It’s always fun seeing what the Fender Custom Shop comes out with throughout the year. It seems that every few months there’s another interesting reissue, unique reimagining or ‘I can’t believe they’re making that!’ artist model. It just so happens that with this newest round of offerings the Custom Shop has made two instruments that have tipped my ‘Oh awesome‘ trigger, as well as two that are simply cool. The two that are currently making me pawn my kidneys are the Limited Geddy Lee 1972 Jazz Bass and the Closet Classic™ Rosewood Telecaster. Are you kidding me? Geddy Lee’s Moving Pictures bass and George Harrison’s Let It Be rooftop-gig Telecaster? Shut up and be owned by me already!!! Anyway, here’s the press release with plenty of info about each model. Continue reading
You might remember that yesterday I was pondering the rise of the 7-string, and how the music is dictating the development of the instrument. A similar thing happened when 5-string basses appeared on the scene. Then there were 6-string basses, which remain something of a niche instrument for jazz and prog guys, really: you don’t tend to see them in punk bands. Just sayin.’ Anyway, so as to not feel left out by the rise of the 8-string guitar, Ibanez has created the BTB7 Limited Edition 7-string bass. Compared to a regular four-string bass it adds one extra low string and two extra high ones: it’s tuned (low to high) B E A D G C F. Continue reading
Trevor Bolder – bass player for David Bowie’s Spiders From Mars and for Uriah Heep – has died of cancer aged 62. Man, glam just wouldn’t be the same without the image of Bolder, huge sideburns and Gibson EB-O bass, but more importantly, it wouldn’t sound the same. Just listen to his work on Hunky Dory, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, Aladdin Sane and Pin Ups. And Bolder remained active with Uriah Heep up until 2011′s awesome Into The Wild album. Here’s an official statement from Uriah Heep: Continue reading
Schecter is well known on the metal scene for their incredibly shredworthy axes (which is a huge about-face when you consider the company’s earlier days making great Strat and Tele-type instruments for players like The Who’s Pete Townshend). And this helps Schecter’s basses to have a lot going for them too: the company really understands how to make a fast, playable and comfortable neck on an instrument that is designed to handle the rigours of the road.
The Studio-4 is a neck-through instrument with a multi-laminate maple/walnut neck and body core, given some extra visual pop by mahogany body wings topped with slices of bubinga. Combined with a rosewood fretboard, the look is elegant and refined, and it’s the kind of bass that could look equally at home on a country, blues, rock or metal gig. There are some hints to the company’s modern metal leanings, particularly in the form of the pointy headstock, but the overall look gives the impression that this is not a one-trick pony. Continue reading
Would Van Halen I be as iconic if it didn’t kick off with Michael Anthony’s couldn’t-be-more-simple-or-more-cool intro to ‘Runnin’ With The Devil’? …Look, I’m gonna say no. Mike was a huge part of Van Halen’s classic sound, and it’s great to hear him loud and proud in Chickenfoot. Mike now has a signature Peavey bass amp, a nice match for his Yamaha BB3000MA bass, I might add, and it’s an all-tube, 300-watt beast that somehow still manages to weigh in at a manageable 38 pounds.
Here’s the press release.
January 24, 2013, Meridian, MS – Peavey Electronics, known for its commitment to tonal quality and innovation, today announces the new Michael Anthony VB-MA™ signature tube-powered bass amplifier. This 300-Watt all-tube head packs a low-end punch, while weighing in at an extremely portable 38 lbs.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (January 15, 2013) — Fender is proud to announce four bass additions to its acclaimed American Vintage series, all meticulously reimagined to evoke the authentic feel and sound of the original basses released between the late 1950s and early 1970s.
For a while there it looked like Aerosmith were done. Steven Tyler had fallen off the wagon (and subsequently the stage), and at some point he was in consideration for a proposed Led Zeppelin tour in the absence of an unenthusiastic Robert Plant. Along the way bass player Tom Hamilton was diagnosed with throat and tongue cancer (he recovered but the cancer returned last year, and after treatment he’s recovering well). And of course Tyler went off and took a job as a judge on American Idol too. When the band finally reconvened and hit the studio, the question was “Which Aerosmith will be making an album? The 70s bluesy rockers? The 80s/90s hard rock superstars? The FM smash balladeers?” It turns out the answer was “All of them.” Music From Another Dimension! manages to have something to appeal to fans of all three of the band’s main eras, and with 15 tracks on the standard edition it’s pretty much a case of “If you don’t like the ballads, there’s plenty of the other stuff.” Whether intentional or not, Aerosmith seems to have found a way to please everyone.
Hi! Have you had a chance to listen to the record?
Yeah! I like that there’s three Aerosmiths here – the 70s feel, the 80s/90s stuff and the ballads. Something for everyone who likes something about Aerosmith.
Yeah, I noticed that’s how it came out. Every era of our career is represented. I don’t think it was a conscious decision. We’ve learned that it’s so much about songs, and we’ve dipped into different styles throughout our career. What always comes back is it’s all about songs. We want to have really kickin’ drums and blasting guitars, and Steven singing amazing vocals. And I’m a musician so sometimes I’ll listen to music just for the bass player, but not that often. I really believe that the song is the thing.
Just saw this on the excellent No Treble bass site: La Bella Strings have just launched their first ever bass, The Olinta. It looks pretty damn nice – basically a high-quality, highly Jazz Bass-influenced four-stringer. Love the colour and the pickup and bridge covers! Each one is individually handcrafted and made to order by master bass builder Mas Hino.
More info here.
BASS FOR BABY MATTHEW
A letter from Les Claypool
Two years ago my younger brother’s two-month old baby boy Matthew was diagnosed with a rare form of infant leukemia. Matthew has just recently celebrated his second birthday and as of this date he is a little over 60 days into his bone marrow transplant therapy. The bone marrow treatment is taking place at St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee where the most cutting edge techniques are used. A few weeks prior to his transplant, Matthew was given a 0% chance of survival rating from Stanford Medical Center because they felt that they had exhausted their treatment options. St. Jude’s has been Matthew’s “hail Mary pass”.
The octave pedal is an often overlooked tool which can fill in the lower range while a funk or fusion bass player explores higher regions of the neck. It’s also a great way for rock and metal players to add some extended rumble and grind to their sound, or for R&B players to tap into some of the multi-octave vibe that their organ-playing bandmates enjoy. The EBS OctaBass offers a little more control for most, in a robust, reliable package.
There are two control pots on the OctaBass: Normal and Octave. This allows you to blend precise levels of both the octave and natural notes, from a little octave to nothing but, and anything in between. Sure, EBS could have gotten away with a single ‘blend’ pot, but this gives you finer control. There’s also a three-position Range switch which gives you three modes: High (synth), Mid (Classic divider) and Low (low, low low).
It’s twenty years since Pantera released Vulgar Display Of Power. That’s the same as the span of time between the Beatles’ first world tour and Van Halen’s Jump. Or between Led Zeppelin IV and Pearl Jam’s Ten. It seems hard to believe now, where crunchy metal riffs are used in everything from kids’ movies to breakfast cereal ads, but once upon a time the closest thing to metal heard outside bedrooms and car stereos was the likes of Poison and Bon Jovi. Vulgar Display helped to change all that. Along with Metallica’s Black album, it was enormously influential on musicians looking to break free of the stylistic quirks of cock rock without switching gears to the grunge sounds that were rapidly gaining prominence. Pantera combined jagged, hi-fi, post-thrash guitar tones with aggressive vocals, harsh production and a sense of groove – borrowed from Southern Rock – and in the process they ignited a revolution.
“We had a lot of hunger. A lot of the juices were flowing, big-time, and I just remember it being a really creative period for the band,” bass player Rex Brown says of 1992-vintage Pantera. “Very creative. We knew what direction we were headed and we were very aware of where we wanted to go, yet it just came out so naturally that we didn’t have to second-guess anything. There it was! Every day we were waking up just wanting to go to work.”