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Bass Musician Magazine’s Year of the Luthier – George and Marcel Furlanetto

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George-Marcel

Interview with Luthiers George and Marcel Furlanetto, F Bass –

F Bass – Past, Present and Future…

KG: George, F Bass has been around for many years. How and when did you get started?

GF: A friend introduced me to guitar when I was 16; that was 1967, right in the middle of guitar-centred, rock music era. I loved it instantly, learning from the instructional Ventures records. Throw into that mix my interest in improving things, and I started tinkering with guitars. I think I have to credit my parents’ inherited genes; my dad was a very good artist and craftsperson, as well as being able to repair almost anything, and my mom had a fabulous, natural singing voice.

In 1969 I started doing guitar repairs in a well-established, local music store. By a stroke of luck (mine), their repairperson had been AWOL for two weeks. In 1976 I opened my own repair business and built my first electric guitar that year. The first electric bass build came in 1978.

Gage Park Hamilton 1980

George in Gage Park, 1980

KG: Marcel, when did you join your father’s business and what prompted you to do so? What would you say your role is at F Bass right now?

MF: While growing up I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by all facets of music, but it was gear itself that really drew my attention. I was fascinated with the construction of guitars & basses, their history/origin, the tonal variation between wood species, strings, hardware, and many other components. It was actually a little embarrassing how excited I got over wood…there’s a better way to put that…but I haven’t found it yet. At the age of 16 my father guided me through my first proper guitar and bass builds, it was at this point that he allowed me to get my hands dirty with F Basses. I started off on knob duty (yup, those are handmade as well) and graduated to various stages of production before delving into business studies. After snagging a couple of diplomas in Business by 2010, I turned my full attention to F Bass Artist Relations, Customer Support, Marketing, R&D, Sales, etc.

BN6 100 year old underwater Redwood with matching pickups and ramp

KG: Who are some of the artists you have worked with in the past and how would you they have helped to shape F Bass?

GF: It started out with a few local bassists until a mutual friend in Montreal introduced me to UZEB in 1982. I first built synth loaded guitars for Michel Cusson, the guitarist in the band, then in 1983 I convinced Alain to play a 5-string rather than the 32-fret 4-string he was playing. The relationship blossomed as he and I had similar tastes in bass and tone. He is very analytical in all aspects of his music and instrumentation, so he helped in the development of his signature fretless model as well as his fretted. As a highly respected and visible artist in the bass community, he helped immensely in the sale of basses from that time on.

Alain-Caron-Original

The other prominent artists at that time were, Marcus Miller, Tom Hamilton of AEROSMTH, Mike Porcaro of TOTO, and Myron Dove of SANTANA

MF: We’ve worked with a handful of artists from local instructors to players touring the globe relentlessly. They’ve all contributed to the F Bass design, influenced sales, and of course shaped the overall feel of the “company”, which feels more like a massive family.

F Bass has been well known in the Jazz world for decades, though we’ve been expanding into so many genres/sub-genres/sub-sub genres with the help of several talented artists joining us in recent years. To name a few: Joe Cleveland (Rita Ora, Nick Jonas), Michael League (Snarky Puppy), Charles Spearin (Broken Social Scene, Do Make Say Think, Feist), and Ryan Stasik (Umphrey’s McGee).

KG: How has the industry changed for Luthiers over the recent years?

GF: The Internet has brought a lot of knowledge of guitar (and bass) construction to the forefront, as well as educating the buying customer, that is resulting in the proliferation of individual bass builders. So competition has stiffened, but the buyer has a wider awareness of the product and what they really want in a bass.

MF: There have always been a slew of badass Luthiers out there and it’s great to see Social Media outlets offering platforms for everyone to share their work. The community seems to be growing faster than ever and it’s fantastic to see so many pockets within our niche market being filled. Everyone is pushing each other slightly outside of their comfort zones and it’s amounting to so many fresh ideas coming to fruition.

black-and-white-ceruse

KG: How would you guide a first-time buyer in purchasing their first F Bass or handmade bass? What questions should they ask themselves?

GF & MF: To shorten the process and turn it into a more positive one, we suggest speaking to a manufacturer/Luthier about your desired tone. They’ll be able to recommend wood and construction combos and gear you towards suitable models.

Once you’ve got a model/specs in your crosshairs, it’s recommended that you try the instrument out in person, if possible. If the bass sounds great unplugged, then you know you’re off to a great start. Make sure to test through a fairly transparent amp with the EQ set flat. Note: you’d be amazed at how much different strings and a proper set up can tweak your tone!

BN5-tops

KG: Can you talk in general terms about the different choices in wood and how they affect tone? For body? Neck? Fingerboard?

MF: All wood used in our instruments is carefully selected and has to meet several criteria (size, weight, density, moisture content, overall quality, and aesthetics) before entering our shop doors. The standard 2pc Northern Ash or Swamp Ash body and 3pc quarter-sawn Maple necks offer the perfect canvas for painting varying tones. Ash lends itself well to a big/tight bottom end with clear high-end presence. Our 3-piece, quarter-sawn Hard Canadian Maple necks and fingerboards bring in rich mids that cut through a mix and offer great stability, top-end clarity, and a snappy attack. Depending on the desired outcome, the tone can then be coloured through varying construction methods and/or by substituting different wood species.

Some examples:

  • Alder body or body wings add lows and low mids
    – 1 piece body over 2 or 3 pc adds resonance
  • -Rosewood fingerboard rounds off the highs with an overall darker/warmer tone
  • Macassar Ebony fingerboards tighten up the low end and add compression…this paired with its quick attack bodes well for chords and quick runs
  • Dense exotic wood top (like Macassar Ebony or Ziricote) adds compression and amounts to a more focused tone

…This list is quite extensive as we offer nearly 20 different species of wood. Contacting us to discuss the tone of your bass is strongly suggested…we’re always here to help.

redwood twins facebook

KG: For those of us who care about aesthetics, what are some of the options we have in making our bass a better representation of who we are as artists and musicians?

MF: Wood combos aren’t only great for attaining a player’s voice, but for aesthetics as well. We have an abundance of neat fingerboard, pickup shell, and top wood options in addition to a library of finishes. The finishes range anywhere from transparent colours with enhanced grain, opaque vintage Fender pastels, both traditional and vertically faded bursts…we’ve even had an Elvis/Madonna/MJ airbrush job come through. Oh, did I mention fingerboard inlays or wooden pickguards? The list goes on and if you haven’t seen it from F Bass, chances are our production team (Chadd, Dan, George, Jon, Paul, Rich, and Sarah) can make it happen.

KG: F Bass has been a long time exhibitor at the annual NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show in California. How does it, and other trade shows, help a small bass manufacturing company like F Bass?

GF: NAMM is a very good arena to display our basses to those that have not seen them before, and to show any new developments that we’ve made. It’s also an excellent networking environment for meeting and collaborating with artists, manufacturers, and suppliers of bass components and sharing in the camaraderie of other bass Luthiers.

namm8

KG: While you’re based out of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, I was surprised to see a full page of authorized dealers and retailers on your website. How many countries are you in now?

MF: We’re proud to have over 30 dealers in 17 different countries carrying F Basses. While in depth phone calls and emails are always fun and helpful, there’s nothing like trying the real thing in person.

KG: Tell us about the BASS CAMP you’re running this year.

MF: A little blurb from our website if you will:

We’ve teamed up with our friends at Markbass, LaBella, and Long & McQuade to support the 2nd annual ‘Ultimate Bass Camp’ featuring F Bass artists Alain Caron and Hadrien Feraud.

The week-long camp will be held at the world renowned Orford Arts Centre in Mont Orford, Quebec, Canada, from August 15 to 20, 2016. A few of us from F Bass will also join in to host clinics on live sound & wood/bass construction in addition to the artist clinics.

Between lessons, evening artist performances, and impromptu kickball should the mood strike…bassists will have free rein on our jam room loaded with F Basses, Markbass amps, and oodles of our favourite pedals.

The camp is open to all ages and skill levels, and two groups will be made to ensure everyone takes away as much as possible from the clinics. Details on pricing/registry can be found on our website at www.fbass.com

Redwood-Spalted-BigGuy

KG: George, you’re still having fun and playing with your buddies. Tell us a bit about your band and how long you’ve been playing together.

GF: I happened to fall into a band where the two requirements were that you needed to be Italian and have a mortgage; the latter showed stability and longevity. I have been with them for 33 years. We all get along, including the wives. We all have gone on vacation together (eleven of us), which seems logistically impossible. It’s a fun band as we get to play a huge variety of music, from polkas and waltzes, R&B, Latin, Portuguese, Jazz standards, dance, etc. and I get to try/test my basses live. We all have become incredibly good friends

KG: Where would you like to see F Bass in the future?

GF & MF: As an ongoing strong entity in the bass community, where bassists would look to for their ultimate instrument. As a forward-looking company that constantly evolves in small, secure increments with new ideas and materials.

Visit online:

 Burled Maple Made in Canada

 

 

 

Bass CDs

New Album: Ben Mortiz, MORENO

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New Album: Ben Mortiz, MORENO

The Chilean bassist, producer and sociologist, Ben Mortiz, celebrates the launch of his latest studio work, “MORENO” an album that mixes jazz, soul, and funk following the characteristic Latin style of  Mortiz. The artist completely produced the album under the label “Fallen Lab Records” in the south of Chile.

“MORENO” brings deep and smooth sounds, expressing a sophisticated and elegant Latin vibe. You will find meditative harmonies and joyful melodic voices. The record’s core is the human vibration that Mortiz feels from the Latin American music. The Caribbean rhythms and strong Latin percussions are the musical glue in every song that emerges with the force of the electric bass.

“MORENO” creates a real connection between corporal reactions and mind sensations, always in reference to the originality of Mortiz to fuse modern and classic Latin sounds.

For more information, visit online at danielbenmortiz.com/

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Gear News

New Gear: Phil Jones Bass X2C Dual Compressor/Effects Loop

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New Gear: Phil Jones Bass X2C Duel Compressor/Effects Loop

Step Into X2C With Phil Jones Bass Dual Compressor/Effects Loop…

Phil Jones Bass latest pedal innovation is the X2C Dual Compressor with Dual Effects Loop for performance and recording. The X2C incorporates advanced compressor circuit technology and provides comprehensive tone control with a dual crossover feature which divides the signal into frequency bands ranging from 100Hz to 500Hz, ensuring exceptional clarity and dynamics in tone refinement. 

With insert jacks on each band, the X2C unlocks limitless creativity, enabling players to use various FX pedals for custom tone sculpting. Additionally, it functions as an electronic crossover, ideal for driving high-performance, 2-way bass rigs.

PJB’s Dual-Band compression design is more flexible than standard single-band compressors and provides a more natural and transparent sound. It also provides greater control over shaping and managing dynamics where standard compressors affect the entire frequency spectrum of an audio signal.  

PJB’s dual compressor enables the player to shape specific frequency ranges of an audio signal which allows for compressing the low frequencies while preserving the high frequencies, or vice-versa. Treating the low-end with a dedicated band also allows for heavy compression without affecting the midrange frequencies, which carry the attack of the sound. 

Effects can be plugged into the insert jacks on the X2C and controlled separately. As an example, the lows can be adjusted separately for an overdrive pedal while the highs can be controlled for a chorus. 

Dividing the audio spectrum into fundamental frequencies and harmonics is also effective in the enrichment of slapping techniques. The low frequencies can be compressed without changing the dynamics of the “slap”. By controlling the low frequencies and focusing the attack on the slap the amplifier will sound louder while avoiding overloading of the amp or speakers. The low band can be compressed without the harmonics being affected. In addition, the send jacks can go to different amplifiers/speakers for a bi-amplification set up.

Compact and potent, the X2C embodies studio-grade excellence, setting a new standard for dynamic processing in an uncompromising, portable pedal. The street price is $359.99.

Visit online at www.pjbworld.com

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Bass CDs

New Album: CATTANEO, Tim Lefebvre, Andrea Lombardini, Hypersphere

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New Album: CATTANEO, Tim Lefebvre, Andrea Lombardini, Hypersphere

CATTANEO, TIM LEFEBVRE AND ANDREA LOMBARDINI PRESENT ‘HYPERSPHERE’ EP
The members of Buñuel, David Bowie’s band and a prominent electronic artist are united and have releases their first collaborative release via Freecom Hub.

Hypersphere is an EP created by CATTANEOTim Lefebvre and Andrea Lombardini. Following their conceptual milestone, a dream team of bass players and multi-instrumentalists created fragments of music, coexisting and complementing each other individually and altogether. Having been playing with CATTANEO since 2016, Andrea Lombardini describes the process of their work as “strong musical connection”. Starting with the fully improvised set featuring drum-machine and pedal effects. “Some of Paolo’s keyboards are homemade and he has very unique sounds” – explains Andrea. Getting Tim Lefebvre to produce the EP, the duo simultaneously started another vehicle of their collaboration.

Moving their work organically, three extraordinary musicians managed to reach an almost-perfect balance between sounds of guitar and bass with electronic instruments. Morphing together, numerous guitar riffs, loops of synthesizers. Dominating electronic sounds get united with a rock take, depicting dark moods and ethereal landscapes. All these elements work in tandem to create something new each time.

Order Hypersprehere here.

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Bass Events

Milt Hinton Institute for Bass Summer Camp in New Jersey

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Milt Hinton Institute for Bass sSummer Camp in New Jersey

Milt Hinton Institute for Bass Summer Camp in New Jersey…

The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) will host the Milt Hinton Institute for Studio Bass, an exceptional summer music education program for teens, in residence at Montclair State University, in July 2024. Unique among music camps, the Hinton Institute is designed to support intermediate and advanced bass players ages 14 through 18, for a week of expert classes, performances, ensemble work, studio sessions, lectures, workshops and more. The camp will run from July 14 through July 20, 2024Registration is open December 16, 2023, through  June 7, 2024for more information on applying to the Milt Hinton Institute, please visit njpac.org/hinton. Student musicians will be required to submit a video of themselves playing two performance pieces during the application process. Need-based tuition scholarships are available.

Peter Dominguez, acclaimed bassist and Professor of Double Bass and Jazz Studies at University of Wisconsin–Madison, will serve as the Institute’s Artistic Director.  An extraordinary faculty of professionals from the music world — including Rufus Reid, Ben Williams, Luis Perdomo, Jeremy Smith, Sam Suggs, Martin Wind, Marcus McLaurine, Bill Moring, Mimi Jones, Emma Dayhuff, Diana Gannett, and Bill Crow — will  focus camp instruction on bass performance techniques and ensemble playing in a range of musical genres including classical, Latin and jazz. 

The camp is named for Milt Hinton (1910-2000) a prolific jazz bassist, studio musician and photographer whose career intersected with many of the greatest musicians of the 20th century. The Institute has been held biennially since 2014. It joined forces with the Arts Center this season in part to draw a larger faculty of professional bass players from among the many musicians living and working in the New York City area. Notable guest artists from the region are expected to visit with campers as well.    

“We’re very pleased to have this program be part of the larger vision of NJPAC and its extensive Arts Education offerings. The work being done by the Arts Center has a significant social impact” said David G. Berger, a lifelong friend of Hinton’s, whose Berger Family Foundation helped support the camp.  “That would have been extremely attractive to Milt. He wanted everybody to be involved with music — old and young, men and women, all colors, all creeds. Long before it was popular, that’s the way he lived his life — he welcomed everyone.”

“I grew up in the jazz festival business, and there was no one whose artistry matched his heart  better than Milt Hinton,” said John Schreiber, President and CEO of NJPAC. “He was a brilliant bassist and he also was a brilliant human being. He was the heartbeat of any band he played in and he exuded a kindness that to me exemplified the spirit of jazz.”

Known as “the dean of jazz bassists,” Hinton played with jazz greats from the early 1930s on, performing with Jabbo Smith, Eddie South, Cab Calloway, Ethel Waters, Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, Erroll Garner, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan and many others. Hinton also recorded with pop superstars including Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra, Sam Cooke, Barbra Streisand, Paul McCartney, Bette Midler and Willie Nelson. Hinton also toured extensively, and in 1993, he was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Fellowship. He was also well known for his photography, through which he documented seven decades of jazz history. Hinton was renowned for his willingness to mentor young players; a scholarship program in his name was established by his friends and admirers on his 70th birthday. After Hinton’s passing, the Institute was conceived as a way to continue his work in supporting younger bass players. “Two of Milt’s favorite words — ‘cohesiveness’ and ‘sharing’ — are at the core of this week-long Institute that brings together emerging bassists who often are the singular players in their own community and school ensembles,” said Artistic Director Dominguez, (whose own career was advanced when he became one of the first winners of a Hinton Scholarship Competition  in 1981).  “To be a bass player is often to focus not on being a soloist, but on musical collaboration — making other musicians in an ensemble sound better. Bass players are the soul of ensemble playing, and to develop these young souls through arts education programming at NJPAC is both an honor for us and an important responsibility,” said David Rodriguez, NJPAC’s Executive Producer and Executive Vice President — and himself a well-known professional bass player.

The camp will be housed on the campus of Montclair State University in Montclair, where students will live, study and have the opportunity to take part in multiple performances. “Bringing the prestigious Milt Hinton Institute for Studio Bass to the campus of Montclair State University marks an exciting chapter for the College of the Arts, reinforcing our commitment to providing exceptional opportunities for young musicians,” said Daniel Gurskis, Dean of the College of the Arts. “With NJPAC as our partner, we look forward to creating an environment where passion meets skill, fostering a new generation of accomplished and versatile bassists. We are confident that the Institute will become a beacon, attracting talent from diverse backgrounds who are the future of bass music.”

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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 @astluthier @bqwbassguitar @foderaguitars @ramabass.ok @s.martyn_custom_basses @anacondabasses @capursoguitars @sireusaofficial @atelierz1988 @doctorbassburgos

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