Interview: BASS PLAYER (2004)

October 09, 2004

The following article by Marco Passarelli appeared in the October 2004 issue of Bass Player magazine...

For Sting's technical assistant Danny Quatrochi, 'Synchronicity' is more than just a song he helps stage every night. A chance call in '79 offering him a job as a drum tech for a new band, the Police, led him to form a 25-year relationship with that group's bass-playing pop superstar. Since 1980's 'Zenyatta Mondatta' (A&M), Danny has worked exclusively with Sting and his gear for recording and touring.

Danny maintains Sting's two touring basses: a '57 Fender Precision, sans pickguard, and a '55 Fender Precision. Sting has had the '57 P-Bass for 15 years, and according to Danny, "It's the only bass that he wants to play." Sting uses the '55 P-Bass as a backup. Both are equipped with Basslines Single Coil Stack pickups and strung with DR Hi Beams (.040-.100). Danny sets the action on the P-Basses "higher than I would like it to be," but he is reluctant to do extensive work on the vintage necks. Although Sting used to occasionally play with a pick, he has been playing exclusively fingerstyle for the last few years.

To produce the wide dynamic range Sting desires, Danny has put together a rig using multiple crossovers. From the basses, Shure U1-UA wireless UHF transmitters are routed through a switching/muting system built by Pete Cornish. From the switcher, the signal goes to an Alembic F1-X preamp and then into a Court Acoustics GE60 i-octave equalizer and a Urei 7110 compressor/limiter before going to an Electro-Voice XEQ-3 crossover and on to the amplification. Bass signals to the front of house come from two direct outs: one from the Shure wireless and a second from the Alembic preamp with the preamp out located after the EQ. Furman power conditioners protect all of the gear from power surges.

The outputs of the crossover go to two Carver 2.0 amps that have been modified by Clair Brothers Audio. The 1,200 watt low-end monoblock amp goes to two Clair Brothers ML-18 1x18 cabinets. Danny says that the ML-18 cabinets supply the "full sound and deep low end" of Sting's live tone. The top-end amp (about 750 watts a side) goes to two Clair Brothers 12 AM-7 cabinets, each containing a 12" Electro-Voice speaker and a 2550 JBL horn. None of the cabinets is miked; they're strictly for onstage sound. Danny says that while it may look like a "hi-fi" stage rig, when Sting is thumping especially hard, "he can get a bit of distortion that sounds great, and he can control it just with his hands."

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