Featured Artist: LaMarquis Jefferson

LaMarquis “Marq” Jefferson received his first bass—a Höfner Beatle Bass—when he was just eleven years old. One of the founders of the Atlanta music scene, LaMarquis has played bass and produced sessions for OutKast, Jermaine Dupree, Lil Jon, and Usher among many, many others. After a career of high points, he is probably best known for helping to create the music—and the Bootsy-like envelope filter bass line—for “Waterfalls,” the TLC R&B classic.

We talked to LaMarquis about his Sadowsky basses, how he likes his instruments set up, and what it takes to be a professional musician.

How did you first hear about Sadowsky?

Almost 20 years ago, I first heard about Sadowsky basses while reading an article on Marcus Miller’s sound and read that Roger was the man responsible. I was on a quest to acquire one ever since!

What Sadowsky instruments are you currently using and why?  

I’m STILL using my first Sadowsky NYC that I found used on eBay 20 years ago and I’m still VERY happy with it! I also recently acquired a unique bass Roger made for me. It’s a reverse headstock Will Lee and I absolutely love it!

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

I prefer the volume full on, the pan dead center, passive tone at 50%, and bass/treble both dead even at around 30-40%. With this setting I can get a good round finger tone and a nice bite when I thump/pluck.

What is your string type and gauge preference?

I use medium gauge HI Beams by DR but Roger sent a box of his strings with the Will Lee and those are getting my attention. They sound great on his basses. I will continue to use those as well.

Do you have a specific setup preference?

I prefer the lowest action possible without getting fret buzz while maintaining a good thump tone. When I travel more, I bring my basses to Roger to have them set up. When not on the road, the Atlanta Bass Gallery are the only guys to touch my Sads.

Who are your biggest influences (past and current)?

My biggest influence to pick up the bass was my older brother Eric Jefferson (who toured with Mother’s Finest). Also, Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller, Verdine White, and of course Bootsy Collins (for the “Waterfalls” sound).

How did you make the jump to being a professional musician? 

The jump to being a professional was a leap of faith for me. In the 90’s, the ATL music scene was just beginning to buzz and no one really knew if it would last or not, but after the success of recording with Outkast then “Waterfalls” for TLC I was all in. What’s the biggest difference in playing on a professional level? The music business is just that, 80% business and 20% music. Handle your business first. Learn every aspect of it. The music will take care of itself.

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

My latest recordings are the soon-to-be-released singles “In the South” for Big Boi and “The Sing Along” by Nick Grant. I’m also working with India Irie on her next project as well as my own artists Koolada (spoken word) and rapper Crook Brown. Be on the lookout for them!

Do you have any plans for another Sadowsky?

There are actually two I’d love to have: the new Single Cut and an Ultra-Vintage P. My life would then be complete :- P

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