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Bill Laswell's gear

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by chanson, Dec 9, 2008.

  1. chanson

    chanson Supporting Member

    Does anyone know any specifics about what king of basses/amps Mr. Bill Laswell has used or is using today?

    I have seen many pics and videos of him playing a (vintage?) Fender Precision with an added J pickup in the bridge. Anyone have any info about it? Year? Pickups? Is it fretless?

    I have also seen a live Praxis video where Bill uses an eight string bass.

    Any info could help.
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    The guy's a gear hound and a studio engineer and producer, he has and uses much more gear than the average "bass player". I know at one time he liked the Ovation Magnum 1, same as Jah Wobble, and he's famous for his use of the DOD FX25. I know he has recorded with both fretted and fretless basses, to about an equal percentage at a rough guess. Those are the only particulars I recall off the top of my head, but again his gear situation is a bit different than a typical bassist.
  3. Malpractice


    Jul 15, 2007
    i know he has some Moog stuff a bunch of fuzzes a fretless p bass ampegs, and a whole lot more.....
  4. csala


    Aug 14, 2005
    Santa Monica, Ca
    If I recall correctly, a DBX subharmonic synthesizer rack mount is a big part of his sound when it comes to generating bottom. That and an envelope filter with a light touch. I've seen him live many times and his gear really depends on who he's playing with. For example, with Painkiller he uses a Thunderbird with a pick and roundwound strings, and with The Last Poets he uses a p or j bass with his fingers and flats. An old fretless P bass is a favorite as well. This is all from distant memory but I'm pretty sure it's correct.

    He's a great musician. If you have a chance pick up Imaginary Cuba. Great bass and rhythms.
  5. thombo

    thombo Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2006
    Denver, CO
    i recall a few bp interviews where he uses svt tube heads (70's i think). this is what i have seen him use live as well.
    fretted and fretless fenders (i think it was p-basses w/ jazz in the neck)
    i also recall a moog lowpass filter.
  6. the low one

    the low one

    Feb 21, 2002
    Old thread, sorry, but the latest BP magazine has an interesting interview which discusses his gear.

    It says he has a J pickup on hi fretless P bass with flatwound strings. How would he use the J pickup? Does he have it wired in the same way as the 2 pickups on a Jazz bass? He's famous for his dub tone which I would have thought the P pickup with flats would have achieved quite nicely, unless, as with a Jazz bass, both pickups at the same volume creates a fatter tone which would help the dub tone more I guess ?
  7. BassBrass


    Jul 6, 2009
    Boston MA
    Mostly on recordings it's his 5 string fretless Fender, and he uses a pick. Fretless with a pick: that kind of surprised me when I first saw him with Massacre (w/ Frith and Mayer). With Painjiller, it amazed me how many extra folded bass bins he used with 2 or 3 SVTs, but when he used the Whammy he got so low you could almost count the cycles, and this was LOUD.

    I have more Lazwell recordings and productions that any other artist...for years now, really since Material, "Memory Serves". I love Indian music and Lazwell is the only producer who uses it constantly and works with people like Zakir Hussain and Karsh Kalie. Also one of my favorite trumpet players, Nils Petr Molvear. And who else got such awesome drum sounds out of Ginger Baker and Shannon Jackson? Nobody.
  8. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003

    I believe Bill's main bass is a black 1964 P-Bass, with a J-pickup added.
    The Bass is also de-fretted, and epoxied.
  9. the low one

    the low one

    Feb 21, 2002
    If he's after a dub type of sound where does the J pickup fit in ?
  10. Hoover

    Hoover Banned

    Nov 2, 2007
    New York City
    I haven't paid close attention to Laswell's work in recent years, but I know that back around the time of the early Material albums or his first solo album Baselines his main axes were a fretless 4-string Fender Precision, a Fender Bass VI (30" scale 6-string tuned EADGBE), an Ibanez ST-980 (32" scale 8-string octaves courses), a 4-string MusicMan Stingray, and a 4-string Steinberger L-2. And sometime in the 1980s he added a Wal to his collection.
  11. the low one

    the low one

    Feb 21, 2002
    I think I've answered my own question.

    Listen to this, great tone, and then the solo jumps out from just over 6 minutes in.
  12. wingmanborge


    Apr 12, 2012
    ;)Thanx for that vid
  13. wingmanborge


    Apr 12, 2012
    1977' p-bass with added j by bridge - badass bridge - defretted and epoxyed jaco style neck - and 20 year old flatwounds - into an ampeg rig with either a 6x10 or a 2x15 cab - eq rolled back halfway and vol around 4
  14. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003
    I read somewhere that it's a 1964-Body, with a 1970's fretless neck. That he added lines later, when he had it epoxied.
    Wonderful sounding Bass.
    osbass likes this.
  15. wingmanborge


    Apr 12, 2012
  16. wingmanborge


    Apr 12, 2012
  17. wingmanborge


    Apr 12, 2012

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