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Everything posted by FDC484950

  1. As has been said, all couriers get it wrong. I’m just lucky that I’ve not had anything lost (yet!) That being said, Parcelforce is not a company I would trust with any musical equipment Since COVID I’ve noticed many more deliveries just being dropped near the door without anyone knocking - the first I know about it is either the delivery message or when I open my front door. And that’s with every courier (PF, DPD, APC, UPS, TNT, FedEx, Amazon’s own deliveries, and of course, Hermes).
  2. Given the skyrocketing prices (and lack of availability) of, for example, North American instruments, there could well be a gap in the market. As always, quality and price will measure success.
  3. It depends on what your tastes are, but personally I wouldn’t get two basses with basically the same config, style and sound. You’ll end up favouring one and the other will just gather dust. Maybe consider the ACG for its filter preamp as it will give you a genuinely different palette of sounds compared with the Overwater? If your heart is set on a J style bass, exhaust the off the peg options before going custom as there are plenty of choices out there.
  4. Today's tune is a cracker - Get Ready, Get Set from the 1980 Chaka Khan album Naughty. This album is fairly well-known in bass circles because Chaka and producer/arranger Arif Mardin allowed bass player Anthony Jackson approximately 3 months to re-record all his parts once the album was done. I won't add transcriptions for them on this thread as what I consider the definitive transcriptions can be found on Stevie Glasgow's excellent website, including chords and analysis (http://www.stevieglasgow.com/transcriptions_e.html) The track in question features such legendary players as Don Grolnick on electric piano, Steve Khan on guitar, Ken Bichel on synths, Hiram Bullock on guitar, and the fabulous Willie Weeks on bass. I am of the slightly controversial opinion that in terms of the way the bass lines fit the tune, the two songs featuring Willie are superior (possibly precisely because they weren't tracked afterward ) The harmony is very straightforward, mostly consisting of a move from a 9sus4 (I've written it as a triad with a bass note on the 2nd step, e.g. Cb/Db), to a straight major on the same root. There's a bit more going on than written (mostly the guitar playing little clusters), but it's enough to get the gist of the song. The bass line has been double-tracked on what sounds like a Moog (this was used more extensively on the next Khan album, "What Cha Gonna Do For Me") but you can hear the odd pop from the bass appearing underneath the synth. The song has a loping feel with swung 16th notes, and there are many tasty fills based on a major pentatonic with the odd flat 7th. Most notable is the outrageous triplet run on bar 37, including the minor 3rd Fb over the Db chord, which really turns around the feel. Like the chords, the structure is very simple - verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/chorus to fade. All in all, great fun to play, and not too hard to read. Get Ready Get Set.pdf
  5. Next up, from the same Toto album as Mushanga (The Seventh One) comes a gem near the end, called These Chains. Classy Porcaro shuffle? Check. Cool Jazzy chord progression? Check. Superb rhythm and lead guitar from Lukather? Check. So, all of the classic Toto elements are in there, but this is a bit unlike the rest of the album - a very sophisticated, inspired chord progression in C minor, including a major chord with an added 4th (so 4th at the bottom and major 3rd at the top), numerous slash chords and Minor 11ths, with a nice switch up a half step to a Dbm7 chord at the bridge, and elegantly back into the chorus to fade. The form itself is very straightforward - verse/chorus twice, bridge and chorus. The keyboard and guitar playing is really well-played and quite unusual, but for me the highlight is the superb bass line from Mike Porcaro. It is played a 5-string, and sounds fretless (although it is once again mixed very low, so not 100% sure). It's a punchy, articulate and very hip triplet/swing feel. To keep reading life easier I've notated it as straight eighths with an indication to play them swung. Pay close attention to note lengths as getting it right really makes a difference to the groove. There are nice runs at the end of each chorus, and particularly into the bridge, ending in a nice run over the Gm11 at bars 95-96. There's nothing particularly taxing but like the rest of the album, is great fun to play along with. These Chains.pdf
  6. I too had a couple. I could be completely wrong but given they seemed well made, I wonder if the very short bridge unit forces the thick B string to be wedged in and therefore dull?
  7. Swing is the number one reason the bass line exists in jazz. It’s there to provide a constant pulse and to drive the band forward. Fact is jazz evolved on acoustic instruments so it’s generally a good idea to think how you can emulate that deep, rich sound an upright bass makes, and to capture the essence of that tone. There are some jazz musicians that maintain that jazz must have upright bass, but ignore them. You can swing perfectly well on electric but sensitivity of tone and touch are paramount. Honestly, a bass line that swings and drives the band playing only root notes (or even questionable note choices) is better than a great line played with poor time and feel. The best advice I was given when starting was just play quarter notes. No triplets, skips or anything else. You need to establish that quarter note pulse and there’s so much else going on when you start learning. Harmonically a blues is the ideal starting point (many jazz standards are based on a blues) and as per posts above the scope to add additional chords etc. can make it quite sophisticated. Finally, your music collection contains all the answers. More than probably any other genre, listening is key. It’s a wide genre with an evolution of close to 100 years, so plenty of excellent music to mine for ideas
  8. I have the same bass but an HH in red. These really are the business. Better looking and sleeker than a Stingray with the same classic MM punch, and TBH the bridge pickup is where most of the goodness lies. The B string is so good it rivals my Dingwall. IMHO the preamp is more musical than the current Special 18v circuit. The sometimes perceived “weak G” does not exist on the Sterling. They’re not in manufacture anymore and this is a US MM for pretty much the price of an Indonesian Sterling. If I didn’t already have one it would be gone. I would say GLWTD but you won’t need any luck
  9. Tribal Tech, the album is fantastic, some real gems in there such as The Necessary Blonde. Illicit is also good (and has some stunning bass playing). Reality Check less so but still some good songs (Nite Club, Speak, Jakarta and Foreign Affairs). Face First is more patchy (but Wounded is brilliant, Willis' best solo IMHO). Thick is only really worth it for Slick and they lost me completely with Rocket Science (except the liner notes, which are hilarious). From their earlier albums (which I could never find in print so bought Primal Tracks), Nomad, Mango Prom, The Rain and Twilight in Northridge are worth listen. They are rather hard to reproduce, as a band, however I guess you can't talk about Fusion and guitar without mentioning Allan Holdsworth but a) no-one will know the tunes and b) there's little chance the guitar player will be up to the job 🤣
  10. This post cannot be displayed because it is in a forum which requires at least 1 post to view.
  11. Fitted a white pickguard from Pickguard Planet, really cleans up the look of the Big Al. I also bought a black one as I wasn’t sure but the white looks better. I’d love another one, maybe one of the later ones with the lighter tuners and mahogany body. There’s even one with a solid rosewood neck and a Dargie’s delight but even getting one is next to impossible. Let me know if anyone finds a 5 SSS 😀
  12. Track 2 from the Michel Camilo album Rendezvous is his cover of the Ellington classic, Caravan. This song dates back to 1936 and was originally suggested by Juan Tizol, trombone player in his band at the time. It is essentially a 64-bar form in AABA format (basically 3 identical sections, with a 16-bar bridge). The A section reflects the sustained tension of a V7 chord (written at the time as a Dbdim to C7), eventually resolving to F minor. Section B is a fairly conventional trip around the cycle of 4ths, from F7 to Bb7 to Eb7 to Ab and then back to the tension of the C7 chord. Stylistically the piece is very much of its time - a V chord in a minor key was typically harmonised as a V7b9, and the most common scale one would improvise with is a half step-whole step diminished scale as it fits the chord tones nicely. In C this scale is C, Db, D#, E, F#, G, A, Bb, C, which hits the R, 3, 5, b7 chord tones but for improvising also gives you the b9, #9, #11 and 13 extensions. This was also very common in bebop (Duke Ellington was always ahead of his time). Soloists commonly improvised on chord tones in this era, so an E, G or Bb diminished arpeggio over the C7b9, for example. From the 60s onwards musicians started exploring melodic minor harmony and today it's much more common to use a 7alt chord on a V chord in a minor key. It was also common practice when this song was composed to voice a I chord in a minor key as a min6 to give an interesting tritone interval between the minor 3rd and the major 6th (so in Caravan the I chord is Fm6, and the tritone is between Ab and D). This is also a precursor to later modal improvising using the Dorian mode. Rhythmically it's written in cut time as it has a pronounced two feel in half time. If you'd like a lead sheet this is a decent starting place: https://geosci.uchicago.edu/~archer/jazz_band/sheet/caravan.pdf Onto the song itself. Michel Camilo does a fantastic job of capturing the original mood of the piece whilst adding a lot of sophisticated substitutions and reharmonisation. It's beyond the scope of what this thread is about to analyse everything he is doing, but there are some nice open chords (e.g. the Ebmaj7/F at the start of the B section). The form is quite simple - intro, head, solo starting at section B (two times around the from starting at B and C) and a slightly modified head (D) with a vamp to end, but the playing is anything but! I have reflected the broad parts of Michel's harmonisation of the tune, which isn't quite the same as the original track. Tropical Jam was a nice, easyish start, but from here on the playing gets really challenging. Anthony Jackson starts with a cool palm-muted bass note/sustained double stop, playing the 3rd and b7th of the C7b9 but emphasising the b9 throughout the palm-muted bass line, with some variations. The remainder of the head is quite straightforward, but a taste of what is to come on the album is his insistence on playing a C whenever the chord hits a G7b13. It sounds "wrong", but pulls back to the V7b9 so somehow works (I listened and listened, thinking I'd got it wrong, but he is definitely playing a C over the chord - bizarre). When the piano solo starts he really starts to go off on a slightly mad rhythmic and harmonic journey. It's a real challenge to read and play the line as it is totally improvised and he rarely plays strongly on beat one of the bar. Bars 115-118 has a nice triplet figure and a long run from high F to low C, and subsequent bars show a common device of his - displaced octaves sounded as double stops. Bars 125-126 has a cool rising octave figure (rhythmically quite hard to pick up). Bars 135-141 is one of several examples of developing a rhythmic device and shows his incredible sense of time and phrasing (see also bars 163-173, which is just nuts). This is more of a longer-term study piece rather than a quick read, but it's well worth the effort. It can be played on a 5-string but is easier on a 6. One other clever piece of ensemble playing is the dynamic control. The start of the piano solo is very quiet, probably mezzo piano, and gradually crescendos up to forte at the end of the second time through (load it into a waveform editor and see how the volume increases from bars 55 to 178). If it's any consolation, this is a walk in the park compared to the next tune on Rendezvous 😉 Caravan.pdf
  13. The challenge for me with MM basses is that I’m not overly keen on the current Stingray colours (harvest orange aside) and they’ve temporarily (or maybe permanently) dropped the US Sterling. Fortunately I was able to pick up one of the last Sterling 5s earlier this year in the lovely toolbox red. They do have some nice basses and I’m a big fan (I was also lucky enough to score a fantastic Big Al 5 SSS - a bass I really wished they’d bring back, and I’ve said as much to Ernie Ball!) and fair play to them coming up with some interesting new designs. Prices are reflected everywhere - the Dingwall I recently bought is in the same price range as an SR5 and although it has something quite special about it it’s reflective that a top-drawer non-small-volume instrument is around £3K these days. Even a Fender US Elite (non custom shop) is creeping towards £2.5K. I do think they’ve upped their game in the last few years with lighter instruments and some lovely finishes. It’s also quite cool that you can buy a bass directly from them including all taxes for significantly less than from a UK retailer!
  14. It wasn’t bad. General fit and finish was good, playability excellent and electronics generally up to Sadowsky standards. However it suffered from 3 issues; push pull pot for preamp bypass was OK but the bottom pot (passive tone IIRC) was non-functional. B string was significantly quieter than the other strings on any setting, even when adjusting the string and bridge (setup was otherwise fine), and finally, whilst it was light it had horrendous neck dive, even with lightweight tuners (although it’s partly the jazz bass shape and worse seated than standing). In the end GG offered a repair but I decided to get a refund. In comparison the Sire V7 I bought, although showing signs of being more cheaply built, sounded and felt way better at just over 25% of the price.
  15. Nope. The MetroExpress was a line made in the same place as the final Japanese line (called Metroline). One or two were still for sale new recently. Sadowsky offered a small number of finishes with apparently the same quality as the Japanese Metro basses. My experience was rather different. Link: https://www.sadowsky.com/sadowsky-instruments/metroexpress/
  16. I briefly owned a MetroExpress made in Japan and the stacked pot wasn’t working and the B string was about 50% quieter than the E. This as a bass that retailed around £2K. The point I’m trying to make is that If they have genuinely sorted out the QC then it’s probably an attractive sub-£1K bass. Sire must be quite a thing competitor for a fair bit less, but I never had this kind of choice when I was learning - £500-£700 was by no means guaranteed to get a bass that was even moderately playable.
  17. It really helps at first to have something to make the sounds with to tie what you see being played (of written) to what you are hearing. A small keyboard can make a big difference. You don’t have to have piano skills, just a bit of basic knowledge of chords. I use Musescore - I can insert chord symbols above the music and play it back. I make a bunch of single note lines into a chart and play them back to train with (I have a bad memory so forget what I put down quickly). Start with single notes as that’s what bass does most of the time. For chords a piano helps even more because you get to hear different chord voicing a, which makes a massive difference. A chord can sound very different depending on the voicing. Start by trying to hear the bass note and the top note of the chord (often the melody), then the bit in the middle is a process of elimination - does it sound simple or complex? If simple then it’s probably a straight major or minor. If complex then the flavour of chord will give you a guide - e.g a major sound that is more complex is often a maj7, maj9 or maj7#11, less commonly a 6/9 or maj13, even less common a maj7#5. A working knowledge of basic harmony (cycle of 4ths, common chord progressions etc.) also helps. As a real world example my last transcription (see my transcription thread) was done after working out the keyboard part as I was interested in the chords. I could hear that the first 2 chords sounded the same, but the bass note went down whilst the top note was going up. It sounded unresolved so didn’t sound major or minor, so I guessed it was some kind of suspended chord. I tried a sus4 but it didn’t sound quite right. Next was a sus2 and that worked perfectly. Then it was a case of working out the bass line and chords. I usually work out what I think the chords are in Musescore then key the track at tempo and play them back together. A slow down app is also a real boon for faster or more tricky parts. I’ve got decent ears but don’t ever feel it’s cheating - if it helps you work it out, it’s all positive! Finally - whilst some people are a natural at playing by ear, most top musicians got good with lots of practice and anyone can develop good ears
  18. Two in two days! From the same album, It's A Feeling is an interesting little tune. Short, no real chorus to speak of, and a slightly odd, disoriented feel. It's a really nifty bit of songwriting by Steve Porcaro (and he sang the vocals too). The bass line is dead simple and the chart just 1 page (makes a nice change!) The main interest is actually the harmony. The tune opens with two sus2 triads a minor third apart (effectively G# to B) and set the tone for the song by having a contrapuntal bass line (G# to E, making the chords G#sus2 to Bsus2/E, which I guess could also be written E6/9 no3). The slightly seasick guitar line (another bit of minor brilliance from Steve Lukather) complements the rest of the verse chords with a straight B/D#, up to E and then F#9sus4 (which could also be written E/F#). The middle of the verse has some nice chordal touches, raising interest mainly due to keeping the harmony the same but changing the bass note to make the sound more sophisticated. From bar 15, G#sus2, to Badd9/D#, to a straight D#min9 to Emaj7 to a regular Bsus2 (instead of Bsus2/E in the rest of the verse). The bridge section is much more conventional - keeping a G# in the melody across Amaj7#11 (major 7th), G#min (root), F#6/9 (major 9th) and Emaj7 (major 3rd) is a common harmonic device to tie the chord. At the Coda the final two bars of the bridge are substituted with yet another variation - Emaj7, Badd9/D#, G#min/C# and back to the first chord (G#sus2), again a nice contrapuntal line with an ascending line in the melody but descending in the bass. The final four bars mirrors the verse and repeats to fade. Not a classic song but it piqued my interest. Its A Feeling.pdf
  19. Great album. I know Jeff Berlin isn’t universally popular but these Bruford albums and also his work with Allan Holdsworth was absolutely top drawer. Players like Jaco and Stanley Clarke are revered in the fusion world be I always thought he was every bit the equal. The real eye opener for me was his harmonic knowledge, his incredible facility across the neck and his pinpoint perfect technique. To this day I struggle to play some of his parts anywhere near as cleanly. Thanks again Bilbo 😀
  20. Next up is the (in)famous Rosanna from the 6 Grammy-winning Toto IV album. Most well-known for the first example I can recall of the Porcaro shuffle, a drum beat Jeff purportedly combined from the (Bernard) Purdie shuffle and John Bonham's part on Led Zeppelin's Fool In The Rain. It's a surprisingly intricate and tricky part to play and groove (as numerous YT vids will attest!) However, I transcribed this because I'd never really sat down and listened to the bass part, and like many songs, a proper listen uncovers some gems. I also managed to find the isolated bass part so have transcribed past the fade out on the album to the actual recorded end, as there's a nice ascending run that didn't make it to the final cut of the song. The bass part is very straightforward, but it's interesting how David Hungate leaves space in the verse, rather than following the kick drum exactly. The use of dynamics within the song is quite marked and shows Toto's studio craft and experience as sidemen with other artists. The chorus is clearly a drop-in with a bass that sounds like it's EQ'ed quite differently (it may even be a P bass with flats on the verse and one with round wound strings on the chorus). The outro has a nice, laid back, almost New Orleans feel, and has a nice piano/horns chordal movement whilst the bass stays rooted to the G pedal. As is always the case with David Hungate (like his fantastic bass line on You're The One That I Want) both the tone and the playing is perfect for the song. It's certainly worth another listen 😀 Rosanna.pdf
  21. You are correct - not sure why my search picked the wrong item. It appears, looking at the table for Japan that it is in fact zero duty. @BigRedX my post was for illustration only as to how the process works, not a guide to getting a precise price - I’ve found it quite difficult to get the Sterling value before charges from courier companies and in some cases they refuse to hand over the customs entry document (I need this for business purposes).
  22. Guitars/basses are commodity code 4202.92.1500. Duty for guitars is 6.7% from Japan and is payable on instrument cost plus shipping, converted from Yen to GBP at the monthly HMRC published rate, then 20% VAT is added to the total. So if your guitar is £800 plus £200 shipping (total £1,000), once converted it will be £67 Duty and £213.40 VAT, or a total of £1,280.40.
  23. I have no opinion about the quality, other than it looks similar to other basses at the same price point, but being a direct copy of the RB is no bad thing, as that is a cracking bass and one of Fender’s best. Of course, the proof will be in actually being able to play it - are the electronics good enough as I assume it’s passive like the RB?
  24. https://www.basschat.co.uk/topic/454740-new-fender-player-plus-series/
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