Christopher Preston writes:
Les Claypool mostly plays two bases; both Carl Thompsons'. One is a 6-string fretless with an EMG pickup ("Rainbow Bass"), and the other is a 4-string fretted.
The 4-string fretted has a Kahler tremolo whammy bar, which he sometimes uses. He also has a maple 4 string Carl Thompson as a backup. On Les's sideband, Sausage's album, "Riddles Are Abound Tonight", Les uses a Eko copy of a Hofner Beatle Bass. Les also has an Zeta electric stand-up and uses it for some songs such as "The Air Is Getting Slippery". In Guitar for the Practicing Muiscian's Reader's Poll issue, there's a picture of him with a 6 string fretted Carl Thompson, which looks like a maple body. The string spacing on that one is much narrower than that of his "Rainbow Bass". It is used on "Hamburger Train". In the days before he used his Carl Thompson, he had a Tune 6 string fretless bass, which can be seen on "Bill and Ted's....", and on I video I have from the Roskilde festival. He also has an Kay acoustic upright.
For amplifiers, Les has a ADA MB-1 preamp, and an ADA MP-1 guitar per-amp modified by ADA's Todd Langer with a MIDI Ground Control footpedal made by Digital Music. That has a bunch of effects which he uses, such as distortion. His head is a Mesa/Boogie 400 plus head which feeds into two Mesa/Boogie 2X15 cabinets.
For his studio gear, (Pork Soda) he used an ADA MB-1 pre-amp, a Meyers EQ, an Alesis Micro Limiter, an ADA Stereo Tapped Delay, and a Systech Harmonic Energizer.
Les uses three fingers for plucking (index, middle, ring). He slaps most of the songs, and strums the chords. He does this by striking the two or three notes with his ring and index finger in a casual up or down stroke.
Danny Merrill writes:
Les himself has said that he never has, and probably never will, ever use dropped D tuning, or any other alternate tunings. I am sick and tired of all these people posting the "correct way to play the song" and then they put it in dropped D! iIunderstand that someone without a 5 or 6 string can use it, but don't say that that is how it is played! It is how it CAN be played.