William "Billy" Sheehan (born March 19, 1953) is an American bassist known for his work with Talas, Steve Vai, David Lee Roth, Mr. Big, Niacin, and The Winery Dogs. Sheehan has won the "Best Rock Bass Player" readers' poll from Guitar Player Magazine five times for his "lead bass" playing style. Sheehan's repertoire includes the use of chording, two-handed tapping, right-hand "three-finger picking" technique and controlled feedback.
Billy Sheehan's first electric bass was a Hagström FB, which was soon joined by a Precision bass similar to Tim Bogert's. After acquiring the Precision bass, he removed the frets from the Hagström. Over the years, he heavily modified the Precision bass as well, adding a neck pickup and additional support for the bolt-on neck, which Sheehan considers its greatest weakness. The neck pickup was added for what Sheehan referred to as "super deep low end" modelled after Paul Samwell-Smith of the Yardbirds. The Gibson EB-0 type pickup in the neck and the original split Precision bass pickup each have their own separate output jacks on the bass itself, allowing for control of the tone via the bass. This bass has been retired, but he affectionately refers to it as "The Wife". Sheehan's signature Yamaha bass is patterned after this instrument. Sheehan also uses two amps to achieve his signature tone (as do Chris Squire of Yes and Doug Pinnick of King's X), one with full distortion and notch filtering to sound more guitar-like for solos, and one super-clean for the low end of the neck pickup...
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