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Review – Gator Cases TSA/ATA Hardshell Case

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A review of the Gator Cases TSA/ATA Hardshell Case for bass guitars

Somewhere up there with picking up professional cat bathing, political discussions during Thanksgiving, and cleaning gutters in the fall, flying with an instrument is a tidal wave of stress and annoyance for the vast majority of musicians that nothing compares to. We have all seen the horror stories on social media of players arriving at their destination with a bass or guitar that looked like it got ran over by a car. The ensuing sadness, frustration, and grief understandable by any who have ever loved an instrument like a family member. So what is a musician to do?

Without spending thousands on a custom case that is a Sherman tank that weighs more than the instrument and will cost you hundreds to check due to weight issues….

In comes the Gator GTSA-GTRBASS TSA ATA Molded Bass Guitar Case, retailing at $149.99

Here are the stats:

  • ATA Molded Military Grade Polyethylene Outer-Shell
  • TSA Approved Locking Center Latch Ideal for Air Travel
  • Universal Fit EPS Protective Foam Interior Nest
  • Thick Black Plush Interior
  • Extended Reach Protective Neck Cradle
  • Ergo-grip Injection Molded Handle
  • Surface Mounted Impact Diversion Latch Housing & Red Release Trigger
  • Black Powder Coated Hardware and Continuous Valance

Interior Dimensions

  • Body Length: 21.20 “
  • Body Height: 2.60 “
  • Lower Bout Width: 13.63 “
  • Middle Bout Width: 13.63 “
  • Upper Bout Width: 13.63 “
  • Overall Length: 47.60 “

Exterior Dimensions

  • Exterior Length: 49.25 “
  • Exterior Width: 17.00 “
  • Exterior Height: 5.38 “
  • Exterior Weight: 16.00 pounds

Review:

Every product that I review here at Bass Musician Magazine that I receive for testing undergoes real world professional conditions and stress. So a flight case review would not be complete without an actual flight, as well as a tour. I received the case in October of 2016 and promptly went on a 9,000 mile 3 week US headlining tour with Felix Martin. I kept my J Ferro Denair Multi-Scale in it and prayed for the best.

1-Review – Gator Cases TSA:ATA Hardshell Case

So… how did it do?

Surprisingly, amazing for a $150 case, or a case of any price for that matter. Not only did the case handle the extra long 35.5 inch scale with ease, but it kept that bass scratch free the entire tour and on the way home from Los Angeles to Boston, MA.

2-Review – Gator Cases TSA:ATA Hardshell Case

The entire flight, my heart was in my throat hoping that the bass would be ok, only to find just a tiny scratch on the case, with the bass completely unscathed and even not too cold, even after a 6 hour cargo ride and 9000 miles on the road. Almost a month of constant road wear and abuse, and barely even a scratch on the case.

5-Review – Gator Cases TSA:ATA Hardshell Case

If I wanted to sell it now used, I could still ask close to retail price even after all of that and another 3 months at home in and out of cars for rehearsals in the New England winter.

Pros: 

  • The grip: 90% of hardshell cases, even great ones are harsh and start to cut into your palm. The Gators grip was designed by someone who finally understood this long held flaw in hard shell case design and designed a grip that is my favorite to date on a hardshell case.

4-Review – Gator Cases TSA:ATA Hardshell Case

  • Durability: The outer shell does a hell of a job on the road and survived with barely any scratches or blemishes even after some serious ass-kicking
  • Adaptability: I snuggly fit a 35.5 inch scale fanned fret bass, a 35″ scale 6 string bass and a 34″ scale 4 string p-bass into the case without any size issues. I was also able to fit 2 cables, a strap, an overdrive pedal, a 9-volt adapter as well as a Speakon cable into the case along with the bass with no issue fighting to close it
  • THE LOCKS: “You know what really grinds my gears?” Those little metal flippy locks on 90% of all hard shell cases. They suck and need to die. THE GATOR ONES KICK ASS!!! First off, all of them can be quickly opened and clipped shut using your feet even. No longer will you have a latch open and have to reopen the case to re-do the lock. So much #winning just for the locks alone.

3-Review – Gator Cases TSA:ATA Hardshell Case

Cons: 

For $149.99 there are NONE. Now, would you want to risk a $50,000 vintage 50’s p-bass in it on a shitty airline? Maybe not, but you shouldn’t be doing either of those things in any case in my opinion hahaha.

Summary:

For the price, it is more durable and protective than a ton of “boutique” and much higher priced cases. I felt safe checking my bass with it and I honestly think for its price range it’s a huge steal. Def snag one if you need to fly with a bass but are on a budget.

10/10 in its price range.

Purchase the Gator GTSA-GTRBASS TSA ATA Molded Bass Guitar Case

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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Gear

New Joe Dart Bass From Sterling By Music Man

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Sterling by Music Man introduces the Joe Dart Artist Series Bass (“Joe Dart”), named after and designed in collaboration with the celebrated Vulfpeck bassist.

Above photo credit: JORDAN THIBEAUX

This highly-anticipated model marks the debut of the Dart bass in the Sterling by Music Man lineup, paying homage to the Ernie Ball Music Man original that all funk players know and love. The bass embodies many of the original model’s distinctive features, from its iconic minimalist design to the passive electronics.

Joe Dart Artist Series Bass

The design process prioritized reliability, playability, and accessibility at the forefront. Constructed from the timeless Sterling body, the Dart features a slightly smaller neck profile, offering a clean tone within a comfortable package. The body is crafted from soft maple wood for clarity and warmth while the natural finish emphasizes the simple yet unique look.

Engineered for straightforward performance, this passive bass features a ceramic humbucking bridge pickup and a single ‘toaster’ knob for volume control. Reliable with a classic tone, it’s perfect for playing in the pocket. The Dart is strung with the all-new Ernie Ball Stainless Steel Flatwound Electric Bass Strings for the smoothest feel and a mellow sound.

Joe Dart Artist Series Bass

The Sterling by Music Man Joe Dart Bass is a special “Timed Edition” release, exclusively available for order on the Sterling by Music Man website for just one month. Each bass is made to order, with the window closing on May 31st and shipping starting in November. A dedicated countdown timer will indicate the remaining time for purchase on the product page. Additionally, the back of the headstock will be marked with a “2024 Crop” stamp to commemorate the harvest year for this special, one-of-a-kind release. 

The Joe Dart Bass is priced at $399.99 (MAP) and can be ordered globally at https://sterlingbymusicman.com/products/joe-dart. 

To learn more about Joe Dart, visit the official Vulfpeck artist site here https://www.vulfpeck.com/.


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