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Be Inspired, Not Intimidated by Jonathan Moody

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Be Inspired, Not Intimidated by Jonathan Moody… How many of us have said at some point “____________ is so good, I just want to quit playing altogether.” I know there was a time that I listened to music that frustrated me and made me want to rethink my musical career. Looking back, I know that mentality was holding me back from trying new things, experimenting, failing (hey, it happens), learning and succeeding.

Why on earth would I want to listen to a musician or group that would frustrate me, making me want to STOP playing altogether? It seems counterproductive, doesn’t it? And yet there are a lot of people doing just that; listening to music and being intimidated instead of being inspired. Music should inspire you, not intimidate.

Years back, Michael Manring played a gig an hour north of me. I bought tickets the day they were available, and was in the front row for the show. That’s right, I’m a fan. Manring was probably three feet in front of me, and his set was awesome. Sure, he’s got the level of skill that I can only dream about, but that wasn’t the point. The music, his musicality, spirit, etc. were inspiring. I got the chance to shake his hand after the set and even say “Thank you, that was inspiring,” which led to a discussion where he and I talked shop for about ten minutes. I can probably recite that discussion verbatim; it was one of those moments I won’t ever forget.

When I got home, I played for about four hours straight (which ended around 3am) and had two solid foundations for solo bass pieces (which I still play now). Manring’s concert inspired me to play more, push myself beyond what I was capable of, elevate myself to try and achieve the level of musicianship that he commanded. I can’t tell you how many new things I learned by just attempting his greatness, that I still use today.

What would have happened if I had kept the mentality of “Oh, he’s so good, I can never do that?” after I had attended that show? I’ll tell you; nothing. I probably would have driven home, told my roommates how awesome the show was, and left it at that. If I was intimidated by the performance, it’s pretty easy to wager that I wouldn’t have done anything at all, limiting myself in the long term and honestly, not fully enjoying the show.

We need to stop comparing ourselves to each other in terms of “He’s better, period” or “I’ll never be that talented” and leave it at that. I may never be able to play like Michael Manring, but I’d wager that he’s never going to be able to play like me either. That doesn’t stop me from trying to elevate my playing to greater heights, because the amount of skill and musicianship that I learn from just TRYING something new can lead to greater things.

Please realize that healthy competition between you and your musical friends is not what we’re talking about here. I’m fortunate to play with a guitarist that pushes me on a regular basis; on occasion, I push back. Our competitive nature while playing results in both of us learning a lot of new things, and when either of us fail at what we’re trying, we both smile and move on.

So the next time you’re listening to something and are just overwhelmed to the point of selling your instrument and becoming an accountant, stop the music. Give yourself a second to really clear your head. Then, hit play again and listen to something you normally wouldn’t in the song; maybe it’s the drummer, maybe it’s the keyboard, whatever it is, DON’T LISTEN TO THE BASS. Maybe even give another genre of music a try to see what they really have to offer, or *God forbid* turn on the radio. Whatever you’re listening to, find something new in that music that surprises and inspires you, making you want to turn off the album and pick up that bass and play.

In closing, here are a couple of my favorite “go to” albums that I pop in for inspiration; find me on Twitter at @monjoody and share with me yours.

“Night Train” Oscar Peterson Trio – Yeah, Ray Brown is a monster but I think Ed Thigpen was the glue that kept that trio together. He’s such a musical drummer!

“Rift” Phish – Concept albums are a tough sell on me and yet I still find something new and interesting in every single listen of this album.

“Equilibre” Michael Manring & David Cullen – This is my favorite Manring album because while there are obvious times for him to showcase his soloing prowess, when he’s just sitting in the back and backing up David Cullen, you understand and appreciate how good Manring is.

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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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Bass Videos

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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Gear News

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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