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"This is a 1961 Fender Precision, my hands-down favorite bass. Anyone that's ... more
"This is a 1961 Fender Precision, my hands-down favorite bass. Anyone that's played a 1961 Fender knows that there's some mojo to it. I think really to me the neck is so comfortable on this. It's nice and worn in on the back, it's a flatter shape on there so it's comfortable for my hands. I did actually add a couple things to it. When I found it it actually already had reissue pickups in it and the pickguard is replaced. I like the idea that it can be a player's bass. I didn't want something I was just going to put under my bed or not feel comfortable taking out on tour. I love these, they're called the Babicz Full Contact bridge. When I first got the bass it obviously played well but there were maybe a couple, not even dead spots, but maybe some spots that jumped out a little bit more here and there. And when I put this bridge on there it was just night and day. Part of it too was that I hit pretty hard with my right hand and so it really helps almost the way a limiter or a compressor would without affecting the tone. The pickups that I put in here were actually made in Chicago, they're called Hanson. These are the Neo-Punch P Bass pickups. What they do is they wire more like a classic Fender-style pickup but in the back they put in another neodymium magnet which gives it almost a little more hair on the note and breaks it up a little bit. It's got the original slab board, rosewood. The neck used to be finished, I guess now it is unfinished. This isn't a relic. This is how it was. I found this at Cowtown Guitars in Las Vegas when I was there on tour - it's a vintage shop. There's a local bass guy in Vegas who has been the bass player for Lenny Kravitz for many years and brought this in. I handpicked the Hanson pickups because of the way that they break up. It almost sounds like they have a natural compression to them that almost like if you're recording and you're through the board that they're going to put some sort of compressor on the bass. It sounds like that has already been done to them, but they're hotter other pickups and it also puts in a little bit of dirt. Kind of like a natural growl in there that I was using pedals to do before, something like a SansAmp bass driver. I'm getting that more out of the bass and having to put other things into the signal to do that. Everything else on here is original. I use the DR Fat Beams on there, just the regular 45-105 setup. I love this thing, it's well balanced. I can dig in and rock out with it with the pick. I can also just play with the fingers as well. This is number one, numero uno."
"Number two that's out with me right now is my '66 Guild Starfire which is a ... more
"Number two that's out with me right now is my '66 Guild Starfire which is a read hollow body. What you'll notice on there is that it doesn't have the regular Hagstrom Bysonic pickup, because that's normally what they would use in those Guild Starfires back then. But when they couldn't get those in from Sweden, the pickup that's in there is typically what you would see in the old Hagstrom solid-body guitars. Some people call it the Mickey Mouse pickup because it looks so cheap. But again, it's still just a single coil and it is the loudest yet clearest pickups of any of my basses. Again this was just a real awesome find that I got last year. It's a stock pickup but it's very unique. I love the sound, I wouldn't change it - Flatwounds tuned to E-flat. I tune it to E-flat so that I can use it exclusively on 'Everybody Talks.' The cool thing with that is that we doubled the bass with a synth-bass line and on the chorus, and what's unique about that bass is that it complements it and has a real natural topend that complents the synth-bass as well. So I'm bringing the dirt and the cut of the note and then we're getting that underbody with the synth."
"The Rickenbacker, I've used a lot of different ones. Obviously people switch... more
"The Rickenbacker, I've used a lot of different ones. Obviously people switch instruments for tones, but we started exploring with different tunings as well. I use a Drop-D tuning with the Rickenbacker. It's not so much even for a heavy metal sound - people associate the drop-D with that kind of thing - but it's even more for a sort of droning. Like I'll do the open which would be the open-D string which now is the open-C. So for some of those songs it's like an open-C kind of thing. I think that when I stumbled upon the drop tuning because the action when I got the bass was really high, and it has a dual truss rod in it. So I didn't really want to mess with it; I didn't want to ruin it or anything like that. I figure I'm pretty well to get around standard stuff and poke around with my basses but I just didn't want to risk breaking the truss rod. To compensate for the high tuning I would just tune the bass down. It was with me all last year on tour and I'd always play it backstage and whatever. We were backstage, I think it was our last night on the Duran Duran tour last fall and Tyler said I have this idea for this song, which became 'Trust,' and he said 'Here play this,' and it was in that tuning. So the Rickenbacker when we recorded I knew I wanted to use that because it was already in the tuning and just ended up having that sound. Again, it's a good complement between like, it has the really low lows but it has a cutting top-end as well to it."
"The Hofner, it chose me. This one night at a truck stop, you know when you g... more
"The Hofner, it chose me. This one night at a truck stop, you know when you go in there and they have those dreamcatchers and those sweatshirts that have owls and wolves on them, there it was glowing like Sponge Bob's magic spatula. No, but I mean Hofners and Rickenbackers take us back to Paul McCartney. It's a real classic sound. I'm instantly drawn to a lot of classic and vintage gear, even if it's not an actual vintage piece if it's more retro I'm down with that as well. It just tends to lend itself to acoustic settings and stuff like that. That is the Club Bass Limited Edition, and it's limited because it has the cavern spacing which means the rear pickup is up in the middle instead of back by the bridge. It also has a limited dark violin finish on there which is classy. I love, props to Hofner for sending it out with the Pyramid Flatwounds on it."
"This is when we're out in the alley looking for pedalboards and guitars that... more
"This is when we're out in the alley looking for pedalboards and guitars that this one came up. It's a '74 Gibson Ripper, refinished as you can tell but they put in a nice tint to the lacquer to give it a yellowed finish to it. This was a trade with a friend. We all know each other. We're all out on that bass junkie circuit. These pickups are also made by Hanson in Chicago. Hanson is a division of Lakeland, they make all of the pickups that are on the Lakeland and Hanson guitars. This one is great because it's so light, especially for being a neck-through. It doesn't look light but people that know Gibson basses know they're always super heavy. This one, like right away I felt how light it was and then just felt how good it played all the way up the neck, I was like 'Dude that's it - it's happening.' This will keep me warm until I can get back to the White Falcon in the nest."
"The Black Fender Mike Dirnt Precision P Bass, which I believe they designed ... more
"The Black Fender Mike Dirnt Precision P Bass, which I believe they designed after a mix between a '51 and a '55 style Fender. This one has a '59 custom shop pickup in it which is all stock. Yeah, Fender - I had another one of his basses that Fender sent to me early on which is now hanging at the Hard Rock Hotel in Hollywood, Florida. They actually did a little thing for us there. Fender sent me a Mike Dirnt bass and said, "Hey Mike, you know Branden is from Neon Trees and he's this new bass player out on the scene. Just to let you know he's digging the bass.' It was a sunburst one, and so we played in Oakland sometime after that and he comes out to the show and says, 'Hey man, good to meet you. I've been working on my new record and thought that you don't have a dark Mike Dirnt bass. You have to have a black Mike Dirnt bass. I didn't just want to order one and have it be some not-awesome off-the-rack bass. I wanted you to have this one - I was playing it today.' It was really cool just down home cool guy. That really meant a lot o tme because he's a great rock-n-roll bassist. It's cool to play that bass because I can see how they spent the time on it to get that sound, that if you want you can totally dial in that pick and get that whole Green Day sound. So yeah that one is a cool one. Igot it last year. I added the thumb rest so I can get more of some finger funk out of it."
"It's actually a long scale. Most of the Gretsch basses are a short, maybe a ... more
"It's actually a long scale. Most of the Gretsch basses are a short, maybe a 30" or a 30.5", and this is the long scale, and it's got an ebony fretboard. Yeah, I just love it."
Demoing the bass for Chicago Music Exchange, Branden says that he owns one an... more
Demoing the bass for Chicago Music Exchange, Branden says that he owns one and that it is one of his favourite basses (0:47).
"I have, unless they're holding out on me - they better not have made another... more
"I have, unless they're holding out on me - they better not have made another one yet - the new Fender Bassman 300. It's got 65-50 tube, power tubes, in it. It's like the vintage Bassmans but it has more power now. It has two channels now: a vintage and like a modern channel. On my pedalboard I've made a special pedal switcher as well that actually has a light built into it that lets me know which of the channels I'm using on there. The other thing is that with the new Super Bassman line they're doing neo cabs with the super lightweight cabs. They sent me one and it just wasn't working for me in particular. It was great to move around because it's super light, but the sound it was aggresive because it didn't have the low end that I wanted - it didn't hit me in the chest - and so they were very nice to make some that had real speakers in there. So I'm using two. I love it. I love the way it looks, Iove the way it sounds. I love the dual channel because I can get a variety of sounds. I have an ever changing mood of bass sounds and tones so I think it's great to have an amp that has two channels in case my mood changes then I can just switch the channel and change with it."
"My go-to pedal is definitely the Aguilar Tone Hammer. That's the preamp peda... more
"My go-to pedal is definitely the Aguilar Tone Hammer. That's the preamp pedal. That's what I use. I mean I have definitely found the perfect combination between that pedal and a certain bass with the neo-punch pickup in it and then going into that Fender rig. That's all I needed. You could even say hey listen tonight we can't use any of your effects and you say 'Well I can't play that song because I don't have my chorus or my delay or anything like that.' It's definitely more of the after thought that comes with the bass lines and the underlying tone. The Tone Hammer is it, but all the pedals on the pedalboard I use even if one of them only gets used on a bridge. I don't like cutting corners and saying, 'Oh it's easier to leave that at home because of whatever.' It's like this is our craft. I like to experiment, but I'm also trying to get away from that too - I mean it's fun and there is an art with experimenting with tones and sounds. I think sometimes you have to learn too when to leave well enough alone because you're always going to be searching. You're always going to be playing with different things. I try to get what is really working, doing the right thing and really trying to commit to that."
"We have the TC Electronic Supernova, I use it as the delay pedal. I use that... more
"We have the TC Electronic Supernova, I use it as the delay pedal. I use that on 'I Am the DJ,' when we play that."
"I use the Zvex Woolly Mammoth on 'Trust'." more
"I use the Zvex Woolly Mammoth on 'Trust'."
"I use the phaser pedal, which is actually a guitar pedal, on a song we have ... more
"I use the phaser pedal, which is actually a guitar pedal, on a song we have called 'Hooray for Hollywood'."
A EBS UniChorus Analog Signal Processing Pedal appears in Branden Campbell's ... more
A EBS UniChorus Analog Signal Processing Pedal appears in Branden Campbell's pedalboard at 34:30 in this Neon Trees rig rundown video.
An EBS OctaBass Triple Mode Octave Divider Pedal appears appears in Branden C... more
An EBS OctaBass Triple Mode Octave Divider Pedal appears appears in Branden Campbell's pedalboard at 34:26 in this Neon Trees rig rundown video.
A Tech 21 SansAmp Character Series VT Bass V2 Distortion Bass Effects Pedal a... more
A Tech 21 SansAmp Character Series VT Bass V2 Distortion Bass Effects Pedal appears at 34:21 in Branden Campbell's pedalboard during this Neon Trees rig rundown.
"The JHS pedal, like the Green Tea one, I'll use that on 'Lessons in Love' be... more
"The JHS pedal, like the Green Tea one, I'll use that on 'Lessons in Love' because it has a built-in compressor. So I'll keep it on and keep the verse tight and then turn it off and let the bass open up more on the chorus."
"This is a custom one because they offer custom paint. I wanted the pink spar... more
"This is a custom one because they offer custom paint. I wanted the pink sparkle with the bake light knobs on there. The left hand side is kind of like an SVT preamp modeled after the old SVTs, and the right side is fuzz."
"My favorite fuzz pedal is another custom one they made for me, it's the whit... more
"My favorite fuzz pedal is another custom one they made for me, it's the white Low Drive. Well it's custom paint. It has a Low Rider car painted on it. The Low Drive pedal is probably one of the nastiest bass overdrive sounds that I've used. What was unique was when we made the record Picture Show we had Justin Meldal-Johnsen producing, who obviously with Nine Inch Nails as a bass player, and has recorded and played with everybody, and who's also known for having quite the arsenal of effects. Then the engineer was Billy Bush who has helped engineer all the garbage records. So when it comes time to do Teenage Sounds I say, 'Okay, we need the bass distortion because it's for the essence of that song. So everyone lines up and it's like this showdown where everyone brings out their fuzz and drive pedals for bass. I think there was even one BIlly had locked down in a vault, it was handmade for him. But I was pretty stoked to see that it was the JHS that I brought that actually won the shoot-out. I think what makes it cut so well is that we actually send it through the D.I. straight to a Teletronics LA2A. So it really helped the bass drive shine."
A Peterson StroboStomp2 Pedal Virtual Strobe Tuner is spotted in Branden Camp... more
A Peterson StroboStomp2 Pedal Virtual Strobe Tuner is spotted in Branden Campbell's pedalboard at 34:24 in this Neon Trees rig rundown video.
An Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail Nano Reverb Guitar Effects Pedal appears in Br... more
An Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail Nano Reverb Guitar Effects Pedal appears in Branden Campbell's pedalboard at 34:30 in this Neon Trees rig rundown video.
"The cool thing with that is that we doubled the bass with a synth-bass line ... more
"The cool thing with that is that we doubled the bass with a synth-bass line and on the chorus, and what's unique about that bass is that it complements it and has a real natural topend that complents the synth-bass as well," says Branden Campbell about the Electro-Harmonix Bass MicroSynth Effects Pedal.
An Electro-Harmonix XO Bass Big Muff PI Distortion Effects Pedal appears in B... more
An Electro-Harmonix XO Bass Big Muff PI Distortion Effects Pedal appears in Branden Campbell's pedalboard at 34:12 in this Neon Trees rig rundown video.
"I use the DR Fat Beams on there, just the regular 45-105 setup." more
"I use the DR Fat Beams on there, just the regular 45-105 setup."
A Pedaltrain Powertrain 1250 Multi-Power Supply appears in Branden Campbell's... more
A Pedaltrain Powertrain 1250 Multi-Power Supply appears in Branden Campbell's pedalboard at 34:17 in thir rig rundown video.
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