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Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Stampy, Sep 13, 2008.
Who likes him?
Know the name. Refresh my memory.
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Of course! How could I forget? Great player. Some real defining bass lines in those early days.
Yeah I just learned Free Fallin' and Learning To Fly and I am loving it. Does anyone know what gear he uses or if he uses any effects. His sound is ultra clean.
Didn't Howie Epstien play w/ Petty on the more recent albums (freefallin', etc.)? I thought after he passed away that Ron came back - he was playing on a recent TP concert on cable.
I'm pretty sure Ron didn't play bass on either of those tracks. He left the band after their third or fourth album, then rejoined after Howie Long died. Howie and then drummer Stan Lynch played on most, but not all studio tracks of that era.
Anyway, I like Ron's groove and style. It fits the band's music well. He's mainly a pick player, but I don't know whether I could tell that just by listening to the records.
On the "Running Down a Dream" documentary DVD there's some old live footage of him doing a pretty tasteful solo bit. Usually his bass is "just there". But as I said, it fits the Heartbreakers material.
His main bass is a Jazz of some sort, although I've seen shots of him with a Hofner "Beatle bass". Don't know anything about what effects he uses.
Blair did the earlier stuff, left the band, and TP guitarist Mike Campbell stayed in touch with him during the years that Epstein was on board. It's cool that the Heartbreakers kept it "in the family" when they took Ron back after Esptein's death.
I think both guys are great bassists, but the early TP stuff that Blair played on is special to me because it was part of the background music of my high school years.
I don't know where I got Howie Long from. Was that a cartoon character or something? Anyway, what has been posted is accurate. I guess I'm the slowest typist here today.
Oh yeah, the NFL. And Radio Shack ads. Howie Epstein was probably a much better bass player than Howie Long.
Thank you for starting this thread! Ron Blair is one of my faves! I always mention him when "under rated bassist" threads show up!
He was on the first two TP&HB albums and on some of the cuts on "Damn the Torpedoes". He left the band to open up a bikini shop with his wife back home in Florida.
Love how he floats from playing low and slides up into the higher register.
He's not a total foundation/groove player, but plays good strong lines that really fit the song.
The GREAT thing about the Heartbreakers is every instrument adds a lot to the mix and yet stays out of the way.
Great band. Seen 'em a couple of times - once backing Dylan. They are a band I would very much like to emulate. Their only problem, IMO, was hit radio consistency after their earlier albums. But then maybe they don't even care about that aspect of making music.
I don't think Blair could be as loose and freeform without a great keyboard player like Benmont Tench.
LOL I didn't think Howie "Long" sounded quite right.
I saw Tom Petty about a month ago. Very tight band and I was surprised at how much of the background vocals came from Ron.
I was SO sad when he left the biz in the 80s and very happy when he returned. Howie was no bass player.
I am a huge fan of Ron's bass playing, even more so now that I've recently seen some early televised clips of him playing with the Heartbreakers in the Runnin' Down A Dream DVD. Does anyone have any info about his custom black Fender Jazz Bass with the black headstock? Looks like a dot neck, three knob version, placing it somewhere in the 1962-65 date range, I'm guessing. Also, does anyone know what kind of strings he used back in the early years with the HBs? They sound like flatwounds or possibly nylon wound. Looks like he was into Vox Super Beatle amps and would love to get more info on that. Ron Blair, you rock!
For fans of Ron and Howie check out the Running Down A Dream documentary. It's one of the best rock-docs out there about what makes a band a band, and why it was so important that Blair came back to the band.
You're kidding, right ?
Yeah, you must be kidding