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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.

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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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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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