Gear


Mid 19th Century French Bass

This is my bass.  If I had my druthers, I would play this bass every day, everywhere, all the time.  I found this poor mishandled instrument listed online, and with a little bit of restoring, it has become my favorite bass I've ever played.  This bass was built in the mid 1800's most likely in Lamy Mirecourt workshop in France.  Since then it has been knocked around quite a bit, and repaired sloppily with fibre glass.  But after some great work and an extension made by Ted Moniak at Top Notch Violins in St. Louis, there's no bass I'd rather play than this one!

1937 American Standard (w/ new neck)

Sometimes us bass players have to put our bass on an airplane.  It's terrifying.  However, I used that necessity as an excuse to create one of the coolest instruments I know. American Standard basses from the 30's are known as the loudest and toughest plywood basses ever made.  I found this one with a broken neck in an old folks home in upstate New York, and had master luthier James Condino in Asheville, NC build me a new custom neck that I can remove when I check it on an airplane.  The result is one heck of a loud booming bass that I can fly anywhere in the world.  And I like it!

2015 Max Johnson Custom

In 2015, I decided, "I'm going to build an electric bass".  I wanted to fuse two of my favorite vintage basses: an old Fender P bass, and a Gibson EB-3.  So, I ordered the body and neck from warmoth, tracked down some vintage gibson pickups, bought a new P bass pickup, and went to work!  What turned out is this Walnut bodied, maple necked, 4 knobed, 3 pickup-ed beauty that I am proud to play whenever anyone wants it!  You can check out the before and after pics to see that this one came a long way!

In addition to these fine instruments, I use a Fishman Full Circle Pickup, an Ear Trumpet Labs "Nadine" Microphone, and a Grace Designs FeLix Preamp with my double bass.  I also proudly endorse Opsrey Packs for my suitcases.