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EricHaven
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PostSubject: Billy Sheehan   Sun Mar 22, 2009 8:57 pm

Billy has said that he didn't care for the tonal changes the Kahler produced, but he does own one bass with a trem, and this is it. It's a Fender Precision that has been strung with piccolo strings, and to the best of my knowledge, he doesn't use it all that much. I don't have a picture of him holding this bass, but I do recall and ad for DiMarzio with him and Steve Vai where he is holding this bass. Billy's website is at: www.billysheehan.com



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PostSubject: Re: Billy Sheehan   Sun Mar 29, 2009 8:45 pm

For the record, Billy has indeed had a major impact and influence on my playing, but he was not the original inspiration. My biggest influence was Eddie Van Halen, since I had been a guitar player (and a HUGE Van Halen fan) for a few years before going to bass. And even though I knew (....or rather....learned along the way after a fashion) that playing bass meant doing things differently than I had before, I didn't want to give up those things I loved doing on guitar. Tapping and distortion use were already embedded in my blood, so I went about trying to incorporate those elements into my bass playing. So when I started playing bass in 1982, I thought that I was doing something totally unique. How naive I was!

It wasn't until the Summer of 1986 that a close friend of mine came by my house, and threw an album into my lap with the exact words "man, you are going to HATE this guy!" The album was Sink Your Teeth Into That by Talas. And of course, the bassist was none other than Billy Sheehan. So yes, I listened to it, hated it, tried hard not to pick apart Billy's techniques (and failed several times), and eventually gave up and admitted that guy was/is a genius. And so I went about trying to take what I learned from Billy, and to somehow make it into something different and something that I could call my own.

The one major thing that I absolutely got from Billy was the use of two channels of sound from the bass to keep the low end intact and separate from the distortion. I struggled for years trying to figure out how to make both aspects work. And Billy had the answer.

And I had always dreamed of having a bass tremolo, but it wasn't until 1984 that I learned they even existed. And since Billy didn't/doesn't use a trem, I figured that this was an arena I could safely delve into as being mine. Hence forth, why I am here today.

Of course, then I discovered Raven, and upon hearing John Gallagher, I went "oh, no! Here I go again! Somebody else is already doing this stuff!!!" But by then, I was able to put it all into perspective, and realize that I am NOT so brilliant or original to have come up with something totally different from someone else. So I am now OK with the fact that my playing sounds a lot like John's does at times, and in fact, is a closer comparison than to that of Billy's, even though I do a lot of Sheehan-isms as well.

And since John is a friend of mine who is totally cool with me, I feel very lucky. Cool

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PostSubject: Re: Billy Sheehan   Mon Mar 30, 2009 12:38 am

Nice. Being very new to bass as an instrument, Billy has been a gigantic initial inspiration. I can't wait for his new album! Has to be the most bassaholic thing on the planet.
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PostSubject: Re: Billy Sheehan   Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:16 pm

Word! Laughing

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PostSubject: Re: Billy Sheehan   Tue Mar 31, 2009 9:24 pm

Actually, his solo work isn't that bass oriented. Of course the bass is great, but there's a lot of focus on the guitar (which he also plays)
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PostSubject: Re: Billy Sheehan   Wed Apr 01, 2009 12:27 am

True dat, man. It's all such a treat. I need to snag his new album STAT!
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PostSubject: Re: Billy Sheehan   Wed Apr 01, 2009 3:10 pm

See, that's the thing about Billy, and many other players like him. Everyone always jumps up and down yelling "see?!? He's doing it again!!!" while pointing their fingers when they hear some little riff or display of speed. What they fail to realize is that they are focusing on a very small percentage of the song. Billy himself said that 90% of the time, he's just grooving in the pocket. And he's right. Listen to anything he's done with the proper frame of mind, and what you'll hear most of the time is great, simple rhythm anchoring.

John Gallagher is the same way. He can rip out some amazing riffage when he wants to, but the vast majority of the time, he's simply holding down the rhythm.

I will even take my own things that I have recorded, and I will listen back to see if I am effectively keeping the groove in the pocket. And sure, I have a lot of moments when I squeak something out, but most of the time (I think, anyways) I'm just grooving.

What makes a great player isn't always related to how many notes-per-second they can rip out. A lot of the time it's knowing when not to do something.

In fact, there are a lot of really great players that were/are at times busier than Billy or John. Listen to Jack Bruce with Cream. Or John Entwistle with The Who. Or Chris Squire with Yes. Paul McCartney with The Beatles. Jack Cassidy with Jefferson Airplane. Geddy Lee with Rush. These are all heralded as the creme-of-the-crop, yet they were all over the freakin' place! But despite this, they are all considered heroes of the genre, so it really irritates me when I hear naysayers putting down busier players who aren't as well known.

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PostSubject: Re: Billy Sheehan   Wed Apr 01, 2009 3:25 pm

That's exactly why I love his playing. It's so solid and so dynamic. It sounds incredible and it challenges me.
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PostSubject: Re: Billy Sheehan   Thu May 06, 2010 10:35 am

A-ha! I finally located the old DiMarzio ad with Billy Sheehan and Steve Vai where Billy is holding his purple Precision with the Kahler:



Ahhh....the 80's! Laughing

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PostSubject: Re: Billy Sheehan   Thu May 06, 2010 11:46 am

that is a retarded 80's "advertisement" poster...these pics are BETTER Smile









there's something for the Sheehan fetish in you Eric Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Billy Sheehan   Thu May 06, 2010 3:56 pm

True, and thank you for posting these, Mike. Wink I have seen them before.

My point in posting the ad was to show Billy holding his Fender with the Kahler. Wink

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PostSubject: Re: Billy Sheehan   Thu May 06, 2010 4:32 pm

EricHaven wrote:
True, and thank you for posting these, Mike. Wink I have seen them before.

My point in posting the ad was to show Billy holding his Fender with the Kahler. Wink
ya I figured that and none of my pics have him using it either Sad
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PostSubject: Re: Billy Sheehan   Thu May 06, 2010 4:51 pm

So "we" (I guess I answered my own question) are the few who would chop up a fender for kahler reasons?

I sure as hell would. Infact... *cough* cough* My project bass's due date is getting near. Really finding someone to paint it is the hardest part.
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PostSubject: Re: Billy Sheehan   Thu May 06, 2010 7:32 pm

Oh, I would too!

But of course, my first choice will always be a Yamaha BB300. Wink

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PostSubject: Re: Billy Sheehan   Thu May 06, 2010 7:38 pm

Ughhh... Every time I see a new post in the famous bass trem users board I think it's John G telling us the sig bass is done...

WHEN WILL IT BE DONE!!!?!??!?!?!
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PostSubject: Re: Billy Sheehan   Thu May 06, 2010 9:15 pm

Look in the thread I started for John, KS. Wink

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PostSubject: Re: Billy Sheehan   Thu May 06, 2010 9:58 pm

EricHaven wrote:
Look in the thread I started for John, KS. Wink

lol, just a few hours after I make that post...
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PostSubject: Re: Billy Sheehan   Fri May 07, 2010 4:22 am

first of all ... i love what billy does.

second ... where eric dislikes being compared to billy because of style ... i dislike being associated because of the last name. thats why it just 'madmike'.

where billy doesnt like the tonal changes from the kahler ... i love it. i believe the kahler makes the higher frequencies sustain better where as the limited experience i have with a hipshot is that, it doesnt sustain as much and is more cutting those crisp highs. i think its just all the effects i use work better with the crisp signal. probably why i also enjoy the ss frets (that and they dont wear with rotos).

i've been doing some research about billys gear and incorporating the design ideas ... again, that difference between the lows and the highs. that neck position dimarzio he uses is all low end and uses the, model one (?) as the split for the mids, with very little highs. he runs effects on both.

i have a bridge humbucker (economy; i still need a better one / tones are too high) that i pan to for phaszing, rotary and synth effects and use the split p (dimarzio) for the low end clean tones. i've decided, from listening to billy, and discussions here with eric, that the best way to get the best tone with layers for effects is to split the channel, wet effects on one and dry clean channel low end tone on the other. billy does something similar to this, except for the fact he is running true stereo ... mix bag of effects on each channel from each pickup. as my experiments continue ... i may end up going this route depending on how things work with the processing and equipment i have and what i would be willing to buy (new elect for rewiring a bass to stereo, a new amp, cables, pickups, blah, blah, blah).

i guess my point is ... thank god theres players like us, and billy sheehan out there who are willing to think outside the box and try different things.
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PostSubject: Re: Billy Sheehan   Fri May 07, 2010 6:36 am

madmike wrote:
i guess my point is ... thank god theres players like us, and billy sheehan out there who are willing to think outside the box and try different things.

madmike...they call me magic-mike because of the stupid way I play. after all these years I ignore the "stupid" part, and go with the flow because noone ever says anything about "what" I play, just how I play it and if playing inverted is not "out of the box", I don't know what is...hehehehe

once I get that lefty killerpointy bass, I'm gonna set it up for mods to the electronics to run stereo output from it to do what Billy/Eric/You/BD and everyone else in the world likes 1 channel clean blended with 1 channel effects...

I hope soon this summer I can post a couple vids of the "new sig sound", since amp/cab and effect wise, I am all ready to go full stereo.
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PostSubject: Re: Billy Sheehan   Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:38 pm

Thank you Alexander! He found a pic of Billy playing his Kahlerized Precision, and here it is.


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PostSubject: Re: Billy Sheehan   Wed Oct 23, 2013 4:28 am

T. Gunn wrote:
So "we" (I guess I answered my own question) are the few who would chop up a fender for kahler reasons?

I sure as hell would. Infact... *cough* cough* My project bass's due date is getting near. Really finding someone to paint it is the hardest part.
Did I ever respond to this? You know I do refinishes right? If you didn't have me do it for you, I can walk you thru exactly what I do and show you what to use and how to do it. Its fairly easy with the right products.
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PostSubject: Re: Billy Sheehan   Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:10 am

zombie thread cyclops 

funny too because i looked back at my last post from 2010 and MAN how things have changed.....
Been running the stereo rig now for 3 years, only have one bass that does that, not with 2 jacks but TRS to do the same thing, never use it because I like my preampped bass better.
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PostSubject: Re: Billy Sheehan   Wed Oct 23, 2013 3:10 pm

No problem Eric!
Wish Billy stuck with the Kahler longer or at least recorded something with it.
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PostSubject: Re: Billy Sheehan   Sun Sep 07, 2014 2:58 pm

Found this the other day



Looks like the body from the first post with a different neck.
I know the hot pink neck first pictured was made by DiMarzio, Kramer neck in this picture so I wonder if the body is aswell.
He had a Kramer endorsement at one point before Yamaha and they made several basses for him. Maybe this is one of them but in his own words "They were of such bad quality and workmanship, I shipped them back to the company. Shortly after, I ended our relationship."
Hmm maybe if Kramer had made a better instrument Billy might have used the Kahler longer.
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PostSubject: Re: Billy Sheehan   Mon Sep 08, 2014 3:01 am

i think i hafta go with billy on this one. for how long kramer has been around with their parent company backing, you think they would produce better quality. i havent even touched one in 10years so maybe that changed ... but still ... no thanks. i think al, and billy are both better off with yamaha.

as far as the p bass goes ... standard p bass has the "trem hang off the back" disease with its body length. i think thats why mother has a dimarzio neck (i never seen a dimarzio neck anywhere else).

and i also think billy, being a rediculous insane player kinda felt, "i can do so much on a bass without a trem" so he just doesnt bother. maybe its a tension issue and a trem has too much give. i mean, have you ever seen billy tremming a harmonic by pulling up on the other 3 strings? its tasty nasty! congrats to rotosound for making strings for that abuse. all that stress he puts on a bass, i couldnt imagine it staying in tune with a kahler. hows it stay in tune without a kahler?

i really like the bolt on system billy helped develop for the newer LTD design. that joint looks rock solid.
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PostSubject: Re: Billy Sheehan   Thu Sep 18, 2014 6:49 am

Great find, Al! Thanks for sharing this!

Yeah, I don't blame Billy at all either, MadMike. Kramers never were all that IMHO, and I rarely see them being played anymore.

The one time I met Billy face-to-face, I asked him why he didn't use a trem, since it seemed a no-brainer to me. He told me that he felt that the tone of the bass changed too much with the addition of a tremolo bridge, and that he got all the note bends he wanted with his neck-bending technique. Like I always say, you can't argue with success, and he certainly knows what he's doing, so I didn't question him further on the subject.

Still, it would be cool to see a video of him using a trem at least once. Wink

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