I was able to catch up with Mark Aceves, bassist for the San Francisco based rock act Zed, to discuss his favorite piece of gear. The group recently released a new disc, Desperation Blues, and I was interested to find out what Aceves used to achieve his signature sound on the record. Here is what he had to say.

What one piece of gear do you use to obtain your signature sound?
Mark: The secret to my sound is my 1977 Gibson RD Artist. It’s the one part of my sound I can’t live without.

What about it makes it so important to you?
Mark: This bass is important to me because of its unique construction and electronics. Firstly this bass was only in production for a short period of time, 77-79 so it’s a somewhat rare bird. Additionally, Gibson partnered with MOOG to do all the electronics for it. What does that matter? Well MOOG was the company who pioneered the analog synthesizer, so the bass comes with a variety of tones and sounds, but the sound I get out of it is this huge gravelly tone that I have not heard in other basses at all.

What are the major pros and cons?
Mark: The major pros are that my sound is huge and burly, and that it’s a unique sounding and looking bass that is rare, so not many other players will have it. But that’s also the con as well, because if something happens to it, it will be difficult to get parts for since it was only in production for three years.

How long have you had it, how do you use it, would you ever change it?
Mark: I’ve had it for over 10 years and it’s my main bass. I have four basses but this one gets the most love. I use it live and on record as much as possible. Even our producer/engineer on our latest album kept on having me go back to my Gibson during recording sessions because it sounds so good. I’d never get rid of it. Maybe buy another one someday!

Any final thoughts or comments on the gear?
Mark: This is hands down the best sounding bass I’ve ever owned, and for the sound that I want, the only one!

Check out the song “More”