I’m the shortest member of the band. Standing a solid five feet five and a half inches tall on a humid day, I play the string bass and electric bass guitar and provide the grittier vocals for Trout. I graduated from college with a music degree and spent two years performing with the Houston Symphony. I try not to let my education get in my way.
Keith’s instruments and equipment
I’m not really one to be talking about equipment, as it’s not one of my priorities. It is important to have good gear that you feel comfortable with, but having the latest state of the art gear is kind of like wearing the latest fashions in clothes. It’s okay, but I prefer a comfortable and casual approach.
With that in mind, I will tell you that my favorite music store is Shreveport Music Company and Don Teach is my favorite music store owner. He carries good equipment and I’m sure he’d be happy to show some of it to you. As far as the string bass goes, Jim Scoggan at Violins Etc. in Austin, Texas keeps me going. He has many nice basses, bows and other string instruments. He can fix yours if it’s broken. He has always done nice work for me in a timely manner.
I learned how to play bass on a Fender bass and tend to prefer them to other fine basses, as I am most comfortable with them in my hands. I played a 1972 Fender Precision bass guitar for 19 years. When I finally decided to buy a new bass, I found that the new P-basses of the day had active electronics without a passive setting. Not wanting to be at the mercy of a 9-volt battery, I got a 1992 Fender Jazz bass with Lace pick-ups because it feels good and has a passive setting in case the battery goes dead. It has a good feel to the neck and a clean sound. I currently have a set of Elixir strings on the bass and they sound great. By the way, I still have my 72 Precision and it’s not for sale.
I used to play my Kay string bass with a Barcus Berry pickup at the live shows, but I’ve switched to an electric upright in recent years for a variety of reasons. I play a Clevinger electric upright with RMC pickups. It is durable, sounds great, and is consistent everywhere I go. The Clevinger is also very convenient for traveling as it fits in the overhead compartment of most airplanes. A regular string bass can be fragile and the road is a harsh environment. I leave them at home now and use them only for some recording sessions. I always use a French style bass bow and I rosin it with Pops Rosin.
When driving to a show, I travel with a Crate bass rig. I use a rack mounted BT-350 amp with a double speaker cabinet system, though often I use only the top cabinet. I like the warm tube sound of the amp and it has a good XLR out to the board. I no longer take an amp for our flying dates, as those baggage handlers are too tough for me. No amp can take that abuse. I ask for back line to be provided and generally have positive results. It has been a lot of fun lately trying out the new bass rigs and many are excellent. But even if the amp is lacking in quality, a good soundman can do wonders with the monitor system and it’s his job to make it sound good out front.
Provide a good signal and be nice to your soundman. They are very, very important people.