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

Fountain Square Music This Weekend

Radio Radio presents the CD release show for Beta Male tonight. Said release show also features guest appearances by Pop Lolita, Andy D, and Slothpop. Tomorrow night, Mandy Marie and the Cool Hand Lukes return for the 7th annual Cash Bash.

The Vollrath presents a full weekend, staring tonight with Lounge Sound System, Dutch Rudder, God Made Robots, Damon Moon and the Whispering Drifters, and Joshua Lemasters. Tomorrow brings the 100th show for the Dockers, along with Kata Sarka. That is a good thing. Finally, the Sunday show features Why I like Robins, Buster Eagle, and End of Me.

The White Rabbit Cabaret welcomes the Handsome Devilz (a Smiths/Morrissey cover band!) tonight. Tomorrow, catch the Indianapolis stop for the Asylum Street Spanker's farewell tour.

The Fountain Square Theater hosts Swing Night tonight with the Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra.

The Red Lion Grog House brings in Hank Kratky and Charlie Krone for a night of acoustic music.

And, of course, there's live jazz music at Maria's Pizza and live lounge music at the Brass Ring all weekend long. Enjoy.


New IMN Podcast and the iRig Review

The new IMN podcast is up - download it or listen at the site or on WFYI HD2, Thursdays at 4pm and 10pm.

Bassists are used to relying on big boxes to get their sound - at least when it comes to amplifiers. Therefore, I wasn't really expecting much when I purchased the iRig. It was just a lark to test out what's available in the software and see what I could do. At the very least, I'd have something to connect the bass to my iPhone or iPad for the tuner apps I have.

The iRig connection wasn't hard at all - plug in the bass and the headphones to the iRig, plug the iRig into the iDevice, and you're good to go. The tuner programs work just fine with it, so mission accomplished there. I went ahead and purchased the full version of Amplitube, even though it only has the one bass amp model. Which, by the way, works perfectly adequately for an Ampeg-style emulator. The effects interact with the bass acceptably as well, although the overdrive and distortion effects sometimes caused large amounts of feedback. A few quick volume adjustments in the setup section of the program as well as the iPad solved the problem. It probably won't replace the Line 6 software integration I use with Record, and I'll stick with my DI boxes and amps for recording and live performances. But for sketchpad playing or silent practice, it's a tool well worth the purchase. And you will have to purchase - the free version doesn't include the bass amp, and you'd have to purchase the software separately for each device if you own both an iPhone and an iPad.

The real revelation was using the bass with the Moog Filterator. You can mix in a sample and a VCO signal from the Moog synth emulator with a line signal, and the available effects make radical signal manipulation quite easy. I went from near-NIN tones to ambient explorations with a few tweaks, and Moog's sound holds up to the name's reputation. This is where the iRig and software shines - making new things that wouldn't ordinarily be possible using physical tools. The X-Y pads Moog makes available lets you affect sound and effects with a quick touch, and you'd need a ton of programmable effects to accomplish this otherwise. Not bad for a $40 equipment purchase and a $5 app.


Fountain Square Music This Weekend

Tonight, Radio Radio has Fort Frances and The Welcome for some indie rock goodness. Tomorrow, the rootsy Truth and Salvage Company hit the stage with opener Chad Mills.

The Vollrath has a full weekend planned:

  • Tonight: Goliathon, Chemical Envy, and Duan
  • Tomorrow: Marrow, Outdoor Velour, and CMNDR
  • Sunday: Livin Garden, Man of Kin

The White Rabbit Cabaret bring you Jascha and Santah this Saturday evening. Huzzah!

The Red Lion Grog House welcomes Sam King and Mike Lipe for acoustic goodness this Saturday night.

And, of course, there's live jazz at Maria's Pizza and live lounge music at the Brass Ring all weekend long.


New IMN Podcast

The new IMN podcast is up - download it or listen at or WFYI HD2, Thursdays at 4pm and 10pm.

Speaking of NPR - we were huge supporters even before our podcast was picked up for broadcast, and we remain so now. Please help to make sure this vital and valuable resource retains its place in our national conversation. Check out NPR's site for more information.


Gear Review: Gruv Gear FretWraps

If you've seen a Victor Wooten Band show, you've seen Wooten, his brother, and his bassist moving what look like hair scrunchies up on down the neck. And indeed, those are scrunchies used to dampen unwanted string noise during two-handed tappings runs and other high-impact playing.

Gruv Gear now offers their own product intended to replace those scrunchies with something a little more versatile - the FretWrap. Much like these scrunchies, the FretWrap uses a spongy fabric on the inside of the wrap. However, this material is attached to a Velcro strap used to adjust the tension to the player's preference. Wrap it around your bass neck, tighten and fasten the strap, and you're good to go.

Just as advertised, the FretWrap dampens string noise when playing, either tapping or plucking. Depending on the tension and placement on the neck, you get an abbreviated note or a more dampened note with fewer overtones (placing more emphasis on the fundamental of the note). You won't get a full-on capo effect, but you do have a range of options available with FretWraps that you wouldn't get from the hair scrunchies.

FretWraps aren't a replacement for learning good left-hand muting techniques, but they do give you another option for cleaning up highly percussive playing. No matter what the tension, I didn't have a problem moving it back over the nut when I wanted it out of the way. Aside from having to remember that open strings don't ring out when the FretWrap is on (the fault of my memory more than anything else), it's been an easy adjustment to using the FretWrap. It's got a permanent home on the neck of my main bass.


Fountain Square Music This Weekend

Radio Radio stimulates the vast majority of your senses as they present the Rocket Doll Revue and the Shelby County Sinners tonight. Tomorrow night, take in the rock that is The Post Script, 19Clark25, and Borrow Tomorrow.

The Vollrath hosts Beast in the Field, Riverbottom Nightmare Band, King Deuce, and Still tonight. On stage tomorrow tonight is Slithering Beast and Rivetshack.

It's Swing Night at the Fountain Square Theater. Also, there's live jazz at Maria's Pizza and live lounge music at the Brass Ring all weekend long. Top it off with live acoustic music at the Red Lion Grog House, and you're good to go. Enjoy the thaw.


New IMN Podcast and Game Changer Pickups

The new IMN podcast is up - download it or listen at the site or on WFYI HD2, Thursdays at 4pm and 10pm.

I'm intrigued by the new pickup configuration system offered by Ernie Ball from this year's NAMM show (aside from the unfortunate name of "Game Changer" - little too corporate-speak for me). This commentary comes from not actually having seen or played one (they're expected on the market in the second half of this year), but the ability to customize signal flow through your pickups on the fly and have several different banks of presets available makes for a ton of options and new tones. It's something that's worked in the digital recall of an analog path in my SansAmp pedal, and putting it in other locations just makes sense. Again, just first impression, I think I'd like to see an LCD screen showing presets on it. It's not a terribly sexy thing to see on an instrument, but I can definitely imagine getting lost in the presets without a reference point, especially when different knobs and switches can affect the preset being used. In any case, I look forward to getting my hands on one.


Fountain Square Music This Weekend

Radio Radio returns this week for the monthly residency of Bigger Than Elvis on Saturday night. Blue Collar Bluegrass opens this show.

The Vollrath gets all punky this First Friday with The Putz, The Founders, and Gay Black Republican.

Over at the Murphy, performance organization Basilica presents GLACIER LAYER II: An Evening of Music and Multimedia Performances.

The White Rabbit Cabaret hosts the indie goodness that is Cotton Jones and Slothpop.

And, as always, you can hear live jazz at Maria's Pizza and live lounge music at the Brass Ring all weekend long. Don't forget Saturday night's acoustic music at the Red Lion Grog House. Happy First Friday!


New IMN Podcast and Gear

The new IMN Podcast is up - download it or listen at the site or on WFYI HD2, Thursdays at 4pm and 10pm.

It's not a new amp or anything, but I've got some of these on the way, just to test and see what they do with my playing. 'Cause all the folks I play with will be much happier with more two-handed tapping? Probably not. It's for curiosity and my own playing more than anything, but if the results are good, I'll take 'em out. When I can get out, that is. There's still a ton of ice out there.