The Rolling Stones Now tribute act: Playing Bill

Tribute act

The devil is in the details…

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Martin plays Bill Wyman in the Stones Tribute act:


Find out more about Life in a Stones band

At last. It’s here.  After a couple of issues, my new Vintera II Series 70s Competition Mustang Bass finally arrived from GAK in Brighton, UK and it’s sexy!!

In my years playing in The Rolling Stones Now tribute band I have played a few different basses but for the last few years, I’ve been playing a Fender Mustang in fiesta red; a great instrument but it was never quite right.  Then, in 2023, Fender released the Vintera II series in response to customer demand for retro vintage models (thank you Fender) which means I can finally have that authentic Bill Wyman look without breaking the bank.

Bill used a similar Mustang bass, in competition orange, live and in the studio with The Stones, from 1969-1971.  When it went to auction, in 2023, it became the most expensive bass guitar ever sold at auction with a winning bid of $384,000 (mine is definitely not the genuine article!).

Bill’s equipment in our Rolling Stones Tribute Act:

My equipment list:

  • Vintera II Series 70s Mustang Bass in Competition Orange fitted with D’Addario XL ECB81 flatwound strings – a copy of the bass Bill played live and in the studio from 1969-1971 fitted with flatwound strings for that vintage thump.
  • Steinberger Spirit XT-2 bass – a budget copy of the headless bass used by Bill used during the 1981 and 1982 Rolling Stones tours in support of the Tattoo You album.  A short-scale version of the L-Series Steinberger bass was made specifically for Bill.   It may be a matter of taste but I love this bass, it just looks so cool and for a budget model it sounds epic!
  • Fender Rumble 500 bass amp – Ok, not a bass amp that Bill would have used but it’s vintage look and sound makes it perfect for getting a nice Stonesy bass tone.  It’s also super light which is perfect when you don’t have your own roadies!
  • Boss TU-2 tuner pedal – when Armageddon comes all that will be left are cockroaches and Boss TU-2 tuner pedals!
  • Sennheiser e835 microphone
  • Planet Waves cables
  • Sam Ash Medium plectrums

Muso geek stuff about the real Bill and his gear

News article on the new Vintera series –,debut%20of%20the%20Vintera%20Series.

Fender website on Vintera Series –

News article on Bill Wyman Auction –

Julians Auction site who sold the Bill Wyman items –

The Bill Wyman Archive –

Bill Wyman Equipboard –

The Rise of the Tribute Act

The concept of the tribute act, where musicians dedicate their performances to emulating a famous artist or band, has become a staple in the entertainment world. But where did this phenomenon begin?

The roots of tribute acts can be traced back to the early days of rock and roll. Elvis Presley impersonators were among the first to emerge, their popularity fueled by the King of Rock and Roll’s enduring legacy. As the decades passed, the concept expanded to include other iconic acts ranging from The Beatles to Led Zeppelin. The 1970s and 80s saw a surge in tribute acts, offering audiences a nostalgic experience, a chance to relive the energy and sound of bygone musical eras.

Several factors contributed to the increasing popularity of tribute acts. For dedicated fans, they provided a chance to experience something close to the original artist, especially if seeing the real band was impossible due to disbandment, retirement, or even death. Additionally, tribute acts often provide a more affordable and accessible option than the original artists, especially for smaller venues and events.

The advancement of technology played a role as well. Sound and lighting equipment became better and more portable, allowing tribute acts to replicate elaborate stage shows and concert experiences. The rise of social media and online platforms also helped tribute acts find their audiences and gain wider recognition.

Today, the world of tribute acts is incredibly diverse, representing virtually every genre and artist imaginable. From pop stars like Madonna and Michael Jackson to rock legends like Queen and AC/DC, there’s a tribute act for almost every music fan. The dedication of these acts to recreate every detail of the original artists’ music, look, and energy is a testament to the power of music and its ability to connect people across generations.

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