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This Practice Amp Had Me Playing More Bass in 2022 (Without Infuriating the Neighbors)

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This Practice Amp Had Me Playing More Bass in 2022 (Without Infuriating the Neighbors)
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Confession time… Traditionally, I have never been the biggest fan of bass practice amps.

To me, there is nothing like plugging in and letting that 800-watt head push air around the room. That said, I do live in an urban neighborhood where there are houses all around me and I am not going to be that terrible person that keeps everyone up at night. I really needed to find a great alternative that would satisfy my need for sound, while keeping me in check with the neighbors – lol!

Back in June, you may remember how impressed I was with Spark MINI when I reviewed it. This mighty little piece of tech wizardry has so much potential that I have barely been able to begin exploring all the possibilities it has to offer. But it did EXACTLY what I needed it to do… now I can practice late into the night and not bother anyone. Better yet, I connect my headphones and I get amazing sound quality that almost makes me feel like I am in a studio or on the stage. And with the amount of settings and options, every time I plugin there is something new to discover, giving me that, ‘No way, I didn’t know this amp and smart app could _________!’

Positive Grid Spark Mini - Nov 2022

Recently, I acquired an entry-level bass that has good bones and a solid sound if you dial it in and leave it there.

When I plug this beauty into MINI, I have so many ways to alter my sound that this basic bass now has no limits. MINI gives countless sonic choices without needing additional pre-amps or pedals. This feature is perfect for those beginners who can’t afford more advanced gear so they can avoid getting discouraged by the limitations of the equipment they have at hand. In addition to the quality sound, the app offers so many learning tools that facilitate the process and motivates you to want to play more.

I have a nephew who is getting his first bass soon and I think this amp would be a perfect way to get started. As he digs technology, when he pairs the MINI with the smart app, he will have access to models of classic bass amps that he can tweak to his heart’s content; I know that he will be impressed with the range of possibilities, allowing for his musical expression.

The app also provides access to Positive Grid’s online ToneCloud® community, so he will always have the opportunity to check out tons of bass tones made by other users.

This Practice Amp Had Me Playing More Bass in 2022 (Without Infuriating the Neighbors)

One important consideration is that I have plans to travel next year.

You might remember that I recently got a Kapsule duo to protect my two favorite basses. You know that Spark MINI will be in the car so I won’t miss a beat while I am on the road. It hardly takes up any space and is so lightweight that traveling with it will be a breeze. I can play in my hotel room without getting tossed out for disturbing everybody there.

An added bonus… because I get hours on a charge with this battery-powered amp, I won’t even need to be near an outlet.

Check out one of my favorite on-the-road videos with bassist @aprilkae of MINI in action…

I am very impressed with all the features MINI has to offer and I just saw that they now have really cool custom grilles to make each amp even more personalized and fit in with anyone’s particular space and aesthetic. 

Spark Mini SKins

You can design them on Positive Grid’s Spark x You platform using a selection of colors and patterns, or you can upload your own artwork or photos.

…and this fun video was just released on personalizing your Spark!

This amp really has so much to offer and I am most excited about exploring more of these features in-depth in the coming years… Spark MINI is exactly the type of amp that grows with you.


For more information on Spark MINI,
visit online at positivegrid.com/products/spark-mini


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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 @zonguitars @shukerbassguitars @bite.guitars @adamovicbasses @mayonesguitars @bassbros.uk @capursoguitars @overwaterbasses @saitiasguitars @ramabass.ok

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Gear News

New Gear: Elrick Bass Guitars Headless Series

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New Gear: Elrick Bass Guitars Headless Series

New from Elrick Bass Guitars, Headless Series added to Custom Lineup…

Elrick Bass Guitars is excited to announce the addition of a headless option on hand-carved series bass guitars. Initially previewed on the 2023 Gold Series SLC MkII bass of prolific solo bass practitioner and educator Steve Lawson, a headless bass option is now available to all. According the Elrick, “The excitement surrounding Steve’s MkII SLC bass at 2024 NAMM confirmed that the time is right to add a headless option to our extensive range of custom options.” To date, Elrick instruments have only been offered with traditional headstock construction but, in response to market demand, custom features will now include a headless option in 4-, 5- and 6-string models.

Headless bass guitars share these features with the traditional headstock series:

24 frets + zero fret
exotic wood top
hand-rubbed oil finish
2-way adjustable truss rod
custom Bartolini pickups
custom Bartolini 3-band preamp
fully shielded control cavity
Hipshot bridge
Dunlop Straploks
Elrick Fundamental strings

The headless option can now be selected when submitting custom order requests via the form on elrick.com, contacting the Elrick Sales Office directly, or working with your favorite Elrick dealer.

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Gear News

Bruegel Masterpiece (1565) Inspires BITE Masterpiece (2023)

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Bruegel Masterpiece (1565) Inspires BITE Masterpiece (2023)

Bruegel Masterpiece (1565) Inspires BITE Masterpiece (2023)…

Flemish Master Pieter Bruegel the Elder probably had many things in mind when painting his Hunters in the Snow in oil on oak wood in 1565. This masterpiece tells plenty of little stories about winterly pastimes and precarious livelihoods in the Early Modern Age. What Bruegel presumably did not have in mind was that this painting would, several centuries later, become one of the most popular ones in fine arts globally, displayed in a permanent exhibition at Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Arts) Vienna. The painting’s popularity was lately taken to a different level as it was replicated by hand to design an exclusive BITE bass.

An international art collector and bass player who regularly visits Vienna to immerse himself in the wonderworld of Kunsthistorisches’ Bruegel Hall asked BITE to replicate the painting on a bass body. BITE Guitars, an Austrian premium manufacturer exporting most of their basses to the US, has become renowned for colorful artwork basses, offering a range of manual and digital techniques. The firm’s art director Peter, a trained scenic painter of Oscar and Palme d’Or rank, specializes in photo-realistic reproductions. He also painted the bass for Robbie Williams’ 2023 world tour by faithfully replicating Robbie’s own stage design onto the tour bass.

Peter copied the Bruegel motif onto the bass body in minute detail, little twigs even by one-hair-brush. Positioning the rectangular image section on the body shape proved to be a special challege that he met by repositioning little elements, a bird here, a horse and cart there.

It all came together in a memorable video shooting in front of the original painting in the Museum’s Bruegel Hall: venerable fine arts, premium handicraft and groovy jazz tunes.

View video at the museum: www.youtube.com/shorts/2evdqfR6gUE

What’s the conclusion of BITE’s client, our Vienna, art and bass lover? “It’s a magical bass! When I touch the strings, I feel warm inside.”

Specs highlights:
Bass model: BITE Evening Star, the proprietary BITE premium model with inward curved horns
Pickups: 2 x BITE 1000 millivolt passive split-coils (PP)
Neck: roasted maple neck and roasted flamed maple fretboard

Price tag incl. insured door-to-door express shipping:
New York: 4726 USD
London: 3645 GBP
Berlin: 4965 EUR

Full specs available at bite.guitars/old-master-bass/

Bruegel Hall at Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna: 
khm.at/en/visit/collections/picture-gallery/the-best-of-bruegel-only-in-vienna/

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Bass Videos

Interview With Bassist Ciara Moser

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Interview With Bassist Ciara Moser

Bassist Ciara Moser…

Ciara and I sat down for this interview a few months after the launch of her debut album, “Blind. So what?”

Blind since birth, she is a powerhouse of talent; she is not only a professional bassist, but also composes music, and is a producer and educator. I am just blown away by her talent and perseverance.

Join me as we hear about Ciara’s musical journey, the details of her album, how she gets her sound, and her plans for the future.

Visit online:

www.ciara-moser.com 
IG @ moserciara
FB @ ciara.moser

Photos by Manuela Haeussler

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Gear News

New Gear: Black Ice Boost and Distort, Battery-Free Modules for Bass and Guitar

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New Gear: Black Ice Boost and Distort, Battery-Free Modules for Bass and Guitar

Black Ice Boost and Distort, Battery-Free Modules for Bass and Guitar…

Black Ice Enterprises introduces Black Ice Boost and Black Ice Distort, small, battery-free devices that can be easily installed in a bass or guitar.

Black Ice Boost offers two selectable stages of up to 7 dB of boost, broadly concentrated in the midrange frequencies to add humbucker-like qualities to Strat®, Tele® and other types of single-coil pickups. Black Ice Distort is an overdrive module that can be configured to offer anything from slight overdrive to distortion. Both models are compatible with all passive guitar pickups and electronics (they’re not compatible with battery-powered active pickups).

Black Ice Boost (SRP: $119.95; MAP, $79.95) can be installed using several wiring options, including a simple “stealth” install that utilizes a single push-pull pot, and a dual-switch option that allows users to select between two different levels of boost. For those using the boost along with Black Ice Distort, a second push-pull pot or switch can be used to select a clean or distorted boost.

The Black Ice Boost module is approximately 2/3 the size of a 9-volt battery, and can be easily installed in most instruments with no routing or permanent modifications required. The tone of the instrument remains completely unaffected when the boost is bypassed.

In addition to use with popular single-coil pickups, Black Ice Boost can also be used with other pickup types. Use it to fatten up a P-90 style pickup, or add girth to a low-wind humbucker. Jazz Bass® players can use the additional midrange content provided by Black Ice Boost to produce a sound that’s reminiscent of a P-Bass® or soapbar-type pickup. Black Ice Boost is not recommended for use with high-output humbuckers and other dark-sounding pickups.

Black Ice Distort (SRP: $27.95; MAP, $21.95) is an overdrive module that can be configured for just a touch of grit, or a more aggressive grind, all the way to a 1960’s-flavored fuzz. While its battery-free circuit will never replace the more refined sound of a well-designed pedal, it provides handy, there-when-you-need-it access to a variety of fun old-school flavors, and is a great way to add additional textures to an already overdriven amp or pedal. Bass players will especially dig its raw dirty grind.

Like Black Ice Boost, the sugar-cube-sized Black Ice Distort provides a lifetime of tone with no maintenance or power source required. A variety of wiring options are included that let you activate the Distort via a switch or push-pull pot, or by easily converting your guitar’s tone control into a control for the Black Ice Distort circuit. It can be used in conjunction with the Black Ice Boost for a wide variety of useful tones.

Black Ice Boost and Black Ice Distort are now shipping.

Visit online at www.blackiceoverdrive.com

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