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Interview with Luthier Davide Cardone of Meridian Guitars by Alberto Rigoni

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Interview with Luthier Davide Cardone of Meridian Guitars by Alberto Rigoni-6

Interview with Luthier Davide Cardone of Meridian Guitars by Alberto Rigoni

I recently discovered some incredible basses by Italian Luthier Davide Cardone of Meridian Guitars. I was interested to learn more about his instruments so I asked him for an interview, which he accepted right away.

(AB) Ciao Davide, first of all thank you very much for this interview! Could you tell us when and how you started your style in bass making?

(DC) Hello Alberto, thank you and a greeting to your readers. My very first experience as a Luthier goes back to about 10 years ago, when I decided it was time to try and build a bass that would enclose all the features that I appreciated in high-end musical instruments that I had played until then. The experiment didn’t turn out so well; when I first tried to string the bass, the neck cracked and headstock fell off! But all good things need several failures before they become good things, don’t they? So, since that day I decided that, if I had to build my own instrument, I’d had to do it the way it should be done. That’s when I began studying anything that would come into my sight: manuals, articles, videos, forums, as well as instruments from other manufacturers. We have come a long way since then and I am proud to say that our instruments are having a great success and that we are constantly receiving orders from all around the world.

Interview with Luthier Davide Cardone of Meridian Guitars by Alberto Rigoni-5

(AB) Could you explain your approach to the design of the instruments?

(DC) Designing an instrument is not an easy task at all. You have to combine many different aspects, which are all equally important, like ergonomics, aesthetics, sound and balance. So, you see, it’s really a puzzle. The designing of our Aural II required 14 months of headaches and nights on the computer to harmoniously blend the characteristics I have mentioned above. But in the end our customers always appreciate the care we take in each step of our work, and that’s what makes us happy.

(AB) Where do you get all of your design ideas from?

(DC) We currently have three lines in production, in addition to a concept bass with a 22.5 inch scale. Each one of them has very different characteristics, in order to satisfy the needs of a vast number of musicians. Yet, all our basses share the same starting module, an essential geometric shape from which we develop the instrument in its complexity: the ellipse. Starting off from a module, an archetypical form, was taught to me during my art studies. Painting, sculpture and architecture make use of such method in exactly the same way.

Interview with Luthier Davide Cardone of Meridian Guitars by Alberto Rigoni-2

(AB) What could you tell us about the tone of your instruments? What about woods and electronics?

(DC) The sound is clearly one of the elements on which we work in an extremely detailed and, most of all, customized way. When a musician comes to us with his sound in mind, we spend hours talking about the details that will make a standard instrument his very own instrument. This is achieved by having the chance to choose from a wide choice of woods and pickups, as well as by installing customized electronics that will match the pickups we select. Preamps are made by my collaborator Franco Torti, who deals with all aspects of electronics. As for the wood, we always use stocks with 25, 30 or even 35 years of seasoning, and this – I guarantee – really makes a difference. What’s more, we generally use unconventional woods, which contribute to add unique sound subtleties to every instrument.

Interview with Luthier Davide Cardone of Meridian Guitars by Alberto Rigoni-3

(AB) What’s your opinion about the finishes used on the basses? Do they affect the sound?

(DC) Finishes are one of the most important things on an instrument because they have a double impact on the final product, both aesthetic and functional. A finish must be light so that it lets the wood vibrate, as well as resistant and elastic enough to go along with the wood’s movements. It wasn’t easy to find a finish that would enclose these characteristics. Many use nitrocellulose because it allows the wood to vibrate, but then they apply 25 hands on the body to get a nice glossy look… and that literally suffocates the wood and its vibrations! I think it’s about time to get away from the sixties and from the way instruments were built back then. There are new materials now, and technologies, that are far more efficient and valid.

(AB) Is there something you would like to tell to our readers?

(DC) Well, first of all I’d like to thank everyone who has read this interview up to here! If you find our story interesting I’d like to encourage you to try something different from the usual three or four brands everybody knows. The world is full of talented Luthiers with brilliant ideas that build fine instruments, and I sincerely hope that, among these, you’ll come and try out one of our basses someday… because I’m pretty sure you only need to try them once to fall in love with Meridian. See you!

Visit online at meridianguitars.com

Interview with Luthier Davide Cardone of Meridian Guitars by Alberto Rigoni-4

 

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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 @zonguitars @shukerbassguitars @bite.guitars @adamovicbasses @mayonesguitars @bassbros.uk @capursoguitars @overwaterbasses @saitiasguitars @ramabass.ok

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New Gear: Elrick Bass Guitars Headless Series

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New Gear: Elrick Bass Guitars Headless Series

New from Elrick Bass Guitars, Headless Series added to Custom Lineup…

Elrick Bass Guitars is excited to announce the addition of a headless option on hand-carved series bass guitars. Initially previewed on the 2023 Gold Series SLC MkII bass of prolific solo bass practitioner and educator Steve Lawson, a headless bass option is now available to all. According the Elrick, “The excitement surrounding Steve’s MkII SLC bass at 2024 NAMM confirmed that the time is right to add a headless option to our extensive range of custom options.” To date, Elrick instruments have only been offered with traditional headstock construction but, in response to market demand, custom features will now include a headless option in 4-, 5- and 6-string models.

Headless bass guitars share these features with the traditional headstock series:

24 frets + zero fret
exotic wood top
hand-rubbed oil finish
2-way adjustable truss rod
custom Bartolini pickups
custom Bartolini 3-band preamp
fully shielded control cavity
Hipshot bridge
Dunlop Straploks
Elrick Fundamental strings

The headless option can now be selected when submitting custom order requests via the form on elrick.com, contacting the Elrick Sales Office directly, or working with your favorite Elrick dealer.

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Gear News

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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