Buster Hemphill

Electric Bass & Upright Bass

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3 Reviews
Buster Hemphill on SoundBetter

Bass for Max Weinberg, Taylor Dayne, Blood Sweat & Tears, Camp Lo, Sachal Vasandani, many, many more and many sessions. A perfect bass part on a song is a combination of instinct and choices, even on a simple part. I can impress with the fills but the pocket pays the bills. I put love in the music.

**currently offering a 30% discount (reflected) as a "grand opening" special

For the past 20 years i've been fortunate to record and tour with many great artists and musicians in NYC and around the world. These people know they can rely on me to to do what the bass is supposed to do, at the highest level, reliably, with precision and the deepest (or most subtle!) groove, best sound, and total sincerity about connecting with a song. I can bring the voodoo when performing live, sure, i do all that, but i'm really about listening and playing with real empathy, usually referred to as "serving the song". I'm excited about every opportunity to be part of someone's music. My years of experience have refined and tempered my own musical perspective and the goal is always, always, always for the song to be the best it can be.

But i can most definitely put that stank on it too (available in both fine and coarse versions).

I studied at Belmont University in Nashville, and did some additional private studies here in NYC with Juilliard faculty. I have all the traditional musical skills but I've also been to the school of hard knocks, big stages and studios.

Max Weinberg, Taylor Dayne, Blood Sweat & Tears, Camp Lo, Sachal Vasandani, Jeff Lorber, Peter Cincotti, Chaka Khan, Ashford & Simpson, Vonda Shepard, many, many others

Tell me about your project and how I can help, through the 'Contact' button above.

3 Reviews

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  1. Review by Jimmy Burney
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    Buster is very professional and easy to work with! Gave detailed notes which made the job a breeze.

  2. Review by Howard Alper
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    Buster is a fantastic bass player! He has played on several Pop/Rock recordings that I have written/produced. He is a quintessential pro; easy to work with, a quick learner and an amazing sense of groove. Highly recommended!

  3. Review by Benny Steele
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    Buster is the best! I’ve hired him on several occasions and he always gives the song exactly what it needs, whether it’s an R&B thing, a more subtle singer/songwriter piece, or an indie pop/rock song.  He has an amazing groove and makes a song sound finished!

Interview with Buster Hemphill

  1. Q: What are you working on at the moment?

  2. A: I am always gigging and touring, and writing, and producing.

  3. Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?

  4. A: Benny Steele is absolutely top shelf as an engineer, producer and songwriter. Hire him if you want your music to sound good.

  5. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  6. A: It leaves my hands analog and arrives to you digitally. And then you'll use your ears to listen to it...analog again. Analog we are and to analog we shall return.

  7. Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?

  8. A: The song will feel good, period.

  9. Q: What do you like most about your job?

  10. A: I get real joy out of playing and i'm always excited to be part of someone's creative musical statement.

  11. Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?

  12. A: That a sample is in any way an equivalent to what i do. Don't get me wrong, i like samples, i have plenty of them and they have a place in modern music making but...

  13. Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?

  14. A: Do you have a bass line already in mind, demo'd, or charted? I"m happy to hear about musical references they like but i don't usually ask about them. What is their plan for the rest of the musical and production elements of the song? If they've sent a file for me to track to, is everything on it a keeper?

  15. Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?

  16. A: Someone doing remote session work for you should make you feel comfortable. Ask the person you're interested in whatever questions you need to ask in order to a) set expectations b) assess whether the provider communicates in a style that will make the experience positive and productive for you

  17. Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?

  18. A: a hollow body or upright bass, pencil, paper, espresso machine (yes, that's gear), laptop

  19. Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?

  20. A: I've been doing it in NYC for 23 years. Before that, i was in Nashville and i did work there a fair bit. All of my early recording experience was there. On 2 inch!

  21. Q: How would you describe your style?

  22. A: Tasteful and funky. In the cut.

  23. Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?

  24. A: Herbie Hancock and Stevie Wonder are at the top of my bucket list. On top of just the pure emotional feeling i have when i hear their music, i feel they've both demonstrated so much musical greatness and that has been a great teacher for me.

  25. Q: Can you share one music production tip?

  26. A: There aren't many things in the low frequencies, and maybe there's a few more things that are primarily high frequencies. But EVERYTHING has midrange content, so that's where the sonic traffic jam is most likely. If you can drastically roll off lows or highs accordingly for those instruments that live in the extremes, you've made a big step toward a more pleasing musical sound. I find this essential when i'm in the early stages of writing or producing something.

  27. Q: What type of music do you usually work on?

  28. A: Various types of R&B, which can mean vintage things and blues, modern stuff like neo-soul or hip hop, gospel. I also play jazz frequently and have always had a good amount of singer-songwriter dates in the mix too.

  29. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  30. A: I prioritize listening for where there should be space, i listen to the song and try to internalize as much as possible. I'm always looking to be able to hum the melody while working on the song. I have a real pocket and i'm happy to play it.

  31. Q: What do you bring to a song?

  32. A: At this point i have pretty good instincts about what the bass should be doing in most of the usual popular music styles. Not only do i have a lot of experience, i've been in some demanding situations where there is pressure to demonstrate right away that you can deliver something that everyone can rely on as a musical foundation and make people feel "that feeling" from the start. So while i'm flexible and wide open creatively, my instinct is to right away get to something solid, tasty, definitive, "in the cut", as we say

  33. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  34. A: MacBook Pro, Logic, Resident Audio interface, vintage and modern basses and guitars, Fender Rhodes, various mics for recording upright bass.

  35. Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?

  36. A: Too many greats to name but definitely James Jamerson, Marcus Miller, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Sly Stone, Quincy Jones...this is only the beginning of what could be a very long list

  37. Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.

  38. A: Playing bass live or on recordings. Putting down something definitive, playing with intention. Always being "tucked in" rhythmically.

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Sachal Vasandani

I was the bassist in this production

Terms Of Service

Fast turnaround, 2-3 days max, 1 revision included, $50 subsequent revisions

Gear Highlights
  • Vintage 4 string basses (70's Fender and 60's Univox 'Beatle Bass')
  • Modern 5 string bass
  • Fretless
  • early 50's King Upright bass
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