TV and film actor, show host, writer, singer, composer, and bass player-Sean McNabb stays busy. He does a lot of charitable work and is a family man to boot. But McNabb is best known for his bass work with such bands as Quiet Riot, Dokken, Great White, Lynch Mob, and House of Lords. Through it all, he has relied exclusively on Ampeg bass amps.
“Bass was not my first instrument,” McNabb notes. “I started on cornet but I just couldn’t get a sound. My brother was the drummer in a jazz band, and I always gravitated toward the rhythm section. I switched to bass shortly after that. My mother had a guitar, I started playing it with my fingers and it just kind of made sense.” Seeing the Who’s Tommy in the theater at age 10, he was inspired to follow in bassist John Entwistle’s footsteps. It was the beginning of his rock ‘n’ roll odyssey.
“Bass can either be the ugliest thing in the world or the most beautiful thing you’ve ever heard,” McNabb insists. “It’s all in the context of the song. It’s our job to make everybody look good, make the song sound fat, and just move it along and keep that beautiful wheel rolling.”
McNabb started playing in clubs at age 13. It didn’t take him long to discover one of the keys to great bass tone. “In the big regional band, the bass player had an Ampeg SVT,” he recalls. “And I thought, ‘that’s the tone I want.’ My grandfather loaned me $2,500 to buy a car but instead of buying the car, I ordered my first SVT. I will never forget the truck pulling up to my house that day, and the guy hoisting down the cabinet. That was the beginning of my journey with Ampeg. The SVT tube head, the Fridge, the 810 cabinet-I just fell in love with the tone. I finally had that sound that I was after.”
The mighty Ampeg SVT-810E cabinet features 8 x 10-inch Eminence speakers and can get earthshakingly loud (up to 130 dB SPL). Ampeg’s SVT tube bass amplifier, of course, is widely considered to be the ultimate rock bass amp. So it’s no surprise that McNabb is such a devoted fan of Ampeg gear. He has a garage full of it.
“The Ampeg amp has everything I’ve ever wanted,” he asserts. “Its punch, its clarity, its tone- it’s a multitude of tones, great for whatever you are doing. It has always worked for me, and it has never let me down. That’s true of Ampeg in general. Ampeg makes life easy for pro musicians. They get it right!”