Gear News

Bassist Shane Hendrickson tours by the light of his Radial Firefly

When you grow up in a small Canadian prairie town with a population of under a hundred people you might set a goal for yourself to expand your horizons. Bass guitarist Shane Hendrickson has long left Crane Valley, Saskatchewan and currently juggles a roster of shows touring with fellow Canadians Natalie MacMaster and Aaron Pritchett and now also Nick and Sophie Tweed-Simmons. Mighty impressive for the completely self taught Hendrickson. (The closest music lessons were an hour drive from his childhood home.) Life is now anything from predictable and can change with one phone call..and Hendrickson wouldn’t have it any other way.

Hendrickson explains: „The diversity is absolutely the best thing. Playing the same music night after night can get pretty monotonous, but juggling these three different gigs it keeps me on my toes. Yes, there are challenges, but that’s the best part. Nat’s shows are different every night. She’ll change things up in sound check or even during the show. She’ll take it in different directions and you’re expected to be right there with her. Aaron’s shows are challenging as you’re basically trying to replicate what was done on the recordings and really have to make it that way every time. It takes great discipline to do that and I admire players who pull that off every show.”

Perhaps an even greater challenge came along when Hendrickson was hired to play with the kids of one very famous bass player and businessman. „The challenge with Nick and Sophie was trying to wrap my head around the final outcome of the music. When we originally got the material it was basically jazz standards with some newer stuff thrown in. However, the outcome was jazz standards meets hard rock! It’s a good reminder that there are really no rules in music and the talent is always right!! Also, having the „Demon” (Gene) breathing down my neck was a tad bit challenging!! Ha! He knows what he wants and you gotta be able to deliver under pressure.”

Hendrickson has long relied on Radial products to deliver under pressure. „I remember pulling into gigs where they had all in-house gear that was pretty subpar. However, when I’d see that old beat up Radial DI in their box of „stuff” I breathed a little easier. No matter how abused it was, I knew it was always going to work and sound great. Currently I have my trusty old JDI with me that I now use on my looper pedal to fire samples on for some of the shows.”

„My new baby is the Firefly tube DI with the JR-2 Remote. I’ve always been a fan of tube DI’s and always wondered when Radial would come out with one. Well, they did and they got it right!! The Firefly sounds incredible and it’s so versatile. Having two switchable channels is wonderful. On gigs where we have an opener, I always offer my rig to the bass player to play through to simplify things. With the two channels, they can run their bass through the one I’m not using and mess with the channel trim to their heart’s desire – it saves time for the crew and makes everyone happy. And trust me, once they hear their bass through my Firefly, you know it’s only a matter of time before they’re going to have to get one of their own!! Seriously though, my bass has never sounded fatter and warmer and still cut through the mix. It literally only takes a few minutes to sound check my bass and usually my channel is basically flat out front. Our FOH and monitor guys love it!”

Hendrickson plays several dates with Natalie MacMaster and Aaron Pritchett through the summer taking him back and forth over the Canada/US border. Despite his great love for the road, Hendrickson always enjoys coming home to Vancouver, British Columbia: „There is nothing like the feeling of flying home after a tour and seeing the ocean and the mountains when you’re landing. I truly believe it’s the best place to live in the world. AND, having the Radial headquarters out here definitely makes it sweet!!”

Shane Hendrickson


Published since 2005 as a printed magazine, TopGuitar is a magazine of opinion for professional and amateur musicians. Since 2020 on a digital platform. Contain reviews of various guitar-related musical gear, interviews and original articles on world’s most popular artists, music reviews, event reports, guitar workshops and tips, the latest products and artist news. The Editor-in-Chief is Dr. Dariusz Domanski, a guitarist and academic teacher, doctor of musical arts.