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Bass Musician Magazine’s Year of the Luthier – Pat Campolattano, Designer / Luthier at Yamaha



Bass Musician Magazine’s Year of the Luthier – Pat Campolattano, Designer / Luthier at Yamaha…

How did you get your start in music?

One of my earliest memories is getting my first instrument from my Dad. It was a baritone ukulele that he brought home hidden in a black trash bag. I could see my dad walking around the corner into the garage holding the neck through the bag, and when he pulled it out of the bag my eyes lit up like a slot machine. I banged around on it as a kid and it was a great way for me to show off and goof around. I did not take it seriously at the time, but I had a lot of fun, and my parents always encouraged me to learn to play an instrument.

Fast forward to the end of 8th grade. When a friend of mine got a guitar I thought it was the coolest thing ever, and I wanted to join the club, so I asked for a guitar as my graduation gift from middle school. My mother said I would only get a guitar if I took lessons – she wanted me to take it seriously – so I agreed and was taken to our local music shop called Banko’s. It’s one of those shops that is a dying breed. I love it, and consider it to be the “dive bar” of local independent music shops. My mom of course asked for the cheapest guitar in stock, in case I lost interest, so I got my knock-off guitar and a little amp, and that was the end my friend. Bent on proving my folks wrong, I started my first lesson the next day. My teacher Eric Breymeier was a Berklee grad, and he got me hooked. By the end of Freshman year of high school, I was dead set that I wanted to study music in college.

My parents agreed that I should keep playing, but still study hard, in case it didn’t work out. I was determined. I played through high school with friends at parties and in our basements, like everyone else. Also, my grandfather played mandolin and guitar a bit, so we would noodle some tunes together, and he taught me how to maintain the instrument. I participated in a few Berklee summer guitar programs, and I knew that was where I wanted to be, so I continued taking lessons every week until I was accepted. I eventually got my degree from Berklee as a Guitar Performance major.

Abe Laboriel TRBX

Abe Laboriel TRBX

Are you still an active player?

I still play and practice every day, but I have dedicated myself to being a Luthier. I save all my ideas and riffs for projects, and hope to work on them in the future. I jam with friends and play every day at work, which is pretty satisfying. The reason I got into this business was for my love of playing, so I will never give it up. Currently I am just focused on trying to be a master in one thing, instead of a jack of all trades.



How did you get started as a Luthier? Who would you consider a Mentor?

As a kid, I knew my grandfather had made some instruments, and we had a guitar of his in the house, but I didn’t pay much mention to it. We ended up spending a lot of time together throughout my childhood and he became my greatest mentor. He was a machinist and gunsmith by trade and had a workshop in his home. With a milling machine, lathe and every tool and cool contraption imaginable, I would sit and watch him work all day in the summers. He gave me my first pocket knife and showed me how to whittle, and while he worked I would tinker on my own little project next to him. At about 12, He let me use the Bridgeport and help out a bit. I eventually learned how to carve stocks, mill metals and do some oil finishing. I didn’t realize at the time the importance of what I was learning – I just enjoyed hanging out. In the process, he taught me most of the essential skills I use today. It was after watching him that I knew I wanted to carry on the tradition of working with my hands. I believe musical instruments are a peaceful avenue and also something that he loved.

After I graduated Berklee, I knew that I wanted to make guitars and work on gear. I was one of the bigger gear nerds at school, so I did setups and fixed some instruments for classmates and teachers throughout my time there. It was a passion of mine, just as much as the playing was. I was determined to learn how to play to my best ability, but I also wanted to know how to make a guitar and learn about how it ticks as well. So I moved from Boston to Los Angeles to take the Guitar Craft course from Musicians Institute. I needed to prove to myself that I knew what I was doing, and the course was a way to confirm that I had absorbed everything my grandfather taught me during my childhood.

Two weeks after leaving Musicians Institute, I got my chance to stretch out my wings working with two other guitar companies before finding my way to Yamaha in 2013.

I have great respect for all of the luthiers who preceded me at Yamaha, and consider them all mentors by virtue of exposure to some of their instruments in the shop, and upholding them as standards to maintain. I have learned a lot from each one of their works, and am honored to be working at the Yamaha Custom Shop in Burbank. My position as designer/luthier allows me to interact directly with artists, dealers, consumers, experts and the R&D and Marketing teams both in Japan and the U.S.

How do you select the woods you choose to build with?

I strive to pick the best materials available for what I think will best suit the build. I always try to understand the sound in the artist’s head, and deliver that. I have used a wide range of materials, and aim for what I consider to be complimentary pieces. Each operation throughout the build uses a different formula, and each construction technique determines the sound produced. For instance, quarter sawn necks sound different than flat sawn, so if I were building a vintage inspired instrument I might choose flat sawn. If I’m trying to get the instrument to balance a certain way, I might pick a lightweight neck block and make the body a bit deeper so it fits the player better in a standing position.

I also like to calculate the total volume of each piece for accurate weight prediction and to ensure well informed choices. Like most, I try to use the most beautiful grained woods that are properly cured and stored correctly, but I am also a fan of the ugly wood theory. When pieces are mineral streaked, or have funky knots, (AKA getting Relic’d by nature) it adds character and some genuinely wonderful tonalities. It’s all about how you complete the craft. The wood is one element of this massive equation, and I don’t think we should waste pieces because they don’t meet the coffee table standard. Sometimes I want an instrument to reflect the raw feelings of the genre of music it will be used to play, so the wood is chosen specifically for that.

TRBX6 - John Patitucci-8

TRBX6 – John Patitucci

How about pickups? What pickups did you use in the past? What electronics do you use right now? 

Most of the pickups and preamps I use are requested by the artist. Everyone has a preference they are comfortable with, and it is my job to make sure that the instrument is tailored exactly to that. My predecessors here at the custom shop and coworkers in Japan have developed some amazing pickups and preamps that can be heard on countless records all around the globe, and our artists ask for those pickups and preamps regularly. Much of what we use here is identical to what you would find in stock BB/TRB/TRBX/Signature basses.

Occasionally our artists have pickup endorsements, so we work together with the manufacturer to find the right pickup and preamp that will work to suit their needs. I have had great success with pickups from Aguilar, Nordstrand, Lollar, and McNelly, but different projects call for different pickups. We have great relationships with a lot of these other pickup and preamp companies, and we really love working together with them on projects for our artists. Every company has its own unique character built into its products, and all of these folks are making excellent gear. Adding that character to some of the basses I have made has only been positive in my eyes.

Who were some of the first well-known musicians who started playing your basses? 

Let’s just say that I have been given the incredible, once in a lifetime opportunity to build custom instruments for what I would say are the some of the best bass players in the world. Yamaha’s bass guitar roster is the who’s who of the bass community.

How do you develop a signature or custom bass for an artist?

Everything I make at Yamaha is either a custom instrument for an artist or a production prototype. My first step is to spec it out as much as I can. I always begin crafting an instrument with the approach that I need to hear the sound as the artist wants to hear it. I drill down on the features they like and the look they desire, but then I work with them to make an instrument that will both look and sound great. We go through every slight detail, then I create 2D and 3D drawings/renderings to make sure that the artist agrees with the direction the instrument build is taking. Some players have very specific preferences, so it’s straightforward, but some are very open to suggestions and experimenting with new technology and techniques.

It helps for me to listen to their music in order to get a sense of their sound, as well as pay attention to playing and performing styles. Often times I make two or three instruments with slight variations so they have options, and we work together to adjust every last detail in the refinement process until the artist has an instrument that is a perfect fit. We will swap pickups, preamps, bodies, necks, hardware and even minute cosmetic details until they are completely satisfied.

What are a few things that you are proud about your instruments and that you would consider unique in your instruments?

I work alone here in the U.S. custom shop. I don’t have an assistant or anyone who makes guitars or basses alongside me, so completing every process from start to finish is a point of pride for me. I make every piece of the instrument that I can, and strive to make a custom build with each individual player’s needs in mind. I do the initial blueprints, design CAD models, program our small CNC, spray finishes, press in every fret and do the final assembly. Really, the only thing I don’t do is chop down the tree.

As far as features go, I think what most players really dig about my builds are the rolled edges of the fretboards, and my fretwork with round ends and hidden fret tangs. My goal is to make new instruments feel as though they have been molded to fit each player. Nothing you touch should have a sharp edge – it should feel comfortable and played in.

Which one of the basses that you built is your favorite one?

The 6 string semi hollow bass I made for John Patitucci probably tops it for me. Both Yamaha and John put their trust in me for that project, and I am eternally grateful to them for the opportunity.

That bass was the first I had ever made for John, and was also the first instrument of mine that made it to the cover of a magazine and an album cover. It has a special character to me, and to hear John play it is unlike any other experience I’ve had.

You can see and listen to the bass on John’s latest album, Brooklyn.

Can you give us a word of advice to young Luthiers who are just starting out?

Commit yourself to working diligently, don’t rush and respect your work. I dedicated my life to this craft, and wish for others to be passionate about it as well. It is hard work, but there’s an amazing reward if done right.



What advice would you give a young musician trying to find their perfect bass?

Finding your own sound is crucial. I spent many years playing and chasing down the perfect tone. I wanted to have every sound in my arsenal and every piece of gear, but I later realized the importance in defining a sound for myself. After spending years searching for the perfect instrument, I came to understand that there is no such thing as perfect. Having a great bass that plays well only takes you so far. Lower action will be easier to play, but the bass itself will not make you a better musician. I feel the most effective advice is to set aside more practice time and to bond with whatever instrument you presently have. Realizing who you are as a player, and sticking with it so you can focus more on improving your technique will help you grow. When it comes down to making music, nothing sounds better than being well versed.

The best example I can give is this: I can make Billy Sheehan the bass of his dreams and test it through his whole rig to ensure it sounds to spec, but I sound nothing like Billy. Once it’s in his hands, that is when the real sound comes to life. His dedication to playing is what makes his bass sound perfect!

What is the biggest success for you and for your company?

Yamaha just celebrated 129 years of making world class musical instruments and this year is the 50th anniversary of Yamaha Guitars in America, which is a huge accomplishment. I think Yamaha should also be proud that they are in everyone’s consciousness in the music industry. So many players love their Yamaha instruments, and I personally think that it is admirable to bring music into so many people’s lives in the way that the company has, and continues to do so.

Being a part of the Yamaha family, and having the opportunity to create instruments for artists is a success to me.

Are you preparing something new, some new model or new design? Or maybe some new gear amps, etc. 

Yes, there are many exciting things on the horizon. Yamaha is forever growing and improving, and we have some clever stuff in the works, but my lips are sealed.

You can learn more about Yamaha basses at:

What are your future plans?

I would like to write a column for a magazine or perhaps teach a class. I always wanted to write more about crafting instruments and to shine a spotlight on the community of craftspeople who really bring this art form to increasingly greater heights. Beyond that, I will continue to put my all into my work and improve on my crafting skills. I will be making guitars until I can no longer stand, and strive to do a better job with each successive instrument.

Is there anything else you would like to share that we have not included?

Yes. Support your local music store and your local music community. Without that, I probably would not have gotten so involved in music. Go to shows, and support your local musicians. To you it may not seem like much to see a band play at a bar, but to them it means the world, and in turn you help grow the next generation of talent that can turn around our industry.




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

View More Bass Gear News

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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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