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The Latest Bass Music Video Finds: Reggae and Dub Bass / Bass Videos With Mark von Bergen

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Meet Mark von Bergen –

In no musical genre does bass play a greater role than in Jamaican music. From the mid-50s through today, popular Jamaican music has gone through stylistic changes, starting with early ska, moving to rock steady, then to roots reggae and dub, and later to modern ska and dancehall. Today all of these styles, and many sub-styles, continue to have a major influence on popular music throughout the world. And in all of these styles, bass is the defining instrument.

In this issue and the next, we will focus on reggae bassists, specifically masters of the roots reggae and dub styles. One must check flashy chops and outside harmonies at the door to play these styles. Here simple two-bar repeating patterns are often the rule, especially in dub. If the bass patterns are often so simple and reggae even today is so popular, why can one name only a few true masters of the style? Playing reggae bass is more than just rolling off the treble, slapping a set of flatwounds on your bass, and donning a red, green, and gold stocking cap. What separates the great reggae bass players from the rest is rhythmic feel – and it is virtually impossible to imitate. Let’s look at some of the great reggae bassists in this installment, and next time we will examine masters of dub.

Aston “Family Man” Barrett

Family Man is generally considered the father of reggae bass. He began as a first-call studio bassist in the late-60s in Jamaica and, together with his brother Carlton Barrett on drums, went on stardom with Bob Marley’s Wailers in the 70s. Today he continues to tour with the Wailers. This clip shows Fams with Bob Marley and the Wailers performing “Natural Mystic.” Check out the deep groove that precedes the tune.

Robbie Shakespeare

A disciple of Family Man, Robbie and his riddim twin Sly Dunbar on drums have constituted one of the most prolific and influential rhythm sections as well as production teams in all of popular music over the last three decades. While the duo has made a mark in a wide variety of styles with everyone from Bob Dylan to No Doubt to Herbie Hancock, Robbie’s style of bass has never strayed far from the roots reggae style born in the 70s in the Trenchtown-Kingston area. Here Sly & Robbie perform “What is Life?” with Black Uhuru. Serious dub begins at about the 3:58 mark.

Errol “Flabba” Holt

Flabba is the bassist in one of reggae’s longest-running back-up bands, Roots Radics, and has also recorded with the Itals, Bunny Wailer, Gregory Isaacs, Culture, Israel Vibrations, and Dub Syndicate and other Adrian Sherwood projects out of England. Flabba is shown here with Roots Radics and Israel Vibrations from 1993.

To view, please visit Youtube

Survey of Reggae Styles

Here is an entertaining and informative video by educator Ed Friedland, in support of on his book on the different styles of Jamaican bass titled “Bass Builders: Reggae Bass” (Hal Leonard Corporation, 1998). Check out the over-the-top hat and “wig.” Jah Rastafari, anyone? No one?

Bass Videos

Artist Update With Bassist Derek Frank

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Artist Update With Bassist Derek Frank

Bassist Derek Frank…

Many of you will remember the last time I chatted with Derek Frank was back in 2017. The main thing that impressed me was how busy Derek was and how he juggled playing with many huge acts.

Now, I am happy to hear that Derek launched a new album last March titled “Origin Story” where he digs deep into his roots and pays homage to Pittsburg.

Join me as we get caught up after all these years and hear the details about the new album, how Derek gets his sound, and his plans for the future.

Photo, Stephen Bradley

Visit Online:

www.derekfrank.com
www.instagram.com/derekfrankbass
www.youtube.com/derekfrankbass
www.facebook.com/derekfrankbass

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Bass Videos

String Instrument Humidifiers

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String Instrument Humidifiers

String Instrument Humidifiers

After living in some very humid parts of the country for decades, we moved to a dryer, much sunnier location. As a result, I started noticing some fret sprout on my string instruments and recently did a video on fret sprout correction.

It occurred to me that I should take a more preventative approach to string instrument humidification. Of course, I turned to my instrument maintenance experts, Music Nomad Equipment Care, for a solution and they suggested their Humitar series. (Note: They sent two press samples and I purchased the remainder online.)

Join me as I look at these useful tools for keeping my string instruments in tip-top condition.

The Humitar series is available online at Music Nomad Equipment Care, as well as Amazon.com

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Bass Videos

Interview With Bassist Graham Stanush

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Interview With Bassist Graham Stanush

Bassist Graham Stanush…

Return to Dust is keeping Grunge alive and well! They have a new self-titled album that went out on May 3rd, 2024 and will be super busy promoting this project in the near future.

Graham Stanush is the bass powerhouse driving their sound and adding vocals to the mix. Join me as we hear all about Graham’s musical journey, details about the new album, how he gets his sound and their plans for the future.

Visit Online:

linktr.ee/returntodust
instagram.com/returntodustband/
twitter.com/Returntodustbnd
youtube.com/@returntodustband
tiktok.com/@returntodustband

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Bass Videos

Review: CrystalBright Rombo Picks

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Review: CrystalBright Rombo Picks

CrystalBright Rombo Picks

PR Sample

Playing bass with a pick is still a touchy subject in our community. I believe you should be able to use whatever you need to get your sound. Even though I mostly play with my fingers, I like to check out innovative new picks that might have something new to offer, sonically speaking.

Judith and Carlos from Rombo recently contacted me about a new material called CrystalBright that they have been researching for the last 12 months and offered to send some prototype picks. After trying them out, I put together this video with my findings.

For more info check out @rombopicks

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Bass Player Health

Preparing for Performance with Dr. Randy Kertz

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Dr Randal Kertz - Bass Player Health - Oct 2022

Preparing for Performance…

This month we discuss how to prepare for a performance and easy strategies that go a long way.

Dr. Randall Kertz is the author of The Bassist’s Complete Guide to Injury Management, Prevention and Better Health. Click here to get your copy today!

The Bassist’s Complete Guide to Injury Management, Prevention & Better Health

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