Maverick Muse
Bass Player|November 2019
Maverick Muse
Ed Friedland is a bassist and author who has seen it all, done it all and survived to tell the tale. We meet the master.
The music business may not be as as highly populated with genuine characters as it used to be, but there are still a few around—and one of those is definitely Ed Friedland, acclaimed bassist, author, educator, long-time Bass Player contributor, and more. Charismatic and friendly, but also more than capable of poking jabs at fools when it is warranted, Friedland spends most of his time these days as a member of the Mavericks, the renowned American roots band.

How long have you been in the Mavericks, Ed?

I joined in 2015, so it’s about four years. They basically tour all year round, so I’ve learned not to schedule too much. Every time we have a couple of weeks off, they schedule something, so I’m always on call. We do take breaks, though: It’ll be nice to have a few months off at the end of this year, although I get a little stir crazy!

You’re also a prolific author.

If you include all the different editions of the books I’ve done, it’s somewhere between 17 and 22 titles. I’m not sure if I feel the need to write any more at this point—my ideas may be too niche or too esoteric these days. But I’m also not in the mindset: I’m experiencing life as a performer rather than as a teacher or a writer. For years I was the writer and teacher, and it feels good to be on the other side for a change.

What gear do you take on the road with the Mavericks?

It’s a very basic setup, because our music— roots, or whatever you want to call it— means that I don’t need pedals or preamps or all the fancy s*** that people get all excited about. I use two basses, a KK Baby Bass and a G&L L1000, which is a great instrument that I really love. I have an A/B box, and I plug straight into my amp, and boom, you know.

What else is in the Friedland studio?

I have a Steve Azola-built Ampeg Baby bass that’s been my main axe for a few years. I also have a couple of 70s-made P-Basses that I rotate in and out. I’m using a Genzler Magellan 800 head, which I’ve used ever since it came out. I’ve played probably 350 to 400 shows on it, and it’s flawless. I can take it to the UK and Europe with me because it’s so small, so whatever cabinet I get, at least the head is what I want. At home I use Green Boy Audio, which for my money is the best cab—there is nobody who comes close to these guys. It’s a smart design with the top components, there are no compromises because they make custom one-offs. They’re perfect for upright playing.

Presumably you come across all kinds of interesting gear on the road.

On tour you use whatever you can, so I’ll choose an Aguilar 8x10 or an Ampeg SVT, although the SVTs from rental stock are usually pretty beat up, so I prefer an Aguilar. I usually fly with my Chadwick double bass, which is a wonderful instrument.

What are the Mavericks up to?

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November 2019