Dave Larue and the Bongo….

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jjk2007, Jun 10, 2021.

  1. jjk2007

    jjk2007 Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2008
    Austin, TX
    I’ve always had a deep appreciation for Dave….the guy is beyond impressive. This video has been around for a bit now but the tone he’s getting from his Bongo is right up my alley! I’ve never played a Bongo (and hate to say it but I do struggle with their looks) but man does he make it sing!

  2. marc40a

    marc40a Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2002
    Boston MA
    I can't hear the bongo tone, just the chorus pedal.
    pedroims and crobasster like this.
  3. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    I hear it just fine. Bongos sound great. I'd like to get one some day.
  4. songwriter21

    songwriter21 I have an obsession for wood. The musical kind. Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2005
    Sponsored by Hipshot
    I'm not a Bongo fan, but a Larue fan, yes. His playing with The Dixie Dregs, Steve Morse, and John Petrucci kicks some serious butt.
  5. jmattbassplaya


    Jan 13, 2008
    I owned a Bongo. Sick bass but too many knobs. I always found mine hard to dial in on gigs compared to my StingRays. Then the Big Al came out and I had total options paralysis lol. Cool vid!
  6. ronknor


    Mar 18, 2021
    I had a Bongo and have hated my decision to sell it from day one. I’d give a limb to get it back. Plays great and sounds better.
    jjk2007 likes this.
  7. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    That is, quite simply, the perfect tone for what they are playing in that video. It has just enough mids and highs to really cut (without too much of the annoying burp associated with a jazz bridge pickup) and yet plenty of beef to carry the bottom when needed.
  8. bovinehost

    bovinehost Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: Ernie Ball Music Man/Sterling By Music Man
    I was poking at Dave one day in the car, can't remember now where we were going or why I was in a car with Dave LaRue but sometimes things just happen. Anyway, I was telling him that I suspected the factory put something in his basses that they did not put in mine. We joked around about it for a while and then there was a lull in the conversation.
    He looked over at me and said, quite seriously, "Practice. It's just practice."

    Dave has practiced a LOT. And also, Bongos are glorious.
  9. NOVAX


    Feb 7, 2009
    He was rehearsing at a theater I worked at in San Diego, and I swear the man has worn the same fanny pack since 1985.
  10. smeet

    smeet Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    I’ve seen the Dregs quite a few times, with three different bassists, all of them great: Andy West, Jerry Peek, and Dave LaRue. Anyone that can play those parts is a world class player, so what differentiates them is the tone and stage presence. Dave was probably the most relaxed and fun of the three. The Dregs’ music is fast and dense, and Peek’s tone was the clearest and most audible. He played with a pick and had a bright sound. West had a great aggressive Alembic sound, but not as defined in the mix. LaRue had the warmest (and sadly probably the least defined) tone of the three, playing MusicMan basses fingerstyle. I don’t think I ever saw him play a Bongo, I bet that would have sounded clearer than the scoopy stingray tone.

    Anyway, Dave is an outstanding player and seems like a really nice guy. And Bongos rock. My current one is an HH BFR 6-string. Killer instrument! It looks and feels great, and has just the right amount of controls. :)
  11. SpazzTheBassist


    Jun 20, 2006
    I wanted a Bongo but couldn't handle the look.....its one if the reasons why I got the HH Ray instead
    baxter_x likes this.
  12. Epitaph04

    Epitaph04 Always overcompensating Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2010
    Watching Dave Larue play live with Flying Colors was a real treat, especially when he brought out a red Bongo 5 during “More”. That low B had some serious low end and growl. Also saw him play once with his solo band. Sounded just like in the videos I’d seen of him for years.
  13. lancimouspitt


    Dec 10, 2008
    dayton Ohio
    I really think the bongo should be a signature bass for Larue.
    I’m not saying signature basses are the end all pinnacle for bass players but if anyone deserves one….
  14. Cowboy in Latvia

    Cowboy in Latvia

    Mar 1, 2015
    [sarcasm] Just remember, none of the tone comes from the bass, none from the pickups, amp or pedals. All of the tone resides in the fingers. You will sound like you (read exactly the same) whether you play on a dollar store kids ukulele or an Alembic playing through 6 SVTs daisy-chained together into 12-810s. [/sarcasm]
    mdogs and David McIntire like this.
  15. lug

    lug Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx

    First time I ever wanted a Bongo was listening to these guys.

    Check out Colin Edwin using one live in Porcupine Tree as well. Amazing sounding.
  16. Erik Turkman

    Erik Turkman Supporting Member

    Jan 18, 2004
    Washington, DC area
    Even though he’s been playing MM basses for years, I still associate Dave with Spector basses. Back in the olden days, I used to hear him in small bars playing with his band Stretch. Great stuff. I agree that he’s a nice guy and cares about education.
  17. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    True Story: Late 1970s at Berklee, it might have been my freshman year, I was living in the dorms at 150 Mass Ave which is also the building that had all the ensemble practice rooms in the basement, which you could reserve for sessions yadda-yadda-yadda... A bunch of my friends and I had reserved a room to jam, so we go down there at the scheduled time and there's a guy already in the room, alone, practicing bass, shedding some ridiculously hard stuff.

    He looked up at us, said "Sorry, you've got the room now? I'll leave" but we were like "No, stick around, jam with us!" So he did.

    Holy crap. I had never seen/heard a bass player in person tearing things up like that! Astonishing tone, touch, and chops. And this was several years before anybody knew who he was
    ...and several years before I realized in hindsight that I'd just jammed with Dave Larue.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2021
  18. rtav

    rtav Millionaire Stuntman, Half-Jackalope

    Dec 12, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    I love Dave LaRue - he handles everything thrown at him with a smile and mind-bending technique.

    One of the best bassists in the world.
    jimkelly and jjk2007 like this.
  19. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Sounds like a MusicMan. Bring it, haters. EBMM has made fantastic sounding basses for almost 50 years. No apologies if you don’t like the body shape, no apologies if you don’t like the headstock or the pickups being not P or J. These basses slay.

    And FWIW I have always been a huge Morse fan, my personal favorite EBMM is the bass version of the Morse Sabre guitar in Steve Morse’s trans blue. So yeah, Leo got it right with MM and Morse is still one of the best 6 slingers and Larue is fantastic as usual.
    bovinehost, Bajo Clarkko and jjk2007 like this.
  20. David McIntire

    David McIntire

    Apr 5, 2020
    Sarcastic or not, this is exactly what happened to me. I tried a million basses, rigs, pedals, rack gear, chasing my heroes' tones. And every time I sounded just like me. It finally sunk in. Just play.

    On the LaRue front, the guy is one of my first influences. They called him the Human Octave Box. Doubling Morse', and others, guitar riffs perfectly. His articles in BP, GP, and others taught me tons as a young player. He's a great teacher. And a great guy.

    As far as the Bongo? Well, I spent years trying to cop LaRue's Sterling and Spector tones. Neither bass worked for me. But I tried and tried. Recently, I set up a Bongo for a buddy of mine. Lots of little things made the bass uncomfortable in a playability sense. After I was thru, the bass played like a Fodera. And it was glorious! I borrow that bass to record and perform with on occasion. The Bongo may look funny, but it's the only Ernie Ball bass I would consider owning.

    Thanks fer this post. I'd almost forgotten Mr Larue. I wanna go back and get inspired again. Dave LaRue roolz.
    jjk2007 likes this.
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