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Applied Techniques: What About the Metronome

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Applied Techniques With Igor Saavedra: What About the Metronome… is it Important for Developing Fundamental Abilities on an Electric Bass Student?

Meet Igor Saavedra –

Lately, this debate has gotten really very intense in the music world, so I think it’s very convenient to clarify many misunderstandings that “in my opinion” are very common regarding this matter. In fact, a couple of very well known and respected bass players on the scene are blaming and condemning this poor artifact in every place where they address their audiences.

They argue that studying with a Metronome will affect your capability to learn anything you are trying to incorporate to your brain because the Metronome will urge your process in an unnatural way… setting a learning speed that is not the one you are actually needing for that particular lesson or exercise… so really… you are the one entitled to manage that speed, “Not the Metronome”.

I share this opinion, but only in the moment when you are approaching a melody for the first time and trying to get the notes while placing them on the fingerboard in a logical way. Obviously the Metronome will become a nuisance on that process. The problem with that very understandable position is that teachers are going to the extreme with it and proposing that the Metronome should be BANNED from Music Schools and NEVER be used for studying bass and perhaps any other instrument, and that we should be throwing our metronomes literally to the garbage. So… that extreme and fundamentalist position is the one that I don’t share at all.

Everybody knows that 99% of the music that we play as bass players is based on the “Ontological Tempo”, that means the “Mathematic Pulse” or the commonly named “Beat”. So… Rock, Pop, Funk, Blues, Jazz, Fusion, Country, Vals, Salsa, Merengue, Songo, Tango, Latin American music such as the Candombe, Joropo, Landó, Huaino, Cueca, Bossa Nova, Samba, Zamba, Chacarera, Tonadas, etc., are fully based on that “Ontological Tempo”.

Also, is very important to consider that we as bass players are 99% of the time setting and establishing this Ontological Pulse along with the drummers, so that the other musicians can play comfortably and unload their ideas that are usually also expressed on mathematical divisions of the time.

So, which do you think is the most important rhythmical ability that a bass player should be developing to be able to offer that comfort to the other musicians that are relying on him to express their ideas and musicality? For me the answer is obvious, and that is “THE ONTOLOGICAL PULSE”.

As far as I know, the only reliable way to develop this ability is to get accustomed to follow and establishing a relationship with a device of unquestionable reliability. This innocent and hardworking device will always set a “Non Cartesian” or “Non Relative” sense of pulse for any musician that will rely on it (that’s so democratic indeed)… eventually allowing every musician to communicate in “Objective Time Terms” with each other. By the way, this device’s name is “THE METRONOME”.

I know that not everything in music is “measurable” and “quantifiable”, and that sometimes in music we have to follow our emotions and leave the mathematical aspects behind so to embrace for example the “Psychological Pulse” (Rubato, Ad Libitum, A Piaccere, etc.), as the ones to reign on some particular music pieces, but the “Real Life” of a bass player is not that, because in reality he will be 99% of the time playing or trying to play “Ahead of the Beat”, “Behind the Beat” or “On the Beat” closely with a drummer, and that means always closely related with the “Ontological Pulse”.

It is because of that simple fundament that I DO NOT AGREE with my respectable colleagues that think quite the opposite. I think that the first victim after this “Non Metronomical Approach to the Bass Rhythmics” will be our indefinable and intangible best friend “The Groove”.

Pulse needs for a bassist are first of all Ontological in real life, so I think Tempo must not be relativized. We should learn to “Construct” for later, being able to “Deconstruct”, so after we “The Bass Players” have been able to achieve the sufficient skills to “Master the Groove” thanks to, in my opinion, our reliable friend The Metronome. Perhaps we’ll be entitled and allowed to take that Metronome and grab a Hammer, Kerosene, Muriatic acid or whatever destruction device or substance that we may know about, and destroy that Metronome for good, so then being able to submerge ourselves into the fickle waters of the Psychological Expressions of the Pulse, which on my opinion is as the real musician’s life should be, “The derivation and deconstruction of the Ontological Pulse and not an entity in itself”.

Well, a slight detail that I forgot to mention… This process of construction and deconstruction might take about 15 years of hard work on average… so you better start right now if you haven’t yet.

Finally, it’s important to stress the fact that what I’m expressing here is circumscribed exclusively under the ambit of the IDEAS, and has nothing to do with personal issues. The colleagues that have a different opinion than mine have all my respect as musicians and as Human Beings which is far away more important.

¡¡Long live to the Metronome!!

See you on my next article.

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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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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Bass CDs

New Project: NEMESIS CALL Announce “Kingdom of Shred” Album

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New Project: NEMESIS CALL Announce "Kingdom of Shred" Album

ALBERTO RIGONI’s New Project NEMESIS CALL Announce “Kingdom of Shred” Album, Feat. Super Talented Guests Such as Mike Terrana, Alexandra Zerner + Many Others

Worldwide known Italian bassist and composer ALBERTO RIGONI (soloist, BAD As, Kim Bingham, Vivaldi Metal Project, etc.) announces the new album “Kingdom of Shred” of his new project NEMESIS CALL. 

Alberto says: 
“Even if my latest album “Unexpected Lullabies”, dedicated to my newborn Vittoria Parini Rigoni, was released on June 4th 2024, I felt the need to compose new music (yes, I really can’t stop!). This time will be quite challenging because I’m willing to release an instrumental shred/prog/rock/metal/melodic album, that will feature many talented top-notch musicians such as drummer Mike Terrana, Alexandra Zerner, Alexandra Lioness, Aanika Pai (11 years old!), Keiji by Zero (19 years old!), SAKI and many others TBA/TBC). It won’t be easy to manage all such great musicians but I will make it! Are you ready to face a new prog experience? The album will be released in Digipack CD and in high-quality digital format approximately at the beginning of 2025 or maybe for Christmas!.”

As an independent artist, Alberto Rigoni has launched a fundraising campaign to support the project. Support at www.albertorigoni.net/nemesiscall. 20% of the income will be donated to Lega del Filo d’Oro (www.legadelfilodoro.it/it), an Italian association that helps deaf and blind children!

Visit online at www.albertorigoni.net | albertorigoni.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/albertorigonimusic | www.badas.rocks

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