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.

 

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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.

5 Awesome Things About Being A Bass Player

When we’re in bands I think it can become easy for us, as bass players, to lose sight of why we’re the coolest people on the earth. Hell, I forget all the time! However, it’s totally true. We’re awesome human beings. Definitely cooler than guitar players. ;-)

1. We’re The Only Band Member Who Takes “I Didn’t Even Notice You!” As A Compliment

As bass players, our job is to lock in with the drummer, play behind the singer, and mesh with the guitar player. Sometimes, it’s not an easy feat. So, when someone from the audience says to us, “I didn’t even realize you were there!” We know we’re doing our job right. This means that we didn’t mess up enough for someone to realize that we were there when normally they wouldn’t have noticed. This means that we locked in with the drummer and didn’t overpower the guitarist and/or the singer. So, when someone says this to you, realize that this really is a compliment. Look the guitarist in the eye and say, “Hah!”

2. We Have Magic Powers

This might not actually be true for everyone, however I know that I do in fact have magical powers. What this really means is that we have to power to surprise people. When we play, if we play a riff that cuts through the sound, most people will look around and be like, “WHAT WAS THAT?!” Since the general audience may not know what a bass guitar is, they’ll really be surprised when you pop through and do something the guitarist didn’t do. So be proud. You have the capability of stunning people.

3. We Are A Rare People

Whether you’re a man or a woman bass player, we are still largely outnumbered by drummers, guitarists, singers, etc. This is why I think a good bass player is always appreciated and sometimes hard to find. Not many people choose to be bass players (I didn’t), but everyone needs one. They are crucial to any band. You may not notice the bass, but as soon as you take it out, the whole dynamic is changed. The whole band is different. So, you are crucial. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

4. The Community

I’m pretty sure all of the music communities are super duper cool, however I’m fully convinced that the bass player community is the coolest. Every bass player I’ve met has been super cool, laid back, and totally willing to help each other. We share these little inside jokes about being bass players, we talk gear all day long, and we share life lessons. I don’t know if it’s just a character trait of bass players, but we’re pretty rad.

5. Our Job Is Awesome

When I’m standing up on that stage, I feel a sense of accomplishment. When the drummer and I look at each other like the tightness of our groove was enough to shake the earth, I feel amazing. When the guitarist and I hit a note at the same time that wasn’t planned, I have to laugh because we know each other too well. I wasn’t kidding when I said we had the power to surprise people, just like any other band member.

We are more than just the person in the back of the stage. We hold down the low end. In some cases, we hold down the groove. And the best part is that many people don’t know that. We are complete and total mysteries. And if that’s not the coolest damn thing, than I don’t know what is.

Welcoming a New Bass Into The Family

So over the holidays… I fell in love. We met at a Sam Ash in New Jersey and it was magic right from the start. From the moment we set eyes on one other, we knew we were hooked. We approached each other and shared minimal words. Then, we decided to get away from everyone else and we sat in a corner. And there… Surrounded my guitars and amps, we talked. And we talked and talked, falling into a deeper and deeper spell with each other.

I didn’t want to stop chatting and I didn’t want to leave, however I knew that time would come when I would have to leave for Nashville. So, we talked it over and decided that we would go to Nashville together. Now, some may say that this was a stupid and a reckless decision after only knowing each other for less than an hour. However, we saw the potential of what we could become and we didn’t want there to be space between us. Space that could be filled by other people looking to destroy us. I absolutely didn’t want us to lose whatever it was that we felt. But that was close to a month ago. We’re now living comfortably together and it’s amazing to see how our relationship has blossomed. And I’m just excited that I had to share it with you all. Here’s a pictures of us :-)

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Okay. I know all of that was extremely cheesy, but it’s all true. I fell in love with this beautiful instrument in New Jersey as soon as I saw her, I knew it was meant to be, and I bought her for a lot of money after only playing her once and knowing her for less than an hour. She very quickly became “My Girl” after we came back to Nashville. I’ve had a load of time to sit and play with her and each hour becomes more and more magical. She’s the girl for me :-).

Oh. I guess you wanna know what she’s all about. :-). Well she was born in the magnificent year of 1978, she is an American Made Fender Precision bass, her previous owner modified her into a fretless, she carries all of her original pickups and tuners, and she possesses mythological abilities that make a room bow before her badass-ness. That last part may be false…you’ll have to decide for yourselves. :-).

This girl is a life changer. She fits in so well with my other girls and she has a certain place in my life. Thus concludes my story of how true love can change a person forever. This is my testimony to one of the most amazing girls alive. My Ode to Judith.

Underrated Bass Players

So, a couple of days ago, I asked my Twitter followers who they thought were some of the most underrated bass players ever.  I absolutely loved the response that I got, so I decided to turn my Tweet into a blog post.  Here are some bassists that I believe, and Twitter believes, are seriously underrated.

4: Michael Anthony: Van Halen

I friggin’ love Van Halen.  And I friggin’ love Michael Anthony.  He’s probably one of my biggest influences.  And when I ask most people who the most underrated bass player is, I hear Michael Anthony from almost everyone.  So, does that make him not underrated? I don’t know.  But I do know he kicks some serious ass in this video :-)

3. John Deacon: Queen

I’m a firm believer that the musicians in Queen are all underrated.  The whole band is amazing, but obviously John Deacon is by far the coolest.  Here’s a short bass clip from the earlier years.

2. John Taylor: Duran Duran

I love funk bass and John Taylor is pretty good at funk bass.  Check out this isolated bass track for “Rio.”

1. Flea: Red Hot Chili Peppers

Flea’s not really underrated.  He’s pretty awesome and everyone knows that. I just needed an  excuse to post this video again.

My New Bass Discovery

I’m not one of those people that wants basses just to have them. I have 2 electric basses and that’s good for me.  My Fender Jazz is versatile and fits in just about any music genre, and my Daisy Rock is great for when I have shows that my need a little more volume and bass (It’s completely active, so it’s a little louder than my Fender).  I buy basses when I think I need them…and I have a bass that I need.

When I decide to buy a bass, it’s for the tone.  And I have found a bass with a really nice wompy, funky tone. And that is a Music Man Stingray. I used to think these basses sounded awful, but then I realized it’s just different.  THis bass is made up of an Ash body, birdseye or flamed maple neck, maple or rosewood fingerboard, an attached neck, and 1 standard Music Man humbucking pickup set near the bridge. There are three knobs on the bass. One volume, a treble cut/boost, and bass cut/boost. All of these things create a truly unique  bass.

If someone ever needed to spice up their bass collection, this would definitely be a contender.  Haven’t heard it? No problemo! Here’s a youtube demo video for you to check out!