“That Bias knob is everything,” says Queens of the Stone Age bassist Michael Schuman, pointing at his Dirt Transmitter. Since discovering the Dirt Transmitter as a suitable stompbox replacement for the timeless sound of the Ampex 351 preamp, it has earned a place in his rig in with both QOTSA and his band Mini Mansions.
With three guitarists in QOTSA, Schuman’s bass tone is carefully crafted to occupy just the right space in the mix. In addition to the Dirt Transmitter, he leans on the MXR Graphic EQ and Bass Envelope Filter to find the perfect frequencies on songs like “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now,” “The Evil Has Landed,” and “Domesticated Animals,” from QOSTA’s 2017 album Villains.
However, it takes more than a badass pedalboard to land a gig with the world’s favorite rock band. “It’s all someone’s fingers on a certain bass that really creates a lof of [the] sound,” Schuman insists. But a badass pedalboard definitely helps.