We were pointed to this via Twitter (you can follow me there if you like: @BassGuitarBlog). This video on YouTube, staring Michael Thurber,is a rather fantastic history of bass playing the Viola Da Gamba in the 1500’s, to the present day, via Wellman Braud, Nathan Watts, Larry Graham, Flea, and many others. Well worth the 8 minutes to watch!
Quality solo bass albums are a rare beast, and there are markedly few artists with a good one under their belt, let alone alone a whole back catalogue. Steve Lawson, AKA @solobasssteve on Twitter, is an exception to, well, almost every rule! Over the last few decades he has amassed a back catalogue of almost a dozen solo albums, and nearly the same number of collaborative albums.
His latest album was recorded at the March 2014 London Bass Guitar Show, and is a 21 minute, 2 song (yes, two song!) collaboration with Lamb Bassist Jon Thorne. It is a thing of genuine beauty, right from the opening moments, through to the final resonating harmonics of the ending.
As with all of Steve Lawson’s recordings, it is a “pay what you think it is worth” deal, as he continues to disrupt the music industry with his methods as well as his music. Diversion has become so popular that it is being advertised everywhere, with road workers around the world getting in on the act ;).
“Diversion” is a great way to loose yourself in the sounds of double bass , and fretless bass with a sprinkling of electronics. Ambient and enveloping, you own it to your ears (and to your playing) to give it a listen.
So, Ned has been at it again. NS Design have just announced a 4 string sibling to sell along side their recently introduced CR5. The new CR4 RADIUS bass guitar by Ned Steinberger is produced in in the Czech Republic. Hot features are:
- Fusion™ neck
- Diradial™ body shape
- NS tuning system
- NS/EMG pickup system.
It is a headless bass (it is a Ned Steinberger design after all!) with a very distinctive NS Design head stock. The controls are deceptively powerful, those four knobs and two switches give you: Master Volume, active Treble cut/boost, active Bass cut/boost, rotary magnetic/piezo pickup blend, 3-position magnetic pickup selector switch and a 3-position piezo EQ switch. That is a fair amount to fiddle with! The body shape is curved front and back, and looks to be very comfortable.
Now here is a curious idea, from Ritter, makers of some seriously funky looking basses: Bass Omakase. What’s that? You say… Omakase is a Japanese term meaning “I’ll leave it to you” (or I’ll entrust you). Rather than ordering something specific from the menu, you leave it up to the chef to surprise (and delight) you with their best offering – it also helps the restaurant manage their food costs, as they can draw from the ingredient they have to hand and love…
Ritter says this:
Just provide some basic instructions regarding your taste ** (e.g. model, number of strings, fretted or not, …), and Chef Jens will take care of the rest.
Your hand made instrument will be personally and creatively built by Jens Ritter.
Throughout the process you will receive some “hint pictures”, to give you a small taste of what’s to come, discovering the full instrument only at the very end.
When finished, your instrument will get its own name and enter the exclusive Royal family.
You place the order, you get some teaser pictures, and then you get (knowing Ritter) and amazing bass.
So, what do you think?
Cardiff born bassist Pino Palladino is definitely something of a legend (he is on MusicRadar’s 60 greatest bassists of all Time). His fretless bass line on Paul Young‘s “Wherever I lay my hat” is almost undoubtedly responsible for the song’s success, and for shaping an era of bass playing. In this short video, Carrie Grant talks to Pino about that bass line. Pino gives a hat tip to Stravinsky’s “Rite Of Spring” (there is a transcription and comparison on Tom Kenrick’s blog and the connection to Jaco). As well as demonstrating what a humble player he is, it also shows the critical ear that drove him to success. He might not read music, but he has played with a list of legendary musicians and influenced a generation of bassists.
You can listen to the track here, those opening bass notes, on Pino’s 1970s fretless Music Man StingRay, define it: