Bass Review: Markbass Little Mark III

Soooo, I’m not sure if I mentioned this in a previous post, but my prized Acoustic 150 head, died. I mean, just all life in this amp ceased to exist. I tried to get it fixed and nothing. It’s just…done. And that’s extremely sad, but more so, it was terrifying.

A few weeks after my amp died, I got the amazing opportunity to play with a band that was opening up for Hunter Hayes in Minnesota. I was beyond thrilled! Then I realized that I couldn’t just show up at a huge venue with my 1×15 combo practice amp. So, I needed to buy an amp quickly. I ran to to Guitar Center that weekend, hoping to score a good deal on an Acoustic Amp to go along with my cab. However, I searched and searched and searched and could not find one they had that was 8 ohms. Furthermore, I could not find an amp, any amp, that was 8 ohms and under $1,000. Which, was highly over my price range. But then I met my Guitar Center angel who got me a huge deal on an amazing amp that I didn’t even think I could afford to look at.

This piece of gold was the Markbass Little Mark III. 500 watts, 8 ohms, 4 band EQ, built in direct out, pre/post EQ, variable pre-shape filter (VPF), vintage loudspeaker emulator (VLE), AND it only weighs six pounds! Everything I could have ever wanted in an amp is in this amp. I’ve never met an amp that sounded this good.

I’ve never taken a punch as strong as this amp delivers. The instant you turn the amp on, all you hear is bass. BOOOOOOM! This tone will blow you away the very minute you hit the string. And no matter how loud you turn up the amp, it stays clean. The problem with my last amp, was that it would start to distort as you would turn it up. But this amp is stays crisp and delicious. After purchasing this amp, I have decided that this is my tone.

Overall, I give this product the most favorable of favorable reviews. Go to your local music store and try it out. You won’t be disappointed!

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“Go Your Own Way” – Fleetwood Mac (Bass Cover)

I’m really digging this whole video thing, you guys! It’s so easy and I just want to do it all the time! So, last night I recorded a cover of “Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac.  You know, only one of the coolest songs ever! Thank you so much to everyone that watched my first video! I hope y’all enjoy the second!

Bass Review: Breedlove Solo Acoustic Bass

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This year I had the amazing opportunity to play at Summer NAMM on the Acoustic Nation stage. So, of course, me having a compulsive shopping disorder, I absolutely had to buy an acoustic bass for the show. And the fact that I wouldn’t have had to lug a six foot instrument through the Music City Center (which is like a million miles long) was pretty appealing. I could totally get down with carrying a lightweight bass. And it sounds pretty cool, too. ;-)

The search for the perfect sideways, acoustic bass is like finding the perfect tone or the holy grail: next to impossible. Or maybe I’m just picky. I went on an acoustic bass search early in my bass career and ended up not being totally impressed with the limited selection of basses. Some were too feedback-y, had too much buzz, were awkward to hold, too breakable, you name it. Eventually, I just gave up and bought an upright. Which, come to think of it was a pretty good turn of event. However, it was about time find something more convenient. And something that could fit in a small car if need be.

On to Helena! I found Helena at NAMM last year and I’ve dreamt about her every day since. She is absolutely gorgeous. With a solid cedar top, nato neck, rosewood fingerboard, and a pinless bridge, this instrument is wonderfully deep-toned and has perfect sustain. However, the holy grail of this bass is the L.R. Baggs preamp. With full EQ, a built in tuner, and total volume control, this preamp ensures that only the true tone of the instrument is being delivered to the sound board.

This bass is perfectly proportioned in such a way that it doesn’t feel awkward for me to play. The neck is perfectly rounded that it sits comfortably in the crook of my hand and my arm is able to wrap comfortably around the instrument.  But the best part? The top sound hole.  Yes, you heard me correctly. Of course, there is the front sound hole, but this bass comes with a fully functioning sound hole on the top of the instrument.  It really comes in handy when I do not receive a stage monitor.  I just pop that top sound hole out and I can hear myself perfectly! All of that awesome bass tone hits me in the face.  I love it!

Breedlove created gold with this bass.  This bass is truly priceless and totally worth it.  The bass is small enough that it is comfortably portable, it sounds crystal clear with a lot of depth, and it looks pretty cool. Definitely an eye-catching piece of bass guitar perfection.  I haven’t been this proud of an instrument in a long time.

And thus concludes the story of my beloved Helena…and of my dog, Rocky.

5 Bass Players I’ve Been Listening To

Alright, alright. It’s been awhile, I know.  However, I promise it’s been for good reason.

One of the biggest things I’ve been doing has been taking lessons.  Over the new year, I decided it was time to get back into the swing of weekly lessons and it has been nothing but great.  My bass teacher has an extensive knowledge of bass players from every single music genre and he’s made me obsessed with several different bass players. So, I figured I’d share with you a few of those bass players with you! And I encourage you to really listen to these bass players if you haven’t already.

1. Cliff Burton/”Metallica”

I got into Metallica not too long ago when I listened to “The Black Album” for the  first time. However, a good friend of mine urged me to listen to the “Cliff Burton era” of Metallica.  This “era” consists of the first three Metallica albums. Cliff has been cited by many as being one of the greatest bass players ever. Personally, I liked him because of his ability to play fast and grungy, but he can also be very melodic. I also love how he’ll double on a guitar riff.  AMAZING bass player!

2. Me’Shell Ndegeocello

I discovered Me’Shell when my bass teacher mentioned that a certain bass lick we were learning sounded a lot like her bass line in “Wild Night.” He played me the song and I fell into instant love with the bass line.  I went home and learned it note for note and then listened to some of her other work.  I absolutely love her versatility.  Funk, Jazz, Soul, Rock, you name it, she’s got it. There’s something for everybody when it comes to Me’Shell Ndegeocello.

3. Eric Wilson/”Sublime”

My biggest obsession lately is funk and bass line syncopation.  Personally, I think Eric Wilson has to be one of the best, recent bass players for that kind of style.  I feel like he’s in the same category as Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers) and P-Nut (311). Eric Wilson is great at fitting nice funky grooves into Sublime’s ska/reggae/rock thing they had going on.  He’s also extremely melodic and creates gorgeous bass lines.

4. Jaco Pastorius

I know, I know. EVERY bass player worships Jaco.  However, I never was one of those people until recently.  I kind of wrote him off as this bass player who was just too fancy for me.  But now, I see the art and the beauty in his playing.  I love listening for the ghost notes that he throws into his fast riffs and I love mulling over his creative melodies.  My journey of listening to every song Jaco has ever done has been an awesome one.  And I can’t wait to continue.

5. Bernard Odum/”James Brown”

James Brown is another person my bass teacher told me to listen to religiously. So, on one of my many road trips, I listened to more James Brown singles than I could count and I can pretty accurately say that Bernard Odum wrote some of my favorite J.B. bass lines. Bernard Odum played on some of James Brown’s greatest hits such as “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag,” “It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World,” and “I Got You(I Feel Good).” These are three more songs I just had to learn note for note. The Bootsy era of James Brown is probably one of the most popular, but if you haven’t really looked into Bernard Odum’s era, you totally should.

 

Review: Acoustic B410-II

For a good majority of my gigs last year, I had sound men that would use a DI box with my bass amp. However, in the month leading up to Christmas, I realized that there a lot of gigs that I was simply going by stage volume. It was then that I decided my 75 watt amp just wasn’t cutting it and that I needed something a little bigger. So I went much bigger, because I simply cannot do something without going over the top.

I’m pretty sure that I mentioned awhile ago that I came into possession of an Acoustic Amp head from 1972. So, when I decided to upgrade my rig, I decided to keep it consistent and get an Acoustic cab. As one of my many Christmas presents to myself, I bought an Acoustic B410-II cabinet. And besides the new setup looking incredibly sexy, it plays even better.

This setup is incredibly clean. The cabinet relies entirely on the head and the actual bass for the tone it is projecting. And to add to that, the amp is so incredibly simple that it does not alter the tone of my bass at all. This incredibly clean tone has led me to pretty much stop using my effects pedals at all. This is the tone I’ve searched after for so long! And it’s finally mine.

This amp delivers a stunning 600w of pure power. My tone is completely clean, it looks so classy, and I proudly stand in front of the classic, vintage logo. If you’re looking for incredibly clean, and very powerful amps, Acoustic is definitely the way to go. They always live up to their name!

5 Really Uncool Things About Bass Players

Last week, I talked about why bass players are pretty cool people. This week I’m gonna talk about the uncool thing about bass players. This is really just my way of saying, “Me Complaining To Complain.” So, without further ado, I give you Lisa’s List of Five Things She Hates.

DISCLAIMER: Don’t take any of the following things seriously. I’m a dramatic person. I have a tendency to over exaggerate.

1. Lugging Gear

I used to make fun of drummers all the time, to their face mind you, for all of their gear. I used to, and still can, be completely set up and sound checked before they have loaded in completely. However, karma hit when I tried to be cool and by a new amp. Said amp weighs 85 pounds and my amp head weighs around 15. That’s 100 pounds of gear. And it just so turns out that when you make fun of a band member, they are less inclined to help you out when you need it. Moral of the story…don’t make fun of others.

2. Messing Up

Do you remember that time when you were in school during a test and it was super quiet and then you sneezed? Do you remember how everyone turned around in their chairs just to stare daggers at you? That’s what happens when you mess up as a bass player. The drummer looks at you like, “How dare you break the force?!” The guitarist is all, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” And the singer turns around like, “SING SING SING WHAT…SING SING SING.” And you fell like shrinking underneath the gazes before finally crawling into a fetal position and crying. That’s not true. I’m totally kidding…but seriously though. Just shrug it off and be like, “I’m fabulous.”

3. Magazine Discrimination

The other day, my dad and I went to hang out at a book store and he found all of these guitar magazines and I thought that that was a great idea! I really looked forward to sitting with a cup of coffee and reading Bass Player magazine. BUT THEY DIDN’T HAVE IT! They had all of the essential guitar magazines and drummer magazines, but nothing for bass players. I don’t hate this bookstore for this. I got over it pretty quickly when I found the Doctor Who section.

4. Music Stores

While we’re talking about discrimination, let’s chat about segregation. Have you ever gone to a music store with your guitarist friend or drummer friend and you can’t even see them from the corner that the bass stuff is shoved into? You wanted to go and jam, but trying to find your guitarist friend becomes like a game of Marco Polo. However, sometimes I’m convinced that we like it this way. Total solitude. The life of a bass player…

5. Expenses

Everything becomes SOOO much more expensive when you are a bass player. Amps jump up $100+ dollars! strings become $20 verses $6, most acoustic instruments jump up a couple hundred dollars. Why? Because they require more wood, more work, and more money. Say good bye to getting a decent instrument for $150. Say hello to $350. This is probably my least favorite thing about playing the bass.

Well, there it is. However, I feel like this turned into more of a rant… Too bad.