1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Mark Sandman - Howzhedoit?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Matt Till, Nov 29, 2004.

  1. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    I've looked around, and I haven't been able to find out an offical setup of Mark Sandman's.


    RIP. Why do the good die so young?

    That reminds me, I know he collapsed on stage suffering heart failure... but what did it... drugs probably, but just wondering.

    For those of you who don't know Morphine's music... go to the cd store or wherever you go to purchase music and buy some!!
  2. wockalb


    Nov 29, 2004
    New York City
    Other than he used a low-end off brand four-string with only two strings, I don't know much about his rig. From what I understand, he wanted to produce a minimalist sound so he striped down to two strings and tuned them to the same note or in fifths (I don't know for sure). Further, he inspired or was inspired by the guitarist for Presidents of the Unied States, who was a long time friend of his back in Boston.

    I had the good fortune of catching Morphine at Horde fest in 1997, but it wasn't until a few years later that I really began to appreciate their music (and it wasn't until after Mark's unfortunate death). As for the heart failure, the story I heard was that many years prior to his collapse on stage, Sandeman worked as a taxi driver in Boston and was robbed one night. The perpetrator stabbed him in the chest apparently injuring his heart slightly. His colapse on stage in Italy was allegedly caused by complication from that incident.

  3. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Was it fretless? Because when I play with a slide *ha* it doesn't sound as smooth.
  4. His bass was an old "premier" with only two strings. It had a p-bass pickup set...one coil per rout in the body, at the neck and bridge.

    It wasn't fretless. He used a slide.
  5. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    From the live vids I've seen: It's fretted. It had half a P pickup in the neck, the other half at the bridge. That might attribute to the sound in some way, I don't know.

    He used Ampeg, it looks like an 810 (not sure of the model) and SVT-4PRO. Don't know about effects or anything.

    Other than that, I know nothing.
  6. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I knew Mark and played a few times with him.

    He played various cheap basses stripped down to two strings, the Premier was the one he used most. One of the posthumous Morphine CDs (sorry forget which one) has a photo of his studio Hi'n'Dry where you can see his ragtag guitars and basses hanging on the wall.

    Mark was a devoted SVT user live although I saw him also use a Dual Showman head with an SVT cab. I never really paid attention to whether he used effects live (obviously some of the studio stuff was processed).

    That was Chris Ballew....I played with him once, too. He and Mark had a band called Supergroup where they would make up songs on the spot every night :eek:
  7. j-raj

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

    Jan 14, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN

    This is gonna be a wild-stab in the dark... but do you know of a two man band called Mother Brothers from the bean-town area?

    Just wondering, cause they were my roommates in Somerville (early-mid 90's) and they used to play with Mark and were rather good friends of his. The guitarists/bassist was an aging punk dude (Billy Boardman) with a mohawk and played Danelectro and Jerry Jones Baritone Guitars and the drummer (Andy Plaisted) played with a marching drum for a bass drum and a trash can lid in set of cymbals...

  8. Muzique Fann

    Muzique Fann Howzit brah

    Dec 8, 2003
    Kauai, HI
    D is the key of almost every Morphine song - is it not?
    Very creative guy for being such a minimalist.

    Claypool totally copies him with the bullet mic deal.
  9. jim primate

    jim primate bass guitarist.

    speaking of morphine, check out his earlier band, treat her right. they have a comp. out on razor&tie.

    and other than what's already been said i have no idea. i think his basses were usually tuned to either Low D and G, or Low D and A. i think it varied depending on the song.
  10. ihixulu

    ihixulu Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2000
    South Shore MA
    I got to see Morphine up close and personal at the now defunct Causeway (nee Chet's Last Call).

    He was using medium picks (he dropped one early on), had the aforementioned Premier bass with VERY high action, a Big Muff and a vintage (no master volume) SVT head atop a matching cab.

    While I am sure that he had to make do with what was available on certain gigs, in principle he was sort of a purist; simpler the better.
  11. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Yeah, I know both those guys.

    Played in a zydeco band with Billy before he quit to start the MBs and played a number of gigs over the last few years with Andy.

    Too bad they were about ten years ahead of the White Stripes phenomenon :crying:
  12. j-raj

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

    Jan 14, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN

    Small world! IMO White Stripes aren't even close to what the MB's were/are doing...

    The funny thing is that they both toured/gigged with Eddie Kirkland (a major blues influence of Jimi Hendrix, Eddie is a Macon, GA native), for 3 years each, separately and never played/met with each other till they were both living and working in Boston. Later to end up playing with each other. I was truly fortunate to live amongst such creativity.

    back to Mark Sandman...

    I miss Morphine live, sometimes we take things for granted... Wished I had seen them more while I could. What do you think of Rivard's Orchestra Morphine?

    Each time I'm near the MIddle East, I always look up to see this sign:


    Attached Files:

  13. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    So, with his string setup was it just the D and G strings downtuned?
  14. Blazer


    Nov 27, 2003
    The Netherlands
    Rogue luthier employed at Knooren Handcrafted bass guitars
    Every time somebody brings along music from the White stripes I'd go "Nothing new, the Jon Spencer Blues explosion has been doing that for YEARS."

    As for Morphine. I always considered them an amazing band, fantastic saxophone player and that growly concrete mixer bass sound of Sandman. They are not really far removed from being a Jazz trio.

    My favorite Morphine song is "Early to bed" from "Like swimming". "Early to bed" is brilliant, the whole song is just in one note, an open D pure genius of simplicity.
  15. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    That's kind of a rotten thing to assume about a musician you seem to admire. Not to darken an otherwise positive thread about a truly wonderful musician, but that's pretty messed up.
  16. Yes, that was terribly ignorant. Hows about educating yourself instead of spreading nonsense assumptions.
  17. j-raj

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

    Jan 14, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    with you on that.
  18. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    Well, I don't want to come down on Matt because he started a very worthy thread (and these days just about any thread one starts is stopped dead by someone saying "use the search function, we've already discussed this"). I'm sure he didn't mean to be dismissive about someone's death.

    All I'm saying is that Mark Sandman was a human being who has a family and if they google his name, or have a service that sends them links to online things about him, that could be pretty hurtful.

    I was a casual aquaintance of Sandman's (just like every musician in Boston) and I swear, I kept seeing him out of the corner of my eye at gigs for about a year after he died.
  19. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA

    Guys, chill the **** out, I guessed that because of his songs. Ever hear the song cure for pain?

    "Where is the ritual
    And tell me where where is the taste
    Where is the sacrifice
    And tell me where where is the faith
    Someday there'll be a cure for pain
    That's the day I throw my drugs away
    When they find a cure for pain
    Where is the cave
    Where the wise woman went
    And tell me where
    Where's all that money that I spent
    I propose a toast to my self control
    You see it crawling helpless on the floor
    Someday there'll be a cure for pain
    That's the day I throw my drugs away
    When they find a cure for pain (x2)
    When they find a cure find a cure for pain"

    How ignorant of me... :rolleyes: x :rollno: + :scowl: - :) = :spit:
  20. j-raj

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

    Jan 14, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    Sure, that was the title of the first album of theirs that I owned.

    Man, there was no malice intended, I just agreed with CP's post after he pointed out something that I hadn't noticed earlier:

    I guess it is tough to gauge someone's tone of voice from text on a message board, just as the tone of "drugs probably " could have been taken as *sarcastic*. More importantly than tone or intention, was this point that CP brought up:

    ...that's all I was concerned with.