Guitar World


guitar world magazine

  • Article Title

  • Magazine

  • Country

  • Issue

  • Date

  • Pages

  • Talk Is Cheap

  • Guitar World Magazine

  • USA

  • Vol. 15, No. 6

  • June, 1994

  • 21-28, 170


There are no photos of interest in this article but it does include some information about Tom Petersson’s 12-string basses:

“It was during those early years that Petersson also hit on his instrumental trademark, the Thunderous and mighty 12-string bass. Both brutal and ingenious in its conception, the bass has three E strings, three A’s, three D’s, and three G’s. The idea for the axe, Tom recalls, ‘just came from being in a small three-piece band - the need to make it sound full without getting some other clown in the band, another guy to take up space in the car.’”

“Tom turned to the then-new Hamer Guitars to help him turn his radical conception into a real-life bass. Rick Nielsen had become friendly with company founder Paul Hamer during the early Seventies, when Hamer was still a mailman in Philadelphia. Since Hamer’s company had begun to build Nielsen’s trademark checkerboard axes, it was natural for them to build Tom’s stuff, too.”

“‘They started with a 10-string,’ says the bassist. ‘Three E’s, three A’s, two D’s, and two G’s. They wouldn’t do a full 12 at first because they said it wouldn’t work. They said, ‘This is stupid. When you realize it’s not going to work, we can take off the two extra strings and at least you’ll have a normal eight-string bass.’ But when the 10-string worked fine they said, ‘God, you were right. We should have made the 12-string all along.’ I guess they were worried about the amount of tension on the neck. They didn’t want to make it a long-scale bass for that reason. The ones I have are long-scale, but the production models aren’t.”

“And while Petersson wouldn’t dream of going on stage without his 12-string basses, he says he rarely uses them in the studio. ‘The 12-string is not quite as fluid as a regular bass, so I’d rather use a regular bass in the studio. If a song needs that’doubled’ kind of bass sound, I’d rather just play a guitar line over a regular bass. The 12-string does really have unique overtones, but unless you hear it all by itself, that’s not so noticeable. I did use the 12-string on the intro to ‘My Gang’ though. And if you go back to the Lap Of Luxury album, there’s a song called ‘The Wrong Side Of Love’ that’s got a really good 12-string bass part. ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ also shows off what a 12-string bass can sound like.”


Vol. 27, No. 8, Aug. 2006

The article about Rick Nielsen mentions the “12-string bass-wrangling pretty-boy Tom Petersson”, then Nielsen is asked which guitars were used on the ‘Rockford’ album. Nielsen states, “We ended up using Gretsches, Rickenbackers, Guilds, Gibsons, Hamers, Waterstones, Chandlers, Martins and Taylors. I also have this guitar by a company called Hoyer. It’s basically a German toy, but if you get a good one, they sound terrific.” The Waterstones and Chandlers mentioned are 12-string basses but in the end they weren’t used on any tracks on the album.