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Being In Tune by BMM Reader Jonathan Moody

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I had a completely different article written about digital tuners and my thoughts on them that was going to post today. Last weekend was a Moody family get-together, where we all (including my spry 93 year old grandmother) met at my Aunt’s house for food and merriment. Grandma was cleaning out the desk in her living room, found one of Grandpa’s old chromatic pitch pipes, and brought it to the get-together for me. I gladly took it, opened the box, and pulled it out and see if it still held a good pitch. It does; remarkably well too, given its age. And from there, my previous article fell apart.

The original article dealt with the inconsistencies of relying upon digital tuners, and using them as “the” definitive source when it came to tuning. Grandpa’s pitch pipe reminded me that my issue isn’t so much with the tuners, but with the musicians using them. The fact is that we seem to rely on tuners more heavily than we do our ears.

Back a number of years ago, these chromatic pitch pipes were the Cadillac of tuning. People would pull a note from one, tune their instrument or voice, and then play. And here’s the interesting part. If, during the performance, someone thought something sounded out of place, they’d adjust on the spot and fix the problem. They wouldn’t wait until the song was over to pull out the pipe and check it. They’d just adjust and keep moving.

Especially with a fixed pitch instrument like a piano, this was of critical importance. It’s an expensive endeavor to have a piano tuned; some places can have them tuned regularly, some can’t. Back in the day, musicians would pull a tuning note from the piano (whether a digital tuner said it was a solid 440 or not) and play, adjusting if/when necessary. Nowadays, you have musicians tune to their tuner when playing with a piano that may be just a bit sharp. And, instead of adjusting to the fixed pitch instrument, they claim that the piano is out of tune, pointing to their tuner as proof.

In that argument, the piano IS out of tune – TO YOUR TUNER. But, when you are the one capable of adapting to a fixed pitch instrument and you don’t, YOU become the one out of tune, not the other way around.  It’s at this point that you need to realize the tuner is but a guide, and your ears are going to be the most accurate piece of tuning equipment that you have, allowing you to make changes and adapt much more quickly than turning a tuner on and figuring out what is wrong.

That’s what the pitch pipe reminded me. While digital tuners are fantastic for setting intonation and general tuning (as an endorsing artist for Peterson Tuners, you will always see me with a StroboClip on the headstock, or the StroboFlip attached to my music stand), they are still a reference point, no matter how accurate they are. Because once you start playing with someone, you need to rely upon your ears to be your definitive tuner to ensure that you’re in tune with the group, and not just the tuner.

Visit online at www.justmoody.com

Bass Videos

Working-Class Zeros: Episode #3 – John Patitucci IG Video, The Summer Festival Gig, iPads on Stage

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WORKING-CLASS ZEROS With Steve Rosati and Shawn Cav

In this episode we cover John Patitucci’s IG video about saying ‘no’ to the gig, the Summer Festival gig, and iPads on stage (sure it’s awesome but is it necessary?)

These stories from the front are with real-life, day-to-day musicians who deal with work life and gigging and how they make it work out. Each month, topics may include… the kind of gigs you get, the money, dealing with less-than-ideal rooms, as well as the gear you need to get the job done… and the list goes on from there.” – Steve the Bass Guy and Shawn Cav

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Bass Videos

Interview With Bassist Curly Hendo

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Interview Wity Bassist Curly Hendo

Bassist Curly Hendo…

Hailing from Sydney, Australia, bassist Curly Hendo has been super busy. Starting with dance from a young age, Curly took up bass shortly after and has been going strong ever since. She has collaborated with numerous acts worldwide and is an in-demand session/touring bassist and musical director.

Join me as we learn about Curly’s musical journey, how she gets her sound, and her plans for a very bright future.

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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 @jermsbass @degierguitars @meridian_guitars @xvector_basses @marleaux_bassguitars @mattissonbass @alesvychodilbasses @gvguitars @thebassplace @xylembassguitar

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Bass CDs

New Album: Ben Mortiz, MORENO

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New Album: Ben Mortiz, MORENO

The Chilean bassist, producer and sociologist, Ben Mortiz, celebrates the launch of his latest studio work, “MORENO” an album that mixes jazz, soul, and funk following the characteristic Latin style of  Mortiz. The artist completely produced the album under the label “Fallen Lab Records” in the south of Chile.

“MORENO” brings deep and smooth sounds, expressing a sophisticated and elegant Latin vibe. You will find meditative harmonies and joyful melodic voices. The record’s core is the human vibration that Mortiz feels from the Latin American music. The Caribbean rhythms and strong Latin percussions are the musical glue in every song that emerges with the force of the electric bass.

“MORENO” creates a real connection between corporal reactions and mind sensations, always in reference to the originality of Mortiz to fuse modern and classic Latin sounds.

For more information, visit online at danielbenmortiz.com/

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Gear News

New Gear: Phil Jones Bass X2C Dual Compressor/Effects Loop

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New Gear: Phil Jones Bass X2C Duel Compressor/Effects Loop

Step Into X2C With Phil Jones Bass Dual Compressor/Effects Loop…

Phil Jones Bass latest pedal innovation is the X2C Dual Compressor with Dual Effects Loop for performance and recording. The X2C incorporates advanced compressor circuit technology and provides comprehensive tone control with a dual crossover feature which divides the signal into frequency bands ranging from 100Hz to 500Hz, ensuring exceptional clarity and dynamics in tone refinement. 

With insert jacks on each band, the X2C unlocks limitless creativity, enabling players to use various FX pedals for custom tone sculpting. Additionally, it functions as an electronic crossover, ideal for driving high-performance, 2-way bass rigs.

PJB’s Dual-Band compression design is more flexible than standard single-band compressors and provides a more natural and transparent sound. It also provides greater control over shaping and managing dynamics where standard compressors affect the entire frequency spectrum of an audio signal.  

PJB’s dual compressor enables the player to shape specific frequency ranges of an audio signal which allows for compressing the low frequencies while preserving the high frequencies, or vice-versa. Treating the low-end with a dedicated band also allows for heavy compression without affecting the midrange frequencies, which carry the attack of the sound. 

Effects can be plugged into the insert jacks on the X2C and controlled separately. As an example, the lows can be adjusted separately for an overdrive pedal while the highs can be controlled for a chorus. 

Dividing the audio spectrum into fundamental frequencies and harmonics is also effective in the enrichment of slapping techniques. The low frequencies can be compressed without changing the dynamics of the “slap”. By controlling the low frequencies and focusing the attack on the slap the amplifier will sound louder while avoiding overloading of the amp or speakers. The low band can be compressed without the harmonics being affected. In addition, the send jacks can go to different amplifiers/speakers for a bi-amplification set up.

Compact and potent, the X2C embodies studio-grade excellence, setting a new standard for dynamic processing in an uncompromising, portable pedal. The street price is $359.99.

Visit online at www.pjbworld.com

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