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Jason Newsted Used to Sweat So Much He’d Wreck His Basses


Jason Newsted is the kind of performer that leaves it all out there on the stage. As someone that’s seen him perform multiple times in person, the dude just goes and goes and doesn’t stop until the show’s done. Naturally, with that much exertion, the dude sweats a lot.

During a recent interview with Bass Player, that little fact caused some major technical issues while on tour with Metallica. Specifically, his sweat would kill his basses.

“For Load, I used a ’58 P-Bass and a 1981 Spector NS 4-string. The Spectors were built really well, played well, and sounded excellent, but I had a lot of trouble with sweat getting inside. All of my instruments had to be salt-water proofed.

“We’d done an outside show on the last tour, and by the end of the gig, there was one functioning bass out of six – bad news. And when a bass going through 250,000 watts of PA all of a sudden shorts-out, people are not happy.”

I can’t imagine the feeling of playing in front of tens of thousands of people and then your shit just not working because you’re a sweaty boy. Given the fact that a natural bodily function was causing the issue, Newsted said he had to get a little creative to address the problem. And that meant putting his next batch of basses through Hell to figure out which would withstand his…secretions.

“When I was trying to figure out who was going to build my basses for the tour, I’d have to test each bass. I’d fill up a big tub with super hot water, dump in some salt, and submerge the bass. Then, I’d take it out of the tub and put it in front of a coil heater for a few minutes.

“I’d repeat this same process three times with each bass. Then I’d beat the crap out of it for a while in my studio, and finally I’d let it sit on a stand for a couple of days. Usually, the bass corrodes and doesn’t play anymore. None of the basses passed that test except for the Sadowsky.”

Ultimately, he ended up working directly with the Sadowsky company. Roger Sadowsky, founder of Sadowsky Guitars, said his company worked with Newsted to ensure their basses could withstand his punishment.

“Jason voiced his concerns about moisture and reliability. Apparently some of his basses were having an intermittent output, and when his tech would remove the output-jack plate, water would literally run out of the control cavity! It turns out the humidity levels at the shows are so high from the heat, water runs down the front of the amplifiers! And moisture was building up inside the control cavities from condensation.

“Our solution was to put a thin rubber gasket on the back of the control-cavity plates and underneath the football-shaped output-jack plate. We also sealed the holes going from the pickup cavities to the control cavities with silicone sealant to keep any moisture that might come in through the pickup routs from flowing into the cavities.”

So there ya have it. If you’re a sweaty boy or girl on stage and your shit keeps breaking, just be a member of the biggest metal band of all time and make friends with one of the world’s premiere guitar makers. Then all your problems will be solved!

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