Bass – 3 ways to play one

In addition to running the dVoiceBox studio I’m also a musician – my main instrument is the bass guitar.  I used to be a guitarist but started playing bass when a band my brother was in asked me to help them out when their bassist left them in the lurch. I’ve played bass for a many years now and I’m always fascinated to see and hear what other people can do with the instrument.  So here are three contrasting approaches to my favourite instrument

One bassist who, many years ago,  was my inspiration to keep on playing and trying to get better as a bassist was Mark Yakes.  The Leamington based player helped to record and produced an early demo for a band I was in at the time.  Mark had already been in a successful band by then – touring with Pzazz and supporting the likes of Level 42 in their heyday – but when we met him he’d just started playing and performing as a solo bass player and singer.  I was knocked out by his playing back then and still am by what he’s doing now.  I can’t find any videos of him playing from that time but here he is with one of his recent songs on the “tenor guitar” he invented – a 4 stringed instrument that’s somehow halfway between bass and guitar.


My next bassist has a related playing style to Mark Yakes – they both play with fingers and not a plectrum – but she’s very definitely playing in bands.  My thanks to my studio client Michael Groth (also a muso) who put me on to this player and in particular this bass solo. I’d not heard of Tal Wilkenfeld before but this solo from a couple of years ago when she was playing at Ronnie Scotts with the Jeff Beck band is a bit of a corker! (Solo starts around 1’28”)

I’ve been checking out some other stuff from Tal Wilkenfeld including her solo album – she’s a player to watch!


But now here’s a real contrast to those two – Mike Kerr.  I’ve only very recently come across this guy and the band he plays in: Royal Blood.
He plays the bass but makes it sound like guitar and bass – adept use of a mountain of pedals and separate guitar and bass amps apparently. I saw these guys on Later with Jools and was totally transfixed. It reminded me of Jack White – hints of the Dead Weather and also the White Stripes (but much heavier) with a hint of Queens of the Stone Age.

Mind you I had to get past the fact that he looks a bit like Jack Whitehall (from Fresh Meat). Still, apparently there’s an album on the way to add to a 4 track ep they released recently. Can’t wait!

Chris Radley – dVoiceBox

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