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QRD #74
QRD - Thanks for your interest & support
about this issue
Featured Band Interview:
Bass Player Interviews:
Tony Zanella of  +/-
Channing Azure of Alpha Cop
Eric Baldoni of Colt Vista
Jeanne Kennedy Crosby
Rob Kohler
Derek M. Poteat
Guitarist interviews:
Campbell Kneale
Antony Milton of PseudoArcana
Nevada Hill of Bludded Head
Malcolm Brickhouse
Chvad SB
Scott Endres of Make
Label Owner Interviews:
Russian Winter Records
Moving Furniture
Basses Frequences
Saxwand Records
Comic Creator Interviews:
Richard Van Ingram
Tyler Sowles
JB Sapienza
Troy Vevasis
Victor Couwenbergh
Terry Hooper
Travis Hymel
Robert Hendricks
Dirk Manning
QRD - Advertise
Silber Records
Silber Button Factory
Silber Kickstarter
Rob Kohler
Bass Player Interview with Rob Kohler
July 2015
Rob Kohler
Name: Rob Kohler
Bands: This World, In Flight, Three Form, Delta Quartet, Rob Kohler Trio, etc.
Websites: www.kohlermusic.com

QRD – What was your first bass & what happened to it?

Rob – It was ‘67 Gibson EB3. My Dad owned it for a while. I took the frets off & put on a bad ass bridge.  I sold it to a student, she stills plays it I believe.

QRD – What’s your typical set-up from bass to effects to amplifier?

Rob – It really depends on the gig.  I mostly prefer no effects.  I have a Ditto Looper & TC Electronics Reverb.

QRD – What’s the most important part of your rig - bass, amplifier, or effects?

Rob – The Bass

QRD – What’s your main amplifier & why?

Rob – Eden 550, Bag End 15.  It sounds awesome.

QRD – Do you prefer upright or electric bass?

Rob – I’m about 60% bass guitar, 40% upright

QRD – Do you prefer to use a pick, fingers, or a bow?

Rob – Whatever the music calls for.  Mostly fingers, then bow, & pick only occasionally.

QRD – How many strings do you think a bass should have?

Rob – I have a 4 string & a 5 string.

QRD – Why do you play bass instead of guitar?

Rob – I play anything with strings including guitar.  The bass is in my singing range & is the best sound for me to express myself.

QRD – How is a bass different than a guitar other than being lower in pitch?

Rob – Function.  It can function as the bottom, a counter melody/harmony, or melody

QRD – What’s your main bass & what are the features that make it such?

Rob – My main axe is a custom Burrows 5-string.  I helped to design it.  It has a Bartolini pickup wired directly to the output jack, no knobs….

QRD – What do you think of the thumb rests on some basses?

Rob – I don’t use them.

QRD – If you had a signature bass, what would it look like & what would some of its features be?

Rob – The Burrows is my signature model.

QRD – If you had a signature pedal, what would it be & what would some of its features be?

Rob – I like chorus/reverb/distortion….

QRD – How many basses do you own?

Rob – I have two 5 strings, a 4 string, a fretless, a solid body upright, an upright.

QRD – How & where do you store your basses?

Rob – In the cases, cool & humidity controlled

QRD – What features do you look for when buying a bass?

Rob – It depends on what I need.  Mostly I want it to sound & feel amazing before I plug it in.

QRD – How much do you think a good bass should cost?

Rob – Fair market value.

QRD – Do you upgrade & customize your bass or just stick with what you get?

Rob – I’ve upgraded pickups, electronics, bridges, ripped off frets, etc.

QRD – Are you after one particular bass tone & locking into it, or do you like to change your tone around a lot?

Rob – I am always looking for “My” sound.

QRD – What are some basses, amps, & pedals you particularly lust after?

Rob – So many great products on the market, I don’t where to start!

QRD – What do you think are some important features to be on a person’s first bass that aren’t always there?

Rob – Low action, no buzzes, decent electronics.

QRD – What have been the best & worst bass related purchases you’ve made?

Rob – Best, 25th Anniversary Sting Ray, worst was having it stolen!

QRD – What are some effect, amp, & bass brands you particularly like or dis-like & why?

Rob – I really like Foderas, Epifani, Augilar, AccuGroove, good sounds!

QRD – What’s the first thing you play when you pick up a bass?

Rob – Biddly biddly boom.

QRD – How old were you when you started playing bass?

Rob – 12 years old.

QRD – At what age do you think you leveled up to your best bass playing?

Rob – Early 20s I started to figure out what I wanted to say, I keep practicing & inch along….

QRD – Do you feel bass lines should echo & emphasize guitar & drum parts or be their own distinct elements?

Rob – I like a distinctive melodic & independent bass line.

QRD – Would you rather people hear or feel your bass?

Rob – Hear it & then feel it in there dancing shoes.

QRD – Why do you think a bass fits you more so than other instruments?

Rob – I love the sound.

QRD – Do you see your bass as your ally or adversary in making music?

Rob – It’s a means to an end.  The end result hopefully being music.

QRD – Who are the bassists that most influenced your playing & sound?

Rob – John Entwistle, Eberhard Weber, Jaco Pastorious, Scott Lafaro, I could go on & on.

QRD – Do you think people anthropomorphizing their bass is natural or silly (e.g. naming their bass)?

Rob – I had a Gibson Ripper named Jack.

QRD – What’s the most physical damage you’ve done to a bass & how did you do it?

Rob – I cracked the headstock on Jack.  It was very cold & it fell.  Got it fixed & he is still alive.

QRD – What do you do to practice other than simply playing?

Rob – I practice the art of improvising.

QRD – How many hours a week do you play bass & how many hours would you like to?

Rob – As often as possible, I prefer to be playing gigs & then preparing for the next one.

QRD – What gauge strings do you use & why?

Rob – 45, 60, 80, 105.  I drop my E to a low D often.  28 for high C.

QRD – How often do you change strings?

Rob – Not as often as I used to.  Mostly before a tour or recording session as needed.

QRD – How often do you break strings?

Rob – Never, except when I put on a new bridge & didn’t fit the saddles properly.  I broke 3 strings that night

QRD – Which do you feel is more proficient, your strumming/bowing hand or fretting hand & how does that effect your style?

Rob – I work on both hands, I believe that a solid fretting hand technique is important for articulation & a proper picking/bowing hand is imperative for sound & groove.  When your chops are together you can play what you hear in your head, hopefully.

QRD – What tunings do you use & why?

Rob – I sometimes will do drop D tuning.  I have a high C on my 5-string.

QRD – Do you prefer tablature, sheet music, or some other notation system for writing down your own ideas?

Rob – Tab can be handy for figuring out some things, but it is really important to learn how to read music.  There is a lifetime of written music to check out!

QRD – What’s a bad habit in your playing you wish you could break?

Rob – I don’t have any bad habits….

QRD – Playing what other instrument do you think can most help someone’s bass playing?

Rob – Drums, piano, guitar, upright if only bass guitar, bass guitar if only upright player, Most of the great musicians that I have come across can make music on anything.

QRD – What’s a type of bass playing you wish you could do that you can’t?

Rob – I’m still working on how to play various Latin styles authentically.

QRD – What’s a bass goal you’ve never accomplished?

Rob – Still working on a lot of goals!

QRD – What’s the last bass trick you learned?

Rob – I try to play music, not tricks.

QRD – Did you ever take bass lessons & if so, what did you learn from them?

Rob – I’ve been lucky & have had some great teachers.  I’ve learned how to think about music, how to listen… so many things.  A great teacher can point you down the right path.  It is up to the student to do the heavy lifting.

QRD – What would you teach someone in a bass lesson that you don’t think they would generally get from a bass teacher?

Rob – I try to discern where they are as a player & then open them up to a concept or process that will best help them on their way.

QRD – What’s something someone would have to do to emulate your style?

Rob – Hopefully practice!

QRD – If a band has good bass work, can you ignore the rest of the band not being good?

Rob – I will admit to listening to bands because the bass player was happening.

QRD – What famous musician’s bass would you like to own & why?

Rob – Probably, one of Eberhard Weber’s instruments.  Or, one of Entwistle’s… the tone!

QRD – Who do you think is currently the most innovative bass player & why?

Rob – There are a lot of great players in the world.  I’m fan of them all!

QRD – Where can people hear your best bass work?

Rob – At my gigs, I try to bring my A game, every time.

QRD – Anything else?

Rob – Thanks for listening!