Les Claypool's basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Vox Populi, Nov 19, 2005.

  1. Vox Populi

    Vox Populi Reggae Loving Honkey

    Jan 27, 2004
    Poulsbo, WA
    Anyone know what woods are in Les's main bass(es)? I know that he has six Carl Thompsons, each one different... But I'm just looking to find out what the wood combo of his main bass is. It's Walnut and something, yeah? Anyway, if anyone knows, please speak up.

    I've pretty much decided that I NEED to get a Darrin Huff custom built eventually in the future. It'll take alot of saving on my part, but I physically require it for survival.

    I know alot of people dislike Les's "rubbery" tone, but I like it alot, and think it's great for fingerstyle and slap. I assume that this is in part from the wood combo and the single sweet spot pickup. Could the scale have something to do with it too? I think he mainly plays 32" on his four strings. And he does use EMG pickups, right?
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    All of Les' Carls are different. I think they all have EMG's but they're all constructed differently. He has also played a Fender Jazz on some things. But no matter what he plays, he sounds the same. So I think the key to Les' sound is being Les Claypool.
  3. Wow, I didn't pick Jimmy as a Les Claypool fan.
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Oh sure, I've got all their albums and quite a few bootlegs. Not that I listen to them constantly, but it's pretty good stuff when I'm in the mood for it.
  5. Yeah. I'm not so into it. We did a few covers as a band and never got any recognition. And then one day a band we were playing against in a band comp did Too Many Puppies and they came second in the comp and got a huge crowd response. We've been bitter about it ever since.
  6. michele


    Apr 2, 2004
  7. duckbutter


    Mar 30, 2005
    I also read that part of his sound is due to him stringing his 4 strings with 2 A and 2 D strings
  8. That's cool. I think...
  9. djcruse


    Jun 3, 2002
    Norwood, MA
  10. Coolest looking basses.
  11. Joe Turski

    Joe Turski

    Jul 29, 2003
    LESfretted6.jpg LESrainbow.jpg LES4string.jpg lesnyemaple4close.jpg

    He has many more, but here's a few.
  12. I think the two A's and Two D's looks really odd.
  13. Supernova67


    Jun 21, 2005
    his mail 4 string is a 32" scale 29 fret piccolo bass, made of walnut and mahogany. He uses an single EMG 35DC pickup with an EMG-BTC preamp. o ya and the kahler tremolo. Also before you get your heart set on darrin huff (not saying that he dosnt do phenominal work) you might wanna check out some of cliff bordwell's stuff. www.cbbasses.com
  14. paul n

    paul n

    May 6, 2005
    Arden, NC
  15. Vox Populi

    Vox Populi Reggae Loving Honkey

    Jan 27, 2004
    Poulsbo, WA
    Yeah, I was looking at the CT site last night when I posted this. It didn't have much info on the wood combos though, I only saw that it said it was walnut.

    Anyone else notice that Les had his main bass (the 32" piccolo) retrofitted with an EMG pickup? It didn't have that originally. Look at the pics that djcruse and Joe Turski posted. Also note the piece of maple on the headstock of his piccolo, it's signed by Geddy.

    I found an interview with Carl Thompson where he says that the scale length makes the biggest difference in tone. I'm not so sure I'd want a 32" scale, maybe a 33". And I'd go with 24 frets, not 29.

    Also, anyone see Darrin Huff's replica of the "rainbow bass" in the CTBasses "lookalikes" section? Awesome!
  16. the rainbow bass has walnut, curly maple, padauk, purple heart, ebony and cocobolo.
  17. paul n

    paul n

    May 6, 2005
    Arden, NC
    Those are EMGs in all the pics, he's just switched models a couple of times. Originaly he put a guitar hum-buckersize EMG in it, the same type used in Steinbergers. Now he's got an EMG soap-bar in there. I think the controls have changed a few times too. I remeber hear that his main bass is walnut, with flame-maple runners (those light colored strips) and a mahogany neck. I'm guessing the fb is ebony. The autographed bit of wood on the head is from the original headstock, which got snapped off and was replaced by Carl. Les has described the tone as very midrangy and I think a bit bass-shy. That's probably a combo of the walnut and short scale. I think he currently uses Carl Thompson strings guaged 40-100, rather than the GG AA thing he did earlier on. I've heard people say he uses 45-105 these days too, but I'm not sure.

    I know you're not looking at getting an actual CT, but there are few things to think about if your decide to take the plunge. Carl is a big fan of loooong scales these days. He feels 36" is the minimum for a four string to get a good "E" string. Over all Carl prefers 38" scales. When you order a fourstring from Carl you will get a 36" scale unless you ask for a 38", he doesn't like doing 34" and loathes 32" (in that case just order a picolo bass). Especialy since he's avoiding taking orders these days, you'd probably have a very hard time convincing Carl to make something he doesn't want to. Sounds harsh, but Carl's never actually been a true custom builder. He's more of a bass artist, who is comisioned to create a new work for you. From what I've heard, when you arder, he asks you two questions: "Number of strings", and "dark wood or light wood" you have to specify if you want specific pickups and where they go, and if you want a trditional bridge as oposed to a one-piece wooden bridge. I know of atleast one person who got his CT and just wasn't right for him in the end, because he didn't get nitpicky about the details (the bridge for one), and Carl did what he wanted.

    Don't let the above give you the wrong idea, Carl is a really great guy full of great stories. He remebers every one he's ever dealt with and is a reall charming individual. I've talked to him twice, to order strings (CT strings are great). I wish I could order a bass from him, but I'm `decided to become a student again, so my CT savings fund disapeared :(

    ~Paul :)
  18. Vox Populi

    Vox Populi Reggae Loving Honkey

    Jan 27, 2004
    Poulsbo, WA
    Thanks for the long post. I'd love to get an actual CT, but my wallet would never be able to handle the strain. I'd still love to get a CT inspired bass built, to try to get as close to that tone as I can.

    @ Supernova67, thanks for the link to Cliff Bordwell. That is another option, and drastically cheaper!