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Issue 129 April 2016
Bernard Edwards, Chic | Brian Hardgroove Hargrove, Public Enemy | London Bass Guitar Show 2016 report | Promenade Music | Eric Bass, Shinedown | Soulfly tour report | Michael Manring | MTD Saratoga | Roscoe Century fretless | Schecter Stiletto 8 | Danelectro Longhorn | Ampeg SCI-DI

Tickets to see Chic at
re a
F ut! k
the Fold Festival!


Ch i


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ISSUE 129 APRIL 2016

his time every
year I find myself
almost unable to
type these words
specifically, after
the annual London Century
Bass Guitar Show. 4 STD+
As youll know if
you were there, this
years event on 12
and 13 March was
the biggest weve
ever had in terms
of numbers of bass
players through the
day and it felt as if
EDITOR Joel McIver, I and the BGM team
SUB-EDITORS Kate Puttick, Nick Robbins knew every one of
TECHNICAL CONSULTANT Stuart Clayton you. The community
Battersby, Duff Battye, Andy Baxter, Nick we all move in is at its best at the LBGS, with studio and session bassists
Beggs, Jeff Berlin, Jamie Blaine, Silvia Bluejay, not to mention a whole raft of actual stars rubbing shoulders with
Mike Brooks, Joe Burcaw, Dave Clarke, Stuart
Clayton, Ben Cooper, Joe Daly, Hywel Davies, luthiers, amp manufacturers and then people like you and me, who
Jon DAuria, Daryl Easlea, David Etheridge, Mike simply love the low end. Summing all this up in this introduction to the
Flynn, Paul Geary, Ian Glasper, Joel Graham, Ruth
Goller, Spencer Grady, Paolo Gregoletto, Hugh
new issue is almost impossible, so Ill direct you to our full report on page
Gulland, Chris Hanby, Andy Hughes, Ken Hunt, 32. Suffice it to say that when we said to ourselves last year How are we
Kevin Johnson, Steve Lawson, Phil Mann, Lee
Marlow, George Martin, Michael McKeegan,
going to improve on the LBGS 2015? we didnt dare to hope that wed be
Stewart McKinsey, Greg Moffitt, Chris Mugan, asking ourselves the same question a year later. Were grateful to each
Ellen O'Reilly, Franc OShea, Harry Paterson, and every one of you.
Raz Rauf, Alison Richter, Steven Rosen, Kevin
Sanders, Amit Sharma, Joe Shooman, Rob In this issue we celebrate the life and career of the mighty Bernard
Statham, Scott Surine, Jon Thorne, Freddy Edwards of Chic taken from us way before his time, 20 years to
Villano, Ray Walker, Alex Webster, Sam Wise
ADVERTISING SALES Guy Meredith the month before this magazine goes on sale and meet the bassists
GRAPHIC DESIGN Steve Dawson from Public Enemy, Shinedown and Soulfly, as well as nipping up to

AD DESIGN Matt Smith Promenade Music in Morecambe, and meeting Michael Manring. Bass
COVER PHOTOGRAPH Getty Images gear on review ranges from a pair of state-of-the-art MTDs to a vintage
OPERATIONS DIRECTOR James Folkard Danelectro, and as always our world-class tutors do their damnedest to
ASSISTANT PUBLISHER Ruth Burgess make you the bass player youve always dreamed of being. Schecter
Does life in bass world get better? Hell no. See you in May! Stiletto Studio NT-8
Joel McIver, editor
SUBSCRIPTIONS 01926 339808,
For all subscription offers and overseas
prices visit
or call 01926 339808
Printed in the UK Blaze Publishing
Ltd 2016.
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
commercial program without the express
48MTD Saratoga Deluxe 4 & 5
Mike Brooks road-tests
two luxurious basses from the
permission of the publishers in writing.
Under no circumstances should this MTD stable...
publication and its contents be sold, loaned
out or used by way of trade, or stored or

52Roscoe Century
transmitted as an electronic file without the
publishers prior written approval.
DISCLAIMER ...before turning his
While Blaze Publishing Ltd prides itself on attention to this divine fretless!
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
56Schecter Stiletto 8
Ellen OReilly gets her
metal on with this eight-stringed
or distributors of the products contained
within. All trademarks are acknowledged. heavyweight

60Danelectro Longhorn
Distributed to the news trade by Comag
Magazine Marketing, West Drayton,
Middlesex, UB7 7QE
Joel McIver lassos this
Blaze Publishing Ltd. Lawrence House, vintage beast but can he
Morrell Street, Leamington Spa, tame it?

46 64
Warwickshire, CV32 5SZ
Bass Guitar Magazine is proud to
support the Music Industries Association.
Ampeg SCI-DI
MTD Saratoga Is that an Ampeg in your
pocket, asks Ian Glasper
Deluxe 4 & 5

004 Bass Guitar Magazine April 2016

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f/bassguitarmagazine o/bassguitarmag CONTENTS

Michael Tuition
70 Frontline
Four pro bassists offer
you their collective wisdom.
Get smart here

72 Ellen OReilly
Numbers symbolising
chords? Lets do this, says Ellen

Eric Bass, Shinedown
74 Paul Geary
The mighty Geary says...
lets rock!

76 Stuart Clayton
More Aeolian madness
with our man Clayton

78 Rob Statham
Tapping bass intervals
with bass guru Statham

80Franc OShea
Digging deeper into
Francs mind-bending bass solo

Brian Hardgroove
84 Philip Mann
Double popping, is it? The
venerable Mann takes us there
86David Etheridge
Prof Etheridge gets us
soloing on double bass

Bassists 38 Promenade Music

We head to Morecambe for a visit to a bass mecca by the sea
88Steve Lawson
Lets look at the big picture,

22 Bernard Edwards
Twenty years to the
month after his premature
40Eric Bass, Shinedown
Yes, thats his real name. The US stadium-rocker talks the
low frequencies
advises effects maestro Lawson

death, Daryl Easlea and Dave

Clarke celebrate the life, work
and bass talent of Bernard
Edwards of Chic, a genuine
42 Backstage Bass
We meet four metal musicians from Soulfly, Incite, Lody Kong
and King Parrot for a chat about all things low-end 90Classic Bass Albums
Welcome to Brooksys new
contender for the title of the column, in which he celebrates a
most accomplished bass player
who ever lived. Meanwhile,
Joel McIver sits down with
44 Michael Manring
The maverick bassist looks back (and forward) with another bass
icon, Steve Lawson
classic bass album. All together:
Is this the real life...?

Bernards friend and colleague

in Chic, Nile Rodgers, for an
insight into the lost legends

28 Brian Hardgroove Hargrove,

Public Enemy

Angus Batey meets the great
hip-hop musician Hardgroove

to discuss a nation of a million
bass-lines London Bass Guitar Show 2016

Bass Guitar Magazine April 2016 005

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News and views
from the bass world,
collated by BGMs
team of intrepid

SuPeR SHow!
Alex Venturella from Slipknot and Paul Turner from Jamiroquai... well,
lets just say that a chaotic night was had by all. How were going to top
the LBGS in 2017 we have no idea, but then again, thats what we said
Thanks to almost 2,200 visitors, the cream of the worlds bass players last time. Were delighted to note that attendance has increased year on
and exhibitors from around the world, the sixth London Bass Guitar year since 2014, so one more time, hats off to all who came. If you made
Show was the most successful yet. Held at Olympia London on 12 it along, thanks for coming and if you didnt, see you next year! Keep an
and 13 March in association with this very magazine, the LBGS 2016 eye on our social media for pics and film, and enjoy our in-depth report
hosted Robert Trujillo of Metallica, Suzi Quatro, Jools Holland bassist elsewhere in this issue. And see that pic of a crazed bassist holding a
Dave Swift, solo bass monsters Federico Malaman, Adam Ben-Ezra and lovely Teambuilt Warwick Streamer? Thats David Sumeray, who won
Freekbass, Status Quos Rhino Edwards and Joy Division/New Order the Bassface competition and takes the bass home with him. Congrats,
founder member Peter Hook. Watching Trujillos band Mass Mental, that man!
which also features ace bassist Armand Sabal-Lecco, jamming with Mark Info:,,
King of Level 42 blew our minds. And as for propping up the bar with @bassguitarshow

006 Bass Guitar Magazine april 2016

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HFneR HitS 60
Hofner has announced the release of their 60thAnniversary 500/1 Violin Bass, a sleek version
of the instrument made so famous by up-and-coming beat hopeful Sir Paul McCartney half a
century ago. A strictly limited edition of 60 instruments is now available from selected dealers,
they tell us, adding that the 500/1, designed by Walter Hfner himself, was first shown to the
public at the Frankfurt Musikmesse in 1956. Now we feel old.

BooKed uP
Bassline Publishing, run by BGMs very own technical consultant and ace bassist Stuart Clayton,
is releasing more essential instructional volumes devoted to the work of Stuart Hamm and Marcus
Miller. Stu Hamm The Book of Lies Bass Transcriptions (15 plus shipping) contains transcriptions
for all of the tracks on Stus 2015 album The Book Of Lies, including a frankly incredibly-hard-to-
play seven-song solo bass suite, and also contains a detailed biography, details on the instruments
Stu has used and performance notes for each song. The transcriptions were personally checked for
accuracy by Stu, who also provided added insights into the songs in the performance notes.
Meanwhile, Marcus Miller Highlights from Renaissance is a collection of five pieces from
Marcus Millers 2012 album Renaissance, including popular bass-driven tracks such as Detroit,
Jekyll & Hyde and Cee-Tee-Eye. The book also contains a biography of Marcus, details on the
instruments he uses and a detailed analysis of his playing style. Each transcription is written in
both standard notation and tablature and has extensive performance notes.
Elsewhere in book world, Ove Bosch has released a tasty German-language tome called Bass
Vertiefung (or Bass Enrichment according to our 1976 Collins German dictionary from school)
and Steve King has reissued Head To Head: Aerobics For Electric Bass. That lot should keep you
away from your iPad for a while.

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tHe lowdown

goodBye geeZeR
Black Sabbath are bidding us farewell this year, as fans of heavy with a few specific modifications: they needed to be able to split the
metal will know, after swinging around the globe one last time. signals to run four cabs for the full range signal into the 4x12s, so
Bassist Geezer Butler is accompanied on the tour, which is aptly we modified the existing two-way crossover to a custom transformer
named The End, by a splendid new Ashdown rig, put together by derived crossover able to power four outputs to feed the two APM-
Mark Goodays team over the last several months. The premise, says 1000s that would drive Geezers on-stage 4x12s.
the company, was to be able to separate the high and low signals See Ashdowns site for more details and Sabbath on tour to catch
to suit his current custom stage cabinets which consists of four the full power of the new bass set-up. See you at Download!
4x12s and four 2x15s. We took an original JE preamp and came up Info:

o2 aCadeMieS
Italian effects-makers Nemphasis have launched the 02 Oxygen
Bass Preamp and the units larger Pro Series variant. The preamp
delivers extreme exibility and tonal overlapping with outstanding
clarity, it says here, so wed better get hold of one for review. Controls
include a Mode footswitch, gain and input levels, a ground lift switch
to swerve earth loops and an XLR out. The smaller version has the
same EQ as well as a toggle switch offering a preset boost or scoop of
the mid frequencies. Grab them for 149 or 189 respectively.

Six oF tHe BeSt

Basses Loaded, the Melvins new album, features not one but six
bass players and is out on 3 June on Ipecac Recordings, the label
owned by Faith No More singer Mike Patton. Lead Melvin Buzz
Osborne is joined byNirvanasKrist Novoselic,Redd KrosssSteve
McDonald,Butthole SurfersJ.D. Pinkus,Big BusinesssJared Warren
and Mr. BunglesTrevor Dunn, while drummer Dale Croverswitches
to bass. As we speak, were trying to get all six of them to talk to us for
a mega-Melvins feature. Dont thank us, its what we do.

008 Bass Guitar Magazine april 2016

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Thanks to the great Nile Rodgers, we have a pair of tickets to the Nile-curated
Fold Festival, which takes place at Fulham Palace in London on 24 to 26 June
( Get them by answering this simple question about
Pic by Eckie

the late, great Bernard Edwards:

The famous Chic song is...?

A Good Vibes
B Good Times
C Good Nights

Answers to the usual BGM postal address or via www. by May 17.

A ravishing Bruce Thomas Profile bass courtesy of the Bass Centre goes to
John Jones. Thanks to all who entered.

Every month, keen bass-spotter Ray Walker brings
us an online bargain.
Sandberg California TM4 Jazz 749

Billed in the ad as a Fender killer, here we have a

lovely Sandberg California TM4 Jazz bass. This is a
pro-quality bass for less than pro-quality bucks. Its
a versatile active or passive bass with an ash body,
maple neck and a coil tap on the bridge pickup, so
tone range galore. According to owners, the zero
fret gives open notes a more consistent tone and
the rounded-profile of the neck feels great in the
hand. The individual locking saddles of this hefty
brass bridge provide excellent height, spacing and
intonation. A beauty!

Bass Guitar Magazine april 2016 009

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The Lowdown

Headlining Head
London, the contemporary music college. This musical education
space is equipped with a wide selection of Aguilar amps, cabinets and
effects: as Alex Mew, Barnes & Mullins associate director of marketing,
Peavey has announced the immediate availability of the Headliner 1000 says: Facilities such as BIMM are arguably largely responsible for the
Bass amp head, available to order in the UK exclusively through Peavey incredibly diverse and ever more technically proficient songwriting
distributors Barnes & Mullins. The 1000W unit is loaded with features, and production techniques so prevalent in todays music industry. As
including a seven-band graphic EQ, optical compressor with level control so many highly talented and dedicated young musicians study in these
and bypass, a Crunch feature that allows players to dial in a vintage institutions, it is essential to ensure they have access to high quality,
tube effect, Bright and Contour switches and DDT speaker protection professional equipment. So with this aim in mind, we are delighted to
circuitry that detects the onset of clipping. Nab yours for 549. have assisted in the creation of this Aguilar Amplification performance
In other B&M news, the company has just announced the opening and tutoring environment.
of the Aguilar Amplification performance and tutoring room at BIMM Info:

Stanley In Sussex
Jazz fusion legend Stanley
Clarke returns to the Love
Supreme Jazz Festival 2016,
held on 1-3 July at Glynde
Place in East Sussex. Hes joined
by Grace Jones,Burt Bacharach,
Lianne La Havas, Caro Emerald,
Melody Gardot and Kelis among
many more musicians of the
jazz-ish persuasion. None other
than the mighty Burt Bacharach
says of the event Im thrilled
to be returning to the UK this

Sometime Jam bassist Bruce Foxton returns with a new album, Smash
summer and performing at the
Love Supreme Festival. Ive heard
great things about the festival and
The Clock, which features his old bandmate (and last years BGM cover Im looking forward to sharing my
star) Paul Weller, legendary pub-rocker Wilko Johnson and blues musicinthis beautiful settingwith
veteran Paul Jones and which was recorded at Wellers Black Barn the stunningbackdrop of Glynde
studios. Keep an eye out for his post-jam project From The Jam and Place, which makes it all the
their As And Bs tour later this year, which will include rare tracks cooler that well be giving away a
from the Jams back catalogue. pair of tickets in due course.
Info: Info:

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Bassists reveal the tricks of their trade faster
than a snapping D string
Stuart James

Basses Fender Precision, Epiphone Jack Casady, Fender Jazz, Cleartone strings
Effects Tech21 SansAmp, SolidGoldFX Beta Custom Shop, Vintage Russian Big Muff, MXR Bass Octave Deluxe,
MI Audio BlueBoy Deluxe, TC Electronic Polytune, Bright Onion Pedals Mini Looper
Amps Ampeg SVT-AV, Ampeg SVT-410HLF

Antonio Angotti Tax The Heat

Im a big advocate of groove and feel and love to hold down the
rhythmic aspect of bass playing with the drummer while marrying
that with the harmony. I understand my role in a band and I always
play for the benefit of the song: its about the bigger picture. I still like
to try and turn heads, though, and look for the right opportunities
in songs to play something a little more out there, whether its a fill,
run, countermelody or sync up with the vocals or guitar. A lot of it
for me is finding the right tones to really make your bass part speak.
The secret of playing bass well is having the right mindset. And of
GEAR course knowing your stuff! But being a bass player is different from
Basses Rickenbacker 4003, Fender Jazz Deluxe V, Danelectro Longhorn being a guitarist or a drummer. I know it sounds obvious, but each
Effects SansAmp Bass Driver DI, MXR Custom Shop GT-OD Overdrive play their own different roles in a band setting. As a bass player, you
Amps Ampeg SVT 3 Pro head, SWR Workingman 2x10 cabs, SWR WorkingPro 1x15 cab tread the line of laying down the foundation of the arrangement

Becky Baldwin as well as looking for those moments in the song to pop out with
something killer. Were not the guys that traditionally let off a three-

IDestroy, Control The Storm, Triaxis

Im a rock bassist, but Im much more useful when I can chuck the
minute solo mid-song, so its having that understanding (and a better
handle on the old ego) to play more of a supporting role. Dont get me
wrong, there are many instances where the bass takes the lead look
pick and shred on with my fingers instead! I love to play a four-string at Tom Hamilton on Aerosmiths Sweet Emotion or John Deacon
bass. Even when I use my Fender Jazz Deluxe five-string for recording on Queens Under Pressure and Another One Bites The Dust. My
or function gigs, Ill seldom use the B string because it usually has its favourite bass to date is my 1976 Fender Precision bass. Its been my
own separate tone. Even with a great set of strings you can hear the staple with Tax The Heat and 90 per cent of what youll hear on our
difference. Its fun to drop it in once in a while, but unless the guitarist debut album is that. It was quite a fortunate eBay acquisition and
is using a seven-string I would prefer to stick to four. The rock and thankfully it arrived from the US in one piece! It has some real vintage
metal gigs I play dont need slap lines, but I have thrown in a few mojo to it and everything on it is all original. It has a slightly slimmer
cheeky slap fills when recording. I also slap when Ive had enough of neck profile than most Precision basses, which I think was fairly
the guitarists noodling away to themselves during soundcheck... Pay common in the late 70s, and it makes for nice comfortable playing.
attention to detail. When practising, find ways to record yourself and My bass heroes would probably be John Entwistle, John Deacon,
listen back. Even if its a low-quality recording on your phone, youll James Jamerson and Paul McCartney. I think the main thing that
be able to hear the elements of your playing that you need to work on. they all share is their melodic approach to bass playing as well as the
My favourite bass is still my Rickenbacker 4003 which Ive played for incredible amount of creative flair each of them display in their bass-
about six years. I still get a warm and mushy feeling when I see it. My lines. They also bring a great deal of individuality to the table, these
bass heroes are Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath), Cliff Burton (Metallica), guys were pioneers of their eras, styles and genres. But a big personal
John Entwistle (The Who) and Chris Squire (Yes). The greatest bass hero for me is my college music teacher and good friend Craig
player that ever lived was Lemmy, not so much for his bass playing, Gilligan. Not only did he inspire and help nurture my early growth as
but for his general greatness. My rock band IDestroy recently released a musician, but he gave us many great opportunities and experiences
a debut EP, Vanity Loves Me; my melodic metal band Control The to play with other musicians at college. He still continues to be a great
Storm are writing the follow-up to our first album, Beast Inside; and voice of guidance today.Were currently building up to the release of
heavy metallers Triaxis are still touring the third album, Zero Hour. our debut album, Fed To The Lions, on Nuclear Blast Entertainment.

012 Bass Guitar Magazine April 2016

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Basses F Bass VF4-P
Effects Tech21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI
Amps Traynor YBA300 heads, Traynor TC412 Cabinets

Jon Harvey Monster Truck

I do not play five- or six-string bass, because I dont play in Dream Theater. We dont really
play the type of music that requires it. I dont slap. When I hear slapping all I can think of is the
theme for Seinfeld, which isnt a bad thing, but imagine JPJ slappin around.The secret of playing
bass well is paying attention to your drummer and practising a lot with a metronome.My first
bass was a Mexican Fender Jazz which I had to borrow the money for from a bandmate.My
favourite studio bass to date is my Univox (MIJ) copy of a Fender P. It is a great piece of wood. I
have put a lot of time and money into it. It also weighs 15 pounds so on stage, to save my back,
I use the best playing bass I have ever touched, my F Bass VF4-P, with a rosewood fretboard.
I would never play a show without it. My bass heroes are Stanley Clarke, Geezer Butler, Paul
McCartney and Steve Harris.The greatest bass player that ever lived was Niels-Henning rsted
Pedersen. If I could get the bass tone of any album ever released, I would choose Machine Head by
Deep Purple. Roger Glover has the most raunchy yet clear tone. The bass is completely present in
the mix. No weird midrange that gets confused with the organ or bass drum, which is quite a feat
when dealing with a Leslie speaker and the frequency spectrum of a B3 organ crammed through
a Marshall stack.We finished our sophomore album, Sittin Heavy, and the rest of this year will
be spent touring, promoting, playing festivals and staying busy.

Owen Griffiths Blacklisters

I sound like a guitarist playing like a bass player, a bass player playing like a guitarist, with a
plectrum, in drop tuning. I play four-string basses because anything else is a bit unnecessary,
especially if youre already in a drop tuning and want to be audible. The sound of an E string
tuned down sounds infinitely better than a low B string, in my humble opinion. Its all about
clarity and tone, man. Im always throwing some hot Level 42 funky grooves into songs but I just
get threatened with violence. Seriously though, unless youre Les Claypool, its a tough one to pull
off in the sort of music I play. There is no secret to being good at anything, you just have to do it
loads, which I have. Learning your favourite riffs is really important and then jamming with a
band is all you need to do. Im a bigfan of scales and arpeggios, but theres too many really good
guitarists and bass players out there that dont know any of that stuff to say its essential to learn.
My first bass was the biggest piece of crap youve ever seen. I bought it off some kid at school
when I was 13, hed nicked it from his dad and sold it to me for 5. As crap as it was, I loved it and
played it every day. Memories...All Fenders rule, Stratocasters, Jaguars, Telecasters, Precisions,
Jazz basses. I just love them all. I also like the Gibson Ripper and anything by Travis Bean. When
I was younger I didnt really have bass heroes, it was more about bands that I liked or just people
in bands. First I wanted to be in Nirvana, then RATM, then Funkadelic, then Melvins, then
Jesus Lizard, at the moment its Fleetwood Mac. The greatest bass player that ever lived was Jaco
Pastorius, obviously. Weve just released our second album, Adult.

Sarah Davey

Basses Fender Jazz

Effects SansAmp Bass Driver, Boss Bluesbreaker
Amps Hartke HA3500 head, Ampeg 610 cab

Bass Guitar Magazine April 2016 013

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never yearned for that extra low end. Im pretty satisfied with my current
quantity of low end. I came to bass with a guitarists background, so I
think that slap playing was just lost in translation. When I picked up a
bass, I immediately erred towards what felt familiar to me as a guitar
player. The idea of slapping and popping my instrument felt completely
foreign.Necessity never really dictated that I learn how to do it, so I
never did. To this day, I still cant slap, and I regret nothing.As a convert
that originally started as a guitar player, I struggled for a long time
with feelings of being a phoney. I did feel like there might be some
secret to bass playing that I hadnt unlocked yet. For me, the biggest
step towards finding comfort and confidence on my instrument was
finding a sound that I could identify as being my own. Zeroing in on
specifically how I liked my bass to sound, and allowing that to shape my
playing has definitely led me to feeling better as a bass player. Im not
an exceptionally flashy player, so having a bass sound that Im stoked
about can go a long way. The first bass that I ever owned was a Fender
70s Jazz reissue. I borrowed friends basses before that, usually either a
Squier or a Samick, or something of that ilk, but that Jazz was the first
Nil bass that I owned. I used it for about three years, and completely
abused it. Its my at-home bass now, because its pretty unfit to take on
the road at this point. It needs a lot of work. I used to slam it around a
lot and the skunk stripe started to pop out of the back of the neck. My
favourite bass ever is the Gibson Grabber. Ive got two of them. The 1978
is my backup bass, and its incredibly light. It feeds back like a dream. I
can stand at the front of the stage and it can still produce really musical,
easily controllable feedback. The 1975 is my main bass, and its much
heavier. Ive worn most of the finish off the neck in the two years Ive
GeaR had it, so it feels great. Both basses sound essentially the same. Theyve
Basses Gibson Grabber
got the growl of a P-Bass, but they play more like Jazz basses. I like that
eFFeCts None
aMPs traynor YC-810 8x10 cab, traynor Monoblock B, traynor Monoblock II, sunn Concert Bass its not the most common bass to see people playing. Thats always a
nice bonus. As far as style, taste, and tone go, Cliff Burton was pretty

dAvid nArdi The DIrTy nIl

None of the bands I was listening to when I was starting to play ever
untouchable. Theres a reason why Metallica moved to San Francisco
just to get him in the band. His snarling fuzz wah sound is amazing. It
cant really be emulated. The dude also wore nothing but denim, which
played five- or six-string basses, and Ive never really seen a five- or always gets points in my book. Weve just released our debut album,
six-string bass that I particularly liked. Nothing against people that use Higher Power, and well be doing lots of touring.
them, its just not something Ive ever felt the need or desire for. Ive

kel The emPTy PaGe

I would describe my bass style as punky, fuzzy and song- rather than
ego-driven. I played guitar in previous bands; this time I wanted to
switch to bass for a challenge. I mainly consider myself a singer and
songwriter, so when I write Im usually thinking about catchy hooks
and the vocal melody. It was a challenge to go from playing rhythm
guitar while singing to playing bass while singing. Huge respect to
bassists that slap, I love to watch it but I guess I just dont have the funk!
The most important thing for bassists to master is grooving with the
drums. I could get away with being a bit sloppy as a second guitarist,
but now I have to be part of a rhythmic driving force. Even if what
youre playing is simple, especially then, it has to lock in and keep that
power.The bass I currently play is a short-scale Squier Jaguar as it
was easier to transition from guitar to bass with a smaller instrument,
and easier to play and sing at the same time. Its a budget guitar as Im
skint, but I actually love it and cant see myself changing to a great
big bass any time soon. Its lightweight so I can jump around like an
idiot onstage. I love the Jaguar shape and its currently black on black,
which is classic cool, but Im thinking of adding some sparkle. My bass
heroes are the cool Kims: Gordon and Deal. The greatest bass player
that lived was Lemmy, obviously. Weve just released our first proper
single, Deeply Unlovable, and a really cool video with it, a comment on
the unrealistic beauty standards threatening all womens self-esteem
from an early age. We recorded it live after Id only been playing bass
for about six months. This year we release our debut album and tour as GeaR
much as possible. We have some UK dates in June, come see us! Bass squier Jaguar
eFFeCts electro-Harmonix Bass Big Muff
aMPs ashdown MaG300

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bassically speaking

Basses Anaconda Crusher CXE4 Elite, DAddario strings
Effects Boss OC-2, TC Polytune 2 Blacklight, Boss BB-1X, Boss BC-1X,
all on a Pedaltrain Nano powered by a T-Rex Fueltank Jr
Amps Amps Ashdown ABM and Rootmaster

Mike Prince Dr Meaker

My bass style is solid with the occasional slap outburst.
Always in the pocket. I personally think four-string basses
slap better, and I can get the lower notes by detuning to
C#or even B. I used to re-string to tenor (ADGC), like Stanley
Clarke does, for a different taste. Theres nothing better
when youre rolling off some delicious 16th-note triplets with
a groovy drummer! The secret of playing bass well is locking
in with the drummer, but also listening to all styles and
genres of music, particularly melodic instruments. This gives
you a good harmonic and melodic foundation and is easily
transferred to bass, where it can then help with solo and
melody ideas. Also, learn another instrument such as piano,
even if just the basics. My first bass was a 75 Maxtone
P-Bass copy that my dad bought for me off eBay back in
2005 bargain! Ive still got it, but the neck is as warped as
anything, the action makes it unplayable and the strings are
like telegraph wires. My favourite bass ever to date is my
Anaconda Crusher CXE4 Elite. Its been on every recording
session, gig, tour, and festival Ive done since Andrew built
it for me. I was his first customer back in 2013 and Id never
part with it! My old Status Graphite Kingbass Artist was a
cool bass too, a real slap machine. The greatest bass player
that ever lived is Mark King:his rudimentary drumming
approach revolutionised bass playing in Europe in the 80s
and he continues to do so. Some of his riffs and licks are just
outrageous. I really love Chris Wolstenholmes bass tone
on the early Muse tracks. Lots of low-endgrowl and high-
end fizz but still perfectly clear in the mix.I play for Bristol
drumnbass collective Dr Meaker: our second album Dirt and
Soul is nearly finished and should be released in time to gig
it over the festival season. We played loads of festivals last
Simeon Boys-Layton

year including Glastonbury, so fingers crossed well be there

again this year.

Basses Gretsch White Falcon, Gretsch Broadkaster, Ernie Ball Music Man
Effects None
Amps Various

Daniel Manzano Boyce Avenue

For me its always about supplementing and supporting the band
and the rhythm section. Id always prefer to keep it simple, powerful
and driving than to be playing a part that is all over the place, or is
distracting from the main message or emotion of the song.I play four-
string. I just think that five- and six-string basses are too unwieldy. I
would be drawn to having access to the lower notes if theyd make a
bass that has the B string but gets rid of the high G string, so that it still
only has four strings and is as compact as a regular bass. The secret
of playing bass well is to keep it simple, and to really connect with the
music and everything thats going on around you.My favourite bass
ever to date is my Gretsch White Falcon. Its gorgeous. Its really fun to
play hollow-body basses.We just finished a new album called Road Less
Traveled, and it will be out in April! Were really excited about the new
music, and we cant wait to share the songs with everyone on our world
tour, which kicks off in India this month.

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Scott Surine of Surine Basses completes his column on

the making of a state-of-the-art bass guitar

elcome back! Were now at the point where we cut out the top of our
Surine, but oversized to the overall body shape. The S-Curve area
is cut to exactly match the fingerboard extension. The top is then
dry-fitted to the assembly to ensure its fit. Once the top fits snugly, it
is then glued to the assembly, using virtually every clamp in the shop. When
dry, the excess top wood is routed until flush with the wings, then rounded
over and pre-final sanded.
After the top has been glued to the assembly, its edge is routed flush to
the profile of the wings, then rounded over for comfort and aesthetics. The
holes for the controls are then drilled through the body, and the neck heel
is carved by hand with rasps and files. Once carved, the neck heel is then
refined with various grits of sandpaper until its overall feel is comfortable to
the hand in several positions.
Using a template for the control cavitys outer shape, the lip is routed to
depth. A second template for the inner shape is screwed in place and routed
using incrementally deeper passes until its final depth is achieved. The
pickup cavities are located on the body, then routed to depth similarly to the
process for the control cavity.
Once all prior tasks have been completed, including drilling for the bridge
mount holes and shaping the fingerboard extension, the entire instrument is
final sanded. Once this is complete, the serial number is stamped on the back
of the headstock. The bass is now ready for finish. The bass is then finished
with either a gloss polyester by Pat Wilkins, as in this example, or with a
handrubbed TruOil finish for a satin look and feel: it is then assembled and
set up by master luthier Kenneth Scott Lofquist. For this bass, the Sonova
bridge was installed a proprietary design by Scott Surine.
Once assembled and set up, the bass is tested for playability and
sonic versatility. If needed, minor adjustments are made at this point.
The bass is photo-documented for archive and marketing purposes.
Both warranty and certificate of authenticity documents are produced
for the purchasing customer, and once all is approved, the bass is now
ready for performance!

Bass Guitar Magazine April 2016 017

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Applied Improvisation with

Nik Preston at Rockschool discusses teaching (and learning) music

hroughout the series so far weve covered a lot of harmonic the defining factor in your chance of success is one that I have seen
ground, providing a sound platform from which to develop demoralise less experienced players who dont believe they have it:
fretboard knowledge, aural skills, chord/scale theory and it also gives lazier instructors a reason not to focus on a particular
ultimately develop as improvisers and more rounded musicians. student as much as another.
Something that underpins a lot of the teaching methodology that Very rarely have I come across any student who could not achieve
practitioners like Joe Hubbard, myself and many of the great players at a professional level if they would only be methodical, address their
and educators found in BGM use, is our experience of teaching a weaknesses, find ways to motivate themselves and ultimately increase
great many players, be it in universities, conservatoires, colleges or their own level of confidence. Confidence increases with competence,
privately. and competence will always come with dedication and a clear mind.
Youll hear lots of theory on how various individuals learn: VAK, or If clarity is something that eludes you, as it does for many of us from
sometimes VARK, is one such theory, based on research that seemed time to time, thats a good time to return to the fundamentals. Above
to show that many students have a propensity towards visual, aural all, stay true to your own personal goals returning to your favourite
or kinaesthetic stimuli to learn new skills or knowledge. Different records will also bring you back to focus quite quickly.
teachers have different theories, but often a great teacher is not just Heres a concept: each of us should always aim to be our own
someone with a great command of the subject matter, but also one favourite player. Although at first that may seem to be unachievable
that can (and it may
assess the well be), there
my own
each of us, as
there are a
knows what
multitude of
able to play


influence and study.
how someone As such, it
will learn follows that
most if we make
effectively: the choices to
in certain cases the person that develops the fastest is often the one study our favourite players and repertoire, we ultimately create a
that has come across the most effective methods for themselves as style or voice that is the sum total of a whole host of our favourite
individuals, or a great educator who can join the dots for them. voices. If youre not sure, look at someone such as BGMs own Steve
In educational terms, an individual that prefers to develop Lawson. It takes courage and dedication to chart such an individual
devoid of tuition is referred to as an autodidact, and to be honest, path, assimilating all of the various musical influences that have been
we all need to be autodidactic to a certain degree to achieve in instrumental in forging that unique voice, and Im sure he hasnt been
contemporary music. without his detractors along the way.
My point here is that unless weve drawn these conclusions for How does this help me improvise, I hear you say? Well, this
ourselves, the best approach is to immerse ourselves in as many is not unique to improvisation, it is applicable to all areas of our
different opportunities for learning and development as possible, and development. Whether youre a Grade 1 sight reader, a Grade 5
ultimately start to choose those which resonate the most. improviser or a postgraduate level composer, if youre prepared
The world is full of musicians who gave up on their aspirations all to study, imitate and analyse the music of your idols, and you are
too early, because the teaching methods that they were introduced determined to stay the course, youll quickly find that the term talent
to werent effective for them as individuals and subsequently they takes on a whole new meaning.
started to doubt their own potential or what is often ill-defined as In my next column in two months time Ill outline some potential
talent. Im a passionate believer that your true talent is your ability ideas for developing a practice routine from which many of you will
to stay focused, patient and open-minded. Every musician, no matter benefit. I have employed this approach with many students, of all
how great a player they may be, can find they have any number of different instruments and stylistic preferences, a great many of whom
weak points in the early stages of their development. The majority of are now professional musicians.
the areas in which we need to develop to be able to perform, compose Until next month, stay focused, be patient and try at the end of
and improvise are actually skills fundamentals that can be learned each practice session to spend some time being purely creative it
and refined, which many will refer to as talent. The idea that talent is works wonders.

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The MU and Basschat

Plan your rehearsal space carefully, say the The live scene for bass players explored by
Musicians Union Basschats Silvia Bluejay

he constantly evolving music business triggers

ny musician who has set foot on a stage in the last few decades changes in the live performance scene,
will doubtless have spent some time in a rehearsal studio but especially at local level, where most
finding one that suits you and your bands needs requires Basschatters are active. In General
research. Read our top five tips for finding and making the most of Discussion we see posts bemoaning
your rehearsal space. the decline or the death of the live
scene: will thousands of musicians end
Know your objectives up playing in their bedrooms, or posting
Before setting foot in a rehearsal studio, discuss the bands aspirations videos on Youtube for the enjoyment of
to ensure you share the same goals. Do you want to go pro? Are you disembodied audiences, instead of going
preparing for a tour? Its important to get this out of the way early to out to pubs and clubs, both as punters and
make sure you use your rehearsal time well. There is a legal reason for as gigging bands? Or are we needlessly
setting clear goals too. Even if youre an amateur, you may find yourself panicking and being overdramatic? The debate
in a legal partnership. Working with other musicians has legal, tax and is on, primarily in the regularly updated thread Is
other implications, and it is important you protect yourself. Are you an the live scene dying?
MU member? We can advise on protecting you and your assets. Get in One view expressed by some posters is that, with easily available
touch with your Regional Office ( home entertainment through the TV and the internet, fewer people
are going to the pub for an evening out. Many small music venues are
Review your options closing down as a result, especially in desirable areas, where the land
When it comes to sourcing a good rehearsal studio, research matters. once occupied by a pub can be sold to developers at a massive profit. At
Ask around for recommendations, dig out reviews, and be sure to visit surviving venues, more and more proper music nights are axed as they
the premises before parting with any cash. Work out who and how are too expensive to sustain. More often than not, live music means
you are going to pay for it. Check if the studio offers discounts to MU a lone singer with an acoustic guitar, or even a DJ playing recorded
members. And make sure its convenient and accessible to all members tracks. However, other Basschatters find that in their neck of the woods
of the band nothing will sap your will faster than booking a studio there are in fact too many music pubs chasing too few punters: some
hours away from home. But its worth remembering that state-of-the- pubs offer poor-quality bands, are quickly abandoned by discerning
art equipment and dazzling aesthetics do not necessarily mean good audiences and soon fail, while others select the best bands and thrive.
rehearsal spaces. Good facilities make the process more enjoyable, Another group reckons that the overall number of music pubs in their
says Paul Gray, MU regional officer for Wales & South West England area is not changing at all, in that there are as many pubs starting to
and former bassist with The Damned and UFO. That said, Im offer live music as there are pubs axing it.
currently rehearsing with my band in a garage with curtains pinned So, short of becoming pub owners ourselves (theres a thought),
to the walls, and that suits us just fine. Remember, the plushest places what can we do to keep hold of our live audiences and, as a
are not necessarily the most conducive to getting down to work. consequence, our local music venues? Basschats collective wisdom
suggests that, with more and more music acts vying for attention, bands
Set up as if youre on stage need to identify what their target audience is, and try to tailor their
Spend time experimenting with the sound levels and positioning of setlist accordingly. Spread the word about the bands existence, which
the gear. You want to find the combination that allows everyone in does include being active on the much-maligned social media. Oh, and
the band to clearly hear what they and the other members are doing. dont forget to be musically proficient, too! Nobody wants to cringe
Make a note of the equipment positioning and settings for the next while hearing their favourite songs played live.
time you rehearse. Some younger Basschatters are unimpressed by the plethora of
unentertaining pub covers bands playing the same hackneyed classics
Make sure theres a good PA while gazing at their fretting hands, with long, awkward silences
In 40 years of experiencing the dampest and dankest (with The between songs. Its far preferable to play songs that the audience
Damned) to the plushest and most expensive (UFO), Id say there is one recognise, as long as theyre not sick of them. Finding those is a hit-
consideration that overrides everything else, and thats the quality and-miss process, so gauge each audiences reaction to each song over
of the PA, adds Paul. Unless youre working on song structures in time, and drop less successful numbers from your setlist. Also, be
advance of a recording session, rehearsals should be used as a way entertaining on stage: some friendly banter with the band and crowd
to replicate the sound you individually and collectively intend to can do wonders for the atmosphere. Adding a light show, however
make on stage so a decent PA that doesnt feed back, with adequate basic, also makes the place more welcoming and tempt in passers-by.
headroom, decent mics and a good mixing desk is paramount. Other, more subtle changes noticed by Basschatters on the live scene
are, on the one hand, the trend towards venues booking acoustic covers
Look after your hearing duos and trios, or unplugged bands and requiring the cripplingly low
Keep an eye on the volume. Excessive sound levels can do irreversible volume imposed by sound limiters in residential areas. On the other
damage to your hearing, and create friction within your band, so it is hand, there is growing demand for originals acts, which may be due to
vital to keep amps and PA systems at a comfortable level. Use hearing many of them accepting exposure as opposed to sterling as payment.
protection find out more about this and hearing protection services Whats your own experience? Let us know on the forum.
that the MU provides for its members via

020 Bass Guitar Magazine April 2016

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021.indd 21 23/03/2016 12:25
e o c c a s i o n , Chic
d w a r d s . T o mark th ll that the
c b a s s i s t B e rnard E ated once and for a
t i m e l y d e a t h of Chi man who demonstr ath the disco ball...
y e a r s s i n c e the un s the legacy of the e moshpit, but bene
Its been 20 Daryl Easlea celebrate t in the jazz club or th
biographer bass-lines are found no
reat claims are made, often Dance Dance (Yowsah Yowsah Yowsah) and downtown New York, produced by Rodgers

within these pages, as to Everybody Dance were wowing the clubbers and Edwards as the Chic Organization Ltd and
who is the greatest bass inside, they were denied access. engineered by Bob Clearmountain.
player of all time. To these As they turned up their collars to the Le Freak is a testament to the quality and
ears, the answer is simple: snowy cold, Rodgers and Edwards bought space of those records: there is no bass at all in the
it is Bernard Edwards, who some champagne,cocaine and marijuana chorus, but the fluid way Edwards effortlessly
was, between the years of and decided to throw their own private party reintroduces it at the hooks dnouement
1976 and 1983 and 1992 to 1996, the bass player back at Rodgers apartment on52nd Street. creates an air of pathos and excitement. The
in a group called Chic. Picking up their instruments the pair started instrumental passage is a repeated eight-note
Good heavens, just listen to Thinking Of to jam, screaming the phrase Ah, fuck off! bass motif, nagging, insistent, and conveying
You by Sister Sledge, or what is simply one of Soon, it had mutated into Awww... freak out! more than a thousand bass solos.
the most influential bass parts of all time, Good and they had the skeleton of Le Freak, which There is not a huge amount on record about
Times, from Chics 1979 albumRisqu. They went on to become Atlantics biggest selling Edwards upbringing. He was born on 31
are, when you break them down, ridiculously single ever when released in the US on 10 October 1952 in Greenville, North Carolina.
straightforward, and the latter, especially, is a July, 1978. Within a year, with that one single His father Wilson was a handyman, while his
certain kind of players Smoke On The Water tune, Rodgers and Edwards were to capture mother Mamie was a homemaker. The family
when testing a new bass. But to play themright the zeitgeist like two funked-up Samuel Pepys- relocated to New York for work when Edwards
there in the pocket, with all that air around them, es, recording for posterity 54 in the lyrics: was 10 years old.One of the key reasons why
is very difficult indeed, as many will testify. there islittle recorded detail regarding Edwards
Edwards performed with elegant simplicity. Like the days of stomping at the Savoy, childhood is that he simply would not talk about
The economy of his playing was reflected Now we freak, oh what a joy, it. His eldest son, Bernard Jr, told me in 2003: It
in his personality: while his partner in Chic, Just come on down to 54, seemed to be something he tried to avoid. I wish
Nile Rodgers, was always the more garrulous Find a spot out on the floor... I knew why. My dad was just like everybody
man ofthe night, Edwards was laconic and saw him in the world, a very private person,
private the one who returned home to his Le Freak is one of those gorgeous records and if it was anything that was going to make
young family rather than hitting the clubs. that never fails to grab you. Its irresistibility is him emotional, he would rather be quiet about it
Not that he didnt have his party animal due to how much time Edwards and Rodgers than to deal with it.
streak: he at least tried to get into the shindig spent working on it, with a trusted ensemble Edwards had an enormous interest in music
at New Yorks prestigious Studio 54 nightclub of players. Chic worked as a band with regular from the very beginning. He played reeds at his
on New Years Eve 1977, but he and Rodgers players, as opposed to the faceless session school in Flushing, took up tenor sax in junior
were infamously turned away. The duo were musicians who formed the backbone of late-70s high and moved to electric bass at the High
outraged, as they had been invited as guests of dance. The works of Chic were painstakingly School of Performing Arts in New York. He took
Grace Jones, and while their early hits Dance constructed at the Power Station Studios in over the bass when the bassist in the school

022 Bass Guitar Magazine April 2016

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Bernard Edwards, Chic

The music has

a life beyond us it
almost has nothing to
do with you and
me at all now

Getty Images

Bass Guitar Magazine April 2016 023

022-026 Bernard_rev4.indd 23 23/03/2016 16:08

audiences would appreciate. I would rewrite parts
so they could have more of a groove.
After hawking their first single, Dance,
Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)
round for months, the group was signed to
Atlantic Records in September 1977. Taking its
Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah refrain from the
harrowing 1969 filmThey Shoot Horses, Dont
They?, Dance Dance Dance sold a million copies
in a month. The follow-up, Everybody Dance,
reinforced their popularity. This song opened
with Edwards most explosively exciting bass
part, which at first sounds incredibly complex
and then you realise there is hardly anything
to it. From then on in, Chic enjoyed two years
at the very apex of the charts, with hits such as
I Want Your Love, My Forbidden Lover and
Good Times the latters remarkable bass part
later recreated by the Sugar Hill Gang for the
groundbreaking Rappers Delight.
When disco crashed out of fashion, Chic fell
quickly from grace. Rodgers recorded bass on
David Bowies song Without You, on the Lets
Dance album from 1983, and also on Madonnas
album Like A Virgin a year later. After spending
the rest of the 80s apart, a period in which
Edwards produced the Power Station and Robert
Palmers Addicted To Love among others, Rodgers
and Edwards reunited in the early 90s on record
with Chic-Ism, an acknowledgement of how their
sound had been incorporated into house music.
Sadly, the album failed to chime with the public.
It all came to an abrupt end in April 1996. Chic
were playing a series of concerts in Tokyo, and
Edwards was suffering from pneumonia, but true
to his professional roots, he refused to cancel the

We are Chic we are performance. At the side of the Budokan stage, on

the final night of the concerts, Edwards reached

beautiful people

for Rodgers and held his lifelong friend close.

Fighting back tears, the bassist said, Man, we did
it. This music is bigger than us. Rodgers replied,
What are you coming up with this philosophical
group was drafted to Vietnam. The bass is part of Chic was like. Our costumes made us look like stuff for, Sophocles? Edwards whispered back,
the foundation, the driver in the band, Bernard bankers and businesspeople. To us, it was just as The music has a life beyond us it almost has
Jr said, and my dad was definitely a natural born over-the-top and flamboyant as Kiss. nothing to do with you and me at all now.
leader. Any chance to be a part of the foundation, Within five years, Chic were number one on The rest of the touring party departed
my dad would be all for that. the Billboard Hot 100. With Tony Thompson on for America the following day.However,
Edwards and Rodgers started working drums, Alfa Anderson and Luci Martin on vocals, Edwards was too ill to travel and spent the day
together in the mid-70s when they formed a they were a mixed-gender soul and funk band recuperating. Rodgers stayed behind and checked
friendship on the New York music scene. Rodgers who rode by way of the disco express.The choice on his partner that night before he went out to
was a precocious talent who by this period had of name was apposite: a black band modelled on eat. He asked him if he needed anything, and
been a Black Panther, jammed with Jimi Hendrix a white band, calling themselves Chic, located Edwards assured his friend that everything
and taken acid with Timothy Leary. He had also blackness as glamorous and sophisticated. In the would be fine. Its all right. I just need to sleep, he
begun playing in the Big Apple Band, who backed 1950s and 60s it was civil rights; in the 60s and said.They were his final words.At 1:30am on 18
Im Doin Fine Now hitmakers New York City, 70s it was the Panthers and now Rodgers and April1996, Edwards died of pneumonia.
and got his friend Edwards into the band with Edwards were saying We are Chic we are It was only as the next century dawned that
him. After hatching a plan to marry the larger- beautiful people. In their tuxedos and evening the influence of Chic was duly noticed and
than-life stage antics of Kiss with the glamour of wear, they neither dressed nor dumbed down. appreciated. By the middle of the second decade,
Roxy Music, Chic was eventually born. Rodgers and Edwards married the string they were positively adored once more, given an
I went to see Roxy. I thoughtThisshit is washes of Philly to the funk of JBs and P-Funk. enormous lift by Rodgers ubiquity and the Chic-
happening, Rodgers told me in 2001. If we could The Chic sound was sparse, nuanced and often by-numbers homage, Get Lucky by Daft Punk.
take this sophisticated, cerebral stuff, put a beat bleak. The songs would evolve from jams. Listen to Bernard Edwards playing; you
to it, make it black and our own thing, we could Bernard and I would just start to play. If anyone probably hear it on a regular basis. It remains a
really be happening, too. We also idolised Kiss. were around us, they would go, Wow, it sounds thing of great beauty.
When they were on stage, they had a certain vibe like Chic! recalled Rodgers, adding We were a Daryl Easlea is the author of Everybody
and image, and once they left that stage, you had small rhythm section that had to turn these big Dance: Chic And The Politics Of Disco (Helter
absolutely no idea who they were. Thats what orchestral dance records into something live that Skelter, 2004).

024 Bass Guitar Magazine April 2016

022-026 Bernard_rev4.indd 24 23/03/2016 16:09

Bernard Edwards, Chic

Master Of Funk one live clip Ive managed to find of Chic playing
their debut single Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah,
Yowsah, Yowsah) shows Edwards chucking
away on a white Precision. The Stingray didnt
come into play until Chics second and third

Disco king Dave Clarke digs deep into Bernard Edwards albums, 1978s Cest Chic and 1979s Risqu, along
with Sister Sledges 1979 album We Are Family, for

gear and technique which Edwards recorded his bass tracks by DI-ing
straight into the desk.
While Edwards played basses by G&L, Spector
rom reading BGMs incorporating this rhythmically percussive style and Sadowsky in later years, his live set-up in

Bassically Speaking feature into his impressive chord repertoire, creating the early days centred around his Jazz, Precision
each month, its abundantly what he would later describe as Niles style. This and Stingray, which were usually plugged into an
clear that Bernard Edwards didnt simply influence the Chic sound; it would Ampeg SVT and 810 rig. Edwards was also partial
is regarded by bassists as inform the sound of some of the most popular to playing a BC Rich Eagle in the late 70s and early
one of the greatest bassists records of the 20th century. 80s, apparently because of its pleasing aesthetics
of all time and deservedly Chucking aside, most of Edwards bass-lines more than any tonal preference. Im pretty sure
so. In an age when there appears to be an were played using a conventional fingerstyle, you could have handed Edwards the worst bass in
abundance of technically gifted players out there with his slapping technique only making an the world and hed have made it sound fantastic.
who, as their respective Youtube channels testify, appearance when the song demanded it or, more But what strings did he use? I ask this question
are capable of mindboggling bass-gymnastics, rare precisely, when the groove demanded it. This is with tongue firmly in cheek, because nobody
is the bassist who seamlessly combines killer typical of the approach Edwards and Rodgers took seems to know for sure but Im pretty sure
technique with a God-given aptitude for grooves. with the music they created: keeping the parts Edwards was the person who cared the least.
To this end, Edwards was top of the class. as simple as possible and serving the song. It was Duran Duran bassist John Taylor inherited
Sure, many of us can play perfectly credible this mindset that separated Edwards and Rodgers Edwards Good Times Stingray, which had an old
versions of selected works from Edwards back from the rest of the disco crowd, where a kitchen- set of roundwounds on it. Rumour has it that JTs
catalogue, but playing anything that involves sink production was often de rigueur. bass tech took it upon himself to replace these
his legendary chucking technique (using his When it comes to basses, Bernard and hallowed strings. I asked Taylor about this and his
forefinger as a guitarist uses a plectrum) is an Stingray go together like gin and tonic. reply said it all: Bernard would have said, Ah, it
altogether different sport. Few of us will ever However, this association is misleading, often doesnt matter. He wasnt precious about that sort
truly master this unorthodox style without overlooking his regular use of Fender Precisions. of thing.
dedicating many hours of practice, and acquiring In fact, Edwards first bass was a Fender Jazz: to The bass gods broke the mould when they
an index finger thatll look as if its lost an see a rare clip of him playing one, check out a made Bernard Edwards. No other player has truly
argument with a lathe. clip on Youtube of the Big Apple Band playing a sounded like him, before or since. And all those
It is, however, worth pointing out that while cover of the Bee Gees You Should Be Dancing bass-lines its easy to forget that he wrote some
Edwards chucked his hand over basses like a in 1976. The majority, if not all, of Chics 1977 of the most influential parts of all time. Can you
wizard waving his wand, he was no one-trick self-titled debut album was played using this Jazz imagine the world without Good Times? That in
pony. He used the technique he is best known for and a Precision and you can hear it. Indeed, the itself is his greatest legacy.
on surprisingly few tracks, perhaps most notably
on Chic gems such as Everybody Dance, Dance
Dance Dance (Yowsah Yowsah Yowsah) and
Happy Man. Still, this hasnt stopped thousands
of bassists across the globe obsessing over these
sublime creations for almost 40 years.
Edwards was a guitarist before he switched
to bass, but not wanting to use a plectrum hed
play as if he was holding one, with the tip of his
index finger striking the strings as he strummed a
non-stop rhythm of sixteenth notes. This allowed
him to flirt with time with uncommon finesse,
instantaneously changing the dynamic of a songs
groove to devastating effect despite being subtle
to the ear.
Jumping on and off the beat with such
apparent effortlessness allowed for deceptively
complex syncopations, not unlike a boxer
switching from orthodox to southpaw to deliver
an unpredictable punch. Just listen to the
instrumental section of Happy Man and try
playing it using traditional fingerstyle. Good luck
with that! You could do it with a pick, of course,
but the attack will sound completely different.
Edwards showed his chucking technique to
his musical partner Nile Rodgers during their
pre-Chic days, when the pair played together in
the Big Apple Band. After taking a couple of days John Taylor of Duran Duran with Bernard
Tina K

Edwards legendary Music Man Stingray

to get a feel for it, Rodgers immediately began

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022-026 Bernard_rev4.indd 25 23/03/2016 16:09

Bernard Edwards, Chic

the band and I said, Yeah, I feel the same

about you youre a natural bandleader. He
asked me my name and then said, Are you
that dude I talked to about putting together a
band? Oh wow. I didnt know you were that
funky! Ever since that moment, we were
never really apart. Even when Chic broke
up I called him to record with Madonna and
Bowie: we were always friends.

Tell us about Bernards work with

David Bowie.
I had a bet with David that Bernard would
knock out the song he played on from the
Lets Dance album in 15 minutes, and Bernard
did it in one take. Afterwards he looked at
me and Bowie with a little bit of an attitude,
and said, Is that what you motherfuckers
were looking for? Ha ha! I said to Bowie, You
got any problems with that part, David? and
he said Sounds great to me! I looked at my
watch and Bernard had done the take in 14
minutes exactly.

What did you and Bernard have in common?

We had serious respect for each others
ability to make music. One thing that was
absolutely certain in my mind was that
there was never, ever a job that I couldnt
call Bernard up to play bass on, and that
whichever artist he played with would be
completely blown away. And thats how he
felt about me. He would tell people, You
want some unique guitar parts that are
going to make the music groove? Call my boy
Nile! We were proud of each other. Id say to
people, You want to see some serious bass

Chic Talk
playing? Watch this.

Did you and Bernard ever swap instruments?

We would swap instruments sometimes, to
teach each other songs. I would say I hear
the bass-line going like this and he would
do the same for the guitar part. He wrote
songs on the guitar, too, because he was
a guitar player first. Thats why used that
weird chucking style where he acted like
The great Nile Rodgers was Bernard Edwards partner in Chic, and he was holding a pick but he was using his

closest friend for many years. Joel McIver asks him to look back forefinger.

Did he use tape to protect his finger?

ts been 20 years to the How did you meet? Nah! The blood would just drip down. At the
month since Bernard We became friends the first night we met end of the Chic era at the end of the 70s, we
died, Nile. What are your in person. However, the first time we spoke had hit records by Chic and Sister Sledge, so
last memories of him? on the phone, he told me to lose his number! our concerts became very long, and some
I love you guys for He told me never to call him again and of them would have a lot of chucking, like
putting Bernard on the hung up the phone. I was a hippie and I had Everybody Dance and Happy Man. Many a
cover! The last night told him I wanted to put together a band night, wed finish the show, bro, and thered
Bernard played with me, who was he on stage which combined Fairport Convention, the be a little pool of blood on his shoes or
with? Steve Winwood, Simon Le Bon, Sister Mahavishnu Orchestra and Country Joe dripping down his bass. Just try to play the
Sledge, and me, his best friend. He told an & The Fish. But when we met at a gig, we bass parts on those songs. Knock yourself out
interviewer at the time, I never have more didnt know who the other one was, and I just and try and play them!
fun than when Im playing with Nile. I like plugged in and started playing with the band.
playing with other people, dont get me wrong, He and I organised the musicians between Nile Rodgers and Chic will be performing at Niles Fold
but no one is as much fun as Nile. Im his bass us and told them what to do, and at the end Festival at Fulham Palace in London on 24 to 26 June.
player and hes my guitar player. That made of the night he said Man, I really dig what Info: Win a pair of tickets to the
me cry, but it was exactly how it was. you did. I really love how you were leading event by entering the competition on page nine.

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015.indd 15 23/03/2016 12:28
Groove is in the

Public Enemy bassist Brian Hardgroove

Hargrove brings the noise: Angus Batey
asks the questions

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Brian Hardgroove Hargrove

hen an already established and hugely successful band

recruits a new member, its always going to be difficult
for the arriving musician. Fans have an expectation of
how the music ought to be played, so the newcomer
either has to subsume their ego and replicate the parts
people want to hear, or risk messing with the magic by
imposing their style on the collective. For Brian
Hardgroove Hargrove, though, the problems were magnified when, in 2002, he
joined an iconic, world-famous band who had never had a bass player before.
I didnt approach it, firstly, as a musician, says Hardgroove who, nearly two
decades into the bands existence, became the first bassist and musical director
of a live band incarnation of Public Enemy. I approached it first as a producer.
That was the only way.
A long-term fan of the band, multi-instrumentalist and producer Hardgroove
understood how their music worked. Public Enemys first four albums, released
between 1988 and 1991, earned the band a huge global audience, the strident
politics of leader Chuck Ds lyrics as important to their fans as the dense collages
of samples crafted by their production team, the Bomb Squad. After 15 years
of touring in the conventional hip-hop format rappers using instrumental
backing tracks, with a DJ the only musician performing live on stage Chuck
had decided to take the groups shows in a new direction. After meeting
Hardgroove through mutual friends, and working together on a side project
called Fine Arts Militia, Chuck invited Brian to reimagine the Public Enemy hits
and work out how they could be performed by a full band.
You have to approach the music as an instrument you have to be the
instrument, he explains. The instruments that played this music were
programmed. There were samples thrown on top of samples, maybe in an
experimental fashion, and Im sure the Bomb Squad put things together
and stripped things away 50 times before they got what they wanted. That
explains why some things feel a bit weird. But it works.

"I remember looking

up at the stage,
and I realised that
music was such a
positive force on
me that it would be
better for me to be
up there and help
people before they
get in trouble"
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Brian Hardgroove Hargrove

During the preparation of Public Enemys 2002

album Revolverlution, plans for a new incarnation
of the group to perform on their extensive global
tours were put in place. Known as the baNNed,
the live musicians were first intended to take
some of the weight off Chucks shoulders while
his co-rapper and on-stage foil, Flavor Flav, was
in prison. The experiment proved a success, and
Public Enemy continue to tour with them today,
although Hardgroove stepped down in 2011 to
pursue other opportunities.
He certainly hasnt been idle. Through a
digital radio show where he got to interview
some of his musical heroes, Hardgroove has
ended up working with two of them. He spent
part of this year recording with B-52s vocalist
Fred Schneider with Hardgroove playing
every instrument except saxophone. And
in September, at the Future Music Forum in
Barcelona, his other big project of the year was
unveiled: a competition to find a vocalist for
music hes made with Stewart Copeland.
Its a global search for a vocalist good enough
to be in a band with a rhythm section comprised

"It's the best-sounding

of the Police and Public Enemy, Hardgroove says
of the competition. Its being billed as the worlds
biggest audition, and will see vocalists submit

instrument of any I own"

performances via the
app/website. Sponsors include Gibson, Sennheiser
and Yamaha.
Getting Copeland to agree wasnt difficult. Hes
62, but hes like an 18-year-old, Hardgroove says.
After accepting the job, Hardgroove went He came to bass late, arriving at the Hes game, hes energetic, hes up for anything
back to the Public Enemy records he already instrument via guitar on his mothers orders. hes everything you would think he was.
loved, and methodically deconstructed them, My older brother had a very fleeting interest After years of playing an original Steinberger
reverse-engineering the sounds with the aim in the bass, so I wanted a bass because I wanted (serial number 458, since sold) he began using
of recreating the intricately assembled songs to follow in some footsteps he never took, Gibson Steinberger Synapses, which sound
using a completely different set of musical Hardgroove recalls. But my mother was wise better than the original but theyre nowhere near
equipment. Along the way, he discovered that, enough to say, I wont buy you a bass until you as bulletproof. His current guitar is a $3,000
often, whats left out is as important as whats learn how to play guitar. Because my mothers custom model, called the Colonel, made by
put in. a pianist, she realised the inherent limitation California-based Watson, modelled on Firebird
For example, Fight The Power has this of just learning the bass. I needed to learn an and Thunderbird guitars.
huge, what I call funky hole in the middle of accompanying instrument. The electronics are brilliant, he says. Its
it, he explains. You get a big snare drum, then With a summer course of guitar tuition duly the best-sounding instrument of any I own of
a ghost note which is the hole, which would completed, Hardgrooves mum sent his dad out to any of the drums, or the guitars that I have. I
normally be the four. Thats one of the main buy Brian a bass. His Carlo Robelli Fender copy had it made for my work with PE and also my
powers of Fight The Power. Its not for the cost $221 I remember because thats exactly tours with Bootsy Collins, but Im gonna ask
audience to know or even care about it they what Joe Frazier weighed throughout every Watson to do another run, with less high-end
just need to move to it. fight he had that year but by this stage he had electronics. Its very sensitive, and I dont like
How Hardgroove reached a point where he already found a place in a local Long Island band, travelling with it.
was the perfect musician to take on the task is as a drummer. Bass became the focus, though, He also uses TC Electronic amps and effects,
a story in itself. He remembers seeing Earth, because he couldnt afford a drum kit. in particular the BG250-115 Toneprint-enabled
Wind & Fire on their first arena tour in 1974, He was given his nickname in 1985 by John combo and the Ditto X2 Looper.
at the Nassau Coliseum on his native Long Golden, who at the time was bassist for Meat His primary basss name comes from one
Island, and thinking music might be what he Loaf. Playing in a succession of bands, in a wide of the more curious accolades Hardgroove has
wanted to do with his life. Up to that point, the array of styles, Hardgroove wound up at Chuck collected over the years. In 2008, the state of New
14-year-olds ambition had been to become a Ds door via the short-lived rock-rap group Mexico (8 May) and the city of Santa Fe (7 June)
police officer. Confrontation Camp. Already a huge Public recognised one of their favourite sons by creating
I remember looking up at the stage, and I Enemy fan, he was spotted by Chucks friend, two Brian Hardgroove Days. At the same time,
realised that music was such a positive force on and former Confrontation Camp leader, Kyle the clearly still delighted musician was appointed
me that it would be better for me to be up there Jason, during a Long Island show. He became Colonel aide de camp to New Mexico governor
and help people before they get in trouble, more involved with the PE machinery in the Bill Richardson.
he says. As a police officer Id be dealing with early 2000s, and collaborated with Chuck on During the Richardson administration I
people after theyd committed a crime or been the Fine Arts Militia album essentially a had open access to his office, but its a lifetime
victimised by it, so thats all negative, but up series of Chucks political writings set to rock- title, Hardgroove chuckles. I can put it on my
there I could help inspire people in a positive flavoured, full-band music, which Hardgroove letterhead, on my drivers licence on any official
direction, as music had done for me. wrote, arranged and produced in 2001. document: Colonel Brian Hardgroove!

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031.indd 31 23/03/2016 16:06
london bAss
guitAr show
Well, it was the show we were all waiting for, folks and what an awe-inspiring event it turned out
to be. Olympia London was the venue; 12 and 13 March the dates. Read on for the gear, the stars and the vibes
that the bass community helped to make the best theres ever been
Words: Mike Brooks, Silvia Bluejay, Joel McIver. Pics: Eckie
he London Bass Guitar basses on the stand. Weve had phenomenal

Show attracts interest in what is a new company displaying
manufacturers and new instruments.
distributors from around Each year seems to attract new faces along
the globe, and this years with the established exhibitors, but one exhibitor
show was no exception. A who has gone from newbie to seasoned regular
perfect example is Tomm is Marc Vanderkley, whose range of bass
Stanley from Stonefield Musical Instrument amplification has proved immensely popular
Company, who had travelled all the way from since his first appearance at the inaugural show
New Zealand with his new range of instruments five years ago. As he tells us, In 2011, nobody
and thankfully his journey wasnt wasted, as knew me, and now my stand is busy all day on
he explained. Weve had so much great both days. Saturday was crazy, but the whole
feedback on the instruments, which has been show has been very good: the single 1x12 cabinets
gratifying, but the high point of the show for me still appear to be very popular and make up 80
was having Michael Manring come and play our per cent of the cabinets I sell.

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london bAss guitAr show 2016 The Report

Robert Tujillo
Adding to the international flavour was 2016 is the companys 40th anniversary, and
Marvit Guitars from Italy, with their Modern were celebrating! he said. Federico Malaman
range of basses catching many an eye and and Lorenzo Feliciati (on a break, and sharing
ear expect a review in these pages very a bag of crisps) paused to have a better look. To
soon. Chris May from Overwater hadnt the side of the stand, DR Strings showcased a The Metallica and Mass Mental man talks about
exhibited at the show for four years, but selection including their impossible-to-ignore the inspirations of his film Jaco...
with some bass exotica in tow, instruments coloured series. Ive been very hands-on with the film. I financed the
were leaving his clutches from the moment B&M also introduced Aguilars new SL410x whole project and believe me, that was a challenge,
the doors opened. Saturday was completely cab: bass lovers were also treated to one of because Im not [Metallica founders] Lars Ulrich or
manic, he says, but its been a very Alpher Instruments jewels plugged into it. The James Hetfield and I didnt write Enter Sandman! Im
worthwhile exercise for us. One customer other half of the stand was devoted to Spector, just like anybody else: I have a family to feed and bills
walked in on Saturday morning and bought a with Stuart talking to customers throughout to pay, and I actually ran out of money at one stage.
bass off the stand immediately, and we even the weekend. Fortunately we got it done with a lot of love and a lot of
had an online order from the US for a bass The Peavey stand had the new MiniMEGA, support, and I couldnt be more proud of what weve
we had here based on photos wed uploaded MiniMAX and Headliner amplifiers on display, achieved with this film. It needed to be made: Jacos
on Friday evening. Thats how it works these all of which garnered significant interest from legacy is too important for all of us.
days! Its been a very productive weekend, visitors to their stand. I saw Jaco play four times. In 1985 I went to a
very enjoyable and thoroughly worthwhile. Jason How of Rotosound could be seen guitar show in Hollywood, not knowing that Jaco
Both Spector and Peavey could be found darting across the exhibition hall, and when was going to be there, but I walked into the room
on the Barnes & Mullins stand, with Stuart we finally caught up with him for a chat, he and there he was! I was speechless. I sat down
Spector in attendance to offer information, had this to say of the whole weekend. The right in front of him. He turned up his bass amp and
flanked by an array of Spector Signature, show has been great for us this year, really started making all this feedback. He was looking at
Euro LX, Legend and SpectorCore models. busy weve seen lots of people and lots of everybody like he was about to go to war. I swear,
he was staring at us, right in the eyes, like he was
saying, I got you now. Youve heard the rumours:
well, Im here, and Im gonna kick your ass!
Like Jaco, I was a no-rules kind of guy: I liked
a lot of the English bands like Bow Wow Wow and
bassists like Mick Karn from Japan, Pino Palladino
and Nick Beggs from Kajagoogoo, who now plays
with Steven Wilson. Mark King of Level 42 was a
massive influence on me too. He jammed with my
band Mass Mental at the LBGS last night, and I hadnt
met him before that. I thought to myself, Why would
Mark King come and play with us? but he came
down and played with us and his bass playing
completely blew my mind!
Interview: Joel McIver

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Stuart Spector
The great luthier shares his wisdom
No stranger to the London Bass Guitar Show is
the venerable Stuart Spector, all the way from
Woodstock in upstate New York. Stuart was
quick to express his excitement at being here
and his gratitude to the public who showed a
keen interest in his Spector products. Its been
a wonderful show, the attendance on Saturday
was extraordinary, it was just a beautiful crowd
of people. We had a great opportunity to meet
and talk with them and show them various
things, all of which made it totally worthwhile
coming over here. This is very much going to
become a part of my annual itinerary, because
it makes great sense to come to the show and
then hop over to the continent and spend time
visiting my distributors so its a productive
annual jaunt.
With a constantly changing product range,
Stuart was pleased that various instruments from
the Spector catalogue were raising eyebrows
at the show. It was really gratifying that people
were interested in the whole range, but were
most surprised with the Legend 8 Classic and
the SpectorCore instruments. It was great to see
them try those out. Well begin delivering the
Rudy Sarzo signature model, which features a
Jazz-type body but with all of the Spector neck
construction. He checked out our Euro basses
and loved the sound of them, but wanted a
different body, so thats where the whole impetus a full instrument range, this was the companys guys from Onkartgromt were exhibiting
came from. He is an extraordinarily wonderful first appearance at the show. Jorg Feser was on their tasty effects pedals before they have
person, a great musician and a great guy. hand to discuss all things Schack with us. The even been released to market watch these
And thats not all folks, the team at Spector show has been amazingly good, and the feedback pages for reviews in the near future. Westside
are also working on a 40th Anniversary Euro has been awesome: for a lot of people, this has Distribution cultivated a lot of interest in their
LX model to commemorate the companys been their first contact with the Schack name. Schecter basses, Mesa Boogie amplification,
forthcoming celebrations. As Stuart explains: The neck connection is attracting a lot of people, MXR pedals and Dunlop Strings with a
Were going to be doing relatively short runs and weve had lots of compliments on the finishes number of endorsees such as Dave Swift, Steve
of it and rotate the different finishes. The first too plus people like being able to dial in certain Lawson and Paul Turner in attendance at the
edition of it has solid maple wings with a red frequencies via the circuitry. show. Phil Jones Bass, represented by Synergy
transparent finish, but the entire neck section is The Markbass stand was exceptionally busy on Distribution, was exhibiting its amplification
painted opaque black with the number 40 inlaid both days, with some excellent demonstrations for the first time, as was Oliver Lang and his
into the fingerboard at the twelfth fret. Were of the current product range. Over at Strings & enticing range of instruments. Many a player
also working on a new USA single cutaway, Things, there was much anticipation as the three- waited to try out the Rikkers basses that seemed
through-neck instrument and a short scale, piece female band including BGM writer Ellen popular, as were the basses on the Manne stand.
extremely lightweight bass which will probably OReilly blew everyones socks off with their Fans of high quality bass cases were keen to try
be produced in Asia. performances on an hourly basis equipped with out Mono and Dixon products.
Interview: Mike Brooks Ernie Ball guitars and basses, natch. New models Elsewhere Eden was busy showcasing the new
from the Modern Classic range were available Terra Nova series, while the equally popular Eich
to test via the headphone testing set-up, which stand had their Bass Board for additional good
endorsees too. Our foil packaging has received worked very well. vibes, and Marleaux basses to play through it. I
nothing but good comments, and were happy Rob and Dawn from Status had prepared a spotted Alex Lofoco jamming there with Jay-Tee
to be paperless, cardboardless and moistureless. stand of bass goodies that had most attendees Teterissa between stints at their sponsors stands.
Now we can get the products to the customer licking their lips. Alex Venturella from Slipknot Full marks for weirdness to LeFays fretless
anywhere in the world in perfect condition. was on hand to sign for fans, while Dawn bass with a steel fingerboard. Reiner Dobbratz,
Sales of flatwound strings are very high: they confirmed that a number of basses had sold at owner with his brother Meik, was pleased with
were used on so many big albums that people are the show, with a lot of interest for the Chris the attention they received: We love this show,
rediscovering that sound. Wolstenholme Signature model and the ever- its so convenient to reach from our hometown
Schack Guitars has the ring of familiarity, popular Kingbass. of Hamburg. Saturday was absolutely crazy, in a
due in no small part to their excellent circuitry Torun and Smooth Hound Innovations both good way!
and pickup packages, now used by many received a lot of interest in their instruments His stand neighbour, Sander De Gier, was
manufacturers. Having recently relaunched with and wireless systems respectively, while the exhibiting his versions of the classic Jazz and

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london bass guitar show 2016 The Report

Precision models. I didnt want to work on said Nick Smith. Luckily hes doing OK now. Best

Adam Ben Ezra

traditional shapes at first, but when Marcus wishes to Martin from all at BGM and the LBGS.
Miller bought my first Jazz prototype, and AC Guitars and John East preamps had a new,
Richard Bona the second, I decided that I must larger home. Alan Cringean was showcasing his
be doing something right, so here I am. I add my new acrylic resin-treated fingerboards and tops,
own original textures and colours to the design. and John offered a choice of his preamps. This is The man from Tel Aviv reveals his bass
Nearby was DAddario, introducing the new the only show we attend; were here every year philosophy
NYXL series of bass strings. Andrew Needham because we do good business and we can meet
(a bassist himself, and a Basschatter) and Elaine our clients face to face. Your music is a fascinating mixture
Smith were happy: DAddario UK led the way in Debutant exhibitor Chowny introduced the of east and west. What are your
beta-testing the new strings, also thanks to our CHB semi-acoustic bass. Owner Stephen says: influences?
involvement with Basschat, and the response to Ive sold a good number of basses and Ive spoken I like all kinds of styles classic, jazz, Middle-
the product is overwhelmingly positive. to many people who absolutely loved the CHB. Eastern I play the oud, you know, the Arabic
Enfield Guitars and Sims Pickups were in Im expecting lots of hits on the website in the mandolin, and I like to combine all those
their usual spot. Business has been brisk, but next few days! elements in my own playing style. My own
Martin Sims getting injured just before the show After saying hello to Andrew Taylor- style is difficult to pigeonhole, but I think we
unfortunately spoiled the weekend somewhat, Cummings of Anaconda Basses, at the show as can call it Mediterranean fusion! Ive played
the double bass since I was 16, after learning
the violin, the piano, the guitar and the cajon.
I try to apply the styles of those instruments
to the double bass as much as possible, with
percussion on the body, guitar-like plucking,
and so on.

Id like to know more about your five-

string double bass.
Its strung E to C, so it doesnt have a low B like
a five-string bass guitar. The first time I saw a
double bass tuned like that, I immediately knew
it was what I needed. I want to be able to play
very high notes and reach the range of the cello
or even the viola, and I play lots of chords, and
the high C on the bass sounds amazing.

Tell me more about that special

detachable neck.

Suzi Quatro
The neck comes off, and its a very convenient
system for when youre travelling. You just
loosen the strings, remove the bridge, slide out
the neck, and in 15 minutes its ready to travel.
The Girl From Detroit City speaks out... My specially made flight case has room for
the body of the bass and also for the detached
Youre still working hard and doing new things: what are your current projects? neck and the bow.
Last year I released an 82-track, four-CD box, The Girl From Detroit City, as a celebration of my first 50
years, and a book that came out last year called Through My Eyes. Im recording with a few people at the Does that set-up affect the sound in
moment, with somebody else singing which Ive never done before and Ive finished the album Quatro, any way?
Scott And Powell [with Andy Scott of Sweet and Don Powell of Slade], which has turned out superb. While it might not be the perfect solution for
those who play classical, its fine in my case,
All that still playing your trusty Fender Precision? because I mostly play amplified, and the sound
On stage Im using a Fender Jazz at the moment. I wont take the old one out any more, because its too I get is very consistent.
valuable. I prefer the Precision, but when I do the bass solo, the Jazz is slightly quicker.
Do you do a lot of bowing?
You were my first role model, up there on stage with that big bass. I use the bow with French grip sometimes, but
Thats funny, but thats to do with the fact that Im little and the bass is a big instrument. I didnt deliberately mostly I do fingerstyle and percussive style.
pick up a big bass, its just that that was the one I like. I dont like small basses. I dont like short scales or
headless guitars. Fenders are probably the only bass that you can plug directly into a console for recording What are your current projects?
and you dont need to do anything; you can just plug it in, and its correct. Thats amazing. I do a solo show, with effect pedals, and a
show as part of a trio, with guitarist Adam
Thanks to your presence at the show, weve seen more female bassists than usual. Ben Amitai and percussionist Gilad Dobrecky,
I was the first one. Not the first bass player, of course, but the first one to have success as a woman. So I with whom I recorded my album Cant Stop
put it on the map. I love it that more women are playing. I feel real good about that. Running. I have just finished a tour, which
started and ended in London; its a new
What advice would you give to women who want to be professional bass players? project, a duo with Spanish flamenco guitarist
Its a very physically demanding job. Make sure thats what you want to do. I dont like people who pretend Dario Casares. I use the percussive bass style
to play or who dont play well. If you gonna play, play. Be good. Dont take it backwards. Because then a lot with him.
people say shes good, for a girl, and that drives me fucking mad. Interview: Silvia Bluejay
Interview: Silvia Bluejay

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london bass guitar show 2016
The Report

Rhino Edwards
The Quo bassist goes down down, deeper
and down...
We caught up with Rhino Edwards after his
masterclass performance for a few words
about the state of bass playing and music in
general. I think a lot of people coming to a
show like this are going to look at what I do and
think its a pile of crap. But theyre wrong! Im
no slouch, Im up on my bass. I was pleased to
be asked to do this, but it has been a chastening
experience. I was a more technical player
before I joined Quo, I came through in a real
golden period for music and I have had the most
incredible run. All I ever wanted to be was in
an insular band and thats why I loved being in
Dexys Midnight Runners so much. Ive always
been a big attitude player, I want to get on that
stage and go Here we go, this is it cop this!
Rhino has long been associated with Status
Graphite basses and he still owns an early
model, as he explains. I bought my first Series
2000 Status, a black one, serial number 007, in
1982 I think. I sold it to Barry Moorhouse at the
Bass Centre and then bought it back six months
later as I missed it. I used that with Judy Tzuke
a lot: her stuff was great fun for me as a player. I
used that and my Alembic on Quo stuff for years
and years, but the Statii do the job every time.
Being out there, doing it, is clearly what
Rhino is all about, as he is quick to affirm.
Music isnt the social force it once was: its
been watered down and it no longer defines a
generation. Ive always been an attitude player, cheerful: Im still building everything myself quiet; we have a keyboard and people come and
thats why I like metal. Im a huge Anthrax fan, by hand; my Bass Mute has been incredibly jam with our basses! said owner Michael. When I
I love the technique of Frank Bello. But I love successful, and Im going home to over 600 emails pointed out that the basses were all right-handed,
Quo, Ive played some of those songs 3,000 with enquiries and orders! he added: Yes, we missed an opportunity. Here
times now but I still go on and give it 110 per Besides admiring Ashdowns new Rootmaster- at the show weve received a lot of requests for a
cent. We go on to have a good time and I want Evo and AAA-Evo models, I somehow couldnt lefty, so well be making one soon!
to see people with a smile on their face when take my eyes off their tiny Tourbus 10 practice Located outside the main hall, both Warwick
we play: it doesnt matter if the sound is bad, amp. According to the guys at the stand, I wasnt and Promenade Music were located perfectly and
as long as were playing well. Someone asked the only one. I also wasnt the only one in the area experienced considerable footfall and interest.
Whats the secret? and it really is luck, luck, saying hi to Dave Swift, who was surrounded by Ove Bosch from Warwick had this to say after an
luck and talent! Im a firm believer that you admirers at every step. exceptionally busy weekend: The show has been
make your own luck. Bass Direct was very busy indeed, with great, the audience have been amazing and weve
Interview: Mike Brooks owner Mark Stickley rarely having a break from had a lot of interest in the brand itself, the basses,
welcoming customers. Periphery bassist Adam the amplifiers and the Bass Camp in September.
Nolly Getgood was there too. Two more words: Of particular interest have been the Custom Shop
a visitor, I noticed late addition AGS Straps with Sheldon Dingwall. In fact, make it three: Sheldon models fitted with USB chargers so you no longer
their reversible leather straps. We usually dont Dingwalls D-Bird the first of its kind. That bass need batteries for the electronics.
go to shows, but we make an exception for this is a prototype and its not for sale, but someone Promenade Music dealt admirably with a
one, and were very glad we did this year too! managed to post on social media pretending problem they experienced before the show as
said director Manta Bose. At Proel International, theyd bought it! laughed Sheldon. Mayones the bass community rallied round. The show
visitors were checking out Corts new Artisan and basses were showcased by bass star Federico has been absolutely brilliant, typical bass playing
Action basses. The guys were busy and pleased to Malaman, whose presence drew a large crowd. people, we have a fair few repeat customers who
see interest from an increasing number of female I managed to catch educator Jon Liebman in buy from us year after year but the whole bass
bassists and hard rock fans attracted by Robert a rare quiet moment at his table. His books and community is amazing, said owner David Wood.
Trujillos presence at the show. instruction DVDs had been flying off the shelves And who are we to argue? See you next year!
Bassline Publishings two new transcription all weekend. The hottest seller has been the Bass
books, Stu Hamms Book Of Lies and Marcus Millers Aerobics book, followed by literally anything to do See you next year for the London Bass Guitar Show 2017! Dates,
Renaissance were popular, and so was anything with Jaco! he said. exhibitors and artists will be confirmed as time passes at
concerning Robert Trujillo (I wonder why). New exhibitor Gillett introduced their Contour,
Dutch luthier Ellio Martina had reason to be electro-acoustic basses there. We love it here, its londonbassguitarshow and @bassguitarshow.

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Promenade Music

WISDOM Behind the scenes with Gary Thistlethwaite of
Promenade Music in Morecambe, home of more basses
than we can shake a stick at...

romenade was founded by
David Wood back in 1989
and Ive been in charge of
the bass guitar floor for
longer than I care to
remember. Weve got
space here for a lot of
basses and bass amps but the clever part is
deciding which ones to fill it with! We get people
coming from all over the UK and Europe,
though, so we must be on the right track.
Fenders have been consistently popular
over the years, of course, but we stock all
kinds of basses from Marleaux, Rickenbacker,
Overwater, Gibson, Music Man and Warwick
as well as entry-level guitars from Westcoast,
Levin, Squier and Yamaha. We also have
dedicated rooms for amps from Markbass,
Ashdown, Gallien Krueger, Warwick, SWR,
Peavey, Orange, Marshall and Fender it really
is a bass players paradise down there.
A lot of bass players come to see me for
repairs, or just for a recommendation about
good bass gear: they know that Ive got a lot of
history as a bass player myself. Ive told this
story before, but in 1988, the band I played
in at the time toured and lived in America.
We were playing at a club in Newport News,
Virginia and I was given Victor Wootens
phone number, so I called him to ask if he gave
lessons. Yes I do, he politely said and asked for
$20 an hour. Sounds good, I thought.
I had a Kubicki Ex Factor at the time and
Victor asked if I wouldnt mind if he tried my
bass and I tried his. Fodera? I asked. Where
are these made? Brooklyn, he replied... his did leave, he wouldnt take a penny more you get up here youll see why people keep
bass was amazing, but what was even more than agreed. A big thanks to my wife Gina, coming here. The Queen unveiled a statue of
amazing was his patience and modesty. At who sat in the car with our three daughters Eric Morecambe, who was born here, on the
no time did he make me feel any lower than for over an hour, for being very patient and seafront back in 1999 and 10,000 people came
him as a player or a person. The hour, which understanding. to see it. If only theyd all been bass players!
actually turned into over two, flew by, but I Morecambe is a lovely place to be: its a
wasnt going to leave in a hurry. When I finally long drive from London, of course, but when Info:

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040 Bass Guitar Magazine April 2016

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Eric Bass, Shinedown

American stadium-rockers Shinedown are poised for

stardom on this side of the pond. Bassist Eric Bass (yes,
thats his real name) talks the low frequencies
ve always been into Its so great. And I also moved from Hartke to

tearing things apart and Ampeg. I tried out a couple of Ampeg amps
building things up again: I and the rig I have from them is monstrous:
built my first bass guitar two rackmount 4 Pros which I EQ a little bit
when I was 12 years old, differently. On stage I have a couple of Diamond
although it was pretty cabs: its a big, bad rig on stage.
rough and didnt play very It was a bit of a learning curve going from the
well. I wound my own pickups too, although Dean to the PRS, because the necks are really
they sounded horrible. So in the two months off different. The new neck is a little wider at the
which Shinedown had earlier this year, I nut, because I designed the Dean neck around
worked on a muscle truck back home. I have an Ernie Ball Sterling neck. The PRSs neck is
the same attitude towards gear: I built my own more like a Stingray neck all the way up, but Im
studio myself, too. I always have to have a not opposed to that at all: Ive gotten used to it
project of some sort. If Im not busy I dont know pretty quickly.
what to do! I completely purged my pedalboard for this
I used to play my own Dean signature model, record. Before that I had a lot of effects a
which was a dream come true, but we parted chorus for ballads, and so on but I always
ways amicably a while back and now Im with like to give the front of house engineer what
PRS; I was introduced to them because our guitar he needs, and after talking to him, I realised
player plays them. They sent over some Grainger his need for consistency in the low end is
basses and man, you want to talk about a tone more important than my own preferences.
monster? Im not just saying that because I play Essentially hes the delivery system for the
them: I A/B-ed them with everything. music, so I ask myself what he needs to make
My initial plan was to go out with a bunch our band sound amazing. I had a whammy
of Fender J and P-Basses on this cycle, and pedal, a wah pedal, a phaser... but I wanted to
some Bill Nash Tele basses and Gibson SGs that make it more simple this time around so I took
I love, and I was really excited about that, but everything off, minus the channel-switcher
we got to rehearsals and I started comparing to cut the distortion off and on. I have an old-
all of those with the Graingers, and they just school Boss distortion pedal, the orange one
blew everything away. They normally come which I love, and I run it through a Radial
with two pickups, but I found myself using the Bassbone which stops you losing the low end
neck pickup most of the time, and that was when you use the distortion.
the tone I liked big, boomy and not overly Previously I had a Marshall JCM 800 guitar
midrangey, which is something that I dont like, rig in line too, and I had an A/B/C switch so I
for live anyway. In the studio its different. So I could flip that on and add a guitar tone to the
Pic by James Williams, Livewire Photography

called PRS and asked them to unwire the bridge bass sound. Im really considering going back to
pickup and leave just a volume knob, which that now. When I produce Shinedown tracks
they did, and now I have three basses like that. thats exactly what I do, blending it with a
I dont yet have a signature model with Sansamp. It works great!
them, but they asked me what I would like on
a bass in that situation, and they made me this Shinedowns album Threat To Survival is out now on Atlantic.
fantastic custom bass that Im in love with, man. Info:

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Backstage Bass

A new feature in which we ask bass players of similar tastes to get together and talk shop...
the bass shop. This month: heavy metal titans Mike Leon (Soulfly), Christopher El Esten (Incite),
Wayne Slatts Slattery (King Parrot) and Noah Shephard (Lody Kong)
What bass gear are you using on this tour? What was your first bass?
El I play ESP basses, Mesa Boogie amps, Dunlop strings and the Darkglass Noah It was a four-string Antares from a pawnshop. It had an Explorer
B7K and B3. Darkglass keeps coming out with all this awesome stuff, but body shape.
I dont have the money to buy it! Slatts That sounds adorable! The first bass I actually owned was a
Mike I played the new B7K Ultra at NAMM, its incredible. Its loud, headless Steinberger Alien.
clear and low. I used Sansamps for years to get that drivey sound, but Mike What?
Darkglass does so much more for my tone. I also play ESP, and I use Slatts I wound the strings so hard on it that I broke a machine head and
Peavey amps, Aguilar, Tech 21 and SIT strings. Were all sharing my it cost $200 to buy a new one.
Peavey 8x10 cab on this tour with our own heads and pedalboards. Mike My first bass was a starter Yamaha pack. It had a bass and an amp.
Slatts I play a very old Rickenbacker 4003S and BC Rich guitars. Im I still have it, and it still shreds. I still love it.
endorsed by Aguilar and I run Ibanez distortion pedals, Dean Markley El Mine was a black 1988 Charvel. I wanted the blue one because David
strings... and Im powered by electricity. Ellefson of Megadeth played a Jackson in that colour, but they only had
Noah I play an Ibanez SR506, SIT strings and also a Darkglass B7K. black. I still have it too, its a good studio bass.

Are you four-string players or do you dabble in ERBs? To slap or not to slap?
El Four strings is all I can handle. Mike I am an aficionado of slap, and I slappa da bass every night. Its the
Mike In my old band Havok I played four-string, but because Soulfly coolest sound a bass can make, in my opinion, and Ive incorporated a lot
plays in A and B tunings, I went to five to make it a little smoother. of it into Soulflys music.
Slatts Four strings here. El I cant do all that stuff: I just watch him slap every night.
Noah Six strings. Slatts Im not a slapper, but Im certainly a fan of the art.
Slatts You show-off... Noah Im getting there!

Whos the greatest bass player who ever lived? What would your dream bass be?
El Steve Harris. El I had my dream bass, until I switched. I used to be endorsed by
Slatts Geezer Butler. Jackson and I had two Rhoads V custom shop basses with EMGs. The
Mike Cliff Burton. basses I play now are still really awesome, though.
Noah Geddy Lee. Mike My signature ESP, which I dont have yet but one day I hope I will.
Mike Tim Commerford is another one of my all-time favourite bassists. Fingers crossed.
He was a Fender P dude for ever. Noah The Carl Thompson bass that Les Claypool used to play. Also
anything by a luthier called Evan Nichols in Phoenix: his basses are
If you could get the bass tone of any album ever, which would amazing. The tone is ridiculous.
you choose? Slatts The Rickenbacker that I play every day. I broke the pickup cover
Mike Any Rex Brown or Justin Chancellor albums. Or Flea. off: things can get fiercely physical out there.
El Hes taking up all the good answers. Also Stuart Morrow from New Mike That thing helps with the resonance, not meaning to get too nerdy.
Model Armys No Rest For The Wicked. El They should call it the science bar!
Noah Rexs tone on Down II is my favourite tone ever.
Slatts Damageds Do Not Spit album: they were a band from Melbourne Info:,,
and you could scratch your face off with that tone. Heavily distorted and lodykong7,
thin as fuck! Incites new album Oppression is out in April.

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In a unique meeting of minds, effects prodigy Steve Lawson interviews the great
Michael Manring. Stand clear: bass profundity overload warning
ithout doubt one of the Do you have material ready to release? grateful to the folks out there who put things up,

greatest innovators in the I have a ton of new solo music! I have about because I learn a lot from listening back to them.
short history of the bass six new solo pieces recorded and ready for
guitar, Michael Manring mastering, and I have about 10 more that Im Other than that documentary process, what
has been exploring the working on. other things have been helping to shape the
outer edges of the potential direction of your new music?
of our instrument for over The last few times Ive seen you play, youve Its odd: Im at a place in my life where Im
30 years. From his early association with acoustic combined older compositions with open actually trying not to do too many new things. I
guitar legend Michael Hedges, through his avant- improvisation. Do you find that you play tunes have a set of ideas Ive been working with and I
improv supergroup with Tim Alexander (Primus) in a more formalised way when theyre new? want to focus on those. So my new stuff probably
and Alex Skolnick (Testament), Michaels musical Ive had an odd relationship with composition wont come as a huge shock to anyone, but its
breadth and relentless curiosity has amazed and over the last few years. I love composing set definitely challenging for me. Earlier in my career
inspired thousands of musicians and music lovers pieces and thats something Im sure Ill always I tried to work through big, obvious ideas. These
across the planet. do, but I dont quite feel right doing a concert days its a bit more subtle.
Michaels last solo album, Soliloquy, set the solo of mostly through-composed music. Somehow
bass bar several notches higher for the rest of us. that just hasnt been making much sense to me! Thats a fascinating choice in a world obsessed
All this made the prospect of Michaels visit to the I think it may be to do with the popularity of with novelty, refinement and continual
London Bass Guitar Show 2016 a very exciting YouTube. Parts of most of the shows I do end engagement with an idea is rare and valuable.
one indeed. Interviewing your heroes is often up there, so perhaps thats making me feel like I Ive gone through different periods with this
easier because you know what theyve been up need to keep things varied. In any case, I havent myself. I remember in the early 90s feeling
to, whereas interviewing your friends is hard played any of the new through-composed pieces like doing much improv live would be a bit
because you cant get any distance. When your live, but Ive been having fun dabbling with the pretentious, almost. Then, I got to where I wanted
friends are your musical heroes, everything gets more opened ended ideas and several of those it all to be improv! Now Im trying to find a
mixed up. That said, lets dive in... Ive recorded as well. balance, and to let that balance shift from night to
Youre right, though tunes generally start out night if it wants to.
There has been a flurry of releases that following a plan and then take on a life of their
youve been a part of over the last couple of own. Some go through radical changes, some just Have any of your recent collaborations
years. Was that a conscious decision to do a little and some stay mostly the same. influenced the music youre making? Do
more collaborative work, or just how things you find collaboration to be a source for solo
worked out? Thats interesting. Im fascinated by how the ideas too?
A little of both, I suppose. With the economics web, and possibilities for releasing music in I always learn a lot working with other folks. Its
of things as they are, Im tending to do a lot of multiple ways, can shape our notion of what a great way of getting pushed out of your own
session work, but I also feel a bit shy about how we do. Improvising to make sure that the comfort zone and that, I think, helps me keep
much of my own music Ive put out there. I dont digital document of each show is varied is a from just going around and around the same
want to overtax people with my solo thing. lovely consequence of the benign surveillance ideas in my own stuff. I like getting used to having
of YouTube. Do you routinely record your to think in a new way all the time. Ive learned
Wow, really? Given my own work-rate, thats shows now? a lot from Indian music over the last few years,
a very alien concept. Its been quite a few years Id like to record my shows, but Im almost always working with both Carnatic and Hindustani
since Soliloquy, and Ive heard you exploring so occupied with just trying to get my act together musicians. But I honestly try to learn something
some new music in a live setting since then. Im not able to pull it off. Im actually quite from everyone I work with and figure out how to

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bassists Michael Manring

Bass Guitar Magazine April 2016 045

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Michael Manring

Great question, and it gets to this idea that the

world really is more abstract (musical) than
literal (linguistic). We are deeply enamoured
of this ability we have to put things in little
linguistic categories, but we know thats not
really how things work. Technique in music
is like that, isnt it? We like to think of it as a
separate entity, but in a way, the technique is the
music at least, in the sense that if there was no
technique at all thered be no sound. But for me,
yes, I still work very hard on moving my fingers
in more precise and specific ways, but I dont
tend to see that as necessarily less pure music-
making than anything else. Usually Ill have the
desire to play a certain idea and discover I dont
have the ability, so that will set me off on a long
process of isolated exercises. Hopefully that will
fix the issue, but it often opens up a lot of other
things to think about.

That process of music leading to the

development of exercises to fix it is one Ive been
working on, and teaching, for a while. Its an
amazing way to feel enveloped by your own
practice, in the sense of having a music practice
rather than practising.
Ooh, I like that! Im going to use that phrase
having a music practice. That really gets to the
bring those lessons into my own music. Some of kanjira. Basically, I just try to learn as much as heart of the issue. Theres no real getting around
the lessons are straightforward, like trying to pick I can about any kind of music from any source the integration of music in the rest of life. Music
up a rhythmic idea or approach to harmony, but a thats available. In terms of application to the is just a kind of lens through which we process
lot of it is more abstract. bass, theres a general approach in both forms of the experience.
Indian classical music that really transfers well
Do you see listening to recorded music as a to the bass. Its insanely highly developed there, How does equipment fit into that integrated
conscious part of your development process? but also very idiomatic. Im thrilled by being view of music?
I have very little time to listen to recorded music able to use those ideas without having to stick Actually equipment has that same resonance
these days, so I try to make it count. And yes, to the conventions that are necessary to play were talking about. It has that venal notion
its a conscious part of the process. I try to listen authentically. However, all rhythmic ideas are to it, but I sound awful without my bass! And
to what I want to incorporate. Lately Ive been valuable and theres just so much more to do. amp. And EBow. And strings So the gear is
listening to a lot of drummers. Perhaps Im one part of that same process. I think you and I are
of the few people whod rather listen to a drum You often reference the vastness of music and both into this notion that the effects are part of
solo than a band tune. Most of the time Id rather of the possible areas for exploration. How do the instrument. You certainly have mastered
play with a percussionist, because drums are you maintain that as a motivation, rather than this concept in a way that I dont think has yet
so powerful it pushes you into a certain kind of allowing it to distract you? been fully appreciated and its one of the many
playing. That kind of playing is a joy, but its been Thats an interesting question. Im not sure I things I adore about your music. Ive been using
done a lot, and done very well. When you play ever think about it! Ive come to feel that music the Roland VB-99 for my live shows lately and
with a lighter rhythmic accompaniment it opens occupies an incredibly central place in human having a ball. Its another area where theres so
some other possibilities. But man, there are some experience. I think youve heard my spiel about much to do! The Zon basses are still at the heart
amazing drummers out there these days. understanding the phrase music is a language of my music. Joe and I are working on a new
but feeling the converse is more true language Hyperbass to allow me to leave the prototype
In the run-up to a new recording, I see what I put is a music. Its often assumed that language is Ive been playing all these years at home, before
in my ears as a diet. I specifically choose things a large part of who we are, but if language is a it gets destroyed by the airlines. The EBow is, of
that will help shape the direction of the work, subset of music, then music is even more deeply course, essential. Im sticking with the DAddario
and open me up to a greater set of possibilities. ingrained in what it means to be human. I strings that have worked so well for me all these
I like that! You gotta be careful what you put in suppose this a long way of saying that I find the years. My collaboration with Markbass has been
your body. Why not be careful what you put in musical process is intuitive, or beyond linguistic wonderful and Marco tells me hes just about
your soul? scope, and I do my best just to participate as well completed a signature system for me. I cant wait
as I can. to give it a spin! From what we were working
Ive always loved your rhythmic sensibility, on the last time I was there, it will likely be very
one of the least-talked about elements of your Im interested in your approach to practising. I different from your average bass amp, and they
music; and yet that percussive influence is was deeply influenced by your exploration of may choose to market it more generally. The goal
apparent in so many of your techniques. Did technique as more of a gestalt thing, a way of is to have something that sounds transparent yet
you ever learn specific hand drum techniques being with the instrument. Do you still have to warm that is very portable, flexible and adaptable
to transfer to bass? get surgical in your practice at all, to fix things, to many situations and configurations. It might
Thank you! Yes, Ive had some training in or develop specific technical affordances for just be really cool!
Afro-Cuban rhythm and Ive tried to learn as new music, or does that emerge in the context of
much as I can about the tabla, mridangam and music-making? Info:

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GEAR Introduction


Century 4 STD+

R E V I E W S 48

ehold our world-beating bass
gear review section, where
Saratoga Deluxe 4 & 5
we bring you the crop of each
months new, interesting or
otherwise relevant bass guitars, bass
amplifiers, bass speakers and bass
effects. Occasionally well review a
56 60
guitar effect if its particularly useful
for bassists, and well test recording Schecter Danelectro
equipment and general accessories Stiletto Studio NT-8 Longhorn
every now and then as well, but
generally speaking, this zone is for
bass-specific gear.
We take the ratings that we give
each item very seriously. BGM is the
only print magazine devoted to bass
in this country, and we have readers
from all over the world, so were
responsible about our conclusions. If
a product is worth your investigation,
well say so; if its flawed in some
way, we wont hold back from making
that clear. Were not beholden to
advertisers in any way and our
conclusions are entirely independent
of the views of manufacturers,
musicians and distributors.
When you read about a bass-
related product here, you know
youre getting a sensible, balanced
review from an experienced bass
tester. Value for money is at the top
of our agenda in these cash-strapped
times, but on the other hand, we
believe in paying for quality.
Right, thats enough from me.
Remember, this is just about the only
place that its good to have GAS!*
Joel McIver, editor

*GAS = Gear Acquisition Syndrome

(a malaise often suffered by bass


Bass Guitar Magazine April 2016 047

047 Reviews intro_rev2_NR.indd 47 23/03/2016 13:24

Saratoga Deluxe 4 & 5
How do these two MTD basses stack up in todays crowded marketplace?
Mike Brooks runs the rule over these sub-700 offerings
Bass Direct

hese upgraded Saratoga Deluxe models demonstrate the quality
of instruments being produced in China on behalf of bass
manufacturers the world over. Gone are the days of ill-fitting
hardware and poor craftsmanship in order to be competitive,
Chinese production lines have had to up their game, which is why the
likes of Michael Tobias of MTD and others have confidence in their
production. Who knows, perhaps this improvement in far eastern
technology will lead to a reversal of the current situation, where
western lutherie is prized? Only time will tell...
These Chinese-made basses now feature flamed maple tops and
three-band active circuitry and up the ante in terms of what a
customer purchasing a mid-range instrument can expect, especially
from the MTD stable.

Build Quality
Both basses are similar in design and features, although the gloss
finish of the five-string makes the figuring stand out far more, almost
like a hologram. The satin finish of the four seems like a bit of an
afterthought and looks and feels a little uninspiring. Both instruments
are comfortable to wear with the same curves and contouring. The
front facing of each bass exhibits a bevelled contour that adds to the
general aesthetic along with the matching headstocks, while the deep
cutaways offer excellent access to the dusty end of the fingerboard.
The four-string feels far slinkier and compact when compared to
the five-string, but neither bass shows too much headstock bias, and

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MTD Saratoga Deluxe Prices 625, 699

Price | 629, 699
Made In | China
Body | Basswood with flame maple top
Neck | Maple, 34-inch scale
Neck Joint | Bolt-on, four-bolt
Nut Width | 38mm / 44mm
Fingerboard | Maple / rosewood
Frets | 21
Pickups | Single-coil x 2
Electronics | Active, three-band EQ
Controls | Volume, pickup pan, passive tone, bass/
middle/treble cut/boost, active/passive switch
Hardware | Smoked chrome hardware
Weight | 3.8 kg / 4.1 kg
Case/gig bag included? | No, optional MTD bag 50
Left-hand option available? | Yes

Plus | Solid workhorse basses, well constructed
with strong fundamental tones
Minus | Lacking the X factor slightly
Overall | These are good basses that can
certainly put in a shift, but do they stand out
from the crowd?


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MTD Saratoga Deluxe Prices 625, 699


both balance well on and off a strap. I was pleased with the remarkably
good set-ups, with no obvious sharp frets, comfortable string actions
and 19mm string spacing. The neck profiles differ slightly: the four-
string has a full, round C-shape profile while the broadness of the
five-strings rosewood fingerboard lends itself to a shallower D-shape
profile. Both make use of MTDs asymmetric neck design, which in
theory reduces strain on the wrist, fingers and forearm. Both necks
are very comfortable, making them highly playable: neither feels like
hard work to get to grips with.
Both basses are fitted with smoked chrome hardware, a graphite nut
and a zero fret but no front-facing position markers, although black (four-
string) and white (five-string) side markers have been used. The control
set is identical, with pots for volume (stacked with a passive tone control),
pickup pan, bass, middle and treble and an active/passive switch.

Sounds and Playability

Both basses displayed a fair amount of natural spring and bounce
in their acoustic tones: hold them close while playing them and

its evident that they resonate very well indeed. Despite the same
circuitry and pickups, there was some differentiation between the
two examples: plugged in, the four-string sounded big and ballsy with
plenty of articulation and definition, and a good response across all
four strings. The five-string has a far more guttural, aggressive tone
that doesnt lack punch or growl: the low B string benefits from this,
making it sound distinctive with good projection in the lower register.
Panning between the pickups highlights the obvious tonal differences
that a pair of single-coil pickups provides: the pickup in the neck
position provides plenty of warmth and rounds the tone out nicely,
while the bridge pickup provides extra clarity and honk.
For all of its bottom-end authority, which is impressive, the five-
string lacks a glass-like high end, but it does have plenty of definition
with which to cut through a band mix. The EQ on both basses is not
radically extreme, although the bass EQ definitely adds a lot of power
to your armoury. Having said that, the EQ is usable and flexible with
a good range of tone-shaping options. The passive tone control adds
some variation when in passive mode, which is useful if your circuit
battery goes down so you do have some light and shade to play with.

Neither bass is particularly ostentatious, but I cant deny that both put
in a very solid performance and are well up to the job. The styling is
contemporary, and both basses are very playable: in terms of comfort,
they dont really put a foot wrong. However, at the 600 to 700 mark,
players may want more bells and whistles: Im not convinced that
either of these basses have enough to project them above the crowd of
contenders at this price point. Nonetheless, if youre shopping in this
price band, give them a try they just might tick your boxes.

050 Bass Guitar Magazine April 2016

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051.indd 51 23/03/2016 14:06
Price | 2,325
Made in | USA
Body | Spanish cedar with buckeye burl top
Neck | Maple five-piece, 34-inch scale
Neck joint | Bolt-on, four-bolt
Nut width | 38mm
Fingerboard | Birdseye maple diamondwood
Frets | 24
Pickups | Bartolini CB x2
Electronics | Bartolini active preamp, three-
band EQ
Controls | Volume, pickup pan, bass/treble
stacked, middle (push/pull for different mid
frequency adjustment 250-800Hz)
Hardware | Gotoh tuners, Hipshot B bridge
Weight | 3.5 kg
Case/gig bag included? | Hardcase
Left-hand option available? | Yes

Plus | A top-notch fretless bass, tones to die
for, comfortable and highly playable
Minus | A little pricey but its the going rate.
Lively nature occasionally needs reining in
Overall | A rewarding instrument with an
extremely pleasing tone, wise choice of timbers
and a flexible electronics package.


052 Bass Guitar Magazine April 2016

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Roscoe Century 4 STD+ Price 2,325

Century 4 STD+
Anyone up for some fretless fun? If so, this mwah-drenched beauty from
Roscoe might be just what youre looking for, as Mike Brooks finds out
Bass Direct

retless bass, whichever way we look at it, is simply a different bass fingerboard a hard coating that not only protects the timber from string
flavour, a different tonal voice all of its own yet it comes across these wear but also adds a singing quality as the string vibrates in contact with
days as a poisoned chalice, just as much as slap bass. But used wisely, it, which has led to this material being termed diamondwood.
it can make songs and their respective bass-lines come to life. Its The Gotoh machine heads operate as smoothly as you would expect,
popularity may have waned in recent times but a great fretless can be just and the Hipshot B bridge offers two-way string adjustments. Bartolini CB
that great! This offering from Roscoe certainly has the credentials to be pickups and a three-band EQ Bartolini circuit are well matched on this
a solid performer, but does it stand out from the crowd? particular instrument, the voicing of both helping to convey the woody
fretless tones. Aside from volume and pickup pan controls, the bass and
treble controls are stacked while the middle control offers a push-pull
Build Quality facility to select between mid frequencies in the 250Hz range or 800Hz
The Century range models from Keith Roscoe have always been real range a sensible arrangement.
plug and play instruments, easy to adjust to and play from the word go;
this bass is no exception. The comfortable body shape, rear contouring
and sensibly slim dimensions make this an easy instrument to wear, Sounds and Playability
while the overall set-up and attention to detail deserve a serious Immediately, a lively acoustic tone is very apparent: the notes simply
thumbs-up. The thin buckeye burl top adorns the Spanish cedar body jump off the fingerboard so early indications would imply that getting
giving the bass a head-turning appearance, although the view from the your intonation correct is going to be fairly important. The upper and
rear is a little uninspiring. lower cutaways provide easy access to the upper frets: overall, this bass
The five-piece laminated neck is connected with a tight four-bolt has extremely playable written all over it. The neck is silky smooth
attachment and has a shallow D-profile shape, feeling long and slinky but the resonant tone of the whole instrument draws the player in: the
with immense amounts of bounce in its natural character, coupled with woody tones are smooth without too much bark.
a classic fretless fundamental tone. To achieve the fretlines, the resin- Plug in and opt for the bridge pickup with some low mid boost, and
impregnated birdseye maple fingerboard has been fitted with regular youre instantly in fretless nirvana: the woody tones are wonderful
metal frets which have then been ground down. The resin gives the without sounding thin or brittle, but with some natural warmth. Opt for

April 2016 Bass Guitar Magazine 053

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Roscoe Century 4 STD+ Price 2,325


some upper mid help from the circuit, and tight fingerstyle lines with a fair
amount of presence for projection are instantly on tap. It should be noted
that this bass is available with single coil pickups if an extra honky fingerstyle
tone is your preference, but with these pickups fitted, some of the inherent
warmth from the basss delivery is maintained.
With the pickup pan control centred, a more rounded tone is achieved:
the Bartolini electronics package keeps this bass lively at all times. Rolling
off the treble EQ and adding some bass EQ helps to temper some of the
livelier aspects of its character. The hardness of the fingerboard really adds
to the exemplary delivery of what this bass has to offer. When a bass is this
comfortable to wear and play, the obvious difficulties in navigating around
a fretless fingerboard can be concentrated on, without having to fight the
physical difficulties that the instrument poses.

Keith Roscoe should be congratulated on creating an outstanding instrument
that is highly playable, immensely comfortable to wear and a real joy to
play. At just over 2300 its hardly cheap, but this is in the ballpark for a
hand-crafted instrument from the US and when a bass plays as well as
this, youre getting what you pay for. If youre looking to dip your toe into the
world of fretless bass, put this on your list.

054 Bass Guitar Magazine April 2016

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055.indd 55 23/03/2016 16:27
Stiletto Studio NT-8
For some, four strings are just not enough; Ellen OReilly gets to grips with an eight-string Schecter
Westside Distribution

alifornian guitar company Schecter has enjoyed a 40-year long career
and boasts many high-profile players, particularly from the rock and
metal genres. David Schecter opened Schecter Guitar Research in 1976,
which was primarily a guitar repair shop: later, it became a guitar parts
manufacturer, and began releasing its first fully-assembled guitars in 1979.
Since then the company has grown to produce guitars en masse in South
Korea, which are then shipped to the USA for the finishing touches, as well as
fully US-produced models. Produced at the companys South Korean factory,
the Stiletto Studio series of basses are a particularly good-looking family, and
with its doubled-up four strings, EMG pickups and satin translucent black
colouring, its a bass with rock and alternative bass players in mind.

Build Quality
The NT-8 is definitely a sturdy bass, with a mahogany body, and a heavy one
at that, weighing in at a hefty 4.3 kilos. The neck-through design also adds to
the overall rock-solid stability of this instrument. There are also a number of
nice design perks such as the headstock, which is angled backwards to pull the
strings over the nut towards and around the tuning pegs: this eliminates the

need for string trees. The headstock design itself is quintessentially Schecter,
with small Schecter and Grover tuners. The bridge and hardware are all
Schecters own brand chrome: these give the bass a tough, industrial look.
The body itself has a chunky feel, and the face of the body is quite flat, but
the smooth edges and deep cutaways compensate for this. Reasonable string
spacing allows for the inevitable pick playing that this bass will be subjected
to, while the neck is a thin, comfortable C-shape design. The woods used have
a silky feel to them and the trans-black satin paint effect complements the
flame maple top wood of the body. For this price, the bass is built to a high
standard: everything about it suggests quality and strength. For me, its the
build quality and value for money of this bass thats the real winner here.

its built to a high standard: everything

about it suggests quality and strength
056 Bass Guitar Magazine April 2016

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schecter stiletto studio nt-8 Price 775

teChniCal sPeCiFiCation
Price | 775
Made in South Korea
Body | Mahogany with flame maple top
Neck | Five-piece maple with walnut satin finish,
34 scale neck
Neck joint | Neck-through
Nut width | 40mm
Fingerboard | Rosewood
Frets | 24
Pickups | 2x EMG 35HZ Soapbar pickups
Electronics | EMG three-band active EQ
Controls | Volume, Blend, Bass/Mid-treble
Hardware | Chrome Schecter and Grover
tuners, Diamond Custom two-piece bridge
Weight | 4.3kg
Case/gig bag included? | No
Left-hand option available? | Yes

What We thinK
Plus | Great looks, rich tone and great value
for money
Minus | Its a little on the heavy side and theres
some neck dip
Overall | If you want to delve into the world
of multi-stringed instruments, then this is a
perfect bass to start from

bgM rating

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Schecter Stiletto Studio NT-8 Price 775

Sounds and Playability

When played standing up, the BT-8s balance is acceptable, although there
is a slight neck dip when playing seated. Its a typical eight-string, as if
there is such a thing, in that the four bass strings are tuned as normal but
are coupled with a string pitched an octave higher, guitar strings in other
words. Eight-string basses can be notoriously difficult to play if youre using
any technique other than with a pick. Thankfully the designers are aware
of this fact and have allowed for roomy string spacing: youre also assisted
by the slim, fast neck, which helps you get around the fretboard more
efficiently. This is not the instrument for you if you like to get slap happy
or play traditional fingerstyle: youll just have to dust off your plectrum and
get picking.
Thanks to the double soapbar EG pickups and active circuitry, this bass
has a powerful output and a three-band EQ where you can dial between
bass, mid and treble. As well as a volume control, there is also a blend pot
where you can mix or select between the neck or bridge pickups: selecting
the neck pickup gives you a predictably warmer, beefier tone, whereas
the more you blend towards the bridge, the thinner the tone becomes.
The doubled up strings make for a choral, melodious sound, which sounds
glorious with some reverb effect added. Note that on each downstroke you
hit the low octave string first and on each upstroke the higher octave: this
results in plenty of tonal and musical possibilities. Listen to John Paul Jones
first solo album Zooma for examples.

At only 775, the NT-8 is a real bargain for such a well-made instrument
and an eight-string to boot. Its a great instrument to add to your arsenal, but
its probably going to be a niche instrument rather than one for everyday
use. It is a bass built with a very specific style of playing in mind and sounds
otherworldly with those doubled-up strings and warm tones. Itll take some
getting used to, but for a medium-priced instrument, it really is great value
for money.

Thanks to the Great British Bass Lounge,

058 Bass Guitar Magazine April 2016

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059.indd 59 23/03/2016 15:45
technIcaL specIfIcatIon
RRP | 499
Made In | Korea
Body | Masonite, laminated wood frame,
hollow body
Neck | Maple, 29.75 scale, 24 frets
Neck join | Bolt-on
Fingerboard | Rosewood
Pickups | 2x Danelectro Lipstickpickups
Controls | 2x stacked volume/tone
Bridge | Traditional, rosewood saddle
Hardware | Danelectro
Weight | 3kg

what we thInK
Plus | Unexpectedly wide tone range,
highly playable
Minus | Looks weird, feels a bit plasticky
Overall | Faithful, low-cost reissue of a
classic bass

bgm ratIng

060 Bass Guitar Magazine april 2016

060-062 Danelectro_rev3KP.indd 60 22/03/2016 15:37

Danelectro Longhorn Price 499

Joel McIver tackles a classic reissue. Insert your own Ride em, cowboy! quip here
John Hornby Skewes

ike eating your greens and going for a run, some things in life are good
for you even though you dont enjoy them, and reviewing basses you
dont like is another one of them. Ive never been a fan of the Danelectro
Longhorn body shape or its cola-bottle headstock, but as JHS are
reissuing them at only 499, it behoves us to set aside our prejudices and
give the thing a chance. After all, Tom Petty played one in the Traveling
Wilburys, so they must have something going for them. Lets have a look...

Build Quality
Lightweight bass bodies and short scales have come into favour at the
BGM command bunker lately, after years of playing massive coffee-table
basses with plank-like necks, so the Longhorn is doubly refreshing when
you pick it up. At only three kilos its a doddle to swing around, and that

Its always nice to have your

preconceptions overturned, and
Danelectro has done a fine job of
recreating an ancient design that
fulfils modern requirements
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Danelectro Longhorn Price 499

theres definitely a feeling about the Longhorn that once you get past the
Happy Days aesthetic, there will be quality under the hood. But who am I
kidding? You wouldnt be buying this bass, or indeed reading this review,
if you werent a fan of the whole early-70s look.

Sounds and Playability

I realise that last paragraph was slightly patronising, but dont get angry
with me, because Ive been converted (at least partly) by the fun Ive had
playing the Longhorn. Even the most sausage-fingered of bassists will
enjoy the short-scale neck, and the bass balances perfectly on lap or strap
despite the location of the forward strap button at the heel of the neck.
If you plug in the bass with the EQ set flat, you may be disappointed
by the lack of low end the Longhorn possesses. Well, thats where
your expectations will be overturned. Sure, the controls feel a touch
plasticky (well, they are made of plastic...) but they add a lot of boost at
both ends. Fire up the bass frequencies and youll be rewarded with a
stomach-shuddering rumble that no bass made of wood fibre has any
right to make. Theres plenty of zing at the treble end too, but where the
Longhorn excels is with its high-mids tone, a beautiful, self-evidently
vintage sound that cuts through everything else with great ease. Finally,
what the Longhorn obviously has in its favour is unparalleled access to
the upper frets, only bettered by a Zon Hyperbass, its polar opposite in
every single way I can think of. Solo to your hearts content: find the right
tiny 29.75 scale into which a two-octave neck has somehow been tone and your guitarists wont know whats hit them.
packed is a lot of fun to run up and down.
Does this bass feel substantial? Not at all. Would you want to throw
it casually to your roadie after your solo at Madison Square Garden? Conclusion
Not remotely. The body, a hollow unit made of Masonite (wood Its always nice to have your preconceptions overturned, and Danelectro
fibre hardboard thanks Google), is pleasantly light but doesnt feel has done a fine job of recreating an ancient design that fulfils modern
particularly tough. So go easy on it. requirements. Sure, youll need to be a devotee of that crazy body shape
If youre not a fan of tiny machine heads, dont buy this bass, but then and materials to get the most out of the Longhorn, but you could say
again large ones would look ridiculous on that dinky little headstock. exactly the same thing about a Rickenbacker 4001, couldnt you? Check
The lipstick pickups and bridge look pretty but also well-engineered, so this unusual bass out at the very least, itll broaden your horizons.

062 Bass Guitar Magazine April 2016

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063.indd 63 23/03/2016 16:55
Ever wondered what it would be like to carry an Ampeg in your back
pocket? Ian Glasper finds out
Polar Audio

s soon as you heft this slab of a pedal in your hand, youre struck
by its super heavy-duty construction. Its housed in a corrosion-
resistant die-cast zinc chassis and screams indestructible! with
beefy metal foot switches that clunk securely and satisfyingly
when stomped on. When used in a rehearsal room with a shiny
wooden floor during the review trial, it literally didnt move an inch,
thanks to some seriously non-slip rubber feet.
It comes with exactly the same circuits as all those classic Ampeg
pre-amps, so youre able to dial in formidable tones with a minimum
of fuss. In fact, this is the best bass pedal since the SansAmp if
youre after a thick, chewy sound, but own a substandard amp, this
pedal wont let you down. It may not make every single amp you play
through sound or feel like an Ampeg, but it enables a close enough
approximation to rattle fillings and put a smile on the face of any
honest bassist.
The three-band EQ is bolstered by Ultra-Lo and Ultra-Hi switches,
for extra depth and/or clarity, and if things still arent dirty enough for
you, open fire with the Bass Scrambler circuitry, which depending on
how youve set the drive and blend knobs will kick in anything from
a snifter of grit to a howling twister of distortion. I quite like the latter,
it has to be said, although this pedal does subtle too.
A sassy purple LED lets you know when youve got the EQ
activated, and a green LED reminds you that the Scrambler is in effect.
But believe me, you wont need reminding youll be too busy peeling
your bandmates off the wall. Both the EQ and Scrambler are foot
switchable, so you can kick them in and out as required.
Another really great feature of this box is that if you plug in your
headphones, it doubles as the best-sounding practice amp youve ever
played through, and no one needs to get annoyed because the walls are
shaking. The auxiliary input even allows you to plug in an MP3 player
and balance the volume in your cans, so you can jam along to tunes all
night long without waking anyone.
Other features include two parallel line outs, a balanced XLR and
an unbalanced jack, so you can send the XLR to the desk and the jack
to an amplifier: a volume knob on the EQ dash controls the level of
these outputs. Theres also a power supply input, if you prefer that to
using batteries albeit a trifling concern when faced with a DI pedal
of such quality.

If youre after a thick,

chewy sound, but own a
substandard amp, this pedal
wont let you down
064 Bass Guitar Magazine April 2016

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Ampeg scr-dI 208

tEchnIcAl spEcIfIcAtIon
Price | 208
Made In | China
Features | Three-band EQ, Bass Scrambler,
Ultra-Lo and Ultra-Hi circuits, 1/4 and 1/8
auxiliary inputs and separate volume, XLR line
out jack, ground lift switch, 1/8 headphones
jack, external power connector
Weight | 1.2 kg
Dimensions | 2.2 x 7.6 x 4.3

whAt wE thInk
Plus | Built like a bomb shelter; delivers a meaty
Ampeg oomph through whatever youre playing
Minus | Maybe a hefty price tag for a pedal
but you get what you pay for
Overall | If youre after serious bass tones, this
effortlessly delivers

bGm rAtInG

Bass Guitar Magazine April 2016 065

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066.indd 66 23/03/2016 14:11
067.indd 67 23/03/2016 12:44
BASS 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.


Making you a better bass player

Stuart Clayton is a professional bassist and writer with
elcome to our redesigned tuition section, in which Bass Guitar
over 20 years of experience in the industry. He runs the
Magazine collates the wit and wisdom of the crme de la crme of bass department at BIMM Bristol and Bassline Publishing,
the electric and upright bass world. Were fortunate enough to have which has published a range of tuition and tab books.
some serious talent on the team, from world-class music educators
to experienced touring musicians, who between them have laid down StuARt CLAYton INTERMEDIATE THEORY 76
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 Rob Statham has amassed over 25 years as a
professional freelance bass player. He has played in a
your playing technique, expand your awareness of theory, set up your rig
wide range of musical settings, including jazz, blues,
to sound like your particular bass hero or simply get on a bus and tour, we prog and classical, and he has taught for the past three
provide the answers you need here. What are you waiting for? Dive in... years at BIMM London.
Joel McIver, editor

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 ying? 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.


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.


Mike has written for BGM since 2004 and has beena
bassistsince 1987, clocking up over 3000 gigs around
the worldin the process. He has played for and worked
withthe likes of Bonnie Tyler and Toyah Willcox, and has
a bass collection to rival a small shop.


068 Bass Guitar Magazine February 2015

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tuition Introduction

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 Advanced slap Technique Plectrum Technique Tapping Techniques
Notes slapped with the thumb are Fretting hand slaps are marked Where necessary, down and Fretting hand taps are shown with
marked with a t, notes popped lh and double thumbing upstrokes with the pick will a + in a circle. Picking hand taps are
with the fingers marked with a p upstrokes are shown with an be shown using these symbols shown with +. Specific fingers will
upward pointing arrow (down-up-down-up) be shown with numbers if necessary

Fretting Techniques

Hammer-On and Pull-Off Slide (Glissando) Trills Vibrato

Hammer-ons and pull-offs are Slides are performed by playing the Trills are performed by rapidly The pitch of the note is altered by
shown with a slur over the notes. first note then sliding the fretting alternating between the two repeatedly bending the string up
Only the first note is plucked by finger up to the second note notes shown using hammer-ons and back with the fretting finger
the picking hand and pull-offs

Playing Harmonics Bending Notes

Natural Harmonics Artificial Harmonics Bend Bend and Release

The note is played as a harmonic Pluck the string while fretting the The note is bent upwards to the The note is bent up to the interval
by lightly touching the string lower note and placing the edge of interval specified: = semitone, indicated then released back to its
above the fret indicated the picking hand thumb an octave full = tone original pitch
higher (the note shown in brackets)

Bass Guitar Magazine April 2016 069

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front line
The Metalhead
I va n M u n g u i a

Deeds Of Flesh bassist Ivan talks tone

The most important part of my tone? Strings. I use stainless steel as
opposed to nickel. Stainless steel strings are a hell of a lot brighter,

Want to make it as a professional bassist? Listen up and when used in conjuction with a heavy pick attack they put out a
very crunchy tone. Conventional wisdom says stainless strings wear

as BGMs world-class bass team reports back from out your frets faster, but I call BS! Ive used them on my basses for
years and have yet to refret a bass. I use DAddario Pro Steels 45-135

the tourbus with my bass tuned down one step for Deeds Of Flesh, and one and a
half steps for my
other band Arkaik.
The Pro Steels go
The Jazz Bassist onto my Spector
basses, which I
Ruth Goller
play exclusively.

Jazz warrior Ruth relaxes after a stint on the road To my eyes, ears,
and fingers they
Ive recently been on tour with a band called Let Spin, one of the are the best
few bands Im in that functions really well as a collaborative project. I basses for metal.
think this is because it is based on our characters, and a trust between I simultaneously
each other which comes out musically. The music we do is a mixture of run my Spectors
rock, jazz and riff- into a SansAmp
based tunes with Bass Driver
open improvisation and a Darkglass
sections. As with all Microtubes B7K,
open music, trusting although I know
and knowing each Im breaking some
others playing unwritten rule by
is an important doing so. I used
factor. As much as a SansAmp for
I enjoy being on years, but when the
stage with someone Darkglass came out
I dont know, and I knew I had to step up my preamp game. It turns out that combination
playing improvised gave my tone the extra kick it needed. My bandmates were impressed,
music with them so I ended up keeping the SansAmp and the two-preamp set-up has
for the first time, been a part of my tone ever since. I set the SansAmps EQ settings
I feel that with flat, with the Blend maxed out and the level adjusted as needed. The
someone whose Darkglass provides the overdrive, with the EQ settings (lo mids, high
playing I do know mids, low, and treble) slightly boosted at about one to two oclock, the
there is always the attack switch set to Boost 2, the Grunt switch set to Fat, and the Drive
chance for things at almost three oclock, but I dial back the Blend knob to noon or below
to develop a step to keep the tone from getting too nasty and distorted. I run my Spector
further, as long
as I feel inspired
by that persons
This amp has balls of steel. The downside of playing such
musicianship. With a vintage amp is that its fragile and heavy as hell
Let Spin I can say
that I feel that with and preamps into an early 70s Ampeg SVT Blackline 300W head
each and every one that I found at a shop in the San Francisco Bay Area. For those of you
of the musicians. Our recent run of gigs in the UK was in small venues, that dont know the history behind this amp, it is the second version
but to good crowds. It was perfect for a band like us to develop further of the original Ampeg SVT Blueline amps. When other bass heads
musically, because most of the time we werent even using a PA, basically at the time were putting out 100 watts or less, this behemoth came
playing as if we were in a rehearsal studio with strangers coming in and onto the market, pushing 300 watts. This amp has balls of steel. The
listening. These are the gigs I enjoy the most: small, sweaty, packed and full downside of playing such a vintage amp is that its fragile and heavy as
of energy. Even as a listener those are always the best gigs to me, as you hell. Death metal tours are a circus, and so all my gear takes a severe
can feel a band moving and finding their space with each other. Its really beating on the road. Consequently, its been to the ER three times
amazing how the same gig, with the same setlist, can develop between gig now, but the tone from it is well worth the upkeep. The head pushes
number one and gig number six. We recorded those gigs: listening back a single 6x10 Ampeg SVT cab that I prefer over the 8x10 version
to them, we can really tell when the getting to know each other again because of the adjustable horn that helps out with the top end of my
phase is over and when we really start taking risks and playing music in sound. I hope that this serves as a reference point for your journey
the most dedicated way. Of course, these low-budget tours usually end in finding the ultimate metal tone: the best piece of advice I can give
with sleeping on someones living room floor and as hard as that can be, is to take peoples opinions about gear with a grain of salt, and not be
sometimes it adds a lot to feeling connected, and really giving everything afraid to experiment. You might find the most badass tone in the most
to the music that has been created, without any compromise. unexpected of ways.

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the front line

The Alternative Rocker The Extended-Range Specialist

Michael McKeegan S t e wa r t M c K i n s e y

Therapy?s bass ninja Mike explores cover versions Ten-string-wielding Dementor McKinsey gets plucky
I was recently looking forward to hearing a favourite band of mine Now that youve had a chance to hear how your attack and plucking
doing a cover of a song by one of my other favourite bands. It sounded hand placement create specific results, lets work on refining them to
like a dream concept and thankfully the result wasnt that bad, just a tad get the effects you desire. For now, focus on eighth notes at a medium
uninspiring. It got me thinking about covers and how they can be a great tempo. Choose a note on your lowest string and play two measures,
way to learn about music, develop a style and refine influences. I also then move up an octave on the same string. Youll note that the high
realised how hard it can be to do a good, distinctive cover version. Were note doesnt open the same way as the low note. Start alternating,
big music fans and over the years weve covered a wide range of songs, playing two measures of the low note and then two more of the high
admittedly with varying degrees of success: heres a few pointers that note, working with your attack and where you hit the string along its
length until you get the different notes to respond similarly. Once you

get them happening the way you would like, play two measures of
the higher note and play the same note in the same range on the next
higher string. Again, it will take you a bit of time to get them to sound
the same. Dont rush the results. You need to be able to do this smoothly
and evenly. When youre happy with how the notes in the same octave
sound, play two measures with the next octave up. This time alternate
between all three notes, so you will play two measures on your second
lowest string; two measures an octave up from there; and then, rather
than returning to the second lowest string, play the lower note on the
lowest strings. Once these sound even to you, continue working up
and down the neck. This is not the most exciting exercise you will play,
but as you explore one note played in as many places and in as many
registers as you can, you will begin to hear how much work you have
to do in terms of playing consistently, but you will also start to feel
your hands making these adjustments faster and faster as your brain
processes what it is you want from the bass. To develop the exercise, do
the same thing with other notes, with note duration (quarter notes, half
notes and sixteenth notes) and then change to a single measure before
alternating. Then shift the position of your plucking hand. Youll find
challenges both moving closer to the end of the fingerboard and closer
to the bridge. Remember: theres no deadline, and pushing too fast
will actually slow your progress. Next month, well start work on your
fretting hand. + search Stewart McKinsey

might keep your reworking on track. The main thing is to work out what
elements of a song youd like to keep. The joy of a good cover is making it
your own, so the rule book, while not necessarily going out the window,
can be disregarded for a bit. Lyrically its probably wise not to change
much, if anything, as youll run into the sticky world of having to speak
to a publisher or an artist to approve any amendments. Id also steer clear
of doing a genre version: its very tempting to do a tune in a stylistically
different way. For example, as a punk band you might be tempted to
double the tempo and crank the guitars. I feel weve all heard too many
wacky musical takes on great songs. One nice thing about doing a cover
is that you can sometimes see the tune a bit more clearly than your
own material, and so can be a bit more brutal with deciding what stays
and what goes. Note which bits of the song you feel are overplayed or
dont work; chop that double chorus at the end; and try and find some
elements that could be made more of. If theres a cool melody lurking
somewhere, try and bring that out in a bass-line or guitar solo. Another
approach is to start with the vocal, record it first and then begin to fill
in the arrangement around it. It is amazing how sometimes so little
is needed to flesh out a song instrumentally, so try different keys and
tempos and dont be afraid to add extra chords or parts. Understanding
why songs work is a great tool in helping you put together and tighten
up your own songwriting: doing a unique cover of a song can be a
positive exercise in arrangement and instrumentation.

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Beginners Theory
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for extra content

in a given key signature. Lets take the key of C major, for example. Im sure youve noticed how often this
particular key is used in examples, this is because it has no accidentals (sharps or flats) present to complicate
things. Now each step in the scale (or scale degree) is as follows: C, D, E, F, G, A and B. Chords are built up
on each of these scale degrees, and the process of how we do this is known as harmonising the major scale,
which weve covered in previous columns.
In order to keep things simple, Ill look at these chords in their most basic form which is as triads. As weve
seen before, a triad is a basic chord made up of three notes: the root, third and a fifth. What kind of third
and fifth we have determines whether the chord is major, minor or diminished. For example, we know C is
C major as it is made up of a root, a major third and a perfect fifth; E is E minor as it is made up of a root, a
minor third and a perfect fifth; but we know B is diminished as it is made up of a root, a minor third and a
flattened fifth (aka a flat 5). In the key of C major, the scale degrees in triads are C major, D minor, E minor, F
major, G major, A minor and B diminished.

Now, with this system we give

each of these chords a number in
Roman numerals so that we know
ELLEN OREILLY where we are in a given key this
means that the one chord is I, the
two chord is ii, the three is iii and
Into the bass charts with so on. Note that when we add a
Roman numeral to a chord, the
top of the poppers Ellen C major triad
minor and diminished chords are
written in lower case, whereas
the major chords are written with

ver the last few columns upper case Roman numerals, e.g.
Ive fried your brains with G major is V and D minor is ii. As
talk of scales and suchlike, you can see in the example Ive
but now Im going to take it given, each scale degree is given
back to basics: its time we had a number.
a look at how to put all this new You can see how the triad looks
knowledge into practice and on the stave, and the root notes
navigate a chord chart. are given for you in tab as I want
Now, you may or may not you to find the rest of the notes
have been in a musical situation E minor triad yourselves.
where a guitarist or keyboardist Lets put this chord numbering
has shouted out five or put up system into practice. If you were
three fingers, expecting you to asked to play a I, IV, V sequence
know what that meant. Well, in the key of C major, you would
these guys and girls are trying play C, F and G. If you were asked
to tell you what chord theyre on to play a VI, iii, V, I sequence in
by using numbers allocated to the key of C major you would play
each chord. This is a really handy A, E, G and C. Try mixing up the
way of communicating with your numbers and see if you can find
bandmates: all its telling you is the corresponding root notes and
that a number represents a chord B diminished triad triads yourselves.


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ExamplE 1

Set your metronome to 100BPM on a quarter-note pulse. Play the note A at the fifth fret of the E string.
Try to keep the notes even and in time with the click. Try choking the notes and experiment with the actual
length. You can get a lot out of tonal range out of a single note.
Think about the tone and how you play the note with the plucking hand. Consider the position of your
PAuL GEARY fingers over the pickup. How much pressure are you using to produce the note? Is it clean? How far is your
hand away from the bridge? All of these things will affect the sound of the notes you are playing.
Playing nearer the bridge creates a mid tone: the strings feel tighter. Playing closer to the neck gives a
Commander Geary gets rounder tone with more bottom end, but the strings feel looser. Make sure your fretting hand fingers fret
the note cleanly without any fret buzz. Try adjusting and dampening the note by lifting your fretting-
his rock on... and so hand fingers.
I remember one particular recording session many years ago where I had to replace a section of bass-line
should you I had recorded on a track the day before. No surprises there, I just needed to remember the part. This was
called a drop-in, and involved the engineer punching in your bass on the recording desk at the exact point in

his month I would like to take the song where the bass-line needed to be replaced. This would then make a nice clean edit on the finished
a look at incorporating some recording, so I recorded the section with the correct notes, in time, appropriate feel and so on. The engineer
eighth-note grooves into a said Great. Now play it with the same pressure! At the time I really hadnt thought it would matter. When I
rock chart. Sometimes, some heard the track back before the edit, the actual feel and volume of the notes didnt sound right at all. He was
of the seemingly simple aspects spot on! These days with the various software available for recording you can cut and paste almost anything,
of bass playing can actually turn and adjust the individual volume and timbre, but I miss the days of the good old drop-in: I think it presented
out to be the most challenging. a greater challenge to the musician.
Playing eighth notes to a click or
drum machine accurately, in time,
with good feel and meter, can be ExamplE 2
harder than you think. It is the
meat and potatoes of bass playing,
but drastically underrated. The
following examples demonstrate
how much variation you can get
out of a single note.

app Extra Lets try using a tie on the A note to extend the value and keep the forward motion feel happening. Keep the
pulse steady and dont move on until the line is even and consistent. Try recording yourself on your phone.
Download the Bass app
for extra content This will give a pretty good representation of your overall sound.



074 Bass Guitar Magazine October 2015

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Beginners Techniques

Example 3
This is where we add some extra
notes to the line. The first is
a low E played on the open E
string, followed by a G note at
the third fret of the E string. We
then have a tied A note over the
bar line and continue with an
eighth-note pulse.
The last grouping of eighth
notes start with the low G,
followed by an open E, and then rock chart
we take the repeat.
We can start to apply these
grooves to an actual chart. Make
sure you establish a good 3/4
pulse before you attempt the first
bar. The low B is a dotted quarter
note played on the second fret of
the A string, followed by three
eighth notes.
We then drop down to a low
F# played on the second fret of
the E string. The third bar is the
same as the first. In the fourth
bar we use a high E eighth note
played on the second fret of the
D string followed by F#, D, B and
A, all utilising the open strings.
On lines two and three we
have tied dotted half notes. The
trick is to make sure you hold
them on for the complete bar.
Dont be tempted to rush. On line
four we switch to a low G played
on the third fret of the E string.
This note ties over to the third
bar where we play a dotted D
quarter note at the fifth fret of
the A string.
The last bar we play a high
G octave, which leads into the
A7 sus chord. At the end of that
line we take the repeat at the
sign. Play through everything
again and go to the drum solo
vamp section. This is the main
riff broken down. At the DS al
coda, go to the (S) sign and play
through to the coda. The coda is
the last bar at the end, where we
play the riff and finish on a low B
at the second fret of the A string.
Try to keep a steady pulse
when playing this chart and
dont rush.
Until next time...!

Bass Guitar Magazine October 2015 075

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example 3

modes maestro clayton continues his aeolian expedition

elcome back to my column on demystifying the modes. Weve made significant progress in this
endeavour now and the end is in sight. In this months instalment well be taking a look at a longer
piece that features the Aeolian mode, which is the third minor mode that weve covered. So without
further ado
This piece is an uptempo rock track that exclusively uses the A Aeolian mode, which as you will now know
is the sixth mode of the major scale in this case, the C major scale. As such, it contains only natural notes,
since these are the only notes that occur within the key of C. Youll hopefully also be aware that the Aeolian
mode is another name for the natural minor scale. If you need a recap on the construction of the Aeolian
mode or the theory behind it, be sure to refer to my column in the last issue.
The track opens with the A section, a melodic line played in the upper register which descends along
the G-string. When playing each phrase, be sure to allow the open A-string to ring underneath, creating a
stuart clayton foundation. You should also follow the phrasing marks that are written: playing the hammer-ons and pull-
offs as shown will be a big help in making this line sound smooth.

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example 6

Intermediate Theory

By carefully studying the material presented in these columns you

should become well acquainted with the unique sound of each mode
At letter B a new riff begins, again based on the open A-string. The order for the line to sound smooth.
last two bars of this section suggest a chord progression moving from Have fun with this piece. Its a simple line to learn, but Im hoping
Am G F Em, which is a common turnaround in a minor key. This that the ideas presented here will inspire you to come up with Aeolian-
line is then repeated. based riffs of your own.
At letter C a new riff begins, implying a faster moving chord Hopefully through what weve covered in the last two columns you
progression. The second bar of the two-bar phrase is important can hear that the Aeolian has a noticeably different sound to the other
here, as it is repeated at the end of the section (bars 18-20). Note that two minor modes (Dorian and Phrygian). Each mode has something
rhythmic displacement and a bar of 3/4 are used here to add interest. different to offer and by carefully studying all of the material
This section is also repeated. presented in these columns you should be well acquainted with the
The final section of the piece at letter D is a restatement of the unique sound of each one.
main melodic motif from letter A, this time played an octave lower. Next time well be making a start with the seventh and final mode
Again, phrasing indications should be observed where possible in of the major scale the Locrian. Until then

Bass Guitar Magazine October 2015 077

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app exTRa
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for extra content


Tapping compound
intervals with the
great Statham

ne of the attractions of
playing tapped arpeggios is
that, by using two hands, we
are able to play wide intervals
that would be difcult if not The first example is indeed major tenths on a I-IV-V-IV progression, and so while this could be played
impossible to play ngerstyle. fingerstyle, it will serve as an example of how a tapping technique can be used for this concept. In each
Usually when we play arpeggio triplet group the first two notes are hammered on with our fretting hand, while our plucking hand, now our
patterns we play the notes in the tapping hand, taps the tenth of the triad. While, as mentioned, this could be played fingerstyle, we would
same octave, but it is possible to likely use a different fingering, so, for instance, playing the E in the first arpeggio at the ninth fret on the G
take one or more of the notes in string. However, using a tapping technique it makes more sense to play it at the 14th fret on the D string.
any given arpeggio and play them Our second example is based on the same chord progression, but now the compound interval in the triad
an octave higher. These are called is the fifth rather than the third. This makes for an even wider intervallic sound, an octave and a minor
compound intervals: you are third between the third of the chord and the compounded fifth. While I have tabbed the root and third to
probably familiar with this idea be played on one string, stretching a major third, you might prefer to play the third where you would likely
from playing tenths, an attractive normally play it in relation to the root. For instance, the second note of the first triplet group could be played
sound on the bass, where we play at the seventh fret on the A string rather than the 12th fret on the E string. Try it both ways and see which
the third of a chord an octave you prefer.
higher. So, for instance, we might The next example gets us away from the triplet figures and into groups of four notes, in this instance on a
play the note C, then G a fth similar chord progression, I-IV-V-I. In fact, the first bar of this example is similar to the first bar of the first
higher, and nally E, the third of a example with the addition of the ninth between the fifth and compound third. Here again I am just tapping
C major triad, but an octave higher the last note of the group, and so youll see that the root, fifth and ninth are two consecutive perfect fifths, all
than we might usually play it, so hammered on, with the 10th tapped. However, the second bar is played somewhat differently. Here we play
a major sixth above the G. This a seventh chord arpeggio, a G7, hammering on the root and the fifth and now tapping two notes, the seventh
pattern ts nicely into one position and the compound third.
on the bass and, albeit with This requires us to make a tritone shape with our tapping hand. In the second half of the bar we return to
some string-skipping involved, is a triad, but this time it is played in first inversion with the compound octave making the fourth note. Here,
comfortable to play ngerstyle. as in the first half of the bar, I am hammering on the first two notes, the third and octave, and tapping the
But by using a tapping technique fifth and compound octave, this time a perfect fourth shape in our tapping hand. Again, this makes for a wide
we can expand on this concept intervallic sound and would be a tricky pattern to play using fingerstyle but is reasonably comfortable using
and play more notes in any given a tapping technique.
arpeggio an octave higher, beyond The final example consists entirely of seventh chords and, as in the second half of the previous example,
what might be possible using a I am hammering on the first two notes in each group of four and tapping the last two. The example is based
regular nger technique. on an Autumn Leaves set of chord changes and so uses four types of seventh chord minor seven, major

078 Bass Guitar Magazine October 2015

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Intermediate Techniques

seven, dominant seven, and half

diminished, or minor seven flat
example 1
five. In this example we get into
some particularly wide intervals
on some of the chords, and
fingerstyle would not really be
an option.
The first chord, a D minor
7, has a compound third and
seventh which, as you can see,
results in two perfect fifth shapes
a minor sixth apart, a particularly
example 2
wide intervallic sound. The
second chord, a G7, has only one
compound interval, the third
which is played as a 10th in fact,
this is played in the same manner
as the G7 in the third example.
The third chord, a C major 7, is
configured like the first chord
root, fifth, compound third,
and compound seventh, so here
again a wide intervallic sound.
Again we have two perfect fifth
example 3
shapes, but now a major sixth
apart. The next bar is an F major
7 configured like the G7 arpeggio
with just one compounded tone,
the third played as a tenth.
As you can see, there is an
alternating pattern of compound
patterns in the first four bars.
In the fifth bar we get into
an even wider intervallic
sound by inverting the third
and the seventh in our tapping
example 4
hand on the B half diminished
chord, the third now a full two
octaves higher. This means
that the E7 that follows it still
has two compound tones, the
third and seventh, and the A
minor seven chord that follows
that is configured like the B
half diminished chord with a
compound seventh and a double
compound third. We are now well
beyond what would be possible to
play fingerstyle, and this is where
the tapping technique comes into
its own, making patterns possible
to play that would be otherwise
unplayable and thus providing
fresh possibilities.
By making use of a tapping
technique we can play wide familiar arpeggios in differing configurations. There are many possibilities, so use these examples as a
compound intervals and arrange starting point and experiment with your own ideas.

Bass Guitar Magazine October 2015 079

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more exotic territory

explored with Big franc

n this issue I will be analysing
the second half of a bass solo
that uses an exotic scale for
all its melodic and harmonic
content. For the last few issues I
have been using the A Mixolydian
b6 as an example of how to
get the most out of a scale by
unpacking it: however, it is worth
remembering that this type of
analysis can be applied to all
The first half of the solo, which
appeared in my last column,
showed bars one to 27, and since
this is the second half of the
solo I have started this month at
bar 26 to provide some context
before continuing with the rest of
the solo. Bars 24 to 25 showed a
figure based on a D melodic minor
scale, which is the parent scale
of A Mixolydian b6. This figure
was repeated in bars 26 and 27,
which, as you can see, is a motif
created using minor and major
10ths. This motif provided some
relief and stability as it came in bars 28 to 31. These unsettling mirroring motifs are still based exclusively on notes from the A Mixolydian
after an intense triplet chordal b6, but since this scale shares similarities with the whole tone scale, these figures highlight this. In fact, if
section based on a G Prometheus you were to strip out the perfect 4th and perfect 5th interval degrees from the A Mixolydian b6 scale you
hexatonic scale with an open A would be left with the notes A, B, C#, F and G, and all it would take to create an A whole tone scale would be
pedal. the simple addition of an Eb.
However, this is just the calm So why do whole tone scales create such an atmosphere of unsettling eeriness? Imagine a film scene in
before the storm gathers again, which Freddy Krueger is just about to pounce on a scared victim who has been hearing strange noises in
as can be seen in the rather their house at night. As the psychological tension mounts before the final pounce, augmented triads running
disconcerting figures appearing up and down the whole tone scale are employed to underpin the suspense. Nothing is actually happening

80 Bass Guitar Magazine October 2015

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APP extra
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for extra content tuition
Advanced Theory

musica) as far back as the early

1700s, but few know that this
term was also often applied to the
more dissonant semitone interval.
The chord in bars 35 and 36
employ both intervals. It has
a tritone (C# to G) and then its
octave, which is followed by the
semitone interval of C# to D.
Surprisingly, the resulting chord
exudes a hauntingly beautiful
quality. This is, in part, due
to the fact that the notes are
arpeggiated but also because
our modern ears are used to
dissonances that would have
been considered unpalatable in
older times with their different
tuning temperaments. On the
third beat of both these bars a low
open E string replaces the lower
C# that appears on the first beat,
creating a min6/7 chord with the
5th omitted.
The upper part of the chord
that appears in bars 37 and
38 uses a similar tritone and
semitone combination: however,
the configuration is now reversed
with the semitone (E to F)
appearing first and the tritone (F
to B) appearing above it.
Bar 39 is less tense than the

The fact that the whole tone scale has only one moDE previous four bars and is an
Fmaj7b5 chord with the b5, B, its
lowest note, placing it in second

means that the ear cant find a tonal centre. This is what inversion. An E-addb9 chord in
the next bar brings back some of

creates the unsettling and uncertain feeling the tritone and semitone tension,
although the root and b9 are
separated by an octave, before the
tension is finally broken in bar 41.
In comparison to the previous
within the action of the film but the film-makers are implying that something is about to through the bars, bars 41 to 50 create a fairly
soundtrack. You just dont know when. easy-going and harmonically
The fact that the whole tone scale has only one mode (as on every other scale degree is another whole tone pleasing run down the scale
scale, and also because every note is a whole tone apart) means that the ear cant find a tonal centre. This is by employing simple rhythmic
what creates the unsettling and uncertain feeling, since there is no natural resolution point in this scale. figures, double stops and an open
Bars 32 to 34 create a different dynamic which is equally intense, this time through the use of syncopated A string drone, topped off with a
rhythm and interval inversions. This actual phrase appeared as example 7 in my column in BGM 124. Bar dramatic flourish and subsequent
32 is comprised entirely from 6th intervals built on each degree of the scale. However, the 1st interval is harmonic chord in bar 51.
ascending from low to high, but the second 6th is inverted, i.e. it is descending from the 6th to its root. The Using the entire scale, the
third 6th in the same bar is, like the first, ascending too. Each of these 6ths appear at consecutive scale A11b13 arpeggio, which starts on
degrees. Bar 33 uses the same idea, only this time with 7ths, and also highlights the fact that there are four the and of beat four in bar 51,
minor 7th intervals a whole tone apart in succession. Bar 34 highlights the two different tritones inherent in culminates with a low A and its
the scale, which is part of what gives the Mixolydian b6 its unique flavour. 3rd and 5th in the high octave,
There is no let-up of the tension in bars 35 to 40, where some arpeggiated chords are rendered with quaver creating a simple, happy, A major
triplets. Rather than create suspense as in bars 28 to 31, which use the whole tone scale, these bars use triad which lets you know that
tension instead, by employing voicings that feature tritone intervals and semitone clashes. Many musicians everything has turned out fine in
will be aware of the fact that the restless tritone interval was regarded as the devil in music (diabolus in the end. Until next time

Bass Guitar Magazine October 2015 81

080-081 Franc_Rev2KP.indd 81 23/03/2016 10:37

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rhythm is commonly associated with Iron Maidens veteran bassist Steve Harris). Initially the movement
can feel a little awkward and cumbersome under the hand, but with a little patience and perseverance youll
master it soon enough. If your reading skills arent particularly strong, try saying and playing the syllables
black-cur-rant on each beat of the bar to help produce the desired rhythm.

ExamplE 1

pHIl maNN

Double popping? The

great Mann has to be
having a laugh... Wait.
Hes not?

raditionally, a high
percentage of slap bass ExamplE 2
players predominantly use This months second example combines elements of the double thumbing technique acquired in last months
just their index finger (p1) to column along with this issues subject area. On every other beat youll notice rhythmical similarities to those
pop the strings. Although this found in example 1: however, on the adjacent beats youll be required to play all four sixteenth notes. The
is a very effective and efficient first two pitches are produced via a down-up movement from the thumb, the second two notes are then
approach to the technique, produced via two pops in succession, one from your index finger (p1) and one from your middle finger (p2).
it is possible to develop the
methodology further to include
other digits. This month well
be taking a look at the inclusion
of a second finger to the mix by
introducing double popping.
Conventionally, you will be used
to pulling the strings with your
index finger (p1). Double popping
is really just an extension of
this, introducing a second pop
additionally produced by the
middle finger (p2).
The first of our exercises is
designed to develop your basic
understanding of the double
popping technique. Rhythmically,
its quite straightforward to
perform and shouldnt cause you
too much trouble. On each beat
youre required to play an eighth


note followed by two sixteenth
notes: use your index finger to
pop the first octave note of each
beat and then your middle finger
to pop the second (this galloping HAND, BUT WITH PATIENCE YOULL MASTER IT SOON ENOUGH

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Advanced Techniques

Example 3
Playing three evenly spaced
sixteenth notes within the same
value as an eighth note produces
a semiquaver triplet. Youll notice
the inclusion of this rhythm
in the third beat of bar four of
example 3. Again, a simple way
to interpret the rhythm with ease
is to articulate tri-p-let on each
eighth note of the beat and play
its syllables. As there are two
eighth notes in every crotchet,
repeat the methodology twice
to produce the desired pair of
semiquaver triplets.

Example 4
The continued occurrence of both
double thumbing and plucking
does make example 4 a little
tricky to play in time with a
metronome. Initially, always try
to work through newer and more
complex patterns out of time
first as this will allow a period
of processing time to learn the
phrase. Once under hand, you
can then practise the phrase to a
timekeeping device.

Example 5
Focus your attention on the first
beat of bar one in this months
final example: hopefully youll
be able to decipher the quaver
followed by a semiquaver triplet.
First, strike the low E string with
your thumb then simultaneously
mute all four strings with your
left hand while performing a
semiquaver triplet with your
right hand. In order to execute
this cleanly, your thumb will
need to strike the E string once
again (while muted by the left
hand, dont forget!) and then be
succeeded by two pops one
from your index finger (p1) and
one from your middle finger (p2).
Once overcome, the remainder straightforward. Ill leave you to try and conquer the rhythm in bar four by yourself for now as a bit of
of the exercise is reasonably facilitated learning and a teaser for next month! Until then, practise hard!

Bass Guitar Magazine October 2015 85

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Introducing the noble art of

soloing on double bass, with
David Etheridge

any years ago, while
studying at music college,
I was playing folk clubs EXAMPLE 5
in the evenings with jazz
legend Diz Disley. Double bass
players were rather thin on
the ground, so I was interested
to meet one at a club in South
London. What kind of music EXAMPLE 6
do you play? I asked the other
bassist. Im a New Orleans jazz
specialist! he proudly announced.
I was impressed. I hadnt the
faintest idea what one was, but as
a specialist he had to be good. Diz
was a great one for jam sessions,
so I waited with interest for
this bass players solo: when it
came, it was terrible. A random
series of notes in no particular
key, with no sense of melody or
chord progression or was he EXAMPLE 8
the avant-garde branch of New
Orleans jazz? Once I found out
exactly what that type of jazz
actually was, I never looked at it
the same way.
The point of this preamble but louder, to technical wizardry from the likes of Stanley Clarke and John Patitucci (just to name two) that
is to ask some fundamental leaves one spellbound. If you look at their work on YouTube, youll see that their approach to double bass
questions about soloing on double differs quite markedly from the same players work on bass guitar. Its a truism that you can whiz around on
bass. Over the years, Ive seen a bass guitar far more than on double bass, simply due to the latters sheer size and string weight, so trying
variety of approaches, from guys those Jaco licks on double bass may not be as easy as you think once you get down to trying them out.
who just play the same bass-line When were soloing, were basically providing instant musical composition. Like any language, it will have

086 BASS Bass
Magazine October 2015

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TUITIONUpright Citizen

the musical equivalent of words Example 4 shows a development of the basic idea: you dont have to start a phrase on the root of the
and sentences, and make sense chord. In this example, every bar starts on the third of the chord and still follows the chord sequence. As
to the listener. Trying to be flash you can see from the fingering, the majority of this example is in half position, only changing for the high C
and play 1,000 notes a minute and D. Example 5 shows a similar riff, but here were starting on the fifths of the chord, and we stay in the
(we all try that sooner or later) same position throughout.
can be wearing for both listeners With example 6 Ive introduced some new ideas: chromatic runs, and triplet crochets (quarter notes) to add
and other players, so contrast rhythmic variation and contrast. Although theres a lot of triplet action in the sequence, Im using it as an
can be the name of the game: fast illustration: the choice is up to you. In practice, on a solo, you might want to stay in one particular rhythmic
bits, slow bits, cross rhythms, groove say swung quavers and only add triplet quavers for a fill at the end of an eight-bar phrase.
syncopations, funky phrases and Example 7 shows the kind of thing you might try. Remember Victor Wootens maxim that just about
even rests and silences can all be anything can be used as a fill at the end of a section of music, from the most subtle to the most flash. Dont
used in solos on double bass. think that you have to fill a solo with notes, either: sometimes spaces in a solo can be very effective.
Lets have a look at some Have a look at example 8 for some ideas, and the syncopations can add to the groove very well by
approaches and see how we can pushing the feel along, particularly if you use them as contrast to more regular phrasing. Contrast is the
get to really express ourselves. The important word here.
road map of a solo will follow the These examples are just basic building blocks for your musical vocabulary, and as weve seen, theyre all
form and the chord sequence of playable in one or two positions. Dont worry about difficult keys either. Just substitute a position shift or
the tune youre playing, so youll two for the open strings and youll see that you have a lot of potential in any key. This month weve only
know where you are at any given looked at basic ideas on chord tones: next month well expand it further.
point, and that gives you the
choice of notes to play. You can
follow various approaches: chord
tones, scales, chromatic runs and
even musical quotes. They all have
their place and the latter can be
great fun.
To start off with, lets have a look
at a basic I-IV-II-V progression.
Keep in mind that in jazz and
blues the quavers (eighth notes)
are always swung. In example 1,
this might be the bass part to the
chords: pretty standard fare. If we
use chord tones only as a starting
point, we might come up with
example 2. Here we have some
syncopation to add to the groove.
This line is easy and can be played
all in half position. Well develop
our line as we go along and try
higher-register work, but a good
rule of thumb is to try and group
as many notes in the same, or
adjacent positions where possible.
In example 3 Ive added some
triplets to break up the basic feel,
and included some scale passages
and semitone runs to add interest.
You can see from the fingering
that this can be played in half
position, moving up to second
position for the high Bb and C in
bar three, and using the open G to
move back to half position at the
end of that bar. At the end of bar
four we move up a semitone to get
the G and Ab at the end.

Bass Guitar Magazine OctoberMAGAZINE
2015 087

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Laying Down The Lawson

With any pedal or multi-FX, or preamp or anything I do the same. I (fairly) methodically go through as many
possible combinations as I can. With overdrive pedals, I spent a long time finding out where the break point
is, where they actually start to dirty up your sound. It was this process that helped me find the amazing warm
clean tone I can get from the Markbass MiniDIST. With the dist control off and level control full, it sounds
beautiful, outside of the distorted tone it was built for. Its the same with the new MXR Bass Distortion: the point
where it starts to break up produces some extraordinary sounds, which are unlike any distortion pedal Ive used
before. And its all happening in the first maybe five to 10 per cent of the sweep of the dist control. Tiny tweaks,
technique and volume adjustments to see how it interacts with the rest of the signal chain... explore, modify,
apply, repeat...
Sometimes within that process you discover things that maybe werent planned but are still inherent in the
complex design of the pedal: Ive been spending a lot of time recently with the TC Electronic Flashback delay.
The one control Im most interested in with all delays is the delay time knob: what happens when you turn it?
On some units, it makes amazing spacey bleepy noises the Line 6 DL4 does this, and some analogue and tape-
based delays do too. On others, the delay just resets and starts from scratch. On the Flashback, the material
thats currently repeating gets extended to the length of the new delay time (through multiple repeats, not time
stretching) and the new stuff gets added over the top. If you turn the control down to its shortest delay time, and
STEVE LAWSON turn the feedback and FX level controls up, you get an amazing granular filter sound, which you can then trap
and use as part of a longer delay... Again, this is not something you can do if youve got your pedal on the floor to
operate with your feet, but youve all stopped doing that already, right?
Looking at the big So this month, go extreme. Turn everything up, everything off and everything in between and see what freaky

picture with Dark sonic treasures lie at the boundaries of your favourite toys. You may find something unrecognisable and beautiful!

Lord Lawson

eve talked before here
about treating pedals as
instruments: about the
need to see them not just
as an on/off effect, but as a way
of changing how the sound is
produced something that requires
us to modify the way we play, and
often adapt the rest of our signal
chain to acommodate the new
possibilities. The end point of this
is that I dont see the bass as my
instrument and the pedals as some
external boxes that do things to
my sound. I see the whole signal
chain, from fingers to speakers, as
my instrument.
This means that I explore the
possibilities of each pedal pretty
much the same way I do each
aspect of my bass. When Im
working on a new technical issue
on my instrument, I vary every
parameter to see what it makes
possible: I vary how hard Im
hitting the strings, the angle I hit
the strings from, and I move my
hand up and down the neck from
right next to the bridge to right
down over the fingerboard. All of
it to explore the extremes of whats
possible in order to find the bits
that make the sounds I can use. I
dont want to second-guess where

those are, so I look for all of them.

88 Bass Guitar Magazine October 2015

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Advertising Index
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Allianz Musical Insurance ............................................67

Andy Baxter Basses......................................................31

Barnes & Mullins .............................................15, 35, 51

Bass Centre...................................................................19

Bass Direct......................................................................9


Darkglass .....................................................................39

Chapman stick ..............................................................73

MSL Pro - Markbass ....................................................59

Marleaux basses ..........................................................89

Madison and Fifth - Nemphasis ..................................63

Musicians Union..........................................................55


Radial Engineering .......................................................27


Sadowsky .....................................................................63

Enfield Basses & Sims pickups ...................................11

Surine Basses...............................................................63

Strings & Things .................................................... OSBC

Stonefield Musical Instrument Company, Ltd. .. 13, 67, ISBC

Swan Song Guitars.......................................................63

Warwick .............................................................3, 21, 66

Willcox guitars (Lightwave systems)........................ ISFC

CONTACT guy on
01926 339 808

089.indd 89 23/03/2016 16:52

A brand-new column in which
Mike Brooks celebrates a
classic album. Lets begin by
jumping back 40 years to what is
arguably Queens finest record...
elcome to my new column.

Each month Ill be taking
an in-depth look at a
classic album, which may
have broken records the same way as the Beatles had done almost Rhapsody? Indeed, would Queen have become
around the world, changed a decade before: over time, this album has the colossal band they became, and continue to
the course of musical become Queens equivalent. Deacons bass part be, were it not for Freddies masterstroke, perhaps
history or been a turning and note choices on Lazing are particularly his defining legacy? How they managed to keep
point in the history of the bass guitar. Either McCartney-esque. a rein on each instrument, with no musician
way, its all about historic bass! Youre My Best Friend shows just how standing on anothers toes, is remarkable. As
When Queen began writing material for A much this band was a collective of equally for the bass part, listen to the single notes and
Night At The Opera in 1975, they faced a real talented songwriters, with Deacon (on bass and slides in the first two verses, through to Deacons
dilemma. Their management were fleecing electric piano, no less!) chipping in with a song underpinning of Brian Mays guitar solo from
them of their royalties, they had to write a hit that has become a radio favourite around the 236. Feel the extra weight which the bass brings
single that could improve upon Killer Queen, world. The staccato runs in the bass-line totally to the operatic section, with its pushes and runs
a number two hit; and their fourth LP had to fit the arrangement. finishing with the pulse and syncopated lines in
do the business in terms of sales, otherwise 39 features our hero on one of his very the rock section up to 450. Finally, theres the
they were facing being dropped by their record few recorded outings on double bass: when he delicate mid-neck work on the outro. Nothing
label, EMI. They needed a great album to send played the song live, he resorted to a sunburst would be the same for Queen from this point
them into rocks stratosphere but nobody fretless Precision. forward. Turn the volume up to eleven, revel in
could have foreseen what a milestone the band The Prophets Song features a drop-D John Deacons masterful bass playing and enjoy
would produce in their hour of need, let alone a tuning and is a feast for stereo lovers. Queen this album loud! Will we ever hear a song like this
magnum opus single that would propel sales to essentially made technology work for them again? Possibly not.
over 10 million worldwide. and used the studio like an extra
The great John Deacon used his familiar instrument, ably assisted by engineer
Fender Precisions for the bulk of the bass tracks, Mike Stone and producer Roy
and although he was using Acoustic 370 amps Thomas Baker.
paired with Acoustic 301 Reflex cabs and a Love Of My Life is draped in
HiWatt amp driving Sound City 4x12 cabs at the a piano arrangement with guitar
time, the album was predominantly recorded flourishes, while the icing on the
direct via the desk and a DI box, while his basses cake is some exemplary, tasteful bass
were fitted with flatwound strings for less string playing from John, playing exactly
noise and a thick tone. what the track requires, giving
The album opener, Death On Two Legs, the arrangement some space and
is singer Freddie Mercurys attempt to put dynamics. With Good Company,
down on record his vitriolic feelings about listen out for the part between 109
the bands ex-manager: check out the smooth and 129, where Johns bass part
and tasty bass run at 254 that eventually mimics a tuba. God Save The Queen
matches Freddies vocal part. Lazing On A brings the album to a close but
Sunday Afternoon and Seaside Rendezvous rewind to track 11
were early indicators that Queen might be Who knows how big this album
pushing the envelope in the studio in much would have been without Bohemian

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