This week we're featuring Mark Hughes (www.markhughesbass.com), a session bassist from New Zealand. I am pretty envious of his awesome sounding job and chops!
Hi! Tell us a little about yourself and the kind of gigs you play?
Mark Hughes, session Bass player. Been playing for 35 years in New Zealand and around the world. I work in a corporate cover band called Hands Off
, and also been lucky enough work live and in the studio with some of New Zealand’s best known songwriters. I occasionally play with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and overseas touring artists when they need a pickup Bass player. I feel very privileged to be able to do this as my job.
What BAREFACED cab(s) do you own? Why did you choose them?
I own two One10
cabs, and a Six10
. I chose these after owning two Big Baby 2
s for a year. I wanted more of that vintage coloration in my tone. The Big Baby 2s
were good, just not for me. The Barefaced 10s are killer, just what I want.
What cabs did you have before your BAREFACED? What were their limitations ?
I’ve owned many different cabs over the years, including Trace Elliot, SWR, and MarkBass, all were good up to a point. I found that sometimes the cabs sounded thin, the bottom tapered away as things got loud.
Have the BAREFACED cabs solved those problems? If so, how?
No problems with the Barefaced cabs, I like how the bottom stays loud and present at high volumes.
Are there any limitations to your BAREFACED cabs?
None so far. They do like plenty of power, some amps have to work harder to drive them I found. Not really a limitation.
What amps are you using? Why do you like them?
Currently using a Mesa D800+ as my main amp, and a Trace elf as my spare amp. The Mesa has a heap of power and a great tone, maybe my favourite class D head I’ve owned. The Trace elf is such a cool sounding amp. If the room permits it, I’ll sometimes go with the elf instead of the Mesa. It’s also a great amp to take to rehearsals with a single One10.
What do the band think of your BAREFACED?
The band loves the Barefaced, so do sound engineers. They can hear me perfectly. I’m always getting asked, “what are those speakers?”
What do you think about the sound / look of your cab?
I love the tone of the 10s. Plenty of tops despite no tweeter, more than enough high end for thumpin’ and pluckin’. No problems with bottom end, usually leave the Bass knob flat, sometimes cut it for the room.
The vintage look of the grey fabric grille is cool. Vintage unassuming vibe.
Have you ever used your BAREFACED for recording? How did you find it?
Yes, have used the Six10 mic’d in a big studio, also have used a One10 mic’d for a live radio performance. Both have sounded great.
How did you find out about BAREFACED?
I think Google led me to the tech articles on the Barefaced website. Then read a bit about Barefaced on the TalkBass website and was intrigued and took a chance on them, well worth it!
Do you use stage monitors for bass?
No, hate that! The provided backline died at a recent outdoor festival gig, I had to play through the wedges, bloody awful! The Bass, technique, amp and cab are a system, they all work together for a tone. Keep the monitors for vocals!
How does your BAREFACED deal with your pedals?
Never had any issues. They handle Octave and Envelope filter sounds easily.
What's your favourite effects pedal and why?
Boss OC-2, just can’t go past this, classic 80s Octave sound.
Aguilar Grape Phaser, super fun sounds, crosses into envelope filter territory.
Who are your favourite bassists and why?
Bernard Edwards, first saw him playing le freak on TV when I was a kid, was mesmerised. Relentless and creative grooves. Every tune he played on is like a Bass lesson in feel and taste.
Doug Wimbish, his ability and willingness to work with all sorts of artists, live or in the studio, was an inspiration. I met Doug when I was about 22, he gave me great advice, “Bass players have to be like Switzerland, you gotta get on with everybody!”. That’s a really important part of being a musician.
Victor Wooten, Bass playing aside, one of the most inspiring people I know. I attended a 3 week Wooten Woods camp in 2013, one of the best experiences ever. I highly recommend his book “The Music Lesson”
Me! I’m the Bass player I hear the most often!
If you could change anything about your cab what would it be?
Maybe some kind of tilt back device for small stages? A piece of timber works though.
What are your favourite basses and why?
I have two favourite basses, both feel like home to me and fit different needs.
A Fender American Standard Precision Bass with flat wounds. This is my go-to for 99% of studio stuff, it just works for all sorts of music. Plugged into a Sadowsky outboard preamp, then into a Rupert Neve Designs DI box and there’s a tone that’s worked for decades. Also the P bass gets used live for original singer songwriter type shows. Some artists and producers get a funny look on their face if they see anything thats not a Fender with more than 4 strings.
For live, my go-to for 90% of gigs is a Sadowsky Metro UV70 5 string. Covers about everything I could want on a gig. A 70s Jazz Bass vibe and the preamp can bring up more modern sounds if needed. Super comfortable to play. And Single Coil pickups, they just sound better in a mix to me.
Having played with such a range of artists and in different situations you must have a couple of stories...
Yep, plenty of stories. I’ve had so many great moments on stage, with amazing artists, but a few stupid moments do stick out, you have to laugh at yourself, got to take the bad with the good!
Like the one at the Millennium gig in Christchurch, headlining with Dave Dobbyn in front of 120,000 people. Walked out on stage having been announced, a good 30 metre walk as I was on the far side, huge roars from the crowd, I searched around for my Bass, no Bass! I Air-Bass signalled the new guy tech on the other side of the stage and his face dropped as he realised he’d put my bass away in its case in the truck! We had to stand around for a minute in front of the huge crowd til the Bass arrived.
Or the time, on a sold out gig, only my 2nd gig with the artist, I got confused with the song titles, started playing the C# minor bass line for the song when the rest of the band were playing D minor for another song. What a sound! We stopped the song 3 times, the singer thought it was him making the mistake, then I realised it was my fault, fessed up to the artist on stage, and then started playing the correct song.
Or the time I had a really bad head cold, sneezed on stage and created a Golden Gate bridge-like cable booger that hung from my nose to the G note on the E string. Classy look on stage!
Get yourself a ONE 10 here.
Hear what other customers are saying about their ONE 10s
Grab a SIX 10 here.
Hear what other customers are saying about their SIX 10s
And now for some quickfire serious questions:
Why is phonics not spelt the way it sounds
I bet the NZ Herald doesn’t know this.
Why isn't 11 pronounced 'onety one’
I bet the NZ Herald doesn’t know this either
How do 'do not walk on the grass' signs get there?
Nobody knows or can ever know.
What's your spirit animal and why?
Being a Vegan can I have a spirit vegetable?
Potato, so useful, powerful, understated and underrated. A metaphor for the Bass! ;)
Check out Mark's website here:
He can be seen playing with the coperate band 'Hands Off'
Here's a couple of the artists he's currently working with:
Catch him playing live with the Auckland Philharmonia playing a selection of songs from New Zealand songwriters on the 11th June.