Stew McKinsey comes from a family where creativity was encouraged. Singing in choirs as a boy, he also studied violin, recorder, flute, piano and trombone. But it wasn't until he saw a friend's punk band play that he saw, heard and felt the instrument that has become his voice: the electric bass. Within a month of picking it up, he was gigging.
Once he heard Anthony Jackson, Jimmy Haslip and Jimmy Johnson playing below the bottom E of a 4 string, he was driven to explore that range and sought out one of the first 5 string basses available. Soon after that Stew began studying with Steve Bailey who opened the possibilities of the instrument's upper register to the developing bassist.
Within minutes of playing 6 string for the first time, the thought of an 8 string instrument -- one which went both lower and higher than the 6 -- took root in his mind. It took more than a decade to find a luthier who would take on the project but he has never looked back.
In addition to his work as a solo artist, sideman, teacher and clinician, Stew is a columnist for Britain's popular Bass Guitar Magazine and his regular feature, The Extended Range Specialist, is read by players all over the planet every month.
As someone who plays basses with a lot of strings, muting is very important to me. I have spent years refining my technique but I was ecstatic when Jay contacted me about designing the XL FretWrap. This is the final piece missing from my sonic puzzle! With my FretWrap I am absolutely free to play the way I want to play. An absolutely brilliant design!
My 10 string bass is well made but not the lightest instrument around. I have been playing it for years and love it, but after an hour of playing it can become a bit uncomfortable. At least that WAS the case before I got my DuoStrap. Now I can play for hours with no wear and tear on my body. The weight is so well distributed that I occasionally laugh to myself while I'm playing. I really can't get over it!