Above Drums



Many people today have studios in their home.
Big deal.

What is uncommon is to find someone
who sings and plays 7 instruments on a high level
with 35 years playing experience and over 4,000 gigs under their belt;
tutored by some of the best engineers in the business,
and with the same top equipment found in top major studios like Capitol -
Neumanns, Neves, LA2A's and more.

My goal is to make records "old school" - like they used to do recordings -
in real time with real musicians making real sweat (to quote Jim Williams).
Sure I have Pro Tools - but I don't use it as a crutch.
For instance, I hardly ever use EQ, almost never rely on computerized compressors
and I never use Pitch Shift.

That's right.
I capture real sounds in real time the right way -
I don't "fix it in the mix."
I select the right microphone and preamp (and more, if needed) for an instrument - and mic it right the first time.
The rest is up to you.

This takes not only ears but a lot of equipment and a lot of experience.
For instance, whenever I buy a "new" piece of vintage equipment, I run it through tests on all my instruments:
I sing soul and jazz into it, play 4 saxophones, multiple flutes,
guitar (acoustic, electric and lap steel), bass, drums and percussion.

Then I blindfold the files and send them to my music and engineer buddies...
and we vote.

It's exhausting, but fun. And I learn more than most engineers do in years,
because they have to wait for all these players to roll into their studio to test their equipment -
I don't -
and they're usually under time constraints and can't run the kind of tests they'd like anyway.

But I do.
Does it work?
Damn well; I know every piece of equipment I own, inside and out,
and I can usually tell what mic will complment a musician the moment I hear them play.
Nine times out of ten, I'm spot on.

But equipment doesn't make great recordings - people do,0
and to get a great recording you have to either be a great musican or have damn good tastes.
I believe I have both. I'd be lying if I said I didn't.


Real music made by real people in real time with real sweat.
I steer towards the more "artistic" forms of music:
Jazz . Folk . Blues . Soul. R&B . Singer-Songwriter . Brazilian . Theater . Comedy . Rock . Intelligent Pop

I don't record Rap, Punk, Metal or very hard Rock.
It's just not my favorite music and I'm not set up to it well,
and I have to like something to really do it well.
But I do enjoy collaborating with DJs and mixing my sounds on top of their beats (see samples below)

Many producers encourage artists to follow the latest "trends."
This may prove beneficial in the short-run but is death to your career in the long run.
Joni Mitchell said she never had a "producer" which is why her records are timeless. I agree.
When you record here, I just want you to have fun and make good music.
That's it.

If you want my opinion about songs, chords, melodies, lyrics, textures, singing approach... great;
I'm happy to provide it (with proper credits) -
but I'm not about to make you wear some clothes that aren't really you.

Sometimes I turn down clients.
I have to like the music first. If I don't like the song, I simply won't do it.
If I take you in my studio, I have an honest conviction in your music.
I only hope you have the same conviction for your own work.

I say this because the pressures of popularity destroy a lot of recordings that would be better off
If they were recorded as the artist felt them - honestly - not to win someone else's approval.
This takes conviction.
If you don't have conviction, there's nothing I can do to give it to you.
I can only help someone express themselves; I can't give them the conviction to do the expressing.

To inquire about studio time, please email the following:
1) Your name (you'd be surprised how many people actually forget this)
2) Your phone number and email (ditto)
3) The nature of your project - your goals, influences, etc.
4) Samples of your work (if available)

There's only one of you; my goal is to help you be the best you you can be.





1) Engineering Capturing voice, instruments and drums in great quality.
2) Production Song selection, arrangements, coaching.
3) Backing Tracks Piano, Guitar, Bass, Drums, Horns (saxes, flute) and percussion.
4) Transcription Writing Sheet Music and "Lead Sheets" for songs.
5) Arrangements Written arrangement for duos, trios, quartets and larger ensembles.
6) Videography Multi-camera video, live or for later synch.
7) Musical Instruction I teach voice, piano, guitar, drums, saxes, flute, music theory and the art of song and lyric writing. See davebass.com/teaching
8) Business Development I have written business plans and prospectuses for major studios.


Neumann m-149 tube multi-pattern condenser (hand-picked from 4 mics),
Sennheiser 421, Sennheiser 441, Beyer m88, AT 4033, AT 4047,
Shure SM-7b, Shure SM54, Shure 548, EV re16, EV pl9, EV 635a, Earthworks and many more...
Neve 1073s, API 3124s, Avalon 737, etc.
LA2A, 1176, Avalon, DBX 1066, etc.

Taylor & Alvarez acoustics, Gibson 335, Strat, custom lap steel
Roland JC-77, Fender Blues Junior (upgrade mod), Silvertone 1402, etc.
Weighted Keyboard w/ midi
Fender P Bass, custom pickups
Ludwig Maple-Birch Drum Kit (18, 16, 12, 10)
Multiple snares - vintage Slingerland, Black Beauty, deep Ludwig, etc.
All hand-picked Zildjian, Istanbul, Bosphorus, etc.
16" Djembe and lots of Brazilian and African hand percussion
Bari, Tenor, Alto, Soprano
Both traditional silver and handmade flutes in bamboo, clay, etc.



NOTE: Most of these tracks are un-mixed and un-mastered (see individual notes).
The studio underwent major upgrades in Sept, 2013, hence some variations in sound.

Tina Aldana - Deadly Love
What a beautiful voice this young lady has. She sang this with no backing track, and she wrote the tune as well.

Vocals - recorded at Dave Bass Studios
Un-mixed, un-mastered
Recorded Feb, 2014
Jimmy Golding - Kiss those Chains
Singer-songwriter Jimmy Golding is a fine tunesmith from England. I produced an album for him in which I arranged the songs with elements of soul, utilizing horns, lap steel and such.

Horns (saxes & flute) & guitar fills - arranged & played by Dave Bass
Vocals, horns & guitars - recorded at Dave Bass Studios
Un-mixed, un-mastered
Recorded 2011
Jimmy Golding - Not a Day Goes By
My goal on this song was to create a wall of sound with horns and guitars that supported the vocal, as well as create melodic background lines.

Horns (saxes & flute) & guitar fills - arranged & played by Dave Bass
Vocals, horns & guitars - recorded at Dave Bass Studios
Mixed and Mastered - Robert Hoehn Studios
Recorded 2011
David Alexandrou - Monday
David is quite a zany artist. For a while he had an alter-ego named Rau Rau who rapped. One night he dropped by the studio to show me a video of a song he just created, with him singing acapella.
Over the existing track I laid down bass, drums, saxes and flutes, all quick and dirty. Hopefully we'll get around to finishing it one day.

Drums, bass & horns (saxes & flute) - arranged & played by Dave Bass
Un-mixed, un-mastered
Recorded Jan, 2012
Brett Harrison - Who Can it Be Now
THIS was a fun project! An 80's cover band asked me to replicate, note for note, solos and horn sections from famous 80's tunes. This one is by Men at Work.
To get it right, I researched the track and used the exact same vintage sax mouthpiece and mic of original sax player Greg Ham (RIP Greg), as well as tracking down the same delay & reverb.
If you line it up over the original, it fits seamlessly.
Lots of fun.

Tenor saxophone - performed by Dave Bass
Un-mixed, un-mastered
Recorded Oct, 2012
Alex Trugman - Ghost
Alex is a true songwriter with a passion for it.
Check out the video of this that I shot and directed:

Piano and voice - recorded at Dave Bass Studios
Un-mixed, un-mastered
Recorded July, 2014


Dr. Midnight - Funk in E
Dr. Midnight is a funky boy. He even walks funky. One of his songs has a crazy line about making love in the Cheesecake Factory. I only hope they washed their hands afterwards.
Hats off to bassist Anthony Crawford who got down on this. You can find Anthony gigging with everyone from guitarist Allan Holdsworth to Justin Timberlake.

Bass - recorded at Dave Bass Studios
Un-mixed, un-mastered
Recorded Sept, 2012
Dave Bass & Mexico 68 - Technocrats
Mexico 68 is a big horn band in the spirit of Nigerian afro-funk master Fela Kuti. The band's leader, Martin, brought me a loop from an Antibalas recording and asked me to give him some arrangement ideas. So I laid these ideas down, on the spot.
The flute solo at the end was an afterthought, not properly miked. But I kept it here because I liked the spirit of it.

Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bari Sax and flutes - arranged by Dave Bass
Saxes and flutes - recorded at Dave Bass Studios
Un-mixed, un-mastered
Recorded Dec, 2011


Tomas Lorioux - SOB
Tomas is a great slap-bassist from France, currently living in L.A. We laid down an entire album's worth of bass lines on a Rockabilly record out of Europe. Lots of fun. I LOVE recording upright bass.

Upright bass - recorded at Dave Bass Studios
Un-mixed, un-mastered
Recorded Aug, 2011

60'S SURF:

Ray Jessel - The Fringe (San Francisco Fringe Festival theme song)
Check out Ray on America's Got Talent, where he gained fame for singing 'The Penis Song' (i.e. "What She's Got"?)! Ray has been writing songs and comedy scripts for quite some time (he's 84, you know) and he's damn good at it.
Ray and I love to collaborate. He brought this tune to me as a lead sheet with some stylistic ideas and let me run with it, so I layered drums, bass, guitar and sax, then hired some of my favorite female singers for backup vocals- Viva Vinson, Raquel Cockrell and Rebekah Smithbell.
Fun dipping into the 60's surf catalog!

Drums, Bass, Guitars & Saxes - performed by Dave Bass
Drums, Bass, Guitars, Saxes and Backup Voices - arranged by Dave Bass
Un-mixed, un-mastered
Recorded May, 2014


Chet Yokoyama - Peace and Justice
This was the first song Chet wrote. He came to me with a melody and some words to which I fitted harmony - maintaining the shifting time signatures that he was hearing.
I then layered Djembe, percussion, drums, bass, guitars, keys, saxes, flutes, vocals and background vocals.
This was originally intended for someone else to sing; it's a bit too low for me, but I muddled through it as a demo, (you'll hear a "hiccup" in the background vocals because of it).

All - performed & arranged by Dave Bass
All - recorded at Dave Bass Studios
Un-mixed, un-mastered
Recorded Jan, 2013


Claire Bermingham - People will Say We're in Love
The perfect Disney movie voice, don't you agree? She knocked this out in one take with pianist Ron Snyder, then sang some native songs from her Irish homeland - in that beguiling Irish accent that makes you wonder "Is she speaking English?"

Voice and Piano (Ron Snyder) - recorded at Dave Bass Studios
Un-mixed, un-mastered
Recorded Aug, 2011


Greg Glienna - New York Song
Greg Glienna is a fine singer in the classic "crooner" style and a pianist and songwriter. He is also the screenwriter of "Meet the Parents" and "Relative Strangers".
For this hilarious song, Greg wanted a dixieland-style horn section that didn't sound like dixieland. (Go figure.) So I created a horn arrangement with melodic lines that supported the vocal.

Horns - arranged by Dave Bass
Vocals, Saxes & flute - recorded at Dave Bass Studios
Mixed and Mastered - Dave Bass Studios
Recorded 2009-2010

Greg Glienna - I Didn't Know about You
Sometimes it's not necessary to play a million notes. Sometimes less is more. It takes maturity to know this. Johnny Hodges did. Many modern jazz players don't.

Horns - arranged by Dave Bass
Vocals, Saxes & flute - recorded at Dave Bass Studios
Mixed and Mastered - Dave Bass Studios
Recorded 2009-2010
Greg Glienna - I Used to be Color Blind
More pretty playing, this time on tenor. The challenge in this track was balancing with the Trumpet, which was already recorded and I couldn't change his volume! I tried to create the illusion we were playing together, which I think I did.

Horns - arranged by Dave Bass
Vocals, Saxes & flute - recorded at Dave Bass Studios
Mixed and Mastered - Dave Bass Studios
Recorded 2009-2010
Pamela Davis - Moonglow
Pamela is a swing guitarist in the great tradition of Freddie Green, with Count Basie. I recorded a whole album for her, playingvarious parts; saxes, drums, etc.
On this song, she wanted to do something other than the standard treatment as a ballad; something sexy and "burlesque." I played drums, then sax, then got John Classick to play upright bass. I look forward to the album when it is released.

Pamela Smith - guitars, John Classick - upright bass, Dave Bass - drums & saxes
Un-mixed, un-mastered

Recorded 2010-2012


Revised 7/14/14, 8/11/10