Steve Bailey

Bassist extraordinaire Steve Bailey had to slow down his surfing career when he got serious about playing bass. It’s probably Jaco Pastorius’s and Stanley Clarke’s fault; after hearing them, Bailey started practicing 12 hours a day, leaving less time for surfing. Water sports’ loss, however, is the music lover’s gain!

Chick Corea’s Light as a Feather album inspired Bailey to begin playing upright bass, and, he claims, running over a fretted bass with his Toyota inspired him to play fretless. He played a lot of upright bass while studying at North Texas State University and focused more on electric bass while at the University of Miama (Florida).

Bailey’s career really took off when he joined Paquito D’Rivera’s band, moved to New York, and started touring the world. In 1983, he joined Dizzy Gillespie’s band. Fortunately for his need to surf, in 1985 he moved to the Los Angeles area, where the waves were fine. Fortunately for music lovers, he played lots and lots of gigs, as well. Throughout the 1980s and ‘90s, he recorded and toured with a huge variety of acts, ranging from Gillespie, James Moody, and Lew Tabackin to D’Rivera, Claudio Roditti, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jethro Tull, Willie Nelson, Ray Price, Larry Carlton, Kitaro, T Lavitz, the Rippingtons, David Benoit, Tab Benoit, Mel Torme, and on and on. His list of credits seems endless.

In 1993, Bailey formed Bass Extremes with fellow bassist (and PreSonus endorsee) Victor Wooten, pairing two of the most amazing bassists in the business. Playing with other bassists was not entirely new ground for Bailey, however; he has also worked with fellow bass masters John Patitucci and Billy Sheehan.

Bailey was runnerup for Bass Player of the Year twice (1994 and 1996) and has released two solo CDs (Dichotomy and Evolution) and several bass-instruction books and videos. He taught for ten years at the Bass Institute of Technology and currently is an artist-in-residence at Coastal Carolina University.

Add it all up, and it’s no wonder that Bass Player magazine wrote that "Steve Bailey is to the six-string fretless bass what Columbus is to America." And oh yes, he won the last two surfing contests and tennis tournaments that he entered, as well!

Bailey has several PreSonus products in his studio. He calls his PreSonus ADL 600 preamp "a go-to pre for just about anything I want to sound good, from bass to vocals.” His studio also includes a pair of PreSonus DigiMax FS interfaces and a PreSonus Central Station monitor controller. “The DigiMax FS is a great, economical way to add eight good-quality pre's in and eight analog outs from my Pro Tools rig,” he comments. He connects one DigiMax FS to the ADAT Lightpipe input of his Pro Tools 192 interface and the other to the Lightpipe input of a Digi 003. He sends audio from the Pro Tools outputs to the Central Station, which feeds pairs of Dynaudio AIR 15, Mackie HR 824, and Auratone monitor speakers.

We’re honored that a legendary performer with impeccable musical taste has chosen to use PreSonus gear.

Sound Samples

  • Victor Wooten, Steve Bailey, and David Haynes live at Winter NAMM 2009