First Bass Men

The Four-String Mutual Admiration Society Proudly Presents: Rush’s GEDDY LEE And Primus’ LES CLAYPOOL. The Blows Are Low, But Never Off-Bass

GW: It’s been the Wal bass for you of late, right?

LEE: In the last few years, yeah. It has a great sound – and a very flexible one. It’s an easy bass to work with in the studio. I can get a wide range of sounds from it. But I was admiring Les’s basses today. They felt really good.

CLAYPOOL: I play Carl Thompson basses. I picked up a four-string years ago, because Stanley Clarke had one. I saw a used one in a shop and loved it.

LEE: What did you play before?

CLAYPOOL: I had just gotten an Ibanez Musician, but I got rid of it quickly and borrowed money to get the Carl Thompson. A few years later I saw one of his six-strings at a NAMM [National Association of Music Merchants] show. I had to have one. So I called Carl. He liked the fact that I knew all about him and his basses even though he’d never met me. He builds them in his apartment, on a custom basis. He’s a funny, older guy. He told me, “I like you because you’re weird – like me.” When he made me the six-string, he said he was going to make the best bass he ever made in his life. That really killed me.

LEE: It’s quite a piece of work.