Bergantino Artist Michael Byrnes

Bergantino Welcomes Michael Byrnes to Their Family of Artists
With an expansive live-show and touring, Mt. Joy bassist Michael Byrnes shares his experiences with the joyful, high-energy band!

Whitinsville, MA (June 11, 2024) – Michael Byrnes has kept quite the busy touring schedule the past few years with his band, Mt. Joy. With a philosophy of trial and error, he’s developed quite the routines for touring, learning musical instruments, and finding the right sound. While on the road, we were fortunate to have him share his thoughts on his music, history, and path as a musician/composer.

Let’s start from the very beginning, like all good stories. What first drew
you to music as well as the bass?
My parents required my sister and I to play an instrument. I started on piano and really didn’t like it so when I wanted to quit my parents made me switch to another instrument and I chose drums. Then as I got older and started forming bands there were never any bass players. When I turned 17 I bought a bass and started getting lessons. I think with drums I loved music and I loved the idea of playing music but when I started playing bass I really got lost in it. I was completely hooked.

Can you tell us where you learned about music, singing, and composing?
A bit from teachers and school but honestly I learned the most from just going out and trying it. I still feel like most of the time I don’t know what I am doing but I do know that if I try things I will learn.

What other instruments do you play?
A bit of drums but that’s it. For composing I play alot of things but I fake it till I make and what I can’t fake I will ask a friend!

I know you are also a composer for film and video. Can you share more
about this with us?

Pretty new to it at the moment. It is weirdly similar to the role of a bass player in the band. You are using music to emphasize and lift up the story line. Which I feel I do with the bass in a band setting. Kind of putting my efforts into lifting the song and the other musicians on it.

Everybody loves talking about gear. How do you achieve your “fat” sound?
I just tinker till it’s fat lol. Right now solid state amps have been helping me get there a little quicker than tube amps. That’s why I have been using the Bergantino Forté HP2 – Otherwise I have to say the cliche because it is true…. It’s in the hands.

Describe your playing style(s), tone, strengths and/or areas that you’d like
to explore on the bass.
I like to think of myself as a pretty catchy bass player. I need to ask my band mates to confirm! But I think when improvising and writing bass parts I always am trying to sneak little earworms into the music. I want to explore 5 string more!

Who are your influences?
I can’t not mention James Jamerson. Where would any of us be if it wasn’t for him. A lesser known bassist who had a huge effect on me is Ben Kenney. He is the second bassist in the band Incubus and his playing on the Crow Left the Murder album completely opened me up to the type of bass playing I aspire towards. When I first started playing I was really just listening to a lot of virtuosic bassists. I was loving that but I couldn’t see myself realistically playing like that. It wasn’t from a place of self doubt I just deep down knew that wasn’t me. Ben has no problem shredding but I was struck by how much he would influence the song through smaller movements and reharmonizing underneath the band. His playing isn’t really in your face but from within the music he could move mountains. That’s how I want to play.

What was the first bass you had? Do you still have it?
A MIM Fender Jazz and I do still have it. It’s in my studio as we speak. I rarely use it these days but I would never get rid of it.

(Every bass player’s favorite part of an interview and a read!) Tell us about
your favorite bass or basses. 🙂
I guess I would need to say that MIM Jazz bass even though I don’t play it much. I feel connected to that one. Otherwise I have been playing lots of great amazing basses through the years. I have a Serek that I always have with me on the road (shout out Jake). Also have a 70’s mustang that 8 times out of 10 times is what I use on recordings. Otherwise I am always switching it up. I find that after a while the road I just cycle basses in and out. Even if I cycle out a P bass for another P bass.

What led you to Bergantino Audio Systems?
My friend and former room mate Edison is a monster bassist and he would gig with a cab of yours all the time years ago. Then when I was shopping for a solid state amp the Bergantino Forté HP2 kept popping up. Then I saw Justin Meldal Johnsen using it on tour with St. Vincent and I thought alright I’ll give it a try!

Can you share a little bit with us about your experience with the Bergantino
forte HP amplifier? I know you had this out on tour in 2023 and I am pretty
certain the forte HP has been to more countries than I have.

It has been great! I had been touring with a 70’s SVT which was great but from room to room it was a little inconsistent. I really was picky with the type of power that we had on stage. After a while I thought maybe it is time to just retire this to the studio. So I got that Forte because I had heard that it isn’t too far of a leap from a tube amp tone wise. Plus I knew our crew would be much happier loading a small solid state amp over against the 60 lbs of SVT. It has sounded great and has really remained pretty much the same from night to night. Sometimes I catch myself hitting the bright switch depending on the room and occasionally I will use the drive on it.

You have recently added the new Berg NXT410-C speaker cabinet to your
arsenal. Thoughts so far?
It has sounded great in the studio. I haven’t gotten a chance to take it on the road with us but I am excited to put it through the paces!

You have been touring like a mad man all over the world for the past few
years. Any touring advice for other musicians/bass players? And can I go to Dublin, Ireland with you all??Exercise! That’s probably the number one thing I can say. Exercise is what keeps me sane on the road and helps me regulate the ups and downs of it. Please come to Dublin! I can put you on the guest list!

It’s a cool story on how the Mt. Joy band has grown so quickly! Tell us
more about Mt. Joy, how it started, where the name comes from, who the
members are and a little bit about this great group?
Our singer and guitarist knew each other in high school and have made music together off and on since. Once they both found themselves living in LA they decided to record a couple songs and put out a craigslist ad looking for a bassist. At the time I had just moved to LA and was looking for anyone to play with. We linked up and we recorded what would become the first Mt. Joy songs in my house with my friend Caleb producing. Caleb has since produced our third album and is working on our fourth with us now. Once those songs came out we needed to form a full band to be able to do live shows. I knew our drummer from gigging around LA and a mutual friend of all of us recommended Jackie. From then on we’ve been on the road and in the studio. Even through Covid.

Describe the music style of Mt. Joy for me.
Folk Rock with Jam influences

What are your favorite songs to perform?
Always changing but right now it is ‘Let Loose’

What else do you love to do besides bass?

I always throw in a question about food. What is your favorite food
I love a good chocolate croissant.

Follow Michael Byrnes:
Instagram: @mikeyblaster
Follow Mt. Joy Band:

Bergantino Artist Marc Brownstein


Bergantino Welcomes Marc Brownstein to Their Family of Artists

The innovative bassist/sonic explorer/DJ discusses his life of touring with Disco Biscuits, the current tour with the new album “Revolution in Motion, and more!


Whitinsville, MA (May 16, 2024) – Marc Brownstein is the king of “Trance-Fusion” – a subgenre that his band Disco Biscuits has been in the center of for the past two decades. As a founding member of the band from their days at UPenn, Marc has quite the experience under his belt, and each tour has gotten more and more exciting. Disco Biscuits is currently on tour with their new album Revolution in Motion, a full multimedia experience accompanied by a 25-minute animated film that tells a story of intergalactic travelers finding their way on Earth.

D.J. Brownie! What made you want to be a musician and start playing bass and who drew you to it?

I was drawn to music after John Lennon was assassinated. I was raised in NYC and the city was just going crazy. I was 7 years old at the time and my thought was, wow why is everyone freaking out so much, this guy must be really special. And so I started to check the Beatles out and that was the beginning of my journey with music. 

A question from one of your fans and fellow bass players Karina Rykman: “How do you keep your bubble of positivity intact and thriving”?

Well it’s funny she should ask. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the run of positivity we are experiencing now began right at the beginning of tour at the beginning of January 2023 when we had Karina opening for us for a week. I can say that her positive energy on tour definitely left its mark on the rest of our tour. Some people are so naturally happy and positive that it leaves you feeling that way, sometimes permanently!

Besides the bass guitar, what other instruments do you play?

I dabble with piano, guitar, and I can make my way around a drum kit if I get into it for a few weeks. I’ve played flute and saxophone as well at different times. I also play the double bass. But I would say Piano is my second instrument at this point. I play everyday.

What is your favorite (and least favorite) thing about touring?

The best part of touring is the 4 hours on stage with the band. But also getting to visit so many great places all of the time. That’s the silver lining.  The only thing I don’t love about touring is missing my family.

Tell us about your first music teacher. What lesson did you learn from this person and still use today?

My first music teacher, Mrs. Koslov, 2nd grade, I just was at her funeral a few weeks ago. I eventually became best friends with Mrs Koslov’s son and we stayed in touch for my whole life. She taught me a lot but really she was the one who gave me the courage to perform. My first public performance ever was a piano version of Eleanor Rigby.

What was the first bass you had?

This is tough. I think I had a standard Ibanez jazz style bass first. Within a year or two I got an American Fender Jazz bass.

What are the basses you have and use now?

My main bass is an Elrick 5 string by Rob Elrick. I also have a Q5 Modulus and an Alembic 5 as well. Oteil (Burbridge) sent me a Roscoe custom 6 during the Pandemic that I like to play. I also have a Sire Marcus Miller, a newer American Fender Jazz bass, a custom Ibanez SDGR, an Ibanez BTB and an Elrick 5 string Fretless bass which is my main bass at home.

Who were the musicians who inspired you and what qualities do you admire about them?

I was deeply influenced by Phish when I discovered them in college. I admired their ability to mesh jazz, classical and rock Improvisational styles. I was very inspired by classic jazz musicians. Miles. Monk. Coltrane. Dexter Gordon. Cannonball Adderly. Mingus. This is the generation of musicians that laid the groundwork for what we do now.

You studied and started the band Disco Biscuits at UPenn. Tell us more about the origins.

The band just sort of linked up in the quad (dormitory) and we started to set up our gear and jam for fun. Within a short time I realized the guys I was playing with were really talented and so I applied to the New School for jazz and went and spent a year crash coursing music at a high level so I could return to Penn and start a band with them.

You have a new album “Revolution in Motion,” that you’re currently touring on. How is it going?

The tour has been amazing. It’s one of the best tours we ever had in our career. We sold out more than half of the shows and are receiving really great feedback across the country.

I watched the video on YT for Revolution in Motion. The Choreography, production, color, cartoon characters, and theme were so much fun. Space aliens and psychedelic art, pop ups like a comic book, and you in your alien jump suit with your baseball cap were amazing. Loved! How was this collaborated? 

We have a co-writer on this project named Joey Friedman. He conceived of the concept for the album and he had a very specific vision for what the visuals would look like. He spent hours and hours with the animators (Blunt Action) and the AI animator (Todd Kushnir) working through each iteration to make it come to life in the way that it was conceived.

Link to video:

How would you describe the music you create for Disco Biscuits?

We always hoped that the music we created would be the weirdest and craziest music of all time but we describe it as Trance-Fusion, which was a name that was drawn from jazz-fusion, the mixing of jazz with rock and roll instruments. We found our own sound by mixing trance music with rock and roll instruments, hence the genre title. It was renamed Jamtronica many years later by the folks over at SiriusXM who started a radio show called the Jamtronica show to highlight acts from our scene. I was the host of that show for the first 3 years.

Describe the creative process when you write new music.

These days the creative process is a team effort. Usually we start by combing through improvisational sections of music from the tours to see if we can find any melodies or chord structures that are song worthy. When we find it we bring it into our DAW (ableton) and creating a grid. This is easy for us because we often play to a time clock on stage. From there we start building out the structures of the new piece of music while Joey and maybe me or Aron or Jon will start working on some lyrical concepts. Within an hour or two we start to record some of these initial lyrics and melodies and Jon usually starts to adapt them and tweak them to make them comfortable for him to sing. Usually within a few hours we are able to walk away with a very advanced demo of a new song. It’s been an extremely fruitful experience that has left us with albums worth of the best material we’ve had in decades.

The lighting for your shows is amazing. Who does the lighting design work and choreography for the tours?

Our new LD is known as Herm, but his name is Alex. We know him as Herm though. He came to us from the band Twiddle at the beginning of this year and has totally revitalized the visual elements of the stage show. He’s a really great fit and we feel grateful to have been linked up with such a massive talent. It was luck and timing and some might call it fate.

How would your bandmates describe you?

My bandmates would probably describe me as energetic and talkative and headstrong but also they might notice that I’ve become really good at going with the flow and backing their creative instincts. They may further describe me as anxious and nervous but may also notice that these elements have been remediated of recent. Mostly I think they would describe me as loyal and dedicated.

How did you find Bergantino Audio systems?

I was first introduced to it by Ed Grasmeyer who I know as Mike Gordon’s tech in Burlington. I was playing a show at Nectars and needed a backline and Ed came and set me up with the ForteHP2 and I was blown away by the tone. I then noticed Karina Rykman was using Bergantino as well and that’s when I started to think I needed to get in contact with the company. Karina was opening for the Biscuits on Boston and that’s where I had the chance to demo the forte hp2 in the context of the biscuits stage show. I haven’t looked back since that night.

Tell us about your experience with the Forté HP2 on the tour?

There are so many things that I can say about it but the most notable is that I’m not struggling to hear the frequencies that I want to hear on stage anymore. I used to have to boost the bass everywhere. In an EQ pedal, on the preamp on the actual bass. But every time you add a little of those low frequencies in those other places you risk degrading the tone of the signal. With the Forte HP2 there is a punch button that gives me exactly the frequency I’m looking for. 100 hz. 4 db. It’s perfect.

Did you think Jim talked too much when you met him in Boston?

I will never notice when someone talks too much because chances are I’m out talking them.

What’s your process for dealing with performance anxiety?

I used to self-medicate for this purpose but I was recently in touch with a psychiatrist who has helped me regulate my own chemical imbalances and I have found that my performance anxiety isn’t really an issue when I have the proper amount of dopamine in the system!

Imagine that you’re at a party and it’s a little stale. What’s the “party trick” (or hidden talent) that you’d bust out to liven the place up?

Before the app existed I was known as a real life fruit ninja. I take a big knife and people throw fruit from across the room and I chop it in half in mid-air. It’s not the safest party trick anymore because I lost vision in my right eye a few years ago and I’m not as accurate as I used to be!

What hobbies do you have outside of music?

I love sports. I love reading. I love word games. I love gardening. I love hiking/running/moving. My biggest hobby was snowboarding for many years but I’ve grown injury prone and stay off the mountain these days.

What is the most trouble you ever got into?

Well, I managed to stay out of trouble until college. But before weed was legalized I had a series of run-ins with the law and spent a night in the clink in Amherst Mass during my freshman year fraternity pledge trip. Luckily this isn’t an issue anymore for those of us who don’t drink or smoke cigarettes but prefer a little of the wacky tabacky to cool down.

What is the message you would give to your fans?

Well I give them so many messages all the time but the most important one that I try to remember to keep constant is a message of gratitude. Thank you so much for sticking with us through thick and thin, through ups and downs, for decades now you have allowed us to live our dreams and have the most blessed lives possible.

How do you feel social media has impacted your music?

Social media is a double edged sword. It has allowed us to create a strong community where everyone feels like a family but for someone like me who gets addicted to things easily, I really have to be vigilant with practice and writing and other aspects of my life not to spend the whole day scrolling and wasting the time away.

What is your favorite song of all time?

Right now my favorite song of all time is probably a short and beautiful little ditty by Labi Siffre called Bless the Telephone. I would suggest everyone take the 1:29 to listen to it and feel the bliss.

What did I miss for a question that you would like to share?

Bass players don’t really get to play solo shows, at least not my style of bass, so I’ve had to learn how to DJ in order to perform by myself at times and I would suggest coming out to see a DJ Brownie show at some point.

Last one! Describe your perfect meal!

I love to eat great meals. I’m partial to Asian foods but the perfect meal to me is one slice of pizza from Freddie and Peppers on 72nd and Amsterdam in NYC. PERFECTION.

Follow Marc Brownstein:

Instagram: @marcbrownstein

X (formerly Twitter): @marc_brownstein



Bergantino Artist Karina Rykman

Bergantino Welcomes Karina Rykman! 

A lifelong Manhattanite diehard New Yorker, Bergantino welcomes new Artist Karina Rykman. Jim and Holly had the privilege of meeting Karina and her band in Boston to see her perform. She lights up a stage with her charismatic passion as a bass player and singer – a true powerhouse of joy and energy. On stage, she smiles from ear to ear, hopping, jumping, and dancing; the entire room overflowing with positivity! If you don’t know this titan-of-bass yet, you will soon enough. Karina’s JOYRIDE 2024 tour picks up this month with the debut her new album. We had the opportunity to ask Karina some questions about her career so far.


You have quite the career that began at a very young age. You have so much going on!! Can you share some of your musical path highlights you are most proud of?

Oh man, thank you! What a long, strange trip it’s been. I’m proud of still being so absolutely enthralled by music after playing in a million bands and finally ending up at this current juncture: being able to make my own music and tour under my own name. It just seems completely surreal – every gig, every recording…I’m on cloud 9 being able to continue to do this, and we’re just getting started. I’m extremely proud of being so young and being able to learn so much from Marco Benevento, without whom I’d be absolutely nowhere. Being put up to a large task with enormous shoes to fill, and stepping in even though I barely knew what I was doing at the time. Every gig with Marco is extremely special to me.


Tell us about your new album release Joyride and your 2024 tour.

Joyride is my debut record! It came out in August 2023, and we’ve been touring behind it nonstop ever since. You only make your first record once, and I’m so proud of this one – it’s fun, searing, lush, with chantable choruses and, of course, incredibly thick bass and infectious grooves. It was produced by Phish’s Trey Anastasio, who also contributes guitar parts to 5 of the 9 tunes.

What makes the bass so special to you particularly, and how did you gravitate towards it?

There’s nothing quite like feeling the subs rumbling under your feet in a venue, and being responsible for those sounds is thrilling. I played guitar first, at age 12, but essentially completely switched over to bass when I was 22 and got the gig playing bass with Marco Benevento. I haven’t looked back since, except for a few gigs on guitar here and there (notably in the house band on Late Night with Seth Meyers and on The Today Show backing up Julia Michaels).


People hate this question, but: If you were constructing your personal Bass Mt. Rushmore, who are the four players that would make the cut and why?

Geddy Lee, Cliff Burton, Bootsy Collins, Les Claypool. The list goes on and on, of course, but those four have imprinted their unique styles upon my brain since I was so young, and I’m perpetually learning from them – even in the case of the deceased Cliff (RIP), going back and watching Cliff ‘Em All videos is something I do all the time. Endlessly compelled by these four players and their original takes on the instrument.


How did you learn to play?

I never took lessons, but in middle school and high school I just surrounded myself with equally music-obsessed people. All we did was play music and go and see live music, which is wildly accessible when you grow up in New York City. I had a really tight-knit crew of amazing players as my friends, and everyone would teach each other riffs and licks. I was fearless – playing with people much better than me and saying “yes” to every cool opportunity that came my way. I essentially learned from playing in a million bands and playing along to Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin records.


Karina is using the new NXT410-C speaker cabinet and the Bergantino forte HP2


Are there any other instruments you play?

I started on guitar, and still love to write on guitar. I can get around on keyboards a bit, but you’d never hire me as a keyboardist. Same goes for drums – I LOVE playing drums but you’d never hire me as a drummer.


Describe your playing style(s), tone, strengths and/or areas that can be improved on the bass.

I play both with a pick and my fingers, depending on the specific needs of / vibe of the tune. I love playing fuzz bass and writing bombastic “lead bass” moments, which are a staple of my live show. I’d say I’m about the least “traditional” bassist in just about every way – which is both a strength and a weakness depending on how you frame it. I play what I hear, what I like, and I adhere to very few rules. I’ve always hated rules, and I didn’t start playing rock n roll to follow them.


How did you find Bergantino Audio Systems?

I’m pals with Mike Gordon, bassist of Phish, and his tech is named Ed Grasmeyer. Ed suggested he bring Mike’s Bergantino for me to try out at a show I was playing in Vermont, and I fell instantly in love.


You have been using the Bergantino Forté HP2 head. How have you been setting the controls on this and what changes to those settings might you make as you plug into your other individual instruments?

I love my Forté HP2! The versatility and headroom are incredible, and I’ve been having a lot of fun dialing it in at home. The real fun will begin this weekend, when I take it out for 2.5 weeks of tour – dialing something in an apartment just isn’t the same as on a big stage with a PA and subs and all that good stuff. I like to roll my highs a bit and I keep “punch” on all the time. So far, it’s been a dream.


You are the inspiration behind Bergantino cab the new NXT410-C. Can you tell us more about this cab and your experience so far?

Firstly, I’m beyond touched to be the inspiration behind, well…anything! But this is truly insane, and such an honor. I love this cab. Not only is it light and extremely good looking, it can handle all my loudest, most abrasive and obnoxious effects. My old amp didn’t come close, and could just fart out or I’d ​have to turn down to appease it. I’m a big fan of playing at earth-shattering volumes, so this is going to be a match made in heaven. 


We all love your custom- made Goldie Hawn bass guitar! Can you share more with us about this bass design and why it is so special to you?

Thanks! That’s made by “Zeke Guitars” – it’s the second custom bass he’s made for me! He reached out in the summer of 2019 and asked what my dream bass would be, and I said it was basically my 1978 Fender P-Bass, but lighter, whiter, with Lindy Fralins, gold hardware, and shorter scale. And, well… he did exactly that! I love that bass so much. And the gold, which is refer to as Goldie Hawn, was born in December of 2022, and has the same specs. I just love it, it sounds amazing and looks, arguably, even better.


Jim and I were lucky to get to meet you in person when you came to Boston with the band. The members of the band are such a great group of people! Can you share more with all about the band and crew.

I’m so lucky to keep such incredible company. My bandmates, Adam November and Chris Corsico, are not only unbelievable musicians but also incredible humans. We just laugh and laugh, and we’re there for each other when the road gets tough or we’re exhausted or whatever life throws at us. It’s the joy of my life to get to tour the world with these guys. And the crew! That night was Connor Milton on sound and Nick Koski on lights – we have a rotating cast of people who fill those roles based on availability, and everyone who works for us are absolute consummate professionals and the sweetest humans. They are my team of experts and I just adore them so much. Shout out to Zach Rosenberg, Jeff Volckhausen, Dylan Hinds, Dom Chang, for being the best rotating crew a gal could ask for!


What else do you do besides music?

Not much! I love going to the beach! I love eating dinner!


Because I am a foodie, I always ask people what their favorite food is!

Oysters, caviar, sushi. I’m a raw bar fanatic.

At a very young age, Karina is a diligent hard worker. She juggles many balls managing her business and is savvy beyond her years. We are very happy to be working with Karina and are excited for her continued successes!


About Bergantino Audio Systems: Bergantino Audio Systems has been dedicated to developing and building the highest quality audio products and bass guitar amplification systems since 2001. Founder Jim Bergantino has worked in a number of fields in his career, from high-tech electrical engineering to the high-end professional audio world. After designing custom bass cabinets for many other leading brands, he started his own Bergantino Audio Systems. BAS has received numerous accolades within the musical instrument industry and continues to look forward via their designs and unique approach to developing products.

Follow Karina Rykman:



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Bergantino Artist Mike Gordon


Bergantino Welcomes Mike Gordon to Their Family of Artists

The Phish bass phenom discusses his path on bass and how his love of technology has enhanced his career and led him to Bergantino amps


Whitinsville, MA (October 17th, 2023) – For forty years Mike Gordon has served as the sonic foundation of the biggest jam band in the world. In that span, Phish has gone from a small college outfit in Vermont to having millions of fans all over the world and one of the biggest devoted followings in music history. By melding rock, jam, reggae, funk, and blues into a sound all their own, their studio recording span a wide range of sonic territory, which is all anchored by the steady propulsion of Gordon’s playing. And when it comes to live performances, Phish outpaces any contemporaries. Known for playing extended, multiple sets each night, Gordon juggles complex riffs, sings counter-harmonies, and navigates a serious pedalboard, all while holding down his impeccable groove.

As a solo artist, Gordon has released 13 albums, with the most recent being the infinitely funky and danceable Flying Games [2023]. Much like his musical voice, Gordon’s rig is always evolving, which includes the many effects on his pedalboard, his arsenal of basses, and of course, his amp. On his recent solo tours, Gordon began using Bergantino Forté HP heads, which have now become his go-to for those shows. Bergantino Audio Systems is honored and excited to welcome accomplished bassist Mike Gordon as a featured artist. Our Marc Stranger-Najjar had an opportunity to meet Mike at a recent show and ask him a few questions.


When did you start playing bass and what drew you to it?

I started playing in high school. My family went to the Bahamas when I was 12 and I saw a calypso band perform called The Mustangs. They played this song “Ya Mar,” which Phish covers, and I was listening to it in the pool when I decided I loved the vibration of the bass. I could feel it in the water. I knew that that was the instrument I wanted to play.


What was the first bass you had?


It was a KENT and I bought it for $99 from my babysitter Kenny Getz. It came with a tube stereo amp and speaker that he had built from scratch.


You’ve mentioned in interviews that you’ve been influenced by Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead. What drew you to his approach on bass?


It was the way Phil seemed so uninhibited melodically, able to playfully vary the melody and the rhythm of his phrases. He simultaneously provides the oomph that creates a powerful propulsion. Also, the sweetness of his tone.


You’re known for your use of effects. What was your first effects pedal?


Oh, I’m trying to remember … ahmm… (still thinking). Well, the oldest one I can remember was The Funky Filter, a kitschy little envelope filter I used with Phish back in the day.

What led you to Bergantino?

Ed Grasmeyer, bass tech extraordinaire for my solo band, had some experience with Bergantino, and he encouraged me to try out your amps. I happily drank the Kool Aid.



What do you think of the Forté HP2?


There is a clarity and immediacy that I feel with the Forte HP amp, and on top of that there is a lot of punch. It’s almost a cliche, but that’s what we bassists seek a lot of the time – punch – and the Forté HP amp has it! Moreover, there is a lot of control – I feel like I can really dial in the sound with the drive, VRC and punch controls. Every knob I turn up makes it sound even better. Win win!


You have a background in electrical engineering. Does this influence the evolution of your rig? If so, how?


To be honest, I really fizzled out of my EE major pretty early on. I was 2.5 years in before changing majors, but I didn’t get much out of it that applies. I’ve been building gadgets since I was 5, so there was always the inclination to tinker. I suppose when I discovered that ported cabinets can be modeled as electrical circuits (speaker resonance, cubic volume, and port size relating to capacitance, inductance, and resistance), I was able to draw on my EE knowledge.


One of our favorite things about you is how inventive you are. For instance, the custom lanyard you created for your daughter to communicate with her during your shows. Care to tell us more about that and how it works?


It was other people who designed and built it, but I call it The Tessa Box, and it sits on my pedal board. My daughter Tessa has a fob, and when she’s out in the audience at a show, she can remotely signal me with a bright light on the box that lets me know she’s watching the show (other times she’s backstage).  And then indicate with a dimmer light whether she’s stage left, front of house, or stage right. Then I can give a signal to acknowledge her. It’s a nice feeling and it can lead to better playing!


About Bergantino Audio Systems: Bergantino Audio Systems has been dedicated to developing and building the highest quality audio products and bass guitar amplification systems since 2001. Founder Jim Bergantino has worked in a number of fields in his career, from high-tech electrical engineering to the high-end professional audio world. After designing custom bass cabinets for many other leading brands, he started his own Bergantino Audio Systems. BAS has received numerous accolades within the musical instrument industry and continues to look forward via their designs and unique approach to developing products.


Follow Mike Gordon:

Instagram: @mike_gordon

Twitter @mike_gordon


Bassist Ryan Stasik using the Bergantino Forté HP2 on tour with Umphrey McGee!

Bassist Ryan Stasik using the Bergantino Forté HP2 on tour with Umphrey McGee!

Bergantino was very excited to have Bassist Ryan Stasik using the Bergantino Forté HP2 on tour with Umphrey McGee!

Equal parts trained pianist and self-taught rocker, Ryan Stasik the bassist is a confluence of musical forces. As a student at the University of Notre Dame, he co-founded Umphrey’s McGee, known as much for their irreverent stage presence as their complex musicality. Ryan is truly a musician knowing no boundaries.

Ryan shares: “I was fortunate enough to take a Bergantino forté HP2 out on tour. This amp is awesome. Truly allows you to carve out a myriad of tones from vintage to modern.  Jim went above and beyond in his attention to detail to make this beast a true tone monster.

Bergantino Artist Bassist Aaron Rieseberg

Bergantino Artist Bassist Aaron Rieseberg is in the Artist Spotlight

Bergantino Welcomes Bassist Aaron Rieseberg to our Family of Artists 

Photo credit to “James Rexroad”

In this Bergantino artist spotlight we are excited to introduce our new artist, the amazing Aaron Rieseberg. As the bass player for Eugene, Oregon doom metal band YOB, Aaron is a talented addition to the Bergantino family. We wanted to get to know Aaron a little better, so we asked him some questions and he enthusiastically answered them for us.

Tell us how you started on your bass journey.

It all began when my dad took me and my older brother to see AC/DC. I think I was 12. The show was so powerful, loud, and entertaining, and we were utterly floored. On the way home we talked to dad about how badly we wanted instruments, but my brother wanted me to play bass because he was gonna play guitar. That Christmas dad got me a cheap Ibanez starter pack and I was off.

You’re currently on tour with your doom metal band YOB. Can you share more about the band?

YOB is a trio where the music is crushingly heavy and pays equal attention to both song craft and enormous riffs. A lot of attention is paid to the minutiae in the way the songs unfold with a lot of small twists and turns. We don’t consider ourselves a progressive band, but on occasion it gets heady and a tad bit ADD [laughs]. It’s not uncommon for lengths of songs to reach past the 10-minute mark, sometimes well beyond. Dynamics also play a big role, and we play with space a lot. There is a deep well of influence ranging from the many forms of metal, rock, singer/songwriter, punk, alternative, folk, and country. Funnel all this through A-standard tuning and heavy distortion and you have an idea what YOB sounds like.

What does YOB stand for?

Mike came upon the name YOB while watching a Chuck Jones cartoon called Rocket-Bye Baby. There was an alien called Yob. He liked that it didn’t sound like anything or paint the band in any sort of corner. 

People hate this question, but If you were constructing your personal Bass Mt. Rushmore, who are the four players that would make the cut and why?

John Entwistle – I picked up The Who’s live at Leeds early on in my teens and really was knocked out by his playing as well as his sound – a big gnarly P-Bass cranked through all those Hi-Watts. It’s so fun listening to a bass player who can play so busy and it still serves a song so well. John had dynamics for days, I love the calm delicate passages before the storm of fury and distortion rolls back in.

James Jamerson – who is probably on most people’s Rushmore. Absolutely mind-boggling player. He just completely changed the game as far as what the bass could do melodically and rhythmically in a pop song. James had impeccable taste for when to lean in and when to lay back.

Dave Edwardson (Neurosis) – total hero of mine. In the world of heavy music there is a different set of physics and obstacles. Dave is wildly creative and a master within this realm. When Neurosis plays live he embellishes/improvises in ways that inspire me. And great use of effects too. He gets truly monolithic tones that sound awesome beneath a dense wall of guitars.

Geezer Butler – I can’t think of a more crucial contributor to my own personal development as a player. He is the complete package: songwriter, lyricist, and true pioneer of the bass. When I was cutting my teeth, I learned as many Black Sabbath lines as I could get my hands on.

Tell us about some of your favorite basses. 

With YOB lately I’ve been playing my old 1988 Gibson Thunderbird. I swapped the stock bridge to a Hipshot super tone and I put in a set of Thunderbucker Ranch ’63 pickups. It sounds stout in the bottom and has a certain wood-like midrange crunch that fills out a 3-piece very well. For recording I have used a Rickenbacker many times, though they don’t work quite as well live for me for some reason. I have a couple old Fender-style basses that get a LOT of mileage at home. A ’74 P-bass, a ’68 jazz and a Moollon P-Classic. I played the P on the YOB record, Atma. The sound, the feel, everything about that bass is great.

Describe your playing style(s), tone, strengths and/or areas that can be improved on the bass. 

I play primarily with my fingers unless the song is demanding a pick. My instinct is to try and make the rhythm sound as big as possible. I have a tendency is to play way behind the beat which heavily plays into that. I believe that my ability to play slowly with a tight pocket is one of my biggest strengths. There is a lot of power in patience. I’m very fortunate to play with such monster players in Mike and Dave. I like playing with variations on where space is left open, where to let the daylight in and where to block it out. I learned by ear for the most part. I’d like to make improvements with my music theory. It would be mega helpful and fun to be able to analyze and communicate better at that level.

You have a monstrous bass tone. What lead you to incorporate large amounts of drive in your sound? 

I think it came from listening to music and being drawn to that type of sound. The bands I’ve played in have always been in a heavy genre and to a certain extent it comes with the territory. A lot of times distortion and monstrous sounds is what helps make the music speak. I’m a little obsessive about how the bottom end comes through and about the way it helps to balance out the sound of the whole band.

Tell us about your experience with Bergantino and the forte D amp as well as the NV610. What settings do you use on the amp?

The Forte D is a new addition for me and I’m blown away by this thing. I’ve always been way into tube amps, and I was looking for something that could cop that sound very convincingly without having to shell out the money on maintenance. The amp is simple so it’s easy to dial in. I like running the drive about 1/2 way up so it sounds like tubes getting pushed, then I use pedals for when I need extra grind.

The NV610 is the best combination of tone, volume, and portability. It’s got punch for days, warm present mids, and a pleasing treble range (zero ice pick). I love deep and full bottom without flub. This cab has been on countless tours at this point and hasn’t let me down once.

What else do you like to do besides playing bass?

I love playing basketball. I get outside a lot and soak up the nature. It’s the best part about the Portland area other than all the good food. I love to eat.

Follow Aaron:

@bleachlightning (personal)

@quantumyob (Yob)

@living_gate (living gate)