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Gauging what to bring

Discussion in 'Ask Justin Meldal-Johnsen' started by iceberg, Oct 4, 2010.


  1. iceberg

    iceberg

    Oct 30, 2006
    Silver Lake, CA
    This one's more of a conceptual question i suppose. What's your philosophofee on bringing gear to a sesh/gig? I ask because i've become a bit of a pedal junky of late but not all sessions/gigs are pedal savvy/stoked clients. As much as I'd love to roll up to every gig with my relatively pretentious board, i know there's times when i have to scale it back.

    Main reason I'm asking is because said board is in the creation process, and I'm trying to decide what all to put on it and how. I'm running a bypass strip now (so stoked to not have to disassemble/reassemble board for every sesh!) but reagardless of the clean chain, I know some times just having an M9 in view can be a vibe killer.

    But nobody wants to have to say "Well I've got that sound at home..."

    Thoughts?
     
  2. jmjbassplayer

    jmjbassplayer Justin Meldal-Johnsen Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2005
    I keep stuff in a bag, then bring a small board with me to mix and match on, on site. Though I will usually concoct something before I leave the house with the project in mind. And yes, it's important to keep what's visible in the "cool"category for some clients...an M9 isn't particularly "cool", but it's damn useful.

    ANyway,that's for sessions where cartage is not being provided for.

    When there's cartage, it doesn't matter because the whole kit and caboodle goes with me on two huge pedalboards.

    The same applies to instruments. I'm not going to bring a Wal bass to a Beck session (though that bass is on Sea Change). :) But you know what I mean. It's just taste, judgement, practice, repetition.

    JMJ
     
  3. iceberg

    iceberg

    Oct 30, 2006
    Silver Lake, CA
    Rad, thanks! Haha apparently the constant rewire is the jam after all! I prob'ly should have thought to rewire pre session. That's a great call, especially with a dedicated mini board. Consider that move stolen [​IMG]

    Just out of curiousity, what if you've got a pedal in cartage you wanna use? Do you have to get a ton/all your stuff to get it out there?
     
  4. jmjbassplayer

    jmjbassplayer Justin Meldal-Johnsen Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2005
    I enjoy the limitations of missing something. On the other hand, I have a lot of duplicates.

    JMJ
     
  5. Jerose

    Jerose

    Nov 28, 2005
    Syracuse, NY
    Sometimes I like to think your gear storage looks like this:

    2el5q3a.jpg

    And somewhere in there you have the "Ark of the Covenant"-like, face-melting pedal. Or hundreds of them. :D
     
  6. jmjbassplayer

    jmjbassplayer Justin Meldal-Johnsen Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2005
    LOL!!!! Awesome. No, alas, it's far more minimal. And soon, I'm going to sell a bunch of unused items that'll free up more space.

    JMJ
     
  7. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    you said that a year ago ;)

    just thought of a good question...would it still be possible to navigate through the wilds of your scene in la with only one bass and no effects? is there a bare minimum you're expected to bring on master sessions?
     
  8. jmjbassplayer

    jmjbassplayer Justin Meldal-Johnsen Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2005
    I know...I sold a batch, but have a new batch I need to prepare for sale. :)

    Well, I've done sessions that were for significant records where I walked in with a p-bass, no amp, and no effects. I think a lot of time, people would like to see a solid body with rounds, one with flats, and a hollow body. That's a safe bet on most gigs.

    JMJ
     
  9. plasson

    plasson

    Mar 21, 2005
    I'm curious though: don't your clients show you the piece you're going to record days before the session?
    wouldn't it be better for both parties (you walk in with less gear, they get exactly what they want by asking it in advance)?

    as a long time reader of your forum, what I think I figured out is that for some sessions you just go there without even knowing the piece you are going to record.
    is that it?
    why not giving you a rough recording in advance (you could even have more time to make a good bass line)?

    but maybe I'm just totally off the track.
     
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    not all clients do that. sometimes they don't have anything to show you and you all just go in and wing it, or you might work from chord charts or sheet music.

    btw, thanks for helping bring back hollow bodies. you and allen woody were the main guys for bringing them back into popular music, and it's very cool that you did, especially when my hollow body weighs only 4 1/2 lbs!
     
  11. jmjbassplayer

    jmjbassplayer Justin Meldal-Johnsen Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2005
    Well, I can't take that credit, but you're welcome nonetheless! I suppose I helped to create some awareness in a time when it was quite a tiny niche, I guess.

    JMJ
     
  12. jmjbassplayer

    jmjbassplayer Justin Meldal-Johnsen Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2005
    For about 80% of my sessions, if not more, I walk in having never heard anything before the session. So regarding the gear, either the producer will give me general requests, or simply leave it to my discretion. It goes both ways.

    JMJ
     
  13. OP, when you say "sesh/gig" do you mean live gigs as well ? Going into a live gig I've found it best to have pre-assembled pedalboards with (almost) exactly only what I'll need for that show (maybe one improv-oriented toy if it calls for it).

    Most minimal = less set up time, less problems, and less evil looks for busting out a Ring Mod unexpectedly

    unless you are straight up improv craziness, you should already know what sounds for what songs......
    .....if you didn't mean "live gigs" then nevermind this post entirely
     
  14. plasson

    plasson

    Mar 21, 2005
    80%?!?!
    holy #*%(, didn't think it was that much.

    and can I ask you why is it that they don't give you anything in advance?
    creativity matters?
    last minute arrangements?
    they just don't give a dam about bass cause it only goes "BUM-BUM"? :D
     
  15. jmjbassplayer

    jmjbassplayer Justin Meldal-Johnsen Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2005
    I dunno, plasson. It's probably just better if I react to a song spontaneously. Write out a chart listening down once or twice, then start f*&#ing about. It's very common in LA to walk in not having heard anything. And I think it's been that way since recorded music began, frankly. We're expected to be a very quick study and an intuitive reactor to the music...to come up with ideas on the spot.

    onionpuzzle, I mean sessions...for live gigs, I always have something pre-made. But of course, there's usually a rehearsal as well. For instance, I have a one-off gig next month w/ Cass McCombs here in LA, so I'll bring a few extra bits to rehearsal then consolidate it down. I'm sure most of you do the same.

    JMJ
     
  16. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    lol! they do that with everybody.

    if they have something to give you, why do they need you, right? it's really not that hard for people who are used to it.
     
  17. plasson

    plasson

    Mar 21, 2005
    interesting.
    thanks for the answers, both of you!
     
  18. ShoeManiac

    ShoeManiac Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2006
    New Jersey
    Does the old notion of recording studio engineers wanting to see a Fender bass still exist? I've heard the stories, but I've never come across that personally. Probably since I almost always have a Fender with me at a session.

    And with the hollowbody, is there any kind of predisposition for your clients toward vintage (or vintage looking) instruments?
     
  19. jmjbassplayer

    jmjbassplayer Justin Meldal-Johnsen Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2005
    Yes and yes. Absolutely.
     
  20. ShoeManiac

    ShoeManiac Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2006
    New Jersey
    Should have expected the vintage snobbery. Can one get away with something like a Nash J or P bass without incident?

    And regarding the hollowbody - are you using rounds or flats on yours? I've got nylon tapewounds on my Epiphone Jack Casady bass, but I'm not sure how potential clients will react to that.
     
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