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The Evolving Bassist by Kilian Duarte

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Meet Killian Duarte –

Of all the living creatures that have scurried across the face of this big, blue planet we call our home, very few have been put through the rigors at such a rapid rate of expansion/advancement in knowledge than those who holding down the nether regions. And while scientists may find this conclusion rather ridiculous, if you ask any passionate, professional low end guru, they would whole heartedly agree.

Bassists hold a unique role in a band. While they are required to have the finely tuned rhythmic sensibilities of their drumming brethren, a greatly developed sense of melody and harmony are also essential to truly make the Bass come to life and enhance a piece of music. The responsibilities are great, with far less publicly acclaimed glory that is usually bestowed upon more popularly played instruments such as guitars and drums. The role of the bassist is truly an underdog role that holds together all the elements of a band.

As times and genres change, the challenges facing the current professional are quite varied and sometimes very demanding. The enhancements in Bass guitar manufacturing as well as the myriad of effects available to alter the instruments sound have both expanded the technical as well as the sonic range of the instrument. It is not uncommon for a bassist to be doubling on upright as well as electric at a gig, while also enhancing the lead parts with ever increasing roles being added to the player. Since the 1960’s, bass has been made to not only be plucked and bowed, but also picked, slapped, thumped, popped, strummed, and even e-bowed. The instrument has also reached extended range levels that are at the very least quite daunting.

So how does one get all these things under their belt without feeling overwhelmed? Well, first, take a breath (sigh), and realize you are only mortal. That being said, all the greatest bassists on the planet are just as human as you and I. Stress is the enemy. It can make things seem a lot harder than they need to be and can stifle your musical development. Make a list of priorities…what is most pertinent to what you will be playing in the near future, or what projects do you want to conquer. Take on these goals at a calm pace if you can. Once again, letting a small problem seem like a bigger one will only hurt you in the end. Breath again (bigger sigh), and start to play your instrument in ways that slowly but steadily take you out of your comfort zone.

For example, if you are a jazz bassist, learn a classic rock song you’ve always enjoyed, and vice versa. Like the great Victor Wooten says, “Music is a language”. Once you understand it, picking up all the different “dialects and accents” are just a matter of familiarization. A common mistake many players make is failing miserably at developing personal self confidence in their abilities. Evolution and adaptation demand persistence and a lot of confidence, so insecurity is the enemy. Many young players will hear songs such as “Donna Lee” or “A Show of Hands” and just automatically consider these things impossible…rocket science works of genius their inferior brains will never grasp. This is the key mistake that stifles growth. Both Jaco Pastorius and Victor Wooten are human beings, yes indeed very gifted human beings, but none the less people. A player must realize that the right attitude towards approaching something daunting is the key to overcoming it, and growing.

Now that you have your new found sense of confidence, its time to push things a little further. Play a style that you would never usually play but you enjoy, or at the very least tolerate. Try to incorporate the grooves into your vocabulary. This is one of the first steps in becoming a more flexible bassist which will help increase your gigs and develop your own voice. The next thing to undertake is working with different tones and sounds. If you can, buy a synth pedal to recreate hip-hop or dub step bass lines. Try out some reverb and delay pedals and experiment with some ambient music. The possibilities are endless, and now you’re evolving not only as a player, but as a full fledged musician. Start writing more music using your bass. Create lead lines, harmony, and rhythm all off the one instrument.

While these steps may seem rather drastic, remember, it’s only your lack of knowledge that hinders you. Embrace the foreign and the unknown and realize you are capable of great things. Slowly you’ll see growth, and you’ll begin to evolve into the modern bassist that is required in today’s fast paced world. Never give up, and keep on thumping.

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Bruegel Masterpiece (1565) Inspires BITE Masterpiece (2023)

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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/

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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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