Connect with us

Latest

Let’s Talk About Erb’s : Applied Techniques With Igor Saavedra

Published

on

Meet Igor Saavedra –

What is that on the sky…It’s a bird…it’s a plane…no it’s SUPERBASS.

An ERB or Extended Range Bass is an important member of the Electric Bass Family. There are numerous ways to define an ERB, and in my opinion an ERB is a bass that has a certain number of strings that goes beyond a standard 4 string. The electric bass is most certainly evolving. In 1976, Alembic came out with that amazing 5 string Bass for Jimmy Johnson…that was an ERB for that particular era. Then in the mid ’70s, luthier Carl Thompson built that 6 string Bass for Anthony Jackson, which was obviously an ERB as well.

As we approach 2010, 5 and 6 string basses are closing in on becoming standards as well, and on this sunny day in July 2009, as I find myself writing this article, I wonder what might happen in the next ten years as far as extended range is concerned.

One of the first really interesting ERB appearances was on a 1990 Jonas Hellborg album called the “Jonas Hellborg Group”. On that album there was a specially built 10 string bass with a super wide neck played by Anders Nord. For me, that was possibly the first official ERB in the world that received serious attention.

Is an ERB still a bass?

To answer this, we have to be able to define what is an Electric Bass is in the first place. Obviously, it has to be “electric”, and be able to reach the lower frequencies needed to be able to participate in the musical context intended. This register has to be at least the 41.2 HZ that we all love. The ERB is able to reach that register, and much lower in fact, so I think the ERB passes the test. We’ll have to see what the future of the 4 string is as time goes on.

What about the higher notes and the number of strings? Don’t those higher notes kind of disqualify the ERB as a bass?

I love use the example of a cell phone when people ask me about that issue in my Master Classes. A cell phone, these days is multi-functional. It’s a calendar, a clock, a video camera, a photo camera, a video game station, an mp3, an mp4, etc…oh yea; it’s a cell phone too. Essentially, it evolved from being just a cell phone by adding more and more capabilities to it….but it’s still a cell phone. I see the extended range bass in this same light.

Is there any question about an ERB player still being the “bass player”?

It depends on how you approach playing the instrument. This is very important, because in my opinion what defines a bass player is his concept, not the amount of strings on his instrument. I’ve seen many 4 string bass players that sound like guitar players when you compare them to some ERB players, so the concept of execution and not the instrument itself is the element that defines our role as an “Electric bass player”.

A good way to make this point is to pass your bass to the guitar player of your band and ask him to play a song. In almost every case you’ll notice the difference, because his approach to the instrument will be that of a guitar player, not a bass player, and you will easily hear that. If I pick up a guitar, you’ll hear the reverse of that.

Why should I consider getting an ERB?

This is a very important question to address. Times are changing, and there’s much less prejudice as far as this issue is concerned. I remember back in 1990 when I brought the first 6 string bass to my country (it was in fact one of the first ERB’S in Latin America) everybody laughed about this and all my colleagues said that I was no longer a bass player. There were many 6 string bass players in the USA back in 1990, and Latin America was trying to catch up to those standards. The same happened to me on 1999 when I got my 8 string bass and I was one of the few bassists in the world playing an 8 string. This is the instrument that works for me, and I’ve remained playing this bass for the last ten years. When you take on a decision like this, you must have a “musical” reason. It would be a huge mistake to get into this adventure for the wrong reasons, like impressing people with your “Monster Bass”, or thinking that if you play a multi-string you will automatically become a higher level player.

What are the advantages and the disadvantages of an ERB?

This is exactly what you have to consider in order to decide getting an ERB or not, because the advantages of an ERB are numerous and the disadvantages are even more.

Regarding the advantages:

– ERB’S are great for strong lower sounding bass lines.
– ERB’s provide a great soloing platform due to its extended tessitura. (More low and high notes)
– ERB’S allow the bassist to regroup in a closer vertical disposition as far as chords, scales, and arpeggios are concerned, which facilitates a tremendous amount of new possibilities.

Regarding the disadvantages:

– An ERB is usually a much heavier bass.
– It’s much more expensive than an equivalent standard bass.
– It’s a little more complicated as far as learning all of the available notes.
– It’s easier to get lost, and will demand a little more attention as far as right and left hand coordination is concerned.
– String muting is really one of the biggest problems to address and handle.
– Slapping is also a problem because the strings are usually less separated (around 17mm to 16mm approximately), so it gets harder to slap or pull the strings. (Bleeding cuticles are very common in the beginning).
– Respect from some of your colleagues being on a multi-string might be an issue as well.

As you can see, the disadvantages are much more numerous than the advantages, so the decision needs to be well thought out. There is no doubt that it was the right decision for me due to my right hand technique which I developed in 1990 called Symmetric Bass Finger Sweeping or SBFS. (I will release a book at the end of 2009 that will be completely dedicated to this). To be able to surf the strings with my right hand and have more vertical room was exactly what I needed. Regarding my left hand, due to the fact that I have really small hands, having the strings closer to each other and being able to play a 3 octave scale in the same position just going down and up and playing chords without hyper extending the fingers of my small hand has worked very well for me.

As you can see, it’s a very personal decision, and each of you has to decide if an ERB is what works for you “musically”.

That’s all for this issue my friends. In my next article I will talk about “The path for a proper bass sound”.

Latest

This Week’s Top 10 Basses on Instagram

Published

on

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 @zonguitars @shukerbassguitars @bite.guitars @adamovicbasses @mayonesguitars @bassbros.uk @capursoguitars @overwaterbasses @saitiasguitars @ramabass.ok

View More Bass Gear News

Continue Reading

Gear News

New Gear: Elrick Bass Guitars Headless Series

Published

on

New Gear: Elrick Bass Guitars Headless Series

New from Elrick Bass Guitars, Headless Series added to Custom Lineup…

Elrick Bass Guitars is excited to announce the addition of a headless option on hand-carved series bass guitars. Initially previewed on the 2023 Gold Series SLC MkII bass of prolific solo bass practitioner and educator Steve Lawson, a headless bass option is now available to all. According the Elrick, “The excitement surrounding Steve’s MkII SLC bass at 2024 NAMM confirmed that the time is right to add a headless option to our extensive range of custom options.” To date, Elrick instruments have only been offered with traditional headstock construction but, in response to market demand, custom features will now include a headless option in 4-, 5- and 6-string models.

Headless bass guitars share these features with the traditional headstock series:

24 frets + zero fret
exotic wood top
hand-rubbed oil finish
2-way adjustable truss rod
custom Bartolini pickups
custom Bartolini 3-band preamp
fully shielded control cavity
Hipshot bridge
Dunlop Straploks
Elrick Fundamental strings

The headless option can now be selected when submitting custom order requests via the form on elrick.com, contacting the Elrick Sales Office directly, or working with your favorite Elrick dealer.

Continue Reading

Gear News

Bruegel Masterpiece (1565) Inspires BITE Masterpiece (2023)

Published

on

Bruegel Masterpiece (1565) Inspires BITE Masterpiece (2023)

Bruegel Masterpiece (1565) Inspires BITE Masterpiece (2023)…

Flemish Master Pieter Bruegel the Elder probably had many things in mind when painting his Hunters in the Snow in oil on oak wood in 1565. This masterpiece tells plenty of little stories about winterly pastimes and precarious livelihoods in the Early Modern Age. What Bruegel presumably did not have in mind was that this painting would, several centuries later, become one of the most popular ones in fine arts globally, displayed in a permanent exhibition at Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Arts) Vienna. The painting’s popularity was lately taken to a different level as it was replicated by hand to design an exclusive BITE bass.

An international art collector and bass player who regularly visits Vienna to immerse himself in the wonderworld of Kunsthistorisches’ Bruegel Hall asked BITE to replicate the painting on a bass body. BITE Guitars, an Austrian premium manufacturer exporting most of their basses to the US, has become renowned for colorful artwork basses, offering a range of manual and digital techniques. The firm’s art director Peter, a trained scenic painter of Oscar and Palme d’Or rank, specializes in photo-realistic reproductions. He also painted the bass for Robbie Williams’ 2023 world tour by faithfully replicating Robbie’s own stage design onto the tour bass.

Peter copied the Bruegel motif onto the bass body in minute detail, little twigs even by one-hair-brush. Positioning the rectangular image section on the body shape proved to be a special challege that he met by repositioning little elements, a bird here, a horse and cart there.

It all came together in a memorable video shooting in front of the original painting in the Museum’s Bruegel Hall: venerable fine arts, premium handicraft and groovy jazz tunes.

View video at the museum: www.youtube.com/shorts/2evdqfR6gUE

What’s the conclusion of BITE’s client, our Vienna, art and bass lover? “It’s a magical bass! When I touch the strings, I feel warm inside.”

Specs highlights:
Bass model: BITE Evening Star, the proprietary BITE premium model with inward curved horns
Pickups: 2 x BITE 1000 millivolt passive split-coils (PP)
Neck: roasted maple neck and roasted flamed maple fretboard

Price tag incl. insured door-to-door express shipping:
New York: 4726 USD
London: 3645 GBP
Berlin: 4965 EUR

Full specs available at bite.guitars/old-master-bass/

Bruegel Hall at Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna: 
khm.at/en/visit/collections/picture-gallery/the-best-of-bruegel-only-in-vienna/

Continue Reading

Bass Videos

Interview With Bassist Ciara Moser

Published

on

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

Continue Reading

Gear News

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

Published

on

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

Continue Reading

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Facebook

Trending