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David Hughes - September 2004

David Hughes
Biography: I was born in Sweden. I started taking piano lessons when I was age six but switched to violin at nine because I wanted to play a portable instrument. My dad has a great appreciation for classical music and is an amateur pianist so classical music was always around me. My older sister supplied ABBA, Blondie, and Swedish top 40. When I discovered "Yesterday" by the Beatles, I began to develop a more serious interest in music. I don't know exactly why I was drawn to the bass, but Paul McCartney's undeniably ingenious bass lines must have had something to do with it.

I studied bass guitar and upright bass at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. It was a great environment to experiment with music and write for different musical settings. I led my own fusion band outside of school which inspired me to develop my writing and improve my musicianship. Friends returning from Musicians Institute in Hollywood were very enthusiastic, and I decided to spend a year stateside at B.I.T. I studied with Gary Willis, Todd Johnson, Jeff Berlin, and Steve Bailey to mention a few.

After B.I.T., I paid my musical dues via everything from Greek nightclubs to cover bands and coffee house gigs. A couple of years later, I joined the teaching staff at B.I.T.

I released my first solo recording last year, and I'm now pursuing a solo career alongside my sideman career. I try to write music that features the bass and is appreciated by a casual listener as well as a more discerning one.

Gigs: For the past four years, I have been touring with Wayne Henderson's Jazz Crusaders. We've played at many festivals including the Ford Detroit Jazz Festival and the Old Town Pasadena Jazz festival. We've toured in the U.S. and in Europe as well.

I have also performed with David Benoit, Ronnie Laws, Everette Harp, Bobby Lyle, Chaka Khan, Melissa Etheridge, Burt Bacharach, Ray Manzarek (of the Doors), and many others.

Recordings: My solo album is called Swoosh and features David Benoit, Wilton Felder (of the Crusaders), Greg Mathiesen, and Allen Hinds. It contains 11 of my original tunes, and one is a solo bass piece.

I've played on a number of independent albums, commercial jingles, and music libraries. TV work includes Baywatch and The Tom Green Show, and I can be seen and heard in the film "Old School."

Other recordings include:
Jazz Crusaders - Power Of Our Music (Indigo Blue)
Tanya Chua - Luck (Universal)
Theresa Kim - With Love (GIM Music)
Chris Korblein - When You're Not Here (Unsinkable Records)
Organic Resonance Project - Complex Logic Recordings
Norah Jones Tribute For String Quartet - CMH Records

1969 Fender Jazz Bass - I bought it through a classified ad for $400. It's my main recording bass. It looks like it's been through a war and a half but sounds fantastic. Alder body, maple neck and fingerboard. Sounds best with DR Hi-Beams strings.

F Bass Fretted 6-String - Sounds like a modern Jazz Bass and the 34.5" scale is a nice compromise for tone and playability. Swamp Ash body, maple neck and fingerboard, buffer preamp. Sounds best with Ken Smith strings except for the low B which is a La Bella Super Steps.

Aria Pro Steve Bailey Fretless 6-String - I originally bought a "production" model from Steve, but it was stolen. I replaced it with a prototype which was made by the custom shop, but the cheaper production model sounded better. Ash body, maple neck, ebony fingerboard, Basslines pickups and preamp. It is heavy but has a nice growl and deep bottom. Sounds best with GHS Progressives strings.

Lakland Fretted 5-String - Great all-round bass. I always bring it to a session. It can sound like a P-Bass, Jazz Bass, or a Music Man and is very comfortable but doesn't have much personality. The 35" scale adds a little something to the sound which is strong in the low mids. Maple neck and fingerboard, alder body, Bartolini pickups and preamp. Sounds best with DR Hi-Beams strings except for the low B which is a La Bella Super Steps.

Squire P-Bass Fretted 4-String - No Joke! $130 at Sam Ash. Strung with flatwounds, it's a great "Motown" bass. Maple neck, rosewood fingerboard, and "cardboard" body.

Romanian Upright Bass - Made of plywood. It has a nice sound but is not quite as loud as some carved wood basses. It has an Underwood pickup which sounds decent, but I will try a Realist pickup soon. Sounds best with Thomastik Spirocore strings.

Bass Rig:
Eden WT800 Amp - The most musical sounding of the ones I've tested.
Eden 210XLT Cabinet - Portable and powerful with solid low end.
SWR Workingman's 1x10 Cabinet - Sounds bigger than it looks.
Boss GT6B Effects Pedal - I'm not one who will bring a bunch of stomp boxes. This unit does it all well in a convenient package. I may use delay when soloing, chorus when slapping, and envelope filter and octaver when I want to step on the turbo!

Avalon Design SP737 - Very clean sounding mic preamp with a great compressor, musical EQ, and low noise.
SansAmp - An SVT in your pocket for rock sessions.

Contact Information: To learn more about me, visit