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Topics - Happy Face

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The Bass Zone / One lucky guy
« on: June 12, 2017, 07:24:26 PM »
So a Steinberger bass mysteriously arrived at my office today. I partially unwrapped it and carried it home. (I usually walk to and from work, about 20 minutes each way.)

My wife greeted me at the door and asked "what is that?" I answered, "a guitar", worried she'd be alarmed at my extravagance.

She was annoyed, but for a different reason.: "Why didn't you call me? I would have picked you up!"

How lucky am I ????

The Outpost Cafe / Shortwave radio kit builders
« on: April 22, 2017, 08:37:52 PM »
No doubt I'm not the only person here who built Heathkit and Lafayette amps and .... Shortwave radios.

Inspired tonight when the local college radio station sent out Radioland by Kraftwerk.

Man, like from fifth grade right up through graduation my short wave receiver got big use. Especially when guys were in altered states. It was early pre -synth electronic music! Just as Kraftwerk sang. A big reason I loved them and got into synths and technopop.

But beyond that ... I wonder if a few of you remember trying to hack the crystals and especially the crystal key thingies you only got if you passed some bogus FCC license if you wanted to turn your shortwave into a two way machine.

The FCC did monitor things back then so it  was a cat and mouse games sometimes, right?

Other Bass Brands / An Eastern European gamble
« on: January 07, 2017, 02:40:24 PM »

To go with my Polish-made Taurus Vandal amp.

We'll see....

The Bass Zone / Combining two recent threads
« on: July 12, 2015, 11:37:41 AM »
Yesterday was the live debut for my recently acquired Fender Performer bass, which I bought thanks to a recent thread here. Sounded good and, most important, it looked sharp.

It was also the debut of the little German bass cab I asked for some guidance on here in another thread. My bandmates were worried beforehand, but when I fired it up they were impressed. But, as you can see, I need a rubber pad under the amp head to keep it from walking off the cab.

Bill's Shop: Projects, Mods & Repairs / Speaker jacks
« on: June 10, 2015, 06:24:15 AM »
I'd like to keep using the old 2x12" cab I put modern speakers into. It only has a phono input.

But two of my amps only have speakon outputs. Some folks swear that you need 'em for high power amps but a couple sound guys I know say they are just an unnecessary PITA.

I have converter jacks but was pondering putting in a speakon input into the old cab.

Question for wiser folks: outside of the locking aspect, what's the difference between putting in a speakon input and using a converter jack? Is the wiring off of the backside of the speakon input jack any different than that on a phono jack?

Hope I'm being clear with my question.


Bass Amps & Effects / Speaker Cab Resonance
« on: May 02, 2015, 01:28:42 PM »
Hi. I have an old German 2x12" ported speaker cab about the size of the smaller Bassman cabs. It had guitar speakers in it and I went to sell it but no one offered anything reasonable. Then I saw a pair of neo 12" speakers offered on TB and decided to give 'em a whirl. Thiele Parameters be damned!

You know what? It sounds pretty good. Punchy. And it seems to handle loud volumes without a problem.

BUT - when I play a C C# or D on the A string (close to the nut) or on the E string I get a sound like you get when you have a microphonic tube. It's loudest on the C. Appears with any amp.

It's not like the rattles I've encountered when internal screws need to be tightened nor like a resonance buzz I suffered with on another cab. It's a little reminiscent of a slightly blown speaker, but I don't recall that those are so frequency-specific.

What do you guys think?  Loose something in the cab, a resonance, a bad speaker or something  else entirely?

It's not a deal-killer but I'd love to get rid of it.



The Bass Zone / Jack Bruce
« on: October 25, 2014, 06:23:21 PM »
We played an afternoon show today. I got to play and sing SWLABR and Sunshine. Bon Voyage to Jack.

The Bass Zone / Bass Lessons from 1968
« on: October 06, 2014, 06:43:19 PM »
Yeah, so I bid for the rights to host a local radio show which a few folks may listen to. The theme will be the Mike Bloomfield family tree.  Including Electric Flag, of course.

I'll have to cull down my happy list to a few songs so I was listening to "A Long Time Coming" again for maybe the 10,235th time since the album came out.

But tonight, I really paid careful attention to all of Harvey Brooks awesome bass playing on that album. Namely the use of pauses, or what you guys what call lag or something.

Only now do I realize how much that album colored my playing since then. As a ninth grader I learned the bass part to Killing Floor note for note, but I never realized old Harvey had injected me with a but of groove and jazz and whatever when I worked on learning the other songs.*

Thanks Harvey!


* Except that useless Wine song which is the only song someone videoed at Monterey. 

Bass Amps & Effects / Tube amp heat
« on: September 27, 2014, 02:43:29 PM »
This is a probably a pretty dumb question, and I've asked you guys a few already! But since I am among friends, here's another.

Last night we played a show at a local venue we like. I wanted to use my Orange AD 200 rather than my Terror.  But the stage is a little cramped and I was in a hurry so I figured I'd only bring one 1x15" cab rather than two.

At the end of the night, I noticed the amp felt hotter than usual. When I run two cabs, I've often marveled how cool the head is at the end of the night. I mean, way cooler than the tube amps I used when I was young and handsome.

Is there any chance that running a single 8 ohm load was heating things up versus running the normal 4 ohm load with two cabs?  (I had the single cab on an 8 ohm tap so it wasn't a mismatch issue.)

I'm wondering if something is amiss in the amp. Or was I just driving the head too hard on a hot night?  The volume was pretty low since we have a big PA but I did have the gain up and was digging in pretty good.


The Paranoid  Parent


Bill's Shop: Projects, Mods & Repairs / Belt clip monitor?
« on: August 09, 2014, 06:18:58 PM »
I would love to have the equivalent of the belt clip gizmo you use for a wireless mike or bass, but with a headphone out and a simple pass through. No wireless. Now, Rolls has those nice personal monitors, but they clip on your mike stand.  I get all tangled up in the cords.

I did a quick look and didn't find anything that simple. Clip it on your belt, plug your bass into it, plug a cord into the passthrough on into your amp and one or two ear buds into it.voila - you  can always hear yourself in one ear

I'm too old to keep explaining to idiots that it is impossible to hear yourself over a loud drummer if you are asked to run your 200 watt amp on 1. Last night I was so pissed off that I turned my stage volume down to zero until the drummer complained. 

The Bass Zone / Ignorant Newbie Question
« on: March 04, 2014, 10:30:43 AM »
Can you make any passive bass active by jamming in a preamp? Or should you use specific pickups?

The Bass Zone / Let's welcome the low watt guitar amp movement!
« on: January 03, 2014, 06:37:03 PM »
For some reason I received a Musician’s Friend catalog today. Must be because I bought something at Guitar Center? Anyway, I was thumbing though it while dinner baked and was pleasantly amazed by the number of 15 to 20 watt boutique guitar amps listed.

It fitted in with my own experience: Our killer rhythm guitarist just bought himself a Vox AC-15 and I must say, it sounds mighty nice. As he said, we’re either playing at a club with sound or we bring our own PA, which has at least 5000 watts available. He’ll get himself heard one way or another. Being that we are a harmony-heavy band, keeping stage volume somewhat controlled is a good thing.

Looking at that catalog and of Sam’s new AC-15 got me thinking back to high school days in the mid to late sixties. I semi-fondly recall playing in bands where the lead guitarist had a Twin Reverb. Or make that two Showmans with cabs. Or best of all, two Super-Reverbs stacked on top of each other, cranked up loud so they’d break up.

As a bass player with a humble white Bassman and then a Guild amp with a 2x15”cab, then a Traynor, it was a real chore to even be heard. The endless wars encouraged me and my main rival bass player to lend each other our amps so we could each use two amps to try and keep up with our guitarists. It also made us open to welcoming higher powered solid state amps, even if they did not sound all that great.  It also influenced my technique to this day – I still yank on the strings too hard rather than employing a light touch.

Circling back to today, I called an old friend who knew me back then. He only took up bass in recent years but now kicks ass. I mentioned the MF catalog and teased him about his GAS problem. But then I wandered over to the topic above and he told me how his band, which has been actively gigging recently, had been forced to part ways with a really good guitarist. I’d heard him play = he was really good and is a fine singer. Plus I liked him as a person. But he was getting too loud at the kind of venues they play at. His amp? A Twin Reverb. I asked “Why doesn’t be just trade down to a Pro?” But I guess the guy is set in his ways.

A long story short = aint it nice that our gitards are finally figuring out that a lower power amp can be a better stage amp? I say “can be” because, if we are playing at an outdoor venue, I totally want and demand that our guitarists wheel out some serious amplitude. How else can I justify bringing out one of my big rigs? I do miss having my pants flapping in the breeze!   

Bass Amps & Effects / Old Man's Lament
« on: November 09, 2013, 07:18:50 PM »
 I spent a fair bit of my meager spare time over the last couple of weeks tending to a Trace Elliot SMX 350 amp I bought. I used to own it and felt it was the best sounding amp I had ever used for a Rickenbacker bass and a more famous Ricky player than I said the same thing without any prompting from me when I lent it to him for a gig where it was "take it or leave it." I did not say a word, except to say I was lending him that amp because I needed my Orange for another gig. A life-long Ampig, He used it and loved it   

Anyway, after fetching the amp back from a local pawn shop, I cleaned and blasted what I could and replaced a few parts.

But today I'm wondering if anyone outside of any of us OLD FFIGGIN GEEZERS even can tell the difference between me playing a Ricky 4001 through my hugely tubey  Orange versus this lovely old Trace?

Or, as our lead guitarist once helpfully noted, "Why bother changing bases? It's all the same, it's just bass."

I just bring this up since we recently played at a gig where they asked us to keep our sound level down to a level where the patrons could carry on conversations.  Thanks to our remarkable sound man we did .

But given that we face more and more jobs like that, why even bother  having a nice amp or even a nice bass?  Seriously, this really sucks.

Maybe I am glad that I am old.

We landed a nice time slot on the main stage at an outdoor city festival tomorrow. It's not Woodstock or Shea Stadium, but it should be a lot of fun. PA, stage etc provided which is really nice since our PA is in my basement.

But the bands have to bring their own amps. No big deal. I mean, that's why we agonize over our rigs, right?

Last night after practice we were talking about what rigs to bring. Our leader guitarist mumbled something about bringing his little Line 6 amp since "we'll be miked anyway so it'll be fine." In fairness to him, he does get some good sound out of it sometimes. But...

Thankfully I did not have to say a word.  

First our frontman exploded: "You have a beautiful Marshall half stack and you want to bring that little piece of crap??" He was referring to the sound. Then he added that we want to LOOK GOOD on stage. "This'll be a big crowd!"

Then our new drummer, a local legend who we were lucky to get, joined in: "Marshalls and Orange, my two favorite brands. I want one on each side of me."

Our poor lead guitarist asked "Well, what will DJ bring?" probably wondering if I'd bring my "small room" Sunn 200s on top of a 1x15 folded horn.

But I didn't get a chance to answer. The frontman declared "He's bringing his big Orange rig. And you are bringing the Marshall. End of discussion."

It's nice playing with guys who still care about how we look on stage rather than worrying about being able to carry your whole rig in one trip.   :)

And, it doesn't hurt that my big Orange rig sounds much, much better than any of the little mini rigs I tried when we had a 9 month residence at a club with a long flight of stairs up.


I have been trying to find a post on the old Dude Pit about a legendary session bass player. The comment was something like "He sounds like an old Chrysler 300 starting up on a winter day, all clangy and nosiy, but it fits right in the mix."

Or something to that effect

Do any of you oldtimers remember that?

Only out of curiousity, really... I'm not being criticized for being a sloppy player... really!

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