Ben Shepherd of Soundgarden

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Fabiojuanton, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. Fabiojuanton

    Fabiojuanton Guest

    Jan 30, 2012
    Hi all, I saw that there's a thread on Ben Shepherd of Soundgarden from a long time ago, but I figured I would start a new one.

    Has anyone done extensive research on him? The only work I know by him is with Soundgarden (my favorite band!), although I would like to start listening to his other work such as Hater and Wellwater Conspiracy.

    But what I really want to focus on is his stage presence and playing style. OK, seriously, how can anyone play with their bass strung that low?? If you're unfamiliar with what I'm talking about: Soundgarden - Jesus Christ Pose HQ (Pinkpop Festival 92) - YouTube

    ^^Starting around 22 seconds in, you get a pretty good idea of what I'm talking about. And how he walks across the stage around 32 seconds, UGH! SO BADASS! And how the hell does he do that at 1:12?

    Naturally, I've tried. I'm a jazz major at my school, so normally I play jazz/funk/ska/etc. and end up keeping my strap all the way up so I can play extremely precisely.

    Now, in that song, "Jesus Christ Pose", there's some pretty fast stuff and he seems to be playing very well (hard to tell with the audio quality, but obviously if there was a problem I'm sure they would bring it up as a band).

    Basically, I just want to be able to talk about Ben Shepherd, especially with people who may have some insight as to how he pulls off that stage presence while still performing the song (practice, practice, practice?), or talk about his gear (I believe it's mainly Fender P basses, sometimes a Ric or a Hofner as well). Anything you know about him, just spit it out! I want to know.

    P.S. is it bad that I'm tired of playing with my strap all the way up to perfectly perform jazz/funk? I just wanna let my bass string low and hit the ground, destroy things onstage, and play a rockin' show. I'm a skinny fellow so I could perfect the look too :)
  2. murphy

    murphy Supporting Member

    May 5, 2004
    yeah, i think he is fantastic.
  3. Fabiojuanton

    Fabiojuanton Guest

    Jan 30, 2012
    Glad you agree with me, Murphy.

    Anyone else? I'd really love to get a nice discussion going here
  4. Always been a huge Soundgarden fan. Was massively into grunge for quite some time.

    It always pains me to hear the studio recording of Jesus Chris Pose, simply because the bass is so poorly mixed. The solo part at the beginning is the only real clear part, and you really cant hear the free time solo at the end. Still a great bass line though :)
    Burden in My Hand and Pretty Noose are also pretty damn awesome.
  5. Fabiojuanton

    Fabiojuanton Guest

    Jan 30, 2012
    Yes! Burden in My Hand has a great line, as does Pretty Noose.

    Have you ever tried to play as low strung as he does? Pretty damn hard, huh?
  6. A friend of mine taught me how to play Pretty Noose. The tuning is WONKY, but I've always played a 35" scale, so tension is rarely an issue.
  7. wingmanborge

    wingmanborge Guest

    Apr 12, 2012
    Huge fan of ben and the band - he influenced me to think out of the box in terms of coming up with lines - and his songwriting on superunknown and down on the upside is hands down some of the best songs they have in their catalog. Cannot wait for the new album to arrive. My favorite band is back.....yummi!!! Though those two albums actually still songs freaking good and i went through several copies before downloads were a thing that cold be done. As for his style - detune the hell out of a pair of heavy gauged strings flatwounds/halfwound preferebly - and remember that playing a bass that low is not for the fainthearted! And watch your back! Ben forever!
  8. beebassdude

    beebassdude Supporting Member

    Sep 29, 2008
    Sterling, VA
    soundgarden is one of my favorite groups ever and shepherds style is very cool, especially on disc when you can hear a lot of his cool counterpoint lines and other weird chord parts. but if i know two things about soundgarden, its this:

    chris cornell cannot sing live. at all.
    theyre all extremely sloppy live outside of matt cameron.
  9. Tupac


    May 5, 2011
    Whoa, that dude it nuts! Still can't beat good old Rob! He has to hike his bass up onto his knee to play some complex things. But even with my bass up the whole time I can't play this song.
  10. RedMoses


    Jul 4, 2012
    On stage he walk around like Frankenstien! Very strange stage presence but a solid ass player.
  11. DeltaPhoenix

    DeltaPhoenix Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2011
    When I saw them on the Badmotorfinger tour (they opened for GnR), they kicked A$$! Really tight as a whole and Chris Cornell's voice was spot on. GnR was pretty tight that night as well but Soundgarden was better.
  12. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    new album is out its only $3.99 on Amazon
  13. lowfreq33

    lowfreq33 Guest

    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    I saw them 3 times back in the day, and I saw Chris a couple years ago. He's a LOT better now that he's off the dope. He did 2 1/2 hours, played a ton of Soundgarden songs, and his voice sounded incredible. One of the best shows I've ever seen.
  14. Marial

    Marial weapons-grade plum

    Apr 8, 2011
    SG was certainly tight and titanic the two times I saw them, once on the Loud Love tour way back in the day and then the year they played Lollapalooza, which was also a long time ago now. Cornell was amazing.

    Shepherd's an interesting and kind of sad guy from what I've read and I'm sure the SG reunion has really been good for him.

    As for his technique... I have no idea how he plays like that. I'm guessing LONG fingers help...
  15. I've seen Soundgarden live a few times over the years. Cornell sounded great each time. Awesome band!