CM : Do you have a signature bass tone ?
Dodd : I don ’ t play really hard . You can use as many pedals and things as you want , but in my opinion , the tone of a guitar player is in the fingers . You can give two guitar players the exact same guitar and the exact same rig and they ’ re going to sound very different . So , I don ’ t have a really aggressive style of pulling the strings , but most of the tone comes from the Dingwall [ bass ]. I don ’ t use any fancy things . I just keep the guitar flat , just go straight into a DI . I don ’ t have any extra added tones or anything like that . But the Dingwall sounds just spectacular by itself , and it fits my hands and style of playing .
CM : What ’ s the most helpful advice / insight you ’ ve ever been given about playing bass ? And what key advice would you give to country bassists ?
Dodd : I learned from two people ; the lady I mentioned , Carol Goodman , and a guy named Bob Gosse . I used to play at Big Al ’ s , a bar and pizza joint in Calgary , and Bob ran the bands there and he still does , actually . I learned from playing with him and watching him . He ’ s not busy and not fancy , and it ’ s about the groove and serving the song . There ’ s a bunch of the jammers there , like oldtimers , they ’ re just so smooth . They would play really nice walking basslines and the groove in their feel was just really traditional . I learned from watching them that you don ’ t have to move around and be fancy and get all up here . It ’ s more about what ’ s in between the notes you play , or what ’ s not in between , and the groove in the space and the air of the song rather than trying to fill every hole with noise .
little . When I toured with Cory Marks , he ’ s got Mick Mars and all these rock and roll guys on his album , so I used a little more heavy metal-type fuzz sound in some of his stuff . But generally speaking , with Gord , I don ’ t use any of that stuff . I haven ’ t even been bringing my pedalboard out because bass players generally don ’ t need a lot of pedals . I have a Radial DI and if I get my choice of amp , which I rarely need because we use in-ears , I use an Ampeg “ fridge ” [ laughs ]; nice and big .
CM : About the Dingwalls , it ’ s cool that you ’ ve been using Canadian-made basses for 20 years . What is it that you like so much about them ?
Dodd : They just fit perfectly in my hand . The neck is not wide , especially for a five-string , and it ’ s also not deep in terms of depth in your hand . I don ’ t have super small hands for a bass player , but they ’ re not really big either . But just the depth of it . Also , they ’ re really light , but the best part is the sound and the craftsmanship — they ’ re just amazing instruments … I ’ m already kind of salivating over a fourth one , but maybe I ’ ll wait until we have solid work again .
PHOTO : AMANDA FOTES
CM : What ’ s your go-to bass setup at the moment ? Does it differ significantly between the studio and live ?
Dodd : At home , I just use the same minimal setup , and I generally let the person in the studio decide what I ’ m going to use depending on whatever their project needs . I don ’ t usually play for Gord in the studio , Chris Byrne usually does those tracks . But when I get other projects , I ask Johnny [ Gasparic , head engineer ] at MCC and he generally knows more about the project than I do . I use his Avalon DI setup and whatever he ’ s got . He ’ ll let me know what the bass tone should be , and he knows what I play , so if my Dingwall works for him , then he ’ ll adjust anything he needs to do afterwards .
But for live , I have three Dingwalls — one four-string and two five-strings . I just go with the simple DI and I do have a couple of pedals . I have an envelope filter if I need to sound a little funkier , because I can ’ t slap and pop , and an octave and a fuzz pedal , just to rough it up a
PUP ’ s Nestor Chumak
Nestor Chumak is the bassist for beloved Canadian punk outfit PUP , whose fourth LP , The Unraveling of PUPTHEBAND , will be released on April 1 , 2022 . They ’ ve won the SOCAN Songwriting Prize and been nominated for the Polaris Music Prize , multiple Juno Awards , and toured the world to a devoted fanbase .
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