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Bass Review – De Gier BeBop 5 by Jake Wolf

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Bass Review - De Gier BeBop 5-1De Gier BeBop 5 Specs

  • Alder body
  • Maple neck
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • 34” Scale length
  • 19mm string spacing
  • Antique ‘Relic’ finish
  • Custom Jason Lollar pickups
  • Passive tone control (push/pull for modern/vintage taper)
  • De Gier/Vanderkley ‘Fatboost’ control
  • Vintage narrow fret wire
  • ETS bridge
  • Hipshot hardware

The Netherlands may be known for a lot of exciting things, but most of us stateside low-enders would agree that custom exotic basses are not one of them.  But De Gier Guitars and Basses, hand built by Sander De Gier in the Netherlands, craft a variety of vintage inspired guitars and basses, as well as some beautiful and exotic models of modern design.  This particular BeBop 5 jazz bass landed in my lap for review after some conversation with De Gier, and I’ve been trying to put it down since the day it arrived. It comfort, playability and good looks are fairly addictive.  For one thing, this BeBop features an optional relic’ing package to simulate age and wear that is tasteful and artistic. Not to be confused with ‘road wear’, the BeBop’s vintage white alder body appears to have finish checking all over, and the neck has a burnished, broken in vibe that feels super comfortable, with a few intentional bumps and nicks for simulated playing wear.  Even the Lollar pickups and ETS hardware look a few decades old, thanks to some tasteful and artistic tarnishing.    This is BeBop #79, and it includes the latest modifications to the design, such as a slightly thicker headstock for increased mass, a 7.25”-12” compound fingerboard radius, slightly thinner body, and a more radical belly contour for comfort.  It also features a dual function passive tone control that we’ll dig into in a moment. The BeBop had meticulous fretwork and played beautifully with low action.   The narrow vintage frets felt great under the fingers, perfectly seated in a gorgeous rosewood board.  The truss rod is accessed by removing the pickguard, but the Bebop can be ordered with a pickguard slot routed out for easy standard access.  It’s also worth mentioning that there is no surface routing for the pickup wires or electronics, It’s designed so that one can remove the pickguard for a more unfettered and modern jazz bass look.

De Gier’s BeBop can be ordered in a couple of different standard configurations, including any combination of alder or ash body, rosewood or maple fingerboard, 60’s or 70’s pickup placement, Fralin, Nordstrand, or Lollar pickups.  This bass came with the custom Lollar pickups, which I just love for their raw and robust tone.  The electronics package on the BeBop is a very elegant and hip combination of passive simplicity and modern flexibility:  It is a standard volume/volume/tone setup, but things get a bit deeper from there.  The tone pot is push/pull, selecting two distinctly different passive tone rolloff tapers, courtesy of both a standard 0.47 cap and the 0.22 vintage cap, that offers a more burp-y vintage tone when rolled off, especially with the bridge pickup solo’d.  It’s a very hip, innovative, and above all else, useful feature.  Finally we come to the ‘Fatboost’ control, via the 4th knob that works as an on/off switch.  Designed in collaboration with Dutch amp builder Vanderkley, This little beauty is a very subtle but effective boost circuit, which (in my own words) plumps up the low end nicely while adding a slight touch of sheen to the top end.  Nothing crazy or extreme going on here, just a subtle shift in tonality bringing it just slightly out of the passive feeling/sounding realm.  It offers up to 6db of boost via a trim pot in the cavity, and sounds very natural, to my ears.  When off, it is true bypass for a 100% passive sound.  I really like the ‘Fatboost’s tone and had it engaged for about 90% of the time I played the Bebop.

So I played this bass a lot while it was here for review.  I found its vintage aesthetics and modern design sensibilities totally appealing, and combined with its great playability and fabulous tone, it was just addictive.  The BeBop sounded great in a band context; the Lollar pickups with the Fatboost served up a raw, full and meaty tone, that filled out the midrange spectrum beautifully while providing a big supportive bottom and a surprisingly (for an alder/rosewood bass) snappy top end, with just enough snarl and grit on hand when you dig in.  Being able to access both a “standard” passive tone control, and one that retained much of its midrange fullness when rolled off was immensely versatile, and is a tonal option not found on most other jazz style instruments.   The bass arrived with R. Cocco nickel strings, which felt great and sounded warm and full, with a nice amount of snap.  I tried a set of medium gauge DR Hi-Beams on the bass (my handy reference point), and found that the BeBop indeed has a lot of inherent grind and snap, with a remarkably muscular slap tone for an alder/rosewood bass, and its ample midrange complexity helps it sit very comfortably in a busy mix.

It seems like there is an exhausting variety of “boutique jazz basses” on the market these days, and one could easily be overwhelmed by the seemingly endless options and array of choices.  As I sat playing the De Gier, it felt like no other jazz bass I’ve played:  Very sleek and refined, but with a distinctive and unmistakable vintage feel.   The BeBop feels like your favorite 10 year-old recliner, or an old pair of comfy slippers.  Its tone profile lies squarely within the vintage Fender wheelhouse, but its unique electronics package expands within that wheelhouse, and allows for a surprising range of tones, all of them compelling, inspiring, and usable.  As many builders are following the obvious trend these days to blend ‘vintage feel and mojo’ with modern refinement in one way or another, very few, in my opinion, do it with the elegance and gusto of the BeBop.

For more information, visit De Gier guitars on the web at degierguitars.com/bebop

Bass Videos

Review: Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB

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Review: Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB

Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB…

Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB – Hearing protection has always been front and center on my mind because I love music so much, I cannot imagine my life if I were unable to hear.

You might remember back in 2021, we had a good look at the Minuendo Lossless Earplugs featuring adjustable protection. This system has a lot of very good features but there was always the question of how much sound attenuation to choose.

Now, the great folks at Minuendo have come up with a new version of their earplugs that has a set 17dB noise reduction. You still get a lot of the great features of the adjustables but you just don’t have to think about the specific sound level. In addition, this new version of earplugs comes at a very attractive price point.

For more information, visit online at Minuendo.com

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Gear Reviews

Review: Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp

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Review: Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp

Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp: A Tribute to 90’s Iconic Sounds

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

In the realm of bass preamp/DI pedals, capturing the essence of iconic tones from the 90s can often feel like an elusive pursuit. However, the Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp emerges as a great option for bass players seeking to replicate the signature sounds of that era, particularly the revered tech21 SansAmp. With its robust feature set and compact design, the Tidal Wave offers a faithful homage to classic rock tones and low-gain distortions, all while providing modern conveniences for today’s bassist. Let’s delve into why the Joyo Tidal Wave stands out as a versatile and budget-friendly tool for both stage and studio.

Specs:

Measuring at 130 * 110 * 50 mm and weighing 442g, the Joyo Tidal Wave strikes a balance between portability and durability, making it ideal for gigging musicians and studio enthusiasts alike. With a power consumption of just 100 mA and a working voltage of DC 9V, the Tidal Wave ensures reliable performance in a variety of settings.

Controls:

At the heart of the Tidal Wave’s versatility lies its comprehensive control set, allowing bass players to sculpt their tone with precision. Key features include:

– Level: Sets the overall output volume of the pedal.

– Blend: Blends the dry signal with the cab-emulated signal, offering seamless integration of the pedal into any setup.

– Presence: Controls the dynamics of the high upper-mids, crucial for shaping drive tones.

– Drive: Introduces low-gain distortions and classic rock sounds into the clean tone.

– Treble, Middle, and Bass: Provides a 3-band EQ with frequency selectors for bass (40Hz – 80Hz) and mids (500Hz – 1KHz), offering ample control over tonal shaping.

– Middle Shift and Bass Shift: Allows for further fine-tuning of midrange and bass frequencies.

– Ground Lift: Helps eliminate ground loop noise in certain setups.

– DI Attenuation Switch: Adjusts the level of the DI output signal.

– LED Light Switch Control: Allows users to customize the ambient lighting of the pedal.

Performance:

True to its inspiration, the Joyo Tidal Wave excels in delivering classic rock tones and low-gain distortions reminiscent of the tech21 SansAmp. Whether you’re seeking gritty overdriven sounds or pristine clean tones, the Tidal Wave offers unparalleled flexibility and sonic versatility. The inclusion of a headphone out, XLR DI out with cab simulation, and throughout for the original bass sound make the Tidal Wave a versatile tool for both stage and studio applications. From practicing silently with headphones to crafting quality recordings in an ampless setup, the Tidal Wave delivers on all fronts with clarity, definition, and unmistakable character.

Pros:

The Tidal Wave boasts an array of advantages that set it apart from its direct competitors:

– Headphone Out: Transforms the pedal into a convenient practice tool.

– Size and Weight: Compact and lightweight design for easy transportation and setup.

– Rugged Construction: Durable build quality ensures longevity and reliability.

– DI and CabSim: Offers professional-grade direct recording capabilities with authentic cab simulation.

– Familiar Tones: Faithfully replicates the classic rock sounds of the tech21 SansAmp.

Cons:

While the Tidal Wave excels in many aspects, it does have a few drawbacks:

– Plastic Knobs: Knobs may feel less premium compared to pedals with metal controls.

– Cab Simulation Only on XLR Output: Limited cab simulation functionality may require additional routing for certain setups.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, the Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of classic rock tones from the 90s. With its faithful homage to the tech21 SansAmp, comprehensive control set, and modern conveniences like headphone out and XLR DI with cab simulation, the Tidal Wave offers bassists a versatile  tool for sculpting their sound with precision and finesse. Whether you’re seeking to replicate iconic tones from the past or forge new sonic territories, the Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp is sure to inspire creativity and elevate your playing to new heights.

Available online at Amazon.com

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Gear Reviews

Review: Joyo Scylla Compressor

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Review: Joyo Scylla Compressor

Joyo Scylla Compressor: When Quality meets Budget-Friendly

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

In the diverse landscape of effects pedals for bass guitar, finding a compressor that strikes the balance between performance, versatility, and affordability can often feel like a daunting task. 

However, amidst the sea of options, one pedal stood out as a true diamond in the rough – the Joyo Scylla compressor. Despite its wallet-friendly price tag, the Scylla boasts a great array of features and controls typically reserved for pedals with much higher costs. Let’s take a closer look at why the Joyo Scylla is turning heads and earning praise among bassists on a budget.

Specs: The Joyo Scylla compressor measures in at 109 * 72 * 48 mm and weighs a mere 234g, making it both compact and lightweight – perfect for gigs or studio sessions where space is at a premium. With a power consumption of just 100 mA and a working voltage of DC 9V, the Scylla is efficient and versatile, compatible with a wide range of pedalboard setups.

Controls: What sets the Scylla apart from its direct competitors is its comprehensive control set, offering bassists a good amount of flexibility in shaping their sound. With six knobs, the Scylla allows for a very precise adjustment of key parameters:

  • Input Gain: Adjusts the amount of signal being fed into the compressor.
  • Output Volume: Controls the makeup gain after compression, ensuring consistent output levels.
  • Compression Ratio: Unlike traditional compressor pedals with preset ratio options, the Scylla features a continuous knob, allowing for seamless adjustment from subtle compression to limiter-like effects.
  • Attack and Release: Determine how quickly the compression engages and releases, offering a range of tonal possibilities from punchy and aggressive to smooth and subtle.
  • Output Tone Control: A unique feature not commonly found in compressor pedals, the tone knob adjusts the coloration of the compressed signal, adding warmth or brightness to your bass tone.
  • LED Light Switch Control: Allows users to customize the ambient lighting of the pedal, adding a touch of visual flair to their setup.
  • Performance: In practice, the Joyo Scylla delivers where it matters most – in sound quality and performance. Whether you’re aiming for a tight, punchy bass sound or smooth, sustained notes, the Scylla excels in providing transparent compression that enhances your playing without sacrificing dynamics. The granular control offered by its knobs allows for precise tailoring of compression settings to suit a wide range of playing styles and musical genres.
  • Pros: The Scylla’s strengths lie in its granular control, versatility, and compact design. Its sturdy build quality and diminutive size make it a welcome addition to any pedalboard, occupying minimal real estate without compromising on functionality. However, perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Scylla is its price point. Despite offering professional-grade features, the Scylla remains accessible to bassists of all budgets.
  • Cons: While the Joyo Scylla excels in many areas, it’s not without its drawbacks. One notable omission is the lack of metering, which may pose a challenge for users seeking visual feedback on compression levels. Additionally, the plastic knobs, while functional, may feel somewhat less premium compared to other pedals. 
  • Conclusion: In conclusion, the Joyo Scylla compressor emerges as a great option in the world of budget-friendly effects pedals for bass guitar. Its comprehensive control set, transparent compression, and compact design make it a compelling choice for bassists seeking professional-grade performance without breaking the bank. From its intuitive interface to its thoughtful touches like the tone knob and customizable LED lighting, the Scylla delivers a level of versatility and functionality that belies its modest price tag. For bassists looking to elevate their tone without compromising on quality or affordability, the Joyo Scylla compressor is a clear standout.

For more information, visit online at joyoaudio.com/product/265.html

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Bass Videos

String Instrument Humidifiers

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String Instrument Humidifiers

String Instrument Humidifiers

After living in some very humid parts of the country for decades, we moved to a dryer, much sunnier location. As a result, I started noticing some fret sprout on my string instruments and recently did a video on fret sprout correction.

It occurred to me that I should take a more preventative approach to string instrument humidification. Of course, I turned to my instrument maintenance experts, Music Nomad Equipment Care, for a solution and they suggested their Humitar series. (Note: They sent two press samples and I purchased the remainder online.)

Join me as I look at these useful tools for keeping my string instruments in tip-top condition.

The Humitar series is available online at Music Nomad Equipment Care, as well as Amazon.com

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Bass Videos

Review: CrystalBright Rombo Picks

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Review: CrystalBright Rombo Picks

CrystalBright Rombo Picks

PR Sample

Playing bass with a pick is still a touchy subject in our community. I believe you should be able to use whatever you need to get your sound. Even though I mostly play with my fingers, I like to check out innovative new picks that might have something new to offer, sonically speaking.

Judith and Carlos from Rombo recently contacted me about a new material called CrystalBright that they have been researching for the last 12 months and offered to send some prototype picks. After trying them out, I put together this video with my findings.

For more info check out @rombopicks

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