds as smooth as butter. It was a gift from a buddy of mine about ten years ago, and it’s got a really nice warm tone that is good for everything from rock and roll to country to jazz.
My most recent bass-quisition is an acoustic four-string Hohner that is just perfect for when we need to settle down and do the unplugged thing.
And although it’s not mine, I also play an Epiphone Violin bass that belongs to Somerset Kenny, the reigning champion of cowbell. And let me tell you, that thing can flat out sing with you play it with a pick. (And it can apparently take a lickin’ too, but let’s just keep that between us and all the kind folks in Gilmer Co.)
For my basses, I’ve used D’Addario light gauge strings almost exclusively for about 27 years. I’ve tried others, but I always go back to D’Addarios. There’s just something about the wind and the gauge that fits my sound and tone. They really help me cut through all that band sound and not get lost in the mix.
If the stores are out of D’Addario, then I go to my second favorite—GHS Boomers. Because, well, they can bring the boom. Truth in advertising.
My amp? Brace yourself, you tech- and gear-aficionados who never bother to look for a bargain. It’s a really inexpensive Acoustic B20 Bass Amp. I kid you not. This thing puts out better than a squad of cheerleaders in a horror movie. For a small amp, it’s all I’ve really ever needed to use to hear myself on stage.
But wait. There’s more.
I also use several guitars when the band needs me to jump in on six-string.
My pride and joy is my Alvarez 5056 acoustic with ivory inlay on the neck (from before it became illegal to use it). That one was an early inheritance from my dad, and it’s special to me, if just for that reason alone. But on top of that, it also sounds incredible. Like a song from wind chimes.
My other pride and joy is an Ovation Celebrity acoustic/electric that was another gift from a friend. It’s a beautiful red curvy baby that frets like a dream.
Perhaps my oldest and most memorable guitar is the amazing vintage Truetone acoustic/electric I inherited from my granddaddy. (Yes, the ones that came from Western Auto stores and were manufactured by Kay.) I think of him every time I play it.
My last six-string is a black Fender Squier Telecaster. Yes, a Squier. But never you mind, it has a fantastic sound, and is even more delicious when played through a good P.A. system. But that neck, that amazing neck, frets like nobody’s business, and I can bend those strings to make it sing like no other guitar I’ve ever played. Oh yeah, it loves the blues.
I’ve used D’Addario strings for my guitars almost as long as I’ve used them for bass. What can I say? I’m a huge fan of them. They work for me.
And finally, when the need presents itself, I also have a set of Hohner harmonicas in various keys and models, from Marine Band to Blues Classics, and if needed, a Casio WK-200 workstation/keyboard that I can whip out (Shut up, Kenny!) and tickle the ivories on.