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.

 

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

Getting Back into the Groove

back into the groove

For the past couple of months I have gotten way off track with my writing and bass playing and desperately need to get back into the groove. It is evident here as I haven’t written a new post in quiet some time. My bass studies have, unfortunately, suffered the same fate.  Truthfully I hardly touched my bass for a span of almost 2 months. read more