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Modus Operandi: Steve diGiorgio

Door: Ramon

De bassist is maar zelden een type voor de voorgrond. Echter, het beeld van de stille cowboy die vanonder zijn hoed in een hoek van de saloon de boel overziet gaat ook weer niet voor iedereen op. Steve DiGiorgio was al een redelijk gevestigde naam met Sadus, maar toen hij onder de vleugels van Chuck Schuldiner op het Death album ‘Individual Thought Patterns’ los mocht gaan op de fretloze basgitaar, werd hij in één klap een fenomeen. Voor velen is hij dé grote inspiratiebron op basgitaar en zelf Yngwie Malmsteen had nog iets aardigs over hem te zeggen. Inmiddels heeft hij meer bands op zijn naam staan dan een middelgrote platenlabel, maar is hij de laatste jaren toch vooral bekend als de bassist van Testament, naast het live project Death To All (DTA, zie interview met Max Phelps voor Exist elders in deze editie), dat onder zijn leiding tot stand is gekomen en waarbij de klassiekers van Death live gespeeld worden. Hoog tijd dus om eens te kijken wat voor spul één van de meest aansprekende bassisten ter wereld gebruikt voor zijn karakteristieke sound.

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Modus Operandi

Guitars:
ESP kept me supplied with nice guitars, including a baritone.

Bass Guitars:
Ibanez BTB Premium & acoustic 4-string, defretted & fretted; Thor Bass - 6-string fretless, 3-string fretless, 7-string 29-fretted; ESP assortment of fretless & fretted; Carvin BB75F & BB75; Rickenbacker (too many to list); Karera 4-string piccolo bass; Regal bass Dobro; 3-string Balalaika; Sitar… should I go on…?

Tunings:
Many different, from standard to 4 semitones lower.

Pickups:
Yeah, that’s pretty varied depending on the brand. But the new Ibanez and the Thor Basses have Nordstrands, the ESPs have EMGs, the Carvins and Rics have stock pups.

Amps & Cabinets:
Lots of Ampeg stacked up in the garage now that I have some heavy duty EBS amps and speakers.

Effects:
Oooh…I love effects. Took a while to move off the obsolete DOD pedals, now I’m stocked with nice EBS, MXR, Darkglass and even new DOD pedals for my monster pedal board.

Strings:
Was a long time Rotosound user, but Dunlop has converted and stocked me up with these nice Super Brights that work killer in metal as well as other styles to cut and have bright tone. On the acoustics I use D’Addario bronze strings.

Gauges:
Generally I like the medium range. So for example on the basses it goes 125 105 85 65 45 35.

Picks:
Dunlop Tortex Tri Tip Black 1mm (when I rarely use picks)

Keyboard/Piano/Organ:
A couple of Korgs synthesizes that are buried in the garage.

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General

When did you start playing guitar/bass/keys/drums?
I’ve played some sort of instrument since I was a wee lad, but for bass… I started in 11th grade, about sixteen years old, in orchestra class on upright double bass. Not much later found my way on to electric bass guitar and have been trying to make the last 35 years’ worth it.

On which piece of gear do you keep your most beautiful memories and why?
A 1981 Rickenbacker 4001. It was the bass I used on the early Sadus and the Death Human album. Kinda was my identity before I became the grandfather on fretless bass in metal.

Do you have an endorsment deal or a signature model? If so, could you tell us a little bit more about it?
No signature models, but many many custom builds to my crazy whims.

What was your worst purchase ever and why?
No shit talking here [about music corporations]… I did buy a Datsun pickup truck once…

Who are your influences (musicians)?
Mostly people that find a unique place in the sonic history multiverse. Ian Anderson, Tori Amos, Ravi Shankar, Azam Ali, Hiromi and some bassy guys like – Steve Harris, Geddy Lee, Chris Squire, Geezer Butler, Dave Pegg, Billy Sheehan…and probably Dennis Chambers.

What was your first bass?
A homemade, super modified 4-string fretless bass out of some Fender parts and some crap parts.

What is on your wish list?
To stop acquiring basses to collect, and start practicing more.

Ultimate goal as a musician?
To establish my own little island of identity in this huge sea of unoriginality.

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