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dmccombe7

Neil Murray bass

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This was on another topic but i just couldn't find it.

This was the bass i queried before.

Any idea what it is or is it a hybrid bass put together at Neil's request.

I know he had a P bass with a MM fitted between P pick up and bridge but this looks like 2 humbucker style pick ups with either an early P neck or a Tele neck.

neil-murray-bassist-with-heavy-rock-band-whitesnake-playing-the-on-picture-id116503475?k=6&m=116503475&s=612x612&w=0&h=R0ci-9FyjcBgF-xc7mQ6RfZ5Bb7ZLCZnPqZn6kVWIHQ=

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3 hours ago, Aidan63 said:

You can contact him through FaceBook

Didn't like to bother him on FB but i thought i would give it a shot.

Dave

Edited by dmccombe7

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Just dug out 'Trouble' and 'Ain't No Love' albums from when he was in Whitesnake. Took me back to my youth! Lovely lines and quite different from the pedalled root notes from alot of other blues rock bands at the time .

 

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Looks like a classic 70s chop job to me, in the nicest possible way of course!

NM was my absolute favourite bass player when I was a lad and Whitesnake were still in their pre-hair phase: the Mark II lineup was a classic.  Not only was Neil a great player, adding wonderfully lyrical yet muscualr basslines to the records, but he always had great tone and was mixed nice and high on the records too.

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2 hours ago, franzbassist said:

Looks like a classic 70s chop job to me, in the nicest possible way of course!

NM was my absolute favourite bass player when I was a lad and Whitesnake were still in their pre-hair phase: the Mark II lineup was a classic.  Not only was Neil a great player, adding wonderfully lyrical yet muscualr basslines to the records, but he always had great tone and was mixed nice and high on the records too.

Very eloquently put. I'm my defence I posted mine during a very long video linked pharmacology lecture during which it became apparent that the lecturer was extremely boring....🤣

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On 23/11/2020 at 10:30, dmccombe7 said:

This was on another topic but i just couldn't find it.

This was the bass i queried before.

Any idea what it is or is it a hybrid bass put together at Neil's request.

I know he had a P bass with a MM fitted between P pick up and bridge but this looks like 2 humbucker style pick ups with either an early P neck or a Tele neck.

neil-murray-bassist-with-heavy-rock-band-whitesnake-playing-the-on-picture-id116503475?k=6&m=116503475&s=612x612&w=0&h=R0ci-9FyjcBgF-xc7mQ6RfZ5Bb7ZLCZnPqZn6kVWIHQ=

IIRC he has a Sandberg currently with  P and MM setup

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He looks like a super cool dude!

It’s an ‘upgraded’ 60s or 70s Precision (I’d say 70s) jazz with a late 60s Telecaster neck fitted - check out the lollipop tuners. 

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49 minutes ago, Smirfy said:

IIRC he has a Sandberg currently with  P and MM setup

He does and its the only bass i've seen him with recently

 

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Thanks for the nice comments! I don't go on Basschat nearly as much as I should - mostly when I'm buying or selling basses!

I bought that bass in spring 1975 as a late '60s P-bass body (had been resprayed black, which I stripped and varnished) already with a Tele bass neck (maybe 1968, can't remember, and it's in storage so I can't check). Immediately I added an EB3 mini humbucker at the bridge but as the pole piece spacing was narrower I had to use Mustang bass saddles pulled together with a piece of thick wire. I used it like this with Colosseum II (Gary Moore, Don Airey etc, 1975-6), mostly using both pickups, and National Health (1976-7), generally just the J pickups, but I think in 1977 I changed the EB3 pickup for two J pickups wired as a humbucker. The P-bass pickup was still as standard then but I don't have any pics that show it in this configuration. I removed all the frets in 1977 (Jaco! See photo below from rehearsals for the Bruford album Feels Good To Me, standing in for Jeff Berlin who was the actual bassist in the band) and sometimes had to borrow other necks or basses for particular songs, sessions or gigs. I had it refretted in late 1977 or early 1978.

Soon after joining Whitesnake in early 1978 I needed to change from the mid-heavy tone of the EB3 or J bridge humbucker to a more full sound, so I started using the P pickup (at this time and in Colosseum II I was using flat wounds for more definition - the treble of round wounds was swamped by guitars, cymbals etc. Later with Whitesnake I changed to La Bella Quarterwounds then La Bella Hard Rockin' Steel) but wasn't very satisfied by the tonal difference between the two halves of the pickup. I discovered there was a type of replacement P pickup (Mighty Mite, I think) which had a single polepiece under each string, like Sandbergs today, so the coil size wasn't as wide as in regular P pickups, so I could shave the ends of the bobbins and put two coils side by side, similar to the two coils in a Di Marzio J pickup. I made a cover (as seen in the photo above) with two pickups (4 coils) underneath, and wired it so I could try the various combinations. Until halfway through 1978, it was my only bass, and to make changes to my gear required me to make modifications to that one, as I couldn't afford to buy new instruments. I discovered that I preferred the sound of the coils wired in 'reverse P' configuration, which wasn't a thing then, though Yamaha started doing basses like that soon after. So that's how the bass was when that photo was taken. I used it on the Whitesnake Snakebite EP and Trouble LP, through a miked-up Peavey cab and no DI. After that I moved to Kramer then Aria, plus a borrowed Alembic for some albums.

Later, with Black Sabbath in 1995 I reinstated a normal Precision pickup (Bartolini) for some touring, and I used the bass for periods during my 12 years in We Will Rock You in the West End. I shaved down the back of the Tele bass neck during the 70s as I found it too chunky, but went too far and exposed the truss rod! So that neck was retired in the 90s and I've had a couple of different P bass necks on there since then.

By the way, there's a version on the net of that photo up above that has my hair sticking up on top and looking very odd, which is a digital mistake I guess, so I'm glad you used the better version!

Cheers,

Neil

NM Bruford rehearsals 1977.jpg

P bass 2008?.jpg

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5 minutes ago, neilmurraybass said:

Later, with Black Sabbath...

You see, this is the kind of casual comment I just love. This is such a great forum 😁

Thanks, Neil.

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@neilmurraybass

Now that was worth asking the question. I couldn't have asked for more detail in an answer. Many thanks for sharing your bass story with us Neil.

Have to say i did find it funny when you mentioned you couldn't afford new basses in 70's as i always think of you being in successful bands getting well paid but i guess we all start somewhere. 😂

Sounds like you enjoyed experimenting with your basses and equipment and its always fascinated me reading about you splitting your pick ups into separate amps. 

Many thanks for the PM and the full detailed story above and hopefully we'll see you back on BC more often.

Perhaps you could start a new topic for us listing all your basses and what mods you did to each. Could make for an interesting read.

Thanks again 

Dave

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That would take a very long time! I try not to customise my basses these days, as I made quite a mess of some of them with a chisel and soldering iron back in the day!

I'm afraid that in general I haven't earned nearly as much money as you might think from the bands I've been in, and sometimes it's been very much feast then famine. I've tended to be in well-known bands at the time when they weren't having huge success, or in some cases other people got the majority of the money instead of it being fairly distributed. Playing in We Will Rock You for 12 years solid was the most consistent money I've earned but that's really hard work, extremely repetitive and not a creative outlet, obviously. Sadly, if I bought a high-end bass when I was flush, that would be the first to go when things got a bit grim financially. It's nice to have the best instruments, but frustrating if there aren't actually the opportunities to use them.

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As a hobby bass player i tend to forget that your work can come and go and not consistent. I guess that's one the downsides of being a professional musician.

Over the years i assumed bass companies would be throwing their kit at you to advertise it 😀

I know it certainly made me buy my Peavey Mk4 head because i saw you using them. Twin channel with Graphic EQ section. Great amp but very heavy.  I even went down the route of splitting my amp signals to different cabs based on things you were trying back in 80's. You have a lot to answer for. 😂

The overall sound you had on Ready and Willing was the perfect bass sound for me.

Dave

 

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1 hour ago, dmccombe7 said:

@neilmurraybass

Now that was worth asking the question. I couldn't have asked for more detail in an answer. Many thanks for sharing your bass story with us Neil.

Have to say i did find it funny when you mentioned you couldn't afford new basses in 70's as i always think of you being in successful bands getting well paid but i guess we all start somewhere. 😂

Sounds like you enjoyed experimenting with your basses and equipment and its always fascinated me reading about you splitting your pick ups into separate amps. 

Many thanks for the PM and the full detailed story above and hopefully we'll see you back on BC more often.

Perhaps you could start a new topic for us listing all your basses and what mods you did to each. Could make for an interesting read.

Thanks again 

Dave

 

I would gladly give up all my guitars and keep just one if I could be in the same league as Neil, whose CV looks like my favourite record collection :)

It's amazing to be able to hear these stories, first hand, here. Thank you @neilmurraybass for taking the time to indulge us, and of course, for all that music.

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I keep getting nagged to write a book, but it's such a big task. It risks being very boring to anyone other than bass players, or even to ordinary fans who want sordid tales of debauchery etc! It's hard enough to write a book - even harder to make it entertaining! It would be very easy for me to put down a long list of gigs I did, people I played with etc, which would be exceedingly boring to read. I do plan to make videos where I play the songs I'm mostly known for, though I'm not sure if they'll be 'tuition' videos as such.

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39 minutes ago, neilmurraybass said:

I keep getting nagged to write a book, but it's such a big task. It risks being very boring to anyone other than bass players, or even to ordinary fans who want sordid tales of debauchery etc! It's hard enough to write a book - even harder to make it entertaining! It would be very easy for me to put down a long list of gigs I did, people I played with etc, which would be exceedingly boring to read. I do plan to make videos where I play the songs I'm mostly known for, though I'm not sure if they'll be 'tuition' videos as such.

Those videos would be great, Guy Pratt does something like that and they’re very interesting and entertaining. Also, there are other people that matter other than bass players? Surely some mistake. 😂 

Thanks for contributing to the forum, Neil.

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41 minutes ago, neilmurraybass said:

I keep getting nagged to write a book, but it's such a big task. It risks being very boring to anyone other than bass players, or even to ordinary fans who want sordid tales of debauchery etc! It's hard enough to write a book - even harder to make it entertaining! It would be very easy for me to put down a long list of gigs I did, people I played with etc, which would be exceedingly boring to read. I do plan to make videos where I play the songs I'm mostly known for, though I'm not sure if they'll be 'tuition' videos as such.

 

I suppose that a book aimed at bass players would have limited appeal outside our 'little universe', even if I would for one devoure it! :D 

However, I find that people who are at your level (the handful I've met, not exactly a large sample, but...) often feel as you describe: "ah, it'll be boring, who will even care? people will just want gossip", but I think their experiences can have a wider appeal than you imagine when approached simply as "the trials and tribulations of someone trying to make a living as a musician". A lot of us could write books along those lines, but very few got to 'make it' and become part of so much music that became the soundtrack of our lives, in some ways.

My book would be really boring. It would start with my 'discovering' music and trying to play melodies and rhythms on anything I could get my hands on, until my parents made it clear that they thought music was something just for fun on the side and that I should go study at University instead and become an engineer or something. And I went "erm... ok".

So rock'n'roll, eh? Well, I went to study Electronic Engineering (while listening a LOT to early Whitesnake, in particular ;) ) and I thought I'd try to follow on the footsteps of Tom Scholz (Boston) and if I was not going to be a proper musician I could design and build equipment. Eventually I dropped out and became a biologist instead, and in my 30s I returned to playing music... and I've got a lot of stories: some crazy, some silly, some sweet... like that 5 year old dancing like a maniac in front of the stage at an afternoon festival in the park, who'd take turns to be in front each one of us, watching with attention what we were doing, and after we finished he kept insisting we continued playing and he wouldn't stop until we invited him over and showed him what the stage was like (he LOVED the drums and we let him make a bit of noise with them)... The look on his face will stay with me forever. 

Through the years, playing bars, festivals and small clubs, music has shown to be a great leveller. People with very different backgrounds, jobs, different skin colours and religions, brought together by music. Music has helped a lot of us through difficult times, it gives us strength, it can inspire us, or can soften our steely hearts and bring out emotions like nothing else can... and this is just from my observations at a very small/local level (the closest to a 'tour' I've ever done was spending a week travelling in a minibus around the UK, sleeping on floors and dirty pub seats when we were lucky, spending mindnumbing hours each day just waiting for those 2 hours we'd get to do our thing in front of some people, regardless whether they were 1000 or 50... and sometimes not even 50, hell, I've played to two barmen and kitchen staff! :D )  but still met lots of interesting people and had lots of interesting conversations, with music being the common thread.

If I have that, I am positive that your book could be a LOT more exciting.

I tell you what, if you write yours, I'll write mine :drinks: :P

 

 

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1 hour ago, neilmurraybass said:

I keep getting nagged to write a book, but it's such a big task. It risks being very boring to anyone other than bass players, or even to ordinary fans who want sordid tales of debauchery etc! It's hard enough to write a book - even harder to make it entertaining! It would be very easy for me to put down a long list of gigs I did, people I played with etc, which would be exceedingly boring to read. I do plan to make videos where I play the songs I'm mostly known for, though I'm not sure if they'll be 'tuition' videos as such.

You came to my house some years back to try a bass (which you didn't buy!). I had a broken leg and my foot in plaster at the time. 

I remember discussing Micky Moody's book (Playing With Trumpets) with you and asking about the sequel which would include the Whitesnake days, the book that became Snakes And Ladders.

Seeing as he knows how to write these things, maybe a collaboration?

:hi:

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I've recently bought a book for Xmas by our very own Alfie Noakes called Recovers and altho i haven't read it yet i bought it because it covers 40 yrs of playing in various covers bands. That would be boring to non bassists but for me its more or less what most bass players have gone thru albeit some, like yourself Neil, at a higher level . 

I have no idea who Alfie is other than from BC and i'm not really looking for the gory details of what went on behind the scenes but sometimes a little snippet of what it was like on the road, the boredom of staying in hotels, tour buses and what you did to fill your time would for me be quite interesting. You don't need to offer names and places of what we guess went on in younger days but there must be so many funny little stories over the years that we as bass players will find funny too.

I read Neil Pearts books and how he dealt with the time between gigs and i know a good friend of yours @neilmurraybass once mentioned in an interview that he tended to be a bit of a loner who would go down for sound checks and then back to his hotel and didn't really get involved with the "socialising" side of things. I can't recall the exact words he used or whether or not it was only when he got a little older that he did that. Knowing him from his early days he was very focused on what he did and what he wanted. 

Perhaps working with a writer who could put your thoughts and experiences down in a way that might be more interesting for more punters than just bassists. Is that a Ghost Writer ?

I reckon writing a book isn't as easy as it might sound so working with a professional writer might be a good way to go altho it might cost a few quid to hire someone.

I know many guitarists that read books by other bassists like Glenn Hughes and Guy Pratt.

Knowing about your thoughts at the time Neil, the gear you used , how rehearsals were done and the highlights from them, the studio work and highlights, the albums recorded giving some details of what interested you on each event. Certainly listing your gear for each album or each tour would be interesting for bass players on BC alone.

Knowing who you were impressed by over the years, who were the people that stood out for you whether that be their ability or just nice people to work with is all interesting stuff for those who never made it to that level.

That's just some of my thoughts but some of the messages you sent me Neil would be of interest to many of us on BC.

As someone mentioned ask fellow musicians you are friends with that have written a book and how they went about it.

I'd definitely buy any book from you.

Dave 

 

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I’d certainly love to read a book by Neil. 
ive ready Micky moody’s and Bernie marsden’s, as well as a many others- I tend to read biography more than anything else, as I like to pick up ideas and benefit from other’s experience. 
joel mciver has written and ‘helped’ with others in writing their autobiography, to name just one-  and considering @neilmurraybass wealth of experience, I’m certain it would be a great read 👍

Edited by dudewheresmybass
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