I'm often asked about my gear and what type of equipment I like to use. I thought this page would be good for sharing some ofmy experience when playing in different situations. Let's start with the Bass. I play vintage Fender Jazz Basses. They sound great for all styles of music and for my personal taste, there are no other basses that come close to the vintage Fender sound. Not to say that all vintage Jazz Basses sound good. I have owned over 100 Jazz Basses and have kept the very best for myself. Some were terrible. I think you should play whatever instrument suits your needs and playing demands. Other brands of basses sound better for specific styles of music. As far as modern instruments go, there are a few brands I think sound good. Sadowsky, Modulus, Mike Lull and Tobias build some pretty good sounding instruments.
When playing live, the size of the venue I'm playing at is going to dictate the rig I bring to play through. First off, I like to use "full range" cabinets. This means a cabinet that contains more than one size speaker. My cabinets are "2 way" SWR Son of Bertha cabinets. They hold a 15" speaker and a horn. The horn has a separate volume control. This new line of SWR cabinets are ported in the front. The older SWR cabinets are ported in the back. They sound great and are not that heavy to carry. That is very important. I did not like the sound of the old SWR stuff. Those cabinets always sounded too compressed to me and required a lot of power to drive them. I also felt like I had to play really hard to get sound out of them. I feel it's a good idea to use "full range" cabinets because then you tend not to EQ your bass too bright when your playing through a big PA at a large concert. If your just playing through 15's, you will turn up the high end to get some brightness in your sound. The problem is that the PA is full range and they are taking a direct signal from your rig and if you boost the high end, it's going to sound thin and too bright in the house. I hear this happen all the time in the Berklee performance Center. For small rooms , I will just bring one cabinet. If I'm playing a medium size club, I will bring two of these cabinets since I probably won't be going through a PA system. For rare situations when I'm playing on a big stage without a good PA system, I also have two "Joe's" 15' cabinets and a "Joe's "12" cabinet. The nice thing about all these cabinets, is that I can bring any combination depending on the gig I'm doing. It's nice having the option of playing through one cabinet or up to five if I need a lot of clean volume. I also got the "Joe's" cabinets used, and didn't pay more than $100 for any of them. They are loaded with Electrovoice 15B speakers. I love those speakers. You don't have to spend a lot of bucks to get great sounding speakers. Whenever I'm playing on the road, the venue is providing my amp. I usually don't get a choice. This is why it is so important to have a great sounding bass when it is just direct into the house.
I have two Gallien Krueger heads that I use to power the speakers. I have a 400 RB and an old original 200 RB. The 200RB is my favorite head. It sounds much better than the 400 RB even though it does not have as much power. It has more power than I have ever needed. I don't care for the 800 RB. I have never heard one that I like and they seem to break down a lot. Remember that if you have to play super loud, you are probably going to be put through a PA system. in that case, your rig is just so that you can hear yourself on stage. The sound man does not want your stage volume to be too loud, because it will interfere with his mix in the house.
I used to have a lot of rack gear, but I have cut back over the years. One crucial piece of equipment is a compressor. I have a nice Symetrix CL 150. This unit sounds beautiful and smooth. I also use it when recording in the studio. If I need any type of effects, like flange or chorus, I have a Alesis Quadraverb in my rack. The Quadraverb cannot take a lot of punishment though. I would recommend some other unit if you are looking for a multi effects processor. I also use a "Ernie Ball" volume pedal to keep my compression consistent at all volumes. I think everyone in the band should have a volume pedal, this way no one is back there fiddling with knobs while your playing. Let me know your experiences. I always like to talk gear!