As some of you are already aware, today is the day that Paisley Park — the massive Chanhassen, MN-based compound where Prince lived and worked — is opening on a limited basis to the public as a museum. Yesterday morning, we were watching The Today Show when Al Roker visited Paisley Park for a preview, and we were pretty happy as Al entered the first room and there was an ESP bass perched on a stand.
Prince was never a musician who attached himself to any one brand or type of instrument; he played what he felt like, whenever he felt like it. Still, it wasn’t a huge surprise to us at ESP to see one of our basses in use at his studio. There have been many times in the past when we’d catch a glimpse of the rather secretive Prince in footage while recording or playing live, and using an ESP guitar or bass. His massive collection of instruments likely was made up of almost every brand available, and extended far beyond guitar and bass into keyboards, drums, and much more. Prince was a true master on just about every kind of music-making tool, and often created all of the instrumentation on his albums by himself, recording late at night and overdubbing layer after layer in Paisley Park’s Studio A.
The ESP bass shown on Today was in a small songwriting/tracking alcove sectioned off from the larger room area, next to a music stand with hand-written notes and a full Ampeg SVT bass stack. It appears to be something from our ESP Custom Shop… an orange-finished J-style bass with a white pearloid pickguard, and a maple fingerboard with white block inlays. Considering that Prince had been known to switch between funk, rock, pop, electronica and more, it’s no surprise that he had his ESP bass out. Rumor has it that he was working on a jazz album at the time of his unfortunate passing in April, and has hundreds and hundreds of unreleased songs in his vault that we'll likely be able to experience in the coming years.
Watch the Paisley Park segment of Today below.