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Fernando Saunders setup? Looking for that "New Sensations" sound

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Worldeeeter, Apr 5, 2014.

  1. Worldeeeter

    Worldeeeter Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2010
    Asheville, NC
    I'm sure there are some Fernando Saunders fans on here. I'm looking to get a 5-string (lined) fretless, and I'm very interested in the tone Fernando had on the New Sensations (Lou Reed) album.
    If you know what gear he was using on that album, I really appreciate any info you can provide. Specifically, I'm interested in the pickups / electronics in the bass he used.

  2. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    I don't know about the LR album but here is some FS for you:

  3. Jjango


    Nov 16, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Fernando Saunders is a great (and under-appreciated) player!

    When he played with Lou, he used a natural P-Bass with a fretless maple fingerboard. His P-Bass also has TWO additional pickups: a Jazz pickup by the bridge, and, if you look closely, another Jazz pickup, this one between the P-pup and the fingerboard.


    The bridge appears to be non-standard, but it's hard to figure out exactly what kind it is.

    The video "A Night With Lou Reed" was filmed within a year of New Sensations, features Saunders, and the whole concert (playlist) is on YouTube here.

    You can get a fairly good look at Saunders' P-Bass on the song Women: https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PL8A0416040D65FAB9&feature=player_detailpage&v=OZ5xKQdqZ0Y#t=75
  4. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011
    That's the same bass he used with John McLaughlin's One Truth Band back around 1979...but in between I know he did a lot of work with Lou Reed on a Modulus fretless 5-string.
  5. That drop D bass line on New Sensations is fantastic.
  6. bluesblaster


    Jan 2, 2008
    great record, one of my favorite Lou Reed albums
  7. StereoPlayer


    Aug 29, 2010
    He's a great guy on FB too! Have chatted with him a couple of times.

    I think he's best with Jan Hammer!
    nofretz likes this.
  8. Worldeeeter

    Worldeeeter Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2010
    Asheville, NC
    I messaged him, but never heard back.
    Hopefully I'm on his waiting list!

    Here's a live vid from 1985; he's playing something loaded with EMGs (P/J).
    Any idea on the bass?

  9. StereoPlayer


    Aug 29, 2010
    For some reason, he's got two pages. One is monitored by his manager and won't accept messages.

    He's from Detroit, maybe he saw I was from mi too!

    I saw him with Jan hammer, oh yea album concert in MI
    He said he was just a kid for that tour.
    I would link him, but....I left FB world....
  10. Squinty Jones

    Squinty Jones Bravely eating @ MacDonald's Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2004

    That's an early post pickguard, pre-Pilot logo Guild Pilot bass factory fretless. It has a model number but I can't keep up with that... It sounds fine in this setting! Bruce Springsteen's Gary Tallent used one around that time too!
  11. StereoPlayer


    Aug 29, 2010
    No idea on that bass. When I saw him, he was playing a Fender P with and added humbucker. He also played a 4001 RIC with piccolo strings on the song Oh Yeah!

    He's the reason I switched from frets and played fretless since the '70's.
    He's got and unique sound regardless which bass or amp he used.

    I still used some of his licks from the Hammer and John M. Albums.
  12. Worldeeeter

    Worldeeeter Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2010
    Asheville, NC

    Great info! Any idea on the preamp in that model? I think it sounds really good, even live.
    The fretless 5 that I end up with will have a composite/graphite neck; I want to get Fernando's warm, smooth fretless sound, and hope to achieve something close via the pickups and electronics.
  13. Squinty Jones

    Squinty Jones Bravely eating @ MacDonald's Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2004
    PM sent
  14. insain


    Apr 21, 2008
    I'm a big Lou fan. Can't believe he's gone. FS work with Lou is awesome. It's made me get my fretless out and give it another go
  15. i am in touch with Fernando - he has been living in Europe and his son has had some real success in his music career over there - I told him about this posting and sent him the link and he said he would give me a ring when things settle down a bit...

    Patience is a virtue....
  16. Worldeeeter

    Worldeeeter Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2010
    Asheville, NC
    Very cool!!! Thanks so much!
  17. Sorry for the big delay on this. I missed Fernando's earlier calls, but he finally caught me today. He is doing well in the Czech Republic, playing a lot and doing some production work. His son is also doing very well and they both have some tunes happening for them over there.

    He was a bit pressed for time, but what he said about "New Sensations" was this:

    "For that tune I used a Modulus 5 string with a graphite neck. I tuned the B string to D so there were two open "D"s. I didn't use any effects it was all in my fingers".

    I realize it is not everything you are looking for, but I will try to have a more relaxed conversation at a future time and pry out some more detail....


  18. Worldeeeter

    Worldeeeter Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2010
    Asheville, NC
    OK, that is awesome! The fact that you were able to touch base with Fernando is great. If you do get that chance to have a more detailed conversation, I'd love to know the preamp and pickups that were in that Modulus.
    The tuning also explains a lot; if you listen closely to that song, he plays a little riff at the end of each line of the verses, and I couldn't figure out how he made it sound the way he did with his fingers. Now I know - two low D strings!
    I can get really close, but I'm fingering the "D" on the low B string, and it's more work, as I'm sliding down from 6th fret to 3rd fret on the E string, then quickly hitting the D on the B string. Not terribly difficult, but it took some practice.
    Thanks again!
  19. Hey Worldeeeter

    Anytime - Knowing a bit about Fernando over the years - I don't think he is a big MOD guy when it comes to his basses. I would be pretty comfortable telling you that the Modulus Graphite 5 is probably stock as far as pickups and electronics go. I will double check with him, we will be speaking again soon - but that is my gut.


  20. WOW, Fernando just shared this link with me this morning. Typically awesome bass and vocals with Suzanne Vega:


    Lou Reed - Animal Serenade (Full Live Album) (HQ)
    Animal Serenade is a Lou Reed live album recorded in Los Angeles at the Wiltern Theatre in 2003 after The Raven. The show features a drummer-less band (including Mike Rathke on guitar/synth, bassist Fernando Saunders, and the cello of Jane Scarpantoni). Reed delivers dramatic readings of some of his most compelling work. In addition, Antony Hegarty, of Antony and the Johnsons fame, contributes background vocals throughout and sings the lead on "Set The Twilight Reeling" and "Candy Says." Fernando Saunders plays bass and other instruments. He did background vocals on most songs and sang lead vocals on "Tell It to Your Heart" & "Reviens Cherie", scat on "Sunday Morning". Three songs were performed during the concert, but did not appear on the album: "Sweet Jane", "The Last Shot" and "Perfect Day" (sung in duet with Antony). "Sweet Jane" is available by digital download. Animal Serenade was produced by Lou Reed and Fernando Saunders.

    Here is the video:

    Worldeeeter likes this.