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The Tom Fowler ‘Sound’

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Dear readers…

As an engineer, I have been very fortunate to have worked with many of the world’s top musicians. They have many different ideas when it comes to getting their particular sound and how they go about recording or getting ready for a gig. For many years I have been working with the legendary bassist, Tom Fowler. Recently, we have been again working on a couple different projects.

For those of you who do not know Tom, he is one of the legends of rock and jazz! He studied violin from age 6, added upright bass age 13, and then took up electric bass guitar age 16. He has performed and recorded with Ray Charles, Frank Zappa, The Fowler Brothers, “It’s a Beautiful Day,” George Duke, Jean-luc Ponty, and many more. He is the main bassist on “Genius Loves Company”, the final recording from music legend Ray Charles, which was nominated for 10 Grammys! Tom also played most of the bass on the movie “Ray.” He had some informative comments on recording and getting ‘his sound’.

Describe your rig.
“My rig consists of a Morelli upright bass, Shak 5-string bass guitar, SWR super redhead amp, SWR RM 900 amp.”

What do you look for in a rig?
“I look for hi fi quality, the ability to carry a distance without distortion, dependability.”

Do you bring multiple axes and/or amps to a session?
“I bring whatever instrument is called for, upright and electric bass and/or violin, and whatever amp is called for by the gig.”

What kind of strings do you use?
“I use Thomastic strings on all my instruments.”

How often do you do maintenance on your rig?
“Maintenance is an ongoing issue we all face, especially on the road.  I try to stay on top of everything but it’s not always possible.”

What are your favorite mics?
“I use a Royer 122 to record both my acoustic instruments and my amps if amplified.”

What do you like in your headphone mix?
“Of course I have to have rhythm section instruments high in my mix. The other voices (if there are any) are less important, except the melody instrument, which I usually parody at some level.”

What kind of headphones do you like?
“I’m comfortable with most hi-fi headphones, but especially like Sony high-end D J models.”

What’s the best gig you ever did?
“The best gigs I ever played were: the gig before the “Can’t do that on stage vol.2″ Frank Zappa gig which was performed in Copenhagen, The Ray Charles 40th anniversary gig live at the Olympia Paris and a Jean-luc Ponty gig at the Olympia in which the equipment arrived an hour late and a wonderful pianist filled the gap.”

What’s the worst?
“The worst was the last gig I played with a very ill Ray Charles in Los Angeles. It was heartbreaking.”

What’s the best session you ever did?
“My best session was my own “Heartscapes” CD, where I was my own boss.”

Worst?
“My worst has been permanently blocked out by my ego.”

Any advice for someone starting out?
“My advice to someone starting out: have another career to fall back on even if you are talented. It takes a lot of pressure off of you! Learn as much as you can about harmony, scales, proper technique, digital notation and recording, and learn to compose.”

Any advice for someone just starting to record?
“The hardest thing about recording is learning to be patient with one’s self and the producer.”

What do you consider your big break?
“My biggest break was being born.”

What’s your favorite type of music to play?
“I like to play and record all kinds of music.”

What’s your playing weakness?
“I love Latin but I’m not as well versed as I could be. I like funk but I don’t spend the time required to become a virtuoso.”

What’s your playing strength?
“I’m best at rock, fusion and jazz.”

What kind of gigs are the hardest for you?
“Boring industrial gigs in Casinos are difficult to get through and maintain a high level of performance.”

What kind of gigs are the most fun?
“One nighters with good bands are exceedingly fun.”

What do you hate about recording?
“I hate control freaks who put their egos before the music.”

I hope that you have gained some insight into this amazing bassist. If you would like to learn more about Tom Fowler, you can visit his website at:

http://www.myspace.com/tomfowlerinterface

You can also see Tom’s discography at www.allmusic.com

Thanks for checking in and I will have more for you next month!

 

Bass Videos

Gear News: Future Impact V4 Guitar & Bass Synth Now Available in the U.S.

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Future Impact V4 Guitar & Bass Synth

Future Impact V4 Guitar & Bass Synth Now Available in the U.S….

The Future Impact V4 is an incredibly versatile pedal with an exceptionally wide range of sounds. In addition to producing synthesizer sounds such as basses, leads and pads, it can function as an octaver, chorus, flanger, phaser, distortion, envelope filter, traditional wah-wah, tremolo, reverb, etc., and even has a built-in tuner. It can also drive external synthesizer gear via the optional CV/Gate. As such, it can potentially replace an entire pedalboard of dedicated single-effect pedals. 

The very powerful signal processor of the Future Impact V4 is able to replicate the various oscillator, filter, amplifier and envelope generator blocks found in classic synthesizers. In addition, it contains signal processing blocks more traditionally used for processing the sound of an instrument such as a harmonizer block and audio effects such as chorus, distortion and EQ. These architectures complement each other in a very flexible way.

Check out this short video with new sounds:

The Future Impact V4 has a completely new hardware platform with numerous enhancements, some of which are:

– 32-bit ultra-low-noise analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters
– New app-based software architecture 
– Vastly advanced pitch tracking based on 30+ years of experience
– Hard Sync between oscillators to open new sonic worlds
– On-pedal edits that can be saved into program memories
– Total compatibility with all previous Deep Impact and Future Impact patches

Setting the standard for the bass guitar synth pedals since 2015, together with an enthusiastic community and long line of great artists, the Future Impact V4 is the guitar synth platform for the next decade. 

For more information, visit online at pandamidi.com/bass-guitar-synth

Exclusive U.S. distribution by Tech 21 USA, Inc

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July 8 – 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 @bqwbassguitar @anacondabasses @ramabass.ok @gvguitars @dmarkguitars @fernando.petry.bass @bassnsoulgear @chris_seldon_guitars @overwaterbasses @officialspector

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New Gear: Cort Introduces the New Artisan C4/C5 Deluxe Bass Guitars

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New Gear: Cort Introduces the New Artisan C4/C5 Deluxe Bass Guitars

Cort Introduces the New Artisan C4/C5 Deluxe Bass Guitars…

Cort Guitars creates instruments that musicians love to play. The Artisan Series is for the bass player who knows the value of playing a tone-rich, affordable bass guitar that can hold up the back end. Cort Guitars launches the next phase of the series: The Artisan C Deluxe.

The Artisan C Deluxe was created with the serious bass player in mind. It is a bolt-on beauty made of lightweight poplar that allows for ease of playability with all the robust tone Cort basses are known for. The Artisan C4 and C5 Deluxe boast a pristine Hard maple neck with jatoba fretboard, 24 frets with White Dot inlays, and a 34” scale length. One more feature is the 18mm string spacing at the bridge on the C5 making playability a breeze for all styles.

This workhorse of a bass guitar comes in an array of gorgeous colors: Candy Red, Candy Blue, and Black, all tricked out with black hardware to easily stand out on stage and in front of the crowd. Bartolini® MK-1 pickups pack a punch with unparalleled clarity. A Markbass® MB-1 preamp controls Bass, Mid, Treble, Master Volume, Pickup Balancer, and an active/passive switch to manage all of the grooves and low end. The MetalCraft M4 Bridge offers better body contact and transfer of tone. Its dual-string loading system makes for easy string changes, either from the top or through the body. D’Addario® EXL165 strings complete this stellar instrument.

The Artisan C Deluxe is the go-to bass for any bass player looking to upgrade their instrument in looks and playability. No matter the genre, the Artisan C Deluxe outperforms the competition. To see the Artisan C4 Deluxe and Artisan C5 Deluxe, visit www.cortguitars.com.

Artisan C4 Deluxe Street Price: $449.00 USD
Artisan C5 Deluxe Street Price: $499.00 USD

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Bass Videos

Working-Class Zeros: Episode #4 – Boutique and Vintage Basses, Dress Code for Summer Gigs

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WORKING-CLASS ZEROS With Steve Rosati and Shawn Cav

Here is episode 4 of WCZ, we discuss boutique and vintage basses in the working-class gig world, as well as navigating the heat and dress code for outdoor summer gigs. Plus another installment of ‘Sure it’s awesome but, is it necessary?’

These stories from the front are with real-life, day-to-day musicians who deal with work life and gigging and how they make it work out. Each month, topics may include… the kind of gigs you get, the money, dealing with less-than-ideal rooms, as well as the gear you need to get the job done… and the list goes on from there.” – Steve the Bass Guy and Shawn Cav

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Jul 1 – 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 @adamovicbasses @jermsbass @astluthier @cb_basses @officialspector @marleaux_bassguitars @lecomptebass @ramabass.ok @mattissonbass @mauriziouberbasses

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