Jimmy Haslip – ARC Trio

Former Yellowjackets bassist Jimmy Haslip joins forces with Jazz Superstars Scott Kinsey and Gergö Borlai to deliver ARC Trio.  Featuring guest appearances by Vinnie Colaiuta, Gary Novak, Steve Tagavlione and Judd Miller, ARC Trio is a fusion masterpiece built on deep grooves and inspiring improvisations.   read more

ERNIE BALL MUSIC MAN Announces New STINGRAY Bass

San Luis Obispo, CA (July 10, 2018) – First introduced in 1976, the STINGRAY by Ernie Ball Music Man remains one of the most iconic bass guitars on the market and a favorite among influential  players such as Tony Levin, Rage Against The Machine’s Tim Commerford, Dave Matthews Band’s Stefan Lessard and MxPx’s Mike Herrera, to name a few.

More than four decades after its arrival, critics still rave about the StingRay’s style, sound and innovation, but the team at Ernie Ball have always been determined to keep modernizing and optimizing. So how do you improve an instrument that world-class player Tony Levin calls his “go-to bass,” one that he’s played on countless albums and tours with Peter Gabriel and King Crimson, among many others?

If you’re Sterling Ball (CEO), Scott Ball (Vice President) and the award-winning engineering team at Ernie Ball Music Man, you raise the bar by digging deeper. The company has made game-changing revisions to this seminal instrument, reimagining the lighter-than-ever StingRay 4 and StingRay 5 with re-engineered aluminum hardware, refined body contours, 5-bolt sculpted neck joint, new and improved electronics and a newly designed 18-volt 3-Band preamp, providing a new level of playing comfort while retaining that legendary StingRay sound. In short, the StingRay’s been reborn as the new StingRay Special.

“To me, there’s no better piece of art than a beautifully designed and built musical instrument,” says Ernie Ball CEO Sterling Ball. “That’s what we’ve done with the new StingRay – it’s tailor-made for the most discerning players, a blend of stunning craftsmanship and well-executed technology.”

Featured revisions include an enhanced contour that is rounded for more comfort in any playing position, a sculpted neck joint for uninhibited upper fret access to all 22 stainless steel frets, and lightweight aluminum hardware providing a lighter, more balanced instrument. The new and improved StingRay electronics feature powerful neodymium magnets for higher output and a new 18-volt 3-Band preamp for extra clean headroom without clipping. Solid roadworthy construction, elegant oval pickguard, 3+1 tuning key configuration (SR4) / 4+1 tuning key configuration (SR5), and the ever popular Music Man humbucker, all together produce a look, feel and sound that is remarkably unmistakable. Click HERE for full list of 2018 product features and colors.

Street price starts at $1,999 for the Stingray 4 and $2,099 for the Stingray 5.

And what does Levin think about the new StingRay? Citing its lighter weight, new 18 volt 3-Band pre-amp, contoured body and 5-bolt neck, Levin calls it “the most versatile bass I know of.” “I love what the company has done with this bass,” he says. “They’ve gradually changed it through the years while keeping the things that made the original bass really special. They keep adding features in subtle ways and sometimes big ways that improve it without losing that special rock oomph that we all want to hear.”

“I’m able to do things on this bass that I’ve struggled with on other basses,” adds Stefan Lessard from the Dave Matthews Band. “It all comes down to feel and it’s hard for me to play any other bass right now because the necks on these new StingRays are exactly the way I’d imagine a perfect neck being. “It’s a sports car of a bass.”

 

For additional info, along with StingRay demos and discussions with Levin, Lessard, MxPx’s Mike Herrera and of course, Sterling Ball, click HERE.

 

6 Podcasts Every Bassist Should Listen To

Podcasts

Currently podcasting seems to be the new darling form of media.  You can find podcasts focused towards everything from self-help, business, and comedy, to story telling and music production.  I’ve found myself diving deeper and deeper into the world of podcasts for a while now.  For me there’s nothing better than listening to a good podcast on my morning and evening commute.  While I have explored many different types of podcasts, my favorites all revolve around music.  Being a bass player I naturally sought out bass related podcasts first.  While I can’t say I’ve found many devoted specifically to the bass, the couple I have found are truly stellar.  As audio production and songwriting are also areas I have an interest in, I eventually branched out to find more and more interesting podcasts to fill my drive time.  
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Teach Me Bass Guitar – Lesson 17

If you ask me 2016 seemed to be a bit of a musical disaster. We lost way too many incredible musicians and had the craziest election year I have ever witnessed. I myself started the year with several well-intentioned musical goals but sadly did not manage to achieve any of them. Let this be my attempt to kick things into gear again for the new year. I’ve dragged my heels for far too long working through Teach Me Bass Guitar.  2017 is the year that I finish it! read more

Joseph Patrick Moore – Decade II 2006-2015

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Decade II- 2006-2015

One of the very first album reviews I did on BassRamblings.com was for Joseph Patrick Moore’s excellent album To Africa With Love. Since that review I have become quite a fan of Moore’s music.  Moore’s uplifting and energetic bass lines have earned him a top spot among my favorite bass players.

 

Decade II 2006-2015 is a remastered compilation of Moore’s compositions recorded between 2006 through 2015.  Some of the remastered tracks have an added EDM element, giving the songs a fresh new feel and taking them in new directions.

Blue Canoe Records will be releasing “Decade II 2006-2015” on June 24th. Decade II is a remastered CD of composition’s recorded between 2006 through 2015 and is a compilation follow up to “Decade 1996-2005” released in 2006.

For more info click here for the official Press Release

 

 

Interview: Collyn McCoy of Sugar Fly

Sugar fly

Bassist Collyn McCoy lays down some heavy grooves with a huge helping of funk and soul with Los Angeles based rock and soul group Sugar Fly.

Sugar Fly was conceived by Collyn McCoy (bass) and Grammy nominated producer  Noah Lifschey (aka Stereo Lif), after performing together on Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s TV show, HitRecord. Fueled by a steady diet of classic vinyl, vintage tube amps and Kentucky bourbon, the two sequestered themselves to Noah’s studio and birthed the burgeoning sound that had been swimming in their heads. All they needed was the vocalist of their dreams with the ability to peel the paint off the walls of their studio. Enter Tia Simone. Equal parts Aretha, Etta, and Bon Scott (with the charisma of Freddie Mercury) she evokes starpower and infuses several vocal styles into one deeply soulful fusion. “Sure soul and rock have been fused many times before, but just not the way we do it,” says Tia.

I had the opportunity to ask Collyn how he started as a bass player, his gear preferences and got the low down on his latest project Sugar Fly.

Can you tell me a bit about yourself and how you first got into playing bass?

I’ve been playing electric and upright bass since I was fourteen years old. But my first instrument was trombone, which I played in marching band from age 10 through high school. And I briefly played guitar before switching to bass. My father was also a bassist; he played jazz in the Boston area in the 1950s – 1970s. He played with a lot of guys who went on to do big things — Tony Williams for instance. When I first started I was mostly self-taught. I learned by playing along with records. I probably spent a year learning every Iron Maiden and Rush song there is. And then I moved on to Jaco and Stanley Clarke. When my dad heard me playing along with Stanley Clarke’s “School Days” he knew bass was something I was serious about, so he started giving me pointers. Not formal lessons or anything, just “hey, maybe you should hold your hand this way.” I eventually majored in music, first at Plymouth State University in NH then at the University of Massachusetts. That’s when I started taking upright more seriously. Knowing theory and especially how to read music — like actual black dots — has been my secret weapon. That and upright bass. I’m really only a passable upright player, but it still gets me a lot of gigs. read more