Cheap Trick bassist Tom Petersson performs and discusses the design of his Signature Gretsch White Falcon twelve-string bass during a 2016 Musician Spotlight at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
Petersson describes how he originally envisioned a twelve-string bass in the early 1970s, and commissioned Hamer Guitars to build one for him. He first started using the bass on stage with Cheap Trick in 1977 opening for Kiss, and has been playing one in his live shows ever since. Petersson’s collaboration with Gretsch includes the Tom Petersson Signature 12-String Falcon Bass and a Signature 4-String Bass. Guitar historian and designer Andy Babiuk and Fender’s Jeff Cary also join the program to describe the process of creating the instruments.
Through improvised performances, Petersson highlights the Gretsch 12-String Falcon Bass’s tone and the ways in which it suits his particular playing style. He mentions the influence of guitar-minded bass legends John Entwhistle of the Who and Paul McCartney of the Beatles, who both influenced his style and desire to develop the twelve-string bass, which adds additional guitar tone to Cheap Trick’s overall sound. He recalls how many listeners thought the band was using additional recorded tracks in their live shows, not realizing how Petersson’s bass was contributing to the group’s sonic blend.
The program is peppered with audience questions, ranging from biographical to technical, and in response Petersson discusses his influences, training, string gauge, amplifier and pedal choices, and his creative process of writing music with Cheap Trick.
Presented in support of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum exhibition “American Sound and Beauty: Guitars of the Bachman-Gretsch Collection” (January 15, 2016 through July 17, 2016).
Find out more about our public programming: https://countrymusichalloffame.org/plan-your-visit/exhibits-activities/public-programs/
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