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Everything posted by Ed_S

  1. Quite - can’t comment on PMT, but I’ve had a couple of recent interactions with other shops where I’ve asked them to match a price because I’d rather buy from and support them, and they’ve politely refused - basically said that I wouldn’t be doing them any favours buying at that price and they’d rather I go and buy from the other shop because in doing so I clear another cheap one off the market leaving their expensive-but-in-stock one looking more attractive.
  2. As much as I quite liked it, I eventually decided that for me the ABM600 wasn’t as good as the ABM1000 and wasn’t different enough to the original model RM800 either, so I moved it on. I’d describe the ABM600 (and indeed the RM800) as a really solid and loud amp, but when asked about the ABM1000 I tend to start using pseudo-made-up abstract terms and soon realise I’m actually describing how it feels to play rather than how it sounds. 🙂
  3. I don’t mind the look actually - like an HA series Hartke but with big knobs nicked from an Orange and the general Markbass paint-job applied. As long as there are rack ears for it (there appear to be holes in the right places to attach them) then I could see myself quite fancying one. My biggest issue with it is that it’s a signature model, and whilst I know who Stu Hamm is, I’ve only got passing interest in the artists he’s most associated with. Oh, and our lead guitarist is called Stu. Maybe a bit of ‘tricians tape over that bit of lettering 🙂
  4. Heh, aye, there's a few of us knocking about! Don't tell too many outsiders of the selling power of the RTM carpet - we can't have the competition finding out and all getting themselves a photogenic contract cord too 😉
  5. Best purchase of the year for me is an Ibanez GSR200B that was in the ex-demo clearance at my local. It's a very light 2.8kg, the fretwork is perfect and the board coloured up nicely with a bit of oil, the hardware that I expected to have to upgrade is all absolutely solid and the pickups and preamp that I expected to have to change sound so good I'm currently using it completely stock (with the exception of new strings) to record our next EP; my signal chain is pretty much just a Radial JDI straight into Pro Tools. Absolutely brilliant little bass for very little money! Picture: Rich Tone Music - hopefully they don't mind me using their picture since I bought the bass! Worst is probably an EBS MicroBass II that maybe I've just not learned to get the best out of, but is currently just sounding a bit underwhelming. I'm sure there must be a reason people speak so highly of them...
  6. Oh, I’m sure that for many people it helps no end to know the note positions by name. I’ve always been fine knowing where to find the sound that I want next in relation the the sound I’m producing now 🙂 that way it doesn’t matter how many strings (as long as the neck fits in my hand) or what the tuning is (as long as the intervals between string are ‘normal’) - I’m just as clueless but still perfectly happy!! Maybe that’s it - I went to 5s very soon after starting to play and stuck with them exclusively for years before reintroducing 4s into the mix, so I guess I approached it differently to many. I suppose all I’m really saying is that it’s perfectly possible to play by ear without getting tangled up on different numbers of strings and not worry about the note names. I could go and learn them and it’d possibly help me talk about music but I genuinely don’t think it’d help me play music. Whatever works 🙂
  7. Bit of a sweeping statement. Can you know them by ear or do you have to know the note you’re playing?
  8. I own both and generally don’t find it a problem to switch between them, but I do approach them differently and don’t play both in the same performance or even band. For example, I instinctively play across the width of a 5 as soon as I’m holding one (I can’t just treat the extra string as a thumb rest, ignore it and play as I would on a 4 - I’ll end up altering my playing and maybe even the line itself to use what I’ve got) so I guess that kinda means that for me, the fabled “thing I can’t do on a 5 that I can do on a 4” is instinctively play like I’m holding a 4, and that’s actually something I actively enjoy doing. Just to be awkward, I don’t have a clue which notes I’m playing - I go by ear and relative position on the board. Granted that means that nonstandard/drop-x tuning just doesn’t compute, but does mean that any variant of standard tuning intervals across any number of strings is fine; all I need to do is find the first note and be able to hear myself 🙂
  9. I only tried one briefly on my lunch hour, but tonally I really didn’t like it as much as the Drop - it sounded much more ‘artificial’ to me. The biggest problem, though, was that I couldn’t seem to actually get the three half-steps down that I needed out of it. That may be because I’m hard of music theory and/or was using it wrong (very real possibility as I didn’t read the manual and I only play by ear!) but I’m told that what I needed was a minor 3rd, and it didn’t appear to have that option on the dial.
  10. We use Drop pedals in our band - both guitarists and myself. We have a few originals that just sound right played lower (three half-steps down from already-half-step-down with our last singer and from standard tuning with our current singer) and whilst we used to change guitars to achieve it, it put a break in the flow of the performance while we changed over and checked tuning, which we didn’t like; it was even worse if we then had to change back, especially given the average set length for an original power metal band playing local support slots etc. For the guitars it was a bit of a no-brainier - the Drop pedal works great as intended. For me on bass it was a judgement call; do I still change bass and work on the speed of changeover, play the line further up, play the whole set on a 5, or try the Drop pedal. I tried it and initially wasn’t sure as it sounded a little modulated, but with the Thumpinator in front of it to give it the cleanest possible signal to process, I decided it wasn’t out of tune or unpleasant and it was plenty close enough alongside the other elements in our live performance. Tuning up half a step to standard when we changed singer helped very slightly again in terms of accuracy, though I still wouldn’t want to go any further than 3 half-steps down with the pedal no matter what the starting point. I wouldn’t use it always-on and certainly wouldn’t record with it, but for an instant change in feel for a couple of songs to vary a set, it does more good than harm. We’ve been using them for a good while now and nobody’s ever come up and said “that sounded dodgy”! 🙂
  11. I’d probably just use a bit of soft open-cell packing foam to stop the board from moving around in the control cavity. Cable ties and blu-tack are other options, but soft foam would just fill the gap between the components and the cavity cover and stop anything from going anywhere with no risk that it’d become detached again, because it was never attached in the first place - just held in place. Hopefully you can get it all sorted out without any drama and get back to enjoying playing it.
  12. With an issue like that, for me personally it all depends on how nice the rest of the instrument is. I've done the 'right-is-right' thing and sent instruments back to be swapped out or repaired in cases of minor defects, only to get back either an exchange that has issues of its own or just doesn't look/feel/play/sound as nice as the one I had, or a repair that I could have done better myself and has sometimes even caused additional damage. If that bass were mine, there was nothing else wrong with it and I liked it to the point of describing it as 'really special', I'd just glue the wood, secure the preamp PCB and get on with enjoying my bass. Just another opinion, of course.
  13. Stringbusters used to be great - I'd ring them up to order over the phone on my lunch hour at work and have no problem getting through. The guy was always friendly and would usually have a chat about more than just strings, then I'd pay my pound for postage and have my strings the next day. If he didn't have enough stock, he was always honest about how long it'd take to get things and he'd ship what they had and then follow up with the rest for no additional postage. Such a shame it sounds like they've gone down the pan. On the brighter side I noticed the post about Strings Direct doing a discount on D'Addario stuff the other weekend and decided to give them a try. Ordered two twin packs and the next day got one twin pack and two matching single packs (which on paper would have worked out more expensive) my assumption being that due to demand caused by the promotion they'd run out of twin packs but decided to work around it. Sense doesn't always prevail like that so I'll certainly order from them again.
  14. I keep trying other amp brands but always end up back with Markbass, so picked up a Nano 300 as backup for my LM800 and F1. First impressions at rehearsal were that it sounded like a Markbass and could keep up with the band; it just didn’t sound as effortless doing it as the bigger heads. Ideal backup, then... until a gig where I had to travel very light and decided to just take the Nano since there was a cab provided. It performed so well that it’s become my go-to amp for any gigs with shared or house cabs, so I’d certainly recommend it as a backup!
  15. I suppose I think of the distinction between a pick and a plectrum as a thickness or maybe flexibility thing. A tortex orange 0.60mm that I used to use for guitar was always a plectrum, but a purple 1.14mm that I used to use for bass was definitely a pick. These days I use the same 1.26mm for both, therefore I use a pick. Plec just sounds wrong to me since round where I live, a ‘pleck’ is an old colloquialism for a mess - usually used in reference to a dirty or untidy house, like “his place is a total pleck”. I only heard ‘plec’ for the first time when I was at uni and played in a band with a guitarist from Lincolnshire.
  16. Similar story with the one for my RM800 which I’m guessing is the same bag - the main zip started out with two tags, then after a week or so it had one, then soon after it had none and a cable-tie, then the zip came apart and broke completely. And fibres of that random synthetic woolly lining stuff are always all over the mirror front panel. Nice enough amp, don’t get me wrong, but I think I’ll be going after-market replacement for the new bag. On topic, my ABM1000 is still the most righteously ballsy non-valve amp I’ve got!
  17. I recently had a few loyalty points to spend so picked up an Ibanez GSR-180 for the princely sum of £150 to set up with flats and leave in the corner of the living room for unplugged plonking whilst watching telly. I wasn't really fussed with testing the pickups as I wasn't planning to plug it in, but I thought I'd give it a proper try out when I'd done oiling, fettling and setting it up with a slightly worn-in set of 9050s, so I plugged into my Rumble 500 combo and got a very pleasant surprise indeed; it sounded absolutely great and what followed was an unplanned play-along with several Dire Straits CDs until my fingers were more than ready for a rest! The bass felt great, sounded great and stayed perfectly in tune (a clean score-card as far as I'm concerned) and if I had to put a price on it blind, I'd have been happy to offer £600 there and then. Maybe I fell lucky with that particular instrument being on the top of the pile in the warehouse when I ordered - who knows - but it just goes to show what's out there for comparatively little money.
  18. Aye, I heard about that the other day, but I’d called in a few weeks back and it was all looking a bit disheveled so I was saddened but not entirely shocked. I got my first Markbass head from Dave back when the bass gear was upstairs, and it was a lot easer to get home on the train than a Peavey VB2 that did the same trip!! My arms still hurt thinking about that particular lapse in judgement.
  19. I picked one up that I saw second hand for cheap a couple of months back and gave it a bit of chrome replacement therapy to balance out the tuners. Didn’t bother with the scratch plate screws, jack socket nut.. or even the bridge screws; just did the bridge, knobs and straplock buttons because they’re what I had in the bits box. It’s a chunky ol’ neck for sure, but I like that there’s a certain ‘physicality’ to playing it!
  20. Ed_S

    Cons of PJ

    For me personally the potential con is down to where the particular instrument hangs or sits in playing position and, as a result, whether I end up clicking my pick (or bashing my finger-ends) against the cover of the bridge pickup while I'm playing because it's ended up encroaching into an area where, due to normally playing a single pickup P, I expect to find no obstructions. Of course it's all down to playing style and what you do or don't find irritating, but I'd say if you have the option of two otherwise identical instruments it's worth just checking that the more-is-more version doesn't shove a chunk of plastic directly under your hand that's going to annoy you.
  21. The two most common formats we play as a metal originals band are either '4x 30min slots with 15min changeovers' if it's just local bands, or '2x 25min local supports, 1x 45min main / possibly touring support, 1x 1h15min touring headline' if it's a bigger show with a name you'd recognise at the top of the bill. Sorting out gear share with the local bands is expected and usually easy enough; just a case of sending them a message on whatever social media they use and getting a conversation going wherein we end up with everybody contributing something and no surprises on the night. Of course, it's still polite to introduce yourself and say thanks in person, but any questions about what you can and can't do with said gear are usually already asked and answered, and I've never given or received beer etc. as a token of appreciation because it's always been part of a bigger package deal where their bandmates are benefitting in some way, too. You really have to rely on the promoter for the bigger shows, though, and they have a nasty habit of promising things without asking. More than a couple of times I've had to get my phone out and show a guy the messages where his gear has been offered for use without his knowledge, and although we've always managed to work something out, one time it was by pure chance that the other local support band knew a guy who lived nearby, had a bass cab and owed them a favour; the touring band wasn't having any of it and the promoter who'd promised use of their gear was nowhere to be found! When amp heads, power cables and extensions start to be shared, my nagging and overly pessimistic worry is less about the damage a user could inflict on my gear and more the reverse. Specifically that despite all my gear down to the last flex being well looked after and regularly visually inspected in line with PAT regulations (I'm trained to be "competent" through work but don't have the qualification myself or own a calibrated tester), if something I owned developed such a catastrophic fault during use that it electrocuted a complete stranger who happened to be playing through it, on a purely practical level, setting aside profound feelings of guilt etc. I simply don't have the insurance to cover that. To that end, I'll lend a cabinet but anything else gets an unequivocal 'no' these days.
  22. I guess I must inadvertently quite like that about 9050s. Don’t get me wrong, I’m in no way invested in flats and they’d sound completely wrong for playing with my band, but I play a 40-100 set of the Fenders at home every now and then for a bit of a change. I usually play 45-105 rounds and find the 40-100 flats seem to feel about the same.
  23. Interesting question! The best I can do is probably Rainbow - I could happily listen to their entire studio output without skipping anything, so that's 8 albums. The closest second I can think of would be Amorphis - anything from Eclipse onwards with Tomi Joutsen singing is fine by me, so that's 6 albums. Can't beat 24...
  24. I had the CV 70s P for a while - bought as a less expensive bass for gigs where I thought the chances of things being nicked or damaged were higher. It was nice enough for the money and very comfortable to play but I found that the frets seemed to be a bit soft when faced with plain steels and showed a lot of wear very quickly. The pickup was pretty uninspiring (although perfectly serviceable) so got swapped out. I guess you can’t go too far wrong if you just bear in mind that as good as they are, they’re built to a price (just like anything) and you rarely get much for free.
  25. I’m generally happy with basic Rotosound and D’Addario for either nickel plated or plain steels. I push the boat out and put Elixir coated plain steels on a bitsa that lives in storage at the studios because despite the less than ideal conditions, with no more care than clean hands to begin with and a quick wipe down before it goes back in the flightcase, I get a year of weekly rehearsals out of a set. My girlfriend settled on Fender 9050 flats after playing them on one of my precisions, but ultimately decided she wanted them on an Ibanez SR650. Turned out to be quite a good combination!
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