independent and unofficial
Prince fan community site
Tue 13th Nov 2018 2:58pm
Welcome! Sign up or enter username and password to remember me
Forum jump
Forums > Prince: Music and More > Honoring Prince the remarkable & unique bass player...
« Previous topic  Next topic »
  New topic   Printable     (Log in to 'subscribe' to this topic)
Author

Tweet     Share

Message
Thread started 03/03/17 1:36am

riot

avatar

Honoring Prince the remarkable & unique bass player...

All kind of experiences r welcome. biggrin

.

.

Batman recording session, Paisley Park

PARTYMAN

Auerswald Cleo by Auerswald Instruments / Jerry Auerswald /Germany

guitar

.

Guitar and Bass in Paisley Park studio

guitar

.

Bass battle with Ida Nielsen in Antwerp

guitar

.

Bass jam

guitar

.

Bass solo at Versace launch party

guitar

.

Bass solo - Stade de France 30/06/2011

guitar

.

.

28477923ln.jpg

Edit: I'm pretty sure the last pic shows a 70s Fender jazz bass.

bow

28477922rz.jpg

guitar

28478099vh.jpg

.

.

.

.

.

Prince%20Bass.jpg

Remembering Prince: His Highness Gets Down (Cover Story)

April 21, 2016
We are deeply saddened and crushed by the news of Prince's passing at 57-years-old today. To celebrate the life and music of the legend, here is the cover story that we ran for our November issue back in 1999 written by Karl Coryat.
13048144_504059723127524_8473257544689521224_o.jpg
His Highness Gets Down!
(November 1999)
By Karl Coryat
It started out simply enough. The Artist was coming out with a new record, his people told us, called Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic. Did we want to come to Minneapolis and do a story on him?

The Artist? Is he Bass Player material? Yes, he is. The man can play every instrument sickeningly well, bass certainly being no exception. A listen to any of his early-’80s LPs, on which he played nearly all the parts, bears this out. Being an old Prince fan myself—who still can’t quite cop the vibe of his disarmingly simple “Let’s Work”—I jumped at the chance.

There was a small catch: The Artist doesn’t allow his interviews to be tape recorded. Perhaps something about losing domain over the sounds he creates. Would he allow me to bring along a stenographer? Apparently, no problem.

Several months later I’m in the foyer of Paisley Park, The Artist’s decade-old recording/performance complex just outside the Twin Cities. Accurately described by one journalist as a “musician’s Alice in Wonderland,” the plain-exterior place is an eye-feast inside—painted with countless bright colors, adorned by scores of platinum records and other awards, and outfitted with such necessities as a fitting room (for the two on-staff clothes designers), a faux diner (complete with menus), and a covey of unseen doves, cooing somewhere from 20-plus feet above.

While waiting for the Great and Powerful Oz to arrive, I chat with our hired stenographer—who, like many, was once a Prince fan but hasn’t followed his career since the late ’80s. “Are there names or technical terms I should be familiar with?” Not really—Larry Graham and “bass” are all that come to mind with the scary moment fast approaching. After reading numerous accounts of The Artist’s often combative demeanor toward journalists, I was still unsure how to keep the conversation steered toward music specifics and away from his usual fashion-mag spiel: God, the millennium, and record-label wars.

Finally The Artist appears—and seems a bit surprised to be meeting a stenographer. “Okay,” he hesitates with a slight smile, “but that hasn’t worked out too well in the past.” In a flash he commands her to stay put and whisks me off to a studio control room. Before I can even orient myself, the door slams behind me with an airtight thud.

Even the Cowardly Lion had Dorothy and friends to quiver with. And a place to run.

“I like to start by feeling out a person through conversation,” says His Highness as I scrawl whatever I can in my notebook. “When we talk in here, it’s your word against mine. These walls are completely soundproof. I prefer it this way.” Still hoping the real interview had yet to begin, I manage a few general questions about the nature of funk, causing The Artist to wax spiritual in his rich but slightly nasal timbre. Finally he bursts forth with a delighted cackle and then pauses to think. “See that? Would words on a page capture my laugh, or the irony in what I just said? I’d much rather you write about the vibe of our conversation, rather than trying to get my exact words so people can analyze them to death. Why do you need to know exactly what I’m saying? How would that make for a better article?”
a2ae5a12c6df96ad0b3d7dec0271e7a8.jpg
Hoo-boy. Beginning to sweat, I try to explain I had planned a Q&A in which I’d ask very specific, technical questions that would interest only other musicians—in a context where bassists would want to absorb every word. “Then ask me something,” he replies. “Ask me any question on that list of yours, and we’ll see what happens.”

Skipping my planned opening query, I quick-search the page for the most technical question I can find. “Okay. Do you have a tone recipe for great funk bass?”

Without a pause: “Larry Graham. Larry Graham is my teacher.” The Artist continues, veering quickly away from funk tone to God, to all of us being connected by the Spirit—but just as suddenly he claps his hands sharply, jumps up from his seat, and bellows a joyful noise. “Why do you need a stenographer to type out ‘Larry Graham’? That’s my answer to your question—it is all you need to know. Just write down ‘Larry Graham’ in your notebook!”
Time to find that man behind the curtain.

The Artist’s gaze shifts slightly sidelong. “Why do you want a witness, anyway? This isn’t a deposition.” A pause. “Are you a spy?” he asks with a sly smile. “Who sent you here? What did you do before you worked for this magazine? Are you working for someone else? Did somebody put something in your ear?”

Resisting an urge to flee, I try to think of something—anything—to settle myself and keep the interview intact. “Okay. No stenographer then. But the least I can do is go out there and tell her she’s free to leave.”

“Fine,” says The Artist with a flick of his hand, turning toward the massive console. “I’ll be right here.”

When I return less than a minute later, he’s singing into a mic poised over the board. “There,” he purrs as I sit back down, hoping some color is returning to my face. “Now we can have a conversation.”
Nothing Compares 2 U

Once I had been paisley-whipped into shape, things went much smoother. It seemed no matter what I asked, the conversation turned to either God, Larry Graham, or both—The Artist freely admitting he modeled his bass style after Graham’s. Prince first briefly met the slap pioneer at a Warner Bros. company picnic in 1978, by which time Larry had moved on from Sly & the Family Stone and was a star in his own right fronting Graham Central Station. The two met again a few years later, this time at a Nashville gig.

“Larry’s wife came up to him and pulled an effects box and cord out of her purse,” The Artist remembers warmly. “Now that’s love.” But Graham and the man he calls “Little Brother” didn’t develop a real relationship until the ’90s—“relationship” perhaps being an inadequate description. “Once Larry taught me The Truth,” says The Artist, “everything changed. My agoraphobia went away. I used to have nightmares about going to the mall, with everyone looking at me strange. No more.” The couple forged an ocean-deep spiritual connection—The Artist is a Seventh Day Adventist, Graham a Jehovah’s Witness. “I mean, Larry still goes around knocking on doors telling people The Truth. You don’t see me doing that!”

The Artist invited his “older brother” to Minneapolis, set him up with a house of his own, and welcomed him into the Paisley Park family. Before long Graham was playing with The Artist’s band New Power Generation and feasting Graham Central Station on Paisley’s incredible rehearsal and studio facilities. And ever since, after years of always picking up the bass for at least a few numbers per set, The Artist has hardly touched the instrument onstage. “I can’t even physically reach for it anymore,” he laughs. Why? “I don’t know. I hope it’s out of respect for Larry, and not because I feel inadequate compared to him.”
Prince%202.jpg
Baby I’m A Star

The night before our interview, New Power Generation and GCS co-headlined the last night of the Mill City Music Festival, a kind of Woodstock-in-a-parking-lot in Minneapolis’s warehouse district. The Artist’s performance was as energetic as any ’80s Prince show, the only down moments coming with his between-song proselytizing and boasting. “People say to me, ‘Congratulations on your new [record] deal.’ But they ought to go find the president of the record company and congratulate him!” Years ago that would have been a sure cheer line—but on this night the mostly 30-something crowd stood reserved, waiting for the next “Let’s Go Crazy” or “U Got the Look” sprinkled among the newer, unfamiliar tunes. Later The Artist reclined on a riser and pouted, “You might love Larry Graham, and you might love Morris Day—but you don’t love me!”

Yet The Artist has plenty to say about the dangers of ego in a musical context. “My first bass player was Andre Simone,” he remembers, “and Andre’s ego always got in the way of his playing. He always played on top of the beat, and I’m convinced that was just because he wanted to be heard. Andre and I would fight every night, because I was always trying to get him to sound like Larry Graham. Larry’s happy just going [mimics thumping open-string quarter-notes]—he’s not interested in showing off. When you’re showing off it means you aren’t listening.” The Artist shifts gears to describe a present-day rehearsal and grows excited again. “Space!” he bellows. “Space is what it’s all about. I’m always telling people in rehearsal you’ve got to shut up once in a while. Solo spotlights are fun and everything, but you’ve got to make some music people want to hear. You can listen to one groove all night, but if everyone’s playing all over the place all night and not hearing each other, ain’t nobody gonna want to listen.”

Do It All Night

The Artist cues up a rough mix of a tune slated for Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic. Hands flying over the board, he solos the drums and bass, which he played on Graham’s Moon 4-string (see page XX). “Hear that? That’s the bass sound. I just turn it up full,” he says, pantomiming diming all the knobs at once with the edge of a hand. Meanwhile, the old Prince bass feel is right there, ghost-notes and vibrato laden with greasy funk. “This is one seriously funky record,” he adds as he hits stop after only a few bars. “One of the funkiest of recent years. There’s no good funk happening these days. I’m still waiting for George Clinton to do something.”

The Artist first picked up bass years after he began playing guitar in 1975—which, in turn, was years after he started playing the family piano. “Bass was a necessity,” he confesses. “I needed it to make my first record.” Already a solid drummer, he translated his rhythmic chops to the bass, and everything fell into place fairly quickly. “That’s the thing about playing both bass and drums—the parts just lock together. Lenny Kravitz is the same way. If you solo his drum part on ‘Are You Gonna Go My Way,’ it sounds like, hey—he ain’t that good. But put everything on top and it comes together. He just gets high on the funk.”

So how can a bassist achieve that kind of lock with a live drummer? “I’ll tell you how Larry Graham does it: through his relationship with God. Bootsy plays a little behind the beat—the way Mavis Staples sings—but Larry makes the drummer get with him. If he wants to he can stand up there and go [mimics 16th-note slap line] all night long and never break a sweat.” Like the whirling dervishes of Sufi tradition? Exactly. But isn’t it possible to create music as deep as Graham’s without drawing inspiration from a higher power? “No, it isn’t. All things come from God and return to God. I wouldn’t say it necessarily needs to come from a higher place—but it does need to come from another place.”

Release It

Of course, The Artist is less known for bass than for the controversial eroticism of such early songs as “Head,” “Do Me Baby,” and “Darling Nikki.” Yet it seems many of his more lurid lyrics are backed by bass-heavy arrangements. Is there a connection between the two? “I’ve never thought about that,” he muses with a smile. “But no, there isn’t. Bass is primal, and it reminds me of a large posterior—but both spirituality and sexuality originate higher up in the body. I see both as angelic.”

The Artist’s all-time biggest hit, “When Doves Cry” [Purple Rain], is most distinctive because of its lack of a bass line. The oft-repeated story is that the song had one but it was pulled at the last minute. “They were almost done editing the movie,” he explains, referring to his big-screen debut in Purple Rain. “It was the last song to be mixed, and it just wasn’t sounding right.” Prince was sitting with his head on the console listening to a rough mix when one of his singers, Jill Jones, walked in and asked what was wrong. “It was just sounding too conventional, like every other song with drums and bass and keyboards. So I said, ‘If I could have it my way it would sound like this,’ and I pulled the bass out of the mix. She said, ‘Why don’t you have it your way?’” From the beginning Prince had an inkling the tune would be better bass-free, even though he hated to see the part go. “Sometimes your brain kind of splits in two—your ego tells you one thing, and the rest of you tells you something else. You have to go with what you know is right.”

So bass can work against a song then? “Not necessarily. ‘When Doves Cry’ does have bass in it—the bass is in the kick drum. It’s the same with ‘Kiss’ [Parade]: The bass is in the tone of the reverb on the kick. Bass is a lot more than that instrument over there. Bass to me means B-A-S-E. B-A-S-S is a fish.”

My Name Is Prince

Prince’s first four albums were basically one-man efforts, with a few guest spots (though he kept all bass duties to himself). One of the most prolific artists in rock history, he also wrote, produced, and recorded for others—most notably fellow Minneapolis band the Time. In fact he performed nearly all the instrumental parts on the Time’s first two records, choosing to take only a production credit under the pseudonym Jamie Starr (which he also used for vocal and engineering credits on two of his own records). “I was just getting tired of seeing my name,” he explains. “If you give away an idea, you still own that idea. In fact, giving it away strengthens it. Why do people feel they have to take credit for everything they do? Ego—that’s the only reason.”

He adopted yet another pre-symbol nom de plume, Camille, for “female” sped-up vocal parts. Ever the gender bender, Prince had begun performing in women’s undergarments as early as 1979. His opening slot on a Rolling Stones tour, where he was pelted with garbage by disco-hating hooligans, is now part of rock legend. “Don’t say that was because of me,” he admonishes, wagging a finger. “That was the audience doing that. I’m sure wearing underwear and a trench coat didn’t help matters—but if you throw trash at anybody, it’s because you weren’t trained right at home.”

Starting with 1982’s 1999, Prince began crediting a band, the Revolution, on his recordings. Though he still played many of the parts, over the next few albums the Revolution played an increasingly important role. “I wanted community more than anything else. These days if I have Rhonda [S., formerly The Artist’s live bassist] play on something, she’ll bring in her Jaco influence, which is something I wouldn’t add if I played it myself. I did listen to Jaco—I love his Joni Mitchell stuff—but I never wanted to play like him.” The Artist still raves about the original Revolution bassist, Brown Mark (who took over for Andre Simone), calling him the tightest bass player next to Graham himself.

The latest version of New Power Generation is The Artist’s most skilled band to date; in addition to Graham, the Mill City Music Festival performance included James Brown saxophonist Maceo Parker, who also has free rein over the Paisley Park facilities for his own projects. Of course, Graham fits seamlessly into New Power Generation—and you can be sure The Artist never needs to tell him to play less and listen more.

The Beautiful Ones

The interview is winding down. With most of my questions answered (or at least chewed up and spit out), I pose another: Of all the bass lines you’ve created and played over the years, which stands out the most? As if he’s answered the query in every interview, he instantly volleys back, “777-9311” (the Time’s What Time Is It?). Why? “Simple: Because nobody can play that line like I can. It’s like ‘Hair’ [1973’s Graham Central Station, Warner Bros.], or Stanley Clarke’s “Lopsy Lu” —nobody can play that part better than Larry.” I mention I was glad to hear him dig up “Let’s Work” for the previous night’s show. “Hmmm … that might be a tie with ‘777.’” The Artist gets up and heads over to the bass sitting in the corner but then waves a hand at it. “Oh, 5-string—a mutant animal.” I start to scribble down the quote. “Don’t print that! People will say I don’t like the 5-string because I can’t play it. We do have to keep an open mind to things. We need to be open to evolution.”

The Artist picks up a phone receiver and—without dialing—summons Hans-Martin Buff, his engineer, who fetches Graham’s white Moon bass. “Now imagine me teaching Larry Graham how to play this,” he scoffs as he plugs into the board and lays into the “Let’s Work” line. With no rhythm track, his feel isn’t quite as slinky as on record, but all the elements are there—subtle ghost-notes, vibrato, funky push-and-pull.

Suddenly he stops and hands me the bass. What? “Let’s see what you can do,” he says. (Sure am glad I’m not a spy.) As I grab the neck he snatches my notebook and crosses his legs. “Now I’m gonna ask you some questions,” he toys. Stalling, I inquire about the XLR jack on the upper horn. “For his mic,” he says, as if I needed to ask. I tentatively try out a generic finger-funk line in A. (I am not going to slap in front of the “Let’s Work” guy.) “That’s the sound, isn’t it?,” asks The Artist. The tone is indeed perfect, but aside from the very low action and super-zingy strings, there’s nothing terribly magical about the instrument’s feel. And of course it sounds like me coming out of the monitors, not Graham. “Do you ever practice?” I ask, handing back the bass. “Do you get rusty when you don’t play for a while?” “No,” he sighs, almost bored. “Playing is like breathing now.”
We get up and start to move to the door. “I was a little worried there at the beginning,” he says. “I told you you’d do fine.” And I’m out of there—but not before one last awkward moment as I shake his hand, unsure how to address him. “It was very interesting. Thank you. Um, yeah—thanks.”

Source

.

.

.

.

Please go ahead with ur finds ...

.

.

.

.

Mods topic ok?

[Edited 3/3/17 10:21am]

[Edited 3/11/17 6:30am]

[Edited 3/11/17 6:36am]

[Edited 3/12/17 1:21am]

[Edited 3/12/17 5:36am]

“The space between the notes, that’s the good part. How long the space is…that’s how funky it is or how funky it ain’t” - Prince
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #1 posted 03/07/17 2:46pm

EvilAngel

  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #2 posted 03/07/17 3:00pm

EvilAngel

Prince & Ida

[Edited 3/7/17 15:02pm]

  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #3 posted 03/07/17 3:43pm

rogifan

A few more with Prince & Ida.

Prince & Ida

Prince & Ida
[Edited 3/7/17 15:45pm]
Paisley Park is in your heart
#PrinceForever 💜
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #4 posted 03/08/17 4:17am

riot

avatar

Wow great finds @@EvilAngel&rogifan TY³

.

.

Please listen to The Sensual Everafter ... too late websheriff neutral

.

.

More info see former P bass player thread .

.

.

heart

.

28529186rp.jpg

28529187qi.jpg

28529188yf.jpg

Edit: Fender Jazz Bass

.

.

pics via pinterest



[Edited 3/9/17 4:34am]

[Edited 3/11/17 6:28am]

[Edited 3/12/17 5:32am]

[Edited 3/12/17 5:35am]

[Edited 3/12/17 5:43am]

“The space between the notes, that’s the good part. How long the space is…that’s how funky it is or how funky it ain’t” - Prince
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #5 posted 03/11/17 9:28am

riot

avatar

28558774wk.jpg

Model C bass

Does anyone know more about the performance shown in the picture? This hat is new 4 me ..

Need help .. kiss2

28558773lo.jpg

.

28558776xn.jpg

Edit: Fender Jazz Bass

.

28558778fr.jpg

Edit:

Fender Jazz bass in ivory finish, serial number ZO094630. Accompanied by a letter of authenticity. Prince can be seen holding this bass in promotional material from 2003. The guitar was used on stage during Prince's "One Nite Alone" tour which went on to become the "One Nite Alone" live album.

Source: Julien's Auctions

Please help to identify the bass guitar models shown here (& pics we have already)

If u know more about the performances this would be great³ kisses

[Edited 3/11/17 9:29am]

[Edited 3/12/17 5:42am]

[Edited 3/12/17 6:50am]

“The space between the notes, that’s the good part. How long the space is…that’s how funky it is or how funky it ain’t” - Prince
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #6 posted 03/11/17 7:32pm

GustavoRibas

avatar

Prince, the musician. Love this kind of thread.
BTW. the Versace link is broken. Could you fix it please? Thanks

[Edited 3/11/17 20:06pm]

Peace
Gustavo Ribas
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #7 posted 03/12/17 1:26am

riot

avatar

Done Gustavo! music

Have a nice day/nite wherever u r sun

[Edited 3/12/17 3:58am]

“The space between the notes, that’s the good part. How long the space is…that’s how funky it is or how funky it ain’t” - Prince
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #8 posted 03/12/17 4:33am

riot

avatar

riot said:

(...)

28529186rp.jpg

(...)

I've learned this 1 is a custom Warwick Thumb bass, so called one-eyed.

4 more details c here:

.

28567587pi.jpg

(shows a 3d modelled Warwick thumb bass / www.cgtrader.com/3d-model...-eye-bass)

28568857bm.jpg

via pinterest

Prince The Gold Experience Era 1994 with the one eyed bass!

Edit:

Please go to Days of Wild / Get Wild (White Room live)

guitar

.

.

28567025ed.jpg

In the Batdance video clip (00:59) P played a bass guitar. It's confirmed by princevault.

Does anyone know more details about this typ of bass guitar?

BTW, I could be wrong ... is this a bat sitting on the guitar head ?


[Edited 3/12/17 5:50am]

[Edited 3/15/17 12:38pm]

[Edited 3/15/17 13:21pm]

[Edited 3/15/17 13:23pm]

“The space between the notes, that’s the good part. How long the space is…that’s how funky it is or how funky it ain’t” - Prince
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #9 posted 03/12/17 6:07am

riot

avatar

... shows P with a custom black Lakland with fist headstock

More detailled ..

Much more information about Prince / bass player ...

Prince: Requiem for a Bass Hero

July 20, 2016

When Prince Rogers Nelson died in April, the world lost one of the greatest all-around artists it had ever known.

As a masterful polymath—a brilliant songwriter, stunning singer, riveting performer, gifted drummer, innovative programmer, jaw-dropping guitarist, prolific producer, and exceptional keyboardist—Prince was without equal. He was a fascinating composite who transcended his influences, the rare artist who also excelled in business, and a limitless fountain of grooves and ideas.

It should be no surprise, then, that Prince was also one of the great electric bass magicians of the last 40 years. On his first album, 1978’s For You, Prince showed that he had already absorbed the innovations of Stanley Clarke, Louis Johnson, and Jaco Pastorius; before long, he had developed a signature style that owed much to his hero, Larry Graham, while also being indebted to the stellar bassists with whom he had grown up, especially Sonny Thompson. (Prince also knew when to leave out the bass for maximum impact, as he did on gems like “Something in the Water (Does Not Compute),” “Kiss,” and “When Doves Cry.”) Throughout his career, as he switched between being an exacting bandleader and a dazzling, one-man studio band, Prince put a premium on the role of bass in his music, bringing out the best in the superb musicians he hired and continuing to lay down killer low end live and in the studio.

In honor of his contributions to our instrument, we gathered a virtual roundtable of bassists who played with Prince during his lifetime. Several, including Thompson, André Cymone, BrownMark, Levi Seacer Jr., Rhonda Smith, Ida Nielsen, Andrew Gouché, and Josh Dunham (as well as drummer John Blackwell and bass/guitar tech Takumi) toured and recorded with him for years. Some, like Tal Wilkenfeld and MonoNeon, spent brief, intense periods at Paisley Park, while others, like Alex Al, jammed with Prince but never made it to his studio. All, however, were touched by his magic and inspired by his presence.

These are their stories.

André Cymone (worked with Prince from 1979– 81) I met him on my first day of high school. I played saxophone, but I also knew how to play bass. Prince told me he played keyboard, and we hit it off, so he took me to his house, where we started jamming. We didn’t know it when we first met, but our fathers had played together—his dad played keyboards and my dad played bass. We decided to start a band, and we called ourselves Grand Central.

A kid in our neighborhood put bass strings on an old Teisco Del Rey guitar, and he would let me use it for band practice. Eventually, my mom saw how serious I was, so she bought me a Sears-catalog bass, and then the band chipped in and I got a Fender Jazz. For the first few years, we were all just trying to master our instruments, but then Prince would be like, Can I play your bass? And I would ask if I could play his guitar. He would show me a few things on guitar, and I would show him stuff.

Sonny Thompson (1990–2009) Prince and André had Grand Central, I had my band called the Family, and Terry Lewis had Flyte Tyme. Grand Central played Grand Funk Railroad, Graham Central Station, and a wide range of stuff. We were into Parliament–Funkadelic and Sly & the Family Stone. Flyte Tyme was the party band.

Cymone Sonny Thompson was one of our idols. I remember standing on the side of the stage watching the Family, and they were amazing. That’s what we wanted to be.

Thompson Prince, André, and I grew up together, but I didn’t realize Prince played bass until he came over to my house one day. We were down in the basement, where I had all the equipment set up, and we were playing around. He was cold on the drums! When he picked up bass, he was trying to match it, and I said, “Hold on, let me show you something, man.” I taught him a lot about bass, guitar, and using his falsetto.

BrownMark (1981–86) I was in a band called Fantasy, and when the Family disbanded, their lead singer, Randy Barber, came over to Fantasy. Sonny T. would show up at our gigs, and we would invite him up. I would go out into the audience and listen to the band when he sat in on bass. That dude was a monster!

Takumi (1997–2006) The biggest bass influence on Prince was Sonny T.; he would say that over and over. And Larry Graham, of course, who was like a father figure.

BrownMark Prince would come see me play around town. One day he called and asked me to audition for his band. I’m thinking to myself, Sonny is the baddest bass player in town—why are you calling me? I think it was because Sonny was older, doing his own thing already, but I had just turned 19 and was moldable. At rehearsals, Prince would drive me really hard. The fear that I wasn’t gonna make the cut drove me to a whole different level of playing. A lot of times, I would give him my bass and say, “Show me how you would do this,” and he would.

Josh Dunham (2005–10) I once asked Prince if he would show me some stuff on bass, and he was like, “No,” and he walked out [laughs]. But he would come to rehearsal and say, “Let me see the bass,” and that would be his way of sharing his ideas and approach to playing.

Rhonda Smith (1996–2009) And you’d better get it quickly, because by the time it came out of his mouth, he had already moved on to the next idea.

Dunham When he’s playin’, you better be catchin’ it!

BrownMark Prince taught us to play really hard, because that aggressiveness comes out in the music. Our styles were so similar, and when I got with him, I absorbed what he knew about bass.

John Blackwell (2000–13) Prince was one of the funkiest bass players ever, and BrownMark was the only one who could mimic everything Prince did. On tracks like “Pop Life,” I can’t tell whether it’s Brown or Prince.

BrownMark I understood Prince’s style so well that it fit like a glove. And after we recorded, he’d go in and change things, so a lot of times, I didn’t know if it was me or him.

Smith When I first heard his bass tone, it had more midrange than I was used to. Of course, it was appealing, and I was in awe.

Dunham Prince was serious about getting that tone right. One day he asked me, “Why are you using the bass [knobs] on the amp and on the bass? Don’t you just need one?” So then I started putting the bass on my amp on zero and controlling my tone from the bass guitar. I heard all the low notes, but it wasn’t boomy, especially when we played big stadiums. It made so much sense.

Smith The bass is a big part of Prince’s sound, and that’s because 98 percent of it is him playing bass. To play with him, you gotta be able to emulate his style. And he preferred that bass players use 4-strings.

Dunham When I started with him, I had my Zamar 5-string, but he wanted me to play a 4. I stuck with my bass as long as I could, but then I realized that he was right. You can’t get that tone anywhere else.

Andrew Gouché (2011–14) I tried to get him to play my bass, but he wouldn’t touch it because it was a 6-string. When I first joined the band, he joked, “Why you gotta have all those strings? Larry’s bass only has four strings.” And I told him, “Well, this bass has those four strings on it, too.” But when I hit him with that low Bb in “Purple Rain”—I tune my 6 down a whole-step—he turned around and looked at me like, “Ooooh, damn!” He loved it.

Levi Seacer Jr. (1987–91) Guitar is my main instrument, but Prince taught me how to be a bass player. At first, it was hard for me because I was used to guitar solos, but I had to hold it down—I was part of the foundation of the house. A lot of players want to be Stanley Clarke or Marcus Miller, but that had no place in our band. Unless Prince gave you a solo.

With Josh Dunham
Gouché He was very specific about what he wanted, especially on his hit songs, but everyone got a chance to shine. He would turn around, point to you and say, “Go!”

Seacer In rehearsals, the bass player stood next to the hi-hat, and the pocket was supposed to be a little behind the drummer, so you get that funky drag. The guitar player was kind of in-between those two, and the keyboard was on top, adding colors. Prince was a stickler for the instruments staying in their areas. And he didn’t mind looping a part until it felt right.

Smith I call Prince’s bass technique “dirty funk” because there was a sloppiness to the way that he played, and that’s what gave him his sound. It’s meatier, dirtier, and fuller. It’s a feel thing.

Tal Wilkenfeld (2009–10) At one point, Prince played my Sadowsky 4-string, and it sounded like a completely different instrument. It reinforced my belief that tone is in your fingers. I was inspired by his unique and powerful sound.

Ida Nielsen (2010–16) What stands out to me is the rhythm and space in his bass lines. He didn’t like ghost-notes, so you had to play everything super clean, which created that clean and tight sound.

Gouché He hated ghost-notes. I’m used to tapping my strings to keep time, almost like hitting the backbeat in-between what I’m playing, but with him, I had to learn how to not do that.

Smith Part of Prince’s style is the magic of what’s not there, of not filling up every possible space with a bass line, pulse note, pluck, or whatever.

Dunham One time he showed me this groove where he was playing one note, with his thumb. It was so funky and hard. Just that one note!

Nielsen And I never heard anyone who could be so funky with a pick as Prince.

Smith He used a pick very well as a bass player. When I first met him, he asked me if I could play with one.

Nielsen What I call the signature Prince style is a really tight bass line with not much happening except a single pluck once in a while, which would always come in the exact right spot and be super funky.

Seacer It’s a very distinct Minneapolis style of bass, a thing we call “rumbling.” You keep a lot of rhythm, and you hit a note every now and then. If you listen to what Prince played on “A Love Bizarre,” there are very few notes, but the funk is in the rumbling of the string.

Gouché His bass style was really tied to the kick, snare, and hi-hat. Everything hittin’ on the one was always important to him.

Thompson More than anything, the Minneapolis style is about note placement. Dynamics and rhythm, and playing tight, are the most important things.

Smith With songs like “777-9311” or “Let’s Work,” it’s so important to respect the bass lines and learn what they are before you embellish.

Dunham I would play whatever he wanted, and he was open to me adding little stuff, if it fit.

Alex Al I worked with Sheila E. a lot early in my career, which was an honor, and Prince would sometimes be around for our gigs. If you were playing something he produced and especially played bass on, you’d better know your parts—end of story. Prince would take your instrument and show you the part, and it would be both fierce and enlightening at the same time!

Gouché The first time he called “Let’s Work,” I got four bars in before he stopped the band and said to me, “Listen—if you’re gonna play my music, at least learn it!” [Laughs.] That made me work harder, because I always want to give people’s music the same respect I’d want them to give my music.

Smith When I first met him, I didn’t know his style that well. Luckily, he had enough faith to know that whatever he could show me, I could learn. He was a great teacher.

Wilkenfeld When we were recording, he gave me the freedom to express my own voice on his songs, rather than spelling out how or what he wanted me to play. On quite a few of the tracks, he created a framework for my bass playing to complement what he was doing, almost as a secondary vocalist. He’d point to me and say, “Bass solo!” or, “Play a bass melody!” I felt honored and privileged that he wasn’t looking for me to be a carbon copy of him.

MonoNeon (2015–16) Prince allowed me to be myself. He saw my colors, saw the sock on my bass, heard the way I played, and simply welcomed me into his world. He gave me a chance without a compromise.

Nielsen Sometimes he would just let me do my thing, and other times it had to be exactly as on the record. If there was a new song or arrangement, he would either sing the line to me or take my bass and show me.

Gouché The first day I got to Paisley Park, I said, “Whatever you want me to do, just let me know.” His exact words to me were, “Do your thing, and if I want something specific, I’ll tell you.” And he did.

Smith The first time we did “777-9311,” he played the bass line to show me how it went. I had already heard that he was on the original, but when he played it, I knew for sure. That’s one of my favorite Prince bass lines.

Thompson I love “Alphabet Street.” That bass part is dope! There’s so many songs where the bass is cold-blooded, like “America,” “She’s Always in My Hair,” and “Let’s Work.”

Dunham “Let’s Work!”

Seacer When we were putting together the Lovesexy tour, I was playing “Alphabet Street” in rehearsal, and Prince said, “You’ve got about 70 percent of it. Go to the studio, pull up the multitrack, and really listen to it.” When I soloed the bass and drums, I was like, “Oh my god!”

Nielson There are so many cool Prince bass lines, but my favorite is definitely “Alphabet Street.” It has so many amazing fills and licks that it’s almost a solo, but it doesn’t disturb the flow of the song. Incredibly funky!

MonoNeon I’ve always loved the bass line on “D.M.S.R.”

Blackwell One of my favorite parts to play with Prince was “The Everlasting Now,” from Rainbow Children. And “Ballad of Dorothy Parker” from Sign O the Times, “Let’s Work,” “Head” from Dirty Mind, and “What Do U Want Me 2 Do” from Musicology.

With Andrew Gouché
BrownMark I love “Lady Cab Driver.” That was just us being carefree and feeling that beat.

Nielsen We would never use a click, because Prince preferred the human feel. The recordings we did with 3rdEyeGirl were all live and in the same room, so we could not overdub. It definitely kept us on our toes.

Wilkenfeld He was the first person I recorded to tape with, and he was not a fan of punching in. Occasionally, you’d be lucky to get one chance. That experience taught me to commit to whatever I’m playing at any given moment.

MonoNeon The one thing I learned from Prince just by watching him work is how to be confident with your ideas and move forward without shame. Overall, playing with Prince taught me how to embrace the moment, the now, when playing my bass.

BrownMark Prince taught me how to think outside the box. He’d say, “Don’t look at what everybody else is doing, Mark. How would you do it? Own it!” So that’s what I started doing, and he liked it.

Wilkenfeld He sat me down and talked to me for three hours about why I shouldn’t sign to a record label that was pursuing me. He didn’t want my music to be compromised or anything but creatively driven.

Alex Al Prince and I always talked about the business. He wanted me to know that it wasn’t enough for me to play bass on other people’s records. He believed in my skills beyond the bass, which meant a lot to me. Musically, he was our John Lennon, our Mozart, yet he was original. He was a constant well of musical information.

Gouché I’ve worked with everyone, and he’s the baddest dude that I’ve ever been around. When I saw his demand for excellence and his work ethic, that’s when I became a fan. He accepted nothing less than perfection, 24/7.

Cymone We had a take-no-prisoners attitude about the way we approached playing, performing, and being musicians. We were ferocious. That’s one thing I will miss—somebody I knew who shared that attitude.

Nielsen He always gave 100 percent of himself. He loved playing music so much, and you could absolutely feel that! A song like “Purple Rain,” which he must have played so many times, was always deeply felt and magical. And to us musicians, too.

Dunham Every time he took a solo, it was like hearing him for the first time. It was fresh. He taught me that there are no limits.

Nielsen Everything is possible. He would push all of us beyond what we thought our abilities were. And he taught me how to play guitar!

Gouché Prince would just throw you in the fire. Ida didn’t play guitar before she got in the band, but I watched her become really proficient.

Seacer He wanted everyone to be creative and do the best they could. I’m trying to keep the music moving forward, because that’s what Prince would have wanted.

Alex Al The last time I spoke with him was so intense. It was about letting go of past musical and business accomplishments in order to forge ahead and embrace the future of music—what it’s going to sound like, and how we’re going to contribute to it. I’m eternally grateful for how he inspired me on bass and what he taught me about the corporate boardroom of the music business. He was the ultimate mentor to me. I will miss him dearly.

Nielsen I learned so much from him. He was a genius and such an unbelievably gifted musician. And I feel so lucky to have been on the front row and seen him work. I will do my best to honor him by keeping the level high.

Thompson The last time I saw him, at Bunker’s in Minneapolis, I told him, “Man, I love you till the end of time.” He said, “I love you, too, Sonny.” That was the last thing I got to say to him. When I found out he died, I couldn’t do anything for two weeks. It’s still so hard. But I’ve got to move forward.

Smith Being a member of the New Power Generation was like going to the Special Forces, as opposed to the regular Army, Navy, or the Marines.

Prince was a perfectionist in a world where perfection doesn’t exist. He was an amazing cat, and I’m so blessed that I got to work with him. My heart is forever broken by his loss.

THE PRINCE’S TREASURY

André Cymone was Prince’s first bass player, and his late ’70s Fender Jazz Bass wound up on many of Prince’s early demos and albums. A Chuck Orr bass from the same era saw a lot of action, too. For Prince’s first solo show, in 1979, Cymone played the bass that would later serve as the inspiration for Prince’s “cloud guitar,” built by luthier Dave Rusan. Prince also owned a Guild Pilot and an Alembic Spoiler like the one favored by Revolution bassist BrownMark.

During the late ’80s, Prince rocked a distinctive bass built by German luthier Jerry Auerswald. When he appeared on BP’s cover in November ’99, he sported a custom black Lakland with a fist headstock. Takumi, Prince’s tech from 1997 to 2006, remembers that Prince also used a gold Ibanez Ergodyne, as well as purple and red Fender Jazz Basses, both stock except for the purple finish. “Prince started to use Jazz Basses from 2000 on, but he always had his white Warwick Thumb ‘Eye’ Bass in the studio. That was his favorite,” says Takumi. His collection also included a fretless Warwick Alien acoustic bass guitar and a seldom-used fretless Warwick Thumb 5, and most of his basses were strung with standard-gauge DR Strings. Though Prince owned several bass rigs, he played both guitar and bass through his Mesa/Boogie Heartbreaker 2x12 combo. Prince also stepped on a few EBS bass effects after being introduced to the company’s products by Rhonda Smith.

Evan Bovee, who teched for Prince in 2014–15, recalls Prince loving a certain black 2002 Fender American Standard Jazz Bass. He also had a custom black and platinum Ritter Roya similar to Josh Dunham’s 4-string. “He fell in love with that bass,” Dunham remembers. In his last years onstage, Prince played mostly Ida Nielsen’s basses, which included a Sandberg California VM4 Masterpiece, a Danelectro Longhorn, and a ’70s Fender Jazz Bass. “He always took a moment in the show to walk over and swap with Ida,” says Bovee. “You could tell that he enjoyed playing every instrument—not only to showcase his ability, but just because he enjoyed making music.”

“He was a great bass player,” says Takumi. “People don’t give him credit because they didn’t get to see him play that much, but now that he’s gone, I’m sure you’ll see a lot more videos of Prince killing it on bass on YouTube.”

“The space between the notes, that’s the good part. How long the space is…that’s how funky it is or how funky it ain’t” - Prince
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #10 posted 03/12/17 6:45am

lemoncrush19

avatar

riot said:

28558774wk.jpg

Model C bass

Does anyone know more about the performance shown in the picture? This hat is new 4 me ..

Need help .. kiss2


purple wavelengh wink ... I came across this hat a few days ago 4 the very first time (and I sooooo need that hat! :-psmile

2011.04.28 W2A Show in Inglewood, The Forum
http://princevault.com/in...April_2011

a have a short footage of the encore with that hat ... but he played the hohner there not the bass ...


the only love there is is the love we make heart
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #11 posted 03/12/17 9:54am

riot

avatar

TY sooo much Lemoncrush !!

Send u purple love & a big hug.

heart

.

Prince playing Brownmark's Custom Alembic during the Purple rain tour .

“The space between the notes, that’s the good part. How long the space is…that’s how funky it is or how funky it ain’t” - Prince
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #12 posted 03/12/17 10:00am

lemoncrush19

avatar

hug kisses

the only love there is is the love we make heart
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #13 posted 03/12/17 10:23am

jdcxc

Prince playing the brilliant jazz bassist Stanley Clarke's "Lopsy Lu" (Posted on Clarke's Facebook page after Prince's passing- quite an honor)

https://www.facebook.com/...2202002327
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #14 posted 03/12/17 3:33pm

GustavoRibas

avatar

jdcxc said:

Prince playing the brilliant jazz bassist Stanley Clarke's "Lopsy Lu" (Posted on Clarke's Facebook page after Prince's passing- quite an honor) https://www.facebook.com/...2202002327

- Wow, this is cool. I knew the video, but didnt know Stanley was aware of it AND posted smile

Peace
Gustavo Ribas
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #15 posted 03/13/17 10:28am

PurpleDiamonds
1

Thanks for sharing! heart
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #16 posted 03/13/17 10:32am

jjam

Prince was a great bassist. And "Let's Work" is one of my favourite basslines. If only Nik West could play it right...

  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #17 posted 03/13/17 11:15am

GustavoRibas

avatar

From the RaveDVD, ´Flashlight´ with George Clinton

.

.

https://www.facebook.com/...9784477762

Peace
Gustavo Ribas
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #18 posted 03/14/17 4:38am

riot

avatar

jjam said:

Prince was a great bassist. And "Let's Work" is one of my favourite basslines. If only Nik West could play it right...

nod nod

.

.

Wow that's great funky stuff TY so much 4 sharing @@jdcxc & Gustavo !!

Send U purple love!

THE CHUCK ORR BASS GUITAR / 1979

guitar

This is an incredibly unique and rare instrument built by the legendary Chuck Orr. Chuck started using freeform instrument building technique in the mid 1970's, and quickly gained the attention of Prince, Gene Simmons, and the like. It's estimated Chuck only made six basses in his short career, one of those six was specially made for Prince for his first album For You. Chuck was personally thanked in the CD jacket.

  • "Special thanks to God, Owen, Britt, Bernadette, My Father and Mother, Russ Thyret, Gary, David Rivkin / Sound 80 Studios, C. Moon, Eddie, Sharon and Eleanor, L. Phillips, Bobby "Z" Rivkin, Tom Coster, Graham Lear, Joe Giannetti, Patrice Rushen, Charles Veal, Jr., Shirley Walker, Knut Koupee Music, Chuck Orr, Lisa H., and You!"

The bass itself is a work of art. Hand made in 1979, the bass features:

  • Maple Body
  • Neck-Thru Body
  • Pre-Bartolini HI-A Pickups
  • Gibson Tuners
  • 3 Way Switch
  • Tone and Volume Knob
  • 2 Way Phase Shift Switch
  • 34" Scale
  • 1.5" Nut
  • Removeable 5" Wooden Thumb Rest
  • Chuck Orr Custom Bridge

A little narrower than your standard bass, the neck is similar to a D profile but a little flatter. Very comfortable. The HI-A pickups are really hot, and almost sound active. They're reminiscent of early active Alembic pickups. Bass weighs 8.6 lbs. All parts are original and work perfectly. Some small nicks and scratches, see pictures for detail. Bass has had a full inspection, nothing has been refurbished or altered.

This instrument is incredibly well made, incredibly cool, and incredibly RARE. Don't miss your chance to own this beautiful peice of Minnesota rock n' roll history!

Source

28589390xy.jpg

I'm not sure if the pic shows Princes original Orr bass ... may be a similar 1.

.

.

.

More about Charles Orr here and there.

[Edited 3/14/17 4:44am]

“The space between the notes, that’s the good part. How long the space is…that’s how funky it is or how funky it ain’t” - Prince
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #19 posted 03/14/17 11:31pm

riot

avatar

28596651kd.jpg

In this photo, Prince can be seen playing a Warwick Alien Fretless Bass.

Source

.

.

guitar guitar guitar guitar guitar guitar guitar

.

.

Screenshot from the so called FOREVER IN MY LIFE bass battle Prince / Ida Nielsen

PRINCE LIVE 2010 tour / A...11-08-2010

.

28596858nw.jpg

.

.

taken from this video

Would like to learn more about Princes white bass.

Need help ... any suggestion ? idea2

[Edited 3/15/17 0:49am]

[Edited 3/15/17 0:51am]

[Edited 3/15/17 0:54am]

“The space between the notes, that’s the good part. How long the space is…that’s how funky it is or how funky it ain’t” - Prince
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #20 posted 03/15/17 4:54am

jdcxc

Anyone have the Face Down live clips from the Jam of the Year tour? Those Prince bass solos are outstanding...with him running from riser to riser while playing the bass through his legs on one foot...incredible.
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #21 posted 03/21/17 3:02am

riot

avatar

Sorry jdcxc .. haven't. Wish somebody comes along with .. would be really great!

.

.

.

guitar

The pic surely doesn't show Princes gold-finished Ibanez Ergodyne bass mentioned in # 9, maybe a similar one.

“The space between the notes, that’s the good part. How long the space is…that’s how funky it is or how funky it ain’t” - Prince
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #22 posted 03/24/17 5:17am

riot

avatar

“The space between the notes, that’s the good part. How long the space is…that’s how funky it is or how funky it ain’t” - Prince
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #23 posted 03/24/17 7:41pm

GustavoRibas

avatar

riot said:

Princes Act I 1993 Tour -...o / audio

ENJOY !

- REAL funky (as always)

It reminded me of how much I would love to have that Bass Medley from 2002 Bataclan in great quality.

Peace
Gustavo Ribas
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #24 posted 04/06/17 4:27am

riot

avatar

Our man grabs the Warwickone-eyed bass at 7:30 & makes Hide The Bone even more fonkier. Enjoy!

guitar

.

BTW I like his shhh ... black neckholder costume & the white 1 too!

Poor quality sorry.

28817726dm.jpg

[Edited 4/6/17 6:05am]

“The space between the notes, that’s the good part. How long the space is…that’s how funky it is or how funky it ain’t” - Prince
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #25 posted 04/09/17 9:30am

riot

avatar

L.O.V.E. this Waterboys cover "The Whole Of The Moon" / May 3rd 2015 / Paisley Park 'Dance Rally 4 Peace' in memory of Freddie Gray. Go 2 18:00 & listen .... the bass.

Voice & bass sounds really g.r.e.a.t. bow bow bow bow bow

[Edited 4/9/17 9:37am]

[Edited 4/10/17 13:10pm]

[Edited 4/10/17 22:35pm]

“The space between the notes, that’s the good part. How long the space is…that’s how funky it is or how funky it ain’t” - Prince
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #26 posted 04/10/17 1:21pm

riot

avatar

Some more bass ...

W2A Ghent 2011 / "Only He...go to 8:46

guitar

Welcome 2 America / Melkweg 2011 show kick off "What's My Name" & "WMN" reprise 42:10 & 46:38 "Strange Relationship"

bow bow bow

“The space between the notes, that’s the good part. How long the space is…that’s how funky it is or how funky it ain’t” - Prince
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #27 posted 04/10/17 4:13pm

purplethunder3
121

avatar

Nice thread! cool

"If you're living, you've got nothing left to prove..."
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
  New topic   Printable     (Log in to 'subscribe' to this topic)
« Previous topic  Next topic »
Forums > Prince: Music and More > Honoring Prince the remarkable & unique bass player...