What basses did Brownmark use?
Brownmark played Fender Jazz and Alembic Spoiler basses. The Alembic Spoiler was fitted with a pickup to trigger a Roland GR-77B synthesizer.
I started with the “zebra bass,” an early ’80s, passive Fender Jazz. After 1999, I went to the “flower bass,” a custom Alembic Spoiler. Prince liked that bright, clean sound, but I hated it. I don’t like people to understand what I’m playing. Prince insisted on it because for big arenas, the Alembics cut through, especially with my Crown PA rig and paisley Ampeg cabs loaded with 15s.
Brownmark's amplifiers included an Ampeg SVT paired with Ampeg 2x15" cabinets. He later switched to a custom preamp and EQ setup, with a Crown power amp and custom cabinets.
A Fender Jazz through an Ampeg SVT, but the amp didn’t growl enough so I went to two Crowns and custom boxes with four 10s and an 18. I used separate preamps, a Lexicon phaser and parametric EQ. Here’s a secret about Prince’s sound: he liked everything mixed high, so the low presence would cut through. Eventually I migrated to an Alembic Spoiler and by the Parade album (1986), I had a Roland interface built in so I didn’t have to play that weird-looking Roland bass thing.
He used a Lexicon phaser and possibly a Boss TW-1 T-Wah envelope filter.
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