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Talk with James Lomenzo \m/

Discussion in 'Music Education - Share your knowledge here!' started by Florin, Apr 17, 2010.

  1. lasteffect

    lasteffect Forum Nudist

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    Sh!t, I don't know.
    I was wondering, you're an avid user of Warwicks, but you have use other basses like a Marcus Miller Jazz and what looked like a Yamaha Custom. What drove you to take a small time out in using those basses, then hop back to a Buzzard? Oh, and did you use just Warwicks or any other basses, when you recorded Endgame, when you were still in Megadeth?
     
  2. Ian

    Ian The Undecided Frog

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    Wow, another Bass Legend !!! Nice to see you here James !
     
  3. BassMonsterJLo

    BassMonsterJLo Warwick Endorser

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    A good question. When I joined Megadeth, Dave Mustaine was really frowning on the way my Buzzards looked, he just wasn't digging on 'em although he did like the sound very much. I switched to a Streamer for a while but I wasn't enjoying playing it as much. I was really missing that big push in the mids so when the Stryker's came up I tried that. Dave loved the way it looked and I thought it sounded really great. The one problem I had was that I needed to wear it fairly high to facilitate my left hand but that started to cramp my right hand when I was playing with a pick and palm muting (remember there's no horn on the body so the bridge will move a bit back when you where it too high) so because of putting my palm flat on the bridge for quick on and off palm muting, I started to develop some pain in my wrist. At one point I was actually playing nightly with a bucket of ice behind my speakers to dunk my hand in between songs. It was terrible. After doing this for a while and realizing things were not getting better I sent one of our road guys out to pick me up a Jazz Bass at a local music store. I used to play one when I was a kid so I knew it would sit in the right place to give me relief. We were on the road and I needed to do something that night. He came back with a Marcus Miller and well, it solved my problem. Dave thought the sound was more in keeping with David Ellefson's sound so that's where it stood for a while. Since I was painted into a corner at this point I figured just go with it and get the best of this type of instrument you can. A friend of mine had worked for Yamaha for years and he mentioned they'd like to have a crack at making me a fender-ish type of bass so I told him what I liked and they put one together for me which was really cool. O.K., ..so.. we're on the Warwick forums, what gives? Well, as they say.. "Apples and Oranges". Warwicks are not Fenders and Fenders are not Warwicks. This is as it should be, some people love apples and some Oranges and some love both! I had a wonderful revelation with this experience in that I found that as a professional musician, I could pretty much do my job just as well if you gave me either a stick of wood and some twine or my favorite basses. What I prefer and what the job at hand calls for are not always going to be what you would want to do but sometimes the measure of a man is to do what you have to do. O.K. so a few notes here. Over the year, I've been playing the hell out of my Stryker and I'm glad to report, no pain at all! The Reason? I now play with my fingers, just as God and John Entwistle intended it. And, I do use a pick with it but I play up by the front pickups seeing as I don't need to employ much speed metal palm muting anymore. The Buzzard? Well, on Endgame that's my custom Red! Andy Sneap (The Producer) and I auditioned every bass I own and that "bloody red bastard" just screamed and snarled to be played! A remarkable sound! Sounded so good that I didn't even bother with a five string, just tuned the E string down and punched in the low stuff.

    So there you have it, my incredible 5 year Journey through the land-mines of professional bass playing. Did I mention how much I love playing my buzzards?
     
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  4. Mr Bassman Sax

    Mr Bassman Sax

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    Hey James, I came to see you play in Norwich with Megadeth and Evile (damn I didn't get hold of a ticket for my wall) and I remember being dissapointed that you were playing a fender and not the Stryker. I can completely understand now I've read this and I'm kinda sorry i thought that. For a while I thought that was also the reason your bass was a bit muddy compared to the Stryker on some youtube clips, and then I went to some more gigs in Norwich and realised it's the soundman that's awful. The only band that has sounded spot on there is Motorhead.

    But all that aside I am so glad I got to see you play there. You really rocked the place, it was such a good gig. I loved that show. I've always wanted to check you out live after discovering you on some BLS albums and you were awesome.

    So what is your next project then James?
     
  5. Mr Praline

    Mr Praline Forum Silly Person

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    Great story James, thanks for sharing!
     
  6. Florin

    Florin Warwick Forum Administrator Supporting Member

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    Because of the so named "internet wisdom" it is hard to find good advices about sound. Hard to find the right people, that are willing to share their experience.

    Would you be so kind and share with us your experience?

    Let's say you play with the Buzzard (it helps me have an ideea about the starting sound) How do you shape your sound? Where you boost, where you cut, where you leave?
    How do you use the pickup blend?

    Sorry if the question is too basic, but for me is very important to know :)

    Thanks James!
     
  7. Curtis

    Curtis Editor De Bassist magazine (NL)

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    This is one cool thread!

    Of course there's another Buzzard player.... John Deacon of Queen played one for a while. An early prototype with P-pick ups, which weren't mirrored:)
    Did Lee Sklar play a Buzzard too? Nice:)

    Welcome, James! Great you help us out here!
     
  8. Sbociol

    Sbociol

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    Hey James I just noticed you played in Tim Owens' solo album "Play My Game"...how was working with him?He's one of my favourite metal singers ever :)
     
  9. Doog

    Doog

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    Welcome the asylum mate, great bunch in these parts.
     
  10. flipper_gv

    flipper_gv

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    Hey James!

    Just a quick comment here. I saw you with megadeth on 2 of the 3 Gigantour (the two last) in Montreal. On the first you played with your striker and on the second with your Fender. And I must say, with the warwick, you were heard easily and the tone was to die for. But, on the second tour, with the Fender, we could barely hear you, although the tone was really nice. I think the Fender just blended more with the guitars. I know I'm a bit biased (although I do have a Fender Jazz that I love), that's what my buddy (who is a guitarist) told me too.

    Now a quick question:
    For fast tempo songs, when you play with your finger, what is your usual technique?
     
  11. BassMonsterJLo

    BassMonsterJLo Warwick Endorser

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    Florin' my friend,
    Over the years, I've used my Buzzards in a variety of ways (tonally that is)...

    The one thing I've found about them is that it's really hard to disguise their inherent character. I have to tell you though as with most instruments, even the mighty buzzards vary in tone to a degree. I discovered this around 2005 when I was playing with the Black Label Society. You see I needed a backup to the black one I was using so I went down to Dana b. Goods who were distributing Warwick's in America at the time. They had 3 in stock. A black one like the one I had, a red one which actually looked "salmon" to me and a white one. Color wasn't so much a priority, I was interested in the tone and feel. We set up the three so I could grab them and plug them in and compare. I was astounded to find very subjective differences between the three. The Black one had a sort of a tighter Bottom then the other two. The Salmon had a more prominent upper mid register and the White one was the most neutral sounding of the three. They all possessed the same similar character but for me it had to do with how they pushed tonally through the amp. Ultimately I chose the black one to complement the black one I already owned. Sonically, the one I owned had more sibilant high's and more prominent subs.
    This one seemed even more focused and actually became my #1 for the next year.

    O.K so, how do I usually set my tone? On my amps, depending on which amp I'm using, I'll usually find a sweep on the midrange between 1 kHz and 2.5 kHz. What I'm looking for there is an attack frequency that embellishes the sound of my fingers hitting the strings or slamming down on the frets, think "bell sound". I may boost as little as 2db here or 6 db ...9 db if I'm feeling feisty. Treble comes in just over that and is is dependent on the Amps preset. It's usually in the 4kHz-5kHz range. I'll boost that till I see the guitar player getting pissed off, then I know I'm in the ball park. As for Bass, I like 40-50 Hz shelving over all. Maybe as much as 5-10 db. Get some air moving out of the boxes.

    On the bass itself, depending on the style I'm emulating I'll go active or passive. Passive's great for a nostalgic older rock tone, I'll usually keep the balance mostly up on the Middle pick up and just add a hint of the back (bridge p/u). I'll find the "sweet spot" by hitting a middle A on the D string and listening for a prominent odd harmonic as I sweep the pickup selector knob, It's really cool when you get it right. I would normally set up like this during my Pride and Glory days. These days I like the active tone controls. I'll just add treble till the amp starts to suffer a bit and fill it out with bass if necessary.

    Some of you may know I've developed my own distortion Pedal that sweeps the mids as I've described and filters this through a distortion circuit. This is the surest way to emulate what I do tonally and it's why I designed it in the first place. If you're interested it's called the "James LoMenzo Hyperdrive" by Ashdown. It's great to "light up" the mids on most basses and does a whole host of other distortion/overdrive tricks.

    So that's the basic rundown of what I do, it's probably not every bass players cup of tea but I believe these Buzzards were meant to be exploited tonally so that's my approach.

    Best,

    James
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2010
  12. Curtis

    Curtis Editor De Bassist magazine (NL)

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    Wow, nice to hear. I was afraid with big bands, roadies would take care of amps and basses, but you really are very bothered.

    The red Buzzard would be Fiesta Red-ish. A favourite of Entwistle and often called Salmon Pink. Fiesta is a strange colour. Red on pics, pink in fake light and orange in natural light...
     
  13. Florin

    Florin Warwick Forum Administrator Supporting Member

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    James,

    Thanks for sharing! I will use these settings myself for the next gig. I like to see the guitar player in pain :)

    The tip for finding the sweet spot is great too, I did this, and found a nice spot not much after the center position. This is a great advice!

    I have 1000 questions to ask you, but I will leave others too :)

    Thanks,

    Flo
     
  14. Charmand G

    Charmand G

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    Hi, senor Lomenzo! Thanks for taking your time to answer questions from us. This will, by far, make the Warwick Forum stand out as a place with room for everyone.

    Could I ask, if you have ever been really tired of bass playing, and if so, what you`ve done to get you out of the mud?
    I`m really stuck at a point where I don`t have any inspiration, my band (a Metallica-coverband) is dormant, and if I have spare time, my Warwick Vampyre is the probably the last thing I`ll be thinking about picking up. I should use the time to explore some bass-books I`ve bought, but it`s going really slow. I suspect I`ll just have to let time doe its job, but anything helps.

    Thanks again!
     
  15. BassMonsterJLo

    BassMonsterJLo Warwick Endorser

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    Thanks PB!

    Hey, FYI... I was hanging out with Ryan at NAMM a few months ago, stellar bassist and great guy! ... ... here's a tissue ... ... LOL!

    Be cool brother!
     
  16. EVOLVEBASS

    EVOLVEBASS

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    First off, I have to echo the sentiment of the forum by saying "Thank you" for taking the time to visit us. You're an inspirational player for many of us.

    Secondly, I thought I'd mention that I was excited when it was announced that Megadeth would be coming through Denver in August of this year because I knew Chris Broderick growing up in Colorado... but my excitement was diluted a bit when I realized you wouldn't be holding down the low end on this tour.

    Best wishes for your next musical journey...
     
  17. JSmith

    JSmith

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    Aside from being overly giddy having you here, just wanted to comment on just how awesome it is that you are. Hope you stay in touch with the forum from time to time. The stories and knowledge you provide is priceless! Take care!
     
  18. Callum

    Callum

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    Again thank you for taking the time to answer our questions.

    As a player who's recently discovered the buzzard bass and loving everything its capable off, next rehearsal i'll be trying out the settings - it never crossed my mind to find the sweet spot via pickup blend. I most of the time i boost the treble and plan to the neck pickup and really dig in for a hyper agressive p-bass on steroids tone - or have both on full for the more scooped tone when i need less agression and more presence.
     
  19. Florin

    Florin Warwick Forum Administrator Supporting Member

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    This is something that bothers me too. What you do to keep the fire burning? Sometimes (like now) I feel like everything sucks, music sucks, the audience sucks, life sucks, beer is good. How to get out from this?
     
  20. Matthijs

    Matthijs Photographer

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    More Cowbell.
     
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