Jeff Berlin's basses before his Dean signature model?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by phxlbrmpf, Sep 22, 2005.

  1. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    I'm currently listening to Bill Bruford's "Gradually Going Tornado" from the 80s with Jeff on bass, and while his playing (and vocals!) come across as a bit obnoxious at times, he's still cool to listen to. Oh, and the rest of the music's cool, too!

    Granted, he could probably be playing pretty much anything with a bridge pickup, but part of me still would like to know what basses he was using back then. I did a search and couldn't really find any helpful threads. Does anyone know?
  2. j-raj

    j-raj Bassist: Educator/Soloist/Performer Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2003
    Atlanta, GA!
    I think that he used to have the Peavey Palladium bass as a sig model previous to the Dean sig models.
  3. Essexbass


    Nov 8, 2003
    Reading, U.K.
    If you watch his "Starlicks" video, Jeff has a Fender P-Bass with a Jazz neck. The bass has 2 Bartolini humbuckers & a Badass bridge on it. At the time the video was made, only the rear pickup was working :confused: .

    My best guess would be that this was the bass (with both pickups in action) used for that album.

  4. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Fender Ps and Js, modded with BadAss bridge, Bartolini pickups and Carl Thompson strings.


    Prior to the Dean he also had a Peavey Palladium signature model.
  5. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    I see, thanks a lot!
    So much for Bartolini pickups being so "dark" sounding, I guess. But then again, judging from those pictures, his rear pickup is pretty close to the bridge which may have added much of the brightness, I guess.
  6. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    In the early '80s, I attended a clinic with Berlin...he was playing a prototype Yamaha bass(possibly a signature bass-to-be that never happened?)

    IIRC, Yamaha was the sponsor of his clinic 'tour'.
  7. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    Jeff also used a Black 60's Jazz bass, with the Blonde bass.
    Back In the 70's, Early 80's.
    This bass also had Badass bridge, Bart pickups, and C.T. strings.
  8. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    He used to be skinny. Great player. Maybe the greatest improvisor we have on the instrument.
  9. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Both the Peavey and Dean basses are essentially recreations of his modified P...alder body, J-taper neck twin soapbars (real Barts on the Dean), Badass.
  10. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I own a Palaedium. Fantastic bass.

    On the "Anderson Bruford Wakeman and Howe" video from before he had the Peavey signature model Jeff is playing a Tobias 4.
  11. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    In 1981 or so, I saw him at a small club in Boston playing standards (sitting with a Real Book open on his lap). This was during the heyday of Jaco, and I remember getting the impression that Jeff was an even greater jazz soloist. (No reliance on licks, and a deep, deep understanding of harmony. Plus amazingly fluid chops, etc.) He was playing a Precision with (I think) a single soapbar pickup (EMG or Bartolini).
    I was so inspired that I ran all the way home and started to practice, which is what Jeff is all about.
    BMGecko likes this.
  12. Yeah, I have a Guitar World magazine from '89 that has a Yamaha ad with Jeff Berlin and Billy Sheehan. There are no models listed. Its just a cheeesey picture of them wearing sunglasses and basically saying "We play Yamaha!" :confused:
  13. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    He used to endorse Yamaha amplification back then.
  14. zombywoof5050


    Dec 20, 2001
    The neck on that bass (at least I think it is that particular bass) is actually a neck that was custom made for him by Michael Tobias.
  15. westland


    Oct 8, 2004
    Hong Kong
    I saw Jeff when he came to Hong Kong last year and played with some of our solo artists. He was playing a heavily moded Fender Jazz but it was unrecognizable (very nice too ... it sounded almost like a tuba through his little GK amp).

    He is thoroughly impressive, with as was said, a very deep understanding of harmony, rhythm, etc. And great fluid technique. He just doesn't use a lot of different techniques like a Jaco or Wooten ... instead seems to get more into the music itself.

    One thing ... reflective of the Hong Kong mentality I have to say ... was the way the concert ended. The concert venue was in a government building. So 10pm rolls around and three of the buildings office clerks decide that regulations say it's time to close. They walk up on stage in front of an audience of around 150 people, during the middle of a piece, tapped the pianist on the shoulder and told him (middle of the piece mind you) that everyone would have to leave. We all had to leave, and Jeff and crew had to hustle to pack up while these bureaucrats hovered with arms crossed.
  16. nysbob


    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    I saw him play with Bruford 2 or 3 times in the late 70's / early 80's...I recall a modified jazz, but that was while ago - I was paying a lot more attention to his playing than his gear. Phenomenal player. :cool:
  17. I seem to recall that during the Bruford days he played a modified jazz bass with bartolinis, badass bridge and a precision neck. Supposedly only the bridge pickup worked. Great player, great tone, one of my faves.
  18. Lorenzini


    Dec 31, 2004
    Los Angeles

    Great observation. Jeff is still like that -- I teach his kids piano and get to talk to him weekly. He still works hard and practices hard and gigs around town (little Clearwater, FL). Oh and he still uses his Dean sig most of the time. And MarkBass amplification is his choice recently.
  19. In this ad, they are both holding unidentified Yamaha basses. Nothing about amps though.
  20. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    He plugs Yamaha amps in his Starlicks video.