Connect with us

Gear Reviews

Interview with Lior Koren of LK Straps



Interview with Lior Koren of LK Straps

Get to know Lior Koren of LK Straps…

I am always on the hunt for new and interesting pedals, amps, books, and accessories. Recently I saw a picture of a spray-painted bass strap that looked fantastic and I wanted to find out more about it.

The straps are created, one of a kind, in Brooklyn, and I tracked down the owner of LK Straps, Lior Koren, and asked him if he would send me a strap to review. I received it and was very impressed! It was both easy on the eyes and easy on the back. Created with repurposed leather, it is soft and durable.

Interview with Lior Koren of LK Straps-2

I sat down with the owner and here is a brief interview of that meeting.

What got you interested in creating straps?

When I was 17 years old, I bought a 1979 Fender Precision bass that weighed almost 13 lbs. It sounded incredible but was way too heavy for me to play with on stage. My grandfather used to work in leather so having a few old leather scraps laying around wasn’t uncommon.

I took two pieces and glued them together the best I could to create a makeshift strap. The second I wore it with my bass I was shocked to see how it completely took the weight out of my bass, allowing me to play the instrument comfortably. 

A few days later at a local rehearsal studio, I ran into a bass player friend of mine and he saw the strap I made and said to me, “Cool strap! where did you get it”? I replied that I actually made it myself, so he asked me to make him one and that’s how it all began.

What is repurposed leather and where do you find it?

To repurpose something is to take material from an item and reuse it to create something new. I get my leather only from secondhand goods, such as old couches, chairs, and vintage clothing. My leather is never sourced directly from tanneries or other leather manufacturers. 

Do you have different widths and lengths? 

Yes absolutely. LK Straps is a 100% custom made leather strap company. Every customer has absolute freedom to customize their strap to match their instrument, choosing the length, width, color of the thread, and color of the LK logo, thus giving every strap a complete one-of-a-kind look; If you can imagine it, I can make it happen.

You have an interesting roster of artists endorsing your straps… what do you attribute it to?

I am truly grateful for every single person that decides to be part of our beautiful and growing LK Straps family. I’d like to believe that the wide variety of artists who endorse LK Straps do so because of my unique ability to provide such an individualized product that feels like an extension of their instrument and self, which creates room for every artist to truly feel connected to the brand.

Each strap is 100% custom-made and personalized, and I work with every musician to design exactly what they’re looking for in a strap, both aesthetically and in feel. Additionally, building a personal relationship with each person I make a strap for is a top priority. I feel that the warm, considerate, and welcoming treatment given to every person upon beginning their ordering process to receiving their strap is definitely something that draws so many different kinds of people to LK Straps.

You have a variety of designs… could you tell us about them and how you do them?

I have a variety of designs but I feel my two signature looks are the Distressed series and the Spray Paint series. As an artist, I’m intrigued and fascinated by color combinations, different textures, and I am always looking for ways to improve and stretch the limits of creation. To me, making a strap is making art. Every strap is completely hand-made and customized for every artist, so naturally, each strap is unique and different, from the type of leather and color combination to the size, shape, and feel.

Finding the perfect match for each customer’s instrument is truly a privilege. Some artists have really unique instruments and creating a strap for them always keeps me on my toes. What really makes things interesting is that you can mix and blend between different designs, which unleashes endless possibilities for strap designs. 

When you go to my website, you’ll find a few different categories:

  • Solid Colors 
  • Solid colors with paint splatter 
  • Distressed series
  • Spray Paint series 
  • Artist models
  • Quarantine series
  • Limited Edition series

The Solid Colors Series offers a wide variety of solid color options from the more traditional colors like black, brown and white, to more popping colors like green, blue, orange, red, teal, yellow, silver and many more.

The Solid colors with paint splatter offer a solid color of your choosing topped with a beautiful and soft color splatter. I find that this series works best for artists who want a little “pop” to their strap. It’s amazing what a difference a few splashes of paint can make!  

The Distressed series is one of the most desired models I offer. Like I said before, all the leather I use is repurposed leather, which mainly comes from 30+ year old couches. It’s truly fascinating to strip a couch and see how every piece of leather looks and feels different from the other. The back part of the couch is almost always in perfect condition, with no wear, scratches, or dents on it. The sides usually have some light signs of use, and depending on the age and use of the couch itself, the cushions (where people sit and lay down) have the most distressed look. A couch can tell a lot about its owner.

The Spray Paint series is where things get real crazy! Talk about unique – the options are absolutely limitless. In this series, you can choose any color combination you dream of and I will make it fit your instrument like nothing you’ve ever seen. I usually ask the artist to send me a picture of their instrument and a picture of them playing live. Working with paint is very personal and I feel that because of that, every strap contains the energy and vibe of its owner. Mixing colors and seeing how every strap comes out slightly different from the next never stops to amaze me. One artist can ask for a blue, yellow, gold and black color combination and the other blue, yellow, gold, black and pink and those straps won’t even be close to looking alike.

Finding the perfect strap can be difficult sometimes and is always a dialogue between the artist and myself. It’s a beautiful process, where we inspire each other to create the vision we both see.

The Artist models: Endorsed artists, that usually own a number of straps, have the option of creating their own Artist Model, Like Michael League from Snarky Puppy, Tim Lefebvre, Eric Fortaleza, Richard Bona, Felix Pastorius and many more.

Quarantine series: This series was my wife’s brilliant idea. Leah has a beautiful and unique perspective into the world of colors, which is extremely useful.  Like most artists, sometimes I get stuck with a vision I’m trying to translate into a strap design, and in those moments, having another set of eyes can really be helpful. We came up with the names with her siblings and started to work.

The beautiful thing about this series is the unique names of the straps like “Orange You Glad I washed My Hands?” and ” Not Just The Flu Blue”, as well as the more affordable price tag on these straps during the pandemic. We’re hoping this has brought a little laughter and financial ease to our dear customers.

The Limited Edition series: Most of the leather colors I get are traditional like black, and all shades of brown, but every now and then I run across unique leather colors and textures that usually were created by many years of use, a thing that you simply cannot replicate by any means. This is where the Limited Edition comes in, getting a truly one of a kind strap with texture and color you will never see anywhere else.  

What makes these LK Straps so comfortable?

There are many things that make my straps comfortable the way they are, but I think the main thing is the quality and accurate combination of the leather I’m using.

I’ve been working for a long time to find the perfect formula that delivers a slick and unique look that feels sturdy but also soft as butter on your shoulders. Unfortunately, I find that most artists really underestimate the importance and essence of having a good solid strap. I’ve talked to the biggest bass players in the world that perform every single night and when asking them, “So how do you like your strap? Is it comfortable?”, most of them answer that they either hate their strap and that it gives them a terrible backache or sometimes they just admit to never really caring about it and that’s absurd to me.

People invest a lot of money in expensive instruments and when it comes to a strap, some of them are oblivious to the fact that their nylon strap causes them damage every time they wear it. After trying my straps, the most common reaction is the disbelief of how light-weight their instrument feels now. Having the right balance is essential and critical for every musician of every age.

When you get a leather strap, it usually feels stiff and it takes a few years of sweat and frequently performing with it, bending, molding and shaping it to fit you perfectly, My straps give you the “broken in” feeling the second you wear them. Once you try LK Straps, you simply can’t wear anything else. 

On your website, you say that you have played all over the world. Can you share some of your credits?

I’ve been a professional bass player for about 15 years. and am originally from Israel, which is where my music career started. I’ve been living in the US for the past 8 years touring with various groups around the country.

Some well-known Israeli artists who I’ve played with include Dudu Tassa, A-WA, Shiri Maimon, Mosh Ben-Ari and many others. I also write and perform my original music under my stage name, LyO. Currently, I am mixing my second EP called “Terms Of Conditions”, stay tuned for the release date.

I am thrilled with LK Straps and can recommend them highly to anyone interested in a custom, one of a kind strap. 

Two things… you can go to the website and pick out any of the straps that Lior has available or you can have him make one to your exact specifications and colors. 

One of my basses has DR Pink Neon strings on it and I want a spray-painted strap with a neon pink format. I will be interested in seeing what Lior comes up with.

Visit online at

David C Gross has been the bassist for a lot of folks. He has written 14 bass books and 3 instructional videos, hosts “The Notes From An Artist Radio Show” on Monday nights 8 PM EDT, and the “Notes From An Artist” podcast available on iTunes, Spotify and all podcast platforms.

NFAA brings you behind the scenes with individuals who forged a timeless musical canon – spanning rock, jazz, funk, blues, folk, country, and permutations thereof. Listen to stories and anecdotes hitherto untold and relive more than a few chronicles that have become lore with a fresh vision. It’s the soundtrack of our lives. Celebrate the past, live in the present, and anticipate the future – take Notes From An Artist

You can contact David @ for more information regarding his online lessons and world-renown correspondence course.

Gear Reviews

Review Transcript: BITE Custom Bass – The Black Knight PP Bass



Review - BITE Custom Bass - The Black Knight PP Bass

This is a written transcript of our video review of the BITE Custom Bass Black Knight PP Bass originally published on March 4, 2024

BITE Custom Bass – The Black Knight PP Bass Review…

Bass Musician Magazine did a review on a Steampunk bass from BITE Guitars about three years ago, it was an amazing instrument, and we were very impressed. Now we’re happy to bring you another BITE bass, the Black Knight PP.

Everybody needs a P-type bass, it’s the standard of bass. If you’re recording, they want you to have a P bass. So why not have something that gives you a little more by having two instead of one P pickup. That’s the idea of this bass, it’s the first thing that leaps out: the double P pickup configuration.

Installing two of their 1000 millivolt split-coil pickups, BITE then went one step further and wired them up in a 4-way parallel/series circuit, a look at the controls reveal a 4-way rotary selector:

The first position, marked “B”, gives you the bridge pickup by itself.

The second position, marked “P”, gives you the bridge and neck pickups in parallel mode, that’s the traditional J-type circuit, it reduces output due to the physical law of parallel circuits.

Position number 3 is marked “N”, it gives you the neck pickup by itself.

And finally, number 4, marked “S”, gives your bridge and neck in a series (humbucking) mode which adds up resistances and thus boosts output. The other two controls are master volume and master tone.

What’s more, like every BITE bass, this one also has a reinforced headstock heel designed to give it extra output and sustain. The BITE website features a graph and explanation of what they have done to the heel, as compared to traditional headstocks.

A look at the body reveals a beautiful Black Blast body finish and underneath that we have alder wood. The bass has a matching headstock with a 4-in-line tuner setup and the traditional bite out of it, so everybody will know what kind of bass you’re playing. The pickguard is 3-ply black, the neck is vintage tinted hard maple and it has a satin speed finish at the back which keeps your thumb from sticking.

On top of that, there’s a clear-coated roasted black locust fretboard with black blocks marking the frets. The nut is a black Graph Tec nut, we’ve got diamond dome control knobs, and the tuners are lightweight compacts with cloverleaf buttons and a 1:17 ratio precision gear. The bridge is a Gotoh brass bridge with 19-millimeter string spacing.

Overall measurements: we’ve got a standard 34″ scale, a 1.65″ width nut and a C neck profile. This bass weighs 8.2 pounds, or 3,7 kilograms for our metric friends, and it uses standard 18% nickel silver frets.

Taking a closer look at the sound, this bass is a joy to play. The BITE proprietary 1000 millivolt pickups deliver an extraordinary amount of output which is surprising considering this is a passive instrument. You may even want to set your amp to active mode because of all of the juice you’re getting out of this guy.

The tonal possibilities are very versatile, it’s a straight P if you want but also much more with those different arrangements of the circuitry. So why have multiple basses when you’ve got one that can give you your basic P plus a lot more?

To sum it up, the Black Knight PP is an amazing instrument. The attention to detail that BITE puts into their basses is second to none. This bass is also amazingly balanced and gorgeous to hold and feel with the satin neck finish.

For more information, visit online at

Continue Reading

Bass Videos

Reviews: Phil Jones Bass Compact Plus 450 and Bass Engine 17



Reviews Phil Jones Bass Compact Plus 450 and Bass Engine 17

Phil Jones Bass Compact Plus 450 and Bass Engine 17 Reviews…

In this issue, we take an in-depth look at two new amps from Phil Jones Bass, the Compact Plus 450 and Bass Engine 17.

For more information, visit online at

Continue Reading

Bass Videos

Video Review: BITE Custom Bass – The Black Knight PP Bass



Review - BITE Custom Bass - The Black Knight PP Bass

BITE Custom Bass – The Black Knight PP Bass Review…

I am sure many of you saw my review of the Snobby Steampunk Bass from BITE Guitars back in February of 2021 and will remember what a remarkable bass it was. BITE has been building custom basses since 2019 and has a unique custom approach where you can configure your bass to your specs.

I am very excited to have another Bass From BITE Guitars in my hands, The Black Knight PP Bass! 

The need for a P-Bass in one’s armamentarium is pretty standard for bass players and I recall chatting about this with Marty O’Brien about a year ago. It turns out that Marty and BITE Guitars got together and came up with this excellent configuration that gives you a P-Bass with a whole lot more.  Marty even played his own Black Knight PP bass at the 2024 NAMM show. You can see his review here.

Join me as I take an in-depth look at this very cool instrument and share all the details.

Here is The Black Knight Bass from BITE Guitars!

For more information, visit online at

Continue Reading

Gear Reviews

Gear Review: Origin Effects Cali76 Compact Bass



Gear Review: Origin Effects Cali76 Compact Bass

Origin Effects Cali76 Compact Bass Review…

Throughout the evolution of music, bass players have sought tools to sculpt and enhance their sonic landscapes, and one indispensable ally in this pursuit has been compression. Origin Effects, a name synonymous with premium audio craftsmanship, introduces the Cali76 Compact Bass Compressor, a pedal that pays homage to the legacy of compression and brings forth a new chapter in bass sonic mastery.

As we delve into the world of the Cali76 Compact Bass Compressor, we’ll explore how Origin Effects seamlessly weaves together the heritage of compression and contemporary bass demands, promising a pedal that not only honors the past but propels your bass playing into the future. Join us on this sonic expedition as we dissect the nuances of the Cali76 Compact and uncover the secrets it holds for bass players seeking the perfect blend of vintage warmth and modern versatility.

For Starters, the Cali76 is a studio-grade FET compressor pedal, based on the classic Urei 1176, but with some features optimized for bass guitar. For those of you who are not familiar with it, a FET (Field Effect Transistor) compressor is essentially a solid-state tube compressor emulation that allows for fast and precise control over the attack and the release parameters; allows for extreme compression ratios; and finally adds the typical 1176 color and character to the sound.

Together with the common controls we see in most compressor pedals – Ratio, Attack/Release, input (just like the original 1176, the threshold in this pedal is fixed), and output (makeup gain). The Cali76 offers two more controls dedicated to us bass players.

A Dry control – This allows us to mix in our dry, uncompressed signal to the pedal output. This is great for when we want to add back some of our playing dynamics to the compressed sound or for when you want some volume back in situations where the compression starts taking away the volume.

A High Pass Filter control – Low frequencies on a bass guitar signal normally overwhelm compressors. This high pass filter allows the compressor to only react to higher frequencies, which helps preserve the natural dynamics of our playing while keeping the low end intact.

Metering on this pedal can be a bit hard to get used to at first. There’s a single LED light on the pedal, that not only serves as an On/Off light, but it’s also our meter. It glows red when no compression is applied and orange for active compression. The brighter the light, the greater the amount of gain reduction. Yellow signifies that the gain reduction reached 27dB and maximum reduction occurs around 38 dB.

In practical terms, it’s all about working with the input and the LED to find the sweet spot (turn the input to zero, start playing and slowly increase the input level until you start seeing the LED glowing orange, which means there’s reduction going on).

With 6 highly interactive knob controls, this pedal implies some degree of compressor knowledge and also some amount of tweaking and experimentation to find the perfect settings. The good news is that it is very hard to make this pedal sound bad…

It can go from very subtle compression settings to very extreme, and it can do everything in between. Also, the team at Origin has been kind enough to add a couple of sample settings in the manual to get players started and to help us understand better how the pedal works.

Origin Effects Cali76 Compact Bass

Dynamic Control is a setting that provides natural compression, balancing dynamics between various playing techniques. It is a subtle compression that will work almost out of the box almost all the time. Having a medium setting for the High Pass Filter ensures an honest translation of the lower string dynamics.

Origin Effects Cali76 Compact Bass

Parallel compression is a popular studio technique, where both compressed and natural signals are blended. We get the sound and feel of hard compression while retaining the natural playing dynamics.

Origin Effects Cali76 Compact Bass

Percussive, lively & Fat is a setting that uses a slower attack time to accentuate the start of any note. Then using a fast release allows the compressor to recover between notes so that the phrases sound more percussive. Ideal for slapping and other percussive techniques.

Finally, I would like to mention the classic 1176 tonal coloration. It’s not a secret that engineers all around would sometimes use the 1176 compressor, without applying any compression, just to get the tonal coloration into the instrument sound.

And the Cali76 compressor is no different, it has such a rich, warm, and full coloration that’s super pleasing to the ear and makes you want to have it ON all the time. So be aware, that if you want a transparent compressor, this pedal is not for you!

All in all, it is easy to understand why this pedal became a favorite of so many bass players around the world. The Cali76 Compact stands as a testament to the meticulous craftsmanship and thoughtful engineering that Origin Effects is renowned for. It seamlessly navigates through the rich history of compression, offering bass players a gateway to the soulful resonance of the past while empowering them to sculpt a contemporary sonic future.

Whether you’re a seasoned bass maestro or a budding virtuoso, the Cali76 Compact invites you to embark on a sonic journey where every note is held in a delicate balance between tradition and innovation. As we bid farewell to our exploration, we do so with the realization that the Cali76 Compact is more than just a pedal; it’s a sonic companion that elevates the artistry of bass playing

For more information, visit online at

Continue Reading

Gear Reviews

Spector NS Ethos HP 4 Bass Review



Spector NS Ethos HP 4 Bass Review

Spector NS Ethos HP 4 Bass Review…

Not long ago, I did a review of the Spector NS Dimension HP 5 Bass and I have just been given the honor and privilege of reviewing the Spector NS Ethos HP 4 Bass. I have to say, another great bass from Spector that is hard to put down! While there are some similarities between both basses, there are also some noticeable differences which is why I believe having both is essential to any bass arsenal.

Spector, widely used by many rock and metal bassists like Ian Hill, Alex Webster, Colin Edwin, Doug Wimbish, and many more, just to name a few, has a long-standing in these genres. Well, that’s about to change! The bass I used for the review, didn’t see any of those genres, matter of fact, I used it on a few classic country gigs and at church too! However, when at home in the studio, I let the funk out. The NS Ethos HP 4 Bass is an all-around great bass for any genre and will not disappoint.

Let’s get into the specs about the bass, and here we will find the differences between the HP 5 Bass and the HP 4.

Forget that one is a 5 string, while the other is a 4, while that is a difference, that’s not one that I feel needs to be noted as both models are available as 4 and 5 strings. The Spector NS Ethos HP 4 Bass has a 34” scale, 24 fret, 3 piece maple neck through construction with solid alder wings, ebony fingerboard along with centered and side dots and the 12th fret Spector logo inlay with a brass nut.

While the pickups are different as the NS Dimension HP 5 Bass uses the EMG 45DC and the NS Ethos HP 4 Bass sports the EMG 35DC pickups, they are the same pickup configurations, the difference being, one for 4 string, the other for 5 string. The electronics are the same, consisting of a Darkglass Tone Capsule preamp which consists of +-12dB @70Hz for Bass, +-12dB @500Hz for Mids, and +-12dB @2.8kHz for Hi Mids. Controls for Spector NS Dimension HP 5 Bass consist of Master Volume, Blend, Bass, Mid, and Hi Mid controls. The electronics are powered by a 9-volt battery.

The bridge is a Hi-Mass locking bridge with intonation screws and the tuners are sealed die-cast. All hardware is black. Same as the Spector NS Dimension HP 5 Bass, the HP 4 Bass is available in 4 different finishes, White Sparkle Gloss, Gunmetal Gloss, Plum Crazy Gloss & Black Gloss. The bass also comes with a very nice and well-padded gig bag.

Check out the Spector NS Ethos HP 4 Bass at a Spector Music Retailer today near you or visit online at

Continue Reading