Basschat Double Bass Bash 2016

After a few failed attempts in previous years, this year, at the beginning of October, I was finally able to attend the annual Basschat upright bassists’ meetup, held in Risley near Derby, and what a fine day it was.

Basschat has a small but highly dedicated contingent of talented, experienced double bassists who don’t mind hauling their precious instruments to gigs up and down the country, and who gather every year at The Risley Park for a long-scale GAS-fest and a catch-up. Upright bass dabblers like me, absolute upright beginners, and bass guitarists curious to see what the fuss is all about are equally welcome. The room is spacious enough for several double basses, many electric uprights, some upmarket bass ukes, amplification rigs, and even a few interloping electric bass guitars (strictly for comparison purposes, of course…). Tea, coffee and a buffet lunch are included in the entry fee.

As well as trying, drooling over, and gassing after each other’s instruments and amplification, this year the group decided to concentrate on taking a closer look at bowing technique, mostly for the benefit of attending bowing newbies such as Happy Jack and myself. Guess what happened next: brand new bows and tubs of rosin have now joined our household. And that’s just because we already have a double bass and several uprights (but there’s always space for more, of course, even when there isn’t…). GAS, you say? I’ve no idea what you are talking about.

 

 

 

 

Owen explains the basics of bowing

Owen explains the basics of bowing

 

Happy Jack steps up to try bowing

Happy Jack steps up to try bowing for the first time

 

That's Owen's 5-stringer

That’s Owen’s 5-stringer

 

Organiser Bassace with his travel Kolstein

Organiser Bassace with his travel Kolstein

 

Organiser Owen with his Shuker

Co-0rganiser Owen with his Shuker

 

Yes, I know…

 

TheRev’s East German plywood DB and Eminence EUB

 

PhilB’s Strunal and rig

 

Happy Jack’s varied cohort, with Owen’s and Bassace’s DBs in the background

 

 

Yamaha Silent Bass SLB100, Rob Allen Mouse, Eminence, Clifton, Takamine TB10, KK Baby Bass, Thomann bass uke

 

 

 

Owen’s distinctively clothed 5-string DB

 

StingrayPete’s Gedo

 

Geoffbassist, StingrayPete1977, TheRev

Geoffbassist, StingrayPete and TheRev with his Eminence and DB

 

PhilB, Geoffbassist and TheRev

 

Happy Jack tries MrBassman’s Clifton

 

…and then his Yamaha Silent Bass, with PhilB scrutinising the proceedings

 

 

PhilB

 

Geoffbassist

Geoffbassist

 

Stingraypete and MrBassman

 

Happy Jack turns his back to the food table and tries Owen’s Howlett bass uke

 

Howlett 5-string bass uke

 

Happy Jack, SpondonBassed and SubsonicSimpleton

 

SubsonicSimpleton with Happy Jack’s Zeller

 

… and with the Eminence

 

Owen with the Rob Allen Mouse

Owen with MrBassman’s Mouse

 

 

SpondonBassed brought a fretless rig

SpondonBassed brought a fretless rig

 

Invicts59 with Happy Jack's Takamine TB10

Invicta59 with Happy Jack’s Takamine TB10, and MrBassman in the background

 

Number6

Number6 with the Takamine

 

… And with the near-twin Zeller

 

PhilB and TheRev

 

Invicta59, Andyjr1515, TheRev, Stingraypete

 

Bassace, Stingraypete, TheRev

 

TheRev, Bassace, Owen

 

Some more amplification contributing to the magic:

 

 

I must say I love that Bose L1 PA.

 

Having at least one Barefaced One 10 is now compulsory at any bass bash!

 

Right, I’m ready for next year’s bash with unabated GAS. Watch this space.  😉

 

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Basschat South East Bash 2016 – 10th Anniversary

This year’s South East Bash was the tenth event of its kind – the first having taken place in 2007 – and organisers Silverfoxnik, Hamster with wife Sarah, and OBBM made sure it was one to remember for all the right reasons.

It was held, as always, on the ground floor of the Jubilee School in Addlestone, and this time we had even more space to dedicate to setting up our gear than in previous years: two additional ‘quiet’ rooms had been opened to acoustic or ‘less loud’ rigs, while the customary Earth-shaking testing went on in the Hall, as in previous years. (I must say that there was surprising little slapping noise coming from there.) Drummer Paul of the Junkyard Dogs was again at his kit in the Jam Room, ready for some improv with those taking a break from relentless GAS. The Auditorium was exclusively reserved to talks and interviews with our star guests, while the Foyer was, as always, the business area with sections for our favourite Basschat-approved manufacturers and for Affiliate companies, plus a series of tables heaving with items for sale from the forum, and the table loaded with prizes for the 10th Anniversary Mega-Raffle.

The day was an absolute hoot from start to finish, and despite having a busy schedule, most of us managed to catch up with forum friends as well as attend the talks, and ogle other people’s rigs. The only negative was the failure to establish the planned skype connection with Stuart Spector, who was on holiday somewhere rural in the US. The call was supposed to be about the company‘s 40th anniversary, but technical issues meant it simply didn’t happen. Pity.

In the Foyer…

Andrew Needham of D’Addario UK – http://daddario.com/

 

The For Sale section - and John Bentley waiting to go on stage for his talk

The For Sale section – and John Bentley waiting to go on stage for his talk

 

 

TimAl with John 'Rhino' Edwards of Quo

TimAl with John ‘Rhino’ Edwards of Quo

 

A very busy Ian Robinson and the Wal corner

Luthier Ian Robinson, next to the Wal corner, was always very busy setting up basses and giving advice

 

GAS!!!

GAS!!!

 

OBBM's table of cable wonder

OBBM’s table of cable wonder – http://www.rock-wire.uk.com/

 

Alex of Barefaced talks amps and cabs with Dave Swift while waiting to go on stage for his talk

Alex of Barefaced talks amps and cabs with Dave Swift while waiting to go on stage for his talk

 

Rhino with Darren Redick of Planet Radio, and Alex and Dave in the background

Rhino with Darren Redick of Planet Rock, and Alex and Dave in the background

 

And yes, we also had the Wal corner, our Wall of Wals. Oh Lordy, the GAS…

General view without owners...

General view without owners…

 

... and general view with the lucky owners!

… and general view with the lucky owners!

 

Nik introduces John to Herbie

Nik introduces John to Herbie

 

 

MacDaddy, Herbie and that tuba

MacDaddy, Herbie and that tuba

 

 

The Auditorium – Talks

This year’s informative, intriguing and entertaining talks were courtesy of Alex Claber of Barefaced, John Bentley of Squeeze and Herbie Flowers of, er, just about everyone.

 

Alex Claber's talk was the one to attend if you're into mega-distortion

Alex Claber’s talk was the one to attend if you’re into mega-distortion

 

 

John Bentley’s tales of life on the road and his insight into his band’s famous basslines were unmissable.

 

John with Silverfoxnik

John with Silverfoxnik

 

With Happy Jack and Bottle

With Happy Jack and Bottle

 

 

 

These are some excerpts from the talk:

 

 

On-stage preparations for Herbie Flowers’ talk took quite a long time and suggested something special might well happen. We weren’t disappointed.

Hamster sets up the stage

Hamster sets up the stage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That's what all the preparations lead to!

That’s what all the preparations finally led to!

 

Yes, we have video:

 

 

 

 

With the help of the audience, Happy Jack interviewed Herbie for Bass Guitar Magazine.

 

 

Meanwhile, the main Hall and the small rooms were in use for testing and showing off rigs.

 

Darren Redick of Planet Rock

Darren Redick of Planet Rock

 

 

Paul the drummer was again busy in the Jam Room.

 

 

And then it was time for The Tenth Anniversary Mega-Raffle!

The first prize we a piece of Barefaced history – the first Big One Prototype, complete with certificate of authenticity.

 

That's one of TimAl's customised cab covers, by the way.

That’s one of TimAl’s customised cab covers, by the way.

 

All ready for the first number!

All ready for the first number!

 

Herbie picks the first winner

Herbie picks the first winner

 

It's NancyJohnson!

It’s NancyJohnson!

 

 

All those who bought tickets went home with at least one prize.

All those who bought tickets went home with at least one prize.

It was a very successful raffle – we raised a whopping £1005.72 to be shared between three charities: Cancer Research UKNordoff-Robbins and 4Sight.

Well, the day went really fast, as always, so I’m counting down to next year’s bash already. If you missed this one, do make sure you come along to the next! 🙂

 

Basschat Herts Bash 2016

If it’s the first week of June, then it’s got to be Herts Bassbash time! And again, organiser Mick The Greek – with help from Bassface2k10, Lozz196, Grangur’s wife Louisa and Sibob’s parents – did a sterling job. The ream created an excellent opportunity for us to meet up, ogle and try each other’s basses, amps and pedals, catch up with old friends and meet new ones, as well as attend the customary tests and talks, and also gathered an astonishing number of high-value prizes for one of the most successful Basschat raffles ever. All proceeds from ticket sales and the raffle go to the youth centre hosting the bash, Breaks Manor in Hatfield.

Breaks Manor, Hatfield

Breaks Manor, Hatfield

 

Bassface2k10 and Louisa

Bassface2k10 and Louisa in the kitchen/reception area

 

Bluejay

Let the photofest begin!

 

The Middle Hall was where the action started; Andrew of D’Addario had set up his mini-stall in a corner, and everyone else placed their rigs around him, until most of the space was taken.

 

D’Addario’s stand had strings for sale, two basses to try and lots of extra goodies; the company also offered three large raffle prizes and several small ones.

 

NYXL

Basschat favourites: the D’Addario NYXL bass strings!

 

 

Andrew and NickD

Andrew and NickD

 

Andrew & Nick

… aka The Battle of the Beards!

 

 

Andrew & Happy Jack

With Happy Jack

 

Andrew & Graham

With Graham Poulton

 

 

Andrew finds a moment to play bass too!

 

Truckstop tries the 5-stringer

 

… while Happy Jack plays the Jaguar 4

 

Grangur’s turn

 

The undeniable star of the show was Mick The Greek’s no-name bass, which was transformed from woodfire into a stylish, great-sounding bass by Andyjr1515 of AJR Guitar Modifications.

 

It’s the one in the middle, but the other two basses, also by Andy, are pretty damn cool too.

 

It doesn’t just look good from the front.

 

Ergonomic curve

 

Andy shows the bass to several admirers

 

Mick’s thank-you gift to Andy

 

Andy’s other small but perfectly formed ‘reclaimed’ bass, tested by Grangur

 

Meanwhile, nearby, Valentin of ForteVio was displaying his hand-made upright bass and cabs.

 

ForteVio

 

ForteVio cabs

 

 

Happy Jack tests the upright and amplification

 

Ordep and his other half Cynthia observe the shenanigans

 

In a rare moment away from reception duties, Bassface practices photography

 

 

 

 

Sibob’s basses

 

 

The Shuker!

 

 

Another star was Happy Jack’s Takamine TB10.

 

 

‘Yes, guys, it can be played like a bass guitar, not just as an upright’

 

MacDaddy, Billy Apple, the TB10 and Happy Jack

 

Happy Jack with Will and Doctor of the Bass

 

CamdenRob

 

Looks good in the display of beauties

 

TheStick with a Precision

 

After GASsing and socialising, we moved to the Main Hall for the much-anticipated DI/Pedal test with Lozz196 and Sibob.

 

The tools of the trade

 

 

 

The rig!

 

Lozz prepares the pedals

 

Sibob helps out

 

One of the pedals categorically refused to collaborate.

 

After the test, the audience was allowed to see and try the pedals.

 

Here is the recording of the entire test. Please note: the humming noise wasn’t added by the camera – it came from the PA system, and could be heard in the room as part of the test itself.

 

This is how Lozz summed up the shootout:

Ok, great day at the Herts bass Bash, and the Preamp/DI Pedal shooutout went as follows.

First off thanks to Gary Mac for letting me use his new Handbox 400 amp (with groovy lights), secondly thanks to Sibob for assisting on the technical side of the test. Given that each pedal had different features, such as sweepable mids, dedicated gain/no gain etc, I decided that I would play a few notes/lines with all settings at 12 o’clock (hoping that this was the flat setting for the pedals) then adding some highs, then reducing highs but adding some gain. Pedals tested were as listed below. After the test the audience had the opportunity to mark their fave for each setting, which will be listed alongside the pedals.

Aguilar Tonehammer – Clean 0, Highs 0, Gain 0
Sansamp Bass Driver – Clean 0, Highs 0, Gain 0
Zoom B3 (on Sansamp Bass Driver simulation) – Clean 2, Highs 0, Gain 0
Sansamp Parea Driver – Clean 0, Highs 0, Gain 1
Behringer BDI21 – Clean 0, Highs 1, Gain 0
Tech21 VT – Clean 0, Highs 0, Gain 3
MXR M80 – Clean 2, Highs 0, Gain 1
Zoom B3 (on MXR M80 simulation) – Clean 2, Highs 0, Gain 0
Sadowsky – Clean 3, Highs 0, Gain 0
Radial Tonebone – Clean 0, Highs 0, Gain 3

So, for cleans we have the Sadowsky in first place with the MXR M80, Zoom B3 MXR Simulation, and MXR Sansamp Simulation in joint second.

For highs we only had one preference, that being the Behringer, and as was explained to me by said voter, that’ because they weren’t too shrill.

And then for gain we have the Tech21 VT and the Radial Tonebone, very interesting as the Radial Tonebone had no added gain, that was its stock sound.

So overall impressions then – well the core sound of all of the pedals was very similar, only the Sadowsky and the Radial Tonebone offering any real difference, the Sadowsky being much warmer and richer sounding, and the Radial Tonebone, as we see, being a bit naturally gainier. But my main thoughts were I could get a good workable sound with any of them, and the Zoom B3 especially surprising me as the simulated sounds of both the Sansamp and the MXR were so near to the originals. Im sure with a bit of tweaking they could be made identical.

And yet again, in one of these shootouts I`ve managed to get zero scores for my own gear, namely the Aguilar Tonehammer and the Sansamp Bass Driver. Bah :angry:

 

 

The Main Hall was also where other Basschatters’ rigs had been placed, which meant more ogling and GASsing while we waited for Nick ‘Doctor of the Bass’ Smith’s talk.

 

That Stanley Clarke Alembic

 

 

Out goes the Alembic, in comes the Wal 6!

 

This is the very bass thart was reviewed in Bass Guitar Magazine

 

‘Lovely’

 

‘Hang on a minute, there are far too many strings on this bass, where’s the note I was looking for?’

 

‘Just stop being rude to my Wal!’ And in the meantime, Lozz enjoys playing the Moollon.

 

Billy Apple with the Moollon

 

Happy Jack and Lozz

 

Still underwhelmed by that high C string, Happy Jack compares the weight of the Wal to that of a SimS-equipped Jazz and finds them both rather heavy.

 

Next to CamdenRob’s Wal and Moollon, Bottle’s rig, and his P-bass with two strings!

 

An E and an A, apparently.

 

Truckstop and Happy Jack are intrigued.

 

Walking further towards the back of the Main Hall, there was Ordep’s rig.

 

Ordep, Cynthia and Happy Jack check out the pedalboard

 

 

There it is – pedalboard porn

 

Walking round the room we saw Jabba The Gut’s amazing array of hand-made basses that used to be doors, tables and what-not!

 

 

Not the Musicman, though

 

Nor the Status…

 

Jabba!

 

 

 

 

 

Closing the circle were fashionably dark-coloured basses, and Gary Mac’s weirdly decorated vintage P.

 

 

Noisyjon

 

Skinnyman’s Dingwall, and a lovely Bass Collection

 

The much-talked about Barefaced 1×10

 

Gary Mac’s P-bass

 

 

 

A vintage P-Bass is irresistible to Happy Jack

 

It was then time for Doctor of the Bass and his talk about SimS Quad Pickups as showcased on Enfield guitars.

 

Enfield Basses

 

 

Nick demonstrated the retrofitted SimS quads on Mick’s Mystery Bass

 

Here is the video:

 

CamdenRob has a go on Nick’s bass

 

Will opts for having a play on the Enfield P-bass

 

And so does Happy Jack

 

Good-looking bass

 

After his talk, Nick has a go on the ForteVio upright

 

‘We need a bow!’

 

Laurence Cottle was also at the bash, but kept a low profile

 

The Small Hall also saw activity, and that’s before the raffle too. Sibob’s Dad, Graham, was again offering his professional photography services for free to those who wished to be portrayed with their gear.

 

Sibob with the ForteVio upright

 

Graham with Noisyjon

 

Yours truly with Happy Jack, plus his Takamine TB10 and minus my camera, which was taking this photo in Graham’s capable hands.

 

 

Sibob’s little Finn slept through most of the bash, but was rocking hard in his sleep nevertheless!

 

At the end of the day, the Raffle!

 

Laurence Cottle watches the proceedings

 

There were a lot of prizes and all of them highly covetable.

 

How’s that for a luxury raffle?

 

 

There were Bass Guitar Magazine issues as prizes, and a special LGBS issue singed by Rob Trujillo offered by Guy Meredith

 

 

 

No, Ped’s photo wasn’t a prize in the raffle – that sheet of paper was a token to exchange for one of three free Basschat super-stylish polos. Also, the top hat at the back was signed by Jools Holland and his Orchestra

 

In addition to the small prizes, D’Addario UK offered three bags full of high-quality goodies, from the famed NYXL strings to cleaning cloths, tuners and T-shirts.

 

The first prize: a Musicman SUB Ray offered by EBUK.

 

Very nice from the front, and with something special…

 

Signatures by the whole Jools Holland R&B Orchestra, including Dave Swift, on the back!

 

The winner is Skinnyman, after NickD went for a different prize

 

NickD chose to leave the SUB and went for the stand instead

 

Mick shows the 1902 Bottle of King’s Ale signed by Mark King, offered by the Charrington Bass company

 

And Sparky Mark won it!

 

Basschat polo for Ordep

 

Valentin took the unfinished cab to work on as a project

 

TheStick took one of the top hats

 

And Doctor of the Bass took the other.

 

 

Truckstop

 

Sibob’s Mum Valerie

 

And Dad Graham

 

Billy Apple

 

Bottle

 

CamdenRob

 

Nosyjon with Andrew Needham of D’Addario UK in the centre’s garden.

 

So I’m very happy to report that this was another very successful bash, with a well-judged balance between talks and time to catch up with friends and try their rigs. And the raffle was the icing on the cake (of which there were several types, courtesy of Valerie and Louisa). When’s the next one? I’m in! 😀

 

 

 

London Bass Guitar Show 2016

The buzz about the 2016 London Bass Guitar Show started as soon as we had recovered from the excitement of the 2015 show. At first, new information came as a trickle: the 2016 date was announced; we were promised the event would be amazing. ‘Huh, that’s what the organisers always say, isn’t it’ we mumbled to ourselves. How could the relatively unexpected, huge success of the 2015 show be topped?

But we had faith, and with each new announcement, our interest rapidly escalated. Several large exhibitors, such as Warwick, who had had to skip 2015 due to schedule clashes with other events, would be back. 2016 would be Spector’s 40th anniversary. The show would have a larger than usual number of brand launches for the UK – both new luthiers and amplification companies. There would be big stars giving masterclasses and playing in the auditorium – the names came in like a flood: Michael Manring, John Rhino Edwards, Peter Hook, Dave Swift, Neil Fairclough, Adam Ben Ezra, Freekbass, Suzi Quatro (wait, Suzi Quatro!?) Oh, and Rob Trujillo. Yes, that Rob Trujillo. Plays bass in some low-key Californian metal band, produced a documentary about a guy who defretted his bass… He would be sharing the stage at the Bass Show with some awesome musicians of his choice, including Mark King, and answer our questions in a masterclass.

This year I was working as a reporter for Bass Guitar Magazine – as well as being Basschat’s roving representative, as always – so I had to juggle interviewing exhibitors and stars with my attendance at shows and masterclasses. I did well; I only missed Rhino’s and Federico Malaman’s appearances on stage; I hope they come back soon, so I can make sure to attend. Luckily I had the opportunity to say hi and exchange a few words with each of them backstage and in the exhibitors’ hall.

Freekbass

Freekbass

 

Dave Swift with BGM editor Joel McIver

Dave Swift with BGM editor Joel McIver

 

Michael Manring

Michael Manring, mid-retuning manoeuvre

 

Neil Fairclough

Neil Fairclough

 

Peter Hook with Dave Marks

Peter Hook with Dave Marks

 

Adam Ben Ezra

Adam Ben Ezra

 

Suzi Quatro with Dave Marks

Suzi Quatro with Dave Marks

 

Suzi Quatro

 

Mass Mental

Rob Trujillo on stage with Mass Mental

 

Rob Trujillo

 

A few shots of the stars offstage:

Rob Trujillo

Rob signs flyers and posters for a long queue of fans

 

Rob Trujillo

… and is photographed backstage for Bass Guitar Magazine

 

Adam Ben Ezra photoshoot for BGM

Adam Ben Ezra is photographed by Eckie for Bass Guitar Magazine

 

Adam 'Nolly' Getgood

Adam ‘Nolly’ Getgood and his Dingwall

 

Andy Baxter

Andy Baxter (he of the vintage bass shop)

 

John 'Rhino' Edwards

John ‘Rhino’ Edwards of Quo with his Status

 

Rhino signs a bass at the Status booth

Rhino signs that same bass at the Status booth

 

John 'Rhino' Edwards

 

Federico Malaman

Federico Malaman stops to chat to fans in the entrance hall

 

I had time to say hi to a few visiting Basschatters, although I spotted many more in the crowd than I managed to speak to or take photos of.

Sean & Mick

Billy Apple and The Greek

 

Billy Apple, The Greek and Customstocker

 

 

Andrew Taylor-Cummings

Basschatter and Anaconda Basses mainman Andrew Taylor-Cummings

 

Marc Vanderkley, Scott Devine, Phil Mann

Basschatters Marc Vanderkley and Scott Devine with Bass Guitar Magazine contributor Phil Mann

 

Before we go on to the images of the exhibitors, it’s useful to bear in mind that most of the photos showing the stands in all their glory were taken early in the morning, before the general public was allowed in. The show was as crowded as ever; the pics below were taken while one or more masterclasses and shows were on (that is, during relatively quiet times).

 

The guy on the left seems to have noticed me taking this pic! Was that you? Let me know.  🙂

 

THE EXHIBITORS – in alphabetical order

AC Guitars  –  ACGuitars.co.uk

The basses have ART (Acrylic Resin Treated) tops and fingerboards

 

ACG

First an all-right-handed trio…

 

ACG

… then a lefty eventually materialises!

 

AGS Guitar Straps  –  agstrap.com

AGS Straps

AGS straps

Owner Mamta Bose

 

Aguilar  –  aguilaramp.com via Barnes & Mullins (bandm.co.uk)

Aguilar

New lightweight cabs…

 

Aguilar

… and pedals. Lots of pedals. 🙂

 

Ashdown  –  ashdownmusic.com

Debuting the new Rootmaster-Evo and AAA-Evo product lines.

Ashdown

Ashdown

Ashdown

 

Bass Direct  –  bassdirect.co.uk

Bass Direct

The by now customary Bass Direct GAS-fest!!

 

Bass Direct

Bass Direct

Dingwalls!

 

Sheldon Dingwall @ Bass Direct

Sheldon and his D-Bird

 

Mayones @ Bass Direct

Mayones

 

Mayones

Assorted knobs! 😉

 

Bassline Publishing  –  basslinepublishing.com

Bassline Publishing

Bassline Publishing

Stu Hamm’s and Marcus Miller’s books were newly published

 

Bassline Publishing

 

Chowny Bass Guitars  –  chownybass.com

Chowny

The CHB semi-acoustic, short scale bass debuted at the show

 

Chowny

Stephen with a customer

 

Cort Guitars  –  cortguitars.com  via Proel International Ltd (proel.co.uk)

Cort - Proel International Ltd

Cort was showcasing the updated 2016 Artisan and Action series

 

D’Addario  –  daddario.com

D'Addario

The display was centred on the new, already very successful NYXL bass strings

 

D'Addario

Andrew, Elaine and Dood

 

EUROPEAN GUITAR BUILDERS

European Guitar Builders

Rikkers  –  rikkersgitaarbouw.nl

Rikkers

Le Fay Basses  –  lefay.de

Le Fay Basses

Brothers Reiner and Meik Dobbratz

 

Le Fay Basses

Close-up of that steel fingerboard bass, together with a nice fanned-fret bass.

 

Manne  –  manne.com

Manne

 

De Gier Guitars  –  degierguitars.com

De Gier

Sander stands proudly next to his creations

 

DR Strings  –  drstrings.com  via Barnes & Mullins (bandm.co.uk)

DR Strings

 

East UK  –  east-uk.com

John East

Basschat’s favourite retrofit preamp maker 🙂

 

John East

 

Eden Amplification  –  edenamps.com

Eden Amplification

The new Terra Nova series, hot from winter NAMM

 

Eden Amplification

Eden Amplification

Freekbass visits the Eden stand

 

Eich Amplification  –  eich-amps.com

Eich

New company created by Thomas Eich, formerly of TecAmp

 

Eich/Marleaux

Eich provided Marleaux basses to play through their amps

 

Ellio Martina Guitars  –  elliomartina.com and bassmute.com

Ellio Martina Guitars

Bass Mute

Ellio still makes his basses and mutes entirely by hand

 

Enfield Guitars  –  enfieldguitars.com  with Sims Pickups  –  simscustom.com

Enfield Guitars - Sims Pickups

 

Gillett Guitars  –  Gillett-Guitars

Gillett Guitars

Michael poses with one of his Contour basses

 

Gillett Guitars

Gillett Guitars

Gillett Guitars

The semiacoustic Contour basses have a special internal design, and the strings go through the body for better resonance

 

Jon Liebman  –  jonliebman.com

Jon Liebman

Possibly the only quiet-ish moment at Jon’s table in the whole weekend

 

Markbass  –  markbass.it  via MSL Professional (mslpro.co.uk)

Markbass

Markbass

Basschatter Mojoke (Kevin) helped out at the stand this year as well

 

Marvit Guitars  –  marvitguitars.com

Marvit Guitars

Italian company making their debut in the UK

 

Marvit Guitars

 

Oliver Lang Instruments  –  oliverlang-instruments.com

Oliver Lang

The new series of Cadiz basses

 

Oliver Lang

Oliver

 

OnkartGromt  –  onkartgromt.no

OnkarGromt

 

OnkarGromt

These are the new effects launched at the show

 

Overwater Basses  –  overwaterbasses.com

Overwater

Martin Lee with Lorenzo Feliciati

 

Overwater

Phil Mann chats to Chris May and Kirsty Cowe

 

Peavey  –  peavey.com

Peavey

Peavey showcased their new amp heads, the MiniMAX and the MiniMEGA

 

Peavey

 

Phil Jones Bass  –  pjbworld.com

Phil Jones Bass

Pure GAS!!

 

Promenade Music  –  promenademusic.co.uk

Promenade Music

A good variety of Nice Things on offer for pockets of all sizes

 

Promenade Music

Promenade Music

Mmmm….

 

Rotosound  –  rotosound.com

Rotosound

Owner Jason How with Alex Lofoco

 

Rotosound

Flying the flag! 🙂

 

Schack Guitars  –  schack-guitars.de

Schack Guitars

 

Schack Guitars

 

Scott Dixon  –  scottdixoninc.com

Scott Dixon

These look pretty damn tough, and they are, but they’re also lightweight.

 

Scott Dixon

Scott Dixon

Space-age, armoured cab 😉 😀

 

SmoothHound  –  smoothhound-innovations.com

Smoothhound

Not a cable or lead in sight – they’re not needed.

 

Spector  –  www.spectorbass.com

Spector

Spector

Stuart Spector

Stuart was there throughout the weekend to chat with customers and fans

 

Stuart Spector & Sean

… including Basschatter Billy Apple and his new purchase

 

Status  –  status-graphite.com

Status Graphite

Feast for the eyes

 

Status Graphite

The white one was signed by Rhino later

 

Status Graphite

Status Graphite

 

Stonefield  –  stonefieldmusic.com

Stonefield

Hot from New Zealand for the big UK launch at the show

 

Stonefield

Passive electronics and tailpiece tuning

 

 

Strings&Things  –  stringsandthings.co.uk  with Ernie Ball/Musicman (music-man.com)

Strings&Things

Ernie Ball strings

Strings&Things

Bass Guitar Magazine Contributor Ellen O’Reilly with her band

 

Torun Instruments  –  torun-instruments.com

Kamil Torun

Another brand launch – each of these basses is created as a work of art

 

Torun Instruments

That’s real gold leaf.

 

Upright Bass Zone (offered by Thomas & George Martin, thomasmartin.co.uk)

Thomas Martin Bass

The aluminium ones look cool, the wooden ones sound better 🙂

 

Thomas Martin Bass

Paolo

Paolo was one of the very helpful guys who encouraged us to try the double bass. If only there had been a lefty one available…

 

Vanderkley Amplification  –  vanderkleyamp.nl

Vanderkley

By early Saturday, Marc had already sold the whole of his LBGS stock!

 

Warwick & Framus  –  warwickbass.com

Warwick

My favourite gear porn section…

 

Warwick

Warwick

Warwick

The stand was always so busy I had to take photos early on Sunday morning before the crowds were allowed in.

 

Westside Distribution  –  westsidedistribution.com  with:

Dunlop Electronics  –  dunlop-electronics
Dunlop MXR pedals  –  jimdunlop.com
Dunlop Strings  –  jimdunlop.com
Mesa Boogie  –  mesaboogie.com
Mono  –  monocreators.com
Shecter Guitars  –  schecterguitars.com

 

Westside Distribution

 

In conclusion – I’m counting down to next year’s LBGS! Only 11 1/2 months to go… 😀

Press Passes

Basschat South East Bash 2015

After last year’s November date, this year the South East Bass Bash was back to its more customary slot at the end of September. And a very well attended bash it was.

The event’s schedule was as fascinating and as full as ever: a talk about setting up our basses, one about a year in the music industry from the point of view of marketing manager Andrew Needham of D’Addario UK, and one about the double bass by Basschatter Bassace. At the end of those, it would be time for The Big Cab Shootout with Lozz and Nik, and as a last treat, we would be able to attend a presentation on the history of the Wal bass by Basschatter TrevorR.

Refreshments

We could choose to munch our way through the talks if we so wished, thanks to Sarah (Mrs Hamster) and her excellent cupcakes, treats and drinks.

The first treat was a detailed workshop on guitar/bass setup – from saddle height, to action and truss rod tweaking, to nut filing, and more – courtesy of Robert van der Linde of Levinson Guitars and Blade Guitars. A veritable godsend for those of us who can’t setup/won’t setup their instruments, especially as Robert made himself available for individual instruments setup and advice throughout the day after his talk. Many Basschatters went home with a much more playable bass than they came in with, and didn’t even have to give in to GAS for that!

Robert and the all-important feeler gauge

Robert and the all-important feeler gauge

Robert shows how to use the feeler gauge to measure the action

Robert shows how to use the feeler gauge to measure the action

 


 

Following seamlessly from hearing about setups with Robert, at the opposite corner of the foyer our regular bassist-friendly string manufacturer contact Andrew of D’Addario UK was waiting for us, so he could tell us a quick history of the company with particular focus on the UK branch. He then agreed to answer our questions and, predictably, the string enthusiasts among us bombarded him with technical queries. Some of us even received a free set to try on our favourite bass and review in due course. Watch this space, and Basschat, for some of that.

Andrew talks to NickD before his presentation

And now for the questions!

And now for the questions!

This is a video of the first 10 minutes of Andrew’s talk – unfortunately, the foyer was quite noisy at that time.

 


 

After a pause which most of us spent ogling, playing and gassing about each other’s basses, amps, cabs and even guitars, the long scale lovers among us gathered around Bassace for his talk about everything double bass – as in the real thing in all its wooden beauty, considerable size, and special requirements in terms of plucking and fingering style and feedback-free amplification.

Bassace

Bassace

Bassace's double bass

Bassace’s double bass

Bassace's backline and PA

Bassace’s backline and PA

Bassace's PA cab

Bassace’s almost-pocket-size PA cab

Silverfoxnik plays a double bass for the first time!

Silverfoxnik plays a double bass for the first time!

jp07071977

jp07071977, instead, had done it before

 


 

It was then time for the long-awaited cab shootout with Lozz196 and Silverfoxnik – our usual gear test slot, for which a good number of Basschatters always kindly offer their gear, and this time was no exception. We had many high-end cabs of different power and specifications, one really little cab which could still hold its own beside the bigger boys, and a really cheap cab which, on paper, should have been blown out of the water by the units costing ten times as much. Real life did not follow the book, and the results of the test threw up some surprises.

Lozz and Nik

Lozz and Nik

Lozz

We have selected three short videos from the cab shootout. Normal test in the first video, cheap cab tested in the second video, mini cab tested in the third. Unfortunately, the camera’s automatic sound compression makes it impossible to hear any difference between the cabs, so these can only give a rough idea of the proceedings rather than a faithful recording.

Video No 1 – cab test
Video No 2 – cheap cab test
Video No 3 – mini cab test

This is what Lozz had to say by way of summary:

So, the idea was, following on from last years amp shootout, to use the same bass and amp into a variety of cabs, and see if there was a particular theme/overall winner. As such, using my 2015 US Precision into a fairly neutral sounding Tecamp Puma 900 with all eq set at midday (in the hope it would be a flat setting), the cabs below were investigated. We did a section on 2x12s which seems to be a very poular cab nowadays, 1x15s, 1x12s, and then a very small misc section. For the purposes of the test if the cabs had tweeters I set them to be full on. I`ll list each cab, and the amount of votes it got from the audience as to whether it was their fave.

So the 2×12 section, starting with my very own cab:

Barefaced Super12T – 1
Schroeder 212 – 8
Bergantino CN212 – 9
EBS Neo 212 – 2
EAD 2×12 – 5

So a winner for the Bergantino, and pretty fed up that I made my own cab come last!

Onto the 1x15s

Markbass Traveller 115 – 3
Barefaced Compact (Gen2) – 8
Schroeder 115 – 11
Barefaced Compact (Gen 1) – 3

So a winner for Schroeder

Onto the 1x12s

Barefaced Super Midget (Gen 3) – 3
Schroeder 112 – 3
Fearless 112 (with mid speaker, think a 6?) – 13
Barefaced Big Baby2 (Gen 3) – 7
Prosound PA Cab – 2

A runaway victory for the Fearless then.

The misc section was very small, being OBBMs Phil Jones 4×5 – so it won that section hands down (well done Dave).

So onto the overall faves then, putting the winners from each section above:

Fearless 112 – 4
Schroeder 115 – 5
Bergantino CN212 – 20

So overall the Berg tops it, but it was interesting that over the range of cabs that Schroeder, given the lack of presence of their cabs over here, did so well in all sections. I`m sure a lot of it is to do with the cabs fitting my attack-based playing style, but overall the Schros did very well. Many thanks to Brian (Oldman) for bringing them along.

So, what were my impressions of the cabs used? Well my fave for the type of music I currently play was the Schroeder 212, as it really adds a cutting presence, a hi-mid bias I would say. For bands I`ve been in previously it would have been the Berg. But there were four real revelations for me:

1. The Barefaced Super Midget Gen 3 – such an amazing amount of sound from such a little cab. And quality sound too, not just volume.
2. Likewise with the Phil Jones 4×5, real presence and quality sound.
3. The Prosound PA Speaker – apparently £60 from Maplins. Did the job fine, and wasn`t lacking in any way.
4. I managed, yet again, to get my own gear to come last. This is a pattern that seems to be repeating itself.

But the main thing was, given the variety of cab brands, sizes, configurations, was that I would have been happy to use any of them at a gig. Sure there were nuances to each cab, but overall this shootout showed me that gear is gear, and sure, we all like to get our own sounds if possible, but workable sounds can be gotten from an array of different speaker cabs. Maybe we all obsess just that bit too much (I`ve certainly established that I do from this).

 


 

The last talk of the day was about the highly fascinating history of the Wal bass, given by Basschatter TrevorR, and was attended by proud Wal owners as well as lovers of high-end British basses in general. Trevor, author of a superb blog dedicated to all things Wal, took us from the company’s beginnings through its decline and the its renewed popularity, all with the help of his visual presentation and an eminently GAS-inducing display of gorgeous Wals from different eras, belonging to some of the attendees.

A History of Wal Basses

A History of Wal Basses

TrevorR and his visuals

TrevorR and his visuals

The four beauties!

The four beauties!

This is my recording of Trevor’s presentation. Apologies for the iffy sound and the shaking in some places – the acoustics of the large room and my position in the audience weren’t always helpful.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

This is Trevor’s visual presentation in PDF format

 


 

As always, when we weren’t occupied with listening to talks, there was plenty of gear to lust after.

A pedalboard that's slightly too small for comfort

A pedalboard that’s slightly too small for comfort

The only other lefty in the village (but I didn't catch your name!) with Such.

The only other lefty in the village (but I didn’t catch your name!) with Such.

MusashiMonkey with JHT

MusashiMonkey with JHT

Happy Jack, Sibob, a Fodera, and an EarthQuaker Afterneath

Happy Jack, Sibob, a Fodera, and an EarthQuaker Afterneath

 

Mybass (Peter Stroud)

Mybass (Peter Stroud) was there with three basses he built mostly from recycled woods…

 

Mybass

… and also with a Fender

 

PS basses

PS basses

 

PS basses

PS basses

 

PS basses

PS basses

 

PS basses

PS basses

 


 

Throughout the day, our jam room with Paul of the Junkyard Dogs was very well attended – there were the most participants for several years – and much fun was had by all. We even had a dedicated guitar amp!

Ordep, Sam the guitarist, MacDaddy, Paul the Drums

Ordep, Sam the guitarist, MacDaddy, Paul the Drums

Paul, MacDaddy, Bottle, Stingray5, Sam

Paul, MacDaddy, Bottle, Stingray5, Sam

BC Rich Owners Club, part 1 - Happy Jack plays Silverfoxnik's bass, watched by Stingray5 and his two basses with quite a lot of strings

BC Rich Owners Club, part 1 – Happy Jack plays Silverfoxnik’s bass, watched by Stingray5 and his Two Basses With Quite A Lot Of Strings

 

Nik, Shockwave, Happy Jack and Stingray5

‘BC Rich? Who said BC Rich?’ Nik, Shockwave, Happy Jack and Stingray5

BC Rich Owners Club, part 2

BC Rich Owners Club, part 2

 

MacDaddy on guitar

MacDaddy on guitar

 

Stingray5 on 6 strings

Stingray5 on 6 strings

 

MacDaddy and Stingray5

MacDaddy now on bass and Stingray5 on That Thing With A Lot Of Strings play some Weather Report

 

Stingray5 and MusashiMonkey

Stingray5 and MusashiMonkey

 

jp07071977

jp07071977

 


 

 

The raffle at the end of the bash had the usual GAS-worthy prizes, offered by kind-hearted Basschatters as well as by D’Addario UK. All proceedings after expenses go to charity – more details as soon as we get them.

Bassace picks the first number

Bassace picks the first number

Bassace, TrevorR, Andrew, Hamster, Robert and OBBM

Bassace, TrevorR, Andrew, Hamster, Robert and OBBM

Raffle

We should probably have added some doggy treats to the prizes…

Well, I’m already counting down to next year’s bass bashes… are you? 😉

 

Links:

Basschat, of course

D’Addario UK on Facebook

Basschat Herts Bash 2015

It’s summer (at least according to the calendar) – that means Herts Bass Bash! This year the by now customary, and highly anticipated, appointment with Breaks Manor in Hatfield was on a cool, greyish Sunday in mid-June. Despite the England football match scheduled for the evening, this meetup was one of the most successful ever in terms of attendance numbers. That’s not surprising, really, as the timetable once again contained pretty damn unmissable events.

At the bash we would be not just treated to two talks (one about D’Addario strings and the other about modes and chords) and the unmissable comparison test, but also offered the chance to have our photo taken with our bass – or indeed someone else’s – by professional photographer Graham Poulton (aka Sibob’s dad!), in a dedicated corner of the small hall equipped with a black backdrop, and using Graham’s professional cameras. A jam session with drummer Tim Healy, and the usual bass-themed raffle rounded up the list of activities.


As always, the way in was through the kitchen/foyer area, where Bassface2k10 collected the entrance fee and welcomed us with a cuppa and a sticker to write our name and BC moniker on (unless we were already wearing a BC lanyard).

Bassface in the Foyer

Bassface2k10 in the Foyer

Before reaching the halls, we had to walk through the foyer, and nobody could avoid noticing that this year we had a lot of amazing prizes, offered by generous sponsors, heaped up in big piles, waiting to be picked by lucky winners from 4pm! (More of that later.)

There was also a table loaded with D’Addario goodies, and Sales Manager Andrew Needham was there to answer questions in advance of his talk in the main hall later, and offer advice and give us the option of filling in a questionnaire about our string preferences.

Andrew at the D'Addario table

Andrew at the D’Addario table

The D'Addario Table

The D’Addario Table

Andrew was also offering a number of cards giving 50% discount on their strings when bought on D’Addario’s website before 14th July 2015.

The D'Addario offer card

The D’Addario offer card

 


Meanwhile, the small hall had been turned into a photographer’s studio!

Graham with Ratman

Graham with Ratman

Mum, Dad and Sibob!

And now it's Mum's turn!

And now it’s Mum’s turn!

Graham with MacDaddy

Graham with MacDaddy

Some more of Graham’s photos were on display in the room.

Check out Status Quo on the table...

Check out Status Quo on the table…

Check out some of Graham’s photos of the attendees published in the relevant thread: Basschat Herts Bash photos thread.

 


 

Most of the attendees’ basses and rigs were in the middle hall, like last year, and the GAS was second to none.

For the first time ever, there was a proper Lefties Corner, as in, containing more than one bass! The lefty paradise was courtesy of el-gnomo and Pineweasel, while yours truly had had a senior moment in the morning and managed to leave her equally lefty bass behind (could have been worse, I could have forgotten to take the video camera with me…)

Lefties!

el-gnomo has an absolutely identical upright to mine!

Thing is, I didn’t have a single spare moment to try playing any of those gorgeous basses! Next time, guys.

As in previous years, there were a lot of awesome basses around, several of which were new purchases.

The Greek’s rig – we’ve seen it before but we’re NOT bored!

MacDaddy

Neither is MacDaddy…

The Greek’s rig on the left, and Sibob’s rig on the right

Sibob’s new Fodera and his pedalboard

And his Jazz. Incidentally, there was a lot of Barefaced and MarkBass around too!

Sibob with Ordep

Sibob with Ordep

Billy Apple

Billy Apple with his new Spector

Close-up!

Billy Apple

And Billy with Happy Jack’s newly acquired vintage Mosrite

Bottle

Bottle had an almost entirely home-made rig.

One of the most successful basses of the day was undeniably Happy Jack’s Mike Lull Thunderbird 5.

Happy Jack. Lozz and the T5

Happy Jack. Lozz and the T5

Lozz studies the sound from all angles

Grangur

Grangur looks inspired

Stingray5 tries to decide whether it’s any good for Prog

Many more attendees and rigs this way:

Lucky Ordep would go home with one more bass than he came in with, after winning the SUB in the raffle.

Do I spot a Pedulla on the right?

MacDaddy’s Shuker

Ratman’s rig

Unsurprisingly, there were basses in the main hall too!

Grangur's rig

Grangur’s rig

Such

Such jams along on the fretless Streamer

Some of Doctor of the Bass’s instruments, with Peter’s Legend on the left.

 


 

The main hall was were the talks, the test and the jamming would happen.

The first talk was by Andrew Needham of D’Addario. Andrew explained the company’s string production methods and the difference in performance between different string types, and gave details about D’Addario extensive range – roundwound, flatwound, half wound, tapewound strings and nickel, stainless steel and chrome. An equally informative Q&A session followed.

Mick introduces Andrew's talk

Mick introduces Andrew Needham’s talk

Andrew Needham

Andrew's audience

Andrew’s audience, plus a video camera 🙂

Andrew answers post-seminar questions from jp07071977

Soo many D’Addario strings!

Here is a video file with enhanced audio (with thanks to BCer Annoying Twit aka Ross).

 


 

The second afternoon slot was taken by the much-anticipated fretboard challenge.

In a similar vein to last year’s P-bass comparison, this year Lozz carried out a test aimed at ascertaining whether the audience could hear the difference between pairs of near-identical basses, played by him on exactly the same rig, where the only difference between the two instruments in each test pair was the fretboard: either maple or rosewood. The two basses in each test pair had been fitted with identical, brand-new D’Addario strings provided by Andrew Needham. Lozz played both basses from each pair, and then asked the audience to raise their hands for the sound they liked best. Louisa kept track of the score, as well as helping with the handling of the basses.

Lozz changes the strings

A certain amount of string-changing had been going on beforehand.

D'Addario strings

All brand new, and courtesy of D’Addario

Louisa

Honorary bass player and excellent assistant Louisa (Mrs Grangur)

Mick introduces Lozz, Louisa and the Fretboard Challenge

Mick introduces Lozz, Louisa and the Fretboard Challenge

The stage

The stage is set. Precisions, Jazzes, Stingrays, a Barefaced cab and an Aguilar Tonehammer.

The basses

The other basses

Precision

Precision

Jazz

Jazz

Stingray

Stingray

Audience

And a voting audience!

The video footage for this test is a single-camera file with boosted audio (again courtesy of BCer Annoying Twit aka Ross).

The results of the test were intriguing and somewhat surprising. Here are Lozz’s words.

In the end, as it was being videod I decided to not do this hidden behind a curtain, as that would have looked pretty daft. So I simply presented a pair of basses, played them both, then asked which one people preferred, the one with maple fretboard, or rosewood fretboard.

The basses were a pair of Precisions, a pair of Jazzes, and a pair of Stingrays. For the Jazzes I selected both pickups on full, and for the Stingrays, all EQs centered.

Each bass had a brand new set of strings on it, provided for the day by Andrew from D’Addario. The Precisions got Chrome flatwounds, the Jazzes got nickel rounds and the Stingrays got steel rounds.

The results were quite surprising:
Precisions – Maple 2, Rosewood 15, undecided 1
Jazzes – Maple 7, Rosewood 20, indecided 2
Stingrays – Maple 10, Rosewood 16, undecided 1

So maple was a poor loser to rosewood today. Now I know many say that fretboard material has no bearing on the sound, but to me, in all cases, the maple was brigher, and seemd to coax more gain from the sound, making it less clear/defined, whereas the rosewood sounded more balanced throughout and somewhat clearer. I don’t know if they were the thoughts of those listening/watching, but for the votes to be overwhelmingly in favour of one type has to say something.
Just my luck to have bought two maple fretboard basses last week eh?

 


 

In the time between one talk/test and another, some jamming happened!

Tim Healy

Tim Healy prepares to lay down some groove with the jammers

Seashell

Seashell is on first

Jazzneck

Then Jazzneck…

Stingray5

And then Stingray5, while Doctor of the Bass sets up for his talk.

 


 

The last talk of the day was by Doctor of the Bass, once again supported by his student Peter, like last year. Another fascinating foray into Modes and Chords and their uses in different music genres.

Nick & Peter

Doctor of the Bass and Peter

The Doctor has such an impressive collection of basses that he’s even ended up in Guitar&Bass Magazine!

See what I mean?

Watch the last few minutes of the talk, where Nick and Peter put theory into practice and jam along to Tim’s drumbeat:

 


 

And then it was time for the raffle! And I had to leave before it started, so I am posting here the snapshots taken by Graham Poulton, who kindly covered the raffle on my behalf.

The prizes were mouth-watering to say the least:

EBUK distributors Strings and Things kindly provided the following:
– MM RAY4 SUB Bass in Walnut Satin
– Ernie Ball Regular Bass strings (6 sets)
– 12 Ernie Ball Black Poly Straps

Renowned bassist and educator Stuart Clayton offered two books:
– ‘Plectrum Technique’ and
– ‘Advanced Studies for Bass Guitar’

– Basschatter Gary Mac donated a couple of years worth of Bass Guitar Magazine issues, in very lovely condition, and
– Blaze Publishing provided several current copies of the magazine (May and June 2015).

– We had several goodie bags from D’Addario UK, in addition to the four pairs of strings for the basses used in the fretboard test and the 50% discount on strings mentioned above.

– Basschatter Theyellowcar donated an immaculate, surplus-to-requirements Kinsman gig bag.

– Assorted pedals, DVDs, a scratchplate and a hat, from anonymous participants.

Basschat‘s head honcho Ped donated two BC shirts – like these! The winners would have to contact him to choose colour and size.

– Basschatter Hertsbass donated 5 hours free studio time at The Farm Factory, WGC. This was his message to the attendees:

A couple of months ago a friend and I bought Farm Factory, a long-established and well-regarded rehearsal room and recording studio in Welwyn Garden City. This is not a corporate, short-term money-grabbing acquisition; but a long-term business, funded and run by local musicians, for local musicians.
As such, your views are incredibly important to us. Can I therefore ask a couple of small favours.
Firstly, if you’re a Facebooker, please like our FB page (Farm Factory Studios). You’ll be the first to hear our news and any special offers. Our website (www.farmfactorystudios.com) is currently down, pending relaunch, but we’ll announce it on FB when it goes live again.
Secondly, if there’s anything you love, or hate, about us; or about studios in general, please PM me to let me know. We are always keen to know what we can improve, and any suggestions will help us tremendously.
It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) we’d be delighted to see you down at the studio. We have one recording studio and booth, six large and well-soundproofed rehearsal rooms (one DI’ed to the studio for live recording), plus four Ampeg SVT-350s and 8×10 cabs for anyone who wants to ‘go loud’.
It was great seeing you all today.
Simon (hertsbass)

The raffle prizes!

And here are Graham Poulton’s photos of the winners!

Ordep

SUB winner Ordep!

Billy Apple

Billy Apple

Bottle

Bottle

Chimike

Chimike

Doctor of the Bass

Doctor of the Bass

el-gnomo

el-gnomo

Grangur

Grangur

hertsbass

hertsbass

Jazzneck

Jazzneck

jp07071977

jp07071977

Lozz

Lozz

NickD

NickD

Pineweasel

Pineweasel

Ratman

Ratman

Sibob

Sibob

Stingray5

Stingray5

such

such

I’m kicking myself for missing the raffle! It won’t happen next year. Watch this space!

 

Additional link

Breaks Manor Youth Centre – All the money raised through the entrance fee and the sale of raffle tickets goes to the youth centre.

London Bass Guitar Show 2015

Had we been remotely inclined to listen to its detractors’ bleating in the run-up to the event, the London Bass Guitar Show 2015 was going to be The One The Biggest Manufacturers Did Not Bother Attending and The One Where The Noise Is So Bad You Can’t Hear Yourself Thinking, Let Alone Playing Bass and so, as a consequence, The One With No Ticket Sales. How wrong can you be?

I’ve got news both for those detractors and for The Biggest Manufacturers Who Did Not Attend – the show did incredibly well, even without you. The punters (the real, supportive ones) kept thronging in throughout the weekend, most stands were swamped with visitors most of the time, and I’ve got the photos to prove it.

This photo also shows the new, much needed seating area in the main hall.

The Shows Within The Show

As every year, this time too we were treated to some amazing – and amazingly inspirational – masterclasses in the conference room, and some great performances in the auditorium and at the stands.

When I’m forced by the timetable to choose whether to attend a performance or a masterclass, I tend to favour the latter, as I find it gives us a more intimate and insightful experience. Every year the show has allowed me to see at least one of my lifelong idols. The stars talk about themselves, their beginnings, dreams, aspirations, and triumphs, and give us good advice. At the end of their talks we can walk up to them, shake their hands, chat with them and comment on what they’ve just told us. This experience alone is worth the entrance fee to the show.

On Saturday I started with Steve Lawson and his mesmerising use of pedal effects. He was later joined on stage by Ruth Goller.

Steve Lawson

Steve with Ruth Goller

Steve and Ruth share a smile

The next masterclass I made it to was by one of my idols, Billy Sheehan. What can I say? Awesome, inspirational, and also very approachable.

Billy Sheehan

Billy wanted to inspire us, rather than just stand there and show off his chops.

I also managed to catch Jah Wobble’s class, and was very happy I did, as I didn’t know much about him before now.

Jah Wobble

Cool bass, by the way!

On Sunday I did my best to catch at least some of the performances or masterclasses I had missed the day before. Unfortunately the performance by Mark King which I had to miss on Saturday wasn’t repeated on Sunday; however, I saw Yolanda Charles with her band, in the auditorium, after attending the first half of Divinity Roxx’s masterclass.

Yolanda on stage with her awesome band, including Federico Malaman and Rob Harris

Divinity Roxx described how she made a conscious effort to fuse rapping and playing bass into a greater musical experience

Another masterclass I initially attended out of sheer curiosity was Lee Rocker’s. I thought I might have a quick look and then move on, and instead I ended up not just staying the whole time, but also loving every second, tapping my foot and bopping like mad to his fantastic rockabilly double bass playing. I’m a fan now!

Lee Rocker instantly got me rocking and grooving

The kind of bass slapping I don’t object to!

The masterclass/performance schedule was very tight, but luckily I could enjoy Lee’s talk in its entirety before moving to the next one – I wasn’t prepared to miss Stuart Hamm’s performance for anything in the world. He has been at the show in the past, and has always wowed me not just with his sheer chops and talent but also with his infectious love of bass playing and good advice. This time it was no different!

Stuart Hamm’s welcome return to the LBGS

BASS FACE!!!

This year I had to miss seeing Doug Wimbish and Ethan Farmer – I’m determined to catch them next time they’re in town.

The Basschat Connection

Although this year Basschat didn’t have a stand or a table of its own, I managed to meet up with a few fellow Basschatters who spotted me walking around with my Basschat lanyard round my neck (in addition to the press pass kindly provided by Blaze Publishing), and carrying two cameras. I even managed to take photos of some of them.

Alfie Noakes

Chris and Kirsty of Overwater

Mr & Mrs Chris Sharman

Doctor Of The Bass and G-77

Martin of Overwater with RK7

OBBM at the Strings & Things stand

Paul Geary

Seashell and Walman

The Greek, Lozz and Seashell

There are a number of fellow Basschatters I didn’t get round to taking a photo of, either because we met in a queue for a masterclass or performance, or because we were simply sitting and relaxing for a moment. Shout out to Wolverinebass; Verb; Tom Kent, Born to be Mild, Vic and Molan who were working at the Bassgear stand; jeanmarinoe; Sibob; Iamtheelvy; Kees; Marcin (Such); Stuart; Alex and Max (the Italian Connection 😉 )… any others, please do let me know if I forgot to mention you!

And this is yours truly in a photo by Seashell 🙂

Bluejay

The Exhibitors’ Stands

Even without “those” big names, the list was impressive and the GAS high! These are in alphabetical order.

AC Guitars http://www.acguitars.co.uk/acg_admin/wordpress/

The ACG stand was so busy when I was around, that this is the best I could do with my camera! Incidentally, the guy looking at the basses is BCer Romeo2 🙂

Academy of Contemporary Music http://www.acm.ac.uk/

AGS Straps http://www.agstrap.com/

This photo was taken early on Sunday, before the crowd arrived. The stand was very busy at all other times

Aguilar http://www.aguilaramp.com/

Another photo taken early-ish on Sunday when the crowd was thinner

Ashdown Engineering http://ashdownmusic.com/

Sukop Basses http://www.sukop.com/

Ashdown Engineering’s stand early on Sunday

A corner of the stand was given over to Steve Sukop and two of his gorgeous basses

I want (in lefty).

Jah Wobble popped down to chat to fans

Bass Direct http://www.bassdirect.co.uk/bass_guitar_specialists/Home.html

Bass Direct had one of the bigger stands, and the GAS level was pretty much off the scale!

There were a few Roscoes right there to ambush you…

Bass Gear http://www.bassgear.co.uk/

Eve Guitars http://www.eveguitars.co.uk/

Bass Gear shared space with Eve Guitars and had a small “cheaper stuff” table as well as the usual mouth-watering gear. The bloke hard at work serving customers at the table is BCer Born To Be Mild 🙂

BCers TomKent and Sibob are on the left, with Molan far right.

They also had Roger Sadowsky in person, there to show his basses. All righties this time round, luckily for my wallet, but I promised him I’ll visit his workshop in NYC soon – help!!

More GAS, plus “that” red Hermann Gerlach leather gigbag…

Bassline Publishing https://www.basslinepublishing.com/

One of the rare moment of calm at Bassline Publishing’s stand

Cort http://www.cortguitars.com/uk/

Cort always has special lighting at their stand. And did I mention the basses?

A wall of basses, early on Sunday

D’Addario http://www.daddario.com/

D’Addario were very busy, as always

Elaine is also a Basschatter and a fan of our bashes – watch out for some degree of D’Addario presence 🙂

EastUK http://www.east-uk.com/

John East’s mini-stand was one of those constantly crowded, so this is the best I could do with my camera!

Elixir http://www.elixirstrings.co.uk/

There was a performance at the Elixir stand almost all the time throughout the weekend. This is Michael Mondesir.

Yolanda Charles

Federico Malaman

Chloe Treacher

GB Guitars http://www.gbguitars.co.uk/

GB Guitars was another constantly busy stand

Hartke http://www.samsontech.com/hartke/

The one moment of calm at the Hartke stand

And then Stu Hamm arrives…

And Billy Sheehan!

Höfner http://www.hofner.com/

Höfner never disappoints – there’s even a lefty Beatle bass.

It’s there in the corner.

Jon Liebman http://www.jonliebman.com/

Jon Liebman seemed to attract the attention of many young learners

LatchLake Music  http://latchlakemusic.com/accessories/ioxboom/

Next to Jon Liebman, there was another exhibitor who wasn’t listed in the show’s brochure. He was displaying a system for holding your tablet so that you can read music.

Markbass http://www.markbass.it/

The guys at Markbass were as busy as ever this year

Here they are, with Basschat’s very own MoJoKe on the right.

Maruszczyk http://www.public-peace.de/

GAS! Massive GAS…

Pedulla http://pedulla.com/

Mike Pedulla chose the quiet area near the auditorium and conference room for his stand. This was practically his only moment without customers, though!

Porter & Davies http://porteranddavies.co.uk/

Porter & Davies had two kinetic transfer platforms, which appear to be the latest must-have

They also had Dave Swift posing with his Sadowsky bass

Promenade Music http://www.promenademusic.co.uk/

Paul Everson http://eversonguitars.blogspot.co.uk/

Promenade Music (not Musis!) in a rare quiet moment

Paul Everson was at the Promenade stand with several of his lovingly made basses, and I wanted them all.

See what I mean?

Rikkers http://www.rikkersgitaarbouw.nl/

Rikkers was definitely the most distinctive stand at the show. Those basses! Here we see Jakko, Ferdinand and a lucky lefty bassist deep in musical concentration

That’s the lefty bass on the left (erm…), but that bass isn’t the more distinctive of the two shown here!

And then there were THOSE basses. Yes, they do sound awesome, despite being light as a feather.

That’s a very thin layer of birch coating glued on the frame.

Rotosound http://www.rotosound.com/

Rotosound was incredibly busy, and THE stand to check out if you wanted to see and talk to some of the stars (Jason How included!). Here is lefty-who-plays-righty Mark King.

Billy Sheehan

Doug Wimbish with Jason

Enfield Guitars http://www.enfieldguitars.com/

Sims http://www.simscustom.com/pickups/

Sims Pickups and Enfield Guitars once again shared exhibiting space on another attention-grabbing stand

Basschat’s Doctor Of The Bass with a lovely 5er using one of the very many pickup combinations

Some equally distinctive, customised cases

Spector http://www.spectorbass.com/

As every year, Spector shared space with Höfner ona side and Aguilar on the other in a super-GAS-inducing stand

Yum!

Tasty lefty alert!

Status Graphite http://www.status-graphite.com/

Status Graphite was back!! Yes! 🙂

A closer view

A very good-looking trio

Close-up of that gorgeous lefty

Hmm, what are these things with six thin, puny strings on?

Stompbox http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stompbox-fxpedalcouk/247134567671

May look quiet, but there’s lots going on

Strings & Things http://www.stringsandthings.co.uk/

Full marks for a fully headphone-equipped stand with lots of Musicman models. This was taken before the crowds swarmed in – even when they were slapping, they didn’t make a noise!

That’s a very special model – it’s the second ever made!

Needless to say, it wasn’t for sale.

TC Electronic http://www.tcelectronic.com/

TC Electronic’s stand was by the main hall’s door and became very busy as soon as the crowds were let in

TecAmp http://www.tecamp.de/

I spy another kinetic transfer platform!

Vanderkley Amplification http://www.vanderkleyamp.nl/home/

Ellio Martina Guitars http://www.elliomartina.com/

Vanderkley Amplification was again sharing space with Ellio Martina. Here we see Ellio and Marc with Cody Wright.

Cody again, sitting amid amps, cabs and basses.

Thomas & George Martin http://thomasmartin.co.uk/

Williamscot Bass http://www.williamscotbass.com/

At last! Double basses!!!

LOTS of double basses, not all of them ordinary-looking

Bass guitar created with an upper horn that resembles a scroll

And the most awesome thing – a real workshop at the side of the booth!

I asked the guys to talk me through building a double bass, and took the following series of photos.

It starts with two bookmatched pieces of wood that are then shaped into the back of the double bass. Only one side is flat.

Ian shows me the flat side.

The top of the bass is made in a similar fashion.

The inner side, with the bass bar under the E string (it’s a righty DB).

The side of the DB is made by bending and glueing a thin layer of wood, and reinforcing the structure with vertical ribs.

The detail is not just decorative, but also reinforces the glued areas.

Then comes the measurement for creating the small reference cuts in the F holes, used for correct positioning of the bridge.

In the meantime, the neck is carved out of a thick piece of wood.

It will be attached here with a dovetail joint and then glued.

Here Dan is showing me how to insert the soundpost through one of the F holes.

Those are the magic tools!

While all this was happening, a couple of bass guitar necks were being lovingly created.

So the show is gone for another year, and we are all counting down to the next one in March 2016. What surprise exhibitors and bass stars will it bring? Stay tuned 😉

Bass Guitar Magazine stand

Other links:

LBGS official site  http://www.londonbassguitarshow.com/

Bass Guitar Magazine  http://www.bassguitarmagazine.com/

Blaze Publishing  http://www.blazepublishing.co.uk/

Basschat  http://basschat.co.uk/