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Bass Player February 2019

Bass Player is the world's most comprehensive, trusted and insightful bass publication for passionate bassists and active musicians of all ages. Each issue delivers the latest tips and techniques that are guaranteed to make you a better player.

United Kingdom
Future Publishing Ltd
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Welcome! We enter 2019 with a renewed mission, and a definite sense of excitement for what the new year will bring in bass world. As you read this, we’re preparing to hit the annual Winter NAMM Show in California, where we hear there are plenty of essential innovations in the low-frequency zone; while we’re writing up our report for the March magazine, enjoy this features-stuffed issue, our most value-packed in quite some time. We’re delighted to have finally placed the great Rudy Sarzo, a veteran of no fewer than six successive decades in bass playing, where he belongs—on our cover. A man who has played with a series of huge names, witnessing mighty triumphs and tragedies along the way, Rudy has tons of wisdom to impart to all bassists. He’s joined…

the low down

LOW-FREQUENCY LEARNING A new column in which a bass player shares their playing philosophy First and foremost the bass content has to be ‘musical’. Bass players are not there just to provide a certain frequency. A lot of the melodic content of our songs is provided by the bass. I try and create bass-lines that are hummable. Technique alone is not enough. There are bassists who have jaw-dropping technique that’s not always matched by musicality and feel. Slap bass is anathema to me and I don’t listen to music that embodies that style of playing. No doubt there are some very skilful exponents of it but I’m happy to leave them to it. Knowledge can be a wonderful thing but ‘paralysis by analysis’ isn’t. The most talented creative people are largely…

the woodshed

The round, the zero, the symbol of null and void, the absence of matter, the presence of nothing… Unlike the abstract concepts of zero which characterize it as nothingness, the zero fret is very real, its concept far from metaphysical. But does the zero fret offer an improvement over that of a conventional nut? The zero fret is an element of guitar construction that found itself lost in time for nearly a generation. In an effort to achieve tonal characteristics similar to fretted notes while playing open strings, tone-questers of the 70s and 80s had brass nuts fitted to their instruments. Meanwhile, a simple, more elegant, solution was hiding in plain sight. Commonly found on low-priced factory and department store guitars of the 60s, the zero fret had developed a bad…

classic bass albums

The most iconic rock album ever made? Quite possibly—and one with a suitably chaotic genesis... By August 1966, following a problematic tour to support that year’s album Revolver, Paul McCartney (vocals, bass), John Lennon (vocals, guitars), George Harrison (guitars), and Ringo Starr (drums), had decided to cease live touring. Acknowledging that their band format limited the reproduction of their ambitious album recordings in a live setting, after a three-month break, the Beatles set about preparing their eighth album, soon to become the masterpiece known as Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Released in 1967, the album trailblazed its way around the world, drawing together elements of pop, rock, psychedelia, fashion, art, and design in a way that no other group had done before. It also signalled a change in the Beatles’ dynamic,…

no treble

In the electric bass world, it seems like brand new designs are becoming few and far between. Sure, the modern multi-scale, single-cut, adorned with exotic top woods, is a far cry from Leo’s old Precision, but even that boutique style is becoming more common. That’s why No Treble readers were curious to check out our recent Bass Of The Week column on the Nordic Guitars Rotator. A preliminary check would have you think it’s just a two-necked instrument—one fretted, one fretless—but the name gives away its biggest secret: They rotate. “The necks are fastened to each other exactly in the middle, with a pivot system connected to the back part,” the company explains. This allows the necks to spin in front of you, switching between fretted and fretless in an instant.…


How important is our gear, as opposed to technique and practice? Is the seemingly never-ending quest for ‘that’ bass sound just a waste of time? Or does it perhaps help to keep our interest and curiosity alive? Does it make a difference if the new toy is expensive or cheap, brand new or secondhand? For some, the answer is obvious—learn to play properly, and any equipment will sound great. (The classic ‘it’s all in the fingers’ statement!) Learn to set up and use your gear to its best for your needs, and you won’t have to buy new items every month out of frustration. Save the money, spend the time on practicing instead, and you win twice. That’s all well and good, but this is Basschat! Most of us believe gear does…