THE TRAGICALLY HIP ’ S GORD SINCLAIR , THE TREWS ’ JACK SYPEREK , RICH BROWN , ANGELIQUE FRANCIS , AND THE DAMN TRUTH ’ S PY LETELLIER TALK GEAR , PRACTICE , AND THE BIG QUESTION : WHY BASS ?
It ’ s that time of year again that Canadian Musician rounds up some of Canada ’ s finest lowenders to pick their brains on all things bass . With bass being an unsung hero in so many different styles and genres , it didn ’ t make sense to stick to anyone one type of music . So , we did our best here to include an eclectic bunch of musicians , ranging in style from rock to jazz to blues and more . Here , read through some setup walk-throughs , learn the stories behind prized instruments , and pick up a practice tip or two from The Tragically Hip ’ s Gord Sinclair , The Trews ’ Jack Syperek , Rich Brown , Angelique Francis , and The Damn Truth ’ s PY Letellier .
These interviews have been edited for length and clarity .
CM : Let ’ s start with a walkthrough of your typical live rig these days . What instruments and gear are you playing ?
SINCLAIR : I ’ m doing mostly studio gigs right now and particularly around the house . So , I ’ m using a really cool old ‘ 57 Fender P , running it through an early ‘ 60s Ampeg B-15 Portaflex . To me , that ’ s the sound . I grew up listening to The Wrecking Crew and Motown . And to me , that ’ s the only rig you ’ ll ever need , is a B-15 and the Fender Precision Bass , especially for recording .
FRANCIS : For my pedals right now , I really like using a Zoom B1Xon pedal . They don ’ t make them anymore , unfortunately , but it ’ s a really great pedal because it has so many different multi-effects that I can run through . And then the newer models don ’ t really quite have the same effects , but it ’ s more customizable . I run it through a Sonic ABY pedal first before I get into the B1XON , because I like using the same amp set up for my upright bass that I do for my electric bass . So that way , I can switch with the same monitor mix . Without the sound guy having to worry about muting and everything like that . And then the amp that I use on the road is a Traynor . I really like the deep sound of that . And I ’ ve been also using some of Sonic ’ s other pedals like their distortion effect . I really love mixing an octave pitch shifter with distortion and then doubling it , so it sounds like I ’ m playing a bass and a guitar at the same time when I add a
wall effect or something like that .
SYPEREK : I ’ ve been using the same stuff for a long time . Years ago , a friend we met in Niagara region , who builds his own amps , named Glen Morris , we met because we brought some amps in to have them fixed and he ended up building some amps for us . He built me a bass amp back when I was 22 . I ’ ve been using a Morris for years and years . And , I have a couple of different basses that I use — Rickenbacker , Hagstrom , Gibson , and two Fenders .
BROWN : I have a deal with Aguilar Amplification . So currently , I ’ m using a 1x12 cabinet and the AG 700 I believe it is . And I tend to just run that pretty dry . I ’ m playing a beautiful BN6 from F Bass , and that ’ s the rig . It ’ s pretty simple , pretty dry . And I like to try to get as many sounds out of the instrument as I possibly can . So , running dry allows me to just explore what ’ s there . It ’ s totally convenient . The Aguilar gear is really light and super great . It sounds amazing , and it ’ s very portable .
50 CANADIAN MUSICIAN