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Tales from the Pit: Hair, with Ross Hoekman by Jonathan Moody



Jonathan-MoodyTales from the Pit: Hair, with Ross Hoekman by Jonathan Moody… There are few shows that, when I hear the title, bring forth a slew of memories and imagery. One of those is Hair, possibly the most well-known musical of the “rock opera” genre and a vivid snapshot of the counter culture movement of 1960s America. And, while the subject matter is dated, it’s surprisingly apropo for this day and age, which is why this musical is still regularly staged. I got the chance to compare notes with Colorado native, Ross Hoekman (find him at to talk about how we both “let the sunshine in.”

Ross’ Specifics:

  • Hair at the Evergreen Theater, for a 5 weekend run
  • The pit consisted of 4 musicians, upstage “behind” the set. Still on stage, but the back of the warehouse.
  • Gear used: 2009 Fender Precision V and a pedalboard consisting of Ernie Ball VP Jr., Boss TU-2, Ampeg Sub Blaster, EP2, 3Leaf Pwnzor, 3Leaf GR2, Tech21 Bass Boost Chorus, Hardwire Reverb and Sansamp BDDI, direct into the house system

Jon’s Specifics:

  • Hair at Whole Art Theatre, for a 3 weekend run
  • The pit consisted of 6 musicians, in the pit behind the stage
  • Gear used: Heavily modified P-Bass, Line 6 Bass Pod XT Live! pedalboard, early 70’s Univox UB-50 1×15 combo amp

Because this is a snapshot of a different time, you will find that entire production follows suit. As Ross put it, “Since the director didn’t want to mic the vocalists, we all used in-ear monitors, including the drummer who was playing a V-drum kit. It was actually a pretty sweet setup; the soundguy was really good and we got compliments on sound/levels almost every night.” Because this show is in the “rock opera” genre, it is not uncommon to see the pit stripped down to just a core rhythm section. In Ross’ case, that opened the door for some wild experimentation with effects.

“Because there were only four of us (guitar, bass, drums, keys), we had to get a little creative to cover some of the parts. The guitar player actually bought an EHX Ravish Sitar pedal specifically for the show to cover sitar parts and the drummer programmed things like woodblocks, a gong and other various sounds to the triggers in his kit. He also hung a pair of Tibetan tingsha cymbals from his kit for that extra little bit of flavor.”

My situation was similar, in that mics were not used (with exception of some floor mics for soloists over the company). We were literally backstage in one of the wings, so we could hear everything fairly well, but needed to heed our volume in order to make sure that we could maintain that rock energy without overpowering the singer(s). In terms of the orchestration, we were more filled out as we included a trumpet and trombone player for the horn parts. Everything else was easily covered by the guitarist, myself or the keyboardist with the use of effects. Any auxiliary percussion was absorbed into the drummer’s kit, which also included a very large gong hanging right behind his head.

When it comes to embellishing or filling out a section, this is one of those shows where you would think that the musicians would be given free reign and permission to go wild. However, after playing it twice myself and talking with many musicians that have had it, I’m surprised by the answer. As Ross put it, “We played Hair fairly straightforward, so I didn’t have a whole lot to fill in that the other players weren’t already covering. We added group fills/runs in a couple spots, but other than that, we had all worked together before on a number of occasions, so he pretty much trusted us to do our thing.” And in regard to the bass score itself, Ross said this: “For the most part, we struck somewhat closely to the book, but generally used it more as a guide than a strict map. There were a few sections/songs that we changed on the fly or revamped completely.”

The Whole Art production that I did was a little different in this regard; the choreographer really wanted the more funky version of the show that was featured in the movie over the hippy rock feel of the musical production. A couple of numbers we completely rewrote the style and feel, using the score more as a roadmap in terms of how long the song needed to be over anything else. As someone that had played the show prior, this was quite a change to create something completely different than what you are used to (and led to a little head butting during the tech rehearsals). The end result however, was something that everyone was proud of, after we all put egos and preconceived notions aside for the benefit of the show.

One thing that Hair has always meant for me was that I could pull out as many effects as I wanted (many of which my wife would hear and say “When are you ever going to use THAT?!”), and it would be okay. For my run, I had a very customized P/J bass run into a early 70s Vox amp, which had that old school vibe DOWN. From there, I used a slew of effects on my Line 6 Bass Pod XT Live board to give me everything from slight dirt to full on fuzz, slightly delayed to completely trippy, syrupy tones.

Ross approached it roughly the same way that I did. “I played my go-to 2006 MIA Fender Jazz V with nickel rounds for the first couple rehearsals and didn’t feel it was fitting the sound as much as I wanted. I switched to my 2009 MIA Precision V with (D’Addario) Chromes, which was a much better fit. I set up my pedalboard for the show to include pedals like my Pigtronix EP2 for spacey phaser or trippy envelope sounds, the reverb for ambient parts and the BDDI for preamp duties direct to board.”

If there’s one thing that everyone can agree upon, any theatre that does a production of Hair will wind up with large audiences and packed houses, leading to unforgettable nights. Ross’ theatre had 95% of the run sold out. They are currently in the running for a Henry Award (awarded by the Colorado Theater Guild). Our run was no different; I remember holding the show to allow the stagehands to scramble and add extra seats in an effort to accommodate everyone.

Hair is a show that everyone on some level can relate to. The issues that faced the characters in the late 60s are surprisingly similar to the ones that we are still facing today, hence its appeal. Thanks to Ross for taking the time to compare notes. Check him out at or on Facebook (

If you’re a fellow “theatre rat” and would like to be included in an upcoming “Tales from the Pit” article, contact me at or find me on Twitter at @monjoody. Thanks for reading, and have a great month!

Gear News

Gear News: Positive Grid Launches Spark 2



Gear News: Positive Grid Launches Spark 2

Positive Grid launches Spark 2, the next evolution of their cutting-edge smart guitar practice amplifiers and Bluetooth® speakers.

Engineered for acoustic, electric guitar, and bass, Spark 2 delivers an immersive practice and playing experience. Enjoy detailed sound and an all-new upgraded speaker design powered by Positive Grid’s exclusive Sonic IQ Computational Audio technology. With an onboard creative looper, optional battery power, and intuitive AI features for tone exploration and practice, Spark 2 is the gateway to a musical experience that goes beyond expectations. 

Proprietary Audio and Advanced Technology
Spark 2 represents a leap forward in amplifier design. It integrates a new DSP amp modeling engine with double the processing power, and at 50 Watts, it packs 25% more volume than the original. Positive Grid’s proprietary Sonic IQ Computational Audio delivers incredibly detailed and dynamic sound. New HD amp models, enhanced by multi-band dynamic range compression and virtual bass augmentation, redefine the sonic landscape.

Equipped with two premium FRFR speakers and reflex ports, Spark 2 offers wide stereo imaging and broader frequency response, ensuring refined bass and clear, immersive sound.

Built-In Creative Looper
Spark 2’s built-in Groove Looper features hundreds of hyper-realistic drum tracks. From basic loops to multi-layered soundscapes or the ultimate jam session, this intuitive tool inspires endless creativity. Onboard amp controls provide quick, on-the-go looping functionality.

AI-Powered Tone and Smart Jam
Spark AI revolutionizes tone exploration. Describe any desired tone in the Spark app – from practical to outlandish – and Spark AI will suggest tones to audition or download. The more it’s used, the smarter it gets, delivering the perfect sound.

Additional smart features make it easy to practice, learn new songs and improve playing skills. Smart Jam listens to the user’s playing style and generates accompanying bass and drum parts, while Auto Chords analyzes any song streamed and displays the guitar chords in real time, to make learning and practicing new songs easier than ever.

Enhanced Hardware Design and Portability
Spark 2 allows for storing up to eight customizable presets directly on the amp for quick access to favorite sounds. Perfect the tone with large, visible onboard controls for looper, EQ, gain, reverb, and more.

Designed for convenience, an optional rechargeable battery provides up to 12 hours of playtime for on-the-go sessions. The new double-thick strap and durable build ensure easy and secure transport. Spark 2 is also Bluetooth® ready, allowing for music streaming and jamming along with favorite tracks anytime, anywhere.

Multiple Outputs and Advanced Features
Spark 2 offers versatile connectivity with a headphone out for private practice, stereo line outs for external audio sources, and a USB-C port which enables it to function as an audio interface. WiFi-enabled, Spark 2 allows convenient over-the-air firmware updates, keeping the amp up to date with the latest features and improvements.

“I’ve used a ton of practice amps while touring the world for over 38 years and it was always just a technical, bland exercise,” says guitar virtuoso, singer-songwriter and producer Nuno Bettencourt. “Spark 2 is like taking Madison Square Garden wherever you go – epic and versatile.”

Color Options
Available in Pearl or Black finish with a dark weave grille and premium finish.

Special Event, Upgrade Pricing & Availability
Join the special live premiere event featuring Nuno Bettencourt and surprise guests on August 1, 2024, at 8:00 am PT/11:00 am ET. Visit for more details and to sign up for a reminder.

Regularly USD $299, Spark 2 will be available at special early bird pricing during the pre-order period. Registered Spark 40 owners can also receive exclusive upgrade pricing.

For more information and to sign up for pre-order alerts, visit

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Gear Reviews

Gear Review: Exploring the Joyo Gloam – Sub Octave Fuzz Pedal for Bass



Gear Review: Exploring the Joyo Gloam - Sub Octave Fuzz Pedal for Bass

A review of the Joyo Gloam – Sub Octave Fuzz Pedal for Bass

Disclaimer: This pedal was kindly provided by Joyo for the purpose of this review. However, this does not influence our opinions or the content of our reviews. We strive to provide honest, unbiased, and accurate assessments to ensure that our readers receive truthful and helpful information.

Introduction: The Joyo Gloam is a sub-octave fuzz pedal specifically designed for bass players, combining modern sub-octave effects with rich fuzz tones. With two independently controlled circuits, the Gloam aims to provide a versatile range of sounds, from deep, aggressive fuzz to Moog-like synth effects. This review will explore the Gloam’s specifications, controls, and overall performance, highlighting both its strengths and areas for improvement.


  • Dimensions: 130 * 110 * 50 mm
  • Weight: 403g
  • Working Voltage: DC 9V
  • Controls: The Joyo Gloam features a comprehensive control set designed to provide bassists with a wide range of tonal options:
  • Dry Tone: Adjusts the tone of the clean signal.
  • Dry Volume: Controls the volume of the clean signal.
  • Sub Octave Volume: Adjusts the volume of the sub octave signal.
  • Gain: Controls the amount of gain in the fuzz circuit.
  • Fuzz: Adjusts the intensity of the fuzz effect.
  • Bass: Controls the bass frequencies in the fuzz circuit.
  • Treble: Adjusts the treble frequencies in the fuzz circuit.
  • Fuzz Mode Switch: Switches between two different fuzz modes.
  • Dry Tone Frequency Switch: Selects between two different frequency points for the dry tone.

Performance: The Joyo Gloam excels in its dual-circuit design, offering both a sub octave and a fuzz channel that can be controlled individually. However, it’s important to note that the octaver cannot be used without the fuzz circuit activated; the only way to solo the octaver is by turning down the fuzz while both channels are engaged.

Fuzz Circuit: The fuzz circuit includes standard controls such as gain, volume, bass, and treble, along with a fuzz mode switch that toggles between two distinct fuzz modes. While one of the fuzz modes is highly usable and delivers a rich, aggressive tone, the other mode falls short and is less practical for most applications.

Octaver Circuit: The octaver circuit features controls for sub octave volume, clean volume, and clean tone, along with a dry tone frequency switch that provides two different frequency options. This allows for significant tonal versatility, enabling bassists to fine-tune their sound to match their preferences. Despite its limitation of being tied to the fuzz circuit, the octaver produces a deep, balanced sound that stands out.

Combined Effect: When used together, the fuzz and octaver circuits create a wide range of sounds, from classic, aggressive fuzz to synth-like tones reminiscent of a Moog synthesizer. This combination makes the Gloam a powerful tool for bassists seeking to experiment with their sound and achieve unique, textured tones.


  • Versatile Controls: Extensive control options for both fuzz and octaver circuits.
  • Rich Tones: Delivers deep, aggressive fuzz and balanced octaver sounds.
  • Sturdy Construction: Durable build quality ensures reliability.
  • Wide Range of Sounds: Capable of producing everything from classic fuzz to synth-like effects.


  • Unusable Fuzz Mode: One of the fuzz modes is less practical.
  • Dependent Octaver: Octaver cannot be used independently of the fuzz circuit.

Conclusion: In conclusion, the Joyo Gloam sub-octave fuzz pedal offers a versatile and powerful option for bassists looking to expand their tonal palette. Despite some flaws, the Gloam delivers impressive sounds and flexibility. Its combination of rich fuzz and deep octaver tones, coupled with a sturdy construction, makes it a valuable addition to any bassist’s pedalboard. For those seeking a modern bass distortion with the added depth of sub-octave effects, the Joyo Gloam is a compelling choice for a very compelling price.

Visit online at

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July 22 Edition – This Week’s Top 10 Basses on Instagram



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 @ramabass.ok @adamovicbasses @mgbassguitars @marleaux_bassguitars @overwaterbasses @mauriziouberbasses @elrickbasses @zemaitisguitars @sandbergguitars

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Gear News

Behind the Strings: D’Addario’s Story Comes to Life in “Jim’s Corner” YouTube Series



Behind the Strings: D'Addario's Story Comes to Life in "Jim's Corner" YouTube Series

Behind the Strings – Jim’s Corner…

D’Addario & Co. proudly announces the launch of “Jim’s Corner,” a captivating new YouTube series telling the 400-year-old story of the D’Addario family creating the world’s largest music accessories company. This series features Jim D’Addario, Founder and Director of Innovation at D’Addario and Co., sharing his family’s remarkable journey from 17th century Italy to a 21st century global enterprise. 

In the first four episodes now available, Jim D’Addario takes viewers back to the beginning, making strings from animal guts and knotting ukulele wire as a family around the television. Countless generations carried the passion forward until the 1970s when the company made it official and never looked back. Jim recounts the creation of strings that inspired legendary riffs, including one by The Who, the launch of Darco strings, the merger with Martin Guitars and the company’s humble beginnings with his wife, Janet and brother, John. Jim D’Addario’s firsthand accounts provide an intimate and personal perspective on the milestones and challenges that shaped D’Addario into the revered brand it is today.

Episode Highlights:

  • Episode 1: The Early Days in Italy and the Move to America
  • Episode 2: Inspiring Iconic Riffs and Legendary Partnerships
  • Episode 3: Launching Darco Strings and Merging with Martin Guitars
  • Episode 4: Building the D’Addario and Co. Legacy

Watch & Subscribe Now:

Join us in celebrating this incredible legacy by watching the first four episodes of “Jim’s Corner” on YouTube. New episodes will drop every month so please subscribe to our channel to ensure you don’t miss any future episodes and exclusive content from D’Addario & Co.:

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Gear News

Gear News: Aguilar Amplification Unveils Limited Edition NYC Gold Skyline Tone Hammer Preamp



Gear News: Aguilar Amplification Unveils Limited Edition NYC Gold Skyline Tone Hammer Preamp

Aguilar Amplification announces the release of the Limited Edition NYC Gold Skyline Tone Hammer Preamp pedal. Hand serialized 1-100, this exclusive edition celebrates Aguilar’s deep roots in New York City with a tribute to its iconic landmarks and vibrant spirit.

Born in the heart of NYC and raised on the road, the Tone Hammer Preamp DI has been an indispensable tool for bassists seeking inspiring tone and versatility. The new Limited Edition Gold NYC builds on this legacy with striking custom graphics encapsulating the essence of New York City. Featuring iconic landmarks from the Statue of Liberty to the Empire State Building, this pedal is not just a tool, but a piece of art embodying the soul of the city. Each unit features a sharp platinum silkscreen over a stunning matte gold sparkle finish, that is as visually captivating as it is sonically powerful.

The Tone Hammer is an essential preamp/direct box for every bassist’s toolbox. The Tone Hammer features fully sweepable midrange frequencies in addition to bass and treble controls. With the Tone Hammer’s pristine D.I. players are set for either studio or stage. To give this tone shaping unit the ultimate flexibility we introduce our proprietary Adaptive Gain Shaping circuitry (AGS). AGS allows the player to kick in an additional gain structure and EQ with the “stomp” of a button. You can go from modern slap sounds to vintage or overdriven. 18-volt operation gives the Tone Hammer plenty of headroom to reproduce the most dynamic playing styles. Separate gain and master controls allow players to dial in just the right gain structure for any instrument.

Aguilar Amplification’s Jordan Cortese adds, “With only 100 hand-numbered units available, this third iteration of our NYC edition Tone Hammer is a collector’s dream. “It’s a homage to our city’s monumental influence on music and culture and celebrates the craftsmanship and the story of Aguilar”. 

Street price: $299.99 For more information, please visit

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