Teen Beat’s Rock Stars


Teen Beat’s rock stars magazine

  • Article Title

  • Magazine

  • Country

  • Issue

  • Date

  • Pages

  • Exclusive Interview with Tom Petersson

  • Teen Beat’s Rock Stars Magazine

  • USA

  • #15

  • January, 1980

  • 10-13


This interview with Tom Petersson includes six additional posed shots, none of which include a bass. Here are the questions and answers relevant to the 12-string bass:

Do you get all your basses custom made, or do you look for old ones?

I look for old ones, except for the 12-string basses, there’s no such thing, so I have to get them specially made.

Who makes your 12-strings?

Paul Hamer, in Chicago.

What is that bass bass you played in Japan and on the U.S. tour, it looks like an acoustic, a big, flat thing?

That’s a Hamer 12-string. They’re making me another like that, from another idea of mine. Originally, they only made them for me, and then they made a few more. I think John Entwistle of The Who has one.

Who’s using 12-string basses on stage besides you?

No one, and I think Entwistle is the only one who has one. And that’s because he buys everything.

Is that because no one else can play them, or that people don’t like the sound?

I don’t know. It’s just an odd thing that people haven’t picked up on. It’s sort of my style of playing.

Yes, but you’ve made them famous! It’s a big part of Cheap Trick’s sound. Everyone I speak to remarks about your big bass sound.

I got this style of playing when I used 4-string and 8-string basses. I wanted to have more sound. I thought it could be extended, but even if I didn’t have a 12-string, my style would be the same, sort of a rhythm guitar and bass sound at the same time. You don’t know where the sound’s coming from, it sounds like lead guitar playing bass, all sorts of weird stuff.

Was the transition from 4-string and 8-string to 12-string hard?

No, I think it was easy. I really think it has a lot to do with your style of playing, like most session men don’t want or need that kind of sound, but I want it. I want it to sound like everything.

When did you get your first 12-string?

When we did the first KISS tour, right at the end of it, and I didn’t use it on that tour. I used a 4-string the whole time. It was easy to play. I honestly can’t remember ever having any problems. People try to play them now and say, God, how can you play this thing? After five minutes their feel their hand is going to fall off! But I’m used to playing chords and holding down a lot of notes on the 4-string, which most people don’t do, so they don’t have the strength. Tuning is simple, too. It just takes a long time.