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Issue 118 JUNE 2015

Editor Joel McIver,
Sub-editor Nick Robbins
technical consultant Stuart Clayton
Contributors Bob Battersby, Duff

Battye, Andy Baxter, Nick Beggs, Jeff Berlin,

Jamie Blaine, Silvia Bluejay, Mike Brooks, Dave
Clarke, Stuart Clayton, Ben Cooper, Joe Daly,
Jon DAuria, David Etheridge, Christopher Evans,
Mike Flynn, Paul Geary, Ian Glasper, Ruth Goller,
Spencer Grady, Paolo Gregoletto, Chris Hanby,
Steve Harvey, Joe Hubbard, Andy Hughes, Ken
Hunt, Kevin Johnson, Steve Lawson, Phil Mann,
Lee Marlow, Michael McKeegan, Stewart
McKinsey, Greg Moffitt, Chris Mugan, Ellen
O'Reilly, Franc OShea, Harry Paterson, Nik
Preston, Raz Rauf, Alison Richter, Steven Rosen,
Kevin Sanders, Amit Sharma, Joe Shooman,
Rob Statham, Jon Thorne, Freddy Villano, Alex
Webster, Sam Wise
advertising sales Guy Meredith
Graphic Design Steve Dawson
Ad Design Matt Smith
Cover Photograph Eckie
Studio Photography Eckie
Operations Director James Folkard
Assistant Publisher Ruth Burgess
Publisher Wes Stanton
Accounts Dave Deo
Subscriptions subs@, 01926 339808

ummer time, and the

living is easy, eh? Well,
it is when you get to
hang out with bassists
of the quality of those
in this issue... First
up is the amazing Divinity
Roxx, a prolific solo artist as
well as session ace with the
likes of Beyonc Knowles.
Technically astounding as
well as a feel player with more
groove than a box of 78rpm
LPs, Divinity rocked the
crowds at the recent London
Bass Guitar Show, and her
interview will do that all over again when you read it. Hip-hop
and funk legend Doug Wimbish, session supremo Lee Sklar and
rock monster Merv Goldsworthy also share their wisdom in
these hallowed pages, but we like to portray the bass world as
an evolving environment away from the studio wherever we
can so we also meet Rob Scallon, Youtube sensation, and Peter
Joe Jackson, the Let It Be musical bassist whose McCartney
impression is uncanny.
Its the sheer variety of the bass world which keeps us
enthralled, issue after issue, and this continues to be reflected in
our reviews section, which runs from a 10-string bass (yep, you
read that right) costing almost 3,000 to an effects pedal which
will set you back a fraction of that price. The same goes for our
renowned tuition section, where professionals from the bass
world devote a careers worth of expertise towards our common
goal making you a better bass player. Enjoy this issue, and stay
on the low frequencies!
Joel McIver, editor

Ibanez SR605


Phil Jones M300

head and 12B cab


Queen Bee Singlecut


Subscription rate UK 64.20

For all subscription offers and overseas
prices visit
or call 01926 339808
Printed in the UK Blaze Publishing
Ltd 2015.
All Rights Reserved. No part of this
publication may be reproduced in any form,
stored in a retrieval system or integrated
into any other publication, database or
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permission of the publishers in writing.
Under no circumstances should this
publication and its contents be sold, loaned
out or used by way of trade, or stored or
transmitted as an electronic file without the
publishers prior written approval.

Ten strings, eh? Get over it... this

is a high-flying queen of a bass,
we say

52Ibanez SR605

Mike Brooks road-tests this

slick five

M300 head and

56Phil12B Jones


While Blaze Publishing Ltd prides itself on

the quality of the information its publications
provide, the company reserves the right not
to be held legally responsible for any mistakes
or inaccuracies found within the text of this
Bass Guitar Magazine is an independent
publication and as such does not necessarily
reflect the views or opinions of manufacturers
or distributors of the products contained
within. All trademarks are acknowledged.

Kev Sanders investigates a

compact rig with a difference

60Nemphasis FX

Three of the best under

review, or more accurately,
under the BGM boot


Distributed to the news trade by Comag

Magazine Marketing, West Drayton,
Middlesex, UB7 7QE

Published by
Blaze Publishing Ltd. Lawrence House,
Morrell Street, Leamington Spa,
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Bass Guitar Magazine is proud to
support the Music Industries Association.



Bee Queen Bee Singlecut 10-string

62Barefaced Big Baby 2 cab

Sanders gives this highvolume infant a cuddle

64Morley Power Fuzz

Michael McKeegan
recreates the spirit of Cliff
Burton with this mighty wah

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f/bassguitarmagazine o/bassguitarmag


Want tips from

professional bassists who
actually need to play to pay
their bills? Get your real-life
bass advice here



Lee Sklar

72ellen oReilly

Sight-reading skill
can be yours thanks to
beginners guru Ellen

74Paul Geary

Peter John Jackson, Let It Be

Doug Wimbishs

Bringing the funk like a
woman possessed, Divinity Roxx
is a force to be reckoned with.
Mike Brooks meets her for a
chat about all things rhythmic,
whether its low notes or hip-hop


The Let It Be musical in

Londons West End sees a gang
of fearsomely talented musicians
tackle the Beatles catalogue.
Joel McIver meets Peter John
Jackson, whose McCartney
devotion even led him to switch
to playing left-handed


Frankfurt Musikmesse report

Behind the scenes at

Mitteleuropas very own MI trade
event. Steve Harvey samples a
whole bunch of essential beer
we mean, gear


Doug Wimbishs Wimbash

Ellen OReilly catches up

Obi-Wan Statham
digs into natural harmonics

78Alex Webster
80Franc oShea

Its fusion time for

Franc. Watch the great
man go

84Philip Mann

The melodic minor

made easy by our Mann at
the scene

22Divinity Roxx

Peter John Jackson, Let It Be

76Rob Statham

Webster reveals the

full glory that is 5/4





tapping made easy by Nik
Kershaws bassist Geary

86upright Citizen

Getting around the

double bass fingerboard
with minimum effort


Merv Goldsworthy, FM
with the mighty Wimbish as his bass event comes to Ramsgate

36Merv Goldsworthy, FM

British AOR rockers FM are on a mighty roll, says bassist

Merv Goldsworthy


Lee Sklar


Rob Scallon

Mike Brooks meets the man behind the beard for the chat of a
lifetime a lifetime spent at the top end of the low end

Youtube sensation Scallon tells a frankly jealous McIver how

viral internet clips mean he never has to work... ever... again

88Mike Brooks

Covers band pro

Brooks selects the tools for
the job

90Steve Lawson

Lawson has the powahhhhhh! Plug and play

with our chap



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neWs anD VieWs FrOM tHe Bass
OF intrePiD neWsHOunDs


Godlyke has announced the release of the

new Maxon BD10 Hybrid Bass Driver,
which works equally well with guitar and
bass when it comes to delivering crunch.
The BD10 can cover a wide variety of
distorted tones, from semi-dirty boosts
all the way to super-saturated shred, they
tell us, and the unit also comes with a
symmetrical clipping circuit, dedicated
level controls for clean and overdriven
sounds and buffered bypass switching.
Theyre selling at $189.



Tina K

Were delighted to be the rst to announce that Jools Holland bassist Dave Swift has a
new signature bass guitar on the way from the renowned American luthier Pete Skjold. The
Dave Swift Drakkar 5 is handmade in the USA from top-spec materials. The body is white
limba, the top and back are made of English walnut burl and English walnut respectively,
both exhibition grade. The neck is one-piece quartersawn maple with a 34 scale, a South
American rosewood fretboard, luminescent position markers and 24 Evo-Gold frets.
At five kilos and boasting an extra mass body and an extra thick neck, the Drakkar is no
lightweight, but the payoff will no doubt come in the form of immense tone and sustain,
already likely to be world-class thanks to the Aero Split Reverse P pickup and modified
P-Retro electronics from the mighty John East. Stacked volume/tone and stacked dual mid
controls with sweep and pull for extra bass boost add more value for your outlay of (gulp) just
over $7500, assuming you order yours directly from Pete Skjold.
Swift himself tells us: My Pete Skjold customised Drakkar five-string is probably my most
eagerly awaited bass ever! Pete and I spent many hours discussing minute details over the
phone and in emails.I was so grateful and impressed that he was
willing and able to indulge me when it came to understanding and
capturing exactly what I was looking for in a custom bass.I gave
Pete a lot of information on other instruments Id owned in my 34year career as a professional musician, including things I liked and
disliked about them. Heappreciated precisely what I was looking for
and expecting from my first Skjold bass.This gave me an enormous
amount of confidence in Pete as a luthier and in my expectations
of the finished product.Im extremely excited knowing that this
stunning, intelligently conceived, beautifully crafted, handmade
instrument will soon be in my hands, and out on tour with Jools
Holland.I think this could well be the bass of my dreams!
Look out for interviews with Swift and Skjold very shortly.


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Sometime Guns NRoses, Velvet Revolver, Loaded and Walking

Papers bassist and living legend Duff McKagan has his second book
out on Da Capo Press as we speak. Titled How To Be A Man (And
Other Illusions), the book compiles some of his previously published
magazine columns on the subject of manliness and adds some hairraising stories, those that were left over from his previous title Its
So Easy (And Other Lies) anyway. Those keen on the first book, in
which McKagan details his life as bass monster for GNR, as well as
the booze habit which led to him drinking 10 bottles of wine a day
and a pancreas that literally exploded inside him, will thoroughly
enjoy the second effort. An EP, also titled How To be A Man,
accompanies the book release and features fellow Guns alumnus
Izzy Stradlin and Alice In Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell.
On the subject of books, as we reported in our last issue, the late
Free bassist Andy Fraser completed a memoir called All Right Now:
Life, Death And Life Again. This has now been published by Foruli
Codex and can now be ordered online or at bookstores.



Peter Hook & The Light returned to Christ Church, Maccleseld on

May 18 to perform the complete works of Joy Division. The show
sold out in record time, with tickets fully allocated in less than eight
minutes when they went on sale in late March. The three-hour
show was recorded by Live Here Now and will be released as a triple
CD, with profits going to the Epilepsy Society and the Churches
Conservation Trust. On 30 October, Hook and his band will perform
the Joy Division material once again at the Manchester Academy,
during a tour on which Hook will be revisiting music from his other
former band, New Order.


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Renowned amp makers Tec Amp, currently celebrating its

30th year in business, are among many cool bass-related
products currently available for your perusal at Bass Direct in
Warwick, alongside eminently playable new Pedulla basses
and Taurus amps. Tell Mark Stickley we sent you!



Were sad to report the death of Craig

Gruber, best known for his work with
Ronnie James Dio and Rainbow, from
prostate cancer. Aged 63, Gruber amassed a
serious row of live and studio credits with
Elf, Gary Moore and Black Sabbath.


Dennis Dunaway, the original bassist and co-songwriter for Alice Cooper, is issuing an
autobiography called Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs! My Adventures In The Alice Cooper
Group, co-written with Chris Hodenfield, in June. As teenagers in Phoenix, Dennis Dunaway
and lead singer Vince Furnier, who would later change his name to Alice Cooper, formed a
hard-knuckles band that played prisons, cowboy bars and teen clubs, says the press release.
Their journey took them from Hollywood to the ferocious Detroit music scene, along the
way adding new dimensions of rock theatre. Alice Cooper himself says of the memoir that it
carries readers into Denniss own private surrealistic world.



Barrie Cree at Bass Gear in Twyford tells

us that BG has just become a Warwick
dealer. Our first six basses are already
on their way from the new, made-inGermany Pro Series. We have Corvettes,
Streamers and Star basses coming, he says.
We will also be offering custom build
German instruments. Exciting times for
fans of Warwick, then and keep an eye
out for Pro Series reviews in these pages.
Warwick tells us: As of this summer,
Warwick now offers the all new
German Pro Series,which consists of
excellent Teambuilt & Made in Germany
instruments, at an affordable price. The
complete know-how which the Warwick
Custom Shop has built up over 30 years in
Markneukirchen embodies this exciting
new series of electric basses. All of these
instruments are produced in Germany
from the finest materials and with the best
possible production methods. Only the
very best machines in the world are used
to carve these extraordinary bass guitars.
Watch this space!


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Every month we tell you the bass-line we cant stop listening to

THIS MONTH: Eloise (Hang On In There)
Bassist: Duck Dunn
Album: The Soul Of A Bell
by William Bell
Has any bass player ever come up with
better one- and two-bar grooves than
Duck Dunn? This classic Stax tune,
with its root-fifth verse riff and the
bouncing chorus groove, which leaves
space for Steve Croppers guitar stabs, is proof positive that the best
bass-lines are always the simplest.


One of our favourite

online bass clips this
month comes from
the London Centre of
Contemporary Music,
where LCCM bass tutors
Geoff Gascoyne, Ernie
McKone, Silas Maitland
and John McKenzie give their take on a successful music career and
life at the low end. Theres info on their favourite gigs and equipment,
as well as advice on generating income streams such as production,
arranging and teaching.

Head to:

See those tasty Nemphasis effects pedals reviewed on page 60?

The UK distributors Madison & Fifth has kindly agreed to let one of
them go to the cunning person who gets this easy-peasy question right:
Where would you find the actual Madison & Fifth street junction?
A New York B Los Angeles C Accrington
Answers by post to the usual address or to www.bassguitarmagazine.
com/competition by 27 July. Well ask the winner to choose a pedal.
Have at it!



1 Never Turn Your Back On A Friend

With the opening pentatonic riff of Breadfan,
the Welsh rockers ensured enduring fame
thanks to Metallicas cover of the song decades
later. Burke Shelleys pick grooves are all over
this album: check the galloping riff of Baby,
Please Dont Go, the stomp of Youre The
Biggest Thing Since Powdered Milk and the
melodic lines on Parents.

Saluting bass players three greatest albums

This month: Burke Shelley

2 Bandolier Budgie

3 Power Supply Budgie

Despite being a cult band, this album saw

Budgie grab a gold record, thanks to its
laid-back feel. Shelleys playing feels a little
funkier here, with that pulse on Who Do
You Want For Your Love?, and the fleetfingered staccato riff in the middle of I
Cant See My Feelings. Of course, theres the
obligatory pounding rock in Napoleon Bona
Part 1 & 2.

This 1980 album Budgies eighth studio

release sees the band favouring a
heavier sound. There are plenty of driving
eighth notes here, with tracks such as
Forearm Smash, Hellbender and Heavy
Revolution seeing Shelley nailing down
the low end while his vocals soar. Time
To Remember offers something different,
with some tasty slides and runs.


Uncategorisable alt-rock tinkers Primus

are returning to these shores for the first
time in three years, and indeed the first
time in 18 years since the original Les
Claypool/Larry Lalonde/Tim Alexander
trio were doing their crazy thing over
here. Their fairly mad new album, Primus
& The Chocolate Factory, will be performed
in its entirety. Claypool says that hes
always, in some way, wanted to be Willy
Wonka, which sets the tone nicely. Slap
bass players should make a point of being
in the front row.



Bass genius Marcus Miller returns to the UK this October for seven dates across the country,
where he will be debuting new songs from his recent album Afrodeezia, his first for the Blue
Note jazz label. As if you didnt know already, Miller has scooped many industry awards for
his playing, composition and production skills with artists as diverse as Eric Clapton and
Snoop Dogg. Check out the great man at the Liverpool Philharmonic (19 October), Gateshead
Sage (20 Oct), Edinburgh Usher Hall (22 Oct), Manchester Bridgewater Hall (23 Oct), the Cork
Jazz Festival (24 Oct), the London Barbican (26 Oct) and the Birmingham Town Hall (28 Oct).


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Bassists reveal the tricks of their trade

faster than a snapping D string

Basses Rickenbacker 4003, Gretsch G6119BO Broadcaster

Effects Jam Pedals Waterfall, Jam Pedals Red Muck, Boss OC-2 Octaver, Diamond BCP-1 Bass Compressor,
Divine Noise Cables
Amps Genz Benz Shuttle 6.2 & 9.0, Pre-Fender SWR Goliath Sr. 6x10 cabs
Nathan Katsiaficas

Basses Sterling by Music Man Sub
Effects Darkglass B7K, Sansamp RBI
Amps Omega Custom Cabs


Chris Gramazio

I never really learned a lot of covers, but I listened to a lot

of players. Id like to think that because of that, and perhaps
through some form of bass-osmosis, I was able to develop my
own style, a sort of progressive rock/ultra funk if you will. Ive
been a four-stringer since day one, its always felt like enough. I
think frets are the real discussion, do you need more than 20? I
remember my first bass very well. I bought it at Mannys in New
York with my mom and uncle (my uncle was one of the reasons I
started playing I often forget that). It was an Ibanez RoadStar II,
black with a white pickguard and those oh-so memorable heartshaped tuners. I slap, but it owes more to the Stanley Clarke/
Larry Graham school than the modern-day machine guns of
Wooten and Dickens. Since the moment I picked up a bass, I was
playing with a drummer: if theres any secret I could impart it
would be that. I have two 2000 Rickenbacker 4003s, both jetglo

I couldnt rightly say whos the

greatest bassist

Derek Bolman, Sworn In

I dont really know if I have a normal bass style: I just try to

have fun and do whatever communicates the emotions of the
songs to the crowd. I take a lot of influence from the late Paul
Gray and the rest of Slipknot, but try to include hip-hop styles
to make it my own. I play a five-string bass. I used to hate fivestring neck width, but now Ive grown to appreciate the playing
variety that a five-string provides. I slap more live than on the
albums, but there are quite a few slap and pop parts thrown in
for dissonance and to accent certain beats.The secret of playing
bass well is practice. A lot. Any style as long as youre playing.
And keep pushing your limits and practise things that are hard
for you or that you think sound sick. My first bass was a black
Dean Z that my parents found used online. It sounded awful
but it inspired me to make music my career. The greatest bass
player that ever lived is Roger Waters. He had some of the
most memorable and inspiring bass-lines in my listening career,
and made me appreciate the diversity that a bass has. Our new
album, The Lovers/The Devil, is out now.

with gold anodised aluminum pickguards from Tone-Guard, Id

have to say to date that these basses are my all-time faves. Herowise, Gene Simmons made want to play bass. Steve Harris, Billy
Sheehan, Geddy Lee and Stu Hamm made want to get better. Paul
McCartney, Jack Bruce, John Entwistle, Chris Squire, and John
Paul Jones made me want to look back. Stanley Clarke and Jaco
Pastorius made want to look deeper. Larry Graham, Flea, Doug
Wimbish and Dug Pinnick made want to groove. Les Claypool
and Mike Watt made me want to explore. And when I found out
who he was, James Jamerson made me remember why I loved
those trips to my aunts house in New Jersey, listening to WCBS
along the way. I couldnt rightly say whos the greatest bassist. The
older I get and the longer I play it just seems that there are shades
of greatness. If you want to talk tone, then for me the buck stops
with Billy Sheehan on Talas Sink Your Teeth Into That. I once
heard it described as a chainsaw through chocolate pudding, I like
that. Music is the only form of communication that transcends
and defines cultures all at once. It truly is universal. I just released
my first solo album,Freebassing, and Im currently trying to get it
heard this should help.

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bassically speaking

Basses Dingwall Super J4, Hofner Club, 100-year-old Hungarian acoustic bass, Virus Indigo, G&L JB4 custom
Effects EBS Mulitcomp, Xotic Robotalk, EHX Memory Man with Hazarai, BBE Benchpress and Sonic Stomp,
EBS BassIQ, EBS Wah One, Boss Looper
Amps Markbass Little Mark Tube, TTE500, 4x10 speakers, A-Designs REDDI, BAE Audio DMP, Metric Halo

Basses Squier Jazz Bass Deluxe
Effects Sansamp Vintage
Amps Ampeg SVT 4 Pro, SWR Megoliath 8x10 cab

Philipp Rehm, Philipp Rehm Band

Diego Soria, Broken Hope

I can achieve my bass-lines on four strings. I dont need a

C-string for solos, because I love the sound of that four-string
range: I leave the higher range for guitar or organ. For the low
stuff, I try to do as much as possible with a Hipshot. I dont
want to be busy with dampening a fifth string to gain five more
half tones. Besides fingerstyle, slapping can be a plus, when it
fits the song. With solos I am inspired by percussion or drums.
On my Zoohead EP, I also play slap features over 5/16, 7/16 and
3/4. I like to be inventive with it and create new grooves. I like
to play tight, punchy and funky. The secret of playing bass well
is catching the whole groove of the song, and how the bass-line
is one part of it, even if you only play a note on the one. The
right note at the right time can lift up a song and a wrong note
can make it lame. True music comes from the inside. Express
who you truly are from the inside to the outside. Dont adapt
your inside to the image you want to create on the outside. I
just released the Zoohead EP. It has new funk and dancehall
beats, with the bass as the front voice. It features a new
approach on the wide range of rhythmical meters.

Andrea Tomas Prato

Basses Rickenbacker 4001
Effects Boss delay, EH Freeze, Boss OS2
Amps Electric Amp Power Unit KT88 180, 4x15 Electric cab

My bass style is versatile, punchy, groovy, and classic. I always like

to complement and follow my bandmates, and make the mix sound
rich, thick and solid. I play five-string bass. I like to enhance with
that fat low end that the fifth string brings me.It comes in really
handy when you want to make those notes below the E string
fatter.I slap every now and then.Im actually starting to incorporate
some slap lines into my death metal bands, to enhance some drum
and guitar accents. Practise enough until you feel that the strings
are part of your fingers and the fretboard is another limb in your
body. My first bass was a black Yamaha BB300, bought in the
summer of 2000, when I was 15 years old. My favourite basses ever
to date are my Fender Marcus Miller five-string and my Warwick
Corvette $$. My bass heroes are Cliff Burton, Tony Levin, Geezer
Butler, Jaco Pastorius, Steve Harris, Stanley Clarke, John Patitucci,
Flea, Louis Johnson, Chris Squier and any good drummer
around!I play in Broken Hope and Disgorge (USA). Broken Hope
is writing a new album and playing European and US festivals.
Disgorge (USA) is in the writing process as well, and performing on
Knotfest 2015.

Urlo, Ufomammut

My bass style is an earthquake of ignorance. I like to make

things as simple as possible and filter the riffs through tons of
distortion. The secret of playing bass well is relative. What is
playing well for me is surely something different to other bass
players.My first bass was a Warwick. My favourite bass ever to
date is my Rickenbacker. My bass heroes are Sid Vicious, John
Paul Jones, Paul Simonon, Roger Waters and Paul McCartney.
If I could get the bass tone of any album ever released, I would
choose... nobody! I dont want to seem pretentious, but Id
surely prefer to keep mine. There are a lot of great tones, but I
love the thundering bass sound I have developed through the
years and Id never change it with another sound. I would like
to play a bass riff deep at the bottom of the Marianas Trench.
Ufomammut has recently released its seventh album, Ecate. Its
out on Neurot Recordings.

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bassically speaking

Basses Fender Precision, Music Man Stingray
Effects None
Amps Mesa Boogie Bass 400+, Hartke 8x10 cabs

Dante Gizzi, Gun

I only need four strings. In fact I really only need two. I dont slap,
because I cant! Besides, in order to play that way you would have
to have your bass up to your chin, and thats not cool in my book.
The secret of playing bass well is keeping it simple. Dont overelaborate. Remember the song is more important than your bass
playing. Your connection with the drummer is also crucial. You
must know each other inside and out, as you are the backbone of
the band. My first bass was a Fender Precision. My favourite bass
ever to date is my pre Ernie Ball Music Man Stingray. The greatest
bass player that ever lived would have to be Bernard Edwards. He
had it all, style groove and most importantly, feel. Our new album
Frantic is out now.
Basses F Bass BN6, Fodera Monarch 4 Standard
Effects TC Electronic Ditto Looper,
Flashback Delay and Hall Of Fame Reverb;
MXR Bass Octave Deluxe and Dunlop DVP1
Amps TC Electronic RH450 head and RS210 cab


Basses Fender Jazz
Effects Boss Bass Overdrive, Dunlap Bass Crybaby, Electro-Harmonix Small Stone
Amps Ampeg SVT Classic head, 8x10 cabinet

Mark Lamb, Acid King,

Fought Upon Earth

I like to think that my playing strikes a balance between

rhythm, melody, technique and musicality.After years of playing
four-string I recently switched to a six-string. Its been a real
challenge but a lot of fun.Its not my main technique but I do slap
from time to time. I grew up on Larry Graham, Marcus Miller, Les
Claypool, Stuart Hamm and Victor Wooten, so the influence is
there.My first bass was an all-white Vester PJ bass. Look out Larry
Graham! My favourite bass ever to date is my new BN6 from F Bass.
Its a work of art. The greatest bass player that ever lived? How
could I not say Jaco? He just set the bar so high! I dont play rock, but
man I would love to get Chris Squires tone on Fragile! I hear and
read it over and over again. Dont play this, dont play that, thats
not musical, blah, blah, blah! My current favourite is You wont get
hired if you do that! Who cares? Find like-minded players, start your
own band, be creative, put on your own shows there is more than
likely an audience for what you want to do. I was very fortunate to
grow up with musicians around that encouraged me. They never
told me not to tap or slap or solo, but they expected me to lay down
a groove and play good notes. Shouldnt you be able to do it all?
My new album Man Of 40 Faces is out now. It features eight solo
performances and three duets, including one with the legendary
Alain Caron. Its a huge honour to have him play on the album.

I would describe my bass style as a mix of 60s and 70s rock,

soul and jazz with lots of distortion. I do not slap, because if
you cant do it as well as Larry Graham, why bother? Know
your role in whatever ensemble you happen to be performing
with. Does it call for something over the top, or something
more laid back and supportive? Pick or fingers? Clean tone
or distortion? Also, learning another instrument such as
guitar, piano or drums can help immensely in understanding
how bass guitar fits into the big picture. My first bass was an
early-80s Squier P-Bass. The neck had a bow in it that sort
of resembled a crescent moon. Ha! Im not sure Ive found a
favourite bass yet, but I really like the Fender Jazz basses that
Ive played for the last 12 years. If I could get the bass tone of
any album ever released, I would choose Jerry Scheffs tone
on the 1972 album, Elvis: As Recorded At Madison Square
Garden. Check the fuzz bass solo on Pork Salad Annie. I
often hear drummers and bass players talk about how they
are, as the rhythm section, the backbone of whatever group
theyre playing with. While there is definitely truth to that
statement, I find that in the hard rock/heavy metal context,
the real engine is the rhythm guitar and drums. If either of
those elements are weak, I tend to not really care about the
bass playing, as Im usually just turning it off and moving on
to something else. To understand what Im talking about, just
watch some classic live footage of Page/Bonham, Townshend/
Moon, Van Halen/Van Halen or Hetfield/Ulrich and watch
how these guitarists and drummers all interact with each
other. And in all of those cases, there is a great bass player
laying down some creative and solid lines to provide the
mortar between the bricks, so to speak. The new Acid King
album is titled Middle Of Nowhere, Center Of Everywhere.

Jason Raso, Jason Raso Quartet

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the low down


Applied Improvisation
with Rockschool
Welcome to Rockschools new column, brought to
you by Joe Hubbard and Nik Preston. First UP, Joe
discusses The Music Connection

ll of the really cool rollercoasters of the world require you to be a

certain height before you can experience their awesomeness. Now,
in no way is this column as cool as a rollercoaster, but nevertheless,
Im imposing a certain restriction on those of you who are interested
in the material presented here. It doesnt matter what style you are
interested in playing, what type of bass you play or the techniques you are
drawn to. All that really matters is your determination to become a better
bass player an improvising bass player! So before I begin to fill that brain
of yours with all sorts of smart things, lets define what an improvising bass
player actually is.
Many aspiring bass players are led to believe that if you are improvising
then you are suddenly playing jazz. This couldnt be further from the truth!
This confusion exists because in order to play jazz you have to be able to
improvise, but the action of improvisation is not limited to any specific
style of music. Its common knowledge that iconic players such as James
Jamerson, Pino Palladino and Nate Watts improvise on hit records and live
performances. If this is nothing new to you, then feel free to walk tall, but if
you havent heard this rhetoric before, sit back and enjoy!
Before we can go any further, there are two concepts that we need
to understand. These are content and context. Content is comprised of
elements such as melody, rhythm, harmony, counterpoint and form, while
context is related to the style of music you are playing. The problem for
both aspiring and experienced players is trying to learn musical content by
way of learning a style. This approach doesnt always work for everyone.
So many students have approached me to learn styles such as Latin music,

only to find out that if they were well versed in syncopated rhythmic
patterns, they would have adapted very quickly to that style. The way that
many students improve the fastest is to learn musical content first and then
apply these concepts to tunes within the stylistic parameters that they are
interested in.
Many bass players are also trapped inside a motor-movement reality
where they forget the larger concern for musical value: instead, they
replace this with a desire for operating the bass guitar like a machine to the
best of their technical ability. Lets take a look at this in a different context: if
you were a novelist rather than a bass player, and measured your ability as
a writer by how fast you could type while ignoring the actual content of the
novel, most people wouldnt want to read your book. So how do we practise
to prevent this from happening?
There are many ways to get there and getting there is more than half
the fun! Every bass player I have met has dreamed of developing the skills
to play music at the speed of thought. In the following months, both Nik
Preston and I will guide you through a set of applied musical skills, which
will allow you to become an improvising bass player, regardless of your
stylistic preferences.
To illustrate this concept, if you look at Examples 1 to 3 youll notice
that these are content-isolated exercises, outlining a C7 chord with
chromatic approach notes, scale passing tones and diatonic approach notes.
Conversely, Example 4 demonstrates how this could be used in a soul and
funk context.
Discover more about popular music theory at

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redictably, gigging is a very important aspect of a Basschatters

life, and this is reflected in the way the forum has ongoing
threads dealing with playing
live from different points
of view. There is an entire
section, Gigs, where you can post
your forthcoming dates for the
attention of fellow Basschatters
who live nearby, and a subsection
for showing your bands live
photos and videos. General
Discussion carries long-running,
often highly entertaining threads.
How was your gig last
night? reveals a variety of
scenarios, from the funny to the
embarrassing to the downright
unpleasant. There are a couple of
recurrent apprehensive pre-gig
thoughts in the minds of those
who play in pubs or other small
venues: will the band have an
audience, or will we play to the

proverbial two men and a dog? And if the punters are actually there,
are they going to dance, or at least show a degree of interest in the
band? There are obviously other concerns as well, such as promotion,
logistics/load-in and out, payment, technical glitches, what the sound
will be like on stage and out front, and whether a bassist using a music
stand on stage will be mercilessly pilloried on Basschat the following
day. Despite all the above worries, most Basschatters consider their best
gigs to be not necessarily the ones where they play flawlessly, but those
where they (and usually also the punters) have the most fun.
Another, hilarious General Discussion thread is Funny things that
people say to you at gigs: punters comments can be mind-boggling as
well as side-splitting. Needless to say, alcohol is often a factor. Besides
the usual requests (often mid-song) by members of the audience to
sing with you or play your bands instruments, a punk covers band
receives a request for some Pet Shop Boys, a Thin Lizzy tribute band is
asked to play some Led Zep, a Red Hot Chili Peppers tribute is asked for
Metallica, and a Blondie tribute apparently had too many Blondie songs
in their setlist. Practically every single band regularly receives yelled
requests as if they were a juke-box or a DJ. Sometimes, the yells are of
misplaced disapproval: one band was asked to stop playing heavy metal
while halfway through a pretty faithful rendition of Suddenly I See by
KT Tunstall.
And yet, things can get surreal when you are complimented for
playing songs that were actually never in your setlist, or when Jimmy
Pages mum is in the audience, incognito, and you speak to her as if she
was a little old lady who might object to loud music. And then there is
the knowing punter who observes that your Fender looks weird (of
course it does, because its actually a headless Status). And the one who
describes a double bass player as a cellist. Another double bass player
is deemed way too short for his big violin, and yet another is asked if
he can play the instrument properly (with a bow, perhaps? The punter
never explained). Meanwhile, an electric bassist is, for some reason, not
fat enough to be a bassist in the first place.
The list could go on, but Basschatters have a sense of humour and
do their best to be impervious to insults; check out your local next time
theres a band on one of us may be on bass!



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the low down



mu page

Partnership agreements are essential when

youre working with other musicians with a
view to profit, say the MU
Am I in a partnership?
The Partnership Act 1890 defines a partnership as two or more
individuals carrying on a business in common with a view of profit. If
you are sharing income and debts, then the broad view is that you are in
a partnership.
It matters because the law wasnt written with bands in mind. So
where there is no written agreement (and sometimes even where there
is), the Partnership Act could still affect you.
What do partnership agreements cover?
Partnership agreements should set out the partnership activities, such
as who owns any rights created in the process (in songs, recordings or
videos, for example), who owns the band name, who owns the website,
what are the financial arrangements (are all partners shares equal?),
what happens when a member leaves, and what are individual or group
assets, such as the PA, instruments, van and so on. They should also set
out how key decisions, like the appointment of a manager, are to be made.
They can also be used in creative ways to reflect your group wishes.
For example, your group may decide to share publishing income in a
different ratio to the copyright ownership for certain songs, or for the
duration of the group.
Thats not all, and we strongly recommend you seek expert advice
on the legal, tax and other implications of any band or other working
arrangements that may be affected.

Why do you need one?

It makes financial and artistic sense it could affect your income,
and your control over your own destiny. The Partnership Act means
that any member of the band has the authority to bind the rest of his
or her partners and to incur debts in the name of the partnership.
So having a partnership agreement could protect you from some
almighty costs.
You may find your own instrument and any equipment becomes
a band asset when you join, and not yours to take away if you leave.
A partnership agreement can protect your instrument and gear. Any
band name will be treated as one of the assets of the partnership and,
unless there is an agreement to the contrary, it is owned by all of the
members of the partnership equally so you may not be able to keep
on using it without permission.
It can be helpful to know what happens to these kinds of
assets from the start, and you can set that out definitively in your
partnership agreement.
Any income earned by members of the band from musical
activities outside the group may be treated as band income under
the Act and be liable to be shared accordingly. You can prevent that
with a partnership agreement, and keep the money you earn as an
individual. And be aware that if the group disbands, you might still
have to play any booked gigs or find yourself in breach of contract if
you cancel them.
Ultimately, not having a partnership agreement could open you
up to potentially massive financial, logistic and artistic issues which
you may not be able to resolve to your satisfaction without expensive
litigation. These is likely to be far more expensive, time-consuming
and stressful than getting an agreement drawn up in the first place.
Dont panic!
You can talk to us. Our Partnership Advisory Service can help make
sure you get a fair deal. We can even draft a partnership agreement
for you, free of charge if all members of the partnership belong to the
MU or join. For details, contact your regional office.
MU members get access to a range of career development advice. If
youre considering a change, contact your regional office and book
a one-to-one with your MU official for bespoke advice. For general
advice and more information about how to join the Union, please visit

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iM a FirM
tHat tHe Best
PraCtiCe is

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divinity roxx

Ladies and gentlemen, meet one of planet earths funkiest
bassists divinity roxx. Mike Brooks says hello
Photography by eckie
ne of the high points of this years
London Bass Guitar Show was a
fiery performance by the
dreadlocked whirlwind, Miss
Divinity Roxx, or Deborah Walker
to her friends and family. Those
not familiar with her previous
work on the Words And Tones, Live In America and Soul
Circus albums by Victor Wooten and Little Worlds by
Bela Fleck & The Flecktones were left with an indelible
impression burnt into their consciousness following her
masterclass and main stage appearances. With her band
in tow, she performed like a whirling dervish, delivering
a hypnotic mix of hip-hop, funk, rock and groove. This
lady means what she plays, as her passionate delivery
illustrates. Everyone should play from the heart, she
tells BGM backstage. My heart is pounding with
passion. I know I can come across aggressive thats so
funny, I get it. I was told that I came across aggressive
when I performed here and when I watched the video,
I had to agree!
For many, this will have been their first opportunity
to see Divinity perform, particularly as the focal point of
her own band. Shes often filled the bassist/sideperson
role, most notably for Beyonc Knowles from 2006
through to 2011, appearing on several DVDs and albums
including The Beyonc Experience Live, I Am... Sasha Fierce
and Irreplaceable: Live At Glastonbury. However, being the
bandleader carries with it some very different demands.
Does she have a preference for one over the other?
With a wry smile, Divinity replies, It depends on the
overall situation. I enjoy being a sideperson because I
enjoy playing bass, I just love it, so I love being on the
side, jamming and doing my thing, you know. I really
enjoy being a bass player, but theres another part of me,
the artist, inside of me and theres a lyricist, this person
who has something to say to the world and something
to express. The only way I can get to do that is to be the
frontperson in my band. So when Im being a bass player,
thats when you see the split personality, because the
other personality starts nudging on me, so I have to have
a moment where both of those things come together. I

enjoy being just the frontperson too, with no bass guitar!

Thats always fun because thats what I was before I
still like to get on the mic and spit rhymes and perform.
Prior to her appearances at the London Bass Show,
Divinity embarked on a European tour with her band, so
the musicians were in perfect shape for their sets at the
show, as was clearly evident to those in attendance. Yet
even the best-laid plans can present their own pitfalls,
as Divinity explains. We did two weeks, 14 shows in
17 days, which was tiring but I got my chops up. I like
that because when youre playing every night, you just
get tighter and tighter as a band, and as a unit you start
exploring things that you werent exploring before. Im
a firm believer that the best practice is onstage: basically
every night, Im practising onstage in front of people.
The band evolves through that process.
She adds: The crazy thing about this tour was that
we only rehearsed for a week, and everything was going
wrong in rehearsals. We did this show with tracks so

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that I could have some backing vocals. I love a power

trio, but for me, when Im doing all the vocals and
playing bass, I need help with the vocals sometimes. So
we had backing tracks and nothing worked! When we
left rehearsal, I was like Man, Im not sure that we have
a show, were about to go and play and everything is
like horrible!, but sometimes when you have the worst
rehearsals it makes for the best shows because youre
not in your comfort zone and everyone is on their toes.
Nevertheless, the shows were warmly received, unlike
the weather that followed them across continental
Europe throughout January. Audiences took Divinity by
surprise with their familiarity with some of the material
she performed. She takes up the story. The audiences
were great everywhere. When we talked about doing the
shows, I hadnt put out a new record since The Roxx Boxx
Experience in 2012. I didnt get an opportunity to go to
these places with that album or with Aint No Other Way
back in 03, but I was thinking Maybe no one will show

i GreW uP in a reaLLy
MusiCaL HouseHoLd.
aLtHouGH noBody PLayed
an instruMent, MusiC Was
aLWays PLayinG
up!, and I went out there and people were excited. So
that was really encouraging: people were coming out and
having fun and everybody left feeling so good. That was
the thing that I dug most.
People were buying the CDs and they were jamming
and having a good time, and thats hard when youre
playing songs that people dont necessarily know. We
dont have that big hit on the radio so its not like when
we start playing that people can sing along. But when
we played the new single, We Are, people were starting
to sing it. When we would break it down and people
would sing the chorus, it was like Wow, you guys know
it already, but it moved them to do that. People would
come up and say Man, I really feel good, you lifted up
my spirit. The best compliment I had was from a guy at
the last show we did. He came up to me at the end and
said My father-in-law is dying, and you just lifted me
up so high to where it doesnt bring me down now. That
was pretty special.
So lets wind back a bit. With such a passion for music,
would we be right in assuming Divinity was surrounded
by music from an early age? She nods, saying: I grew
up in a really musical household. Although nobody
played an instrument, music was always playing. All
the Marvin Gaye tunes, Luther Vandross, Anita Baker,
Parliament and James Brown, Prince, Michael Jackson
and Janet Jackson... My mum was into hip-hop in some
weird way, so I would go through her albums and her
box of tapes and I would find Slick Rick, Biz Markie and
Doug E. Fresh, all these hip-hop records. At the time I
wasnt a bass player but I wish I had been, I would have
listened to those records totally differently. All those

bass-lines! So when I decided to start playing bass,

a friend brought me two CDs, A Show Of Hands by
Victor Wooten and The Sun Dont Lie by Marcus
Miller. I was like Really? What are these guys doing?
Once I picked up the bass, I went back to listen to all
the stuff from my childhood and tried to learn those
bass-lines. I knew all the lyrics, and all the words to
loads of songs, but I didnt know who the band or
artist was, so when stuff came on the radio, I was
singing along but listening too.
As for anyone starting out, the options available
when buying your first bass were not lost on the
young Roxx. Go with tried and trusted or opt for a
slightly flashier number? Weve all been there, as
Divinity can attest. I went to the music store and I
was like, I gotta get a Fender. Thats what everybody
thinks, you gotta get a Fender first. I picked one
up, it was heavy and not that interesting looking, a
black and white Fender and I was like Yeah, thats
cool, nothing special. Then I saw this sparkly red
Washburn... She bursts into laughter: Man, that bass
looked cool, so I picked that bass and that was my first
bass guitar. I dont know what happened to it, I may
have sold it or given it away, I really wish I hadnt
done that but I carved my initials into the back of it
so one day it might come back.
Nowadays, she has the backing of Warwick HQ,
with a custom shop at her disposal. That relationship
began when the ever-genial Jonas Hellborg
introduced her to Warwick amplification a few
years ago. I was walking through NAMM and Jonas
approached me, she recalls. We had met before
through Victor Wooten: he was like, Hey, come and
check this amp out. I went and played through it, and
I liked it. I wasnt with a company so I was like Yeah,
Ill play that amp, great, Ill take it on tour with me, but
I wasnt playing Warwick basses at that point. Then
they invited me to the factory and I loved the way
they felt, so we started talking about what I like about
basses. They were really, really willing to work with
me and get me what I wanted and needed. They were
attentive: companies I had been with before kind of
ignored me and didnt care about what I liked and
why, but Warwick did that. [Warwick owner] HansPeter Wilfer was so caring and funny and we clicked
immediately. I went through a bunch of different
basses, because I was looking for a bass for my own
character on the instrument: I think most bass players
go through that. Play a bunch of basses until you find
one that you can really express yourself through.
Did a specific model grab Divinitys attention from
the start? They have so many great basses but the
Streamer appealed to me, she answers. This bass
[Divinitys white Streamer Stage II] oh my God!
This is my favourite sounding bass: I really feel that
something has happened between me and this bass
guitar where I really come out of it. I know how to
dial in the sound that I want exactly and it feels great
when Im playing it. This white one is a bolt-on and
I really like it I can feel, and hear, the difference
between a bolt-on and a thru-neck. My Infinity is also
really cool but I feel like Im still getting to know it. I
describe it like this; some basses wrap around your
body, and some basses you have to try and wrap your
body around it. For some reason, every time I pick this
bass up, it melts into me, and I love that.

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divinity roxx

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divinity roxx

For soMe reason, every tiMe

i PiCK tHis Bass uP, it MeLts
into Me, and i Love tHat
With so many balls to juggle as a bandleader,
Divinity is as critical of her playing as the rest
of us are about our own but shes level-headed
enough to cut herself some slack if something isnt
quite clicking. I had an issue yesterday when I
was playing, she says, I was thinking, Damn, my
rhythm is really off today, what is wrong with me?,
but I had to fight through it and keep playing. You
have to fix it, figure out in your mind how to fix it
and go for it. I dont really worry about it. Touring
with Victor Wooten taught me that too. When you
think a show sucked, everyone loves it. My
advice to players starting out would be to play
as many different types of music as you
can, expand your musical vocabulary with
musical knowledge, listen to stuff that you
dont necessarily like and find something
in it. It will expand your brain. Play songs,
because song structure is really important,
especially if you want to become a songwriter.
Understand what other cats are doing: you
emulate other people first then you find your own
voice. As a rapper you do the same thing, you learn
everyone elses rhymes and verses and then you
start to have your own.
It looks like being a very busy 2015 for Divinity,
as she is quick to divulge. Theres a new album
in the pipeline called ImPossible, and weve been
thinking about starting a campaign. The song weve
just released is called We Are, and the concept of
that song is that there is so much happening
in the world thats pretty jacked up, and we
all complain about it the politics, money,
gas prices and war. I had a professor at college
called June Jordan who wrote a poem called We
Are The Ones We Have Been Waiting For which
said we are the only ones who can change what
were complaining about. If we shift some of our
mentality about what is going on in the world, by
helping each other in small ways, we can start this
random acts of kindness campaign, where you
just randomly do something great for somebody
something small, it doesnt matter what it is.
I helped an older lady at the airport the other
day to get her case across the street: it was
too heavy for her and no one was going to
help her, so I offered to help and she was
so grateful for that. She probably wouldnt
have expected someone like me to do
that so I think we can all do those kinds
of things to try and make life better for
Take heed readers this woman means


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it took tWo anD a haLF Months, PLaYinG

eVerY sinGLe DaY, to Get it riGht

Peter John Jackson plays Paul Mccartneys role with total precision in the
award-winning West end musical Let it Be. as he tells Joel Mciver, he even learned
to play bass left-handed in the interest of authenticity. now thats dedication...
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Peter John Jackson, Let it Be

ettle into your seat at Londons

Garrick Theatre and, as the lights
go down, four geezers with
moptop haircuts are revealed,
silhouetted against the backdrop
of the Cavern Club in Liverpool.
Bassist Peter John Jackson leads
the band into I Saw Her Standing There. His impression
of Paul McCartney is uncanny: playing a left-handed
Hofner with a pick, singing and bobbing his locks
around in the patented Macca manner, Jackson delivers
an impression of the great man of which even Rory
Bremner would be proud.
From his confident performance, youd never know
that Jackson was quivering with nerves a few seconds
ago. When youre sitting in the audience, watching
the build-up on screen, he tells BGM in a backstage bar
after the show, thats also the build-up for us on stage. I
get stage nerves every night. After all, the opening onetwo-three-four before I Saw Her Standing There has to
be the greatest count-in of all time!
Hes got that absolutely right and Let It Be, as the
show has been called since it launched in 2012, doesnt
stop there. Its an ambitious production, for what is
essentially a straight stage performance plus some
between-song humour and audience participation.
Jackson and his three colleagues cover various scenarios
(and costume changes) from the Cavern and Hamburg
days, via the Royal Variety Performance of 1963 and the
psychedelia of Sgt Pepper through to the Get Back era
and the Beatles split. Along the way, Jackson is required
to do the most work of any of the band-members.
Theres so much going on: its a unique role, he tells us.
I get to play bass, guitar and piano, and I sing lead and
harmony vocals.
The show covers a mighty 42 songs: you try doing
that at your next gig. Then try doing it four times a
week, which is what Jackson does out of Let It Bes eight
weekly performances. Hes even taken his dedication
to the role as far as learning to play bass left-handed.
To our total admiration, Jackson chose to do this out
of a desire to get the part completely right, rather than
because the producers suggested he do so.
There was nothing in the contract that said I had to
play left-handed, he chuckles. It took two and a half
months, playing every single day, to get it right. Why
did I do it? Well, Id read the shows reviews, and some
people would say, We had a great night, but the guy
playing McCartney was right-handed. Other people
would get a bit narky and say, When did McCartney
become right-handed? More importantly, when the
curtain goes up at the beginning and its the Cavern
scene, the band are really just silhouettes, and it could be
any band if its just three right-handed guitarists at the
front. When you have the guitar necks sticking out to
left and right like wings, you know its the Beatles.
So how did Jackson go about switching picking
hands? The first time I tried to do it, I couldnt even get
into the strap it felt so strange. It was like putting a tie
on backwards! Playing the actual lines wasnt too much
of a problem, because I knew where they were on the
fretboard, but stretching between frets with my right
hand was a bit more difficult and picking the strings
with a plectrum in my left hand was the hardest thing
of all. Being spatially aware of where the strings are is
something you take for granted with your usual hand.

He continues: Anyway, I played every day until I

couldnt play any more, because my brain was fried.
The next day Id do it all again, until one day I noticed I
was finally hitting the right notes. I was still a long way
off playing something like I Saw Her Standing There,
though... Perseverance and practice are basically what
it takes. Being able to switch a guitar from right to left is
always a great party trick!
Aged 33, Jackson has been a full-time musician
for the last six years, although hes been playing
sessions and in bands for much longer than that. Like
everybody, I got started in a school band, he recalls. I
always liked rocknroll, and the Beatles were always
there. Abbey Road was my first album that was mine,
if you like, that belonged to me. I was hooked from then
on. My band played rocknroll covers by Little Richard,
Chuck Berry, Eddie Cochran and the Beatles, especially
the early stuff and the Hamburg songs. I started on
guitar but quickly moved to bass, and I fell in love with
it: I really loved being able to play melodies and rhythms
as well as singing. I guess my influences back then were
Free, Cream, the Who, and Rosco Levee as well as the
Beatles and Wings.
He adds: After college I put together a band called
the Delaners, which released a couple of singles and
toured in 2006 to 07. We were lucky enough to do some
recording at Wheeler End Studios in High Wycombe,
where they have a Mellotron and all the flutes from
Strawberry Fields and so on.
Theatre came calling while Jackson was working
on his own albums, he recalls. I was recording my
own material in 2009, and a friend of mine called me
up. He was working on a really successful show called
Rockin On Heavens Door, which was touring the UK
at the time. He told me that the guy who played Eddie
Cochran in the show was ill, and asked me to come and

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Peter John Jackson, Let It Be

stand in, because he knew I liked rocknroll and I had an

orange Cochran Gretsch guitar. I hadnt done any acting
at this point, just a few sessions and bands. The first time
I stepped on stage, at the Manchester Opera House, I was
shaking with nerves, but they asked me to come back for
more shows and after that they asked me to join. I loved
it straight away and I embraced it. Theatre is great fun.
Another show followed where I played Johnny Cash,
he continues, although I had to train my voice to drop as
low down as his. Then one of the guys from that show,
Stephen Hill, left to do Let It Be, which had just started,
to play George Harrison. Six months later I bumped
into him and he told me they were auditioning for Paul
McCartneys part. I sent the MD a video of me singing Till
There Was You, which was probably terrible, but I got the
part. That was in September 2013 and they gave me two
weeks to prepare...
Be under no illusion about those McCartney bass
parts: almost without exception, they contain runs and
fills which everyone knows, and high in the mix as his
bass is, Jackson is in deep trouble if he gets one wrong.
Its understandable, then, that in that two-week period of
grace, he took the concept of doing your homework to
an entirely new level. I watched the show every night, to
get it into my head, he remembers. All of a sudden, my
job had become watching the Beatles! I studied everything
about them, and listened to Maccas isolated bass tracks on
Youtube. Fortunately I already loved the songs and I knew
most of the bass parts.
Nonetheless, the job of mimicking McCartney on bass
was tricky, and thats before Jackson even addressed the

guitar, piano and vocal parts. It took me hours to get the

fills completely right! he sighs. I learned so much music
that Id thought Id been doing right, but I wasnt: I had it
wrong. The original Macca from the show, a guy called
Emanuele Angeletti, showed me some lines, but it was still
difficult. We used to do Ticket To Ride in the show, and
we were trying to figure out if he plays a D or a G in one of
the sections and it turns out that he plays both notes in a
chord, hence the argument about which one it is.
Gear-wise, Jackson is just as thorough as youd expect,
lining up the most authentic gear for the role. In the first
third or so of Let It Be he plays a Hofner violin bass, just as
youd expect. As he explains: I had a right-handed Hofner
anyway, but when I switched to left-handed playing I
contacted Hofner and told them that I wanted to swap
my right-handed basses for left-handed ones. They really
accommodate their players, and so they said yes. They also
send me strings and books and so on, which is great and I have a little feature on their
website as a Hofner artist, next to McCartney, which was funny.
When the show moves into the Beatles psych era, day-glo costumes and all, Jackson
switches to a pair of Rickenbackers, of course sourced with great care to represent the
correct model. I have a 2006 4001 C64S, which they call the Wings bass, he says. Its
very rare: Ive only seen another two in that natural finish. Theyre quite easily located in
right-handed form, but lefties are almost impossible to find. I got mine from a collector of
left-handed basses. He didnt want to sell it at first, but I kept bugging him!
He continues: And then I have a 1999 Fireglo 4001 V63 PMC the PMC indicates the
Paul McCartney add-on. When you specify the PMC in your order, they give you the
right-handed headstock on the left-handed body: the truss rod cover is also wonky. Again,
thats really rare: Ive only seen a couple around the world. The guy in the Bootleg Beatles
has got one, or at least something very similar, and another guy who plays in an American
band called the Fab Four has got one too.
I found mine when we were on tour in Europe, playing the Circus Krone in Munich,
where the Beatles played in 1966 now that was an experience! They put us in their
dressing room, and then we went down and played the same gig that they played. While
I was there, a friend of mine emailed me and told me that hed seen the Ricky on US eBay,
so I had to get it. All the basses for the show have flatwound strings: with roundwounds,
they sound nothing like McCartney.
As for amps, there may be a vintage-looking Vox amp up on stage but its not doing
anything, Jackson explains. McCartney had a Vox T.60 transistor amp for a while, he
says, but it kept getting too hot, so he moved through various Voxes. He even used an
AC30 guitar amp for a while, plugged into his bass cab. We cant do that, though, so all the
bass sounds are programmed for each song.
We wonder what Sir Paul himself would make of the show but according to Jackson,
he hasnt yet looked down and seen the man himself sitting in the front row... yet. That
would be terrifying! he says, quite plausibly. Makes your bands next show at the Dog &
Duck in Peterborough seem pretty easy, doesnt it?


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Another Fine Messe

Steve Harvey heads to Frankfurt to report on Europes biggest MI show

ast month, Frankfurt Musikmesse Europes largest trade show

opened its doors to more than 108,000 visitors, who were
greeted by all manner of instruments, amplification and
accessories presented by 2,257 exhibitors. Bass Guitar Magazine
was there, pounding the corridors while shunning the
distraction of wheat beer, to bring you highlights of the most
exciting gear for the world of bass.
First up is a new range of bass combos from Swiss-based Schertler, a company
who in recent years has built an enviable reputation for high-quality, high-fidelity
amps in the acoustic guitar market. Schertler are now turning their attention to
bass amplification, kicking off with three all-new combos; the B10, the B12 and B15.
The numeric value in each products name refers to the size of the woofer and each
unit offers 300, 400 and 500 watts respectively. Schertler has focused on balancing
portability with performance with the combos weighing in at 18kg, 21kg and 24kg, as
well as being loaded with Class A, transistor, NFB pre-amps. These stylish amps are set
to be popular for those sufficiently well-heeled to consider purchasing one.
Elixir Strings chose Musikmesse to launch its improved and extended range of
bass guitar strings. As it did with acoustic guitar strings a couple of years ago, Elixir
embarked on a programme of extensive field-testing last year, engaging over 1000
bass players from around the world. The goal was to redevelop and improve the
protective Nanoweb coating. Elixir claims the resulting range of nickel plated steel
and stainless steel strings provide greater durability, response and grip during hardhitting attacks. String tension profiles have also been optimised which will offer
greater flexibility and feel.
Bass amplification giants Ampeg launched what it describes as, The most bassfriendly DI ever created the SCR-DI. The unit combines a classic Ampeg preamp,

EQ pedal and overdrive stompbox. The SCR-DI also

features a headphone out and aux in for practising
along with your favourite backing tracks. Surely a
must for the regular gigger.
Vintage was showing the V90 Series basses, which
come loaded with hybrid Wilkinson WJMB-N and
WJMB-B pickups. The V90 also features a rosewood
fingerboard, an adjustable Wilkinson WBBC bridge
and chrome hardware. Coming in around the 250260 mark, the V90 is a great first upgrade bass and is
available in pearl white or candy apple red.
Orange Amplification used Musikmesse for the
European launch of the new OB1 series of class A/B
rack-mountable bass amplifier heads. Capitalising on
the trend for bass players to combine the overdrive
from a guitar amp with the traditional clean tone of a
bass amp, Orange asked, Why take two amps to a gig
when you could take just one? (On which note, the
eagle-eyed visitor to this years London Bass Guitar
Show would have seen Mark King combine his TC rig
with a Mesa Boogie Mk V guitar amp). The OB1 is a
bi-amp with a footswitchable blend circuit which adds
a veneer of controllable gain and increased harmonic
content to the upper registers of the input signal. The
lower frequencies and clean signal are left untouched,
as they would be with a dual-amp set up. The OB1


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is available in both 300 and 500 watt versions, each

featuring balanced DI and line level outputs, as well as the
funky pics only styling. The 300-watt version weighs
9.5kg, the 500-watt version 10.1kg.
Markbass continued the trend for powerful microheads by launching the Nano Mark 300, the Little Mark
Ninja and the Bass Multiamp. The Nano Mark 300 is
Markbasss smallest head to date and has been designed
with ultimate portability in mind, measuring only 20cm
wide. Functionality is simple with six rotary controls
(Gain, Low, Mid Low, Mid High, High and Master), an
input and on/off switch.
The Little Mark Ninja, as used by Richard Bona,
packs a whopping 1000 watts thanks to the installation
of MBPT (Markbass Proprietary Technology). Again,
portability is top-notch, with the unit fitting easily into
a standard rucksack. For the gigging musician, particularly someone in a function band,
having a multitude of sounds to hand is a real godsend. The Multiamp offers a vast array
of virtual bass amps modern and vintage studio and stompbox effects, speaker cabs
and microphones, all in a tidy, rack-mountable package. Markbass reports that firmware
updates, new items and tones will continue to be released and will be available for
download/upload later this year.
EBS launched a host of new products, among which is the lightweight Magni 500
bass combo series a complete new line of professional bass combos based on the award
winning Reidmar amp design. The Magni 500 is available in two configurations, the 210
(2x10 plus tweeter) and the 115 (1x15 plus tweeter). Both use an amp section consisting of
an all-analogue preamp with a lightweight power amp section, feature a balanced XLR
output with ground lift, and come with a protective cover.
EBS also released a batch of new and improved effects pedals under the Black Label
banner. With new livery, the six new and revised
pedals (MultiComp, DynaVerb, UniChorus,
OctaBass, MetalDrive and MultiDrive)
boast sonic improvements and design
features including jumbo-sized LED
lights, improved protection against
electrical spikes and surges, a change
from 9v to 12v DC power and optimised
signals for studio use.
While the Winter NAMM in
California is undoubtedly the place
where the majority of the forthcoming
years gear is released, the raft of gear
released at this years Musikmesse
proves that Frankfurt remains a key
date in the bass players calendar. In
case you fancy it, the organisers have
recently announced that next years
show will be open to the public across all
four days. You could catch a nine oclock
flight, spend the day at the show, and
still be back home for Later With Jools
Holland just a thought.


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Legendary bassist Doug Wimbish brings his Wimbash

event to Ramsgate. Ellen OReilly dives into the moshpit

m sure many BGM readers are already familiar with the

virtuoso bass playing of Doug Wimbish: hes played many
a trade show including the recent London Bass Guitar
Show and is world renowned for his work with Lauryn
Hill, Living Colour, the Rolling Stones and Depeche Mode
to a name a few. However, he also has his own venture
known as the Wimbash and its so much more than your
average music festival...
Doug has already organised one Wimbash here in the UK, and it was a
roaring success so when he came back over for round two, I hopped on the
train to Ramsgate for the event and met the man himself. It all started about
13 years ago, he tells me. I had been living in London and New York, and
I went back to my hometown of Hartford, Connecticut. A friend told me to
check out a place called Sullys, because they had live music there seven nights
a week. I became mates with the owner, and he said if I ever wanted to do
something just to let him know, so that conversation went on for a while.
Then Skip McDonald, who got me into the music business, was due to come
home for a few months, so I decided to throw him a welcome home party. Now
there were lots of musicians there who I grew up playing with, who are older
and have kids and had become weekend warriors. So Skip was coming home
for a long overdue visit and I thought, Well, if you have someone as great as
Skip and were getting together in our hometown, lets embrace some of the
kids that are up-and-coming so I started asking around about local bands. I

called in some favours and I got Living Colour

and Tackhead to play. It was almost like holding a
family reunion.
A spelling mistake by a hotel in Germany
gave Doug his title for this initial party, which
fortunately for us has grown and continues to
grow, The first event ended up being 10 bands,
two stages and we ran it all day. It just grew from
word of mouth. Some guys were there at the first
one from Rock House DVD and they were like,
We want to bring this to NAMM. They were
cool because they were making DVDs and were
in among all these guitar and amp companies
that are out at NAMM, so we thought that was
perfect. I managed to get some of the LA folks and
the cats that were at NAMM to participate. We
got the party room at the Hilton Hotel and put on
our first NAMM Wimbash. Lots of artists started
to reach out to me to bring the Wimbash to their
hometowns, and it went viral.
Since its inception 13 years ago, the Wimbash
has started to spread out across the globe. Doug
has taken his festival series to the Caribbean and
all across the United States. The Wimbash also has
an educational element to it, he tells us. There
were some old friends of mine who had relocated
to the Dominican Republic and become connected
to the DREAM project, which stands for
Dominican Republic Education And Mentoring,
and I got a call to bring Wimbash over there. We
would have clinics on during the day: Id bring my
attorney down there to teach the kids about law
and my accountant to teach them about money.
Weve also teamed up with the School Of Rock
and since then every Wimbash outside the UK
has had a School Of Rock chapter playing. When
you see kids there playing and nailing it, it really
rounds everything out. My vibe is, leave your ego
at the door and lets have a conversation: all it
takes is one conversation to make a big difference
in someone elses life.
With that in mind, I made my way to a
spot in the crowd to witness the Wimbash for
myself: Doug opened the show with one of his
legendary loop bass solo pieces, and then got the
rest of his fellow players up Skip McDonald,
Jennie Bellestar and legendary producer Adrian
Sherwood. Doug also used a local drummer and
called the Northern Irish singer-songwriter
Seraphim Kelly to the stage. Doug and the guys
played sensitively for his performance, which
was followed by singer Loretta Haywood. Mark
Stewart of the Pop Group then took the stage
and performed with all his trademark fervour,
while Doug and the band created an almost
dubstep dance vibe which complemented his
style perfectly.
After jams with Skip McDonald and local
musicians, the night finished off with Jennie
Bellestar taking to the stage to perform some
dubstep tunes which were so bass-heavy one of
the speakers in the in-house PA system blew!
Doug and his wife Diane have big plans for
the future they want to be able to bring the
Wimbash around the world and to a town near
you. Ill be there: will you?


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FM bassist Merv Goldsworthy tells Joel Mciver

that rock is eternal and so is bass
Photography: Marty Moffat

lassic rock has enjoyed a commercial rebirth over the last decade
or so, thanks to the emergence of a new demographic of rock fan
too young for the Beatles and too old for Slipknot. One of the
bands whose recent return to form has been more welcome than
most is FM, the Midlands-based band who were one of this
countrys biggest rock hopes in the 1980s and some of the 90s. A
UK tour recently saw the band, featuring founder member Merv
Goldsworthy on bass, limber up for the release of their new album, Heroes And
Villains, which is scooping critical acclaim as we speak.
Theres plenty for Merv to look forward to, but over a curry with him and BGM
writer Lieutenant Dave Clarke, the great man looked back at how he got started on
bass, way back when. I was in Diamond Head, he tells us, and my very first gig was
at Donington, in front of 82,000 people, the year that Whitesnake headlined and
Twisted Sister played!
Not a bad way to get started, we point out. Yes! he laughs, and then FMs first gig
was supporting Meat Loaf in Munich for 7,000 people. That was how we came out
of the blocks. And then we went on tour with Black Sabbath! It was the tour with Ian
Gillan singing, and the Stonehenge set. The drum riser was on a rock, and every day
two crew members dressed
as druids would come
out and open up the rock
and lights would blind
the audience. But none
of them wanted to do it
because the robes were
really itchy
Imagine me, a
kid from a band in
Blackpool, on this
tour, he adds. It was
a shambles, basically,
because it wasnt really Sabbath. But as the first tour Id ever been on, it was a massive
eye-opener for me. The first gig was in Barcelona and we all went out to dinner
together. Geezer Butler set one of the waiters on fire with his lighter!
Looking even further back, Merv explains that his desire to play bass was
triggered by a friendship with a particular late legend. Im a massive Thin Lizzy
fan, he says. I saw Phil Lynott and I thought, hes just fantastic, I want to do that!
He was a god among men: the real deal. Meeting him felt like meeting Jimi Hendrix.
I knew Phil for the last two years of his life, and he wasnt in a great way, but he
never let me down in any way. FM supported Gary Moore on tour and he got up and
played with Gary on stage. I remember once I was staying round at his house and
he knocked on the bedroom door and said, Youve got to get up, FM have got a Tina
Turner tour in America!
Those heady days lasted for FM across a decade and five albums, until fashions
changed and AOR music suddenly seemed as cool as platform shoes. We got hit with
the grunge bomb in the 90s, recalls Merv with a chuckle, and there was no point in
carrying on. I was living in Seattle at the time, to make it even worse! Id seen all those
bands Alice In Chains and Mother Love Bone and so on and I had no idea that it
was going to explode like it did. When FM stopped I joined a covers band: weve done
over 3,000 gigs, but FM has really taken off since we came back in 2007.

it was a shaMBles, BasiCally, BeCause

it wasnt really saBBath. But as the
First tour id ever Been on, it was a
Massive eye-oPener For Me

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Merv Goldsworthy, FM

Bass Guitar Magazine 037

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Merv Goldsworthy, FM

Asked about his collection of basses,

Merv explains: Ive got about 10 basses,
all five-strings or converted from
four to five strings. I started out on a
Yamaha BB5000, which were the first
five-strings to come in the country in
about 1986. They had really tight string
spacing and I played them for years as
a Yamaha endorsee. Then I got to the
point where I wanted a change, but I realised there was
nothing on the market with that string spacing.
He recalls: I played five-a-side football for the
Bass Centre back then, so Id go over to Wapping
every Wednesday. There were hundreds of basses
in that shop, but still nothing that was right for
me. Then I met Martin at the Gallery, and theres
nothing that he cant do, basically. I had three Gibson
Thunderbirds, converted them to five strings and
played them for a long time. I loved their sound but
they were a big old lump, with a big case that wont
quite go in your car, and you cant stand them up
because youve got to have a special stand. But the
tone is amazing, and I was looking for that tone, so
I tried a Les Paul bass and we put T-Bird pickups on
it. We did four of those. Ive got small hands, so the
nut width is 40mm and the spacing is 15mm. On the

we Got hit with the GrunGe BoMB in the 90s, and

there was no Point in CarryinG on. i was livinG
in seattle at the tiMe, to MaKe it even worse!
new album I used one of my Les Pauls. Theyre a bit
heavy for live, but I dont want to get them cavitiedout because that might alter the sound. Theyre
Wait surely Merv isnt paying full whack for
these things? No indeed, and heres a tip that makes
us want to give him his own bass-building column
in this magazine. I get a donor body off eBay, strip it
completely, and then Martin does the rest, he says.
Theres usually one bass in production, one being
stripped and one that Im playing at the same time. You
can get the bodies from anywhere between 300 and
400 if theyre stripped. Ive got the bass of my dreams
off Martin many times over, so its like an ongoing
hobby now! Living the dream, that man

Heroes And Villains is out now. Info:

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040 Bass Guitar MaGazine

lee sklar

the mighty lee sklar has played more stadiums, with more megastars, than
most of us could hope to dream of and yet hes still the nicest man in rock
Words: Mike Brooks Photography: eckie
s a breed, bass players tend to be
tucked away at the back, cast in the
shadows. Yet this man is instantly
recognisable, both visually
thanks to the greatest beard in
music, bar none and musically.
When I told my niece I was
interviewing Lee Sklar, her response was Hes the guy
that plays for Phil Collins... and Toto... and Richard
Marx... does he play for everyone? In a word, yes!
Theres no denying that Sklar has covered serious
ground since the mid-60s: a look at his list of credits is
enough to put even the busiest session player to shame.
But not only has he forged a career as an A-list, first call
studio bassist, hes also the go to player for many artists
and bands when it comes to touring, the archetypal
sideman who gets the job done time and again. Sklars
first major break came as part of James Taylors band:
did Lee foresee the musical journey he was about to
embark on?
I had always been in bands since I was a kid, he says,
but I never really thought I would make a career out of
it.When I met James Taylor, I was a student in college

i DOnt iMPOse MYselF On a sOnG: iVe

Been luCkY tHat MY instinCts seeM tO
WOrk anD PeOPle HaVe Been HaPPY WitH
WHat iVe COMe uP WitH
and was thinking about a career as an illustrator. I had
only been in the studio one time in 1967 when I was in
a band called Group Therapy, and we werent allowed to
play, only sing. I met James when I was in a band called
Wolfgang, and we cut some demos but that was the
extent of my studio work.
He adds: I never really pursued studio work, but
when James hit it big, suddenly singer-songwriters were
being signed to record companies and when they looked
at JTs album, they saw myself and [guitarist] Russ
Kunkel on there and hired us. Overnight, I was doing a
couple of sessions every day, six days a week, with more
work than we could fit in. It totally blew my mind. So I
had to get it together and figure out how studios really
worked. There were still all the guys from the Wrecking
Crew working, and suddenly I was with them: a few
years before I was looking through a window at them!
Yet, if I had to make a choice between live work and
studio work, I would always choose live work. Im so
happy that I have never had to choose one or the other.
Having performed on over 2,500 albums and on
somewhere in the region of 22,000 songs, how does
Sklar approach each studio call? Is it difficult to remain

fresh and alert after so many years working in studios?

The numbers sound impressive, he replies, but each
one is an individual experience and thats all I think
about. We used to be hired for full album projects
and we might be in the studio for a week or more, but
nowadays they might cut a couple of songs so you
spend a day or two and then youre gone or it might
just be one day. I always liked having the time to go
beyond what was a fine performance of a song and
find something special, but those days are pretty much
gone. Budgets are limited, and they want you in and
out quickly. I love working, but its a drag that time has
become such an issue.
With such a wealth of experience to draw on, across
so many musical genres, how does Lee construct his
bass parts in the studio? The most important thing is to
listen to the song and see what it wants of you, he says.
I dont impose myself on a song: Ive been lucky that my
instincts seem to work and people have been happy with
what Ive come up with. Im always logging ideas, both
mine and others, and I do draw from them. I dont like to
be repetitive but if something works and it fits, I use it! I
face different demands every day, and different styles of
music The job requires being on your toes all the time,
thats what I love and hate about it!
How does he deal with musical roadblocks in an
environment where time is money? Its just experience.
As a studio player, youre not allowed to be blocked.
If youre in a band and things arent going well, you
might say, Lets get some pizza and see a movie and
come back tomorrow. My world isnt that! Theres a
blank canvas in front of you, and its expected that
therell be a masterpiece on it at the end of the day. Its
really a stressful gig but I love it. There have been many
times where I wish Id been in a successful band and
only really had to know our music, but Im constantly
having to create and learn new material which can be
Does Lee have a practice regime? I really dont
practise very much, he admits. I stay busy enough to
keep my chops up, I listen a lot to be aware of whats
current and try to assimilate as much as I can. Most
of the time, I have no idea what kind of music Ill be
working on, so I have to be ready when I walk in the
door to jump head first into it. On my way to a job, I say
to myself Please dont suck! You want to do the best job
you can, and hope theyre happy at the end of the day.
Despite wearing many musical hats, Sklar has a tone
all of his own. His feel, choice of notes and bass parts
set him apart from many players, which is why so
many producers and artists turn to him for his talents. I
wondered if he had consciously worked on this over the
years. His response is expectedly modest: It was never a
conscious thing, its just what I do. Im not an intellectual
player,more of a fly by the seat of your pants player.
I use the same bass when playing with Billy Cobham,
Phil Collins, James Taylor, a country artist or a movie
or jingle. I seem to have found a common-denominator
sound and style that seems to have a signature and style

Bass Guitar MaGazine 041

that goes with it. Ive had so many people over the
years ask if I played on a certain song, because they
were sure it was me, and it was. I dont really get it,
but if it works, dont fix it!
Lets talk gear I really only use about six basses,
says the great man, and pretty much do 90 per cent
of my work with three of them. Im not a collector.
I have a personal attachment to a couple of basses
but my gear is off the shelf. If you buy a Warwick
Starbass II or my signature Dingwall, it is exactly the
same as mine.
Followers of Sklars career will have seen him
toting a Fender hybrid, covered in scrawl. Only
one person can lift the lid on it: It was an idea that
could have sucked hugely, but ended up being one of
the best instruments Ive ever played, he explains.
It was built by John Carruthers when he was the
repair guy at Westwood Music in LA. The body was
made by Charvel, an alder P-Bass body. I went to
their factory and thumped a dozen bodies until I
heard one that resonated beautifully, that was the
body for me. I had a 62 P-Bass neck but I prefer
Jazz necks, so we stripped and reshaped it into
the configuration of a 62 Jazz. I asked John to use
mandolin fretwire: he didnt think it would be good,
but I said Ill pay you for another fret job if it doesnt
work and it was fabulous!
He continues: The fingering feels much smoother,
you can allude to a fretless sound. John thought the
frets might wear out faster, but Ive used that bass
on 85 per cent of all the work Ive done since 1973
and Im only on my third re-fret. I have a prototype
Hipshot D-tuner on the E string. This made my life
with James easier as many of his songs are in drop
D tuning. It has a Badass bridge, and the pickups
are EMGs, among the first ones Rob Turner made. I
have two split-coil pickups placed where Jazz pickups
would normally go and reversed their position.
As for the signatures on the body, Sklar says: In
1982, the LA Dodgers won the World Series and we
went into the studio with them and did Queens We
Are The Champions. They were signing baseballs
and I said Sign my bass! That started the autographs
on it: many have come and gone over the years as its
not coated. There are over 100 on there, from Joan
Baez to George Lucas to Eric Clapton. Its been a great
workhorse, nothing fancy and its never failed me. I
still use it about half the time. So between that bass,
my Dingwall and my Warwick Starbass II, they keep
me running.
Asked how his connection with Euphonic Audio
materialised, Sklar explains: I was at a NAMM Show
in LA and there were a bunch of guys just slapping
their hearts out. Whatever! I was hearing all this and
didnt see any amps. I looked around and saw two
little boxes with a single 8 speaker in each one, and
this is what the guys were playing through. A bass
rig that could fit in a suitcase. I did a gig here in town,
and it was the smallest thing on stage, but it filled the
Santa Monica Auditorium. I was sold and have been
with John and Larry ever since.
As for basses, Sklar explains: Sheldon Dingwall
approached me at NAMM about 13 years ago and
asked if I would check out one of his basses. I looked

042 Bass Guitar MaGazine

i reallY OnlY use aBOut siX Basses, anD

PrettY MuCH DO 90 Per Cent OF MY WOrk
WitH tHree OF tHeM. iM nOt a COlleCtOr

lee sklar

Bass Guitar Magazine 043

lee sklar

eVerY stYle OF MusiC DeManDs

sOMetHinG uniQue; tHe kinD OF Bass
One PlaYs, tHe strinGs, tHe aMP
at it, and of course the first thing you notice is the Novax
Fanned Fret system. I asked him to explain it to me and it
made perfect sense. Open a piano and the low strings are
longer than the high strings. It felt great ergonomically
and I became a fan. A great deal of my work has been
replacing synth bass parts, and because theyre always
played in the lower registers, I was always looking for a
five-string that read in that register, and the Dingwall
read beautifully. I made the Warwick connection at
Bass Player Live, also in LA, when I tried out a fretless
Starbass II. Steve Bailey is a dear friend and was with
Warwick. I was on tour with Lyle Lovett, and Steve came
to a show with that fretless bass and said that HansPeter Wilfer from Warwick wanted me to have it, which
blew me away. Then at the following NAMM show in
LA, we connected as though we had known each other
for years. I use it almost every day and love it.
Does Lee have any advice on how to get that elusive
studio tone that so many of us strive for? Every
player is individual and there are too many options
for a definitive answer, he says. Every style of music
demands something unique; the kind of bass one plays,
the strings, the amp, the playing style thumb and slap,

044 Bass Guitar MaGazine

or pick or fingers. Each is a totally different sound.

Ive always been a finger player, I go for a full, rich
bass sound, whereas other guys I know use a far more
brittle sound. I like a high action, which is great for
sustain. I always try, if possible, to have my amp and
DI both recorded. I almost never use any outboard gear
or pedals, because I feel the bass should be as pure as
possible so that everything else tonally can be built
from there. Once in a while, Ill record with an effect
if I feel its absolutely the right thing for the song but
thats the exception.
With such a hectic schedule, Lee remains philosophical
and upbeat: he appears grateful to be working as busily as
ever. Does he find downtime to chill out and relax away
from music? I get little downtime, he chuckles. I love to
work in the garden and work on cars, but Im never at a
loss for something to do. I feel so blessed every day that I
get to do what I do. A job that would have been my hobby,
something positive in peoples lives, the friendships with
other players its such a magical thing. I always felt that
by this time in my career, Id be put out to pasture, but Im
as busy as Ive ever been so Ill keep ploughing the fields
as long as I get calls.
As he says: Well see what the future holds, but at
19 years old, when this all really got going, it was hard
to imagine still doing it at 68. Ive really been blessed to
work with so many wonderful people, and I have always
been a fan of so many that I came to know and work
with. I wish everyone all the best in this adventure we
call the music business. Its a gift beyond description,
and I cherish every second of it. How the hell did I get so
lucky? Where the hell did the time go? I usually ask that
of the drummer but thats another paragraph!

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19/05/2015 15:51

rob scallon is one of a new breed of musicians who are making a mighty wedge of
cash out of Youtube with no need to get on a smelly tourbus. Joel Mciver contacts him
for a chat about all things stringed...

ou will no doubt have read in this

and other magazines about the
death of the music industry.
Without going too far into the root
cause of its decline (or naming any
of the record company execs who
sat on their fat bonuses and did
nothing while the public figured out how to rip CDs), lets
just say that by 2000 or thereabouts, the old business
model of compact discs being sold for 18.99 at bricks-andmortar record shops was on its way out.
The process took about five years. Once consumers
were equipped with CD-burning software, a broadband
internet connection and (crucially) access to a host of
filesharing websites and programs, it was all over. The
winners: people who wanted free music. The losers:
record companies, a host of associated industries and
most unjustly the musicians who made the music in the
first place.
And yet there is hope for musicians, and ironically its
the internet the root cause of the problem in the first
place which is offering that hope. Go to
com and search for Youtube. Pretty soon youll come up
with a page titled What kind of content can I monetise?
and there, friends, is your answer. While most of us
dont have the tunes that would attract sufficient views
to make us a fortune, or indeed the skills to create the
required accompanying videos, a small number of musos
do, and theyre laughing all the way to their nearest
custom luthier.
Meet Rob Scallon, a Chicago-based chap with
phenomenal abilities on guitar, bass, banjo, and ukulele;
a catalogue of cool original and cover songs; an eye for a
witty video; and the perseverance to make those things
pay. I have 260,000 subscribers, he tells BGM. To put
the business side of it into perspective, when I had 35,000
subscribers I was able to quit my job and go full-time, two
years ago. OK, I could only afford to eat ramen noodles at
that level: I could just about get by! But the last year has
been nuts: Im gaining maybe 800 or 900 new subscribers
a day.
Yeah, right, I hear you cynical people say and not
without reason. But Scallon isnt simply earning a couple

of quid on the side here. Although were far too polite to

ask to see his latest bank statement, the guy is obviously
making rather a lot of money.
People always assume that this is just a hobby, chuckles
Scallon. They say, So you make Youtube videos? and Im
like, Yeah, Ive been doing it for a while and then theyll
say, Oh cool, so what do you do for a living? My answer is
That is what I do for a living! Theres a lot of people doing
this, and some of them are making millions of dollars.
Im not making seven figures myself, but theres lots of
opportunities. When I started out, a lot of people were just
starting to establish themselves, and a lot of those people
were doing it for a living then and now, some of these
people are incredibly successful entrepreneurs with huge
businesses based on online video.
So how does it work? Essentially Google, owners of
Youtube, pay uploaders of selected videos a certain amount
per view per film clip. We dont need to ask how much
this is: in the era of Spotify and other streaming services
that pay users a microscopic amount per stream, it wont
be much. But if you have hundreds of thousands of
subscribers to your videos, those pennies add up pretty fast.
In Scallons case, this income means that he never has
to smell a roadies socks. Ill have a much more stable
income making Youtube videos than I would if I was going
out gigging, he explains. I play live very rarely. All I ever
wanted was to make music and to make enough money for
a stable living, and I have those things now.
Watch a few of Scallons videos and youll see that he
uses an impressive number of instruments, in particular as
part of his Metal Songs Played On Non-Metal Instruments
series. Check out his banjo version of Slayers Raining
Blood, System Of A Downs Chop Suey! on cello and
a ukulele-driven take on Cannibal Corpses Frantic
Disembowelment. I have a lot of acoustic instruments,
he tells us. I have an endorsement with Kala ukuleles, so I
have three of those, one of which is a U-Bass.
I got really into Primus in middle school, he says, asked
about bass. Most of my inuences are bass players. Les
Claypool and Victor Wooten moulded me more than any
guitar player. I do a lot of slap style on the guitar, which
comes from me trying to learn Primus bass parts and move
them over to the eight- and nine-string guitars. Me and a

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19/05/2015 11:49

rob scallon

buddy had the DVD Animals Should Not Try To Act

Like People, and we were so into it that we would ride
around on our bikes reciting the DVD commentary
to each other. So I bought a Squier bass for 100 bucks
and I really wanted to play like Les Claypool. Since
then Ive tried to learn every stringed instrument I can
get my hands on. I have a Schecter Stiletto five-string
coming as part of my endorsement deal with them,
and I have a fretless Carlo Rebelli that I got for like 200
dollars, plus a huge white upright bass, which is lovely.
I have a video coming out where I used that upright
to play Cliff Burtons bass solo Pulling Teeth from
Metallicas first album.
He adds: For the upright bass I just use a mic, about
a foot in front of the bridge. Its the only mic Ive ever
owned. Recording is really all my buddy Fluff. I just
send him DIs of my tracks, and he does a great job and
sends it back to me and I throw him the money. I used
to do all the mixing myself but Im not good at that
type of stuff, and its so time-consuming for me.
He adds: I have a few sponsorships with
instrument companies coming up, which are nice. I
have a video out with Dean Guitars for an ML-shaped
ukulele. I have an affiliate link so when people buy
one from there, I get a percentage of it. I also have
a relationship with Schecter Guitars, who made me
custom eight- and nine-string electric guitars, and I
play bass too. Im happy to play any piece of wood with
strings on, basically! The way I see it is that all strings
are gonna act the same way: how a string vibrates is
not going to change from instrument to instrument,
no matter how many strings are on it or how long they
are. Once you get a good grasp on a guitar and a bass,
you can move onto pretty much anything after that.
Ah, but has he taken the ultimate step and tackled
the Chapman Stick yet? He laughs: Ive been getting
people saying You gotta play the Chapman Stick
for years now, on a daily basis. I would really love
to, especially with the overwhelming number of
asks. Anyway, whatever the instrument is, Im really
fortunate and I do appreciate my position. Making
money with music the traditional way is now almost
entirely dried up, unless youre an insanely famous
musician who tours all the time, because people arent
buying records like they used to. I tell people that Im
hardly a musician from a business standpoint: Im a
Youtuber. Its more about the videos. Selling my own
music is not even 10 percent of my income.
Scallon appreciates that this new way of surviving
as a musician may seem like fantasy to some people.
Even people my age dont get it, he nods. I always
need to explain how I do it. Its confusing, but the
younger people are, the more they get it. Its like the
Wild West right now. Were making it up as we go.
He also understands that theres a long way to
go to reach the top of the video playlist, globally
speaking. The biggest Youtube channel is a guy called
Pewdiepie, who has 34 million subscribers. He literally
makes millions of dollars a month, just from playing
video games. Its insane. Maybe I chose the wrong
thing. Perhaps when I was a kid I should have been
playing video games instead of guitar!

Robs channel:

Bass Guitar Magazine 047

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Queen Bee Singlecut 10

Ten strings. Three thousand quid. One rabbit...
Does this Bee ERB sting, asks Joel McIver?
Bee Basses

Art Of Rebellion

h, a challenge! The virtuoso bassist Russ Newton of the

progressive rock trio Art Of Rebellion has lent us his
custom 10-string, made by Fred Bolton of Bee Basses, just to
introduce a bit of tension into our lives and make us realise
that life isnt all about slap lines in E minor on a mere four-,
five- or six-string bass. This gorgeous instrument, beautifully
put together by a coalition of craftsmen, is a work of art just as much
as a tool for musical expression but will we actually be able to
master the thing?

Build Quality
Well, if we cant actually play this Bee, it wont be because of the
quality of its components. It is a state-of-the-art artefact, from
the huge, chamfered upper bout, to the body and neck woods, via
the custom strings and pickups, all the way to the electronics and
controls. Before you actually play this beast... er, insect, you cant help
but be impressed by the artistic vision that has gone into the woods:
burl and ash for the body and a variety of maples for the neck.
Each wood has been bookmatched for its visual appeal and
tone: holding the Queen Bee, you feel like youve wandered into a
dendrochronologists (look it up) daydream. To top it off, Newton has
commissioned an ebony, abalone and mother-of-pearl rabbit from
Bill Nichols of Nichols Guitars to adorn the body: named Binky, the
bunny is a Matt Groening cartoon character of which he is fond. And
why not?
The details are where Newtons money has been spent. Theres a
Neutrix locking input, always a bonus for bassists prone to stepping on
their cables, and at the other end, incredibly smooth Hipshot tuners
carved into rabbit shapes. Even the pickup covers, truss rod cover and
battery access cover are made of the same woods, while the controls
are made of no fewer than three different woods by THG Knobs.

Sounds And Playability

So, time to take off your regular bass player hat and put on your
extended range bass player one. Sure, theres an overlap: you can
still sit and play lines on the Queen Bee just as youd play them on a
standard-range bass, with fingers, thumb or pick. But theres much,
much more to an ERB than that, as youll know if you read Stewart
McKinseys monthly column on the subject.
Most simply, you can play much lower and higher notes, if youll
forgive the obvious observation. What can you actually do here?
Consider chordal lines at the lower end: sub-bass has its place in
many musical styles. Imagine that youre playing a church organ or
synth, lending atmosphere rather than actual melodies. Slap the low
strings for a kick-drum effect. Drone the lower strings under notes
played in the usual range. Instead of doing an octave pop, play an

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Bee Queen Bee Singlecut 10 Price 2950

Technical Specification
Made In | USA
RRP | 2950, plus shipping and import tax
Body | Buckeye burl top, camphor burl
back with mahogany middle, solid ash
core, matching buckeye burl headstock cap;
Binky inlay with ebony outline, abalone
body, mother-of-pearl eyes; matching
camphor burl control cavity access;
Neutrix locking input
Neck | Maple/purpleheart/
flamed maple, bookmatched acrylicimpregnated birdseye maple fretboard;
birdseye/blue-stained birdseye maple
signature Binky truss cover made by
THG Knobs; 35 scale
Neck join | Thru-neck
Frets | 24 jumbo, with zero fret
Pickups | Custom-wound Nordstrand
wood-cased pickups, birdseye maple
pickup covers with ebony slice
Electronics | Bee custom preamp
Controls | Volume, blend, bass/mid/
treble plus selector switch; birdseye maple,
abalone and buckeye pots made by THG
Machine heads | Hipshot Ultralite in
birdseye maple, running rabbit shape
Bridge | Hipshot individual bridge rails
Strings | Rotosound custom gauge
Case | Custom-made (350)

What We Think
Plus | Beautifully-crafted ERB which plays
with unexpected ease
Minus | Niche instrument: not really
intended for general use
Overall | If tapping and a massive
frequency range are your bag, dont

BGM Rating
Build quality
Sound quality

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playing, so take advantage. The extended range on this bass goes
much higher than lower, with a standard tuning of F#, B, E, A, D, G,
C, F, Bb and Eb, but theres no reason why you cant commission a
different default set-up of your choice from Bee, or even experiment
with alternate tunings if you have the time and inclination.
Tapping is ideal, assuming you have the skills and patience to apply
the style to the bigger neck. Why not spend some time on chordal
tapping (see Rob Stathams column on the subject in BGM 116) and
work on tapping across multiple strings? You could be playing this bass
all day and never run out of things to do. In fact, the only thing you
probably wont want to attempt is simple downstrokes with a pick. By
its nature, the Queen Bee wants either to be played sitting down or
high up on a strap: if youre in a punk band, for example, it might look
a touch weird. But as we always say, rules are just mind control, man


octave below instead: you can accentuate a line in exactly the same
way. All you need is imagination.
At the higher end, you can solo away to your hearts content,
assuming the lighter gauge strings dont freak you out: if you play
guitar as well as bass, youll find yourself in familiar territory, unless
you attempt a barre chord (one word: dont). Again, why not add a
lower drone to your higher-register playing? Why not slap and pop
up there too? The point here is that there are fewer limits to your

Russ Newton plays in a band which demands complex bass parts,

hence his acquisition of the Queen Bee 10, as well as a Letts-designed
13-string which well be featuring in a future issue. He actually needs
this bass to play in his band but will you? Assuming you do, youll be
interested to know how the costs of the Bee break down. The basic cost
of the bass was 2200, Newton tells us: he then paid 200 for the THG
knobs, 450 for the rabbit inlay and 350 for a custom hard case, one
of the most robust weve ever seen. Shipping to the UK, plus the import
tax that Customs & Excise laid on him, was a painful extra 1000. This
is a lot of money by anyones standards but again, if you require this
instrument to do your job, you may not mind paying for it. If you go for
it, youll be the recipient of a truly one-of-a-kind instrument, even if
regular bassists will find it hard to understand how to play it or indeed,
what the hell its for. Ignore them its your vision, after all.


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19/05/2015 15:50

Technical Specification
Ibanez SR605-NTF
Price | 635
Made in | Indonesia
Body | Three-piece ash
Neck | Five-piece jatoba and bubinga,
34 scale
Neck joint | Bolt-on, four-bolt attachment
Nut width | 45mm
Fingerboard | Rosewood
Frets | 24
Pickups | Two Bartolini MK-1 split-coil
Electronics | Ibanez EQB-IIISC threeband EQ
Controls | Volume, pickup pan, three
band EQ (bass, middle, treble), midfrequency selector switch (250Hz or 600Hz)
Hardware | Accu-cast B305 black bridge
Weight | 4.5 kg
Case/gig bag included? | No
Left-hand option available? | Yes

What We Think
Plus | A good all-round five-string that
fits the bill
Minus | Tight string spacing and a bit
lacking visually
Overall | A good bass for the money, a
solid low B-string performance and plenty of
tonal options and playability

BGM Rating
Build quality
Sound quality

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iBanez SR605-ntf pRice 635



So what does 650 buy you in terms of a vestring from an established name? Mike Brooks
checks out a current example from ibanez
headstock distribution

The gallery (camden)

he Ibanez product list changes so often, its hard to keep

up with their various ranges, but the Soundgear (SR) range
remains as popular as ever. Theyre perennial favourites
among the Ibanez ranks not bad for a range first launched
back in the mid- to late Eighties. With their slim bodies and
sleek neck profiles, there has always been something to enjoy
about playing an SR bass. This particular instrument is a prime
example from the current range so what has it got to offer?

Build quality
The natural look of this bass is reinforced by the minimal satin
finish applied to the body and neck: the timbers arent rough to the
touch, and overall the instrument feels quite organic. The body
dimensions are such that the body is incredibly slim with very little
depth: the bulk has been taken away, creating a lightweight body
with the top horn almost triangular by design. Some players may
not take to this body styling, especially if they like a bass that feels
substantial that they can work against but for those players who

prefer minimal bulk, they will take to this bass very quickly. There
is limited chamfering as the whole body is contoured, but it sits well
and although there is some headstock bias in the balance department,
the bass hangs perfectly well on a strap.
As you may expect of this range, the neck is incredibly slim with
a thin D neck profile which, for a five-string instrument, makes
the neck easy to navigate. The only issue will be whether the 17mm
string spacing is too tight for some fingers. Having said that, the frets
of the 24-fret neck are also thin, which makes fretting speedy and
comfortable with no sharp fret ends anywhere along either edge
of the neck. So if this is your first dalliance into the world of the
five-string bass, and comfort is a primary concern, this bass could

it May lack fRillS and GloSS in

teRMS of finiShinG, But it haS BaGS
of tone, and a lot to offeR the
playeR in teRMS of playaBility
BaSS GuitaR MaGazine 053

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Ibanez SR605-NTF Price 635

well be for you. The four-bolt neck pocket is tight, which

helps make the whole instrument vibrant, with a natural
bounce, although the simple, functional bridge unit only
facilitates through-bridge stringing. The neck is furnished
with oval abalone front position markers and white side dots,
while an angled jack socket has been fitted into the body instead
of a side-fitted or front-mounted socket. Black hardware has
been used throughout to complement the simple look of this
particular model, and the tuners work smoothly enough. Some
of the control layout knobs (volume, pickup pan, three-band EQ)
felt a little loose, although thats nothing a quick tighten with a
screwdriver wont solve.

Sounds And Playability

I could spend hours playing this bass: its just so
comfortable, and the woody, organic sound responds
so well to certain playing styles, especially if you
start to dig in, which brings out a different harmonic
emphasis to your notes. Acoustically, the low B-string
stands out incredibly well, and just getting a feel for
this bass highlights how vibrant and resonant it truly
is a good sign. The instrument feels very slinky to
play and, despite the fingerboard broadening the higher
you go, the shallow neck depth accommodates this so
there is no strain on the fretting hand.
Plugging in, the first thing that hits you is the quality
of tonal response and consistent string volume across
all five strings: the D and G string are particularly
lively. With a lot of natural spring and resonance,
the EQ works well in rounding out the tone and
giving the signal some extra body and power, while
the mid-EQ provides some extra presence. The
mid-selector switch adds some additional colour and

differentiation: the 250Hz setting provides a darker character,

while the 600Hz setting offers a brighter, throatier bark. The bass
is capable of a really good range of usable tones to suit all styles of
playing and it has plenty of life in its tonal delivery, although the
slap sound is particularly woody with a noticeable thump in the
bottom end. Top end percussiveness requires quite a bit
of treble boost, but the circuit works well with these
Bartolini pickups, no question.

Many players will be enticed by the SRs slim proportions
and extreme playability, and theres no doubt that it
will suit players looking for a five-string with little
bulk or excessive weight. It may lack frills and gloss in
terms of finishing, but it has bags of tone, and a lot to
offer the player in terms of playability. At this pocketfriendly price, I cant imagine too many players being
disappointed with this bass..

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Technical Specification
Phil Jones PJB M300 Head and
NeoPower 12B Cabinet
(12B cabinet in brackets)
Price | 999 (1099)
Made in | China
Power | 300 Watts at 4 ohms
(600 Watts)
Speakers | 12 x 5 Neodymium
(total 4 ohms)
Features | Two channels, each with
HI and LO impedance input, Gain, Clip
indicator and five-band graphic EQ,
Limiter with level control and indicator,
Master Volume, Tuner Out, Effects Send/
Return, Power on/off with status light,
spare fuse holder, XLR DI with ground
lift, Input Voltage selector, 2 x Speakon
Speakon out, 2x preamp out (12x5 baffle
mounted neodymium drivers, 2 x Speakon
inputs, 4 ohm impedance, front port)
Weight | 15 kg (31 kg)

What We Think
Plus | Super clean and accurate if you
like the sound of your bass youll love the
sound of this rig
Minus | The distinctive retro hi-fi
look and super-clean tone may not be to
everyones taste
Overall | Phil Jones has always forged
his own path when it comes to bass amp
design. This rig proves he still leads the
field in innovation and accurate bass

BGM Rating
Build quality
Sound quality

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phil Jones pJB M300 head and neopoWer 12B caBinet price 999, 1099

phil Jones

PJB M300 Head and

NeoPower 12B Cabinet

Genius or maverick? phil Jones has always had a unique approach to bass amp and
speaker design. kev sanders checks out this compact rig
Bass gear

M300 head
Following the success of his small combos, the first amp head Phil
Jones designed and built was the mighty M500. He put all of his
experience as a bass player, engineer and hi-fi boffin into that amp
and the results were spectacular without doubt one of the finest
bass amps ever made. It was big, powerful, beautifully engineered and
redefined what accurate meant in terms of amplifying bass guitar. It
made perfect sense, then, to use this design as the basis for a smaller,
but perhaps more usable amp head, and thats exactly what we have
here the M300. Its less powerful, certainly, but just as well made and
with its comprehensive two-channel layout, it is one of the few midsized amps thats perfect for someone who wants to use both acoustic
and electric basses on the same gig.
The two channels are identical and laid out side by side. Each has a
low and high impedance input (you can use either channel for acoustic
or electric) and each has its own gain, overload indicator and five-band
graphic EQ. The switchable studio quality optical limiter serves both
channels. Set below the large master volume is a stereo headphone
socket and, to the right of this, theres an FX loop and tuner out. Lastly,
theres a large old-school nickel toggle switch for on/off with a blue
status light. Round the back youll find everything necessary on a pro
quality amp: two Speakon outs, a balanced line (XLR) DI with ground
lift, spare fuse holder and two preamp outputs. These have a neat
feature: theyre separately buffered, meaning that a dodgy cable or bad
connection into one side will not affect the other.
Inside, the amp is built around a solid 2.5mm steel chassis and
silver solder is used throughout, meaning dry joints and crackling
connections should never be a problem. The case is well-built, too.
Constructed from dense birch ply, its covered with tough black Tolex.
This looks great, with chromed steel corners, vent plates and chassis
bolts. All of this hardware is made in-house, as is the sturdy strap

handle on top. Four chunky rubber feet help keep the amp solid and
leave space underneath to allow free flow of air around the amp to
help keep things cool.

neopoWer 12B caB

Like the M300 head, the first impression of the 12B cab is one of
quality. You just cant fault the amazing fit and finish here, something
perhaps influenced by the high-end hi-fi speaker enclosures that
Jones also makes. The front-ported cabinet itself is made from Baltic
birch, with 18mm MDF used for the front baffle. The same hard
Tolex that covers the amp is used, and again all the hardware is
top quality. In fact, there are no clues that material costs have been

if its the Most accurate

representation of your Bass
that youre after, then this riG is
alMost in a class of its oWn
Bass Guitar MaGazine 057

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Phil Jones PJB M300 Head and NeoPower 12B Cabinet Price 999, 1099

considered anywhere in the design and build of this rig. Despite the
impression given by the recessed bar handles on either side, the 12B
is impressively light for a cab containing 12 speakers. At just 31 kilos it
can be safely lifted and carried around, although like those tiny cabinbag cases you see being dragged around at airports, the four sturdy
castors mean that its always tempting to take the easy option and push
it everywhere.
Part of the reason for the impressive lack of weight is the use of
neodymium drivers. The 5 drivers have magnets made from this
rare and ultra-magnetic material, and lightness isnt the only benefit.
It almost goes without saying that these tiny speakers can reproduce
the highest frequencies, to the point where a separate tweeter or HF
unit would be completely redundant. But perhaps less obvious is that,
as well as having a much faster response, when used in arrays such
as this they can reproduce mind-boggling amounts of clean sub-bass.
By minimising the total speaker cone surface area you minimise
distortion, meaning pure, accurate bass right down to 25Hz its very
impressive when you hear it.
So the cab goes deep, thats for sure, but theres more than that.
Most bass speaker cabs will reproduce low end after all, thats the
whole point. But the 12B seems to reproduce the whole of the low
frequencies, so that even the low B-string on my bass has a clean
attack to the front end of the note. Its much the same through the
whole register, and the sparkly clean top end seems to be a seamless
extension of the high midrange.

Most people love the tone of an early Precision, right? But that view
is usually based on the sound of an old Precision heard through an
equally old valve amp, or at least one of vintage design maybe a 60s
Ampeg B15 Portaflex like James Jamerson used, or a Marshall stack.
Play that same old Fender through this rig and it would still sound
amazing, but youd hear so much more of the harmonic content of
the instrument that it would be quite a different sound not better or
worse, but definitely different.
This rig is all about clean, unadulterated, accurate bass and as
such its going to appeal most to a certain sort of player. Im pretty
sure there are going to be many more exotic five- and six-stringers
played through this rig than there are black BC Rich Warlocks,
or ancient Fenders for that matter. For some players, clean and
accurate isnt necessarily the priority, and a powerful amp with a
good valve gain stage will be more appealing to them than a rig like
this. Horses for courses
But if its the most accurate representation of your bass that
youre after, then this rig is almost in a class of its own. I tried
plugging in a Rickenbacker 4003, an Overwater, a Cort A9 custom
and an Everson Caiman. They all sounded very distinctive and
they all sounded just like amplified versions of the basses played
Talking of which, if youre playing a double bass through this
set-up, then you really should think about using a good quality mic
rather than a pickup that way youll hear the true and natural
tone of the instrument, amplified. Its startling and almost a little
unnerving at first, but get used to it and I imagine it would be hard
to settle for anything less.
I guess the obvious question here is this: if this kind of design
is so good, how come other manufacturers dont build bass cabs
using multiple small drivers? The answer can only be the cost of
manufacture. The fact is, its going to take roughly 12 times as long
to fit the 12B with its drivers as it would for another company to fit
a single 12 speaker. Phil Jones gets around this problem to a degree
by having his factory in China, but this doesnt mean that quality is
compromised: in fact Jones is obsessive about quality, to the extent
that most of the components used in the M300 and 12B are made in
house. At one time they were even manufacturing their own nuts
and bolts! As Jones himself says, How its made is more important
than where its made.

058 Bass Guitar Magazine

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Joel McIver stomps Nemphatically on three new bass effects from Italy
Madison & Fifth

n the wake of Nespresso, the George Clooney-endorsed coffee

brand, comes Nemphasis, another product with an N in front
of a common word. What next, Nampeg and Nashdown? While
were wiping away tears of laughter at our own wit, check out
these proudly all-analogue pedals: a bass overdrive, compressor
and chorus among them. At just under 150 each, theyre not
your common-as-muck effects units, thats for sure, but then again
that price tag does make them affordable to most bassists in gainful
employment. All three are the same size and weight and share the
same casing, LED, stomp switch, input/output and power options,
making it tempting to lay all three identical boxes in a row on your
pedalboard, for those of the OCD persuasion.
The Smoking Bass Overdrive is simple and dead easy to manage,
with a Gain control doing all the work, Bass and Treble there to
modulate the tone and a Volume pot for obvious reasons. What
distinguishes the SBO from the 950 million other overdrives
currently on the market is its gentle touch. The boffins at
Nemphasis obviously understand that bass players distortion needs
differ radically from those of guitarists, for whom they also build
several effects units. As a result, the drive tones available here
range from super-subtle, via a soft crunch and a space-rock buzz.
Theres no caffeined-up, bug-eyed treble screech option, which you
so often end up with when you borrow your guitarists distortion. If
thats the sound you need, look elsewhere.

PRICE | 149 each
MADE IN | Italy
CONTROLS | (Smoking Bass Overdrive)
Gain, Bass, Treble, Volume; (VT Comp Bass
Optical Compressor) Compress, Attack,
Level; (Steam Bass Analog Chorus) Depth,
Speed, FX Level, High Pass Filter low/high
selector switch
POWER | 9V battery or external power
supply (neither included)
DIMENSIONS | 71 x 120 x 55mm
WEIGHT | 250g (excl. battery)

PLUS | Solid construction, surprisingly
subtle effects range
MINUS | Battery access could be quicker
OVERALL | Designed for bass and true to
analogue values. Bellissimo!



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Weve played a few compression pedals here
at BGM, and while theyre obviously best applied
in a recording scenario or in a multi-FX signal
chain, you can have plenty of fun with them in the
familiar one bass, one pedal, one amp situation too.
The VT Comp Bass Optical Compressor impressed
us most with its range, offering the player anything
from a mild compression and a concomitantly
neater/cleaner/tidier/[insert your favourite
comparative adjective] sound, all the way up to a fully
squashed but still usable tone. The Compression control
allows you to set the amount of tone-crushing that happens, and
the Level pot is your blend of dry and processed tones, but the star
of the show here is the Attack control, which permits you to delay
the onset of the compression and thus enables a very brief peak in a
given notes onset volume.
Finally, the Steam Bass Analog Chorus has a secret weapon
which bass players especially those who fear that a chorus effect
will turn their bottom frequencies into gloop will relish. The High
Pass Filter switch allows you to determine whether the chorus
effect is applied mostly to your high or low frequencies, a welcome
touch that will give you tons more manoeuvrability.
The other controls the obvious FX Level aside need a little
investigation before you find your preferred tone, not because
theyre labelled any differently from other chorus pedals, but
because they offer a seriously wide range of sounds. Depth is
the serious control here, supplying super-deep frequency
swings through to the mildest of tweaks. Conversely,
Speed is like the drunk cousin at a wedding,
allowing you the classic 80s slow cycle all the way
up to the maximum-velocity, enraged-wasp-in-ajar reverberation that will, if were honest, only
ever be used to annoy people.
Just one negative point about these fine pedals,
which is that removing the battery should you
prefer that power option is a slightly irksome
process, involving removing the entire bottom plate
of each unit via four small screws. This wont be an
issue in the studio, depending on how much your
fingers resemble Cumberland sausages, but at panic
stations in the middle of a gig, in the pitch dark, with
a strobe light on, 90 seconds before your amazing
shred solo begins, you or your tech will have an 80
per cent chance of naffing it up. With so many similarlypriced and specced pedals around whose batteries flip out of a
dedicated compartment with ease, this seemingly small point may
be a deal-breaker for you. If not, do investigate Nemphasis with
total confidence.


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Big Baby II

Kev Sanders files his long-term test report on the Barefaced Big Baby II cab.
Does it live up to the high standards set by the Compact 12s we reviewed?
(Spoiler: Yes it does!)

f we were to run a BGM reviewers Gear Of The Year award, a

serious contender for a gong in the bass cabinet category would
have to be the Barefaced Super Compact 12 cabs we tested back
in BGM 113.
We were impressed not only by the quality of the sound, but
also by the fresh approach that the guys at Barefaced had taken
to both the design and construction.
Around the same time we were also given one of the companys
Big Baby IIs for long-term appraisal. Its still a single 12 cab, but a bit
bigger than the SC12s. The addition of a high quality horn unit gives
the cab a slightly wider frequency response too.
Like all Barefaced cabs, the BB2 has a traditional,
even retro look an image reinforced
by the silver cloth grille
and chrome corner
protectors. To recap,
theyre constructed
around a complex
internal structure of
interlocking panels
made from 9mm
dual density ply. This
not only makes them
incredibly rigid, but
also very light.
Weve gigged,
recorded and
rehearsed the Big Baby
II cab relentlessly,
and the good news
is that its performed
faultlessly. The quality
of the sound, even at
very high volumes,
has continued to
impress with its lack
of distortion and
full, HiFi-accurate
tone. The addition of
the HF unit, which
is adjustable via an
attenuator on the rear
panel, makes it even
more versatile, and
unlike the Compact 12s (which
we felt were better suited to electric bass)
the BB2 cab sounds just as impressive with double


bass as it does with four- and five-string
bass guitar.
So, no bad bits at all?
Not really: the hard,
glossy black finish
dulled a little during
the cold weather, but
it was soon brought
back to its initial shine
with a quick squirt
of Mr Sheen and a
polishing cloth. The
single strap handle on
the side is a little tight to
get your fingers under,
but thats about it, and
even though weve been
transporting it without
a case or cover, it looks
and sounds as good as it
did when new, despite
being in and out of
dozens of hire vans and
car boots.
One Big Baby II
cab works brilliantly
for so many different
applications that
personally, I think a 4
ohm version of this cab
would be a great idea.
That way youd get full
power and headroom from your
amp and if used sensibly the cab would
certainly handle it.


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Cliff Burton Tribute Power Wah Fuzz

For Whom The Wah Tolls? Therapy? bassist Michael McKeegan gets to grips
with Morleys long awaited Cliff Burton signature wah fuzz pedal
Westside Distribution

his pedal has been long awaited by both bassists and fans
of the sadly deceased original Metallica bassist Cliff Burton,
whose technique and tone have rarely been surpassed. One
of Cliffs signature, and at the time hugely unorthodox,
techniques was using an overdriven wah bass sound, which
he used to deliver eerie motifs throughout the first three
classic Metallica albums. Thankfully, rather than just go for an
easy retro copy, Morley has used the original 70s Morley wah that
Cliff used as the basis of the new pedals sound, as well as adding a
couple of contemporary build and sonic features.
The first thing that strikes you is that the pedal is a solid
beast: theres plenty of weight to it, thanks to a chassis made of
roadworthy cold-rolled steel. Power comes from either an easily
accessed 9V battery or a dedicated Morley power supply
(not supplied). The mains might be a good investment,
as I could see this pedal being a major drain on
batteries especially when both fuzz and wah
are in use.
Starting with the main feature of the wah,
its engaged by clicking on the chunky right
footswitch: even if youve never used a wah
pedal before, its a very intuitive set-up, and
theres a wonderful organic feel to working
the pedal and reacting to the different tones.
Its perfect for adding colour to funk and soul
lines: add an envelope filter in front of this and
youll soon have a serious case of bass face.
With a full low to high frequency range, theres
a good chance youll get more out of this than by using
a standard guitar wah although the Morley sales pitch
also boasts that the pedal is perfect for guitar, keyboard and vocal
usage. I wouldnt doubt that, but Im here on a strictly bass-only
In one of the main updates, the pedal offers two types of fuzz,
modern and vintage, which are accessed by a small switch on
the left of the pedal. This is a nice touch, as you can choose from
the classic, woolly Big Muff-style fuzz as favoured by Cliff, or
opt for a slightly harsher modern distortion. Both sound great,
sacrificing none of the weight of the bottom end and offering a
suitably diverse range of sounds although on a personal level the
modern setting seems to have an extra bite and clarity to it. Like
the wah, there is a level knob which helpfully lets you control the
level of distortion and, coupled with the intensity control which
controls the fuzz saturation, its quite easy to balance the level jump
between your clean and effected sounds.
Most of the fun occurs when both effects are being used
simultaneously, and with the fuzz exaggerating the wah
frequencies, it throws up some pretty wild tones. Theres quite a
long bit of transit in the foot pedal, so depending on where the






PLUS | Built to last, and the full range
sweep is second to none
MINUS | Slightly impractical
switching system
OVERALL | Contemporary update of a
vintage classic makes for a fun and inspiring
pedal perfect for any genre


pedal sweep is held, you can get a great, fluid, cello-like effect as
well perfect for highlighting melodic lead lines. The sweeps,
squalls and various otherworldly sounds that this beast produces at
volume are absolutely phenomenal, so its definitely a pedal to lose
ones inhibitions with.
One small niggle would be that, as a fan of the older Dual Wah
model, I miss the instant switching function, where the wah
engaged just by pushing on the foot pedal. With this version there
is an inevitable slight pause when clicking the buttons in to engage
both the wah and fuzz, which might prove awkward in the middle
of a show or session.
Full credit to Morley: this pedal is put together with their usual
attention to detail and it is certainly no cheap cash-in. Theyve gone
the extra mile with the update on the sounds, and I can see this
pedal appealing right across the board to players in many different
genres, not just metalheads and Cliff fans. Most of all this is a fun,
inspirational pedal to use and lends itself to the player going with
the flow and seeing what glorious sounds come out. That, coupled
with the rugged build and inspiring tones, deserves to make this a
staple on any players board.


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Bass Bookazine page PM subs for allnew.indd 1

19/05/2015 17:05



MaKinG you a Better Bass Player

elcome to our redesigned tuition section, in

which Bass Guitar Magazine collates the wit and
wisdom of the crme de la crme of the electric
and upright bass world. Were fortunate enough
to have some serious talent on the team, from
world-class music educators to experienced touring musicians, who
between them have laid down the low notes in every studio, club
and arena in the civilised world. Note that weve divided the columns
according to Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced level for easy
reference. Whether youre looking to improve your playing technique,
expand your awareness of theory, set up your rig to sound like your
particular bass hero or simply get on a bus and tour, we provide the
answers you need here. What are you waiting for? Dive in...
Joel McIver, editor

Ellen OReilly is a freelance bassist and vocalist currently

studying at ICMP. Ellen has extensive experience in gigging,
studio and television work.



Paul Geary attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston and

the Musicians Institute of Technology. He also heads up the
Academy Of Contemporary Musics bass school.



Rob Statham has amassed over 25 years as a professional

freelance bass player. He has played in a wide range of musical
settings, including jazz, blues, prog and classical, and he has taught
for the past three years at Tech Music School.



Alex Webster founded the frankly terrifying Cannibal Corpse in

1988 and has guested since then on musically complex projects
such as Blotted Science. He is the author of the Extreme Metal
Bass instruction book.



Head of the Bass Department at BIMM Brighton, Franc has

worked with artists such as Steve Howe (Yes), Lisa Moorish, and
Mike Lindup (Level 42). Franc uses Jeff Chapman basses and
Elites strings.



Say hello to advanced techniques columnist Philip Mann, star of

studio and stage. Ready to get those fingers flying? Mann up...



David Etheridge studied double bass at the Royal College of Music.

Since then hes worked with musicians such as Nigel Kennedy and
Martin Taylor. David teaches double and electric bass and is the MD of
two big bands and a 55-piece jazz orchestra.

david eTheridge UPRIGHT BASS


Mike has written for BGM since 2004 and has been a bassist since
1987, clocking up over 3000 gigs around the world in the process. He
has played for and worked with the likes of Bonnie Tyler and Toyah
Willcox, and has a bass collection to rival a small shop.



Steve Lawson is the UKs most celebrated solo bass guitarist, with
15 years of touring and 36 solo and collaborative albums to his
name. He also lectures at colleges around the world.


068 Bass Guitar MaGazine



bgm Notation Legend

The following is a guide to the notation symbols and terminology used in Bass Guitar Magazine
The Stave: most music written for the bass guitar uses the bass clef. The
example to the right shows the placement of the notes on the stave.
Tablature: this is a graphical representation of the music. Each horizontal
line corresponds with a string on the bass guitar, with the lowest line
representing the lowest pitched string (E). The numbers represent the frets
to be played. Numbers stacked vertically indicate notes that are played
together. Where basses with five or six strings are required, the tablature
stave will have five or six lines as necessary.
Notes shown in brackets indicate that a note has been tied over from a previous bar.

Playing Techniques

Slap and Pop Technique

Notes slapped with the thumb are

marked with a t, notes popped
with the fingers marked with a p

Advanced slap Technique

Fretting hand slaps are marked

lh and double thumbing
upstrokes are shown with an
upward pointing arrow

Plectrum Technique

Where necessary, down and

upstrokes with the pick will be
shown using these symbols

Tapping Techniques

Fretting hand taps are shown with a

+ in a circle. Picking hand taps are
shown with +. Specific fingers will
be shown with numbers if necessary

Fretting Techniques

Hammer-On and Pull-Off

Hammer-ons and pull-offs are

shown with a slur over the notes.
Only the first note is plucked by
the picking hand

Slide (Glissando)

Slides are performed by playing the

first note then sliding the fretting
finger up to the second note


Trills are performed by rapidly

alternating between the two notes
shown using hammer-ons and

The note is played as a harmonic

by lightly touching the string
above the fret indicated

Artificial Harmonics

Pluck the string while fretting the

lower note and placing the edge of
the picking hand thumb an octave
higher (the note shown in brackets)

The pitch of the note is altered by

repeatedly bending the string up
and back with the fretting finger

Bending Notes

Playing Harmonics

Natural Harmonics



The note is bent upwards to the

interval specified: = semitone,
full = tone

Bend and Release

The note is bent up to the interval

indicated then released back to its
original pitch

Bass Guitar Magazine 069


front line
Want to make it as a professional bassist?
Listen up as BGMs world-class bass team
reports back from the tourbus
The Jazz Bassist
Ruth Goller

Jazz guru Ruth discusses the value of humility

I wouldnt describe myself as a session musician, because I dont do
a lot of one-off studio recordings, but Im definitely part of a lot of
different bands. An important prerequisite for any musician is to
be calm, straightforward and reasonable. A lot of artists can be very
eccentric and seem to think that their art is the most important thing
in the world. Of course, approaching your art with confidence is a
good thing, especially in todays competitive world where it seems
that almost everyone is an artist, but its crucial to realise that youre
not the only one with a
creative output. Every
musician has something to
say, and everyones art is
equally valuable. This is a
sensitive issue and, in my
eyes at least, not discussed
enough between artists.
Situations vary from band
to band, of course: in some
groups you take on the
role of a session musician,
meaning that the music
is pretty much set and
youre there to execute it
in a live situation; other
bands require more artistic
input, but are still led by
one individual. The latter
situations are the trickiest,
because as soon as you
supply a certain amount of
creative input, the project
becomes a little bit yours as well. However, youre not really involved
in the final decision-making which can be frustrating! Then you
have projects which are collaborative, where everybody has an
equal say on everything. As much as I like those situations (and I
am in a couple of bands like that, where we work well together), it
can be difficult to get anything done, because you need everybodys
approval on all issues. And with most musicians having a very strong
idea of what they want, compromise is difficult to achieve. The final
situation, then, is having your own band and making all the decisions.
As much as that means creative freedom, it also means a lot more
work, because you have to do everything by yourself. I definitively
think its good to experience all these different dynamics, because
they not only teach you about playing different styles and becoming
quick at learning new sets of music, but also about dealing with
different personalities sometimes in quite stressful situations.

The Metalhead
Paolo Gregoletto

Trivium bassist Paolo studies band psychology

Ive always been fascinated by the make-up of bands. With each
group comes a different dynamic between players and writers. The
identity and sound come from how those members interact in the
studio and live, its the magic that makes those special records. Often if
you take out an integral piece it will not be the same. Yet sometimes it
gets better in a totally unforeseen way, and the rest is history. Looking
at the way that Trivium has grown as a band, I think initially it was
the more traditional setup of a band leader with contributing bandmembers. Matt Heafy, as the lead singer, will always be the figurehead
to the public, and I think its important to have a defined centrepiece to
a group, but we have changed dramatically behind the scenes. I think
the writing is where we have altered the most.
We write as a three-piece, and not to discount the drumming side
of the creative process, but the initial ideas begin with Matt, Corey
Beaulieu, or me. From writing nothing on the Ascendancy album to
almost 60 per cent of some of our last few records, my role has changed
the most dramatically. I believe that all of us allowing each other to
grow and create has spawned some incredible ideas. We expect a
certain level of quality in each others music, and we respect that each
of us brings in something unique to our sound.
Some writers are just so talented that its undeniable. The success
of a band with a central figure comes down to them delegating
responsibilities. I view a guy like Bruce Springsteen as a great example.
He is the main writer and leader without a doubt, but its his ability
to see the benefit of letting the E Street band members shine in his
songs, highlighting their talents, that makes him great. Its important to
understand the role you play in a band. Excelling at what you do best
will serve the music more than interjecting yourself into an aspect of
the music where you are not as strong. This seems to be the biggest
area of contention for bands the idea of getting fair credit, or having a
chance to prove you can write, sing, or play just as well as the next guy.
Being in a rock band is like walking on the edge of a cliff and hoping
the ground doesnt give out beneath you but understanding the
personalities in your group can help to keep the ground stable beneath
your feet.

Scott Uchida

070 Bass Guitar Magazine

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the front line

The Alternative Rocker

The Extended-Range Specialist

Michael McKeegan

Stewart McKinsey

Stew talks tonic... but were waiting for the gin


Therapy? bassist Mike takes a much-needed rest

Back home after a great run of shows through Europe and the
UK and, bar a couple of unforeseen technical problems and a
nasty dose of the flu, all the shows went off without a hitch. With 14
albums behind us, one of the biggest challenges was writing the setlist for the tour. Obviously we wanted to showcase the new songs but
were also aware of the fact that a lot of people want to hear the hits.
Thankfully the hits are well-written and really nice songs to play: its
always a thrill to see how the crowd react to them. Weve also been
very lucky that all the new songs have been well received, and we
made the conscious decision to play eight or nine of them each night
in the set. It was a bold move, maybe, but it certainly paid off as the
reaction was ace.
Quite a few people also commented on the fact that the new songs
slotted in perfectly with the older stuff in a sonic respect. It was good
to hear that had come across, as wed also tried to group the songs
in batches with regard to tuning. The reduced guitar changes also
helped keep the energy level up, as we could begin to segue songs
together and find nice little intros that tied them into sequence.
Towards the end of the tour everything was dialled in perfectly with
regard to playing and performance, so thats when a bit of jamming
and improv began to creep in. Thats always a nice way to put a fresh
twist on the songs and also helps keep us on our toes. It was also cool
that some of the audience who had attended multiple gigs got to see a
few different takes on the tunes.
One of the more interesting moments came when we did an
acoustic session in a studio on a day off: it was a bit of a challenge
working out which songs and which versions of them would work
well in that stripped-back format, but after a bit of rearranging we
got the tunes sounding great. Itll be interesting to see what people
make of these versions without all the usual sonic intensity. With the
album just out a couple of months, and with festivals and part two of
the tour being booked right now, it seems like there will be a lot more
opportunities for us to play these songs out.

To develop further the idea I put forth in the last piece, here is
another way to add interest to your playing: utilising chords that
are related to what youre playing, without being built directly
from the tonic. For the sake of continuity, lets continue using an
E minor bass. If the E minor is built on E, G and B (adding the D
to give it a minor seventh voicing, if you like), consider playing
those chords built from the chord tones G major, B minor and
D major. Each offers a different kind of colour or tension, and
each may or may not make sense in the music youre playing.
Remember that for each of these chords you have multiple
inversions to try: sometimes just playing two notes will work in a
way that a more complex chord will not. For instance, if the band
is playing a section in E minor and you choose to play the G at the
fifth fret of your D string and the D on the seventh fret of your
G string, or the D at the 12th fret of the D string and the A at the
14th fret of the G string, in a power chord fashion or as a rhythm
stab, you will create a sense of urgency, whereas the use of a G
major triad or a B minor triad arpeggiated in the same context
will generate a more thoughtful sound.
If you start to displace the notes across the extended range
of your bass, you will explore texture the way a composer does.
Using the previous example of the band playing in E minor,
let your low B sustain beneath what the band is doing while
you add colour to the soundscape by playing a D major triad
(D-F#-A), starting with the D at the 17th fret of the A string. That
rumbling B pedal tone (the fifth of the E chord) will add power
and darkness to the overall sound, while the A (the perfect fourth
or subdominant) and the F# (the second, or more correctly the
ninth) are consonant notes that are not often used by bassists
except as passing tones. Investigate their sound while sustained
or used in arpeggios. Remember, power is not just exerting
muscle. It can be found while using restraint, too. + search Stewart McKinsey

Bass Guitar Magazine 071

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Download the Bass


app for extra content






ello again bass buddies,

hope you are all keeping
it low! In the last issue we
had a look at the musical
stave, which was part of
my evil scheme to get you
all reading music... As discussed
in last months column, the stave
is the framework that keeps all
the musical information in place.
By looking at the stave we have
already seen what notes each of
the lines and spaces represent,
for bass (which is indicated by the
bass clef at the beginning of the
stave) the lines from bottom to
top are: G B D F A and the spaces
from bottom to top are: A C E G.
These notes can be seen as they
appear on the stave in Example 1.
There is a handy way to learn
off by heart all your notes on the
stave: use rhymes to remember
the order the notes go in. The
rhyme for the lines is as follows:
Good Boys Deserve Fruit Always.
The rhyme for the spaces goes
like this: All Cows Eat Grass.
Each capital letter in the rhyme
represents a different note on
the stave. So, now we know what
each note is on the stave but
what about the value of that note?
What I mean by the value is, how
long do we hold a note for? How

many beats in a bar is it worth? So lets take a look at how notes are broken up to represent different beats and
what they look like.
Take a look over at Example 2, this shows four of the many ways note values can be divided up. The note
to the left is called a whole note, which lasts for four beats, so play a low E as indicated in the example, and
let it ring out for four beats, counting 1 2 3 4. The next note is called a half note and that is written when a
note needs to be played for two beats, so play a low E on beats one and three counting to four as you do so.
The next four notes in Example 2 are called quarter notes because they represent each beat, so play a low E
on your bass and as you play, count each note: 1 2 3 4. The final bar in Example 2 shows eight notes: for these,
play both the downbeat and upbeat (the downbeat being the number you give the beat and the upbeat being
the & between the numbers). So play two notes per beat here counting up to four, as 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &.
The following diagram shows exactly how each note is divided, with the whole note at the top. This is
divided into half notes, then quarter notes and so on.


A good way of counting out the beats as you play these different note values is to tap out each beat with
your foot: the down beat is when your foot hits the floor, the upbeat is when your foot is mid air. Give these
exercises a go and youll be a sight-reading whiz in no time!


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s a technique, tapping has its roots set firmly within the guitar world but over the years
tapping has developed on bass guitar to a point where it is used extensively to enhance the
melodic and harmonic content of a song.
My take on bass, and in particular tapping, has always been to explore the capabilities of the
instrument, sonically, harmonically and melodically. Tapping certainly has its place, although
you wouldnt want to use it in an audition for a pop gig

Lets start out by looking at the
G string to tap our first notes.
Place the first finger of your
fretting hand on the E note at the
ninth fret of the G string. Keep
it planted there for the whole
exercise. Grip the neck with your
thumb and second finger of your
plucking hand, leaving your first
finger to tap the B note at the
sixteenth fret of the G string.
Tap down hard on the B
note with the first finger of the
plucking hand and then pull off
with the same finger, allowing the
E note to ring out. Next, hammer

on down hard with the little finger of the fretting hand at the twelfth fret of the G string (double dots),
playing the G note. Repeat this movement, remembering to take your little finger off the G note at the
twelfth fret when you pull off from the B note. This will take a little practice at first, but you should get
the hang of it quite quickly. Dont go too fast, but make sure you can hear all of the notes. All of these
examples are to be played up the octave (8va) and in a 6/8 time signature.

Repeat this process, substituting
the B note for a C note at the
17th fret of the G string. Try
switching between the two
notes after each grouping,
making sure you are tapping,
pulling off and hammering on
each note. The important thing
is to make sure you can actually
hear each note.




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Beginners techniques

Examples 3 and 4
Repeat the same shape across
the strings for the last two
examples, varying the tempo but
changing the strings each time.
Feel free to have a go with the
E string. This will take a little
more effort and strength but
should yield a good result. Next
time we will put these notes in
to a tapping progression. Until
then, enjoy!

Bass Guitar Magazine 075





n previous columns, weve

explored harmonics in some
detail, and so this month Id
like to go a little further and
explore the use of natural
harmonics up to the tenth
harmonic, demonstrating their
usefulness in creating melodies,
chords, and added colour to
our bass-lines. Im going to
concentrate on natural harmonics
as opposed to false harmonics, a
topic weve already looked at in its
own right. All of the harmonics
in this months examples can
be produced in the usual way,
with the fretting finger resting
lightly on the string at a certain
point, with the string then being
plucked to produce the required
harmonic note.
Note that when we get to the
sixth harmonic and beyond,
the tab positions are shown
as decimal fractions. So for
instance, the sixth harmonic
is just to the bridge side of the
third fret and has been indicated




as 3.2. These fractions are just a guideline, so you might need to use a certain amount of trial and error
before you find exactly where the note is.
The first example is the notes of the harmonic series as found on the G string up as far as the 10th harmonic. A
few points to note here: firstly, the note-head of harmonics is usually shown as the diamond shape, as indicated.


Secondly, the 15ma and dotted line

above the notes signifies that the
actual pitches are two octaves above
what the notation would indicate.
Also youll notice that I start at the
second harmonic: this is because
the first harmonic, or fundamental,
is simply the open string.
Note further that the notes spell
out a dominant seven arpeggio.
Specifically, from the second
harmonic, we have root, fifth,
octave; and then, in the next octave,
major third, fifth, minor seventh;
then another octave; and, finally,
the second in the next octave, and
then the major third, this being the
10th harmonic. Although I have
decided to only go as far as the
10th harmonic, it is possible to go
even further, though the notes are
harder to find and play clearly. But,
for the intrepid, the next harmonic,
the 11th, is found just beyond the
tenth, moving toward the nut, and
is the sharp eleven, a C# on the
G string. As you can appreciate,
the notes of the harmonic series
eventually spell out a Lydian seven
chord: that is, a dominant seven
with a raised fourth.
Now, by combining these
natural harmonic positions across
all four strings it is possible to
play quite a long sequence of
natural harmonics that constitute
all the notes of a particular scale,
specifically a G Lydian scale if
we start from the 12th fret on
the G string. In fact, we can play
two octaves plus a major third
of a G Lydian scale with all the
notes in the correct sequence
and octave, as I illustrate in the
next example. Bearing in mind
the modes inherent in this scale,
it can be seen that it is very
useful for finding melodies in
a number of modes. So, in G
Lydian, we can play also in B
Aeolian, A Mixolydian, E Dorian,
F# Phrygian, C# Locrian, and
D major, or Ionian, to give it its
modal name.
With practice you will be able
to find the harmonics between

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the frets fairly reliably. Youll notice also that the higher positions, as we move toward the nut, are harder
to play clearly, and also begin to deviate from equal temperament, our 12-tone chromatic scale representing
something of an approximation of natural harmonics.
The third example is a two-bar G Lydian vamp, making use of these harmonics and also, in the second bar,
adding a fretted tone a low G to help establish the harmony and also add some rhythmic impetus. I dont
go higher than the sixth harmonic in this example, so the notes are fairly easy to find, but remember that the
sixth harmonic is not quite over the third fret, rather slightly on the bridge side as indicated. On the second
beat of the first bar I use, in the plucking hand, thumb, first, and then second finger to play the notes, the aim
being to allow them to continue ringing. In a similar fashion, the two notes played as a double stop on beat
three should be left to ring out for the rest of that bar and into the second bar, so careful fretting is necessary
to make sure we dont cut the notes short.
The final example is a four-bar bass-line on a II-V vamp, E minor 7 to A7, in which we play some melody
using harmonics up to the 10th harmonic, a bass-line played normally on the E string, and also a harmonic
chord, the A7 in the third bar, so theres quite a bit going on here. Firstly, find the melody and ensure that is
under the fingers: its pretty much the same each time, just that on the second time we finish on the A7 chord.
Here we are using some of the upper harmonic positions, so it might take a little trial and error to find exactly
where the notes are. Once you have found them you can see it is all very close together, so its not too difficult
to play once were comfortable with the positions for the harmonics. I am plucking the chord with thumb,
first, and second finger, and again we need to ensure we dont damp any of the strings and let the notes ring.
The bass-line is all on the open E string in the second bar, although in the fourth bar there are some more
notes, but it can still all be played on the E string, ideally not damping the upper strings and allowing the A7
chord to continue to ring out.
As you can see, being able to locate all the natural harmonics up to the 10th harmonic on each string
affords us many possibilities in terms of melodies and chords, all of which can add a great deal of colour to
our ideas and enhance our bass-lines.







n the past two columns

weve looked at the odd
meters 7/8 and 11/8, both
of which can be created
by removing an 8th note
from a more standard meter
(4/4 and 12/8 respectively).
This month lets look at 5/4, a
signature that could be seen
as adding time to a meter (4/4),
in this case a full quarter note
rather than an 8th.
Well start by comparing a
standard measure of 4/4 with
a measure of 5/4. The accents
will be on the first and third
beats of the 4/4 measures, and
the first and fourth beats of the
5/4 measures. The 3+2 feel this
pattern creates is probably the
most typical youll encounter
in 5/4.
In Example 2 well look at
two more feels in 5/4, each
created by accenting 8th
notes in a different way. The
first two measures show a 3,
3, 2, 2 grouping of 8th notes.
For a famous example of this
feel check out Lalo Schifrins
Mission: Impossible Theme. If
you hadnt previously noticed
that song was written in 5/4, its


testament to the fact that odd meters dont have to sound quirky or unconventional. In the hands of a
skilled composer they can be as catchy and easy to follow as anything written in a more standard meter.
The second part of Example 2 shows a 2, 3, 3, 2 grouping of 8th notes. Both patterns in this example
have accents that land off the beat: keep this in mind while youre tapping your foot and/or playing with
a click.


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Alison Webster

OVER 5/4

In Example 3 well start subdividing the beat with 16th notes. Youll recognise the accent patterns in
the first, third, and fourth measures from the first two examples. The fifth and sixth measures of the
example feature more advanced groupings of 16ths: 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 2 and 3, 2, 3, 2, 3, 2, 3, 2. You may not
run into patterns like these as much the others, but if you know them it can be really helpful. Memorise
a lick or two using groupings like these and try using them to improvise over 5/4 against one of the
signatures more common feels a very interesting effect can be created, and if you nail it youll probably
turn your bandmates heads.
In Example 4 well play the patterns from the first two examples over some simple chord changes.
Once youre comfortable with these basics, try using some of the other patterns over the same
progression. As with any odd meter, 5/4 will feel a lot less odd once you become familiar with it.


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example 1

example 2

FraNC O'SHea

Fusion Means never

havinG to say thats
iMPossiBLe! says Franc

example 3

n this months column I will

continue looking at how a
fusion solo can be effectively
devised. I will start by looking
at how we can combine
various left hand patterns
with right hand raking patterns.
An effective approach when
attempting to analyse ideas such
as these is to map out what is
available and condense ideas into
appropriate groups.
Example 1 assigns more than
one number to certain individual
left hand fingers. Normally your
left hand fingers have the numbers
one to four assigned to them,
where 1 equals your index finger, 2
your middle, 3 your ring finger and
finally 4 your little finger. When
playing scales in one position we
normally place three notes on each
string and use a left hand fingering
of 1, 2 and 4, or 1, 3 and 4, or even
1, 2 and 3. Once we start getting
into combinations of these patterns
and different permutations of these
numbers, things can start getting
complicated. All the patterns use
the first finger in them but the
variations occur with the other
fingers and can be 2 and 4, 3 and 4,
or even 2 and 3. But by assigning
the numbers 2 and 3 to encompass
all these possibilities, we can


example 4

example 5

condense everything down to just two numbers (three including the 1). So 2 can represent either the middle or ring
finger, and 3 can represent either the ring or little finger, as demonstrated in the first example.
Example 2 demonstrates all the combinations of the numbers 1, 2 and 3 and also splits them into two groups.
Group A starts out (Ai) showing the numbers in a descending order: 3, 2, 1, but then Aii places the first number
at the end of the sequence so that what was the second number, now becomes the first: 2, 1, 3. The same process
continues for Aiii so that we have 1, 3, 2, and then all the possible permutations have been found (if you were to
continue the process you would be back at the original permutation of 3, 2, 1). Group B demonstrates the numbers

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example 6

example 7

example 8

example 9

in the ascending order of 1, 2, 3, and by using the same process as we did for Group A, we find that the possible
permutations are Bi = 1, 2, 3, Bii = 2, 3, 1, and Biii = 3, 1, 2. The left hand pattern shown in Example 2 is actually 1 =
index, 2 = middle finger and 3 = little finger. You will find, however, that these condensed left hand patterns can be
applied to all seven note scales played in one position.
Example 3 uses exactly the same right hand raking pattern that appeared in Example 8 of my column last
month. The only difference this month is the left hand fingering and the placement of accents, which now give
a feeling of groups of six. Obviously a group of six notes is two lots of three and by analysing the third example it
will become apparent that the left hand fingering pattern employed is 1, 2 and 3 (Bi) as opposed to the 3, 2, and 1
(Ai) pattern shown last month. Since we are attempting to build up speed, it is convenient that the left hand just
continually repeats the same three note pattern as it descends the entire scale and as the notes are continually
changing, a complex six note pattern is created that shifts to different degrees of the scale.
Example 4 creates a particularly angular sounding fusion run but the right hand raking pattern is exactly the
same as in the previous example. It is only the left hand pattern that has changed, which is now 3, 1 and 2 (Biii),
and the specific fingering employed throughout is the ring finger, then the first finger and then the middle finger.
If the root of the first six notes was taken as D (12th fret of the D string), then the pattern would be consistent
with outlining key notes in a D7 chord. It would be the 4th, minor 3rd, major 3rd, root, minor 7th, and finally the
major 3rd again. The second group of six notes starts with the accented semiquaver on the and of beat two. This is
exactly the same pattern as the previous one, except that it starts a tritone lower, suggesting overall a D7b5 chord.
The final group of six in this example is the same as the first only an octave lower.

Advanced theory

Example 5 uses a similar pattern

to the previous example, although
this pattern is extended to eight
notes, where the first note of five
is accented creating a group, as is
the first note of the second group
creating a group of three. The
group of three notes is shifted up
a semitone to make the pattern
ascend up the frets and is followed
by the first pattern of five, which is
shifted up another semitone. You
could carry on like this until you
ran out of frets but you can also
descend down the fingerboard.
Example 6 uses the same
right hand raking pattern as the
previous example but demonstrates
how you could ascend diatonically.
Both Examples 5 and 6 show
us that we can ascend by using a
repeating raking pattern on two
strings and just shifting the left
hand pattern up the fingerboard.
This is interesting, since due to
the fact that raking is created
by dragging your finger down
from a higher pitched string to
a lower pitched string, it means
that patterns tend to naturally
descend rather than ascend. This
can be overcome not only by using
ascending patterns, but also by
using patterns similar to the one
shown in Example 7. Here we
see that even though the pattern
descends in places, the overall
melodic shift is rising. This can
be accomplished by selecting
an appropriate raking pattern
and starting it on lower pitched
adjacent strings, that will then
transfer to the next higher pitched
adjacent strings without changing
the right hand fingering, as
demonstrated using a whole tone
scale in both bars of Example 8.
Example 9 demonstrates
another way that you can ascend
quickly, this time not by using
raking, but by including hammer
ons mixed with picked notes.
Since two of each group of three
notes is picked, at speed this gives
the illusion that all the notes are
picked. When combined with the
descending raking technique, this
can be an effective way to rapidly
ascend and descend a scale.

Bass Guitar Magazine

080-081 Franc_Rev3.indd 81


19/05/2015 14:54




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As previously mentioned, like the major scale, melodic minor can also be harmonised producing seven
arpeggios and chords that can in turn be used to create progressions and additional harmonic content.
Example 2 examines these as 7th chord structures. Work through each arpeggio, making sure that you learn
the positions off by heart as these will form the basis for the extended technique exercises that follow.



orking with minor

tonality can be more
complex than working
with major; for a start,
there are three primary
minor scales to consider,
each sounding substantially
different to the next, with only
minimal changes. Today well be
working with melodic minor.
In the world of classical harmony
and theory, melodic minor differs
depending on whether it is
ascending or descending. On the
way up, you play melodic minor
(essentially a major scale with a
flattened 3rd), then on the way
down you play Aeolian (better
known as the natural minor scale).
However, in jazz, melodic minor
is more commonly recognised
as the same structure played in
both ascent and descent, thus
allowing us to harmonise it in a
similar nature to that of the major
modes. Its worth noting that you
may see this referred to as the
minor jazz scale. Together with its
various modes (Dorian b2, Lydian
augmented, Lydian dominant,
Mixolydian b6, Locrian #2 and the
altered scale), melodic minor has
a fundamental importance in the
field of improvisation. Lets have a
look through Example 1 and gain
familiarity with its intervals and
diatonic contents.



This months third exercise isolates the thumb, index and middle fingers in the plucking to produce an ascending
stream of 7th chords. Although not indicated in the notation, if you wish, hold down the entire chord structure in
your fretting hand for each bar, allowing the notes to ring out as a harmonic chord, rather than being played just
melodically as indicated. As always, practise these shapes in all key centres. You may have noticed that there are
no key signatures present in this months exercises: this is because although clearly suggesting C minor, melodic
minor doesnt actually belong to any specific key signature and thus should always be written in accidentals.


Now that you have a general
overview of the harmonised
melodic minor scale, lets put it
to better use and create some
grooves and ambient sounds.
Youll find that the scale has some
lovely textures to investigate that
have been used to provide a basis
for the following exercises.
Continuing our study of
three-fingered technique, our
penultimate example combines
the sextuplet rhythms found in
last months columns with the
harmonic and melodic content
weve just introduced to produce
a nice melodic groove. As a
refresher, sextuplets are most
effectively counted using the
mnemonic one-and-a-sex-tup-let

or more comically, bib-a-di-bob-a-di. The G7 chord found in bar two is played with thumb, index and middle
fingers simultaneously, as is the F7 found in bar four.

This months final exercise
is an E minor groove. In this
example I have not indicated
fingering for the plucking hand.
This gives you an opportunity
to work them out for yourself,
basing your decisions on the
information you have already
encountered in todays work.
I will, however, give you one
hint... bars one and three are
slapped, the remaining bars, two
and four, are played fingerstyle.
Until next time, practise hard!





Free up Your
FinGerBoarD, saYs
DaViD etheriDGe

ome years ago I had a

great time playing in the
pit on panto gigs. Theyre
terrific fun, and some of
my memories include
crying with laughter at
the antics on stage. Theyre also
very demanding in the range of
music you might play: pop tunes,
standards, film and TV themes
and much more, and some you
have to busk off the top of your
head if anything goes contrary
to plan (which usually happens
every night).
One year the opening song
was Slap That Bass but with
different words. I was using my
five-string bass guitar on it, and
when following the chords my
hands went through the usual
positions, but as if I was playing
four strings. I worked out a much
simpler fingering that used less
movement and also used the
bottom B string, but when it came
to the show my hands religiously
went back to the earlier fingering
that had more position shifts.
In the heat of the moment I was
using an approach that I was used
to, but was actually more difficult
to play.

086 Bass Guitar MaGazine

So this time around well look at approaches to intervals with different fingerings: both grouping intervals under
the hand, and also using position shifts. Some double bass methods offer exercises in intervals, but only offer one
type of fingering: here well expand on this to show the options, and the principles can be used in any key.
Have a look at Example 1: a scale of C in thirds. At the start were in half position, going up to first for the A and
B, and moving up to the higher notes with either 4, 2 fingering for semitones or a 4, 1 fingering for whole tones.
Coming back down, were grouping the fingerings and shifts on one string and ending up in 1st position, although
you could play the last bar in half position just as easily if you wish.

ExamplE 1

ExamplE 2

ExamplE 3

ExamplE 4


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This is common advice that

youll find in many bass methods.
However, if you look at the
fingering below the stave, theres an
alternative. Here, were grouping
the thirds in parallel fingerings
rather than moving up in steps.
Your hand will move in discrete
steps, with either a 4, 2 or 4, 1
fingering across two strings. Now
this is relatively easy in keys that
let you use open strings, so lets
take a look at the same example
transposed into a difficult key.
In Example 2, heres the same
exercise in Db. Notice that with
the top fingering which is the
traditional sort of thing that you
find in instruction books youre
doing a lot of switching back
and forth between half and 1st
positions, while the grouping of
notes from Ab upwards tends to be
between the tones and semitones of
this scale in thirds. Notice that Ive
changed the descending fingering in
a couple of places to show you some
more alternatives. By comparison,
the lower fingering is exactly the
same as it was in Example 1: were
grouping the notes in pairs over
major and minor thirds, rather
than shifting position to get the
intervals. Now heres the important
point: both methods work equally
well. My personal preference is for
grouping the thirds under the hand
and working across the strings; I
find that its less effort.
Lets look now how this applies to
fourths on the bass. Now you might
be thinking easy peasy, the bass is
tuned that way so itll be no trouble.
Thats true, except for one interval:
have a look at Example 3. Notice
that the F to B natural is actually a
raised (augmented) fourth, rather
than a perfect one, which applies to
the rest of the intervals in the scale.
Here in the top fingering, were
looking at grouping them mostly
in parallel fourths, apart from the
F-B intervals and open strings. By
comparison, the lower fingering
takes an alternative approach,
where we will group the fingerings

in thirds, with (in most cases) the second half of each beat grouped to the first half of the following beat.
Example 4 shows the same scale in Db to indicate the fingerings in a key that doesnt use open strings. Here
were fingering and grouping parallel fourths again, and as you can see, there are one or two big position shifts
needed, and Ive suggested alternative fingerings here and there on the way down. Looking at the lower fingering,
once again were grouping across the half beat in fourths, which can make life a little easier crossing strings rather
than shifting back and forth between positions. In each case with both thirds and fourths, you can finger them 1, 2
or 2, 4, depending on how comfortable you are with the position shifts.
The principle here is to try and get away from unnecessary moves by crossing strings; unfortunately, methods
like Simandls tend to go for leaps from one position to another. Playing devils advocate, that can be very useful
just to get your muscle memory used to big shifts, but crossing strings and grouping several notes in one position is
more efficient and less tiring in the long run.
Heres an example of moving up through the positions, and all on the G string: Example 5. The positions are:
half, 2nd, 2 and 1/2, 3 and 1/2, 5, 6, 6 and 1/2 and thumb... quite a list. But if we take the string-crossing approach,
Example 6 is the result. Were moving up in parallel major and minor thirds, apart from the last three beats, which
are all in thumb position. The positions here are: 2 and 1/2, 3 and 1/2, 5, 5 and 1/2, 6 and 1/2 and thumb. This latter
version omits two whole positions.
Obviously, exercises like this are rather boring musically, but woodshedding position work like this can free
you up on the fingerboard and help you find the easiest and most economical way of shifting throughout the
entire register, get you off the tramlines of standard fingering and add to your technique.
Next time around, well look at further interval exercises.

Example 5

Example 6

Bass Guitar Magazine 087





better within your bands overall sound and how your band covers the full frequency range than
others, so take that into account too.
Your backline will be dictated by the types of venue you will be playing and what you can afford.
Starting out, it can be daunting to assess exactly what you need but for more than 10 years, I found that a
single 4x10 cabinet and a 350-watt head covered virtually every show that came my way. As time passed,
and the range and type of shows I play expanded, Ive been able to build a number of different set-ups
to cover the multitude of gigging situations. Power and portability should be your prime considerations:
fortunately, the proliferation of Neo cabinets and Class D amplifiers has made things so much easier
for us all. So unless you need a heavy-duty set-up, the extra cost of a lightweight rig may be beneficial,
especially in health terms, in the long run.
Effects are an odd area: some bassists insist on them, but a lot of players prefer to go au naturel. I
guess it depends on your repertoire and whether you want to replicate specific sounds and tones, but
sometimes the floor space available dictates that it simply isnt possible to plonk your pedalboard at your
feet without the front row of the audience trampling all over it.
A drunk pub audience really dont care what gear youve got: youre there to entertain them and keep
them in the bar, so if it means leaving your ego and your pristine new addition at home, then do so.
Youre only as good as your last gig in the guvnors eyes and in this day and age, with so many pubs
and venues closing, that has never been more relevant.

hen it comes to
selecting your bass
and amp arsenal for
playing in a covers
band, it can be hard
to know what to pick.
If youre playing in a tribute
act or genre-specific band say
disco, soul or 70s/80s/90s
your decision will already be
quite defined. However, if your
band is intending to cover a
wide array of songs spanning
the decades, it can be difficult
to choose a bass that does
everything you need.
Some players argue that you
only need a Fender Precision
and a bog-standard amp to do
the job, and Ive heard claims
that the audience cant hear
the difference between a cheap
bass and something a little more
pricey but over the years, Ive
experienced the shortcomings
some basses possess when
it comes to certain types of
material. A bassist in a meatand-potatoes rock band will
probably be able to use one
bass to cover all of the material
they play, but dont be afraid to
employ a couple of instruments
if you need a selection of tones.
Also, some instruments work



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Advertising Index
Promenade .............................................................................2
Warwick .....................................................................3, 21, 66
Harvest Leather ......................................................................7
Bass Direct .............................................................................9
Barnes & Mullins .................................................................11
Andy Baxter ..........................................................................15
Williamscot ...................................................................17, 31
Radial Engineering ..............................................................19
Bass Centre ..........................................................................27
Dingwall ...............................................................................43
Barefaced Bass ....................................................................45
Ashdown Engineering .........................................................51
TC Electronic .......................................................................55
Strings & Things...................................................................59
Surine Basses.......................................................................63
Sadowsky .............................................................................63
Madison & Fifth ..................................................................63
Swan Song Guitars ..............................................................63
Gene Simmons Axe experience ..........................................73
Bass Gear .............................................................................89
Ad Index ...............................................................................89
Polar Audio .............................................. Outside Back Cover


01926 339 808



s soon as you get beyond

a couple of pedals, the
practicalities of assembling,
carrying, connecting and
powering your random
assortment of noise boxes
become increasingly complex.
While that lil splitter cable you got
from Maplin is fine for an analogue
compressor and an overdrive, as
soon as you start piling up the
processing especially adding
digital pedals you need to think a
bit more carefully about power.
In looking at a power solution,
there are a couple of things you
need to be aware of in particular.
Firstly, theres the maximum load
of the power source: how many
(milli)amps does it actually supply?
Your pedals should say on them,
or in the manual, what they need
to draw, and you really dont want
to be going over the combined
maximum. You also need to watch
out for non-standard power needs.
Most pedals are 9v with consistent
polarity, but if you have more
obscure pedals that need more
power for example, my Pigtronix
Infinity needs 18v and my Eden
Californiwah requires 15v youre
going to need a power solution that
can deliver that. Its even more
complex if the connectors are nonstandard. I should, in theory, be
able to power most of the gear in





my rack from one power source the Looperlative is 9v, while the MOTU Ultralite is very flexible in terms of what
it can deal with: it just needs a minimum wattage (amps multiplied by volts) and can handle either polarity. Effects
builders, take note! Meanwhile, the Kaoss Pad KP3 needs 12v. But both the MOTU and the Kaoss Pad have nonstandard sockets (why?) and most power distribution blocks have only one or sometimes two variable outs
So you need to make a list of what the power requirements are and what the maximum total draw in amps is
that your pedal collection needs. You also need to think seriously about what youre attaching it to. Is the power
block going to be free standing? For many years, the godfather of bass-pedal lunacy, Doug Wimbish, would show
up at trade shows with a bag full of pedals, empty them out, plug them all in, and sound amazing. These days he,
like everyone else, has gone the pedalboard route, which makes mounting your power solution way easier. But
the size of your board makes your choice crucial: some are discreet and tiny, others are massive and all-powerful.
Pedaltrain has an amazing power solution called the Volto, which is basically like a lithium-ion cell-phone style
battery for your pedals: it naturally fits neatly under their lightweight pedalboards. It gives a hefty total output
of 2000mA, but its via two outputs, so you have to daisy-chain the power connectors, which can, in some
circumstances, affect tone.
MXR, Voodoo Lab, One Control, Mooer, Walrus Audio, Decibel Eleven, Gator, Rocktron, T-Rex, MXR and Carl
Martin all have power distribution solutions, of different sizes, varying degrees of pedal compatibility and wildly
varying size and weight. Im using the One Control Micro Distro, which is tiny and powers up to nine pedals,
but cant handle the various weird power requirements in my rack.For that, Id have to look to GigRig: as well as
supplying the most incredible fully-featured switching systems for pedals, GigRig also does a bespoke modular
power solution that can power pretty much any combination of voltage and ampage requirements, with loads of
different adaptors and polarity reversing options available. Its a dizzying array and doesnt come cheap, but once
youve done it, itll make your gig life so much easier. See their website ( for details!

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