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Steve Lawson

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Everything posted by Steve Lawson

  1. Sorry to be late to this - there was some confusion over this vid - it wasn't the MXR that I was demoing with the HPF, it was a patch I'd built in the MOD Duo - the MXR has a HPF built in to some patches via the Tone knob, which just sweeps through a range of different filter parameters depending on the Reverb you've got selected, but you can't control the frequency... Right at the start of the clip chosen there you can see me choosing the patch in the MOD Duo... Scott just missed that bit
  2. Perfect comparison - I love the sound of the TRBs (or at least, some of the iterations over the years) and John Patitucci was the first 6 string bassist I was properly aware of, but when I tried a TRB it just felt like it was designed for some kind of giant...! I was SO happy when I found the Modulus basses with their narrower spacing. Feels like they were designed for my hands. ...and then the Elricks actually WERE designed for my hands
  3. ...it's also worth noting that the ergonomics of a 6 string bass mean that the experience of playing them fails or succeeds within much tighter parameters. I can't remember the last time I played a four string where anything other than string height felt like an impediment to playing - scale length, neck width, string spacing, on a four string are all workable within fairly wide parameters. With a 6, despite it being my chosen instrument, there are LOADS that I just can't play at all - the additional strings means that the effect of spacing differences are amplified, and the size ratio between finger length, arm reach and neck width makes that a far more critical measurement too... All of my 6s have the same string spacing (17mm) and the same nut/bridge width. The Modulus' are 35" and the Elricks are 33", which makes the Elricks pretty much exactly one fret shorter - when I pick up 6s with 18 or 19mm spacing, you might as well hand me a Harp... So, if you're interested in playing a 6, but find the ones you've tried uncomfortable, it may be worth investigating others with different spacing/scale length.
  4. I played 4 exclusively for my first 12-13 years of bassing, then got a fretless 5 and 6 in the space of about 6 months in '99. Took the 6 out on tour as my main bass with Howard Jones about 5 weeks after I got it... that was a trial by fire! It took me 3 or 4 years before 6 felt as comfortable to play at 4, and about 8 or 9 years before I could read as fluently on it as on 4. 6 is now definitely my main instrument. I still play 4 regularly for teaching and sessions, and I enjoy the fact that it feels like a toy alongside the 6s, but my instrument is definitely 6 string bass... But anyway, don't feel bad about 5 or 6 (or 7+!) taking a while to get comfortable - if the music you hear in your head sounds like it needs the extra range and possibilities of the 6, stick at it, but there's obviously nothing superior about any number of strings on a bass. It's all about the right tool for the music you're trying to make, and the thing that inspires you to play... No-one else's opinion on your chosen instrument matters 1/10th as much as how you feel about it
  5. My observation - from teaching and talking to an awful lot of bassists - is that the role that magazines played in terms of filling in historical knowledge isn't one that people are using the web for... It's weird, because YouTube is the greatest learning resource that humanity has ever come up with - whether you want to fix the screen on your phone, or work out what Allan Holdsworth was doing with symmetrical scales, there are SO many amazing lessons on there, but because the focus is on 'info that will benefit me right now' rather than the contained, delineated authoritative experience of reading an episodic magazine, it seems that relatively few people are spending time online digging into the history of the instrument. Reading BP cover to cover in the 90s (and reading every bass-related thing in Guitarist in the late 80s) was as much my school as the two years I did at music college. I have things I use every day in my playing that I learned from Rich Appleman's theory column in the 90s. I know about players because instead of, as has been indicated here, worrying that I didn't know who the players were, I read more voraciously when they were musicians I hadn't heard of than when it was ones I knew... So magazines were a way of accumulating knowledge... That was, in many ways, a problem, in that it meant that the writers and editors were the gatekeepers of knowledge, and as they were almost exclusively dudes (in the case of BP editors, all of them ever were men), women got WAY WAY worse coverage, and were often written about in a really shitty way. Likewise, the coverage was overwhelmingly US and Europe-centric. YouTube has its filters which provide similar levels of myopia if you use their algorithms to decide what to watch, but the capacity for learning is huge (I recently went on a Soca binge, and discovered a ton of amazing music and bass playing). ...So, I'm still a fan of magazines - the economics of running a mag is way more perilous than a website, you can get away with more auto-generated content on a website and have zero print costs (hosting doesn't even come close in terms of monthly outgoing per reader), even though mags have a cover price - there's obviously no granularity to the reader spend. You don't get people who give you 5p a month for reading a page or two and some who pay the full price. It's all or nothing... I greatly appreciate what No Treble are doing - particularly their attempts to fill that knowledge gap I suggested above - Ryan Madora's column on players to know is a really useful one, and the video tuition stuff is great - but the factors that drive virality, and therefor ad money, are far more damaging to so much web video content than perceived bias in reviews (there's SO much to say about reviewing, but my one observation would be that there is, objectively VERY little 'bad' gear out there now, above the rebadged absurdly cheap garbage on eBay from no-name manufacturers - the big players can't afford to make bad gear, and CNC means that consistency across instruments is lightyears beyond where it was 20 years ago when I was reviewing stuff for Bassist - I was regularly sent really bogus stuff, gave things mediocre reviews, and even refused to write about some stuff... It was way more useful to fill the pages with reviews of good stuff that I was to write a hit piece on some crappy gear. Ignore it, and it'll go away - at that point, magazines were the lifeblood of companies' ad strategy, so a bad review was actually more coverage than their rubbish gear deserved... But that's a whole other discussion) Anyway, decent journalism is expensive, so expensive that it makes a lot of magazines impossible to fund, and no commercial publisher is going to run a mag at a loss in order to meet readers' desires. The economics are a total mess right now. I'm really glad that we still have any print mags for bass at all, and I hope the people involved find a way to keep them going - my rate for writing in a UK bass mag is lower now than it was 20 years ago. They've cut everything back as far as it'll go, so we'll see if that's enough. I don't know the specifics of what was happening at BP, but I do know they ditched all their offices a while back and went to a remote working model to try and cut costs. I guess it wasn't enough.
  6. not at all, I'm glad you'd like to read more from me I've always enjoyed explaining things from the ground up - I've never understood those teachers who say 'advanced students only' - that seems like a recipe for having to deal with other people's terrible pedagogy As the column progresses, it (at least from my perspective!) tackles a lot of things that are considered beginner concepts because of the physical requirements, but deals with them from a slightly more nuanced position than is often the case. For the new Bass Player re-launch, they've started my column back at the start again, whereas in BGM I'm about 2 years deep into it (they didn't want to suddenly drop into the series that far into it!)
  7. Midlands people! Gig coming up on November 25th at Tower Of Song - 

    info/tix here: https://music.stevelawson.net/merch/steve-lawson-and-pete-fraser-gig-birmingham-25-11-18 

    FB event with extra info is at https://www.facebook.com/events/2194279674148227/

    See you there! :) 

  8. Thank you! That's awfully kind of you, but I don't have enough hours in the day for everything as it is... maybe once my PhD is finished I'll have time for more journalism I REALLY enjoy doing the beginner column for BGM - that Joel is not only fine with but encouraging of my desire to write a beginner column for intelligent adults (rather than one that assumes people with limited musical experience are also struggling in every other area of their education) is a real treat. It's telling, I guess that much of the feedback I get is from people who are technically way beyond the level of the column, but still find it conceptually and philosophically useful and worthwhile. I really did enjoy interviewing Stanley Clarke a few years back (my first artist interview for a mag in 15 years) but they're REALLY labour-intensive things to do, and just don't pay well enough to warrant the time it would take to do them regularly ...my back page pedals and effects column was, however, pretty much the most fun I've ever had writing for a mag (there's a compilation of those - with a couple of new articles - available to my subscribers on Bandcamp )
  9. A couple of thoughts on looping multiple instruments, in case that's useful - software is one way to do it, but you can also do it with hardware loopers and a mixer. I started out using a little Behringer Desk almost 20 years ago, upgraded to a Mackie one in 2002, then switched to a MOTU Ultralite Soundcard (that works either hooked up to a laptop or standalone) in 2008. This year, I swapped that for a Keith McMillen K-Mix. What each of these allow me to do is have the looper on a 'send' of some sort. Either the effect send on the desk, or just one of the pairs of outputs from the soundcard. That way, I can have instruments plugged into any channel and route them to the looper, but with the soundcard version I can also route virtual instruments to it as well. I currently use a Quneo as a controller and play sounds that are generated in FL Studio - nothing's pre-recorded, and none of the sounds are loops, so I play the controller as percussion or 'keyboard' instrument... Then the big issue is thinking about the arrangement - layering things can either sound like the gradual evolution of the piece, or like you're constructing a loop to play over later on. I much prefer the former. The big advantage of looping inside a DAW is that you can do things that are partially pre-recorded, or that use pre-recorded loops that you're manipulating the way @urb does. But again, you'll need to think about how much of a 'construction' phrase you want to have as part of the performance... The trade off with this is very much audience-dependent. Some audiences will be wowed enough by the tech wizardry to give you pass if it takes you a while to build the track before it feels like the beginning, whereas an audience that are more familiar with the tech may be less forgiving in terms of what they expect from the music aside from the tech constraints, if that makes sense One thing that's definitely worth considering is how important it is to you that the live versions are anything like the recorded ones... making great music is way more important than faithfully recreating a studio experience on stage. A lot of bands/artists have come unstuck trying too hard to replicate the sound of their records like when with a little imagination they could've maximised what was great about their live lineup by allowing a more fluid approach to the arrangement/structure/instrumentation...
  10. ...my brother still lives there so I borrow his residents parking permit
  11. ...I left Berwick long before I had any notion of an audience! But I still go back often - such a beautiful part of the world, and an amazing place to make music...!
  12. Hey all, Sorry for the late notice - promo has been a little lax on this gig! I'm playing in Birmingham this Sunday, with a project that I really love - Illuminated Loops is me plus visual artist Poppy Porter - she's has synaesthetic superpowers, which means she sees sound. So as I play, she draws what she sees... it's pretty trippy, and a whole lot of fun, and there'll be Q&A for anyone whose going 'WTF?' after seeing it tickets and details are at http://music.stevelawson.net/merch/illuminated-loops-live-in-birmingham-advance-ticket and the FB event page (if you want to help out by sharing it around, which would be MASSIVELY appreciated ) is at https://www.facebook.com/events/409769609473669/ Hope to see some of you there (if you're coming into Brum for the British Guitar Show, this'll be the perfect antidote to shredlandia Steve www.stevelawson.net
  13. New Bass! New Bass! Check it out here:)

    1. Show previous comments  1 more
    2. Steve Lawson

      Steve Lawson

      It's gorgeous! :) They've got a few in at Bass Direct if you're anywhere close. Here's a video on FB: (though if you can make it to my gig in Birmingham on Sunday, you'll get to see it up close :)


    3. charic


      I saw it in the calendar! I can't make it unfortunately :(

      Bass direct might need to happen though, need to test a helix while I'm at it

    4. Dood


      I saw the video earlier @Steve Lawson :) It sounds sweet!!! 

  14. [quote name='NancyJohnson' timestamp='1506702554' post='3380564'] With Japan, it was very much a case of diminishing returns...I adored them early on but the longer it went on, the less engaged I felt. I profess more of a connection with Mick Karn than the aforementioned Mr Batt, but I did connect big time with his [i]Gone To Earth[/i], I've lost count of the times it's been on at home...he has the ability to create an immense soundscape, which isn't to say his brother, Richard or Mick don't have an immense extracurricular back catalogue. [/quote] Yup, I love so much of Mick's solo work and Polytown. I played on an album with Steve Jansen a few years back, but we didn't get to meet
  15. [quote name='NancyJohnson' timestamp='1506587076' post='3379679'] Just to weigh in here, it was a good day. I have to say, I enjoyed the Steve Lawson event immensely and profess I'd never even heard a note of his before the day; musically it reminded me a lot (and I'm uncertain whether this is a good or bad thin to say!) of David Sylvian's [i]Gone To Earth, Flux and Mutability, Approaching Silence[/i] material. I will be investigating more. [/quote] Hi Nancy! Those three records are all big influences on my music - very well spotted! If you delve into my back catalogue you find a couple of collaborators that David Sylvian and I share (BJ Cole & Theo Travis) and a lot more music that incorporates in some obvious and some less obvious ways his influence
  16. With Eventide, you get Eventide's patches - that's the very big up and considerable down side of the H9. Eventide's processing is astounding, and they have a number of signature sounds that I covet a lot every time I play with Julie Slick. That said, the MOD does WAY WAY more than the H9 in terms of simultaneous processing, and the scope of the things it'll do (it's also a synth, so you could hook it up to a MIDI keyboard and have a whole synth rack in there too - would be amazing to see someone do that for synth bass parts on a covers gig...) Ideally, I'd like to have both, but choosing between the two, I'd go MOD...
  17. Steve Lawson

    MOD Duo...

    A few people had questions at the end about the processor I was using at the South East Bass Bash... It's called the MOD Duo, and you can find out more about it at [url="http://www.moddevices.com"]http://www.moddevices.com[/url] - if you want to hear a little of what it can do, without me using any of the other pedals or Kaoss Pads or anything, I did this little demo of one of the patches I programmed for it last week - everything here is done in the Duo - the looping, the ambient sounds, everything... The only other piece of sound-altering tech in the signal path is the Jule Monique (which also attracted a fair bit of interest on Saturday ) [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXO1x5Cdh6Q[/media] Enjoy!
  18. Morning all! Thanks for the lovely feedback. It was a real treat to spend the day with you all - amazing to see so many esoteric instruments around! I loved Davey's talk too, though missed the 2nd half gathering up all the toys I needed for my own session. For those who heard me there for the first time, the rest of the investigation starts at http://music.stevelawson.net (the USB Stick and the subscription are the best value, by miles ) and my Rick Turner Renaissance bass is still for sale, with three people currently checking their bank balances... first come first served. £700 OBO hope to see you all again soon! Massive thanks to the organisers for putting on such a fabulous event!
  19. Actually, scratch that, I'll bring my 5 string fretless Rick Turner Renaissance... that's up for sale Sx [quote name='Steve Lawson' timestamp='1505119169' post='3369518'] I'm really looking forward to see you all on the day! I'll have a ton of toys with me, and none of it will be for sale [/quote]
  20. I'm really looking forward to see you all on the day! I'll have a ton of toys with me, and none of it will be for sale
  21. [quote name='NickD' timestamp='1499442648' post='3331624'] Thanks again Steve, I'll refer back to your points as we get into it. Your right, it's fun already, and I'm incredibly excited at the idea of developing it further. Although we're talking about pretty low levels of ability here, the sounds we make are already interesting to me. I'll check out your stuff, been meaning to subscribe for ages. All the stuff I have of yours are downloads from Amazon, which I suspect benefits neither you or I! [/quote] I did get paid when my stuff was on Amazon (I've removed it, I'm not into supporting tax evasion ) but they took a hefty chunk... The Bandcamp stuff works out at MUCH less per album for you to pay (initially it's 30 albums PLUS everything in the next 12 months, for £20. Thereafter it's everything in that year for the £20... which last year was 7 albums ) - and it's way more sustainable for me not having to 'market' individual albums, but being able to focus on a body of work that reflects just how much amazing stuff can happen when you spent your life improvising Thanks for the support - I REALLY appreciate it. And I'm looking forward to hearing what you and your drummer get up to!
  22. [quote name='BassBus' timestamp='1499445226' post='3331649'] To be honest I can't remember. Probably just as well in case I plagiarised your work [/quote] ha! plagarise away - it's always interesting to hear ideas being recirculated. I got them from somewhere in the first place. Seems only right to pass them on
  23. [quote name='NickD' timestamp='1499272559' post='3330457'] For the simplicity I want I'm looking at th Jam man stereo atm... just trying to get security clearance from my Wife. If it works out though I'd like to get a little more complex. Small steps and all that, but the more ideas drummer and I come up with the more I hear different parts but don't want to go beyond a 3 piece. [/quote] that sounds like a lot of fun - I'd definitely recommend making sure the drummer can hear what you're looping, perhaps more importantly than either of you hearing a click - so long as (s)he's got a good headphone mix of the loop stuff, you should be OK. Especially if you have time to practice... I never practice with anyone, only do gigs, so there's a whole other level of knife edge there, but as it's all improvised, the set up can 'fail gracefully' - if the drummer can't hear rhythmic loops well enough, I just don't use them. The last option, which you may find enjoyable, is to mic up the drums and loop both of you - I've been doing this a lot recently with Andy Edwards - we have a duo live album that's currently subscriber-only over at Bandcamp ( http://stevelawson.bandcamp.com/subscribe ) but has quite a few points in it where I loop both of us together, and even a bit in one piece (the last one, I think) where I'm looping and manipulating his drums as a duet with his live drums Some of it is on video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qL3BnCjIr-I - see if you can work out which bits are looped drums
  24. [quote name='BassBus' timestamp='1499269587' post='3330433'] Thanks so much Steve. One of your pieces was the inspiration for the arrangement and dug me out of a hole of stuckness. [/quote] which one? Glad to be of service!
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