I’ve owned quite a few basses since I started playing at age 17, though no vintage ones, and I’ve often had to sell most of them when times have been hard. Currently, I have different basses for different uses: We Will Rock You; live work with Snakecharmer and other touring situations; studio work including emulating specific players’ sounds etc.

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Martin Petersen Sei fanned fret bass with Nordstrand pickups and ACG electronics. Bottom 4 strings of 5-string bass - B E A D Martin Petersen Sei fanned fret bass with Nordstrand pickups and ACG electronics.  Bottom 4 strings of 5-string bass - B E A D Dingwall Prima 5-string fanned-fret bass with ACG electronics
Dingwall Prima 5-string fanned-fret bass with ACG electronics Roger Giffin 'Strat Bass' 1979 built for me. Standard Fender neck, but with 24 frets & 32" scale length. Roger Giffin 'Strat Bass' 1979 closeup
Squier Vintage Modified Jazz Bass® Fretless with added piezo pickups in bridge and John East J-Retro electronics SKC Bogart 5-string bass with mounting for bass synth pickup SKC Bogart 4-string bass (damaged by airlines)
SKC Bogart 4-string bass (damaged by airlines) Lakland Skyline Bob Glaub bass Precision made up of many different parts over the years - the body is from my first P-bass bought in 1974 (about 1968 vintage) which I've hacked many holes in for different pickups over the years! Fender active circuit, as in their current basses. This is the main bass I use in We Will Rock You.
Fender Precision bass 1998 with Bartolini pickup, Badass bridge & Raven Labs circuit Fender Stu Hamm Urge II bass with replacement Aaron Armstrong pickup Fender Stu Hamm Urge II bass with replacement Aaron Armstrong pickup
Yamaha TRB1004 bass Yamaha TRB1004 bass Aria Neil Murray model bass - Japan 1988
Aria Neil Murray model bass - Japan 1988 Aria ARB-CST 'Neil Murray' bass Aria ARB-CST 'Neil Murray' bass
Aria ARB-CST 'Neil Murray' bass. Photo from 'Johnny Angel' 's Facebook page (don't think the pic is up anymore) - I sold it to him a couple of years ago. B C Rich Mockingbird bass 1981 1981: Fender customised P-bass, Kramer 450B, Aria SB1000, Aria SB900, Roland synth bass, Fender Musicmaster, Giffin 'Strat Bass", Ibanez Roadstar. Sunn Coliseum amp, Acoustic 408 4x15 cabinet.
1981 - as previous photo 1981: Britannia Row Studios: Aria SB1000, Aria SB900, La Bella Quarterwound strings, Sunn Coliseum amp, Acoustic 408 4x15 cabinet 1981 at Monsters of Rock, Donington. B C Rich Mockingbird bass.
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Description: Some of my bass guitars

8 thoughts on “Basses

    • Hi Dave, although I sometimes go for less well-known makes of bass, generally they’re not custom-made. With MSG I was using my main non-Fender bass, which is a Yamaha TRB1004. I have changed the pickups on it to Bartolinis, and the active electronics to an Aguilar OBP-3. I occasionally need the 5-string version, which I don’t own, so I’ve rented one of those on the MSG Japan tour that I played on.

  1. Thanks Neil for the info. I use Bartolinis & preamp on a couple of basses too, liking the well-rounded tone they produce. But i may switch to an Aguilar preamp for better tone variance, and I’m using both 4-5 string basses too. I can hear you well live, recordings & video Neil, and you’re sounding great. A nice cutting tone with lots of power and presence, but no mud or overpowering sound.

    • I generally don’t go for a ‘scooped’ midrange – sometimes there has been too much mid in my sound! Partly as I seem to need a lot of mids to not feel smothered by every other instrument, but also because I generally play very hard, which accentuates the midrange.

      • I don’t like too much midrange tone as well. The tone you’re using Neil, sounds very balanced and full, without harshness or muddy bass. I did wonder if you pulled the strings with strength, since i heard a few of the strings “click” on the frets once in a while. Sounds great what you’re doing!

        • I play very hard – too hard! Sometimes it’s to get enough mid presence to cut through the wall of guitars & drums etc, but often it’s just a subconscious reaction to high volume. I’d rather play a bit lighter to achieve the same sound, as the harder you play, the thicker the strings and the higher the action need to be in order not to have a lot of click and buzz! Obviously I went over the threshold playing with MSG! Even if the volume of other people’s amps isn’t too bad, often the monitor and PA levels are what you’re fighting against. A very common thing nowadays, which I can’t bear, is for venues, festivals etc to have huge amounts of sub-bass going on, so A) the kick drum sounds like the thunder of the gods, but completely swamps the bass, and/or B) there’s so much sub-bass on the bass guitar as well that the tone is completely different from what’s coming out of your amp (which sounds thin and weedy because of that). For the last few years on live gigs, I’ve often used in-ears, but mostly not with a monitor mix, but just the bass, driven directly from my bass via a headphone amp. This cuts the volume from everything else and allows me to hear myself better, but it’s not perfect by any means in a loud rock band situation. Sometimes having just one earbud in is enough, but I’m still working towards the perfect monitoring situation. You get guitarists saying ‘The bass is too loud’, ignoring how deafening they themselves are! I need to hear myself above everything else, as everyone does, but it’s very hard to be able to do that at all frequencies – guitarists don’t realise how much boomy bottom end comes out of a Marshall cabinet when you’re to the side of one, and sound engineers think that every monitor should be turned up as loud as possible. I’m often fighting 2kW of drum monitors, and sometimes the volume of the PA (with lots of drums and vocals) is louder onstage than what’s coming directly off the stage, so you’re competing with that too. Don’t get me started on the sound mix at most gigs – drums far too loud, bass non-existent except as a deep rumble!

          • That’s amazing how much sonic dueling goes on stage, when playing in a full-fledged performance! I totally understand your plight, when drum subsonics are placed along with bass guitar through the monitors. They blend in much too closely, and you end up with a massive thump, but little actual bass guitar is heard. Kind of annoying to know the bass may be coming out on the mains fine, but you’re blown away with transient signals from others :-/ Neil, have to tried in-ears monitoring, and what do you think about that way of monitoring? I joined a local band who is totally using them and told me they won’t go any other way of monitoring. I admit that i’ma bit apprechensive of relying on such small devices. And I know all about Marshall cabinets producing deep bass tones that can clash with bass gutiar frequencies. I don’t know why some guitarists think that it will enrichen their own tone when much of the time, it may create muddy sounds and they think like you say, you’re too loud :-0.

            I would like to hear your interview on Thursday, and wondering if there are archives, since i may not be able to hear it live?

  2. Hi Neil,
    I just discovered your Whitesnake Album “Saints & Sinners” . Wow, great bass playing! and you can actually hear it! Thank you. Great sound on that album. Just curious what bass you used during the recording of this album?

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