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Luthier Spotlight – Devon From Devon Bass Guitars



Meet Luthier Devon From Devon Bass Guitars

How did you get your start in music?

Although I’ve been in music from a very young age, I got my first bass after my girlfriend in high school was grounded from going to the prom with me. So, what did I do with that extra cash? I bought a bass, of course. The girlfriend is long gone, but the bass never left me!

Are you still an active player?

Yes! I play bass mostly in church on a worship team. I find playing in a church very challenging as you need to learn new music within a week and then be prepared to learn more the following week. A lot of times you’re changing keys on the fly and have to work through compositional changes with every service — extreme flexibility is key!

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

While I built my first bass in 1993, I actually started building guitars as an independent study where I went to school at Carnegie Mellon University. All that really did was give me access to the wood shop. The real education came from a local Luthier who I called on the phone daily. Bless him for his patience because he’d talk me through the next steps on the guitar I was building step-by-step. When he was done, he got a chance to see the instrument and told me, “You know what kid? You’re a natural. You should consider doing this for a living!” From there I was hooked and couldn’t stop making musical instruments.

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

Except for the over-the-phone lessons from the local Luthier in Pittsburgh, I’m mainly self-taught; I suspect a lot of Luthiers are. We’re just innovative problem-solvers that simply figure out how to do things — they just happen to be musical instruments. Although I didn’t have a mentor, I wish I did. I’ve always admired and marveled at the work of Michael Tobias. I hope I could meet him someday to tell him that!

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

I select woods based off their aesthetic and tonal properties — and the most beautiful woods don’t always sound the best and the best-sounding woods aren’t the most beautiful. I really pride myself in obtaining some of the most rare and beautiful woods money can buy. This is a prominent feature of a lot of my basses. That’s why I’ve rarely covered wood with paint — I just think the natural beauty of the wood tells the whole story. Consequently, I always have to plan ahead with my wood. Some of the wood I purchase has to sit for at least 3 years before I can use it or it will warp or crack if used prematurely. I want to ensure that my basses are extremely stable and reliable for whoever will be playing them.

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How about pickups?

I’ve always used Bartolini pickups. I really like their warm tone and it’s a tone that I’ve become accustomed to. That said, I’d love to have my own Devon Pickups. Lately, I’ve been using other pickups from Nordstrand and Honey Badger. They have such different voicings than the Bartolini pickups and they’ve really opened up a new world of tonal options for my players.

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

Although I really don’t pursue endorsements of the rich-and-famous, there have been a few well-known players who’ve purchased my instruments throughout the years. As a policy, I don’t give away free instruments to famous players. I think it’s more of a testimony when well-known players are willing to lay down their own hard-earned cash for my bass because it’s something they want — not because they received for free.

More importantly, I love supporting players that love what they do and understand how a quality instrument can make a difference. Most of the players I sell basses to are folks that have already owned at least one of my instruments.

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

It all starts by listening to the person and asking all the right questions. Sometimes a bassist knows exactly what they want, other times they want help making decisions. Either way, my goal is to help them get the bass that most closely matches their expectations. One of my favorite parts is showing off some of the awesome woods from my stock and helping them envision how their completed instrument will look, feel and sound. Then I’ll often share photos of the build as it’s progressing. That said, it’s a very collaborative effort where the player gets to contribute to the final piece. However, the best part is watching my customers play their bass for the very first time. Nothing is as magical as that moment. It makes all the blood, sweat and tears worth it!

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

Some of the most unique features of my basses include the magnetically-fastened electronics and battery covers — it makes accessing them a literal snap. The other notable feature is the rounded edge on my fretboards. I dare say that my necks are among the most playable bass necks in the industry. You’ve just got to try one to know what I’m talking about!

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

They’re like your own children, how can I choose a favorite? But, if I had to choose a recent favorite, it’s a J5 Fretless that I completed with an exquisitely rare Thuya Burl top with matching pickup covers and knobs and an ebony fretboard. It plays like butter and has the most wonderful “Mwah” growl to it. Gives me shivers just thinking about it!

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

Don’t be afraid to say, “no.” You can’t be everything to everybody. Build instruments that you’d want to play yourself and you know that you’ll always believe in what you’re doing.

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

There’s no such thing as the perfect bass for all instances. Each bass has it’s own tonal personality and will be suitable for some occasions, but not others. That’s why you see very experienced bass players often have several instruments to choose from to match the occasion, venue or situation they’re playing in. The best thing a player can do is think through which combination of instruments will most closely match the repertoire of styles they’ll be playing. Often times this includes a variety of instruments with different pickup configurations, fretboard woods, scale lengths and number of strings. Most experienced, serious bass players have at least 6 basses.

What is biggest success for you and for your company?

As crazy as it sounds, I believe my bass building is a calling for me — to build beautiful works that God wants me to do. So, success to me is becoming who He intended for me to be — and in that, there’s a lot of fulfillment.

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Are you preparing something new?

I’m always thinking of new models and features. I’m driven by innovation and aesthetics. The hard part for me is to choose which one to focus on. Consequently, I believe that I can continue to push the models I currently have with further generations with some really cool innovations that will add some great brand differentiation.

What are your future plans?

Continue to build my digital capabilities in marketing my instruments; this is essential for a builder who doesn’t use a dealer network in the US.

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Bass CDs

New Album: Ben Mortiz, MORENO



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

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Gear News

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



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.

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Bass CDs

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



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

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



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 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



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

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