The Bass Geek - Words about Music, Circuitry, and New Orleans
The Bass Geek

Best Vending Machine Ever

What shall you do if you somehow run out of strings, picks or other necessary items while playing in Memphis and it's past normal business hours?  Consignment Music Store in Memphis has a vending machine just outside their doors for such occasions.  Brilliant, although I'd hate to pump in $20 worth of quarters and get stiffed like a soda machine.  That's gotta sting.

While we're down in Memphis, we took the Gibson factory tour (plenty of pictures at my wife's Twitter feed) - there were only two basses in the gift shop, and they only made electric hollow-bodies at this location.  So there was some geeking out, but it was only minor.

In any case, enjoy the transition to the new year, and stay safe.


Fountain Square Music This Elongated Weekend

Radio Radio brings in KRISTEENYOUNG and Yuki Saturday for shoegaze followed by a little vocal weirdness.  Wednesday, they close out the year with Mandy Marie and the Cool Hand Lukes with Bigger Than Elvis.  It's part of a much larger retro New Year's Eve celebration that ranges over the entire Fountain Square building, including dance parties in the Fountain Square Theater and the two duckpin bowling alleys.

Sam's Saloon is closed this weekend in preparation for the Pattern-Hungry Records New Year's Eve Bash taking place Wednesday.

Big Car Gallery is throwing a Bohemian New Year's Eve party Wednesday night - there's a lot going on at this particular event, but the music portion includes performances from Tonos Triad, Adam Kuhn, Beat Debris, The Tapedeck Few, Oakdale Drive and The Bone Fags.

Deano's Vino has New Augusta tonight and the Shirtless Biddles tomorrow.  Their New Year's Eve celebration is only described as "beer-influenced," so there you go.

So stay safe and enjoy your New Year's Eve celebrations.  Please get taxis, hotel rooms and all the necessary accoutrements, and take care.


Country Christmas Cabaret Wrap-Up

Forgot to post a quick wrap-up of the ACT show these past few weeks.  The material might not have been my first choice, but the cast and crew were thoroughly wonderful, and it turned out to be a great experience.  I ended up using the P-bass on most of the shows (what could be more appropriate for these songs?), and it came through with flying colors aside from a loose tone pot, which was easily remedied.

We're still booking new shows for the Playboy Psychonauts, so there'll be more news on that next month as we get them solidified.  Everybody has headed into holiday retreat, it seems.

And I might have an SWR Workingmans 2004 bass head and a 1x15 cabinet coming up for sale at some point.  Interested parties should feel free to email me.


Wintertime Bass Porn

A friend of mine forwarded this on to me, and this bass is just too beautiful to ignore.  I especially like the dual Stingray-like pickups - I've been wanting to try something like this ever since Ernie Ball/Music Man started making them a few years ago.  The model for the bass book, Sharon Koltick Novikov, plays one and does so quite wonderfully.

Folks need to start posting audio samples with these pictures, though.

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Fountain Square Music This Weekend

Radio Radio hosts the Born Again Floozies with opener Peter Kienle of Kwyjibo Saturday night.

Sam's Saloon has the Bone Fags and Pigtail Crooks tonight, with soul/funk masters Blackberry Jam, Freddie T, and JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound Saturday night.

The Fountain Square Theater's Swing Night takes place tonight beginning at 7:30.  Afterwards, head over to Deano's Vino for Wilson and Company.  Cliff Snyder and friends appear tomorrow night.

And, of course, this is the last week for the Country Christmas Cabaret at the American Cabaret Theater.  I have yet to decide what will become of the cowboy hat after I'm done with this show.  Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.


New IMN Podcast Up

The new IMN podcast is up - download it here or listen at the site or on WFYI HD2 on Thursday at 4pm.

We're still trying to decide how to handle the holiday episode, but we're looking right now at some kind of year-end wrap-up extravaganza.  Look for one more normal episode and the special to close out the year.


Buy Them Strings

This post arrives in recent proximity to a certain gift-giving holiday, but my advice applies to any occasion on which you may be required to give a gift to a bassist (or any stringed instrument player, for that matter - except for harpists; it's just too expensive).

Buy them strings.

Do you know what brand and gauge of strings they buy?  Great!  Stop looking around their personal stuff now, and go buy those strings.

Don't know?  Doesn't matter!  Eventually, they'll use them.  Grab a set on sale or something.  The player in question may just be curious, or they may need them when that random string breaks and the only backup are the strings you brought.

Just buy a set or two.  They're not too expensive, and you can't go wrong.

Unless you're buying for a player who has their own line of strings.  They have plenty of strings, and they can't use others.  In that case, buy them the Binary Clock from ThinkGeek.  Geeks will like the binary, drummers will like the pretty lights.


Your Recordings Are Never The Same

The latest issue of Electronic Musician has a quick feature on MXP4 from Musinaut - basically, it's an audio format that uses multiple takes of individual tracks (like guitar, bass and drums) and allows the artist and listener to construct different versions of the same songs to fit different moods or desires.  The tracks can always be different, depending on the elements the artist chooses to put in the songs.

It's fascinating in concept, and the thought of actually putting the alternate tracks and takes historians and producers have mined over the years is intriguing.  The lack of a "true" definitive version is an engaging concept as well - is music like a stew, where nothing shows up in the same order but the overall flavor is the same, or is it like a meticulously prepared and presented plate, with every element ordered and examined by the chef before its released?

My guess is that control freaks (yes, Axl, I'm looking at you) will hate this format and choose to have their songs frozen in time, while others (jam bands, I'm looking at you) will noodle on incessently and use this format as an excuse to throw their work to the masses.  I like the idea, but I'm not completely sold because there are sometimes certain elements to the song (the guitar part to Stevie Wonder's "I Believe," for example) that I go to for exactly that reason, and not to have them there would lessen the satisfaction of the listening process.  On the other hand, well-worn chestnuts could use some refreshing at times, and this is an intriguing way to do it.

To me, the best way to deploy this would be for the artist to offer their mix and make the rest available as added bonuses, letting the audience choose where to go from there.  I can't see it becoming the primary mode of music distribution, but it could become a great diversion for those wanting to delve deeper into an artist's works.

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Fountain Square Music This Weekend

Radio Radio presents Andrew Ripp, Brandon Whyde and the Tyler Bender Band tonight. Tomorrow, Red Light Driver celebrates the release of their new CD. Huzzah and kudos!

Sam's Saloon has Permacrush, Ready The Destroyer and Pistola tonight. Tomorrow brings Black Cat Rebellion and The Gravetones.

And I'm sure somebody is playing at Deano's Vino, but they haven't bothered to tell me about it. Go ahead and stop by for a glass of something anyway.

Finally, the Country Christmas Cabaret continues its run at the American Cabaret Theater this weekend and next.


New IMN Podcast and Music Geek Gifts

The new IMN podcast is up - download it here or listen at or WFYI HD2.

Wired has a gallery of music geek gifts up on their site.  Not only are there some cool ideas up there, but I also want to encourage the use of smaller and quieter guitar amps.  Get your tone, let the PA handle the rest, and everybody gets a break.  We win!