Jeff Gellis' Bass collection (partial)

How Many Basses is enough?

How Many Basses is enough?

According to Jeff Gellis, the answer is always “one more.”

Why so many basses? The answer is that each instrument has a personality in its sound and how it plays. In many ways, the instrument tells you (suggests) what to play by its tonal characteristics and action.

My basses fall into the categories of “warm and woody” and “nasty and clangy.” Each has its place.

Warm & Woody

Fender P bass is the quintessential warm and woody electric bass sound and has been my go-to since I first started playing. The Hofner Bass (not pictured) and Roscoe Fretless all stay in that zone.

Nasty & Clangy

Stingray, Rickenbacker (not pictured) are prime examples of this basses that live in this sonic territory. Not my first choice for a Motown gig, these are my weapons of choice for UnBrothers. Two big guitar sounds and a Hammond organ need to dealt with by the cutting power of these mean sounding basses! It’s the right sound for this band.

I recently saw the Who, with Pino Paladino on bass, (one of the worlds finest bass players, for sure). Pino chose to play a Precision on this gig and to me, he missed an important part of the essence of the sound of the Who. John Entwistle, one of my bass heroes, was a pioneer of the nasty bass tone. Overdriven, hi-fi, with steel, wound round strings… that is the sound of nasty! That is the sound of The Who!

Basses That Can Do Nice & Nasty

Some of the basses can straddle the line of naughty and nice. Those basses include the Jazz Bass, Dimension, the Warriors and P5 and to some extent the Musicman. It is essential to have a bass that can be reigned in at the appropriate moments if your set includes Beachboys and Al Green as well as Metalica.


Jeff Gellis' Bass collection (partial)
L to R: Roscoe fretless, Warrior DM 6, Fender P5 Deluxe, Fender QMT Jazz, Fender Dimension 5, Fender Precision, Stingray