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NickA

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  1. NickA

    When is a fretless not a fretless?

    Easy solution, just don't look at your fingerboard or fingers! Incidentally, many years ago when I had our local guitar makers (Northworthy) make me a fretless neck, they asked if I wanted the dots "as normal" or "on the note" and I had them "on the note"; apparently some people who look at the side dots on a fretted find shifted dots on a fretless confusing. After all, fretted or fretless you are supposed to put your fingers very nearly in the same place. I think if I had a fretted bass made I'd have the side dots on the frets rather than between frets - whereas on my fretted Warwick (which started life as a fretless) the dots have been very carefully, and neatly, moved to between frets. Hey ho. PS: lovely photos (as usual) Sylvia :¬)
  2. NickA

    P-Bass with 2 MM pups

    I've owned a (4-string fretless) Wal for 20 years; and sadly it has not made me a better player. It's made me a better SOUNDING player though ;¬)
  3. NickA

    P-Bass with 2 MM pups

    .. or just keep your eyes open for a Wal; prices fluctuate quite a bit often nipping below £4k and you can always sell them for about what you pay. Sure, a new one or one in mint condition with all the fancies (gold hardware, LED markers, highly figured top wood) will cost a load, but a lightly beat up 4-string one in one of the more common finishes will sound much the same. There have been a couple recently for €4000 or so and one at £3250 (check here and the Wal Owners facebook page). Or just say to hell with ever having savings and buy this (may appreciate faster than an ISA anyway, so you can pretend it's an investment ;¬) ). If I were a good enough bass player to justify the basses I already own, I'd have this one in a shot.
  4. NickA

    Bass/Amp with the most prominent midrange

    Used to play my Wal (fretless) through a trace GP12SMX with a 15" speaker; ALWAYS had to put a smiley curve on the (12) EQ sliders to get a listenable to sound. More mid than I could ever quite use. Even with a very flat response PJB rig, I sometimes turn the "mid" knob down a tad. I guess it's that bridge positioned $ that does it.
  5. NickA

    Anyone play the harmonica?

    What? In a rubber naked-suit in the middle of the road?
  6. NickA

    Cello - How Difficult?

    @Grangur Took my grades on the cello through school 'cause that what classical music people did (and also my dad was a/my cello teacher). Stopped aged 17 and never took another grade on any instrument. I did have a few lessons on the double bass a couple of years ago and, to my suprise, was given a bunch of grade 8 pieces to play - that didn't seem too hard, so I reckon I'm now grade 8 "ish" on that too, though I'd really struggle with the aural tests, scales and arpeggios (of which there are many kinds I have forgotten) and wouldn't dare enter myself for the exam! Yes I do play the electric, have done since 1982, but never even considered grades and lessons, it just didn't seem that sort of instrument and I reckoned I'd just adapt 'cello technique! Plus there didn't seem to be any formal technique, certainly no associated board exams, and the few books I looked at were based on double bass technique of the day (don't use the 3rd finger etc). I decided a few years back that the electric bass deserved more formal study and started reading jazz standards, plus some Bach for fun, which leads to working out some proper positions, shifting strategies and chord shapes (beyond major / minor chord blocks). I'm no fan of grade exams frankly and took up the bass to get away from that formal stuff and just make some noise ;¬) Do they do grades for electric bass now then? Anyone on here taken them? Fretless / fretted? Four string / five string? What kind of pieces are set ie what is considered to be the bass equivalent of Elgar's Cello Concerto and Bach 2 prelude, Portrait of Tracy?
  7. So out of all those strings ... which ones did you like! I've only ever had two sets of bass strings in 30 odd years (Spirocores and Helicore hybrids) ..maybe time for a change!
  8. NickA

    Bridges - Do They Make a Difference

    +1 for the Schaller 3d. But on looks, adjustability and having lots of screw holes for solid mounting. Massively improved my project bass in every way ... Except perhaps the sound.
  9. NickA

    Cello - How Difficult?

    Cello fingering is not so different in terms of positions; just that 'cellists have names for them. It's still a matter of placing first finger on a semi tone note; so on the D string: 1/2 =fingers on Eflat, E, F, F#. 1st = fingers on E, F, F#, G, 2nd = fingers on F, F# G, G# 3rd = fingers on G, G#, A, Bflat etc. just like the bass on the same string. But the scale being shorter, you can extend each position, ie by reaching back with one finger from 1st position you can get E flat. by putting finger 2 on F# instead of F, you can then reach G# with your 4th finger. In fact you CAN do the same on a bass, even a double bass, by using "pivoting" (thumb stays in same place, hand rotates back or forth around it) .. though traditionalists don't think it "proper". I think the thing that makes scales and blocks different on a 'cello is the short neck - you can only finger normally up to first finger on G (on the bottom C string) after which you have to bring your thumb round onto the finger board. This combined with avoiding or deliberately using open strings raises a load of avoidance strategies in which fingering a scale from the same pattern gets non-optimal above about F major whereas on the Electric bass you can go on forever. That end to the neck does make one thing MUCH easier though. you can always find "4th" position "blind" as it happens when your thumb hits the heel of the neck, then first finger down = automatic G, D, A, or E. you can play almost any tune in first (with forward and back extensions) and fourth position; 2nd and 3rd are niceties that avoid moving your hand around too much. On the Electric Bass, it is VERY easy to get lost without looking at your fingers now and then! Anyway. Easier? No. Different? Yes. Playing one string instrument won't crack the other but it will give you a leg up. As a classical grade 8 ish 'cellist I bought a double bass and was immediately about grade 5 (took another 20 years to reach 8 ish).
  10. NickA

    Cello - How Difficult?

    Hence Grangur is correct; on a cello unless using open strings or thumbs, you have to change position to play a full major scale - as in fact you do on a double bass if using traditional fingering (as you don't use the third finger). The Electric Bass is tuned to make it familiar to double bass players, but it doesn't really need to be as most of us (I think) use all four fingers - which makes one octave scales very easy!
  11. NickA

    Cello - How Difficult?

    I've been playing the cello for nearly 50 years and still can't do it. Feels like jewelry after the double bass as the strings are really close together and the scale really short. But it's the tuning in fifths that will get you! Oh and bowing of course (they don't sound good pizz imho). Got mine out its case for the first time in over a month this evening (been bassing a lot) and had a hack through a bit of bach and some brahms; quite a different beast to a bass - vibrato intensity and shifting accuracy REALLY matter; though some of the principles are the same so playing bass does give you a bit of a leg up. you could tune a cello in fourths but apart from probably snapping the C string by cranking it up to an E, you'd lose a lot of range. Makes more sense to retune electric basses in fifths (though I tried it and snapped the G string!). Strangely, fifth tuned sets of strings are available for the double bass (on which it's really hard to do) but not for electric bass, on which it would be fairly easy. See other thread about alternative tunings ...
  12. NickA

    Anyone play the harmonica?

    ... indeed, yes; I have several stashed about the place that I'd forgotten I owned (learned the old grey whistle test theme = stone fox chase, then lost interest) and this prompted me to dig out my most recent. Tried a chromatic originally but it's all a bit larry adler and the notes don't do that bluesy bendy thang. Switched to diatonic. Remember that the key you actually play a diatoncis in is NOT the key written on the side (which is the lowest note); you actually play them a fifth higher. So if you want to play blues with a guitarist who's playing a 12-bar in E you need a A harmonica to do it, and a C harmonica works best for tunes in G. Tried a few over the years (including an expensive aluminium bodied Yamaha I could hardly get a note out of), but always come back to Hohner; probs the best sounding is the "blues harp" but the wooden core can go soggy (this is the trad type you're said to need to soak in water (or gin) to make work properly). The plastic bodied equiv to the blues harp is the pro-harp which is nice, low maintenance and easy to bend. The special 20 (plastic) and the marine band (wood) plus the big river harp (cheap) are a bit brighter sounding. There are now so many variants it's hard to keep track! Compared to the cost of a boutique bass, they are so cheap you can try a few and trash a few (they don't last long as if you bend them over much the reeds give up) so try a whole bunch. It's a bit of a limited instrument, but always fun and compared to carrying a bass, a big combo, a stack of leads and effects - it is extremely portable. Enjoy!
  13. NickA

    Double bass insurance

    Anything that saves on the vast Allianz premiums would be a good thing to have! I have claimed off them (or maybe their predecessor British Reserve) once, in 30 odd years of cover) and they paid up direct to the menders, but only after an argument that ended with me upping the value of my bass ... rather a lot. But with a 'cello, a bass and now my better two bass guitars on there .. it's more than my car insurance! It seemed worth the extra when they were real specialists and you could talk to a real person in Tonbridge who knew what a double bass was .... not sure Allianz is anthing different from any other insurance co now.
  14. NickA

    Dbl bass soft case

    I don't think the wheeling has damaged my mate David's bass either, but I think my, much older and more frequently repaired bass might not survive it (there are a lot of bits glued to the inside that may drop off) . If you have a modern and solid bass, especially if it's a laminate one, probably go wheels. If 17th century Italian (which mine isn't!!) probably not!
  15. NickA

    Bow Rehair

    I had some 'cello bows rehaired by Mark Soubeyran http://www.soubeyranviolins.co.uk/bowrehairs.php. Perfectly good job at a decent price. He sends you a plastic tube, you put the bow in the tube and post it back, returns in a week or so like new - with a tube you can keep the bow in! There are lots of people do it, but some of them are not very good. Had a few where the bow developed a sideways twist and some where the hair starts to fall , it out. Tried doing it myself once and must admit there is more skill involved than you might think (I mean, it worked, but not well and not for long and the hair wasn't very evenly spread!)
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