05.13.18

David Ellefson's Bass Played on Cryptic Writings

There aren’t very many photos of this bass, pictured here in Phoenix in 1994. I recorded Cryptic Writings almost exclusive with this Spector NS-2 four string bass. It has a thick, clear and punchy tone and is one of my favorite bass tones on record. I ran the instrument through a Peavey T-Max head into a 1x15” cabinet with everything above 100hz rolled off. I also ran full range into a Peavey KiloBass head and TVX 8x10” cabinet. Finally, I split the signal into Marty’s Crate 100 watt head and 4x12” cabinet which added that nice gritty distortion you can hear across the album’s bass tone. We utilized a direct signal and even added a bit of a dbx Subharmonic Enhancer to create that nice warm low end that you can hear in songs like “Trust” and “Almost Honest”. I used my Modulus Quantum five string bass for a few songs, but overall this Spector did the job for everything else. 

The bass has a super low serial number of 00177 and is from the original pre-Kramer era of the company. During the Countdown to Extinction tour I was on a hunt for some new and unique guitars, this being one of them that I found in a classified ads newspaper called THE RECYLCER, when I lived in Los Angeles in 1993. I met the seller at a car wash on Ventura Blvd in Van Nuys and we did the cash deal in the parking lot. I believe I paid $1,100 for it, which was the going rate at that time. The seller was from Israel and had no idea I was in Megadeth. However, two years later on the Youthanasia tour he saw we got quite popular and were playing in Tel Aviv (his home) and hit me up via my email on the MEGADETH ARIZONA website and asked for a ticket and backstage pass. I honored the request and we met backstage to have some laughs over the bass and that, yes, it was in good hands now! Small world…..

David Ellefson #MEGADETH35


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