[This just in from Steve Cook, session bassist extraordinaire!]
This music business is a funny one. We have our steady gigs, we have producers that like to call on us for different sessions, then there’s the ‘X’ factor: the random gig calls. Sometimes they are for a used car lot sale or a hot dog stand dedication, however sometimes they are from the largest pickup manufacturer in the world. I like hot dogs, and I like Seymour Duncan pickups a whole lot as well.
The voice on the other end of the phone was Kathy Duncan, the head of Seymour Duncan, and her request was a simple one: “Can you record samples of every one of our bass pickups? You have creative liberty to do whatever you like, we just need the samples to be consistent, and representative of the pickups their truest form.”
Well, that narrows it down a bit, doesn’t it?
There were a couple of hurdles to leap in order to make this happen. First, we needed to find all the instruments required in which to install the pickups. Second, I found a tech that would come to the recording sessions and basically work on an assembly line of removing and installing pickups. For example, as I tracked the first P-bass pickup, he would be installing the first Jazz bass pickups, then we’d swap instruments, and move on to the second in each type, and so on.
Where the logistics were a bit daunting, the one constant on which I could rely was my recording set up. For this project (and all my home recording projects), I run PreSonus Studio One through a couple of FireStudio Projects, controlled with a FaderPort. The Class-A preamps in the FireStudios sound amazing, and Studio One is an incredibly fluid and easy platform in which to work. The FaderPort made the whole process easy. I had controls under my left hand with a bass in my right. The finished files sound great, and I (and thankfully Seymour Duncan) were happy with the results.
The project was really a lot of fun for me for several reasons. Rarely do we get to sample dozens of pickups at the same time. As I go back and listen to the individual tracks, I have been able to pinpoint exact tones I like paired with certain instruments, and I know exactly which pickups to install in my personal basses—mission accomplished! I also liked getting to know my Studio One software and other PreSonus products more in-depth, and that I have great sounding tools at my fingertips.
Thanks PreSonus, for continuing to impress, and for keeping us Nashville musicians rockin’! You can hear the demos over at the new Seymour Duncan site.