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 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 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.
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
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.
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
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 🙂
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
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 always has special lighting at their stand. And did I mention the basses?
A wall of basses, early on Sunday
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 🙂
John East’s mini-stand was one of those constantly crowded, so this is the best I could do with my camera!
There was a performance at the Elixir stand almost all the time throughout the weekend. This is Michael Mondesir.
GB Guitars http://www.gbguitars.co.uk/
GB Guitars was another constantly busy stand
The one moment of calm at the Hartke stand
And then Stu Hamm arrives…
And Billy Sheehan!
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.
The guys at Markbass were as busy as ever this year
Here they are, with Basschat’s very own MoJoKe on the right.
GAS! Massive GAS…
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 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 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.
Doug Wimbish with Jason
Enfield Guitars http://www.enfieldguitars.com/
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
As every year, Spector shared space with Höfner ona side and Aguilar on the other in a super-GAS-inducing stand
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?
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
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 😉
LBGS official site http://www.londonbassguitarshow.com/
Bass Guitar Magazine http://www.bassguitarmagazine.com/
Blaze Publishing http://www.blazepublishing.co.uk/