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Meet Willis
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Hey Willis,

What’s up with that palm mute thing?

thanks,

Frank

Hey Frank

Since it produces a darker tone, it allows you to be more active without competing for the midrange territory of other instruments. Since the duration of the note is under control, you can use the lower register more without it becoming too boomy.

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from Gege251: about Installing a Ramp Part 2,

great video, thanks!

one question: is it necessary to use vinyl, or it’s just for decoration?

Hey Gege251,

Not? necessary – but ,unless you use an oily wood like rosewood or ebony, you’ll need put a finish or protect it somehow.

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Hey Willis,

I’ve searched through all your great Q&A, but cannot find an answer to a fundamental question, why do you like to play fretless instead of fretted bass?

Doug

Hey Doug,

Good question, actually. Back when I was playing a lot of bebop and jazz at North Texas State I went for a fretless because I couldn’t get my fretted bass to function or feel like it belonged in that music. And I knew there was no way I would ever be interested in upright. I played fretted and fretless for more than 15 years until it became obvious to me that fretless was what I should be doing exclusively. There’s just a lot more expressive possibilities, especially after the note starts.

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Hey Willis

In your YouTube video Progessive Bassics (where you look 12, btw), you go through a 12/8 blues bassline in F while adding dead notes on the upbeats. Are those notes deadened by RH or LH muting? I can’t even fathom RH muting on those exercises!

Thanks for this site. It’s a good thing you’re doing,

Glenn

Hey Glenn,

That would definitely be right hand muting. I realize you say that it’s hard to fathom but it’s quite possible. The main problem is rewiring the subconscious circuitry that you’ve conditioned to play without RH muting. If you commit to redesigning your technique, sure, you’ll suffer an immediate drop in ability and confidence but the reward will be that you’ll be able to surpass the limits that you are experiencing now. Yikes, I sound like some kind of new-age motivational life coach. Look, just take a hard look at how you dampen notes and then decide if you need to change it. If you do, send me an email: coach@lifeaffirmingfulfillmentthroughrighthanddampening.com

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Hey Willis!

I’m a jazz and session bassist, I’ve been playing about 20 years. I know that in order to improvise faster and more fluently you need to think and react faster so the brain has enough time to process the info. Do you have any challenging exercises or advice on how to further improve thinking ahead while improvising? Also any tips on keeping the concentration undivided are welcome.

Thanks very much, Greg

Hey Greg,

Sorry to report that unfortunately you’ve been operating under the wrong assumption about being fluent. It’s a language. Sure, to learn a language it has to be conscious with a lot of repetition. But the eventual goal and the eventual result is that it becomes subconscious. You don’t consciously think about the elements of language when you use them. For example, you don’t say to yourself “I’m going to interject a really witty adverb in combination with the 3rd person plural pronoun and that will really get my point across”. The elements of language become invisible to the speaker and the listener when it’s fluent. When I’m playing well, I have no idea what I’m doing in the moment – in a theoretical sense. Sure, I can go back and analyze the hell out of what I did but if I let those elements (labels) become conscious they’re just going to get in the way of any kind of fluency. I’m not saying you can just ignore them and learn play well. But the goal is to internalize the language elements to the extent that you can just concentrate on the ideas you’re playing and not the elements (labels) that make up those ideas. To put it another way, the more I think, the worse I play. If I could condense learning a language down to a few exercises or a bit of advice, it would make me a very rich man. Anyway, at lease I hope this helps you to start to look at it differently.

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Hey Willis,

I recently got a computer program that allows me to slow down digital recordings to half speed while retaining original pitch, so I started transcribing bass solos that I like. My question is: What is required of me to publish or otherwise reproduce or distribute these solos legally?

Thanks, Michaell

Hey Michael,

Thanks for considering the legal implications of music distribution during these times of piratebay and bittorrent proliferation.

Unfortunately I think it would be difficult. First you would have to get permission from the various artists, negotiate the percentages, get a lawyer to draw up a publishing agreement, and then once you’ve got an actual book to shop, you’d need either a book deal with a publisher or find a printer and distributor for it.

When do I get my complimentary copies? 😉

_________

Hey Willis,

How can I keep the fingerboard in good shape using roundwound strings on  my fretless bass.Just got it sanded up a month ago and it is already full of string marks. Thanks for your answer, Peter

Hey Peter,

What is the fingerboard material? If it’s ebony, it might last for years. If it’s rosewood, then odds are it will die a slow agonizing death without some kind of protection (polyurethane or epoxy). One thing that will help extend the life of an unfinished fingerboard is to play with less pressure in the left hand and also avoid any string bending. It’s fretless, so get your vibrato the way the pros do and don’t grind the strings into the unprotected wood. So unless it’s ebony and you develop a light left-hand technique (which requires rethinking your string height and overall setup) I’d recommend putting a finish on it.

_________

Hey Willis,

What pedals do you use?

Nico

Hey Nico,

I just use one big one 😉  The VB-99.

The live gear I use is here:

http://garywillis.com/pages/rest/gearlist.html

_________

Hey willis,

My bass tutor showed me your site and just wondered what your opinion of a the 6 string for heavy metal and which would be the best one to choose?

Tom

Hey Tom,

You’ve made a common mistake. Lots of people look at page 65 of the 2010 Ibanez catalogue and think that it’s the heavy metal bass page. Really, how would you know? And what’s more confusing is that Fieldy and I do have a lot in common besides just looks and gender. We both play 5 string basses and they’re both made by Ibanez. We both like good food and then of course there’s that whole whole breathing oxygen thing. Also, thanks to his recent lifestyle about-face, you can confidently say that now we both play concerts totally sober, so there’s that.

A 6-string for heavy metal? Maybe try here.

Interested in asking a question? Drop me a line here…
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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

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IG &FB @bythethousands
YTB @BytheThousands

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Bass CDs

Album Review: Mark Egan, Cross Currents

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Album Review: Mark Egan, Cross Currents

Mark Egan, Cross Currents…

It is exciting every time I get a new album from Mark Egan as he is such an amazingly versatile player and I never know what to expect (except for excellent artistry!) In his latest release, Mark has teamed up with Shawn Peyton on drums and Shane Theriot on guitar to bring us “Cross Currents”.

This collection of eleven tracks transports me to the Gulf Coast (New Orleans specifically). Mark’s fretless basses lay down a solid groove and lots of juicy solo work for this rootsy collection of funk, ambient, swamp-rock, second line, ballads, Cajun and even Indian Raga.

This trio is super-tight and the musicianship is flawless as each member has ample opportunity to shine. Even though each player is very talented in their own right, I feel that the collective energy is greater than just the sum of the players on this album. Each musician contributed to composing music for this project but the lion’s share are Mark’s original pieces.

I spent the summer of 1981 in New Orleans and this wonderful music takes me back to those fond memories. I participated in a wacky raft race on Lake Ponchatrain and this opening track elicits images of fun, sunshine, music, and great food.

This is another superb album that everyone will enjoy. Get your copy today! Cross Currents is available online at Amazon.com. Visit Mark online at markegan.com.

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Gear Reviews

Review: Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp

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Review: Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp

Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp: A Tribute to 90’s Iconic Sounds

Disclaimer: This pedal was kindly provided by Joyo for the purpose of this review. However, this does not influence our opinion or the content of our review. We strive to provide honest, unbiased, and accurate assessments to ensure that our readers receive truthful and helpful information.

In the realm of bass preamp/DI pedals, capturing the essence of iconic tones from the 90s can often feel like an elusive pursuit. However, the Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp emerges as a great option for bass players seeking to replicate the signature sounds of that era, particularly the revered tech21 SansAmp. With its robust feature set and compact design, the Tidal Wave offers a faithful homage to classic rock tones and low-gain distortions, all while providing modern conveniences for today’s bassist. Let’s delve into why the Joyo Tidal Wave stands out as a versatile and budget-friendly tool for both stage and studio.

Specs:

Measuring at 130 * 110 * 50 mm and weighing 442g, the Joyo Tidal Wave strikes a balance between portability and durability, making it ideal for gigging musicians and studio enthusiasts alike. With a power consumption of just 100 mA and a working voltage of DC 9V, the Tidal Wave ensures reliable performance in a variety of settings.

Controls:

At the heart of the Tidal Wave’s versatility lies its comprehensive control set, allowing bass players to sculpt their tone with precision. Key features include:

– Level: Sets the overall output volume of the pedal.

– Blend: Blends the dry signal with the cab-emulated signal, offering seamless integration of the pedal into any setup.

– Presence: Controls the dynamics of the high upper-mids, crucial for shaping drive tones.

– Drive: Introduces low-gain distortions and classic rock sounds into the clean tone.

– Treble, Middle, and Bass: Provides a 3-band EQ with frequency selectors for bass (40Hz – 80Hz) and mids (500Hz – 1KHz), offering ample control over tonal shaping.

– Middle Shift and Bass Shift: Allows for further fine-tuning of midrange and bass frequencies.

– Ground Lift: Helps eliminate ground loop noise in certain setups.

– DI Attenuation Switch: Adjusts the level of the DI output signal.

– LED Light Switch Control: Allows users to customize the ambient lighting of the pedal.

Performance:

True to its inspiration, the Joyo Tidal Wave excels in delivering classic rock tones and low-gain distortions reminiscent of the tech21 SansAmp. Whether you’re seeking gritty overdriven sounds or pristine clean tones, the Tidal Wave offers unparalleled flexibility and sonic versatility. The inclusion of a headphone out, XLR DI out with cab simulation, and throughout for the original bass sound make the Tidal Wave a versatile tool for both stage and studio applications. From practicing silently with headphones to crafting quality recordings in an ampless setup, the Tidal Wave delivers on all fronts with clarity, definition, and unmistakable character.

Pros:

The Tidal Wave boasts an array of advantages that set it apart from its direct competitors:

– Headphone Out: Transforms the pedal into a convenient practice tool.

– Size and Weight: Compact and lightweight design for easy transportation and setup.

– Rugged Construction: Durable build quality ensures longevity and reliability.

– DI and CabSim: Offers professional-grade direct recording capabilities with authentic cab simulation.

– Familiar Tones: Faithfully replicates the classic rock sounds of the tech21 SansAmp.

Cons:

While the Tidal Wave excels in many aspects, it does have a few drawbacks:

– Plastic Knobs: Knobs may feel less premium compared to pedals with metal controls.

– Cab Simulation Only on XLR Output: Limited cab simulation functionality may require additional routing for certain setups.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, the Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of classic rock tones from the 90s. With its faithful homage to the tech21 SansAmp, comprehensive control set, and modern conveniences like headphone out and XLR DI with cab simulation, the Tidal Wave offers bassists a versatile  tool for sculpting their sound with precision and finesse. Whether you’re seeking to replicate iconic tones from the past or forge new sonic territories, the Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp is sure to inspire creativity and elevate your playing to new heights.

Available online at Amazon.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 @cb_basses @alesvychodilbasses @odiengcustom @ramabass.ok @mauriziouberbasses @mgbassguitars @capursoguitars @thebassplace @adamovicbasses @ishguitars

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