bass amps

Since joining alt-rock duo Cairo Knife Fight in 2015, George Pajon Jr. has applied his meticulous gear-tinkering toward creating layered, complex guitar and bass parts for the duo.

Photo by Michelle Shiers

The guitarist and meticulous gear nerd has played with the Black Eyed Peas since 1998. With his alt-rock duo Cairo Knife Fight, his years of tinkering have helped him forge a new sound.

George Pajon Jr. is pedal-obsessed. For him, time off means hiding out in his studio, working his way through every setting on every pedal he owns—and he owns a lot of pedals—logging each tone he thinks he may be able to use, and making careful notes in order to recall the sound later when needed. When he’s working in the studio or in a rehearsal, he scrolls through his files, pulls up options to share with his many A-list collaborators, and looks for the tone that often makes the difference between a good-sounding track and a hit. He does know the difference, by the way, since he has a regular gig as the touring guitarist with the Black Eyed Peas, and also plays on their albums.

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Unless you’re in a high-profile band, there’s a good chance you’re on a budget when you’re shopping for a new amp. Here’s a sampler of affordable rigs for low-enders that offer a surprising amount of tone, output, and options for their price.

Working bass players have two great things going for them: They’re bass players and they’re working. The downside is that the per-gig pay may not be able to buy that retirement cabin in Gatlinburg. You know what? It doesn’t matter. Free hot wings and small stages be damned. We want to perform and be heard, and for that we need some amplification. Luckily, today there are lots of low-cost, powerful options available.

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Michael Majett typically wields this Nate Mendal signature P bass or an eye-catching orange Jaguar.

Nashville’s Michael Majett uses two amps—an Ampeg B-15N and a Markbass TTE 500—to go deep and low.

When we spoke, bassist Michael Majett had just checked off an item on his bucket list: playing the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. For Majett, the headlining set with the War and Treaty at the festival’s Blues Stage wasn’t just a gig. It was a way to connect with the history of the festival and what it represents: the deep legacy of American music and culture that’s synonymous with the Crescent City, and especially the Black heritage that birthed rock ’n’ roll, blues, jazz, and R&B, plus some of the world’s tastiest cuisine.

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