Products Used by Ben Epstein
About Ben Epstein
Ben Epstein has played in Duffy’s band and toured the globe in support of the Welsh singer’s debut album. Since then he has shared the stage with prominent artists such as Sophie Ellis Bextor, Marina And The Diamonds, Cheryl Cole, Mika, Will Young, Geri Halliwell, Gary Barlow and even Ronnie Wood.
His current success on the bass could not have been predicted, especially as it wasn’t even his primary instrument when he first started playing…
“I started bass at about 12,” he recalls. “I’d actually been playing classical and Spanish guitar since the age of six. I got an electric guitar but found that with the fingering techniques, it pushed you more towards bass. I had not been playing with a pick so it was a natural progression for me to go to bass. I still do a lot of guitar stuff but I don’t really have the gear for playing guitar live so it’s mostly recording; I end up getting the bass out most of the time. In fact it’s turned into a bit of an obsession as I have loads of bass gear! If I started collecting guitar gear as well it would turn into a bit of a nightmare…”
Despite having a lot of gear Ben is very reticent when it comes to endorsing any one product…
“I always said I’d never endorse anything unless it was really something that I genuinely believed in and really wanted,” he says. “I know of some players using gear which I think is crap but they use it as they got it for free. But I only use stuff that I like and that I’d go out and buy anyway you know?”
Fortunately Ben has no such problem with TC Electronic’s RH450, as he loves it, but it took some persuading to get him to try it out…
“At the time RH450 came out I had everything I needed and didn’t need a new amp,” he says, “but then a studio guy that I was working with said ‘TC Electronic make really good stuff you know and you should check it out’. I’d never really heard much about it and only knew that they did reverb units and stuff like that. But then I thought I’d give it a go. I ended up playing an RH450 in a shop in Tokyo and thought ‘bloody hell, it’s actually really good.’ “
“I’ve since used the amp in some gigantic places,” he continues, “some huge festivals outdoors, but where it really comes in handy is on day to day stuff. That amp works in every room I’ve been in. I just go in, bam: three different basses, three different presets. I hardly ever have to mess with it as it always sounds right and the tuner is bright and accurate.”
“I love the sound of it flat,” he says, “it gives you the true transparent sound of your bass and doesn’t box up when you drive it hard. Plus all the features are really usable; it seems like a lot of thought was put into the design of this amp. The gain and volume responds like a valve amp 4 times its size, I have never run out of headroom, even in really loud bands. Also, I can get the full rig in the boot of my car and don’t have to break my back any more lifting those valve rigs.”
“There are not many features on this amp that I don’t use. I have the compressor cranked most of the time and I use a couple of the presets for different Tube Tone distortion settings; with a pick it sounds killer and it means I can often leave my pedals at home and just plug direct into the amp.
“In 5 years of gigging and touring I have never had any problems with this amp. It’s been rock solid reliable - I can’t recommend it highly enough.”