Utilizing salvaged Old Growth Redwood and semi-hollow construction, the bass captures the aesthetic and voice of the classic instruments it’s based on while delivering modern high-performance hardware and playability.
“Like all the instruments in the Mendocino line, this bass is inspired by the funky vintage pieces from the 60s that had great looks and tones. Take that and improve the materials, build quality, and workmanship and you end up with a winning combination!” says Luthier Barry Grzebik. “Building with old growth reclaimed Redwood originally harvested 100 years ago helps create a voice and story that’s unique.”
The 34” scale instrument comes in at just 5.9 lbs making it incredibly comfortable for long gigs and its semi-hollow construction gives it a unique and complex voice. The Babicz saddles ensure solid intonation and energy transfer to the body and the Novak Lipstick pickups help the voice be as vintage as the looks. Customization is welcome with delivery times as little as 8 weeks.
- Salvaged Old Growth Redwood Top
- 1.875" Thick, 5.9lbs, 34" Scale, 22 Jumbo Frets
- Semi-Hollowbody Design
- Mahogany Body and Neck
- Curtis Novak Lipstick Pickups
- Ebony Fretboard, 12” Radius
- Babicz Saddles, Gotoh Res-O-Lite Tuners
- Satin Nitro Finish
Mendocino Long Scale Bass Demo
Grez Guitars continues its commitment to planting a Redwood tree for every guitar sold.
The Mendocino Long Scale Bass, Street Price, $3,300
For more information, please visit grezguitars.com.
The silky smooth slide man may raise a few eyebrows with his gear—a hollow, steel-bodied baritone and .017s on a Jazzmaster—but every note and tone he plays sounds just right.
KingTone’s The Duellist is currently Ariel Posen’s most-used pedal. One side of the dual drive (the Bluesbreaker voicing) is always on. But there’s another duality at play when Posen plugs in—the balance between songwriter and guitarist.
“These days, I like listening to songs and the story and the total package,” Posen told PG back in 2019, when talking about his solo debut, How Long, after departing from his sideman slot for the Bros. Landreth. “Obviously, I’m known as a guitar player, but my music and the music I write is not guitar music. It’s songs, and it goes back to the Beatles. I love songs, and I love story and melody and singing, and there was a lot of detail and attention put into the guitar sound and the playing and the parts—almost more than I’ve ever done.”
And in 2021, he found himself equally expressing his yin-and-yang artistry by releasing two albums that represented both sides of his musicality. First, Headway continued the sultry sizzle of songwriting featured on How Long. Then he surprised everyone, especially guitarists, by dropping Mile End, which is a 6-string buffet of solo dishes with nothing but Ariel and his instrument of choice.
But what should fans expect when they see him perform live? “I just trust my gut. I can reach more people by playing songs, and I get moved more by a story and lyrics and harmony, so that’s where I naturally go. The live show is a lot more guitar centric. If you want to hear me stretch out on some solos, come see a show. I want the record and the live show to be two separate things.”
The afternoon ahead of Posen’s headlining performance at Nashville’s Basement East, the guitar-playing musical force invited PG’s Chris Kies on stage for a robust chat about gear. The 30-minute conversation covers Posen’s potent pair of moody blue bombshells—a hollow, metal-bodied Mule Resophonic and a Fender Custom Shop Jazzmaster—and why any Two-Rock is his go-to amp. He also shares his reasoning behind avoiding effects loops and volume pedals.
Brought to you by D’Addario XPND Pedalboard.
Blue the Mule III
If you’ve spent any time with Ariel Posen’s first solo record, How Long, you know that the ripping, raunchy slide solo packed within “Get You Back” is an aural high mark. As explained in a 2019 PG interview, Posen’s pairing for that song were two cheapos: a $50 Teisco Del Rey into a Kay combo. However, when he took the pawnshop prize onstage, the magic was gone. “It wouldn’t stay in tune and wouldn’t stop feeding back—it was unbearable [laughs].”
Posen was familiar with Matt Eich of Mule Resophonic—who specializes in building metal-body resonators—so he approached the luthier to construct him a steel-bodied, Strat-style baritone. Eich was reluctant at first (he typically builds roundneck resos and T-style baritones), but after seeing a clip of Posen playing live, the partnership was started.
The above steel-bodied Strat-style guitar is Posen’s third custom 25"-scale baritone. (On Mule Resophonic’s website, it’s affectionately named the “Posencaster.”) The gold-foil-looking pickups are handwound by Eich, and are actually mini humbuckers. He employs a custom Stringjoy set (.017–.064 with a wound G) and typically tunes to B standard. The massive strings allow the shorter-scale baritone to maintain a regular-tension feel. And when he gigs, he tours light (usually with two guitars), so he’ll use a capo to morph into D or E standard.
Another one that saw recording time for Headway and Mile End was the above Fender Custom Shop Masterbuilt ’60s Jazzmaster, made by Carlos Lopez. To make it work better for him, he had the treble-bleed circuit removed, so that when the guitar’s volume is lowered it actually gets warmer.
"Clean and Loud"
Last time we spoke with Posen, he plugged into a Two-Rock Classic Reverb Signature. It’s typically his live amp. However, since this winter’s U.S. run was a batch of fly dates, he packed light and rented backlines. Being in Music City, he didn’t need to go too deep into his phone’s contacts to find a guitar-playing friend that owned a Two-Rock. This Bloomfield Drive was loaned to Ariel by occasional PG contributor Corey Congilio. On the brand’s consistent tone monsters, Posen said, “To be honest, put a blindfold on me and make one of Two-Rock’s amps clean and loud—I don’t care what one it is.”
The loaner vertical 2x12 cab was stocked with a pair of Two-Rock 12-65B speakers made by Warehouse Guitar Speakers.
Ariel Posen’s Pedalboard
There are a handful of carryovers from Ariel’s previous pedalboard that was featured in our 2021 tone talk: a TC Electronic PolyTune 3 Noir, a Morningstar MC3 MIDI Controller, an Eventide H9, a Mythos Pedals Argonaut Mini Octave Up, and a KingTone miniFUZZ Ge. His additions include a custom edition Keeley Hydra Stereo Reverb & Tremolo (featuring Headway artwork), an Old Blood Noise Endeavors Black Fountain oil can delay, Chase Bliss Audio Thermae Analog Delay and Pitch Shifter, and a KingTone The Duellist overdrive.
Another big piece of the tonal pie for Posen is his signature brass Rock Slide. He worked alongside Rock Slide’s Danny Songhurst to develop his namesake slide that features a round-tip end that helps Posen avoid dead spots or unwanted scratching. While he prefers polished brass, you can see above that it’s also available in a nickel-plated finish and an aged brass.
Whether it’s slapping on TikTok, headlining solo tours, performing with Jack Antonoff and Olivia Rodrigo, or improvising over her DJ set, this badass player just needs a Jazz bass to get the party popping.
Swarms of musicians and guitarists have found social media’s current 60-second attention span inspirational and fruitful. But what happens after that first minute? Well, for TikTok bass tycoon Blu DeTiger, you become a shooting star. However, her story isn’t that sudden or serendipitous. She’s been working towards the spotlight since she first picked up the bass to jam with her drummer brother, Rex, at age 7.
“He was playing drums and I wanted to play an instrument,” recalls DeTiger. “As a girl, I thought guitar was ‘mainstream’ because I saw that everywhere and thought bass was rare and it would be more unique to play. I fell in love with it and my passion took over.”
Further fanning her musical flame, she joined School of Rock and performed semester-ending concerts covering Zeppelin, Bowie, Prince, the Stones, and others. She collaborated and performed with Chromeo and Jack Antonoff’s Bleachers. Inspired by horn-playing DJs, she even toted her bass to DJ gigs, where she laid down the funkiest lines she could muscle out over the top of her playlists.
“I saw people playing saxophone or trumpet over songs they were DJ-ing and I had really never seen bass used in that context. Bass is fire and it should feel good in a club because of the low frequencies hitting you.” An added benefit of the symbiotic sets was elevating her improvisational skills.
Then, the pandemic hit and DeTiger took to social media, finding a creative outlet on TikTok by adding dance-y flourishes and bouncy thunder to classic tracks. She earned a spot helping announce Fender’s Player Plus P and scored a deal with ALT:VISION Records, releasing the How Did We Get Here? EP in early 2021. She’s since graduated to being an UMG Recordings/Capitol Records artist and continues to embrace the snippet culture by churning out singles: “Blondes,” “Blutooth,” “enough 4 u,” “Crash Course,” and “Hot Crush Lover.” Yeah, you might only see 60 seconds of her talent before the algorithm pushes you by, but she’s put in years of sweat to get this far. What’s the plan going forward? To throw one helluva party, of course!
Ahead of her headlining set at Nashville’s Basement East, the booming bass star jumped at the chance to give her eager fans what they’ve been asking for—a Rig Rundown. In the chat with PG’s Chris Kies, she covers why she saw the bass as an underdog, how a Jazz tops a P bass, and explains the reason behind not going through her “crazy pedal phase” yet.
Brought to you by D’Addario XS Strings.
An Elite Gift for Blu
DeTiger was given this Fender American Elite Jazz Bass as part of her collaboration with the legendary brand. J-bass junkies might wonder what the 4-knob configuration brings to the table. There’s a standard master volume, pickup pan (subtly blending bridge and neck single-coils), treble boost/cut, mid boost/cut, and bass boost/cut. Additionally, there’s a mini toggle that engages an 18V active preamp. She notes that this was the first free piece of gear she ever received from any company, saying she “felt like I made it.”
Here’s a custom Jazz bass that Fender put together for this blistering player. Some requested specs include a lightweight ash body, ’60s-style thin neck, matching headstock, mirrored pickguard ala Nile Rodgers’ 1960 “Hitmaker” Strat, and ’70s-style Jazz bass single-coils. (Check out the cover of her single “Hot Crush Lover” to see the pickguard adding artistic affect.) Both basses are laced with strings gauged .045–.105.
For “Kinda Miss You,” off her EP, Blu puts on this Fender American Ultra Stratocaster HSS and starts the song solo before brother Rex and the rest of the band fill out the mix.
“The best my bass has ever sounded was through this amp-and-cab setup. The DB751 is so sick and just has the punch—you really feel it in your chest and that’s my favorite thing about bass. The hybrid head (three 12AX7s and a dozen lateral MOSFETs) powers a pair of Aguilar DB410 cabinets that have Eminence-designed speakers.
DeTiger runs her Fender American Ultra Stratocaster HSS into a Kemper Profiler Stage.
Blu DeTiger’s Pedalboard
“I haven’t gone through that phase of using crazy pedals yet. Live I just really love the sound of a clean bass tone,” admits DeTiger. This cast of characters gets used for specific moments. She uses the octave up on the Electro-Harmonix Micro POG for “shredding” and the sub octave setting to “change the vibe for a second.” The Electro-Harmonix Bass Big Muff enhances some of the POG’s shadings with added stank. The EarthQuaker Devices Spatial Delivery is used for the funky intro to “enough 4 u,” her collaboration with Chromeo. She prefers the Spatial Delivery to the Mu-FX Micro-Tron III (which doesn’t get used at all now) and the MXR Analog Chorus is engaged for one instance. The Boss RE-2 Space Echo sees action with the Strat for “Sonic Youth freakouts” during “Kinda Miss You.” A Boss TU-3 Chromatic Tuner keeps all four strings in line and a Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2Plus provides the volts.
Considering all of the possibilities, there’s no one perfect bass tone. But there’s a path to finding your own sound.
How can we consider “the perfect bass tone” when there are, at a minimum, millions of players, thousands of styles of music, countless bass and amp combinations, and, throughout it all, the idea that individualism and self-expression are key? Do all great singers really have something in common? From Billie to Beyoncé, we’ll always find fanatically loyal listeners who will happily testify that their pick is the greatest. What we can honestly say is they can’t all be right, and yet, in some way, they kind of are!
I’m going to discuss what I love in a well-crafted bass sound, and how some of my favorite players have gone about achieving theirs. I’ll start with two players that I consider foundational to modern bass.
Upright bassist Ray Brown was one of jazz’s most recorded and celebrated musicians. In many ways, what I like in Ray’s sound is what I like in every bass player that I consider to be a master, regardless of instrument, genre, or style. He had a luscious, thick, defined tone, with lots of low-end definition, great intonation, and beautiful vibrato. Anything Ray played sounded just right, and because Ray began long before the days of sculpting EQ, amps, or even house PAs, he relied solely upon his instrument and technique to produce the sound he was after. I’ve heard many stories about musicians who stood beside Ray and felt the sheer girth of sound coming off his bass. Ray played with his action well on the high side and used thick gut strings so he could achieve this signature tone.
James Jamerson made a significant contribution to the Motown sound, which helped define R&B music, with his playing and unmistakable tone. Though he began on upright, Jamerson is known more for his work on electric, placing him at the forefront of a technological revolution in the early days of the instrument. Everything from his Fender Precision Bass with flatwound strings to his amp (the Ampeg B-12 flip-top) to his recording chain (a special tube DI designed and built specifically for Hitsville, U.S.A.) helped him achieve his deep, round, warm, well-balanced, and even sound. Like all great bassists, a large part of Jamerson’s sound was the high level of musicianship he attained. But without a doubt, his ability to coax his recognizable tone out of his instrument played a significant role.
Throughout the years, I’ve pursued my sound, inspired in large part by the bassists above or other great players that they inspired, such as Jaco or Marcus Miller. I began on regular 4-string electric bass. I did what I could to my bass, adjusting the action and then honing my technique to create minimal fret buzz, to achieve a full, deep, fundamental from any note. I practiced scales and patterns to build speed and stamina, allowing me to play as loud or as quiet as I wanted while still getting an even and consistent tone. I experimented with using my right palm to mute while my thumb and index finger plucked down and up, creating a shorter, bass-y, muted attack, which works better in some situations. When I switched basses—fretless, 6-string, and most recently, 6-string fretless—I applied the same approach, but now also worked on intonation and fretless vibrato. La Bella Deep Talkin’ Bass (black tape-wound strings) work really well for my current instrument, a custom-built Sei Bass.
Over the years, I’ve experimented with different pickup/preamp combinations on basses, as well as different amps and speakers. I’ve checked out everything from Trace Elliot and GK in the early ’90s, to Mark Bass and Aguilar in the last decade. Epifani makes very fine rigs, but I have a soft spot for smaller, compact line-array setups (rows of small speakers). I love the portability coupled with their ability to reproduce pure, earth-shaking bass.
Today, my rig consists of a 500-watt PJB powered 6x5" with either PJB’s Bass Buddy pre (live) or an Ampeg B-12XT head (studio). I also love both the ’64 Ampeg B-12 and B-15. They’re sublime, but good luck finding either for a session or show! The PJB Bighead (mini pre) allows me to tolerate just about any half-decent amp, which has saved my life on occasion. Mics that work well for me are the Neumann U47, AKG C12 or C414, or the Electro-Voice RE20. I always use a mic in conjunction with the D.I. out on my amp. The trick (often overlooked) is to reverse the phase on the DI or mic (never both), which allows you to mix both sounds together without phase cancellation.
When it comes to developing your sound, the most important thing is to keep your goal in mind. Know what you’re going for, whether it be a grungy distorted tone or a pure, almost acoustic quality, and experiment with subtle changes in technique and setup to get you closer to that. No matter what you choose to play, great and consistent tone will help it sound better!
Anthrax and Helmet guitarist Frank Bello launches a signature bass with Charvel featuring a poplar body paired to a bolt-on maple neck.
The Frank Bello Signature Pro-Mod So-Cal Bass PJ IVfeatures a poplar body paired to a bolt-on maple neck with rock-solid graphite-reinforcement rods to withstand extreme climate changes, a heel-mount truss rod adjustment wheel for pain-free neck relief tweaks. Engineered to deliver unrivaled playability, the 12”-16” compound radius maple fingerboard with rolled edges and 20 jumbo frets allows for effortlessly fast playing and comfortable chording and bending.
New York alternative favorites Helmet, is known for his dynamic, energetic stage presence and inventive bass style. Primed to thrash, the Frank Bello Signature Pro-Mod So-Cal Bass PJ IVfeatures a poplar body paired to a bolt-on maple neck with rock-solid graphite-reinforcement rods to withstand extreme climate changes and a heel-mount truss rod adjustment wheel for pain-free neck relief tweaks. Engineered to deliver unrivaled playability, the 12”-16” compound radius maple fingerboard with rolled edges, 20 jumbo frets and black block inlays allows for effortlessly fast playing and comfortable chording and bending. A set of EMG Frank Bello Signature P/J pickups serves up warmth and low-end punch, along with tight mids and dynamic high-end. The no-nonsense control layout consists of individual volume knobs for the bridge and middle pickups. A Charvel HiMass bridge, Graph Tech TUSQ XL nut and open-gear tuners combine for stellar tuning stability with improved note punch and sustain. Available in Gloss Black with mirror pickguard and chrome hardware.
- Poplar Body
- Bolt-on Maple Neck with Graphite Reinforcement
- 12"-16" Compound Radius Maple Fingerboard with Rolled Edges and 22 Jumbo Frets
- Black Block Inlays
- Graph Tech TUSQ XL Nut
- EMG Frank Bello Signature P/J Pickup Set
- Dual Volume Knobs
- Charvel HiMass Bridge
- Open Gear Tuners
- Mirror Pickguard
- Heel-Mount Truss Rod Adjustment Wheel