Nick Wells and Medicine X bassist Daniel Wester sit down to discuss all things bass.
In this regular feature we shine a light on a select few SBL students regarded by many as ‘ones to watch.’ Throughout the year, we’ll be catching up with a diverse set of breaking and established talent to air their thoughts and experiences about bass playing, tunes and music in general from their own vantage point (the only thing that anyone can do, really). Want to join them? If you're studying with SBL and would like to share your experiences, then please don't hesitate to CONTACT US
Daniel Wester - Medicine X
Reality has a wonderful way of bringing us all down to earth, and bassist Daniel Wester is realising that it’s just good to be able to do what he loves: “I recently started a new band called Medicine X,” he tells us. “It’s a blues/rock/funk trio and we're playing in clubs and bars this summer.”
Every player has areas for improvement, though, he agrees. Asked how he’s evolved as a bass player in the years that he’s been playing bass, Daniel explains: “I have always aimed to be as versatile as I can and I hope that you can hear that in the way I play. In fact, Scott has the same kind of attitude as I do in trying to teach people to be as adaptable as possible and in different genres.”
Is he also a more intuitive player these days, we ask? Definitely: “When I joined SBL I was a bit stuck in terms of my progress, but the support I got from the SBL community has given me a huge boost. I already knew how to read music and I understood theory, but thanks to SBL and the monthly challenges I’ve really expanded my portfolio of songs, which is essential.” “When I joined SBL I was a bit stuck in terms of my progress, but the support I got from the SBL community has given me a huge boost" Daniel deploys a range of basses with Medicine X. “My main bass is a Sandberg P4, which is now called the VM4). I also have a Cort B4 Fretless, a Pitbull Guitars DIY 6-string fretless that I built earlier this year, a Yamaha BBG5, a Squier Affinity Jazz Bass, a Cort Action Bass and a Harley Benton EUB.”
We will let Daniel take it from here.
How did you get started playing bass?
It was by accident to be honest. I started out as a drummer at the age of 8, but I later decided to apply to a music school with classical guitar as my main instrument. I got accepted, but once we started the first semester I found out that there were no bass players in our class. I wasn’t the best guitarist, so I volunteered to play bass. That was in 1994 and I’ve been playing ever since.
What do you remember about your first bass?
My first bass was a Yamaha BBN5. I was already into jazz, fusion and soul music, so I thought a 5-string would make me more versatile.
How did you find ScottsBassLessons?
I found SBL via YouTube and I liked the way Scott was teaching.
Who are your favourite players?
I’ve always loved Jimmy Haslip's bass playing. Unfortunately, I haven't met with him or heard him live yet, but it's on my bucket list. It's, of course, impossible not to mention Jaco, Jamerson or Rocco Prestia. I also love Tal Wilkenfeld, Janek Gwizdala, Tony Grey, Michael Manring, Lee Sklar, Jeff Andrews, Federico Malaman, Hadrien Feraud... well, the list can go on forever. Naturally, Scott Devine is on that list too, otherwise I would never have found my way to SBL!
How do you practice?
This is where I feel a bit ashamed because I don't! I do study songs for upcoming gigs and transcribe bass lines and licks now and then, but a practice routine? No. Sorry. I work full-time and I take care of my two kids, so the little time I have left I spend just noodling around to keep my technique in shape. I wish I could be one of those guys with a dedicated practice routine, but I never have been and probably never will.
Tell us about your backline…
I play through a Trace Elliot Series 6 head and a 2x12 Soundcab cabinet. I’ve also got a Markbass Little Mark Blackline 250 with a TKS 1126 cab. For smaller gigs I use a GK MB150S combo.
What's your best gigging tip?
Be well prepared. If you’re not, then make sure you act like you are! Be on time, be confident, but be humble. If you can do that then the people you meet will be more likely to call you again when they next need a bass player. Make sure you carry extra gear (cables, batteries, strings, etc.) just in case.
How do you unwind?
By playing bass! Other than that, I spend time with my kids. We’ll watch a film or just dumbly surf the web and social media. Book reading is also a great way to gain energy and knowledge. I listen to a lot of music all the time and I am pretty good at doing nothing.
What would you be if you weren’t a bass player?
I probably would have been a drummer. I’m not a full time bass player today. I have a day job as a product manager for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which I also love doing, but I can't imagine a life without playing music. I tried it for a few years when my kids were born, but there was just a part of me missing.
You can find Medicine X on Facebook: www.facebook.com/medicineex
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