Marten Andersson talks to 8stringbass.com
What country are you from and where do you presently
use as a base of operations?
I was born in Sweden, but I have lived in and been based out of Los
Angeles for what seems like a lifetime.
A brief update on the current status of your band/projects/current band
I have been keeping busy this year. I got my Legacy solo CD out in the
States (www.legacylive.com). I did 2 tours with guitarist George
Lynch. We finished in the United States a while
back. George is playing better than he ever did.
There was a lot of jamming. We did stuff like ZZ Top songs for an
hour, before starting the normal set.
I am also in a brand new band called "Starwood". It has a 70's vibe to it,
Cheap Trick meets early Priest, AC/DC meets the Darkness without
the falsetto. Kinda has a bridge from old hard
rock to new. The people that have heard the CD
all said they love it and that it's very original. The release
date is July 27 in the United States. It will be interesting to see
what the reaction will be.
How long have you been playing bass?
I started playing guitar when I was 12 for about 6 months, until I saw
Gene Simmons in a video. I thought he was the
coolest thing and it made me switch to bass. I
don’t think my dad was too happy though. I begged and begged for
a guitar only to ask him to buy me a bass 6 months later.
When did you first get an 8-string (model/year)? How?
I was on tour with Lizzy Borden years ago, when I was approached by a bass
company who was introducing 8 string basses. I thought 8 was a
perfect mix between the 4 and 12. Hell, it was a
lot easier to re-string 8 than 12 if anything,
without losing a lot of the punch from a 12 string. Some years
later ESP started making them. I checked one out and keept it, I
It's one of my main basses.
When did you first get a 12-string bass (model/year)? How?
I grew up watching guys like Tom Pedersen and Doug Pinnick, who I thought
were awesome, but I was into the tapping, chord type of playing,
and as you know it's a bit hard to do on a 12
string. I was a late bloomer. By the time I
realized how cool and heavy it was I got a Hamer. I liked the way their
basses looked, but it was also in honor of those guys. I ripped out
electronics, and added another 9 volt battery to get some more
punch. Doing so made it sound great live, but
not so much for recording, unfortunately.
Can you give us a quick listing of significant basses you've
owned/used over the years?
Other than a great aresnal of ESP's (Jazz, EC-404, 8 strings etc.), I have
a couple of Fenders (a 78 Jazz, a Fender Jazz
special), a couple of hamers (12 strings), and a
Dean. Most my basses has
Leo Quan's Badass Bridges on them as well.
Can you give a brief history of your 8 & 12-string bass
usage -- live and studio?
I did the entire last 2 tours with
George Lynch using ESP's 8 string basses.
The sound you get with those things is unbelievable! I used 8 & 12 strings
on the "Deal with The Devil" CD (Lizzy Borden).
Have you used 8 or 12 on any session work outside of your band? If so,
I recorded bass on a CD that is not released yet (it's very heavy, Zombie
meets Korn/Disturbed). We went in the studio with the
out-of-the-box mind frame of, “let’s try all
kinds of things.” I ended up dubbing 4/8/12 string
basses with different sounds and effects. It sounds really cool.
What percentage of your playing has been done on 8 and 12 over the
Like I mentioned eariler, I got into 8/12 strings very late, so it has
only been a few years, but I love it. An 8
string was used100% of the time on the Lynch
tour, with Lizzy Borden I would say 60% was 8/12 strings, and the rest
4 string stuff. There are 2 guitars in Starwood, so the heavy
coverage is there, but there are a few songs
when the singer doesn't play his guitar. I use
my ESP 8 Strings on those.
How to your RECORD your 8 or 12 in the studio? Any specific
I lower my action to the point where I get the grind, but not too too much
fret noise. I make sure I use new strings. I also record my basses
onto 2 or 3 tracks (clean, distorted, etc.) and
mix them together. The Studio gear is different
from each situation and producer. I use anything from Gallien Kruger,
6, Marshall Guitar amps to Protool Ant Farm and extra Compression.
What has been your experience with producers and
engineers in their
reaction or getting a good sound tracking it?
There are some producers and engineers that
don't get it (initially). I ask them to give it
a shot, think out-of-the-box somewhat, and they usually end
up loving it. I have actually been running into more guitar players who
threatened by it, thinking its taking away the spotlight and sound
from them. In those situations I just use
psychology, "Hey imagine the cover you will have
during the solo." People are going to think your rhythm sound is
really heavy. Initially, I went through the first set with George Lynch
using a 4 string. The next time around I used my 8. He never wanted
me to use anything else.
How do you amp it LIVE on stage and to the house mix? Can you give a
breakdown of your live rig? Any particular gear that you've added
that solves any 8 or 12 problems? Any
It all depends on the stage/house. Most of the time my rig consists of my
modified Gallien Kruger, Ampegs (and also
guitar amps). I am keeping my main bass stacks
fairly clean with a little bit of added compression. Then I have another
amp (can be the guitar amps) with heavy
distortion and the bass turned down. I
use a splitter and mix the signals together. This way I get the
deep bottom end from the Gallien Kruger amps and
get the grind, distortion from the Ampeg or
guitar amp I just picked up and an old Ampeg
70's, with a bit of compression/distortion
added, and it sounds like thunder on its own. I usually mic the
stuff live but I also use a Sans Amp Bass Driver DI
through the house PA. You will run into
some house guys that will hate you. They want a 4 string
bass and amp with a direct clean signal, otherwise they will
actually have to work. Screw ‘em, Stick to your
Do you play 8 and 12 finger-style or with a pick? Any special
techniques/tricks? Pick type (size/gauge) if used?
I am definitely a pick user for my 8/12 strings. Xheavy picks all the way
(white Fender or Jim dunlop XH style). I have found that I get it
to sound more like a heavy guitar if I do heavy
down pick strokes (as well as alternating
between up/down). The pick portion is actually very simple but
it's very powerful. The reason I use 8/12 basses is to make
thunder, make it powerful and heavy but yet
What string brand/type/gauges do you use on your 8 and 12? Do you
string your 8 and 12 with the root on top OR on bottom of the
I use Dean Markley Strings. They have been making custom sets for me. The
Gauges depends on what tuning situation I am in. When we did "the
heavy album" (the side project that has not been
released yet) it was tuned down to D or C#. I
was using 5 string gauges, using the 128 as the e string, with
the thin (octave) on top. For normal tuning I use Dean Markley
Strings 45's standard sets with added octave
Who are your current favorite bands/players? Who are your influences?
My influences are a bit different now than what they used to be. I like a
ton of bands. The list would be too long. I grew up listening to
everything from MSG, Deep Purple to Billy
Sheehan and Gene Simmons.
Any other 8 or 12 players you have listened to or are friends with?
I know and have listened to Doug Pinnick for years. He is a great
bassplayer and a great guy. I had the
opportunity to work with Doug's tech. He gave me
some really good ideas and insights, that I feel, improved my sound. Tom
Pederson from Cheap Trick is awesome. I have never met the man, but
a great player.
Your opinion as to any advantages and/or disadvantages of using an 8
If you are into slapping, tapping, or playing classical type chords pieces
like I used to do, it's not a personal choice of bass. They also
have a very distinguished sound which might not
be for everybody. If you are looking for
thunder, this is the way to go. There is a time and place for everything.
If you could design the perfect 8 or 12-string bass, are there any
specific improvements you would make?
A lot of them have way to much crap going on: EQ's, 2 Volume knobs, Mid
Range, Pre amps etc. Give me 2 buttons, volume, and treble and I am
good to go. Also, the design can be improved
upon. If I would design one I would make myself
a straight forward Fender-type body. I was approached by a bass
amp company that wanted help with some amp consulting a while back.
Maybe I should get into the design of
8/12-string basses as well. (laughing)
Is there anything else you'd like to add that we've not covered?
I think we are good. Thanks again. Practice your
bass to get what you want. STOP doing what isn't