Monday, August 25, 2008

More bass just across the road...

Just to add, all of the old articles are being migrated over, complete with their comments. There are also some new posts over at the Bass Guitar Blog:

  • MusicDojo - Learning Bass on-line

  • Bass Day 2008 - Manchester UK

  • Bass Gear Mag

  • BassQuake Faultline

  • Do check them out!

    Monday, August 18, 2008

    We haz moved...

    You can now find the blog at it's new home: we're excited to see you there!

    Tuesday, July 15, 2008

    Everyone on Bass?

    I had the opportunity to see Lightspeed Champion last week, at KoKo in London, as part of the iTunes festival. I've bee a long time fan, since bumping into them (well, lead Dev Hynes) on a plane last year. However, this was the first time I'd seem them live.

    It was a great set (and a good crowd at the venue). What struck me most was that almost everyone in the band took a turn on bass (with only the violinist not picking up the 4 string wonder). It made me wonder two things:

    1. How many bassists are multi-instrumentalists?
    2. How comfortable would you be playing someone else's bass during a gig?

    Having a broader outlook than just bass guitar is always a good thing - expanding your sense of melody, harmony and rhythm.

    I didn't manage to convince these hardcore Lightspeed Champion fans to take up bass, which is a shame (another one of those bass not for girls say the girls moments). They did put up with me taking photos over their shoulder - fair deal.

    As you can see, after the crowds have gone, KoKo is an unusual venue - it describes itself as the most opulent venue in London. The sound and lighting was excellent, and it definitely counts as a bass player friendly venue - unlike a few I could mention.

    Lightspeed Champion have their own blog (strong language warning), which is quite an entertaining read. However, it didn't solve the mystery of the night for me: What is this bass:

    Thursday, June 19, 2008

    Finding Bass-Friendly Music - Last.Fm

    Finding music you like can be a bit of a hit and miss thing. Us low-end bassist types generally have an unusual and eclectic taste in music - and I mean that in a good way, honest!

    Check out There are a few different elements to the system. First, the website itself - lots of interesting music, videos, pointers for events and the like... But before you knock yourself out, two other bits: The scrobbler, which runs on your music machine of choice (Mac or PC) and keeps track of what you listen to. Then the social network part of Last.Fm:

    You can connect with friends, share what you are listening too and find out what they are listening too. And now the best part. mashes all of this up to find tracks that it thinks you will like and people who share your musical tastes. How cool it that?

    So, you want to get started? Here you go:
    • Go to the site and sign up (it's free):
    • I'd say connect to me, but given my taste in music, that might spin you...
    • Much better idea, find some of your friends on there, or follow through to listeners of things you like (I started UK solo bassist Steve Lawson).
    • And, don't say we don't ever give you anything! Steve is giving away (as in for free) his album "Lessons Learnt From An Aged Feline Pt I" - get it here. Give it a listen through and add a comment. It is on the very ambient end of Steve's stuff - it has been calming us down here, bringing a bit of peace and tranquility!

    Saturday, June 7, 2008

    Darbucka London Gig - Take Two - Write Up

    Premier UK solobassist Steve Lawson pulled together an excellent evening at Darbucka in London. First up, hello to all of you who were at the gig - it turned out to be a bit of a social media fest, with a major part of the on-line UK Bass and social media community there. Sharing the gig with lots of friends made it even more enjoyable!

    Steve kicked off with a solo Bass piece and got everyone settled before Lloyd Davis stepped on stage. I wouldn't have put myself down as a Ukelele fan, but Lloyd's voice captivated the audience, including me, as he treated us to wonderful songs from a former generation. Broad musical horizons make for a good bassist.

    Steve and Lobelia took to the stage with a mix of their own songs and special treatments of covers. Lobelia's voice and Steve's bass playing looped together into a powerful musical mix - I'm thinking there will be an album on the way! Some-one was videoing, so you might even find a clip or two from the evening on their YouTube channel.

    Yolanda Charles was not to make it on the night, but Miriam Jones stepped in, with Jez Carr on keys. It was a treat, as I've been hoping to catch her live for a while - definitely a welcome addition to the UK music circuit (yay for trans-atlantic marriages!).

    Finally the Dodds/Lawson/Woods Trio took to the stage (tracks on Reverbnation here). Roy Dodds was on fire on drums, with Patrick Wood supplying some amazing Rhodes and Guitar playing. Steve did the Lawson thing on bass... Everyone around me was transfixed! I'll post here when the new album is out (due soon apparently)!

    You can check out Basswulf and photo's from me of the event here. Social media is definitely changing the music world for the better - read Alan's wonderful stody about that side of the event here on the Broadstuff Blog.

    Monday, June 2, 2008

    Darbucka London Gig - Take Two

    For anyone who went along to London Solo Bass Night or who missed it and wished they were there, you'll want to that Steve and Lobelia will be performing as a duo (congratulations Mr and Mrs Lawson!) - you can get a taster of the material in Steve and Lobelia's YouTube videos.

    There will additional guests including another chance to see Yolanda Charles, as well as Lloyd Davis on Ukelele and the Dodds/Lawson/Wood trio (listen on Reverb Nation). Fuller details on the event's Facebook page or here on Steve's blog.

    It will definitely be a corker, with some serious bass and ear-opening music. I'll be there, with my better half and a better camera this time, hopefully checking out the Darbucka World Music Bar menu too! I'll be reporting back...

    Thursday, May 1, 2008

    Deep 2 Deep

    Wow... The week rattles by! Last weeked was the Deep to Deep meet up in the UK. Lots of church-playing bassists hanging out together. Wulf has a write up and took some great photos.

    People put up with me rambling about things you can do with your right hand...
    ... And I got to play a double bass for the first time too (thank you Andrew)! Boy are those things monsters - very very physical!

    Friday, April 11, 2008

    Bass not for girls, say the girls?

    image courtesy of Marissa Cap.

    A bass guitar on the BBC news site? Oh yes, right here: Why don't girls play guitar?

    Interesting that it is either a lefty bass (yeah!) or they have mirrored the picture (looks like the later, from the headstock - doh! Slaps forehead). Anyway, that niggle aside. The article talks about the influence of gender stereotypes on musical choice.

    There is still a lot of "girls play flute, boys play guitar" about, and it needs to go.

    Top instruments for the boys:
    1. Electric guitar - 81%
    2. Bass Guitar - 81%
    3. Tuba - 77%

    Top instruments for the girls:
    1. Harp - 90%
    2. Flute - 89%
    3. Voice - 80%
    On the good news front, I am surprised and happy to see bass right up there with the miniature squeaky guitar. On the bad news front, it is sad to see no guitar at all in the girls list.

    The article says it is hard to step across the gender line, but easier for girls to play 'boys' instruments, than the other way around. I know a male bass player learning flute - wulf, your secret is out - and I know of infinitely more female bass players around now that I did a decade ago (ok, that is from zero to about a dozen now). So, hopefully, things are on the mend.

    Let's break the stereotypes. Bass is for everyone, come and play!

    Thursday, March 27, 2008

    Lakland Owners Group

    Wow... The Lakland boys have been busy. They have a new owners group ("LOG"), which you can sign up to on the Lakland owners site: Find the "Create an account" option and sign up - it does the whole funky 'sending you an e-mail' thing - and you'll have access to news, a forum and the mysterious "stable". News, Events, the Forum, the Stable, and other information. It is a subscription site - $26/year - but Lakland are promising to throw in goodies and the like. Know of any other owner's groups?

    The group is planning a meet up on May 10th in Wisconsin, details here on the Lakland Blog: Inaugural LOG meeting. A good chance to meet fellow bassists and keep up with the Lakland crew!

    Wednesday, March 5, 2008

    London Solo Bass Night

    Last night saw a special evening for hard core bass fans in and around London. Yolanda Charles, Steve Lawson and Todd Johnson took to the stage for a spectacular evening of solo bass.

    Todd was out with the crowd before the show, sharing his passion for bass and showing off his rather nice signature Zon Bass. By the time it came to kick off a very good size crowd had gathered at Darbucka. It is a superb venue (unless you happen to be a photographer, in which case the ambient light will render even your best kit useless - that's my excuse anyway :) ). Check out their menu, you will want to eat there!

    Yolanda Charles took to the stage for her first solo gig. Yolanda has played with artist like Robbie Williams and Paul Weller, but is now an artist in her own right. Quite rightly too, as she filled the room with her grooves, using just a simple loop pedal and raw her talent. Very funky stuff, a wonderful voice!

    Next up was Steve Lawson himself, and my chance to see the Looperlative in action. It is a very serious piece of kit, judging by the other-worldly sounds Steve coaxed out of it as he tap danced on more pedals and controllers than this blogger could count. Some old and some new tunes, all very Steve, resulting in very satisfied fans in the audience. I don't think that anyone there will ever forget his rendition of 'a wonderful world'. Which leads us neatly on to Todd...

    Todd Johnson's first trip to London since he was a teenager! This was just one stop on his hectic European schedule, he was off to the lucky folks at ACM next. If you like Jazz, you'll love Todd. He is well known in the bass world for his tuition DVDs (check him out youtube) and the A-list of artists he has played with. With the able support of a digitech Jamman for a couple of the tracks, he swung the house.

    The finale featured Todd and Steve playing a piece together, seamlessly alternating melodic rolls like true solo bass brothers! For those in London, keep a look out for other events from Steve at Darbuka (for facebook folk, check out steve's fan page), which is a regular haunt for the recycle collective. I'll definitely be back!

    Sunday, January 20, 2008

    Ritter at Namm 08

    Ritter continue to produce jaw droppingly beautiful basses. I am still catching up with the Namm ०८ Show news, but in the mean time, do check out the latest Ritter photo gallery: here. Some interesting new features like new bridges that individually carry each string. Outstandingly pretty basses that play as well as they look.