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Greetings - Looking for feedback

Discussion in 'Barker Bass Forum' started by Glotzer, Oct 15, 2006.


  1. Glotzer

    Glotzer

    Oct 15, 2006
    I e-mailed Lee with some questions about the Barker Basses. He suggested I post something here and see what others had to say about it.

    I'm currently playing a Fender Jazz Bass. I like it, but I'm looking for something different. I want something that can be the Bass, the foundation in a group, as well as cut through melodically at times. My favorite players are a combination of upright (Paul Chambers, Larry Grenadier, Peter Washington, Willie Dixon) and electric (Jamerson, Duck Dunn, Willie Weeks). I'd love to find a bass that can help me play both styles on one instrument.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I had the good fortune to pay Lee a visit several weeks back. I had a lot of the same questions.

    The Barker's all have a wonderful, big, fat, powerful tone. The vertical neck position can be a bit disconcerting however. Given a week or two of one on one time, I felt that I could be as fluid on the vertical neck as I am on the transverse neck.


    The B1 has all of the "Foundation" that any 2 bands could want simultaneously! It has a very "Upright" type vibe. The B2 has great, spanky "Cut Through" crispiness. The B2, while sharing the vertical orientation of the B1, has the heart and soul of an electric bass.

    I hope this will be helpful.
     
  3. Why not!? Maybe a fretted and fretless!
     
  4. yodedude2

    yodedude2 Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2005
    san antonio, texas
    my .02: I have a Barker B1 that I gig with once a week or so. I love it. Great tone, easy to play, stable tuning, no headaches or problems ever. I put Bartolini pickups in mine. I also use La Bella nylon tapewounds. I added an on/off switch to the bridge pickup pot to make it easier to adjust the sound depending on what song gets called out next.
    To my ears, the Barker rides a nice line between acoutic and electric tone, but leans toward the electric side. Lots of sustain! Our set list varies from Tenesee Waltz to Superstition and the B1 covers it all. Bonus points for stage presence and ease of play.
    BTW, I had absolutely no problems adjusting to the vertical playing position, even though I had only played horizontal basses in the past. I have to adjust to playing bass horizontally (but never knew it before! LOL)
    Best way is to try one....hope this helps, ron
     
  5. Doug Mancini

    Doug Mancini

    Oct 25, 2005
    I'd like to begin with, besides my Barker B1, I also play a ' 58 Fender P-Bass and a ' 66 Jazz. I've used every one of these basses in a variety of styles of music, no one particular bass for any specific style of music, YOUR sound begins in your hands. You mentioned a few of your favorite players were; Willie Weeks, Donald "Duck" Dunn and Willie Dixon, I'll guarantee you any one of these masters would sound like only "they" could sound no matter what bass they played, your bass and rig are only an extension of your musical self , it starts with your heart and soul, then your hands and technique. If your playing a good Jazz Bass right now and don't feel you can play any style with that, I don't know what to tell you. To get a good old school "upright" tone on ANY bass, my first suggestion would be to put some heavy "flats" on there and raise the action a bit (Jamerson set-up). This would go for whatever bass you chose to play. I can tell you "The Barker Vertical Bass" will give you that awesome "Jazz" tone and MORE, due to the Barker "chambered" Body". Lee Barker did not design The "Barker Vertical Bass" as an electric upright, it's an electric bass played vertically, which by the way is a "breeze" to play, which was Lee's primary intention. (It is incredibly easy to adapt to. I'm not an upright player per-se, but it literally took me about five seconds to feel right at home on my Barker).The fretted Barker B1 is similar to the Jazz (pick-ups and control configuration), but the chambered body gives the Barker bass such color and depth, hence "THE BARKER TONE". I'd also recommend trying a fretless Barker with LaBella tapewounds, talk about the most incredible fretless "tone" your ears could ever hope to embrace, that's "it" man. I've had the extreme pleasure of demonsrating the Barker Vertical Bass at NAMM '05 and '06,(Thank you Lee and Linda) and I always got a kick when bassists would come up and stare at this beautiful but unusual instrument, and say; " I don't play upright", I'd tell them to just try it. That's all it took,we couldn't get these players off the thing once they started playing. The best part was seeing the expressions, not only on THEIR faces, but also on the faces of everyone passing by and stopping as soon as they heard the Barker's "TONE". I don't know if I've been of any help, (I'm writing this after a four day gig spree with about six hours sleep.) The bottom line here is, like anything pertaining to music, let your ears be your guide. I can sincerely say no matter what Barker Vertical Bass you choose, you'll be making one of the best choices of your musical career. All the best to you and remember, keep it in the pocket!
    Doug
     
  6. Well Glotzer, I would have to echo most of Doug's reply. I too play a 63' Jazz Bass, (which I bought new) and a 59' P Bass, which I bought in 1968. I have several other basses as well, but since you're talking Fender and Barker, I'll keep it there.

    You mentioned a few of the Bass men who also have had a profound affect on me. Being from Memphis, I was able to catch a lot of Duck Dunn. Some of the groups I worked in shared billing with the MG's, so I got some ear time from Duck. Duck may have invented “The Groove”. I personally consider Jamerson to be one of the best. I’m still in awe of some of his Motown work. Willie Dixon would come through Memphis often in the sixties and seventies, and our paths would occasionally cross on the road. I was also greatly influenced by my good friend Tommy Cogbill. Check out Tommy’s work some time.

    I also admired John Entwistle’s work. He gave me my first set of Rotosound strings when we were talking bass during a show in 1969. They all had their own signature sound, and my bass sounded different with Duck playing it than it did when I played it. Individual feel and technique…I’m sure you’ve experienced it.

    My Jazz Bass has LaBella 760 Flats on it, with a fairly high action. (As Doug mentioned) It has a very solid, big fat tone, and it is very requested by the engineers in the studios when I'm booked for a session. (It’s the bass in my avatar picture) Look up some John Weston or Paul Wood (Paul was John Lee Hooker's guitar man for several years) recordings. Most of those were done on the Jazz.

    I've got to say, however...Since I've had my Barker B1, I have not used any of my other Basses on any shows or in any session work.

    So far, I've been able to get the tone I need, and meet the expectations and requirements of those who I work for, or with, with My Barker B1...any I sometimes work with some very opinionated musicians. (An opinionated Musician? Imagine that! )

    I also play upright, using a 1942 Epiphone B4 3/4 Bass. I worked a Jazz gig this last Sunday afternoon with Joyce Cobb, a well known Memphis Jazz singer, and Nora Burns, another well respected Memphis guitarist and singer. I used the Barker, and they both absolutely loved it.

    I'm not suggesting the Barker is a replacement for an upright. I don't think Lee had that in mind conceptually. What I am saying is that with a little work, and spending some time learning and understanding the capabilities of the Barker, it will become an extremely versatile instrument, and will serve your needs as a Bassist in many ways. I can certainly say it has for me, and I’m still a student of the Barker. (And the Bass as well). I really can’t see how you would go wrong. If you decide to give it a try, let us here on the forum know. Thanks, Leo
     

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