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Everything posted by Ed_S

  1. I had the original Fly 3 guitar version which was fine for its intended use and surprisingly quite passable for bass on the clean channel at sensible volume. When it fell out of use for guitar I decided I’d swap it for the bass version so I could maybe get some more volume - that turned out to be a mistake as it was just farty and distorted at pretty much all settings and volumes; I was much better off with the guitar version. Maybe the bass one was broken.. who knows - I pulled a mildly disgusted face at it, pulled the batteries out, stuck it in a cupboard somewhere and haven’t seen it since. Smallest amp I’ve got that’s any use to me is a Markbass 801, which is great, but of course several orders of magnitude larger, more powerful and more expensive than the Fly, so not much of a fair comparison.
  2. I put one together to keep at our rehearsal studio - the idea being to have something good enough to play weekly but not so good that if I turned up to find out the storeroom had been cleaned out one night I’d be overly upset. Turned out alright - found a mighty mite rosewood on maple neck that somebody had only used to practice applying dodgy F decals and lacquer (not a horrendous job but not fooling anyone!), a white Fender mex-spare-part P body still in the box, Wilkinson tuners, Quarter Pounder pickup, BadAss II bridge, dark tort guard off a Squier CV, CTS/Switchcraft/Sprague parts to build the loom and all the rest of the bits like neck plate, knobs and string tree just Fender spares. I shopped around so it all owes me just shy of £400 for what amounts to a quite pimped up mex standard. It doesn’t seem to care about being in storage at all sorts of crazy temperatures, I play it every week; it’s comfy and sounds right. Mission accomplished apart from the bit where I wouldn’t be annoyed if it got pinched.. I’d be bloody livid!
  3. Amps with a really nice sounding DI out which you can’t use because the DI level is controlled by the master volume. Onboard preamp knobs with no markings and no centre-detent. Basses that proudly come with a certain brand of string fitted from the factory, but the gauges they’ve used aren’t actually a set you can buy in a packet. Anything that’s clearly been specified to be a number of rack units in height and sometimes even has the threaded holes on the corners but then the rack ears aren’t actually available.
  4. Finding this an interesting discussion given that my own preference is for instruments to be brand new and untouched since leaving the factory. If at all possible I’ll buy from somewhere that has sufficient warehouse capacity to send me one that hasn’t been fiddled with in the shop, and for anything where that doesn’t apply I’ll special order it and ask the shop not to even break the tape - just ‘shift the SKU’. It’s an approach that hasn’t failed me yet. Aside from the dirty pleasure I get from taking a new thing out of its packaging, I much prefer to see something in its original state and, if it’s a bad one, just send it back and get a good one sent; I don’t want to find out too late that it’s a bad one that’s been skilfully dressed up to look like a good one to get it out of the door. That’s just what works for me, of course - it wouldn’t do for us all to be the same. Even if retailers started working on their shop floor stock as suggested here, I can’t see them heading off to the warehouse to crack open all the boxed stock, so I reckon I’ll be ok 🙂
  5. As an original power metal band, the kind of gigs we play mean having to make 30 mins really count. Line-check-only is the norm, so our version of settling in is a song where the drums start, one guitar comes in with the rhythm, second guitar joins in with rhythm, I come in on bass and first guitar switches to lead solo, then the whole thing goes once through the verse riff and the singer comes in at full bore. If the sound guy is any good, it’s basically a mini sound check inside the first 32 bars and then we know where we stand; if it’s sorted by that point then we’re fine for the rest of the set.. if it’s not then experience tells us it’s probably going to be a bit of a battle. At least being power metal the lyrics are apt for such situations!
  6. Absolutely not me! I stay well out of it as I’m happy to play any of our songs in any order. I also have no idea what note most of them finish (..or start) on so I don’t have much to add to discussions about what works nicely together in that sense. The lead guitarist deals with the musical details and then the drummer has a veto if those particular three songs in a row might actually cause his Fitbit to call an ambulance. The biggest problem we have is that most of our songs are about 6 minutes long and most of our sets are half an hour, so we have to pick set lists based on the likelihood of playing everything a bit fast and keeping the banter to an absolute minimum in the time that we’ve saved! We’re actually just in the process of deliberately writing a 3ish minute song to use as padding.
  7. An old line manager of mine did something similar - if email was Cc’d to him or he was one of multiple recipients in the To: field he’d got rules in place to just delete it. In his opinion, the only thing worth his time to read was a message you felt was important enough to send directly to him and only him. It certainly didn’t seem to hurt his career progression and he never seemed to disappear under a sea of email like the rest of us! Personally I feel free to put in reasonable default clauses like ‘if you haven’t arrived by 8pm I’ll assume you’re not coming and I’ll go out’, or ‘if you haven’t replied by Tuesday I’ll assume you’re no longer interested in buying and I’ll offer the item to the next guy’ etc. I suppose some might say that I’m being rude or confrontational in doing that, and ok.. maybe I’ll ultimately lose out every now and then, but I’d argue that I'm just protecting my time and sanity. Plus, if you were struggling to think of a nice way of letting me down... no need!
  8. I sometimes put a Boss GEB-7 graphic equaliser pedal in front of mine to get a bit more control. A Behringer BEQ700 would be a really cheap way to give it a try and see whether that gives you what you need.
  9. I deliberately left that bit out as there’s no ‘name and shame’ aspect to the story and no ill feeling; he’s an honest and genuine bloke and the customer service I received was always cheerful and willing... and credit to him, he did keep going until the bass was comfortably playable. Whilst the end results didn’t match the price tag in my personal opinion (and experience of other production instruments up to the same value), for many happy owners they obviously do, so I’ll just stick to buying what I can inspect before handing over my cash from now on - a costly lesson, but I guess some are!
  10. I’m currently playing with blending Sansamp VT-RM and RPM rack units for a new recorded tone. Initial results seem positive!
  11. Fingers crossed! My custom build had to go back three or four times to get issues ironed out, and for all that other owners of the brand say theirs are flawless and perfect, even now mine still isn’t; it’s just at a point where it plays fine, the remaining issues are purely cosmetic and I really can’t be bothered with any more back-and-forth! I’d never have another custom build. I would, however, have another Sandberg in a heartbeat!
  12. Bought what I came to realise later was a very nice example of a Sterling Ray35 for a very good price, played it for a bit and got to thinking “this is great - if this is the moderate budget model then I bet a real Stingray 5 would be just amazing!” ...ended up trading it in for one and started working to convince myself it was indeed better. Ended up having to admit to myself that it was much worse and needed to be moved on. Ultimately I lost a grand and learned a lesson.
  13. The most dispiriting thing I found about playing a 5 in the context of a metal band was the tendency for the guy on the desk to make a mess of my, and hence our, FoH sound. Too many of them seemed to either see a 5 and think "ooooh yeah, super low notes ahoy; let's hit it with an extreme smiley-face EQ" so all you got out front was low rumble and percussive clicking, or they'd get really flustered by the fact that, especially without compression at work, the B string can flicker an occasional 'clip' light... and suddenly they'd all-but-remove you from the FoH mix for the rest of the set. It got so bad, so frequently, that I eventually just went back to using 4s live for heavier music as it was almost a guarantee of better sound; suddenly the mids were back in the mix and you could hear actual notes. I tried to explain/request/bribe etc. but the sad fact is that once you're on stage, unless you've employed the sound guy (or you *are* the sound guy) you get what you get. In terms of the instruments themselves and especially the floppy string thing, I've had 5s that arrived badly set up, and some of those needed more work to get them properly set up than I was capable of myself and/or wanted to pay to have done. However, I've never had a 34" or longer scale 5 string bass which, when set up correctly with a set of EXL220-5s, wasn't perfectly acceptable to play with both fingers and pick - and I wouldn't say I had a particularly light touch with either. One such bass that was perfectly playable was a 2011 MIM Standard Jazz V - a very nice bass, but one that sadly ended up on the altar of GAS!
  14. Very nice indeed - good choice! Completely agree about the factory fitted strings - I really do like new round steels (though I actually tend not to use them due to the fret damage they cause) but the stock Sandberg ones with the grey silks are not to my liking at all. I’ve encountered them three times recently in the process of getting my pair of SLs and the first thing I’ve wanted to do each time is just get them gone.
  15. That orange was apparently a Porsche nitrocellulose car body lacquer. It was a great colour but sadly it started to crack (and not in the usual aged-nitro kind of way) so it ended up being refinished with olympic-ish white poly. Can’t go too far wrong with oly white. Reckon you did right not to pay that much just for a custom colour. What did you end up going for?
  16. Reminding me of watching their Discovery tour filmed in Rio back in ‘95 🙂 I saw them myself in Newcastle at the Metro a good few years ago.. 2010ish maybe.. and it was a great gig! The dancers were less baby-oiled and more boxes-on-heads, but still there in force.
  17. Despite predominantly being a rocker/metalhead, I've always liked a bit of PSB and I enjoyed the gig, so thanks for the unintentional heads-up; without this thread I wouldn't have known to look for it on iPlayer!
  18. I was recently discussing a new song with one of our guitarists who had written and recorded a scratch demo of his creation with no bass - which is how they normally arrive. I actively wanted to know whether he had anything in mind for my part and his response was that I should just do my thing: "sometimes [...] you'll play it completely different to how I expected it, which sometimes at first may be 'wrong' for me, but when I actually listen... you're pretty much always right!". I was really happy with that as a vote of confidence. Don't get me wrong, I'd also have been happy if he'd told me he had an idea that he wanted me to try and factor in, but similarly I wouldn't expect such an idea to be more than a general notion of feel, and more normally a pointer to an existing song that exhibits that feel.
  19. I never used to take a backup because ‘what’s likely to go wrong with a passive p-bass’ etc. But then I watched a video of one of our guitarists breaking a string mid-song, sourcing a new one from his case and then replacing, stretching and tuning for the rest of the song, all whilst stood there on stage because there was no backstage and no way off. From my point of view at the time, I noticed it happen as I was stood closest to him, I hit my bit-of-grit pedal to cover the loss of rhythm guitar, I caught the eye of the other guitarist (who couldn’t hear what had happened) and made the ‘something has gone wrong - look over there’ face just in time for him to clock it and cover the solo that was otherwise about to be very obviously missing, and from then to the end of the song we just got on with it. But three things happened as a result... We saw the video and cringed. We covered it just fine but it still looked pretty naff. I realised that even if I had a spare string, I really wouldn’t want to have to do that! The guitarist who didn’t have the mishap and always brings a spare guitar (and whose band it mostly is) told the other that if he didn’t bring a backup from now on, he wasn’t playing! Although he didn’t tell me the same, I voluntarily pledged to join in. So now I have a basic-but-fettled Ibanez in a cheap-but-adequate TGI bag with a strap, a lead, some picks and disposable earplugs. If the worst came to it and that’s all I was left with, I could still play - though thinking about it now, a tuner would be a good addition - I’ll go and chuck one in the bag. Not needed it yet... fingers crossed I never do!
  20. I use both chambered body Maruszczyk and low density body Sandbergs (but as 4s not 5s) for my main gigging basses. The gloss finish on my Jake L4p+ is more to my taste as I like things to stay looking new and I’ve actually already managed to put a little ding in the paper-thin finish on the super-light, but I’m kinda strangely at peace with the fact that I literally cannot keep something like that looking pristine forever if I’m going to make full use of it; it’s going to age a little bit in spite of my best efforts. The Maruszczyk was cheaper by about £500 as you say (though it’s passive so the lack of a preamp accounts for some of that), but the Sandbergs have something about them that made me buy a second one! That said, given the sounds I’m getting from the 4s that I own, I can’t see any reason why a 5 from either company would be lacking ...but at the same time I wouldn’t expect it to sound like my actual 5s which are Spectors and therefore have a sound all of their own which could easily, for some, define the term ‘gutsy’.
  21. Get yourself over to Thomann - they’ve got you covered! Seriously, though, I just find anything heavy to be a quite literal pain. It’s not just standing and playing the thing (though it is that, too), it’s also that I’ll regularly get dropped off near to a venue with two basses in gigbags, my pedalboard in its case, and a laptop bag full of amp head, cables and spares ..and sometimes a rucksack with other bits as well. I need all that to be one trip as there isn’t an inexpensive bit I can risk leaving by the side of the road while I nip inside, and when I get to where I’m going having carried it I need to be uninjured and not on the verge of collapse! I have a heavy bass and a full size valve head that I’ll take to a rehearsal every now and then... just to remind myself how horrible they are to deal with and how little difference they make to my sound.
  22. Think I was quite lucky - I started out on a Yamaha BB N4ii and a Trace Commando 15 mk2 I don’t have either of them any more, but they were a good place to start. The tone control on the bass did absolutely nothing, and the combo was heavy and awkward to shift, but I still felt like a bit of a boss.
  23. Completely agree - the weight is fine, it's just the carrying position that I found unhelpful. It surprised me to find that Fender decided the same size lump with no amp in the back of it was due a pair of recessed bar handles... ...but the combo just needed a strap handle on the top so you could waddle awkwardly with it, bashing your legs as you go. Totally personal preference, though, and I get that many people probably don't want to buy a brand new combo and then start driving size 10 screws into the sides of it 🙂 I mean.. I didn't really want to either!
  24. I’d maybe try to get away from the sansamp for a bit and just go with the bass on its own. I have a BDDI on the end of my board but it’s generally turned off all the time and only used as a clean DI. Every time I turn it on and play with the tone, I seem to end up with something that’s more pleasing in isolation but less useful in a mix - a ‘bedroom tone’ if you will. If you’re used to MM and J sounds, you might be inadvertently using the sansamp to try and make a P bass sound more like a MM/J, which it’s not and will in my experience gut the P bass of its particular brand of mid presence that makes it cut through. Just a thought 🙂
  25. No worries mate - fairly sure I bought them direct from Penn Elcom, but when I get home I’ll see if I can find the product code and what I worked out to be the right size screws for the holes in the handles and the thickness of the panels. Edit: They’re Penn-Elcom H4054 handles and 10x3/4” pan-head screws.
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