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The NAMM Show and “THE SOUND”

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It’s Thursday morning and my shuttle to the NAMM Show is late. I’m waiting with great anticipation to see all of the latest gear and play on the hottest basses. I first ran into Ben Jones, the new bassist for the Neville Brothers. He told me about his new bass from David Minnieweather. I couldn’t wait to talk to David.

The crowds seemed larger this year. The sounds seemed louder and I felt older! I went to section E first. That’s where I first found most of the builders of the Extended Range Instrument movement. It was great to see Fred of Bee Basses. He makes some of the best ERI in the business. I stopped by to see Jake Kot, always a step ahead! And I found some very inventive products for our pursuit of happiness.

I planned to spend every waking moment looking at equipment until…I stopped by Jorg Schroeder’s booth. I must add that I’m a recording engineer when I’m not touring and I’ve been looking for “The Sound” for my 5 string bass for years. I needed the clarity of a studio reference speaker. When you spend thousands of dollars on a custom bass, you want to hear what it sounds like. Most speakers and amplifiers have their distinct sound. This may be the secret sound combination for many but I have been seeking clarity.

I purchased a 4×12 model from JORG since the Namm Show. It’s and Incredible addition to my sound. I love the Marcus Miller bass sound. I’ve been a fan since the 70’s. I bought his Signature Bass, his strings and played through the same kind of amp, but I didn’t come close to his sound. When I played on Jorg’s cab, while also playing one of his new Jazz Bass models, I heard “The Sound”. It was as if I could rest! I tried several bass styles with the rig and I was done with the whole NAMM Show!

I hung out with the Pro Tools people and went home the next day. I also found out that I love Pecan Pie from Denny’s. I knew then that GOD truly loved me! I found “The Sound” and Pie! Who could ask for more?

I have to tell you about equipment and me; I am VERY opinionated I know what I want and I am not looking for free equipment. I am blessed to have a career in music and I thank God that I can afford to buy the tools of my trade. It’s so hard to find versatile equipment that gives me what I need.

When you’re on tour, it all comes down to 4 feet. On stage, you’re 4 feet from your cab if you’re a sideman. If you’re far from your rig, they put you in the monitors. The name of the game is to have a low stage volume so that the Front of House engineer can do his job. You don’t want tons of stage volume fighting the PA system. As a bassist, sound guys love to hand you a direct box. I can’t stand that! A guitar player has his pedals and his vintage amp and you mike HIS SOUND, but when it comes to the bass they hand us a direct box and then they create a bass sound for us. I MUST have a bass rig with POST eq so that I can send the FOH engineer MY SOUND.

We all have an ideal of what we want to sound like. I love so many bassist styles and sounds. I used to dream as a child of sharing the stage with Miles, Jaco, Stanley and Larry, and I would always wake up before my solo! Truly a Nightmare!

For whatever tool you choose to play, you need the right rig. For my 11 string, I will always use my HYDRA cabs from Madison. They have 21-inch subs. They have a pleasing coloration for my thin high strings. When it comes to session work and recreating YOUR bass sound, you have to find what’s right for you. I’m finally HAPPY!! I am hard to please.

Stay Blessed…

Your pal Al

Bass Videos

Artist Update With Mark Egan, Cross Currents

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Artist Update With Mark Egan, Cross Currents

I am sure many of you are very familiar with Mark Egan as we have been following him and his music for many years now. The last time we chatted was in 2020.

Mark teamed up with drummer Shawn Pelton and guitarist Shane Theriot to produce a new album, “Cross Currents” released on March 8th, 2024. I have been listening to this album in its entirety and it is simply superb (See my review).

Now, I am excited to hear about this project from Mark himself and share this conversation with our bass community in Bass Musician Magazine.

Photo courtesy of Mark Egan

Visit Online:

markegan.com
markegan.bandcamp.com
Apple Music
Amazon Music

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Bass Videos

Review: Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB

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Review: Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB

Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB…

Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB – Hearing protection has always been front and center on my mind because I love music so much, I cannot imagine my life if I were unable to hear.

You might remember back in 2021, we had a good look at the Minuendo Lossless Earplugs featuring adjustable protection. This system has a lot of very good features but there was always the question of how much sound attenuation to choose.

Now, the great folks at Minuendo have come up with a new version of their earplugs that has a set 17dB noise reduction. You still get a lot of the great features of the adjustables but you just don’t have to think about the specific sound level. In addition, this new version of earplugs comes at a very attractive price point.

For more information, visit online at Minuendo.com

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Bass Books

Review: The Bastard Instrument, A Cultural History of the Electric Bass by Brian F Wright 

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Review: The Bastard Instrument, A Cultural History of the Electric Bass by Brian F Wright 

I was intrigued when The Bastard Instrument showed up on my desk… let’s dig in!

When we dive into the history of our beloved instrument, the bass, we find roots that go back as far as the 15th century. This instrument was a member of the violin family and was for the longest time, an acoustic instrument. As the years passed and music changed, there was a need for the instrument to evolve and the electric bass was born.

Comparatively, the electric bass is a relatively new instrument with its earliest appearances dating back to the 1930s and it is exciting to be an electric bass player while this history unfolds around us. Fortunately for us and future generations to come, Professor Brian F. Wright has taken on the herculean task of documenting the trajectory of the electric bass with this excellent book.

The Bastard Instrument presents an extraordinary amount of fine details about the instrument itself, the development of the amplification to handle its output, the pioneers that dared play it, the rapidly evolving music that flourished because of its presence and so much more. 

When I first started reading this book, I noticed that it felt a tad academic, like a textbook (it might be one someday) or a doctoral thesis, but to present all this information accurately, this approach is more than appropriate. Another detail that might be a bit of a spoiler is that the book only gets us up to the late ’60s. I was left wanting more as we know that so much has happened in the bass world since that time frame; I hope there is another volume in the works to get us up to the present!

All in all, “The Bastard Instrument, A Cultural History of the Electric Bass” is a must-read for all of us who play electric bass and understand its essential place in music.

I found that there was a lot that I already knew but also quite a bit that I was unaware of. I believe that to know and understand where you are, you must know the history of exactly how you got here.

Highly recommended.

The Bastard Instrument is available at Amazon.com (beginning July 2024)

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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 @meridian_guitars @adamovicbasses @anacondabasses @mgbassguitars @xylembassguitar @officialspector @edwinpaanakker @alesvychodilbasses @boyarskycg @dmarkguitars

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Bass Videos

Interview With By the Thousands Bassist Adam Sullivan

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Interview With By the Thousands Bassist Adam Sullivan

Bassist Adam Sullivan…

Hailing from Minnesota since 2012, By the Thousands has produced some serious Technical Metal/Deathcore music. Following their recent EP “The Decent”s release, I have the great opportunity to chat with bassist Adam Sullivan.

Join me as we hear about Adam’s musical Journey, his Influences, how he gets his sound, and the band’s plans for the future

Photo, Laura Baker

Follow On Social

IG &FB @bythethousands
YTB @BytheThousands

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