This is where my Status addiction began. I discovered music, and more specifically the bass, in the 80s. So of course, a big influence on me, right from the beginning, was Mark King of Level 42. He was (and still is) obviously a very visible bass player, since he's also the vocalist, so unlike most bass players who tended to lurk in the shadows at the back of the stage, Mark was always front and centre, leaping around the stage and making bass playing look such fun (pop stars used to grin back then - none of this looking moody thing!), and playing these hi-tech looking Status basses with lights in. So it was always my hope to one day own one of these mythical beasts.
Much later, in 2001, I got a DVD of Level 42 playing live in Reading, I think. It was a great show, loads of energy (although the audience inexplicably appeared to have been heavily sedated for the duration). And Mark was playing two of these strange little Status basses I'd never seen before. Tiny symmetrical bodies, lovely curved top. And of course, the lights. They were his new Kingbasses, designs that he had specifically commissioned from Rob at Status. I loved the look of them, and the sound - very punchy and hi fi. A year or two later, a nice big royalty cheque was burning a hole in my pocket, so I finally got my opportunity to own a real Status. 'Red', as I call her, was delivered to me in 2003 and is loosely based on the rosewood-topped bass that Mark was playing in this DVD, although I made a few requests of my own. I thought red LEDs would go with the red-tinged rosewood top better than the blue ones on Mark's bass. and the string spacing on mine is 19mm, rather than Mark's 16.5mm, mainly because I had been playing a Stingray for a good while before this point and loved the nice spacious neck on that. And finally, mine is a full size 34" scale, rather than Mark's preferred 32". Again, I was used to a full scale bass and saw no need in my playing for the 'bendwell' device that Rob incorporates into the necks when he makes them shorter scale.
Anyway, 'Red' was everything I expected, and more. The sound is clean and consistent, the neck flawless, and I love the ergonomics of it, and the tiny details like the rounded edges of the body - it's a beautifully tactile bass. She immediately became my workhorse, so much so that by 2012, I was actually thinking, 'What would happen if I had to send this bass in for repairs at some point? What would I play?'. The solution? I needed another one! Hence the Paramatrix which I talked about in my previous blog!
'Red' is now my main studio bass. It's a very 'plug and play' bass - it just sounds great as soon as you plug it in, regardless of the situation. The controls are simple - volume, pickup pan, bass cut/boost, treble cut/boost, sweepable mid cut/boost. I generally set it to both pickups equally, a tiny bit of treble boost, a touch of bass boost, and low mids cut. This is the bass you'll see and hear in 90% of my recordings and YouTube videos. And this is still the bass that I take on tour when I go abroad - she's been all over the place with me: France, Germany, Poland, Spain, the UK, the US, the Netherlands, Greece ... She really should have her own passport.
Here are some pics for you to enjoy. Feel free to comment or ask any questions you might have. I can talk about these basses for days!