RockReunion - The Online Music Magazine - Legacy Review

Marten Andersson talks to

What country are you from and where do you presently use as a base of operations?

I was born in Sweden, but I have lived in and been based out of Los Angeles for what seems like a lifetime.

A brief update on the current status of your band/projects/current band members?

I have been keeping busy this year. I got my Legacy solo CD out in the States ( I did 2 tours with guitarist George Lynch. We finished in the United States a while back. George is playing better than he ever did. There was a lot of jamming. We did stuff like ZZ Top songs for an hour, before starting the normal set.

I am also in a brand new band called "Starwood". It has a 70's vibe to it, Cheap Trick meets early Priest, AC/DC meets the Darkness without the falsetto. Kinda has a bridge from old hard rock to new. The people that have heard the CD all said they love it and that it's very original. The release date is July 27 in the United States. It will be interesting to see what the reaction will be.

How long have you been playing bass?

I started playing guitar when I was 12 for about 6 months, until I saw Gene Simmons in a video. I thought he was the coolest thing and it made me switch to bass. I don’t think my dad was too happy though. I begged and begged for a guitar only to ask him to buy me a bass 6 months later.

When did you first get an 8-string (model/year)? How?

I was on tour with Lizzy Borden years ago, when I was approached by a bass company who was introducing 8 string basses. I thought 8 was a perfect mix between the 4 and 12. Hell, it was a lot easier to re-string 8 than 12 if anything, without losing a lot of the punch from a 12 string. Some years later ESP started making them. I checked one out and keept it, I loved it. It's one of my main basses.

When did you first get a 12-string bass (model/year)? How?

I grew up watching guys like Tom Pedersen and Doug Pinnick, who I thought were awesome, but I was into the tapping, chord type of playing, and as you know it's a bit hard to do on a 12 string. I was a late bloomer. By the time I realized how cool and heavy it was I got a Hamer. I liked the way their basses looked, but it was also in honor of those guys. I ripped out the electronics, and added another 9 volt battery to get some more punch. Doing so made it sound great live, but not so much for recording, unfortunately.

Can you give us a quick listing of significant basses you've owned/used over the years?

Other than a great aresnal of ESP's (Jazz, EC-404, 8 strings etc.), I have a couple of Fenders (a 78 Jazz, a Fender Jazz special), a couple of hamers (12 strings), and a Dean. Most my basses has Leo Quan's Badass Bridges on them as well.

Can you give a brief history of your 8 & 12-string bass usage -- live and studio?

I did the entire last 2 tours with George Lynch using ESP's 8 string basses. The sound you get with those things is unbelievable! I used 8 & 12 strings on the "Deal with The Devil" CD (Lizzy Borden).

Have you used 8 or 12 on any session work outside of your band? If so, details?

I recorded bass on a CD that is not released yet (it's very heavy, Zombie meets Korn/Disturbed). We went in the studio with the out-of-the-box mind frame of, “let’s try all kinds of things.” I ended up dubbing 4/8/12 string basses with different sounds and effects. It sounds really cool.

What percentage of your playing has been done on 8 and 12 over the years?

Like I mentioned eariler, I got into 8/12 strings very late, so it has only been a few years, but I love it. An 8 string was used100% of the time on the Lynch tour, with Lizzy Borden I would say 60% was 8/12 strings, and the rest 4 string stuff. There are 2 guitars in Starwood, so the heavy coverage is there, but there are a few songs when the singer doesn't play his guitar. I use my ESP 8 Strings on those.

How to your RECORD your 8 or 12 in the studio? Any specific techniques/equipment?

I lower my action to the point where I get the grind, but not too too much fret noise. I make sure I use new strings. I also record my basses onto 2 or 3 tracks (clean, distorted, etc.) and mix them together. The Studio gear is different from each situation and producer. I use anything from Gallien Kruger, Ampeg, Line 6, Marshall Guitar amps to Protool Ant Farm and extra Compression.

What has been your experience with producers and engineers in their reaction or getting a good sound tracking it?

There are some producers and engineers that don't get it (initially). I ask them to give it a shot, think out-of-the-box somewhat, and they usually end up loving it. I have actually been running into more guitar players who feel threatened by it, thinking its taking away the spotlight and sound from them. In those situations I just use psychology, "Hey imagine the cover you will have during the solo." People are going to think your rhythm sound is really heavy. Initially, I went through the first set with George Lynch using a 4 string. The next time around I used my 8. He never wanted me to use anything else.

How do you amp it LIVE on stage and to the house mix? Can you give a breakdown of your live rig? Any particular gear that you've added that solves any 8 or 12 problems? Any pedals/etc?

It all depends on the stage/house. Most of the time my rig consists of my modified Gallien Kruger, Ampegs (and also guitar amps). I am keeping my main bass stacks fairly clean with a little bit of added compression. Then I have another amp (can be the guitar amps) with heavy distortion and the bass turned down. I use a splitter and mix the signals together. This way I get the deep bottom end from the Gallien Kruger amps and get the grind, distortion from the Ampeg or guitar amp I just picked up and an old Ampeg 70's, with a bit of compression/distortion added, and it sounds like thunder on its own. I usually mic the stuff live but I also use a Sans Amp Bass Driver DI through the house PA. You will run into some house guys that will hate you. They want a 4 string bass and amp with a direct clean signal, otherwise they will actually have to work. Screw ‘em, Stick to your guns!

Do you play 8 and 12 finger-style or with a pick? Any special techniques/tricks? Pick type (size/gauge) if used?

I am definitely a pick user for my 8/12 strings. Xheavy picks all the way (white Fender or Jim dunlop XH style). I have found that I get it to sound more like a heavy guitar if I do heavy down pick strokes (as well as alternating between up/down). The pick portion is actually very simple but it's very powerful. The reason I use 8/12 basses is to make thunder, make it powerful and heavy but yet groove.

What string brand/type/gauges do you use on your 8 and 12? Do you string your 8 and 12 with the root on top OR on bottom of the octaves?

I use Dean Markley Strings. They have been making custom sets for me. The Gauges depends on what tuning situation I am in. When we did "the heavy album" (the side project that has not been released yet) it was tuned down to D or C#. I was using 5 string gauges, using the 128 as the e string, with the thin (octave) on top. For normal tuning I use Dean Markley Strings 45's standard sets with added octave strings.

Who are your current favorite bands/players? Who are your influences?

My influences are a bit different now than what they used to be. I like a ton of bands. The list would be too long. I grew up listening to everything from MSG, Deep Purple to Billy Sheehan and Gene Simmons.

Any other 8 or 12 players you have listened to or are friends with?

I know and have listened to Doug Pinnick for years. He is a great bassplayer and a great guy. I had the opportunity to work with Doug's tech. He gave me some really good ideas and insights, that I feel, improved my sound. Tom Pederson from Cheap Trick is awesome. I have never met the man, but a great player.

Your opinion as to any advantages and/or disadvantages of using an 8 or 12?

If you are into slapping, tapping, or playing classical type chords pieces like I used to do, it's not a personal choice of bass. They also have a very distinguished sound which might not be for everybody. If you are looking for thunder, this is the way to go. There is a time and place for everything.

If you could design the perfect 8 or 12-string bass, are there any specific improvements you would make?

A lot of them have way to much crap going on: EQ's, 2 Volume knobs, Mid Range, Pre amps etc. Give me 2 buttons, volume, and treble and I am good to go. Also, the design can be improved upon. If I would design one I would make myself a straight forward Fender-type body. I was approached by a bass amp company that wanted help with some amp consulting a while back. Maybe I should get into the design of 8/12-string basses as well. (laughing)

Is there anything else you'd like to add that we've not covered?

I think we are good. Thanks again. Practice your bass to get what you want. STOP doing what isn't working.

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