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bassace

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  1. Are double basses out of favour recently. Only one this year - Ukraine - but I’ve seen as many as six in previous years. Only props, I know.
  2. Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames were Billy Fury’s backing band.
  3. We now have Naked Tractors. Or did I mishear?
  4. We needed to do some river works at the bottom of KB’s garden. When I took over the project we were getting nowhere with negotiations for access and working areas. After some time I managed to get a meeting with Danny McIntosh. He was a sweet guy, very helpful and we started to make progress. Never met KB but liked him. Sorry, nothing to do with music but, for the record, I enjoy her stuff.
  5. No, it won’t affect the tuning. The ideal ratio between the string length, the length from nut to bridge, and the after length, the length between bridge and tailpiece, is 1/6. So see how your bass measures up and whether you could benefit by shortening the tailwire. Even so, I’d say that your priority should be to clear the length of silk winding off the bridge whether this compromises the 1/6 or not. As I said, it is an ideal ratio. Spacers under the bridge feet would not be to most luthiers’ taste but this practical fix should not affect the tone unduly. I did it to a nice Upton bass without any disadvantage.
  6. Is there any scope for shortening the tail wire so the tailpiece is closer to the saddle? That may help the silks problem. Then my quick and dirty fix for raising the bridge is to slip a sliver of flexible wood (I use a piece of cheese packaging) between the bridge foot and bass top to raise the action. And then lower the GAE slots to the bridge down to the D string profile.
  7. Being a life long Spiro Mitt player on double bass, the Kolstein Heritage strings on the Busetto I sold to Jack were so different in terms of tension and playability that I just got on and played them. They seemed fine to me but I never looked around for anything different/better. Jack’s Busetto is the same owned by Keith/ Clarky/me so it’s been in good hands - says he, modestly.
  8. Juliet, as in all the best forums things start to teeter on the out of control. When I was in my early days all talk of preamps and notch filters would scare the hell out of me. So here’s some simple advice. Use your existing amp and plug your mic in. That will probably be ok for starters but if you can get a bridge wing pickup that will probably work better. Then see how you get on with that. In time you will feel that there’s something lacking in your sound, and so there will be. But you will have a reference on which to build. The advantage in playing outdoors is that you won’t get the room acoustics that can spoil the amplified bass sound. As NickA posted, you will be most unlikely to suffer with feedback outdoors. But at least make sure that everything works before you leave home.
  9. We pulled into this town and stopped alongside a passer by. ”Can you tell us where the University is, please” ”There isn’t one” ”Yes there is” ”No there isn’t” ”Yes there is” ”Where is it then?” Sorry guys, that’s a joke Acker told me.
  10. Continuing the subject of power supply... I can go far enough back to when we used to take a bagful of all sorts of plugs with a common 13amp socket so we could connect to whatever the hall/pub had pre ring main. We also had an earth rod to hammer into the ground if required. By 1966 I was playing with a very good five piece with two saxes, keys, bass, drums. We had a weekly gig at a country club outside Reading where we’d play a jazz/ bop set before the interval and then a rock set afterwards. Various people would come and sit in, including a vibraphone player who was an eye surgeon by day. Power was provided by a single cylinder ‘thumper’ generator and I considered it advisable to stand on a rubber mat to keep the tingles away when I played bass guitar. The vibes player used to complain that his rotors turned slowly on this particular gig. When a guitarist sat in he reckoned he was getting distortion in his amp. So he put an AVO across the supply and we were getting not much more than 120 volts! I remember going up to Tottenham Court Road where they had all sorts of component shops and getting a step up transformer which got us to 240 volts and clear sound on the PA. One Saturday evening we played a big do at REME Arborfield. There were two massive marquees, bright lights all rigged by the army and powered by a massive generator that appeared to be powered by a Spitfire engine! We set up and proceeded to play. After a while I got the distinct whiff of wet paint. I hadn’t realised they’d painted the marquee, or so I thought. The paint smell got stronger and all of a sudden there were dense acrid white clouds of smoke that caused a complete evacuation. What had happened was that the guy who carried our electrical gear thought, ah, generator and put the step up into our feed. So a very strong 240v was going into a primary that was expecting 120v and in no time cooked the lot. Surprisingly none of our gear was damaged, apart from the step up which ended up as a charred mess. After a while the gig continued as though nothing had happened.
  11. Oh, there was no authenticity to it. It wasn’t Louis Armstrong Hot Five, Jelly Roll Morton or anything like that. More like Kenny Ball. ‘Trad’ was quite a British style of jazz at the time. A bit of a mongrel.
  12. 1963. We had a six piece trad band in Cheltenham. We weren’t really traddies, we were very much into the Bop stuff that was emerging at the time but we were riding the trad boom and had plenty of gigs. So it was Tiger Rag all the way. We four unmarried members of the band lived together in a house, actually a succession of houses because we were getting ‘moved on’ a lot. Two guys were code breakers at GCHQ. We were quite entrepreneurial; promoting dances by other bands in the surrounding village halls. We were quite adept at fly posting, on one occasion falling in through a shop front in the process. One day we saw an article in the local paper that the organisers of the Gloucester Mayoral Ball couldn’t find a band. We’ll have some of that, we thought. So we thought of some poncy name, like the John Goodwin Ballroom Orchestra, and put in a bid. With an unfeasibly massive fee. I remember the letter back saying in the circumstances we have no option but to accept your fee. But we want continuous music, with strict tempo, old time, all the usual formal stuff. When reality sunk in less than two weeks before the gig we had trumpet, clarinet, trombone, banjo (banjo?!) bass and drums. So we found a young guy who played piano and a mate of ours played baritone. Half of us could even read, meaning the other half couldn’t. So, where to find a ‘library’? As it happened a local bandleader had recently died so two of us smartened ourselves up and went round to his grieving widow to express our condolences. And, by the way, could we borrow his library please. On the evening of the Ball we set up at the Guildhall. They were all there in black tie and jewels, the place was packed. So we turned up a quickstep and proceeded to play. The noise was excruciating, it was so bad. We hadn’t had any rehearsal and we had another four hours of this. I looked round and saw all the colour had drained from our faces. We were in big trouble. So after a while we threw the dots away and busked our way through the programme. It made a slight improvement but it was obvious nobody was enjoying the evening. With two hours to go we threw in a ‘trad’ set. All of a sudden the floor filled up and they all started smiling and leaping about like a crowd of young farmers. And that’s how will filled the remaining hours, all trad. We got away with it but it was a narrow squeak. It was a long time before we took the pee on such an industrial scale. Sorry it’s a bit long.
  13. It is said that the musos who play stuff by a certain successful (and rather wealthy) composer mark up the score if they recognise the ‘source’ of certain passages. Because he can be a bit of a plagiarist. Some scores have pencil all over them.
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