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Mentioned in this March 1, 2019 al.com interview.
The bass Hood played from FAME days as well as after co-founding Muscle Shoals Sound in 1969, with Johnson, Hawkins and key Beckett, was the very first bass he ever owned: a sunburst 1961 Fender Jazz.
Before Hood embarked on a rare (for him) tour in 1973, performing with Steve Winwood's jam-band Traffic, he stripped his Jazz finish to give the instrument a new look. Hood had recently built some speaker cabinets for his home stereo. He used leftover walnut-stain to re-hue his bass. He cut a new pickguard from a floor tile and then painted it black. "It was really cool looking," Hood recalls. Alas, while on tour with Traffic his beloved '61 Jazz was stolen from behind New York venue Brooklyn Academy of Music at a gig. "I hated to lose that bass," he says.
The next day, Hood went to Manny's Music and bought two new Fender Jazz Basses. "But they'd changed by then and I was never really happy with that," he says. Later, he acquired an Alembic bass and played that instrument on many of his recording sessions after 1976. "The guys in San Francisco that equipped the Grateful Dead made they [sic] Alembic instruments," Hood says. "I've still got mine. It's got a double-octave neck though and with arthritis in my wrists and shoulders I rarely play it, because it's not really comfortable to play. But it's a great sounding instrument."
The '61 bass is also discussed in this February 20, 2014 No Treble interview.
What are some of your favorite instruments to use in the studio? Does it change based upon the session?
My first bass was a ’61 Fender Jazz. It took a long time, but I eventually got a really good sound with it. I worked with that bass for over 10 years so I knew how to make it sound right and I measured all other basses against that one. That bass got stolen on one of the Traffic tours in ’73 so I immediately went out and got two other Jazz basses. Then I got an Alembic and was able to get a really good sound with that one. People would come in to the studio and say, “Gosh, I thought you played a Fender. What’s that thing?” But it got a great sound, and as always, I was playing and working for the sound that came out of the speakers. I’ve gotten a good sound with a Kubicki X-Factor bass and then I’ve got some Lakland basses that I really like… one of them is a Joe Osborn model. It’s the closest thing to my first jazz bass; it’s got the stacked tone controls and the neck feels like the neck that was on that Jazz. It has the sound I want and it plays well for my hands.
A photo of Hood with a Jazz bass can be found here.
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