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I Get It, Extended Bass

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In my pursuit of understanding tonality, I discovered that I play way too many notes. I’m reminded of a comment about my 11 string bass, when someone stated that, “If I have 11 strings, I should use all of them on some songs.” That made me think about a piano player hitting all 88 notes per song. That would be horrible.

To me, music is the ultimate language. I’ve been blessed to travel around the world four times as a musician and I’m in awe every time someone who doesn’t speak English, feels exactly what I wanted them to feel in the music. By their listening, we connect.

The art of listening is the only thing that’s harder than learning to play. I turned 47 this year and I finally learned to hear with my heart. When I started playing bass in 1976, my only concern was to let everyone know that I had as many chops as the latest bass hero. In fact, I learned to emulate all of my heroes, but made no contribution to the world of creativity. I studied all the licks and none of the intent.

When great bassist like Marcus Miller and Chuck Rainey play music, they are not only in tune with their musical environment, but they are masters when it comes to interpritation. When I go to a music store, I hear variations of Victor Wooten, Flea and Marcus Miller. I’m glad that people are moved to emulate these great musicians, but please don’t stop with just their chops. There is so much more going on when they play bass.

Listen to when they pause.
Listen to how they played against or with the melody.
Listen to the WHOLE piece of music.

Twenty years passed by before I cared about the other parts of the song. Chuck Rainey told me that his fellow players inspired his grooves. His ability to hear the holes in the art made him a driving force in music. Gus Thornton was the bassist for Albert King and Stevie Ray for several record projects (allmusic.com). His solid bass playing has really inspired me.

Blues bass is the hardest form of bass playing that I’ve ever performed. The ability to support and drive the music and not fill every other measure is so hard to me. I always wanted to show off when I had a bass in my hands. I have nothing to prove now. I’m chasing melodies in my head. I want to share the music that I create with the world. My new music is not as challenging to learn. It’s not as fast as it was 3 years ago. It’s not as harmonically challenging as it was. It’s simple music, played by a simple man, playing an 11 string bass.

I get it!! Music is a language that speaks to it’s own audience. When I was younger, I belonged to a different audience. Now I worship melody and space. I love the 11 string bass because I’m a multi-instrumentalist. I don’t have to keep changing instruments. There are so many people who don’t get the ERB thing or the MIDI thing but they belong to their own audience. I still love playing my 5 string bass and I love learning country fiddle. But I’m in love with music again. Music makes me happy again.

I meet bassist all the time who ask me how can they get out of a rut. I knew that answer would take some heavy thinking, but I’ve got it. Learn to listen all over again! Old songs sound new again. Great input helps with great output. Listen to an old song that you used to love and listen to everything but the bass. It’s wonderful!

Bass Videos

Interview With Bassist Ciara Moser

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Interview With Bassist Ciara Moser

Bassist Ciara Moser…

Ciara and I sat down for this interview a few months after the launch of her debut album, “Blind. So what?”

Blind since birth, she is a powerhouse of talent; she is not only a professional bassist, but also composes music, and is a producer and educator. I am just blown away by her talent and perseverance.

Join me as we hear about Ciara’s musical journey, the details of her album, how she gets her sound, and her plans for the future.

Visit online:

www.ciara-moser.com 
IG @ moserciara
FB @ ciara.moser

Photos by Manuela Haeussler

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Gear News

New Gear: Black Ice Boost and Distort, Battery-Free Modules for Bass and Guitar

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New Gear: Black Ice Boost and Distort, Battery-Free Modules for Bass and Guitar

Black Ice Boost and Distort, Battery-Free Modules for Bass and Guitar…

Black Ice Enterprises introduces Black Ice Boost and Black Ice Distort, small, battery-free devices that can be easily installed in a bass or guitar.

Black Ice Boost offers two selectable stages of up to 7 dB of boost, broadly concentrated in the midrange frequencies to add humbucker-like qualities to Strat®, Tele® and other types of single-coil pickups. Black Ice Distort is an overdrive module that can be configured to offer anything from slight overdrive to distortion. Both models are compatible with all passive guitar pickups and electronics (they’re not compatible with battery-powered active pickups).

Black Ice Boost (SRP: $119.95; MAP, $79.95) can be installed using several wiring options, including a simple “stealth” install that utilizes a single push-pull pot, and a dual-switch option that allows users to select between two different levels of boost. For those using the boost along with Black Ice Distort, a second push-pull pot or switch can be used to select a clean or distorted boost.

The Black Ice Boost module is approximately 2/3 the size of a 9-volt battery, and can be easily installed in most instruments with no routing or permanent modifications required. The tone of the instrument remains completely unaffected when the boost is bypassed.

In addition to use with popular single-coil pickups, Black Ice Boost can also be used with other pickup types. Use it to fatten up a P-90 style pickup, or add girth to a low-wind humbucker. Jazz Bass® players can use the additional midrange content provided by Black Ice Boost to produce a sound that’s reminiscent of a P-Bass® or soapbar-type pickup. Black Ice Boost is not recommended for use with high-output humbuckers and other dark-sounding pickups.

Black Ice Distort (SRP: $27.95; MAP, $21.95) is an overdrive module that can be configured for just a touch of grit, or a more aggressive grind, all the way to a 1960’s-flavored fuzz. While its battery-free circuit will never replace the more refined sound of a well-designed pedal, it provides handy, there-when-you-need-it access to a variety of fun old-school flavors, and is a great way to add additional textures to an already overdriven amp or pedal. Bass players will especially dig its raw dirty grind.

Like Black Ice Boost, the sugar-cube-sized Black Ice Distort provides a lifetime of tone with no maintenance or power source required. A variety of wiring options are included that let you activate the Distort via a switch or push-pull pot, or by easily converting your guitar’s tone control into a control for the Black Ice Distort circuit. It can be used in conjunction with the Black Ice Boost for a wide variety of useful tones.

Black Ice Boost and Black Ice Distort are now shipping.

Visit online at www.blackiceoverdrive.com

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This Week’s Top 10 Basses on Instagram

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TOP 10 Basses of the week

Check out our top 10 favorite basses on Instagram this week…

Click to follow Bass Musician on Instagram @bassmusicianmag

FEATURED @loritabassworks @meridian_guitars @alpherinstruments @phdbassguitars @mgbassguitars @mauriziouberbasses @utreraguitars @sugi_guitars @branco_luthier @blasiusguitars

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New Gear:  D’Addario’s New Humidipak

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New Gear:  D’Addario’s New Humidipak

D’Addario’s New Humidipak Absorb Protects Instruments Against Excess Moisture…

Utilizing two-way humidity control technology, D’Addario’s new Humidipak Absorb protects against damage to wooden instruments in environments with too much humidity. 

Humidipak Absorb allows players to safely return an instrument and case to the ideal relative humidity level. Using Boveda’s patented two-way humidity control technology, Absorb automatically soaks up excess moisture at a safe rate, re-establishing the right humidity level and eliminating the guesswork of revitalizing your instrument. 

Like all the Humidipaks before, using Humidipak Absorb is easy—there’s no dripping sponges or manual adjustments. All players need to do is put the humidification packets in the included pouches and place them in the instrument case, close the lid, and relax. The instrument and case will remain at the optimal 45-50% relative humidity level for 2-6 months. 

D’Addario’s other Humidipaks, Restore and Maintain, are still available for those who need to increase and sustain the humidity around their instrument. 

To learn more about Humidipak Absorb, visit ddar.io/absorb-pr 

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Bass Videos

Interview With Bassist Travis Book

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Interview With Bassist Travis Book

Interview With Bassist Travis Book…

Bluegrass music has had a very solid following over many years and I am always happy to hear from one of the pioneers in that genre.

Travis Book plays bass for the Grammy award-winning band “The Infamous Stringdusters” and has recently released his first solo album “Love and Other Strange Emotions”. As if he wasn’t busy enough, Travis also hosts a podcast, Plays a Jerry Garcia music show with Guitarist Andy Falco, and is constantly gigging locally in his neck of the woods.

Photo, Seyl Park

Visit Online:

www.thetravisbook.com
www.thestringdusters.com
FB @ TheTravisBook
IG @ travisbook

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