“Lords of the Low End” Artist Spotlight: Alvaro Benavides

On October 22nd, La Bella Strings presents the 4th annual Lords of the Low End, an event to help raise funds for the Little Kids Rock non-profit. This event will feature musical performances presented by Sadowsky Guitars with special guests Oskar Cartaya, Michael Olatuja, and Alvaro Benavides.

Lords of the Low End will be held at the Cutting Room in NYC and open to the public. $20 tickets will enter attendees into a raffle for the chance to win over $10,000 of bass gear and accessories donated by sponsors and exhibitors. See LaBella’s blog for more information on the event.

For our final interview with the Sadowsky artists who will be playing at the event, we caught up with Alvaro Benavides. A native of Venezuela and a graduate of the Berklee School of Music, Benavides plays with the Pedrito Martinez group. We talked to Alvaro about his basses, warmup routines, and his favorite bass players.

How did you first hear about Sadowsky?

Years ago, through Bass Player magazine. But Will Lee and Irio O’Farrill helped a lot.

What Sadowsky instruments are you currently using and why?  

A  5-string Metro, because it sounds and plays magnificently. I’m waiting for a chance to put my hands on a NYC!!!

What are your preferred control settings (pan, tone settings, etc.)? 

Pan in the middle. More bridge pickup for soloing. Not too bright on the tone. I rarely use the boosts, but when I do I only use the bass boost.

What is your string type and gauge preference?

Roundwound Sadowsky Blues, 045-105 & 130T.

Do you have a specific setup preference?

Not really. The shop default seems perfectly fine for me.

Who are your biggest influences (past and current)?

Lots of rock players: Geddy Lee, Paul McCartney, John Paul Jones, Chris Squire, Roger Waters. Also, Bootsy, Louis Johnson, Marcus Miller, JACO!!!, Victor Wooten, Alain Perez, Feliciano Arango, Roberto Riveron, and SAL CUEVAS!!!

Do you have a regular practice routine?

Yes: Scales in one and two octaves, arpeggios and inversions, and song heads. And then it’s free time: improv over grooves and learn arrangements.

Do you have a pre-gig warm up routine?

Not really. Just warm up my hands. Sometimes I do some stick control on a practice pad. It’ll warm my hands up.

Are there any recent projects (live or recordings) that you’d like to let people know about?

The Pedrito Martinez group’s latest album, Habana Dreams, which we released this past summer.

Do you have any plans for another Sadowsky?

Can’t wait for a 24 fret 4 string NYC, a 24 feet 5 string NYC. And, why not?: A fretless 4!