Hello, and welcome again to “BISCUIT’S BASSMENT.” In this May 2011 issue of Bass Musician Magazine, I continue with part two of my review on a real “Low End Feast” for all of you Bass “Bandit’s” out there at The London Bass Guitar Show hosted by Bass Guitar Magazine.
So the weekend which all of us Bass “Nut’s” had waited for had now continued into its second day. It was Sunday, the 13th of March, 2011, where I found myself at the Olympia Conference Centre in London for the second and final day of the London Bass Guitar show. It was day two of which had already become a fun filled event, and was once again jam packed with bass players and music lovers alike from all over the world.
So here I was on a sunny Sunday morning heading off to the show and anticipating another thoroughly enjoyable day mixing it up with all the other lovers of the “Low End”.
On entering, I was immediately exposed to the deep rumblings and bright “slap attacks” that were to be heard within, and it was still only 10.15, and the doors had barely been open fifteen minutes.
As I entered the building I bumped into Jason How who of course is the main man at Rotosound strings, which seemed quite fitting as he was pretty much the last person I had spoken to on my way out of the show the previous evening. Jason and I were to have a very constructive conversation during the day, but more of that later. I knew I had to catch up with many of the guys that I just did not have time to speak to the day before.
My first port of call was the BASS MERCHANT stall, where I had the pleasure of meeting managing director Darren MacKay and his wonderful staff, Chris Chitticks, Eddie Taylor, Nick Smith and Kat Etherington, all of whom were all fabulously enthusiastic about the products that they had on display, and were only too happy to let me play around with their basses and amps. Based in Colchester Essex UK, the Bass Merchant offer a comprehensive range of bass gear for the beginner and professional bass player alike, and have an ever changing array of stock to choose from. They told me if they don’t have what you are looking for in store, they will definitely go out of their way to get it for you…no problem! The Bass Merchant can supply the bass musician with a vast array of basses, amps, and accessories. It would be easier to list what they don’t have or cannot supply than what they can actually present you with.
I found all of the staff on site very welcoming and friendly, and I believe you will find it very difficult to find a more helpful company that specialises in all things bass. All of the staff at The Bass Merchant are second to none when it comes to customer care and satisfaction, and I would like to thank them very much for the hospitality they showed me throughout the day.
Please feel free to contact Darren and the guys for more information at www.bassmerchant.com or call them direct on 01206 751 173
My next stop was to be SOUND TECHNOLOGY… It was here that I was to meet up with Aaron Dorey and Dave Titherington, who were representing EBS, Washburn and Digitech, as Sound Technology are the exclusive UK distributer of all three products.
Since 1988, EBS, who is based in Sweden, have been designing and manufacturing a wide range of bass amplification and cabinets available for bass players worldwide, and EBS has always displayed real quality in their construction, design, and performance.
Washburn basses were also on display, including the AB Acoustic and the Stu Hamm signature models as well. Washburn also supplies the Taurus and Force electric series, both of which are very impressive pieces of equipment indeed. I also checked out the Digitech line of effects which have been specifically designed for the bass player. These tone shaping “Monsters” are absolutely amazing, and they allow bass players to explore and enjoy a multitude of varied sounds, all available through Digitech.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank both Aaron and Dave on the Sound Technology stall for contributing to what was another great day out at the show…wonderful guys both.
Find out all you need to know about EBS, Washburn and Digitech, by contacting the guys at www.soundtech.co.uk, or calling them directly on 01462 480 000.
Rotosound and I go back a long way. I have been using them for about eighteen years and have always enjoyed them on my basses, they just feel and sound so right for me. The Rotosound bass strings company were founded by James How, Jason’s father, in 1958, and have remained one of the most famous and used brands in the music industry to this day. They are used by many of the world’s major artists around the world which includes the likes of Billy Sheehan, Steve Harris, (Iron Maiden) and Duff McKagen (G’n’R).
So imagine my delight after a great chat with Jason and John Doughty at the stall that Jason agreed to offer me an artist/endorsement deal with Rotosound, which I now very proudly use exclusively. I would like to thank Jason and the guys for making it a very special day to remember for me personally, as well as all the other passionate bass players that attended the show during the weekend who use Roto’s on their basses as well. Jason and John really helped to make it a wonderful weekend, and there were always many happy faces to be seen surrounding the C-15 stall during both days…awesome guys, awesome strings, and the customer service is absolutely priceless.
To get full information on the whole range of Rotosound strings please go to www.rotosound.com or call directly on 01732 450 838.
Before moving on, I decided to see who would be performing on the stage in the main auditorium, and also who would be conducting master classes as well…both of course were being run courtesy of Bass Guitar Magazine.
For starters, at 10.00am, Janek Gwizdala was on the main stage and representing TC Electronics’ and Fodera bass guitars, and was closely followed at 11.15 by Laurence Cottle who has played with such artists as Sting, Cher, Seal, Eno, and Jaco, conducting his master class and talking Jazz. Then at 12 noon there was the amazing TM Stevens to check out in association with Warwick, performing live on the main stage and not to be missed.
Then Stu Hamm was next up at 1pm conducting his master class and representing bass giants Washburn and Hartke, via Korg UK.
2pm would see the arrival of Laurence Cottle performing on the main stage and representing EBS, Yamaha, and GB Guitars.
Next up would be French bassist Pascal Mulot undertaking a master class at 3pm while “shouting out” for Vigier High Tech Distribution, in which he talks about Rock Fusion.
Then last, but by no means least on the main stage was my Hartke stable mate Stu Hamm at 4pm, followed at 5pm by the last master class of the weekend with Geoff Gascoyne who has spent the last three years as the bassist with Jamie Cullum.
So again this was to be quite a line up that would end a spectacular weekend of this bass extravaganza…Brilliant!!
Well it was now coming up to 12noon, and it was time for TM Stevens, who I had previously met up with the day before, to perform his “Funky Stuff” on the main stage. I had previously stashed my tickets away for this one, and had no intention of missing it, so I proceeded to enter the main stage area which by now was filling up very quickly with all the bashing “Bandit’s” at the show…this was one performance not to be missed.
TM was amazing, and certainly did not disappoint us with his funky lines and razor sharp wit speaking to a mixed audience of young and old with a real deep passion for bass, music, and life in general. Mr. Stevens is not only a magnificently talented bass player and musician, but also a very wise man indeed, and his show encompassed everything that is positive about music and life, and all put together with great humour as well. I have to say that when you are in the presence of this man, he feels like a real breath of fresh air and warmth in what can sometimes be a frosty old business…well done Mr. TM Stevens.
The next stop after that breathtaking performance by TM was at stall, TAURUS Bass Amplification. I had very little previous knowledge of this company, but made recent contact with them via the internet, and they asked me if I would check them out while I was at the show for BMM. They seemed like good guys and appeared to have a lot to offer, so it would have been rude of me not to accept their kind invitation to pop in. Once there, I stayed for quite a while and checked out their wonderful range of bass amps and effects pedals, whilst also feeling very at home with their very warm welcome. Taurus are a Polish company established in 1983 where the amps are made for musicians by musicians, and every product they sell is multi tested by players and brand specialists alike before actual production to maintain the high level of quality, required by Taurus, of workmanship and product effectiveness.
Features include MLO, which is a very easy to use and effective sound colour adjustment tube drive which enriches the tube sound compression, also DBS which offers dynamic bass lowering with simultaneous speaker protection as well as an OPTO compressor/limiter which is a very high quality optical compressor. Taurus also has a series of various top quality pedal effects to offer as well, which are gaining a very good reputation within the music industry. All in all, I found the guys at TAURUS to be professional and passionate about what they do, and the standard of the equipment on show was for me of the highest calibre…well done Taurus. I am sure that we will be hearing a lot more about this range of bass equipment in the near future.
You can get all the information you need about TAURUS, by contacting them at www.taurus-amp.pl, or of course directly by phone on +48 58 550 66 46, and just tell them Biscuit pointed you their way.
It was now time to see a few more stalls and chat to some more distributers and try out their products before time ran away, so I headed towards stall (D-11) where I found managing director of D’Addario, Mr. Simon Turnbull, who was a real gentleman indeed and most accommodating and helpful. D’Addario is the world’s largest manufacturer of musical instrument accessories and their office and distribution facility in the UK exists to better service and support the individual musician, D’Addario brands all over the UK, and of course supply their products all around the world.
D’Addario bass strings cover a very extensive range of types and gauges, from their Pro Steels right through to their best selling nickel round wounds, and also the Chrome flat wounds. Now having recently checked out details of the Planet Waves range of instrument and amplification cables, which of course come under D’Addario’s giant “Wing”, I just felt I had to try some out and spoke to Simon about them at some length. He advised that I might try out the Circuit breaker style. I agreed and did indeed purchase a 10ft PLANET WAVES Instrument cable and could not wait to try it out. Could this possibly be the start of a new “romance” in terms of my usage of a new brand of cable?
So after thanking Simon for his help and hospitality, off I went after having spent a most enjoyable time with him at the D’Addario stall, with my new circuit breaker cable tucked safely under my arm for further investigation later that evening.
For the complete low down on all things D’Addario and Planet Waves, please contact them at www.daddario.com or call direct on 0191 300 3000 and in the meanwhile, you might like to check out their excellent site complete with catalogue at http://www.daddario.co.uk/
Time was now flying by and it was fast approaching 4pm, which was to be Stu Hamm time on the main stage, and was not going to miss my Hartke stable mate for anything. Stu is a really great guy and a very talented bass player and musician in his own right, as well as having performed together with Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, among so many others great musicians.
You might like to check out the interview that I had with Stu for Bass Musician Magazine at www.bass-musician-magazine.com/General/bass-musician-magazine-detail.asp?year=2009&month=10&article-id=123422716. Stu Hamm was to perform a solo spot with just his Washburn bass and Hartke rig for each company on the main stage, together with his great sense of humour as the icing on a fabulous performance “cake” by a true master of his craft, which everyone truly enjoyed. I could write about it forever. If you have ever seen or heard Stu play before, you will know exactly what I mean, and if you haven’t, then please catch up with the man and his music as soon as you can; it is an awesome experience for sure.
After being blown away by Stu, there was not much time left till the doors closed on this wonderful event, so there was only one place that I was going to head for now before leaving the show, and that was stall (E-5), KORG UK, who were representing and are the main distributor in the UK for HARTKE amplification of whom I am a very proud endorsing artist together with the likes of the previously mentioned Stu Hamm, Billy Sheehan, and my dear friend Dan Veall, among many other great bassist’s around the world. It was here that I met up with Gareth Underwood, who is the Samson and Hartke brand manager at Korg UK. I only had correspondence with Gareth before via email, so it was great to finally meet him personally and put a face to the name.
Hartke salesman Olly was there as well, and both guys were complete gentlemen and made me feel totally at home. I would like to thank them both for a very entertaining and happy time spent surrounded by Hartke Rigs and enthusiasts.
Hartke was founded on a revolutionary foundation, as the aluminium speaker cones produced an all new bass tone which encompassed far broader dynamics than had ever been heard before. Company owner Larry Hartke has continued to innovate by coming up very recently with the all new Hydrive range of cabinets and amps which are used by players such as Stu Hamm, Victor Wooten, Nate Watts, and JD DeServio together with many other major names in the music industry.
Also with the addition of the traditional paper cone cabinets in the AK Series you have a range of Bass amplification gear that transcends all genres of music, and with the recent announcement of additional artists Billy Sheehan and Dave Ellefson now on board, Hartke continues to add to their already extensive list of top quality artist’s from all over the planet. Thankfully I managed to see out this exhibition by putting on a Musicman Bass supplied on the stall, and play through those wonderful Hartke Hydrive rigs on display, and was joined a little later by Stu Hamm and my old mate Dan Veall which is always a pleasure, and completed the weekends activities perfectly for me.
During all this stall “hopping” over the weekend, I found myself often being approached by people who wanted to find out more about Bass Musician Magazine, which of course was emblazoned across my T-shirt for all to see again as previously the day before (and yes I did wash it, ha-ha) and of course I duly obliged in setting them along the correct route to Bass Paradise by way of a nice crispy new BMM business card with all the address details and email address included, so there will be no excuses for them not to be joining up now eh, or at least checking in to read the many different articles from CD reviews to gear reports and techniques, etc, especially as it is all FREE!!
So to all those of you who took the time to come and have a chat with me about bass, life, and Bass Musician Magazine, and everything in between, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all so much for helping to make this show a really fabulous and memorable experience for me, and I truly believe that all those who attended this show had a genuinely great time. I feel that everyone enjoyed this “Low Down” experience as much as I did. It was a real pleasure chatting to all kinds of different styles of bass players from all around the world, and fans of the low end as a whole. With all the smiles on people’s faces around me as they were leaving, it led me to believe that everyone there really did enjoy this last day of the show with all its many basses, amps and strings together, and all of those wonderful gadgets and gimmicks that were on offer over this fabulous weekend.
As I headed for the exit, I was quite sad that the show had finally come to an end, but happy at the same time that I had experienced so much, and met so many great people during the last two days. It was certainly a weekend that I would never forget. Hopefully this show will return next year, and for those wonderful companies that were not included in my review this year, I will be heading for you first on my return in 2012.
After collecting my jacket from the cloakroom for the last time, I headed back home to reflect on all that had gone on, and began to write it out for you guys and your reading pleasure here at Bass Musician Magazine…I hope you all enjoy.
Peace and Respects always,