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/

Advertisements

18 thoughts on “London Bass Guitar Show 2015

    • Thank you soo much, Ted! It took me nearly 10 days to sift through all the photos I took, select and photoshop those worth publishing, and insert them one by one in the text. But it’s a job I love. Thanks for your continuing support 🙂

    • Thank you! And yes, the event gets better every year, thanks to the community and the high level of musicianship as well as the number and quality of exhibitors 🙂

  1. I couldn’t be there but it was great to get a flavour from this. One tiny point, Zoltan Dékany doesn’t make double basses for Thomas and George Martin (see caption “Their Makers”), he is a performer and teacher and now endorsee, by the look of things 🙂

    • Oh, great, thanks for letting me know (and thanks for your kind words on the blog itself). How should I amend that caption?

  2. I came to the Saturday show, from Birmingham, as much as the show was brilliant it was absolutely frustrating to me, as a leftie there were only 6 left handed basses there 3 were Corts 1 was status, 1 was Sandberg, and the custom fretless of Rikkers. i thought this cannot be happening at a major event like this, it was bad that many manufacturers made left handed versions but did not see fit to come with any. I hope next year they have a change of heart, or I will save up my £25 next time.

    • I thought the number of lefty basses had improved over last year. It certainly had from the point of view of percentage of lefties out of the total number of basses displayed.

      • Bluejay, it might have been that too you, but to me it wasn’t , i have 15 basses at home, that’s more than 2x the whole exhibition. a small percentages of nothing means nothing, i think you’ll have to be a lefty to get it.

  3. I am a lefty. I’m seeing progress. Blame those lefties who play righty and reduce the size of the market to such a small number of potential buyers that companies are forced to only build on order or will never sell their lefty models.

    • What a pity I didn’t manage to talk to all the guys/gals at every stand! The place was so busy I ended up missing a few, you included. Next time I’ll start from all those I missed! 🙂

  4. BRILLIANT write-up Sylvia!! 🙂 Really enjoyed reading it… although the pictures have given me insatiable GAS. I need a lie down.

    Great work. I really need to get down to this next year.

    Skol303 (Paul)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s