Vintage Bass Guitar – A Nice Website With Some Great Photos

Recently I was talking a course on Internet marketing and the website name StumbleUpon came up.  I’d never heard of it before, but now I have a new way to fritter away the day.

Through StumbleUpon I, well, stumbled upon a website called Vintage Bass Guitar.  It’s a pretty nice little website and has historical information on close to twenty brands of bass guitars.

On the welcome page you’ll some history of the bass, “In The Beginning…The electric bass guitar was first invented in the 1930s by Paul Tutmarc. But the bass guitar did not achieve any market success until 1951 when Leo Fender introduced his Precision Bass (P-Bass) which became the industry standard…In 1953 Gibson jumped on the bandwagon and produced their first electric bass which was named the EB-1. In 1958 they introduced the…“.  You’ll have to follow the link to get the whole story.

“Stay Tuned!”
Terri

 

New Atlansia Breeze Bass Guitar – The Newest Bass Guitar from H. Noble

Atlansia Breeze Bass Guitar

Atlansia-Breeze-Bass-Tail-Horz

Atlansia Breeze Bass Tail View

Hot off the press.  The newest bass guitar on planet earth from Nobuaki Hayashi (aka H. Noble) of Altansia, has a new name.  Previously unnamed, H. Noble announced yesterday that new bass guitar would be called the Atlansia Breeze Bass Guitar. (This post is a followup to “The Newest Bass Guitar on Planet Earth)

Along with the announcement, I received more details about the bass guitar itself and more detailed photos.  Here’s the scoop…

Atlansia Breeze Bass Specifications

Body Canadian Maple (light section), American Alder (dark section)
Neck Canadian Hard Rock Maple
Fingerboard Ebony, conical, composite (120-180R)
Scale 34 inch
Machine Heads Goto, gold and black
String Tensioner Roller Type
Nut Adjustable screw nut.  (Can accommodate different string sizes.
Tools not required)
Frets Jumbo SBB-24
Inlays Side only 4mm dot
Pickups Atlansia ARS (8) fixed
Tailpiece Atlansia Custom (pattented)
Bridge Tuning with half lock, tuning after lock
Metal Finish Black (shown), gold or unfinished stainless steel
Electronics Passive
Contols Volume,  Mini switch for each string, (Front-single, Center-1+2
humbucking, Rear single)
Finger Rest N/A
Body Finish Mat
Neck Finish Urethane honey coloured mat finish
Neck Joint Four bolt, bolt-on
Case Soft Case Included
Warranty 5 year limited
MSRP-USD TBA

Continue reading

Learn How to Play George Harrison’s Something on Bass Guitar and Lots of Other Beatles Covers

My fourteen year old son is a never ending source of inspiration for me. About a year ago he got the bug to start playing bass and guitar. Since then he’s had an insatiable thirst for learning everything about these instruments. His bug for music came to him during a ten day road trip through the states. He’d loaded his iPod with Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and The Beatles. During the trip we listened to pretty much everything from Love Me Do to the Anthology and all the studio and bootlegs in between. (The Decca Tapes and Star Club recordings would have to wait until after the trip.)

During the trip he proclaimed that, “John Lennon was the coolest person that ever lived.” I might have to agree. I think we also would have agreed that Paul McCartney’s bass playing was amongst the most tasteful, creative and melodic ever recorded in pop music.

With George Harrison’s Something, McCartney, shortly after it was recorded, said that the song was, “…his nicest one yet…” and the song went on to be Harrison’s first Beatle A side single. I couldn’t agree with Paul more. But it was McCartney’s that really stands out for me. McCartney would often leave the bass line to the last, when recording with The Beatles. It may have given him more time to consider what he was going to do and also given him more time to have the song’s structure down tight. Whatever it was, so many of his bass lines stand out so strongly to my ears.

This Youtube is from the bass player of Kouchu-Gakudan, a Japanese Beatles tribute band. (see their Facebook page and their website (through Google Translate))

This bass player does an amazing job of reproducing Paul McCartney’s bass lines.  As part of the tribute he plays two, true to the period, basses that match the ones that McCartney played.

The first is the Hofner 500/1, also know as the “Beatle Bass” complete with the “Bassman” sticker and removed pickguard true to the Let It Be era.  (His bass is like the ’63 version, not the ’61 (missing) Beatle Bass)

The second bass is a Fireglo Rickenback 4001C64 complete with backward headstock and horseshoe pickup.  McCartney’s is of course a Fireglo 1964 Rickenbacker 4001S.  The backwards headstock was the result of Rickenbacker putting a right handed neck on McCartney’s left handed bass.  Decades later Rickenbacker reissued the C64 as a right handed bass with a headstock that matches the reversed version of McCartney’s original.

Many Beatles fans will remember McCartney in the Beatle era playing his Hofner, but the Rickenbacker was a superior bass for recording so McCartney used it in the studio almost exclusively  for a large part of The Beatles catalogue.  It would have most certainly been used for Something.  (Although around this era McCartney also had a Fender Jazz Bass)

Please enjoy Something (The Beatles – Bass Cover), by Kocuhu…

You can check out many more Kocuhu videos on their Youtube Channel

“Stay Tuned!”
Terri

The Newest Bass Guitar on Planet Earth – From Atlansia and H. Noble

For a true Bass-Aholic it doesn’t get much better than this.  Last night I received an email from Nobuaki Hayashi in Japan.  We’d been talking recently about the development of his latest bass.  Yesterday he was putting on the last few finishing touches and he wanted to share the completed bass guitar with me.

For those that don’t know Nobuaki Hayashi, you might be familiar with his pseudonym, H. Noble.  The name H. Noble was seen on the headstock of many instruments from Aria Pro II during the seventies and eighties.  Mr. Hayashi was an engineer and designer for Matsumoku, the company that built a great number of quality guitar brands during this period.  He was responsible for the design of a number of bass and guitar models during an era where the Japanese guitar building industry was becoming well known for it’s production of very high quality instruments.

Later Nobuaki Hayashi founded Atlansia, a small boutique bass and guitar company in Nagano Japan.  Atlansia builds some of the most unique and innovative basses and guitars I’ve ever seen and a number of models are my personal favourites.  Nobuaki Hayashi holds patents for a great number of original ideas that are implemented in his instruments.

The latest offering from Atlansia is this bass guitar.  The instrument is yet to be named, but Mr. Hayashi has given me the honour of introducing this model to the world through 101 Basses.

I do not have any technical details, only photos, but I hope to learn more in the next while.

New Atlansia Bass Nobuaki Hayashi

New Atlansia Bass from Nobuaki Hayashi

One of the things I like about Atlansia basses is their unique designs.  These are not Fender copies, by any means.  Each of Nobuaki Hayashi’s designs are completely original and this bass is no exception.

Atlansia-Bass-New-Head

Headstock and Nut

But beyond the aesthetics are a number of design elements you won’t see anywhere else.

Some of these include details such as the recessed tuners which will help to hold the string more tightly against the nut.

In addition Atlansia places rollers between the nut and the machine heads.  The rollers help to prevent the string from sticking and popping while tuning.

The nut appears to be a fully adjustable model.  This feature is not common but an excellent idea allowing you to adjust the height of the string without reworking a plastic or bone nut.

One of Atlansia’s patented ideas is its cylindrical single string humbucking pickup.  These pickups allow you to rotate the pickup in relation to the string.  This allows for changing the phase of the magnetic field and will alter the sound of the pickup.  A fixed, non-adjustable, version of this concept has been recently introduced by Carey Nordstrand.  Atlansia has had these for a great number of years.

Atlansia has another feature that is starting to be copied by a number of builders.  This is the mono rail bridge.

In photos I’ve seen pieces of this bridge being worked on a lathe.  So I am assuming they are brass.  Very high mass and great for increasing sustain.  This bridge  looks to have been built for great versatility and great sound.

Atlansia-Bass-New-Thumb

Click for Hi-Res

All this from a single photo.  I’m hoping that I will get more technical information from Noble in the next while.

I’m sorry to say that I’ve only seen Atlansia’s basses from photos and videos and have not had a chance to see one first hand and, as such, have never played one.  I do hope to remedy this at some point.  But for now I can only dream.  I wonder if I have enough Airmiles to get to Japan?

“Stay tuned”
Terri

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Please see followup from October 30,2012
Links: Atlansia on 101 Basses | Atlansia Website | The Unofficial Atlansia Tribute Website

Can Girls Play Bass Guitar? – Tal Wilkenfeld is one Smoking Bassist!

Herbie-Hancock-Tal-Wilkenfeld

Herbie Hancock and Tal Wilkenfeld

I once got a message on my blog saying something like, “…women should not play bass.  It’s far too masculine.  You should play something more feminine like flute. ” I know he was just trolling.  But, it really gives you a level of resolve to be a better player doesn’t it.  For the troller, it could be a level of jealousy that he had.  That perhaps the so called weaker sex could play better than him.  Don’t you think?

Tal Wilkenfeld Bass Player Sadowsky Bass Guitar

Tal with her Sadowsky bass

Tal Wilkenfeld really puts that kind of thinking where it belongs.  Back in the 19th century.

Tal was born and raised in Sydney Australia.  At age fourteen she starting playing guitar and after only two years she decided that music was her passion and decided to move half way around the world to study music in Los Angeles.  Within about six months she found her true calling and switched to bass guitar.

After only a few months Roger Sadowsky saw her playing and immediately signed her up as an endorser.  Since then you always see her with her Sadowsky bass guitar.  (No that’s not a Fender Jazz Bass)

At age eighteen she moved to New York city and started writing music and formed a band.

In 2006 she was busy performing with the likes of Russell Ferrante, Kenwood Dennard, Hiram Bullock, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Leni Stern, Susan Tedeschi, and the Allman Brothers Band.  During that same year she recorded her first album, “Transformation.”

Soon after recording her album she learned that Chick Corea was looking for a bassist for an upcoming tour.  She sent him demos of her Transformation CD and Corea was impressed enough to sign her on.  In 2007 she did an Australian tour with Corea, Frank Gambale and Antonio Sanchez.

One month after the tour, famed jazz/rock guitarist Jeff Beck asked Tal to join him on a European Summer Tour. The Beck tour culminated at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Festival.   A number of her performances are available on the DVD Crossroads Guitar Festival 2007.  Much of this can also be found on Youtube.

This performance of Cause We’ve Ended as Lovers was filmed at Ronnie Scott’s in London in November of 2007. (She wasn’t even turning 21 until the following month.)

Interestingly, veteran player Jeff Beck was more nervous performing in this small club that he was performing at Crossroads in front of 40,000 people. Saying that people would be so close up and personal that they would be able to see and hear everything.

Regardless, these performances are amazing and a must see.

Kudos to the awesome talent of Tal Wilkenfeld.  She’s one hot bass player and someone that’s done in a few short years what most people dream of, but never achieve in a lifetime.

“Stay Tuned!”
Terri

What is the F Word in F Bass Guitars?

F Bass AC-6

F Bass AC-6

You have to wonder why somebody would name their company “F Bass”  For most people the “F” word has certain connotations.  Even for bass players you might think of F as a key.  Oddly, the F clef is also known as the bass clef so maybe it all makes sense.

In fact though, to discerning bass players, the  “F” bass is a well known high end Canadian built boutique bass.

The company was founded in Hamilton Ontario, Canada in 1978 by George Furlanetto.  So I’m guessing the name came from the founder’s last name.  Seems reasonable, don’t you think?

George F. started playing guitar at age sixteen and in 1969 he started  working for a local guitar shop.  By 1978 he established F-Instruments with the goal to “…make unique, ergonomic instruments with aesthetic appeal and the best possible sounds.”

In 1983 he started working with bassist Alain Caron and “was deeply impressed with his playing technique and technical knowledge.”  Since then Caron has been very active in endorsing and developing the F Bass product line.  So much so that their signature line bears his initials.

F Bass instruments are high quality boutique basses and as such are hand built to the highest standards with the finest materials.  “The look, feel and sound are all given great and detailed attention. One aspect cannot suffer at the expense of another. I have achieved a look that is totally new and individual, but still retains the classic lines. The sound is continually affected by the design, changes in the construction or by the choice of woods used. The artistry comes in the assembly of these various components, in balance, to achieve the ultimate instrument. My continuing focus is to improve upon current designs through research and development, build prototypes, interact with various players & customers, and to attain an array of dealers to expand sales internationally.” — George Furlanetto

Check out Alain Caron playing his F Bass live…

Other resources:

Still looking for your dream bass?  This might just be the one.

“Stay Tuned!”
Terri

 

Adam Ben Ezra

Adam Ben Ezra

Adam Ben Ezra

If you are looking for something completely refreshing you simply must check out Adam Ben Ezra.

Adam has a cool cat jazz sound that echos back to the early sixties and oodles of personality in his playing style.

More than words can describe, just watch Can’t Stop Running…

More links to to Adam Ben Ezra:

Official Website

   

 

 

“Stay Tuned!”
Terri

If Gibson is a World Leader in Guitars Why Aren’t Gibson Basses More Popular?

Gibson Guitar Corporation

Gibson Guitar Corporation

About Gibson Basses,

Without question Gibson is a world leader in building guitars, mandolins and other stringed instruments. When you think of acoustic guitars Gibson is one of a few brands that immediately come to mind as being the best quality big brand acoustics around.  When it comes to electric guitars, two guitars are probably the most iconic guitars ever made.  The first is the Fender Stratocaster and the second is the Gibson Les Paul.  Gibson hollow bodies, like the ES-335 are also highly popular.  And so is the Gibson SG. Continue reading

How to Buy a Bass Guitar

Lots of Basses

Which bass do I buy?!?!?!

How do you buy a bass guitar?  Easy!  You go to a music store and give them a bunch of money.

The real question of course is, how do you choose the bass that’s right for you.

Recently, someone was asking me about choosing an inexpensive first bass.  The questions were all about what kinds of wood the bass should have.  Is basswood good?  Is agathis better?  I’m familiar with both woods but since I wanted to get my facts straight, I thought I’d better start doing some research.

But after a few minutes I realized how many basses I’d bought over the years and, good or bad choices, how often did the type of wood determine if I purchased it.

Mostly I think my decisions come down to:

  1. Does it sound good?
  2. Does it feel good?
  3. Does it look good?
  4. And, does it work well?

Really what else is there?

Well how much money you have really goes to the top of the list.  Given enough money you could surely buy the best bass in the world.  Right?  Well, maybe not.

Let’s go through the list of things to consider.  Not in the above order, but rather in the sequence that they occur.  And, I’m going to assume that you are a player and not collector.

  1. Not unlike when you are looking for a car or even a partner, usually it’s the visuals that get you first.  Is that bass shiny or does it have that certain look?  It really is important.  But just more than a shiny paint job, does it it fit in with the style and look of the kind of band or musicians you are playing with.  A double neck Gibson SG isn’t going to fit in well with that Celtic folk band, is it?  But more importantly, does it stir up some emotion in you?  If so, that probably a good thing.  Isn’t music all about emotion?
  2. Once you grab that bass down off the wall, you start to get a feel for it.  Is it heavy?  Or, does it feel light and flimsy?   You’ll probably start off playing it sitting in a stool.  Is it comfortable to hold?  Is it head heavy?  That is, if you let go of it does the head and neck drop toward the floor?  If you sit with a bass a lot, it is comfortable in your lap?  I have a bass where the lower horn sticks in to my leg.  So I keep a folded towel in my lap while playing it.  How does your hand fit around the neck?  And, very importantly how is that action?  That is, are the strings easy to press against the fretboard.  Play some scales.  Actually play chromatic scales up the entire neck.  Do you hear buzzes?  Is there a comfortable place for you right hand?  There are so may types of right hand methods that may make a bass work, or not work, for your particular style.  Try playing with a strap and make sure you can get comfortable playing standing up with it.  And, even though this seems silly, ask someone what the bass looks like on you.  If you are tiny a huge bass can make you look like something from a circus show.  Conversely, I’m quite tall and I once had someone tell me a bass was too small for me.
  3. Okay, so this far, it looks good and it feels good.  But, most important, does it sound good.  After all when somebody listens to your record in twenty years are they going to say, “yeah but they played an ugly bass”?  To be honest the above points can effect the sound.  If you have a bass that is uncomfortable, it is going to affect how well you play it.  But this is were the rubber hits the road.  And cheap bass, expensive bass, basswood or solid granite, what you want is good sound.  When Paul McCartney started playing bass in The Beatles he couldn’t afford an expensive Fender bass.  Instead he bought a cheaper bass.  That bass helped to define the sound of the band for it’s first few albums.  Overall the sound is what matters most and every bass will have a different sound.  And even buying a brand new American Fender Jazz Deluxe is not going to ensure you get a great bass.  If you want a Fender Jazz bass, play several of them.  You find they all have a different feel and sound.  In one store I played an Epiphone bass costing $350.00 and the same Gibson bass cost about $1300.00.  I quite honestly can say that the Epiphone had a sound that I thought was superior to the Gibson.
  4. So now that you’ve decided that is the bass for you, let’s get down to the logical side of the purchase.  If the action isn’t perfect, can it be adjusted?  Most new instruments aren’t that well setup and a good setup can fix a lot of stuff.  But there are problems that setups don’t always fix.  And if you’re buying a new instrument, shouldn’t it already be setup?  Kinda.  They are setup in the factory.  At least roughly.  And most good music stores will perform some level of setup for you.  Part of the setup, and your own evaluation beforehand, is the intonation.  For modern basses this is mostly not a problem.  The fret slots have been cut by a CNC machine and most bridges are fully adjustable.  One notable exception is the Hofner 500/1 B-Bass.  It comes with an old fashioned floating bridge.  It can be adjusted, but you have to know how to do it.  The other thing about most instrument purchases is that you never know who’s been playing these things before you buy them.  Even if you buy them direct, it’s likely that somebody’s been playing the bass and likely they didn’t wash their hands.  Not that I’m a germaphobe, but those dirty hands deaden the strings.  So if that bass doesn’t have that pristine sound, you want, a new set of strings can make a big difference.  Often, if you ask, you can get a set thrown in.
  5. The last point, which maybe should be the first, is of course money.  Before you decide to buy, like anything, you need a budget.  As of this writing, here’s my price guidelines.  (USD or CAD)
    • less than $500.00 – budget
    • $500.00 to $900.00 – intermediate
    • $900.00 to $1400.00 – professional
    • $1400.00 to $2000.00 – premium
    • above $2000 – collector or boutique

    It should be noted that these prices are just general guidelines, but it gives a good sampling of what instruments go for.  There are certainly instruments in the budget range that are totally playable and more than adequate to learn on.  But if you look around you’ll find quite a few pros that play on those so called budget instruments.  The Fender Mexican made (intermediate) basses as certainly decent instruments, but play a few to find a good one.  That said, even the Fender American “professional” instruments vary dramatically in quality.  So play a few.  A great number of instrument these days are being made in China, Korea and Indonesia.  The prices are amazing and the quality is surprisingly good.  But made in America, Germany, or Japan is more desirable and more expensive.

Make sure when you buy a bass you get a case or gigbag.  Hardshell cases are optimal for protecting your instrument, but gig bags are way more practical.  Unless you have a hollow body instrument, in this case I prefer a hardshell case.   I like gig bags for, well, gigging.  It’s way easier to carry a gig bag over your shoulder and to get the instrument in and out of the bag in a cramped venue.

If you are buying more expensive instruments, try to negotiate a strap in to the deal.  They all need to be set to different lengths so I try to have a strap for each bass that I keep in the gig bag for that bass.

Hopefully this has been helpful to those that are buying a new bass.  It’s the first step in one of the most rewarding aspects of your live.

“Stay Tuned!”
Terri

 

School’s IN with Teach Me Bass Guitar

Hey, Mom and Dad. Now that the kids are back in school, they’re going to be deciding what teams to join, what school clubs they’d like to try and… wait! Your daughter wants to learn to play the bass guitar? That’s great. It’s not great? What’s wrong?

As it turns out, the music classes at her new school are crowded and currently only offering piano or acoustic guitar. This young lady’s been a fan of the bass since she heard her first thunderstorm and curls her nose up at the idea of strapping on a heavy piano every day for practice. Hee, hee. Um… and she’s never really cared to learn six-string guitar. You’ve looked into private lessons for her, but the one guy teaching bass guitar in her town offers only one lesson per week.

Once per week?

Sure. Each class consists of a particular musical topic, and the teacher will have her go through the theory and then the actual playing of the material. At the end of the lesson, he will give her hand-outs and study charts, and she will work on it until they met the following week.

So, what happens if she doesn’t understand something and needs a helping hand between lessons? What if her lesson is Friday after school and she has to stay for detention for spray painting a picture of Flea on the bathroom wall? (it could happen) Whatever the reason, if this young student misses a lesson, or needs supplemental help, private lessons that hang on someone else’s time schedule might not be right for her; she might give up her dream to play the bass! And that’s no good.

Hey, Mom and Dad, why not look into Roy Vogt’s Teach Me Bass Guitar?

Listen as Ashley tells you what’s in store for your young musician!

With TMBG, your daughter can study every day, at any time of day; when she’s ready to learn, Roy is always ready to teach. Your daughter won’t miss a lesson, even if she has to stay for detention!

Here’s a sample from Lesson 2.

And let’s not forget the gathering place for Teach Me Bass Guitar students and alumni — ThunderRow.com!

When you buy your aspiring young musician a copy of TMBG, she gets free access to this family-friendly student forum where we all support each other in our lessons and enjoy all bass-related topics. She can post videos of herself practicing her lessons, ask questions of Roy and the more experienced students on the Row, and fit herself right in with the friendliest online bass community in the world! We have members that range in age from 8 to 80.

Bring your aspiring bassist to the computer and visit Roy Vogt’s Teach Me Bass Guitar together. You won’t have to look any further to get her started on her bass-playing future.

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Notice: 101 Basses is an affiliate marketer for Teach Me Bass Guitar