A few days ago I got to see my favorite bass player, Aston "Family Man" Barrett playing with the Wailers in a small Santa Cruz, Ca club. I was a few feet away and got to enjoy his mastery of Reggae Bass. For those who, like me, are fans of Family Man, I'd like to share a few observations which confirm what I have often read in his interviews.
- He uses 2 rigs, one Eden amp with 2 4x10 Eden cabs and one Ampeg SVTII with 2 15 cabs.
- His bass looked like a new Jazz Bass Deluxe (active) but with some Ash tray covers
- Unlike most amateur Reggae players he does not play at a very high volume but still carries the low-end with his 4 cabs. It gives a subwoofer type of sound in the mix and the bass still cuts through.
- Unlike whatever you regulalry read on TB, his tone his absolutely not: "cut all the highs in the eq". It might be what you perceive in the mix. When the other instruments are not playing you realize he has some ampegish-grinding highs around 4.5 kHz coming through. I previously read in an interview that he mostly keeps his eq flat. With the flatwound strings it still sounds quite fat for sure.
At the end of the show, his son picked up his bass to play on Exodus and man, he was ripping!