Reader Spotlight: Ronnie Brannan
Meet Ronnie Brannan, who started out on tuba before spotting a bass in his school’s jazz band. “I was drawn to everything about it as soon as it came into my consciousness,” he said. Since then, he’s been doing his thing on the bass.
Ronnie is this week’s No Treble reader in the spotlight. Here’s his story…
In the year 2000, with the earth still reeling from Y2K hysteria and the unceremonious cancellation of KaBlam!, I began my journey with the bass guitar. After playing tuba, percussion, and electric bass from middle school on through the beginning of college, I began focusing extensively on the upright in 2005. Even though I no longer play acoustic, it informed my electric playing immensely.
After moving to Orlando, I co-founded psych/space rock group the Cosmic Roots Collective in 2013, which has provided my bass playing, effects usage, and songwriting ideas a place to live and grow substantially. I’ve recently started singing some lead vocals with them, too. I’ve been a member of the Blue Man Group band since 2014, playing Chapman stick and electric zither in the show at Universal CityWalk. 2019 has been my busiest year yet! I put together a tribute show for the 40th anniversary of Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures (as SOY DIVISION, providing lead vocals and bass), as well as playing drums in a new band called Distant Stations.
Why I play the bass:
I was drawn to everything about it as soon as it came into my consciousness. Seeing one propped up in the corner of the band room, watching the kids in the jazz band play it, hearing the huge sound coming out of whatever that thing that said ‘PEAVEY’ on it was… all of it. I was already playing tuba, reading bass clef, and acclimating myself to the bass role in a group. I started being able to hear bass lines in the music I was listening to, and once I got my fingers going, it was off to the races. Since then I’ve had the pleasure of not only performing professionally at Universal Studios and Disney World but at a variety of other venues all over Florida and beyond. I’m still in love with the bass, and as a songwriter and private music instructor, I hope to continue sharing this passion with listeners and my students.
- Squier Matt Freeman Precision
- Fender Deluxe Active Jazz
- Hofner B-Bass Hi-Series
- Carvin BX500 Amplifier
- Gallien-Krueger Neo 212 Cabinet
- Boss TU-2 Chromatic Tuner
- Boss CS-2 Compression Sustainer
- Way Huge Green Rhino Overdrive Mk II
- Electro-Harmonix Micro POG (w/ T1M mod)
- Way Huge Swollen Pickle Jumbo Fuzz MkIIS
- MXR Bass Octave Deluxe
- Electro-Harmonix Bass Clone Chorus
- Tech 21 SansAmp Character Series VT Bass
Chris Squire, Peter Hook, Brian Ritchie, Paul McCartney, James Jamerson, Jesse F. Keeler, Juan Alderete, Bobby Vega, John Entwistle, Geddy Lee, and Flea.
My bass superpower/claim to fame:
I have perfect pitch. In addition to helping me learn new tunes pretty quickly, it also has the power to endlessly annoy anyone who wants to play the “What note is this?” game. Spoiler alert: I win, every time.
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