This is the Loud Fast Gear Report. I’m going to breakdown and find out what exactly our favorite artists are playing with and using to get loud. I’m also going to give a little history on some of the gear. One of the best parts of being an artist is finding which tools you can utilize to help you express yourself in the best way possible. In this first report I interviewed local bass shredder, Ivan Gates.
So, What’s your name and what bands are you in?
My name’s Ivan Gates and I play bass for Jake Houston and The Royal Flush, which is an old honky tonk country band. And I’m currently playing drums for a synth pop band called Team Francis.
How long have you been playing with those bands?
I’ve been playing with Team Francis for about two years and then Jake Houston for – uh – two and a half years.
What is your current bass rig?
It’s the Fender Rumble 5oo. A 4×10 cabinet with a real small 500 watt head on top. I usually run that clean. If I do have any pedals, it’s just a tuner. I don’t usually get fancy with the country band but I like the Electroharmonix Micro POG Octaver. I’ve been messing around with a Moor pedal – uh – what is it? I’ve been messing with the TC electronics Flashback for delay and it’s really fun.
In 2014 Fender released the Rumble Series. Designed as a lightweight and portable amp system they were made available as combo amps and also has 500 and 200 watt heads.
What bass are you playing on?
It’s a, I think, ’96 Mexican Fender P Bass. When I got it I put some Seymour Duncan Steve Harris signature pickups in it. The ones that were on it were real boomy and didn’t have a lot of definition. They still thump but these have a lot more high end and give a louder sound.
The Fender Precision Bass also known as the P bass was designed to overcome the large and cumbersome design of the double bass. The use of frets and a slim design paved the way for modern electric bass guitars.
Have you done any other modifications?
To the bass itself, yeah. I went through and replaced all the pots and capacitors. And usually the P bass has volume and tone and input. I took out the input and added another tone knob. They both pretty much do the same thing but the second one has a bigger capacitor. It has a little bit more choice and it’s not perfect but I just wanted to mess around. I drilled a hole at the bottom and put the input there. It has the original bridge and I grounded the whole pickguard and I rewired everything. It was a lot of fun. Actually it was a pain in the ass but you know.
What’s your dream rig?
If I were to nail it down to one rig it would be the Ampeg B15 Fliptop. It’s a 1×15 cabinet, pull the clip and the head flips up and sits on top gloriously above. It’s so fucking sweet. I’ve played on one or two of them and they’re fucking amazing. It sounds very very vintage. You can get gritty almost punk sound out of it then you can play like James Jameson bass lines and have that thump.
The Ampeg B15 Portoflex was introduced in 1960. It came with 6 tubes and a closed back to give the bass guitar a thick and fundamental sound like never before.
What’s your dream bass?
I’m sure I’m not alone on this but I would love to get a ’77 Rickenbacker 4001. I’d want the Jetglow, the black one with the checkered binding.
The Rickenbacker 4001 is a highly sought after model as seen played by Geddy Lee, Lemmy Kilmister, and Geezer Butler.
How long have you been playing?
I’ve been playing for – shit- eleven years now. My Dad bought me a Hamer and we would sit down and try and learn Rush songs note for note.
What was your first bass amp?
It was this Nemesis 2×10 cabinet. It was really cool -I wish I hadn’t sold it. It was like 200 watts. Yeah, I played it all through highschool. It was mine and I could take it anywhere
What kind of style do you play now?
I think if I were to branch off and do my own thing it would be funk. I love playing rock and roll but getting down and getting funky with the bass, like slapping and finger style are definitely something I need to work on but is super fun.
Which artist’s are your influences?
David Bowie is a really big influence. He’s always had some really hip cats playing for him. Geddy Lee is a big big influence. Watching him do his thing is kind of fucking amazing. As far as funk bass players, I’ve been really into Thundercat recently. He’s a bad motherfucker. It’s insane to watch him play. Of course there’s greats like James Jameson. Victor Wooten is in there but I watch what he’s doing and it’s so far beyond. Dude, the bass player for Deep Purple, that guy’s bad. And dude, Lemmy.
What are some good and or bad gig stories?
Oh the Curse of the Rock Squats- I think I was seventeen or eighteen and I played a show with someone and they were like “We got to do Rock Squats.”. It’s when you put your arms out at a ninety degree angle and like squat down with your whole band. It seemed like a fun thing to do. With Team Francis, we had a different name at the time, our first show was at the Knitting Factory. That sounds cool but it was like a Tuesday and there was all of three people there. So we got this show and I mentioned doing Rock Squats. We loaded on and we started playing our set. About ten seconds into our first song I broke the A string on my bass. And I like lost all composure. I had never broken a bass string or seen anyone break a bass string. I was like “fuck!”. So I walked back to my amp and tried to figure out how to play the song without an A string. I was like “okay, that was bad” but I didn’t think anything of it. Then the next show we played we practiced and we were ready then we did some Rock squats. It was at this dive bar in Carson. Halfway through the second song the P.A. blew up on us. There was nothing we could do. And after a second it came back on, which was the longest second ever. We kept playing. And then it went out again. But it wouldn’t just completely break. So we couldn’t just cancel the show but everyone heard about half of every song. Then the third show we played, same thing. Rock squats and Sam’s top keyboard blew a fuse. We didn’t have any fuses. That was when I knew Rock squats are not a good idea.
You can catch Ivan playing drums with Team Francis here in Reno on March 19th at Saint James Infirmary.