Dave Henning

Big Wreck's 12-String Bassist

A while back I had the opportunity to chat with Big Wreck bassist David Henning. David is well known for having a huge bass sound in live performances, and that big sound is well represented on the Big Wreck albums as well. He shared with me some tips he uses when recording his Hamer 12-string bass.

Recently when he was mentioned quite favorably in the Doug Pinnick interview that was published here on this site I got in touch with David again to give him that good news, and he enthusiastically agreed to share those recording tips with everybody here on this site. Thanks David!

So do you still play the 12?

Yes, I am still playing the mighty 12! In fact, I just received a copy of an album that I used the twelve on. I was doing some session work in Los Angeles and the record should be out on Arista sometime this year. It is not true "12" though... I had it strung as an eight for the recording session and ran it through the Bass Pod Pro.

I just picked up the Big Wreck album "In Loving Memory Of..." Good album!

Thanks for picking up my band's first record. I'm glad you like it... I borrowed pretty liberally from Doug Pinnick. I even told him that! : )

I also used the 12 on our last record as well. But the highlight was when I got to use both of my 12's with a symphony orchestra and guitarist Eric Johnson... at the same time!!! That was fun...

I think I am going to be selling one of my 12's soon. I have a custom Hamer 12. It is identical to the huge black one the guy from Pearl Jam (Jeff Ament) plays. I love it, but I cannot justify owning it.

Any ideas for getting a good recorded tone with a 12-string bass?

I have also experienced some of the same problems you mentioned with the twelve in regards to recording. I find that a lot of recording the instrument has to do with context and amping. If you are recording with guitars, it can sometimes blend in too well and be hard to hear.

It is the nature of the 12, taking up soooo much frequency spectrum can be hard to get to tape. The sound in front of the amp is great, but the tape can't seem to get it.

A way I found to compensate was to (again, borrowing from Mr. Pinnick) split the signal. I kind of went hog-wild with Doug's basic idea. I found that sending the signal through a crossover and then blend two, sometimes three amps / cabs with the direct can yield some interesting results. You can really fine-tune the wide spectrum of the 12's sound. For better or for worse!! : )

So the Bass Pod is a good way to go?

The Bass Pod Pro can really play around with your direct signal and help too. It is also handy when you do not have the luxury of using multiple cabs / amps. Another cool thing is to put different effects on the different signals. Putting a distortion on the top end while putting a phaser on the bottom end. Not always useful, but always fun! I hope this helps.

Just thought I'd let you know that Doug Pinnick mentions you quite favorably.

Thanks for the heads-up on the interview. Wow, was that flattering! Doug has been on my list of all time greats for quite some time. Tone, feel and groove. He has it all. And then there is that singing thing... : )

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions David, it's greatly appreciated!

Let me congratulate you on a great year and a well-done website that has showcased the 12-string bass with class. Many more great years to you! All the best!

David Henning