The Bass Geek - Words about Music, Circuitry, and New Orleans
The Bass Geek
31Jul/084

Expensive Bass Porn

The $250,000 BassA Las Vegas jeweler is selling this particular custom-made instrument for $250,000. The original story is accompanied by a graphic explaining the fine detail of the bass, ranging from a body formed from a single piece of quilted maple (nice touch) to several 24K gold inlays (superfluous) to diamonds in the knobs and a nut made of Siberian mammoth tusk (you must be joking).

My favorite part, though, is the explanation of the brass frets. It was a structural consideration, as gold would be too soft for playing, and brass was necessary to stand up to the strings. I find it quite hard to believe that this won't end up in a display case somewhere, untouched by playing hands for years at a time.

Also, the new IMN podcast is up - download it here or listen at the site.

30Jul/084

Grabbing The Ring

The Fountain Square neighborhood is getting a new place to congregate and enjoy food and beverage.  The choice who you you congregate with remains up to you, however.  Welcome to The Brass Ring Lounge.

The lounge takes the place of the old Fountain Tavern, an establishment I never quite made it into.  And, judging by the photos on the site, there wasn't much to be missed.  Can't speak for the regulars, though.  If there were regulars.  Perhaps that's why it went away in the first place.

Grand opening is July 30th . . . right, that's today.

29Jul/080

A Wellspring of Black and Gold Hope

Training camp is a magical time for the hardcore football fan, as the first inklings of the season waft through media sources and alight on the seekers wanting to know how the team will fare this year.  No matter what team is being considered, the air is heavy with potential and speculation, hints and promises, expectations and dreams.

And we're only two days in - there hasn't even been a real scrimmage yet.

Nevertheless, the universe is once again coming back to that blessed time, and I'm taking the carefully folded Terrible Towels out of storage and readying them for this year's campaign.  With no games played yet, it remains a perfect enigma, waiting to be played out.

28Jul/080

Best Buy Picks A Weird Song

No doubt inspired by the continued success and dedication of the Sears Silvertone, Best Buy is set to start selling musical instruments from Fender, Gibson, Roland and more. And, according to the article, it goes beyond just entry-level offerings and a few accessories. We're evidently talking about high-end instruments and group lessons as well.

Which strikes me as a monumentally bad idea for Best Buy.

The only thing they're getting right is setting aside a separate room for the inventory. The public doesn't need to be exposed to the horrors guitar shop employees face every day by dealing with thousands of terrible renditions of "Stairway To Heaven" or "Eruption." Otherwise, Best Buy lacks what every good music shop needs:

  • Personal Service: An informed salesperson that takes into account the players' needs and gets them the right equipment.
  • Maintenance and Repair: Musical instruments need constant adjustment and tweaking. Best Buy can't offer that. Or if they can, it turns out like the Geek Squad. And that's scary.
  • Lessons: Imagine a pre-teen or teen trying to concentrate on lessons when the latest video game is RIGHT OUTSIDE!!!!

While I'm certainly not in favor of trying to keep musical instruments out of the hands of kids and the public in general, Best Buy is doing nobody any favors by adding these to their stock. I can see folks suffering from sticker shock on high-end instruments ("Why, that guitar is the price of 3 home audio systems, and it only plays in mono!"), and smart money says serious players stay away in favor of their normal haunts. The manufacturers listed don't normally add big discounts to their prices anyway, so I doubt anybody is getting a good deal there.

I realize that there are more options to service your car than the dealership, and that most products can be dealt with at the superstore level without issue. I just can't see musical instruments making that transition, though. Especially after Mars Music folded and heavyweights Guitar Center and Sam Ash already in the arena. Musical instruments are not a loss-leader for the store, and my faith in Best Buy to offer quality service and care for them is minimal at best. I'd love to hear the logic behind this at some point, if it exists.

And it has to go beyond a wacky Guitar Hero "Play a Real Guitar!" tie-in.

25Jul/081

Fountain Square Music This Weekend

Radio Radio has the Vulgar Boatmen and Gentleman Caller tonight, and it brings in Cellofourte on Sunday.

(Incidentally, the aforementioned Boatmen and Caller are further proof of my time-tested hypothesis that Indianapolis bands never really break up, they just take longer between reunion shows. I don't know if there's some sort of karmic linkage, whether the town is just incestuous enough that everybody ends up working together again, or if Brownian motion simply forces their particles back together when exposed to a stage and musical instruments. It just is.)

Sam's Saloon has Necropharmacon, Sleepbringer, Pyrenchymv, and Nidus. All are heavy, all are loud.

Deano's Vino features the Shirtless Biddles tonight and Jude's Juggers tomorrow. Neither are heavy nor loud. And it's Swing Night at the Fountain Square Theater. As far as I know, the band may be loud but is not heavy and has never broken up.

And remember "Bare" plays through Sunday at the Wheeler Arts Building.

24Jul/080

Gadget Time!

My friend Jim Roach forwarded to me the next-generation mix tape, complete with USB connection. Kind of a cool idea, unless it's actually inserted into a real cassette drive. Then, no matter what you've put on the tape, it sounds like Throbbing Gristle.

C|NET brings news of the magnetic guitar cable, featuring a snap-away design similar to the MacBook power cord. It's an interesting design that most certainly would have prevented the recurring jack trauma an old bass of mine suffered from cord strain (that, to be fair, was the fault of the jack mounted on a plastic cover and not wood or metal). It's not gonna help much when you keep stepping on your cord, though.

New IMN podcast is up - download it here or listen at the site.

23Jul/081

“Bare” Opens This Thursday

Just a quick reminder that Fountain Square's Wheeler Art Center is the location for this weekend's production of "Bare."  Check out the site for ticket info, times and a rehearsal vlog.

It's also a pretty good excuse to drag me out of the house - I'm noticing large chunks of time are missing courtesy of my Xbox.  At least I hope it's the Xbox.

22Jul/082

Multiple Bass Porn

This fascinating 7-string headless bass comes courtesy of Building the Ergonomic Guitar:

Fanned Fret Bass

Love the fanned frets and design. And there's this wonderfully restored Rickenbacker from the Bass Kahuna:

Rickenbacker

The top is just amazing. Nice work!

21Jul/081

Bootsy’s Back!

The cancellation of Bootsy Collins' tribute to James Brown tour stop here in Indy broke my heart, but the website said to look for a rescheduled date. That date is October 9th, and I couldn't be happier with the new location, either - the Madame Walker Theater in downtown Indy. What a great place - the sound, the venue, everything. The tickets are purchased, and I'm ready for it.

Now.

Start the show now, please

21Jul/080

Ran Myself Ragged

Production week for "The Wiz" is finally over, and the audiences and reviews have been positive. More than anything, it's good to just get it over with and take a break - between work and this, I've picked up a little bug and am home sick right now. I'm tackling the technical edits for "Home Recording For Dummies" in the meantime, though.

If you get the chance to pick up the latest issue of "Bass Player" magazine, I'm part of their "Introduce Yourself" series this month. I don't know how many folks they have submitting for this feature, but I think the fez photo had something to do with the publishing. It's the issue with Victor Wooten, Stanley Clarke, and Marcus Miller on the cover.