Show & Tell: Sweet Whirl

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Show & Tell: Sweet Whirl

What piece of equipment do you have to show us today?

A Samick bass guitar with 24-frets and the ‘metal’ headstock. 


How did you come across this particular item?

I felt an urge to get a bass guitar about six years ago, and I went to my local Swop Shop. They know me well – I’ve bought and sold a number of great synths and keyboards there over the years. I walked in and picked this bass out because of how it looked, its Cherry Sunburst finish and how light and manageable it was. It also came in well below my planned budget.


What is it that you like about it so much?

I’ve played a few basses since buying this one, and by comparison I can hear the deficiencies in my Samick’s sound; it’s not as resonant in a band setup, and can’t punch through and own that lower register. But I started playing bass as a solo artist so it doesn’t serve that function – it’s an expressive and narrative part that sits in the foreground. I think there’s a mellowness to its tone across all registers that makes it a good accompaniment to my voice.


How do you use it and how has it shaped the way you write music?

As soon as I got it, I worked out a tuning that made sense to me, and being a piano player, it was a tuning that allowed me to comfortably make a root position chord, with an extra second or third on top. I’m not a guitar player, but a folky finger picking style was very intuitive, with the thumb keeping the bass line and the other fingers filling out the chord and melody. 


It had a huge impact on how I write music – I write between keys and bass, and different melodies and progressions present themselves on different instruments. It’s like a sounding board – I know a song will work if it holds up on solo bass as well as piano.


Tell us a little about what you have coming up?

I’ve got an album coming out in late May called How Much Works, which is a mixture of bass-prominent tracks and piano tracks. We also released the first track of the album, and probably the most upbeat, called ‘Sweetness’. It’s inspired by upbeat indie-pop tracks from the ’90s.



How Much Works is out this Friday May 29 via Chapter Music / Inertia Music.