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Gospel Bass Players: What's in your rig?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Mario Lewis, May 20, 2002.

  1. Mario Lewis

    Mario Lewis

    Jul 6, 2001
    Clinton, MD
    My main venue is live Gospel. Sunday mornings, some evenings, and at least once or twice a week, I'm at some church backing up a choir w/ 30 to 40+ voices, playing along with at least a Hammond B3, mic'd drums, maybe another Keyboard, and on a rare cassion, a lead guitar. and competing with HORRIBLE accoustics. I never get a line to the board. For regular gigs in average size churches, I play either my Epi 212 or both of my Epi 112's On a rare occassion, I'll bring all three of them for a monsterous stack!! My tone is routed through an Alembic F1X and SF2 into a QSC 3002 for up to 3000 watts of power (1500 to each side Max, averaging about 1200 though - 1200 to the 212 and 600 to each of the 112's depending how it's set up.) And my one and only axe is a punchy as you wanna be Ken Smith 6. No FX. Don't need them for Gospel. And when I say Gospel, I mean the genre of Fred Hammond, Hez Walker, Daryl Coley, John P. Kee, Yolanda Adams and the like.

    Other guys out there in my similar situation? I know there are. Because I run into you at the various churches I play at and you always wanna plug into my rig and check out my stuff!! What are your rigs? (And why don't you ever bring them?)

    I've been told that I'm into over-kill. But I don't think so. I never get a line to a board, so I get heard based on what I show up at the door with. And like I said, HORRIBLE ACCOUSTICS! Not that power and volume make up for horrible accoustics, but I prefer being told to turn it down rather than "We can't hear you on the second row!"

    What about placement? I try to set my rig up near the drummer and stand near him as well. Otherwise, I have to set up where I can be within eyeshot of the Organist or the director for cues. It's usually one or the other. But if I can, I'll bring one of the 112's and put it on the floor behind the drummer so that he and I are locked in while the 212 is my main "to the crowd" speaker.

    For flexibility and freedom to move around, I have added a wireless (X-Wire) but I sold it to get better gear. A used one will be my next purchase. It'll free me up to move around. And believe me, there ain't NOTHIN' BETTER than the X Wire.

    So fella's and gals out there, talk to me. Whatcha got? Whatcha usin'?
    Gospel Bass Player likes this.
  2. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    i haven't been to church in about 15 years...

    but i just have to say that i hate you for having an Xwire. :D

    lucky bastidge....
  3. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Mario, I play in small churches, mostly under 150 people.

    My amp and my bass are all I need, I don't even go through the board.
  4. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    My playing experiences sound similar to yours, except neither of the churches I play / sing at have 30 - 40 voices. In a couple weeks, though, I'll be doing a concert for our Presbytery where the mass choir will have about 30 voices. Once a year thing.

    Anyway, my set up is:

    Alembic F1X
    Alembic SF2
    Alesis Quadraverb 2
    SWR SM500
    My rack also contains an Alembic DS5-R as outboard power for my basses. I'm starting to use that less, since I'm using my wireless more.

    2 SWR Triads. I usually only use one at the church and leave one at home. For the Presbytery concert I'll consider using both.

    Alembic Custom / Series II 5 string (main axe)
    Hanewinckel Artist Ceres 6 string (backup and slap monster)
    Alembic Series I 4 string (when the mood strikes)

    I tend to leave a cabinet at church and just drag along my rack and a bass or two for rehearsals and service. I just recently acquired the Alesis. My main goal there is to use it to balance out my sound for different sized rooms without having to play around with my F1X and SF2 settings too much.


  5. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Haven't done a Gospel gig in a while but I can't imagine my current rig not working out extremely well:

    Hughes & Kettner BassBase 600 head
    two EA VL110 cabs.

    As far as basses, it's a toss-up. F Bass Studio 5, MTD 635, Fender FMT V, Brubaker NBS-1, Lakland 55-94... any of these would work very well for the kind of music you're talking about, great low B's, killer slap and fingerstyle sound.

    I'd set up near the drummer if possible. I'd only need PA support if the room was huge.
  6. I play contemporary praise and worship music at my church. it's a 1000 seat auditorium, and I use the church's Peavey BAM 210. I run through the board, just so I don't have to crank it up, and drown out everyone on stage. Suprisingly the BAM 210 can fill the auditorium quite nicely. the bass really doesn't need to go through the board.

    but anyway, I don't travel around from church to church. I'm pretty much where I'm gonna be.

    on stage I like to stand next to the drummer, somewhere where I can see his foot on his kick. I also got to be able to keep an eye on the director, something I've been slacking on lately. a lot of the songs we play, we play them the same everytime. but, sometimes he may add a few moments in the middle where we'll bring it down. I've been late on a couple of those lately because I wasn't watching.

    the basses I use are a DP custom 5, and a Dean Edge 4 fretless. I mainly use no effects, but just recently adding a Boss OC2 octave pedal into the mix on a couple spots.

    guys probably don't bring their rigs cause they plan on the church either having a bass rig, or they'll go direct into the PA and get a monitor. sounds like a bad idea to assume anything, you would hope these guys know what they're doing.
  7. O yeah, I forgot. I have played a couple other places. for that I use my Peavey Combo 300, and it's been plenty for everything I needed.

    along with being able to hear and see the drummer, I also like to have a monitor with the director's voice and guitar in the mix. makes things a little easier :) I remember one time I forgot to set myself up a monitor, what a nightmare, I'll never do that again. :eek:
  8. The church that I am a member of is a 5200 seat church in which they have a contemporary bassist. He's very good at the type of playing he does. It seems to be the recent praise and worship type jump up and down and then put you in a trance stuff. My wife loves it. He has to be there to play all the time since he is basically the only bassist there and this is a world famous church (World Harvest Church) with a famous pastor (Rod Parsley).

    I play bass for a gospel quartet. I'm a gear-a-holic and I use a Ampeg SVT 400T with a 210 Peavey TVX and Crate 1-18. It is the bomb. Then I have a Peavey Firebass 700 and another Peavey 210 and 410 TX that I have not had an opportunity to take out yet. I play more of the traditional songs (older style) and I really don't like the 5000 voice choir type thing with a director waving a magic wand, but that's just me. I agree that some bassist come without their gear and unprepared to play or perform.I usually don't let anyone use my stuff. My signature says "may the bass be with you" and that goes for amps and all of your gear too. I can't understand why you would think you could use mine without any arrangements. Okay, I lock in with the drummer also and depending on our situation do we go through the main board. Here's my group. Here's my Ampeg rig. Here's the Peavey rig. Here I am with a couple of my basses. I use the American Jazz the most.
  9. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    I already commented on my rig, but didn't discuss how/where I set up. This is a bit dicey, cause I normally like to be a bit off to the side of the drummer so I can see what he's doing in my peripheral vision. Where we are located that's not possible. I'd be blocking a walkway. So I wind up nestling in just in front of and to the left of the drummer and behind the organist. This is the reason I am starting to use my admittedly cheap and subpar Nady wireless more! I've decided that going deaf would be a bad thing. That's what will eventually happen in the location I just described. Our drummer pounds the heck out of the kick drum. Not a bad thing unless you're standing about 5 feet in front of him. Did I mention that he's on a platform? Puts the top of the drum at my shoulder level.:eek: Now that I use my wireless more, I tend to float off to the side of the organist and look back at the drummer and over to the keyboard player for my cues. This is starting to work well. I just have to remember to glance left every once in a while in case the music director or the pastor decide to change something on the fly (of course that never happens :D )


  10. I sold my wireless a couple of weeks ago also (it was a Telex) and I play next to the drummer if I can. Sometimes the areas we play will cause us to have to split up to accomodate the singers. But usually we are on a stage.
  11. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    I play regularly for Sunday morning worship. Average Sunday attendance is about 1600.

    I have the exactly opposite situation as you do.

    We have Roland V drums. A korg Triton. I plug my Bass POD Pro into the board with no amp. Guitar player runs DI also, using a Bassman 50 and a Marshall SE100 on full soak.

    Only acoustic instruments are auxilary percussion and piano. Huge open stage so volume is not a problem.

    It took a while to get used to, but I have grown to love the sound. The EAW monitors we have sound great and the house subs give me plenty of thump.

    I have grown to love going DI. All you need is a $75,000 PA.

    WOW, I just noticed that was my 1000 POST!!!!!!!!!
    Gospel Bass Player likes this.
  12. pshift


    May 30, 2003
    Downstate NY
    I play for a church in NYC. Approximate attendance 150 people. I sit between the drummer and the organist (Hammond B3 Leslie). I currently use the following:

    Carvin Equipment:
    LB75, RL600 Series III, RC210 Cabinet

    Peavey 1X15 Cabinet, Digitech BP-200, Behringer DI-200
    Gospel Bass Player likes this.
  13. RevGroove

    RevGroove Commercial User

    Jul 21, 2002
    Burlington ON Canada
    Manager, Account Services: Long & McQuade Ltd. (Burlington); MTD Kingston Basses International Emerging Artist; Bartolini Electronics Emerging Artist
    Mario, I would LOVE to talk to you off list some time about playing in live Gospel situations.

    My church is about 500+, we meet in a high school and rotate two worship teams (with a possible third to be added in the new year...) and it varies from week to week.

    I bring my own rig (and that goes for gigs too, unless I'm specifically told otherwise...), the other bassist(s) use the churches beat up Fender Bassman 200...sounds more like a guitar amp, and the speaker is fading fast! Here's my rig:


    Spector NS2000/5 (neck thru), modified with EMG DCs, stock EMG BTS, run at 18V

    Spector NS2000Q5 (bolt on)with stock EMG HZs, EMG BTS, also run at 18V.


    SWR Workingman's 4004 head (260 watts at 8 ohms, 400 watts at 4 ohms)


    Boss PW-10 Virtual Wah pedal (in line)
    dbx 266XL Compressor/Gate (effects loop)
    dbx 120A Subharmonic Synthesizer (effects loop)


    SWR Professional Goliath III 4x10 speaker at 4 ohms (700 watts)

    The team I'm on is more groove oriented, more of a gospel or jazz feel, but I sometimes *have to* sub in on the other team...which is more guitar driven CCM style. On that team...I'm always told that I'm too loud...have to turn down for them :spit: but on *my* team, I'm always told to crank it...which I like!

    I hate going direct...the sound guys rarely get it right unfortunately...so I usually use an Audix D4 Bass/Kick Drum mike to send the signal to the board...I mic the driver on the top right hand side...or sometimes I use an SM57. Some gigs, I use the DI out as well as the D4 and mix the signals...really nice!

    Whatever the situation, I try to go right beside the drummer. At church, I put the cab beside me facing the stage rather than the congregation, and let the mic and the PA do it's thing (otherwise the sound guy's get frightened!) I then also run the DI to the powered keyboard wedge we use for the second monitor mix and run it into the second channel, so the drummer has that little extra oopmh that he can adjust to his liking. For gigs, the cab faces the audience.

    Edit: wow, I didn't realise this thread was about 18 months old!!!
    Gospel Bass Player likes this.
  14. I play in a 150 member church, 4 choirs, with a traveling gospel choir.

    Live gospel is the joint. It's always variable, you have to follow the director and choir, and be ready to change up at a moments notice.

    I play a Yamaha TRB5-II bass, through a GK400 AMP into an SWR TRIAD

    Gospel Bass Player likes this.
  15. Mario Lewis

    Mario Lewis

    Jul 6, 2001
    Clinton, MD
    Live gospel is Da Joint! It keeps you sharp. And trying to imitate licks and riffs that are on the recordings ain't good enough. You know everybodys gonna practice that stuff and know it cold come morning service. You've got to be able to bring in your own stuff, AND DO IT ON THE FLY with the whims of the Spirit. And nothing is more moving than when it all comes together. And you didn't rehearse it that way!!! It also helps to have an open minded partner on the Hammond (or other keys). I'm 35 years old and came up pretty much in the post Disco era, but the grooves we get in the genre of morning worship and the reaction of the musically inclined (those folks in the know).... Ain't nothing like it.

    We went from Hez Walker's We Made It to the Gap Band's Outstanding, and right into John Kee's He Keep's on Making A Way.... we didn't rehearse the changes, and it was truly nirvana.
    Gospel Bass Player likes this.
  16. hands5


    Jan 15, 2003
    good 'ol USA/Tampa fla.
    My Man I Feel Ya !on this one because it's the same way at the church I play at and it's only 4 of us. 2 keyboardist(YOUNG AND "OFF THE HOOK")a drummer who's 16 (now watch this !)who actually sits in the pocket:eek: but yet can unleash the fury when needed.Mario man I gotta tellya we "Bring the Noise EVERY SUNDAY.As far as equipment goes there is a thread here at TB on Church rigs that I chatted about and you can read my thread there however instead of using the 2 SWR SM 500'S that I was using I'm now going thru a Crown Micro Tech power amp/Alembic FX1 preamp and added 2x12 Aguilar cabinet we still are going to keep the SWR'S though.Basically I'm playing my MTD 635 on mostly all the songs (which are pretty much the same songs that you guys do)except for Hezzy's stuff.I actually use a Fender Jazz for that stuff because 1 of Hez'bass player Reggie Parker plays 1 on there stuff and that tone is real prevelent on his stuff but with us we could be doing Commision and then go right in to Dave Hollister or jahiem right on the fly.Hey man we actually do "Rain"(SWV,and Norman Brown)during Ties/offerings then go right into Rescue Me by John P.Kee.As you say it is Truly Nivarna.

    BTW I'm 40 so I can relate.:oops:
    Gospel Bass Player likes this.
  17. Much love to all the gospel bass players out there ! It is great to have this kind of community to share thoughts and ideas. I play regularly to a church size of approx 50. During special services or anniversaries the number can grow to 350-500 depending on the venue. My standard rig consists of a GK 1001rb 2x10 combo and GK SBX 1x15 cab for 540 watts @ 4 ohms. For larger events I use both the GK SBX 1x15 and GK Backline 4x10. It does get the job done quite nicely with headroom to spare. I rely on my own setup without floor support.
  18. Jhengsman


    Oct 17, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    We seat around 200 with a 15 member choir. Keys/piano occasionally a second piano player joins in. Electric and acoustic guitar two percussionist and a drummer in the traps. For the past year it has been mainly CCM but for the 6 years or so before that we went from US Gospel to Afro Beat to CCM. I have a Carvin MB15 pointed towards the drummer and myself on one wing of the stage to supplement the monitors and send a line out to the PA. The guitars, percusion and keys are on the other wing. With the choir in the center.

    When I first started our keys player moved me towards his side so he could call out numbers to me but he moved on and now the current keys player is the rookie so we lost those improvisational abilities as he will play what he sees on a lyric/chord chart
  19. Sav'nBass

    Sav'nBass Supporting Member

    Jan 18, 2009
    Northern Va.
    We do mainly CCM with some hymns and some gospel. Our church usually seats 1000-1600 give or take and I primarily share bass duties with another bass player. We no longer have amps on stage except for the guitarist, which actually kind of ticks me off... because I feel that if we are going to go amples then everyone should be ampless. We don't even have monitors .. at least I don't. I use IEMs. I generally just bring my bass. Not even my B3 anymore as according to the sound guy it makes my bass too hot..... When we did use amps I used to use my SL900 through a Avatar B212.
  20. I'm in a praise band of between 5 and 10, depending on if crops need tending to or not. We're a small country church out in the farm land and sometimes the crops need be cut before a big rain hits. So, we just take what we get each Sunday. The room was built when a huge business was talking about moving nearby, so it can seat maybe 300. But that business closed soon after and a good Sunday we have about 100. I have two Warwicks and only take one. I go DI from my amp where I send a post signal - that means I can raise or lower my volume in the FOH sub. I use only one IEM so I always have one ear open to 'hear' our directors instructions. We rehearse at 8am on Sundays and occasionally on Thursday evenings. I don't take any other gear and haven't needed anything else. We go from "Beulah Land" to "Salt and Light" to "He Knows What He's Doing." Many of our original church members are now in their 70s up to 90s. So we have to be aware of hearing loss, differences in musical tastes, etc. God is good and the little church is slowly growing. It's good to be a small part of that.
    embellisher likes this.

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