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  • Writer's pictureN.O.

Interview: Sam Lucid of Dogs In A Pile - Backstage at The Tree

Sam discusses his gear and his influences

Sam Lucid, songwriter, vocalist and bassist for Dogs in a Pile has experimented with four, five and six string bass guitars since he started playing years ago in high school. Now, pursuing a music degree in bass performance at Berklee College of Music in Boston, he studies under renowned jazz bassist Lincoln Goines and finds he’s mostly using the six string bass for on-stage performances, but intends to begin weaving all three types of guitars into future shows.

Sam’s first instrument was a four-string Sterling SUB series by Music Man which he hadn’t played in years, but he has recently set it up and, atypically for his guitars, has decided to keep flat-wound strings on it, “I’ve experimented with round-wounds a little bit in the past…Flat-wounds are really cool especially because you can get nice warm, fat-like walking bass lines and stuff. They’re really fun for playing old style like Motown…or jazz…,” he nods, “…and it’s easier to slip around on the strings…”

Another early bass he’s re-deploying, and the first bass he used with the Dogs, is a four-string MIM Fender Jazz bass that he, “bought with (his) own money.” Like the Sterling, Sam hadn’t played it for quite a while but, having had some work done on the nut and setting it up, he now plans on taking it back on the road, “It’s very good for rock and funk and stuff…I’m happy to be back playing the four string…”

Occasionally, Sam calls upon a five-string Fender Jazz bass or a five string Warwick when he needs the low B to create the bottom for certain tunes, but his real preference for all around utility is the six string. Sam’s present beast of burden is the six-string custom Modulus Quantum 6 24-fret with a graphite neck, “The nicest bass I’ve ever played is this one…It has this crazy range of the low B string…all the way to the high C…like in piano and guitar registers… A lot of the time, when we’re doing more progressive stuff that would require the low-notes, that’s when I would use it.”

Lucid also spoke about fretless electric basses noting, “The advantage is really that you can be more expressive…We’re only working with twelve notes on a fretted instrument…and with the fretless instrument you can actually get the ‘microtones’ in-between…you can get those bluesy licks…” While he doesn’t presently use an electric fretless on stage, he has one he’s modifying in anticipation of incorporating it in the shows.

In something of a purist mode, Lucid currently plays bass without the use of pedals. He depends on technique, the axe and his all-tube Orange AD 200B MKIII bass amp head with a four ten-inch speaker cab. The amp delivers 200 watts and offers gain control and three band EQ, “I got to test it out at Russo’s Music in Asbury Park…,” and his assessment remains quite simple: “I like it.” He uses the amp in all his stage work.

Along the same minimalist line, Lucid says he doesn’t play regular six string guitars all that often; when in school or writing music, he often relies on the piano, “Most of my favorite songs that I’ve written were written on a piano…I like to be able to sing and have the full chords…” Some of his favorite songs written for the band include, “Blues for Brian”, “The ‘G’ Song”, “Trunk Rum”, “Por Que Pedro?” and “Didn’t Ya Know”.

Asked about influences, Lucid says, “Probably my favorite bass player…at least in the top five… is Phil Lesh….I’m so influenced by the way he played…Lincoln Goines (is) definitely a big influence on me, too…(he’s) been my instructor for all four years at Berklee…He toured with Carly Simon for a while…and played with pretty much everyone in the jazz world.” And through Goines and Steve Bailey (also a bassist and Berklee instructor), Lucid will be interviewing jazz giants Anthony Jackson and Chuck Rainey for a senior project/presentation, “I’m super excited for that.”

Noting, too, that Goines and Jackson both play Fodera basses, Lucid was asked if he’d ever played one. Sadly, he admits he hasn’t, and adds, “That would probably be my dream bass. The cheapest one is like two thousand dollars, but if you’re going to get one, you should save and get like a five thousand dollar one: a really nice one.” Lucid smiles and sits back in his seat- you know that’s exactly what he’s going to do.

Here's Sam playing some Jazz chords on the versatile Modulus Quantum 6.

Sam plays a little improv to demonstrate the range that the Modulus gives him to work with.




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