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Bass Musician Magazine’s Year of the Luthier – Marco Cortes, Marco Bass Guitars




Meet Marco Cortes of Marco Bass Guitars…

How did you get your start in music?

I started to take acoustic guitar lessons when I was 16 but after a year or smy church needed a bass player and I switched instruments from guitar to bass.

Are you still an active player?

Yes, I continue to play bass. It’s for sure one of my passions, and especially with my type of work. I play it every day, one way or another.



How did you get started as a Luthier? When did you build your first bass? 

When I started to play bass, I didn’t have money to buy a good one. I was about 17 when I decided to build a bass for myself..


How did you learn the art of woodworking/Luthier? Who would you consider a Mentor? 

I pretty much learned by myself. I went through several magazines, books and had to do a lot of trials and errors. In Brazil, at that time, the resources were very scarce. It was very difficult to buy tools, and I had to rely on some woodworking shops for the initial cuts. I had to do a lot of the work manually, with very few tools, which also forced me to learn how to make my own tools and develop the whole process literally from scratch. At some point, I was making everything – not only the woodworking part, but also the hardware – tuners, bridges – and that’s how I started to make my own pickups too.

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

Usually, I select the wood by weight, species and sound. I buy it already pre-dried and finalize the drying process in my shop, kind of seasoning the wood for my specs. But I have fun in doing so. I live in an area that has beautiful types of wood, and every time I go to the suppliers, I select them personally, already envisioning the next instrument.


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

I make my own pickups, which helps me, since I can play with them and have a greater variety of tones.

I have used all kinds of brands in the past – EMG, Bartolini, DiMarzio, but since it was too expensive and very difficult to buy them in Brazil, when I started making basses, I had to learn to develop and make my own pickups. I guess that the difficulties at the beginning of my career forced me to learn all kinds of trades in this profession, including making pickups.

Regarding the preamps, I have also used most of the ones in the market, but recently I have been using more Noll Preamp because they are very clean, not very voiced. Because I use my own pickups, I can develop my own tones for the basses. I don’t want an overly voiced preamp as to not clash with the unique sound of my pickups, but, I am always trying out different preamps.



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

The very first one was Nico Assuncao, one of the greatest bassist in Brazil, a true legend, and Claudio Beltrami, also in Brazil.

Here in the America, one of the very first ones was Abraham Laboriel.

I’m very blessed to have a great variety of talented musicians that play with my basses, like Matt Kirkwood, Chuck Jacobs, Dwayne Mono Neon, Ariel Garcia, Chris Mercedes, Todde Funk, Nick G, Pepe Bao, Claus Nauer Reher-Langberg, Caleb Gonzales, etc., just to name a few. There are so many good players and I truly appreciate all of them for their artistry.


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

First of all, I listen to the artist; he or she needs to be the first one to be in love with the bass, otherwise, they won’t play it. So, I try to get all the details, tones, preferences, etc., and from there, we go together in this building process, which is a partnership.

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

One thing that always concerns me the most is the action – and my basses have a really good action, but also my pickups – they are pretty unique.

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

I think my favorite one is usually the most recent I build.

But, there is a specific model, called VD (Victory Day), which is a model that I’ve put my heart and soul on it, meaning that it incorporates the best of the best that I have learned about the art of building basses all these years… all the aspects of the best characteristics from wood selection to the architecture of the construction of the blanks, how to position them with the right combination of each wood, to get the best reverberation, the best sound. Every single detail was meticulously thought through. I don’t even build them commercially, because they require a lot time and effort. I just use them to exercise and improve my techniques, and what I learn from these models, I apply in my other models, that are more commercial.

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

Yes, my advice is don’t build instruments for your own taste, but listen to the musicians and what they want. However, take some time to develop your own style, exercising your creativity.

marco-cortes-marco-bass-guitars-6What advice would you give a young musician trying to find his perfect bass?

First of all, you need to find a bass that will be an extension of your voice as an artist. Sometimes, people go just for the looks, the visual, but you need to feel the instrument, if the action is good, if it feels comfortable and can help you to become a better artist too.

What is biggest success for you and for your company?

My biggest success is building basses that everyone else in the entire world are building, which are the classic J and P basses models. Those are my forte. They are very successful and everyone that buys one of these bases, they always come back to buy a second or third bass.


Are you preparing something new, some new model or new design? 

I am always trying something new. I have that “craving” not only for continuing to improve my work, but also to continue to be creative. Right now, I am doing some basses, which are a variation of the J Bass model. I am also going back to making my own designs as well and I’m in the process of developing some signature basses for some musicians. I have an extensive line of instruments with single cuts and high-end models, however the market requires the more affordable ones.

What are your future plans?

I just want to continue to establish what I have already been doing but also having my instruments in the hands of more musicians. I also want to move forward with my line of electric guitars.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Just to thank all the musicians for all the support. I couldn’t do anything without them. In this journey of making basses, I am blessed for having made great friends. Most of my clients become friends and some I can even call part of my family too. It has been a great and rewarding ride. I enjoy what I do, but especially for being able to hang out and chat with great people from all over the world. I love what I do!

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Bass Videos

Interview With By the Thousands Bassist Adam Sullivan



Interview With By the Thousands Bassist Adam Sullivan

Bassist Adam Sullivan…

Hailing from Minnesota since 2012, By the Thousands has produced some serious Technical Metal/Deathcore music. Following their recent EP “The Decent”s release, I have the great opportunity to chat with bassist Adam Sullivan.

Join me as we hear about Adam’s musical Journey, his Influences, how he gets his sound, and the band’s plans for the future

Photo, Laura Baker

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IG &FB @bythethousands
YTB @BytheThousands

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Bass CDs

Album Review: Mark Egan, Cross Currents



Album Review: Mark Egan, Cross Currents

Mark Egan, Cross Currents…

It is exciting every time I get a new album from Mark Egan as he is such an amazingly versatile player and I never know what to expect (except for excellent artistry!) In his latest release, Mark has teamed up with Shawn Peyton on drums and Shane Theriot on guitar to bring us “Cross Currents”.

This collection of eleven tracks transports me to the Gulf Coast (New Orleans specifically). Mark’s fretless basses lay down a solid groove and lots of juicy solo work for this rootsy collection of funk, ambient, swamp-rock, second line, ballads, Cajun and even Indian Raga.

This trio is super-tight and the musicianship is flawless as each member has ample opportunity to shine. Even though each player is very talented in their own right, I feel that the collective energy is greater than just the sum of the players on this album. Each musician contributed to composing music for this project but the lion’s share are Mark’s original pieces.

I spent the summer of 1981 in New Orleans and this wonderful music takes me back to those fond memories. I participated in a wacky raft race on Lake Ponchatrain and this opening track elicits images of fun, sunshine, music, and great food.

This is another superb album that everyone will enjoy. Get your copy today! Cross Currents is available online at Visit Mark online at

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Gear Reviews

Review: Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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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 @cb_basses @alesvychodilbasses @odiengcustom @ramabass.ok @mauriziouberbasses @mgbassguitars @capursoguitars @thebassplace @adamovicbasses @ishguitars

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Bass CDs

New Project: NEMESIS CALL Announce “Kingdom of Shred” Album



New Project: NEMESIS CALL Announce "Kingdom of Shred" Album

ALBERTO RIGONI’s New Project NEMESIS CALL Announce “Kingdom of Shred” Album, Feat. Super Talented Guests Such as Mike Terrana, Alexandra Zerner + Many Others

Worldwide known Italian bassist and composer ALBERTO RIGONI (soloist, BAD As, Kim Bingham, Vivaldi Metal Project, etc.) announces the new album “Kingdom of Shred” of his new project NEMESIS CALL. 

Alberto says: 
“Even if my latest album “Unexpected Lullabies”, dedicated to my newborn Vittoria Parini Rigoni, was released on June 4th 2024, I felt the need to compose new music (yes, I really can’t stop!). This time will be quite challenging because I’m willing to release an instrumental shred/prog/rock/metal/melodic album, that will feature many talented top-notch musicians such as drummer Mike Terrana, Alexandra Zerner, Alexandra Lioness, Aanika Pai (11 years old!), Keiji by Zero (19 years old!), SAKI and many others TBA/TBC). It won’t be easy to manage all such great musicians but I will make it! Are you ready to face a new prog experience? The album will be released in Digipack CD and in high-quality digital format approximately at the beginning of 2025 or maybe for Christmas!.”

As an independent artist, Alberto Rigoni has launched a fundraising campaign to support the project. Support at 20% of the income will be donated to Lega del Filo d’Oro (, an Italian association that helps deaf and blind children!

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