This article series is about the tools of popular guitarists and bassists. What are their favorite guitars or basses and how is it related to them? This time with Rico Bowen (Sainted Sinners).
When and why did you start playing bass and what was your first bass?
I started playing the Upright Contrabass when I was 14 with the high school Orchestra in the US. Later I picked up the electric bass in the Jazz high school band. My first bass was a sunburst Rickenbacker Ibanez copy. Later I saved my money for a blonde Fender Jazz Bass. What are your influences and favorite bass players? Oh that’s a long list… Jaco Pastorious was the first Bassist that blew my mind and stuck with me as a big influence as a kid. I couldn’t believe it was possible to play saxophone riffs on a bass! Afterwards Chris Squire (Yes), Geddy Lee (Rush), Verdine White (Earth Wind & Fire) , John Taylor (Duran Duran), Mark King (Level 42), Justin Chancellor (Tool), John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), John Entwhistle (The Who), Family Man Barrett (Bob Marley) Steve Harris (Iron Maiden) Jimmy Flim Johnson (Allan Holdsworth) too many to name!!
How many basses do you own and what are your favorites?
I have six Basses, I have a Cherry Red Fender American Deluxe V that I only use for studio work for the past 15 years. So everything that was recorded from me was with that Bass!! Onstage my main bass is a Maple Rickenbacker 4003s5 that I got in the Factory while I visiting Rickenbacker in Santa Ana California in 2018. I also picked up a Fire engine red Rickenbacker 5 string prototype 4001. The rest of my arsenals are a white Fender 5 string Jazz Bass, that is a workhorse of a sound. Everything on 10 and let’s go!!! I call it the “Road Warrior”, because it can take a licking and keep on ticking! To that a Epiphone black Thunderbird 5 string and a Warwick Frettless 5 string. As you can see, I only play 5 strings. It’s just what I am now used to. In my life span of bass playing, I owned 15 Basses..Steinberger, Jackson, Pedulla. I don’t have a particular favorite, I love all my kids!!
What amps and pedals do you use, and do cables or strings matter to you?
I have been using Laney ampflication referred from Frank Panè, and it sounds great!! Nice Eq system that captures a lot of low frequencies and can still cut the highs. The speakers are as well, have a very round and bold sound. I did the pedal thing years back and found as for me personally, I can get all the sound I need from just eq and my fingers. Also the music I play, does not really require effect sounds. It just doesn’t work, sound so much better natural with fingers. Every once in a while, I’ll use a red boss loop pedal for some solo spots…that’s always fun!!