Let’s Talk Gear | Tone Talk with Erin Mosely

Photo Credit Melissa Alexander aka Phyllis Iller

If you like what you read, check out Erin’s Tone Talk video on our IG page where she walks through some of her favorite gear.

My name is Erin, and I’m from Atlanta, GA. Neither of my parents were musicians, but I still had a rich and diverse musical upbringing. My father was in his 20’s during the 70’s so I inherited all of his prog rock, funk, disco and psychedelia. My mom bestowed her classical music onto my sister and me. There was a lot of Bach, P-funk, Moonlight Sonata and Isaac Hayes, and Beatles. This vastly opened up the world of music for me. 

Currently? I’m taking a much needed break from projects. I believe that taking breaks from time to time is important and prevents burnout. 

What is your definition of tone, and how has it changed over the years?

When I first started learning bass, I didn’t have a complete idea of what tone it was and how it played a role in the music I was creating. A lot of my focus was spent on just trying to play the right notes so tone wasn’t something I was considering in that period. Then I reached a point where my ears developed faster than my ability and technique, and I was suddenly very aware of the tones I was creating, and I was not satisfied at all! So I put a lot of pressure on myself to sound “good” and to produce and replicate all of the rich, full, round sounds that I had heard on all my fathers funk records. Unfortunately, the amount of pressure I put on myself resulted in me stifling my tone even more because I was so hyper focused on replicating what I thought was perfection. 

Over time, I’ve learned that tone is unique to each player, and that it is personal. I value individuality, emotion and feeling much more over technical perfection. And the tones that I thought were perfect on all those records are filled with nicks, and scratches and imperfections and that’s what makes them work

Which guitars, amps, and pedals are you currently using and why?

I play a Sterling by Music Man 32ca and an LTD ESP. My stage amp is a Peavey TNT 115. I don’t use any pedals. 

What about strings?

Ernie Ball Flat Wounds. 

Are there certain recording techniques you prefer in the studio?

I like to keep a pretty clear sound when I’m recording. It’s easy for basses to start sounding muddy and for individual notes to become indistinguishable from one another. I mostly try to make sure that I properly articulate the notes I’m playing by making sure that my hands are properly positioned and that I’m not using too much force or playing too lightly. 

How do you keep your sound consistent onstage?

Practice. Your sound is affected by so many things like pressure, how hard you’re staking a string, where your hands are placed. When I come up with a specific sound I like, I’ll practice reproducing that sound over and over until I can do it without much concentration. 

What does your practice consist of?

I always stretch first. Playing an instrument is physical and warmups are important in order to avoid injury. When I start, I will play through a few scales and triads, go over different finger exercises and drills and then tackle my repertoire for the day. At the end, I’ll play something really fun or work on writing bass lines. 

What is your advice for young women who hope to work in the music industry?

Know your worth and demand that people treat and pay you fairly. Don’t be afraid to take up space (physical or sonic) and practice your scales.

Follow Erin Mosely on IG @erin_mosely

Check out Erin’s Tone Talk here

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Gabriella “Guitar Gabby” Logan is an Atlanta Native and proud graduate of Spelman College and Vermont Law School. Her background in environmental and music law fueled her desire to start and manage the international all-women touring collective, TxLips Band, LLC. Logan believes it is important for artists to be well rounded and versed in many areas of the music business, thus inspiring women worldwide to be an unstoppable force. She is the Diversity Editor for Guitar Girl Magazine and the Board Chair for Girls Rock Asheville. http://www.txlips.com