We hope you enjoy the articles, special offers and lessons we send to you in our (roughly) quarterly email newsletters. However, if you'd rather not get them, it's easy to unsubscribe -- just follow the link at the bottom of this message
means we don't give away or sell your info. So please don't flag this message as "Spam" in your email program -- doing so may add us to blacklists, preventing future order emails and tracking numbers from reaching you and others who need or want to receive them.In This Issue:
- Bob's Blog - Some Random Gig Tips
- Tons More "Free Shipping" Items!
- Mark's Musings - Lugging the Doghouse
- New Product Spotlight - Realist LifeLine, NS Design NXT Omni Bass
- Upright Bass Innovations - Cool Stuff You Might Not Know About!
- Christopher's Corner - An Ear for Melody
- The End of Tax-Free Shopping?
- Thanks, Unsubscribe Info, Contact Us
Some Random Gig Tips
Every once in a while, I like to share little random tips I've come up with over the years. Some help you keep track of your stuff, others can save your bacon on a gig. For your enjoyment, and hopefully edification, here is the latest collection (some of these are courtesy of Mark and Chris.)
--BobNote: Bob's Blog (and additional blog posts) can now also be found on our Wordpress Blog Page.
- I love the little Avery 05422 (1/2" x 1 3/4") removable self-adhesive labels (or Staples generic equivalent). I jot dates for batteries (9v 4/2/13) and string change dates and stick them on preamps and other electronic devices, the backs of e-bass headstocks, reference settings on amps, preamps, and pedals, etc. They peel off easily and don't leave marks or residue IME. Been using them for years, pick up a pack, they rock. (Non-musical bonus tip: stick one to your credit card and jot down the current rebate categories so you use the right card for that extra cash-back.)
- Similar to the above, whenever I get a new piece of gear that has a "wall wart" power supply, I immediately get out my silver paint marker (it's like a "SharpieTM" but with silver paint ink) and write the name of the unit directly on the power supply. I must have dozens of these AC/DC adapters floating around in various gig bags and closets, and if I didn't mark them, I'd go crazy trying to match them up when needed.
- It can always be a good idea to recheck the contents of your gig bag, especially if it's been a while since your last performance. It sucks to discover that your forgot to put something back that you borrowed for another use. For a list of gig bag contents and philosophy, see our FAQ on What to Bring to a Gig.
- My "preflight gig check," after unpacking my bass post-transit, is:
- look at the bridge to be sure it is centered and a perfect 90 degrees, since it can get bumped;
- check the pickup, wire, and jack (depending on the bass and pickup I'm using) for proper positioning and stability;
- be sure the endpin is out a the right height and tight (I'm short so it's not always retracted during travel)
- listen for physical buzzes or vibrations that might be annoying and/or amplified
- I never assume that the sound engineer at a gig will actually have all the gear that every sound engineer should have at a gig. I like to carry a basic DI box (or use an amp with a good DI) and my own XLR cable, in case the engineer forgets to bring enough of his own. Nice to have backup plan B in the bag.
- Stage volume is key. So many times I've seen bands with (at least) one player whose onstage volume is too loud. Either the drummer is hitting too hard, or the guitarist or bassist has their amp up to unneccessary levels. The problem is that there's so much volume coming from the stage, that the FOH (Front-Of-House) engineer can only try to even up the level of the other instruments to compensate. At this point, the soundman has lost control. If you have a bad mix now (and you most certainly will) it is your fault.
LOTS of New "Free Shipping" Items
If you ordered some gear from us recently, you might have saved a little more money. And that's always a good thing!
At Gollihur Music, we have slashed shipping costs on almost 100 new items
-- adding to the list of several hundred items we've already been shipping for free for several years. Just look for the blue "FREE US SHIPPING" graphic sitewide, like the one to the left; that indicates that your item will ship for free to the USA.
Lugging the Doghouse (Hauling Your Bass Around)
Recently, a customer purchased a bass and picked it up here, and as he was putting it into the back of his SUV, I noticed that he was laying it flat on its back. That's a no-no! I explained to him why laying a bass down like that was a bad idea, and helped him better load and secure the bass in the vehicle.
It occurred to me that there are some basics of lugging one's prized instrument around that aren't necessarily commonly known. So it seemed the perfect opportunity to share some of those tips with our customers. Thus, we have a new FAQ on the subject
, which I share with you here. If you have some additional tips to share, email me to let me know
, and I may add them to the FAQ!-- Mark
As a bassist, sooner or later you realize that your choice of instrument will also dictate your choices in other matters. Vehicles, for instance: you can pretty much give up on getting that Smart Car if you plan on ever taking your bass out of the house. And bicycles are right out, unless you're particularly brave, like that guy over there to the right...
But in all seriousness, whatever you drive (or ride) there are a few tips for ensuring a smooth, smart move with your bass from home to gig (or rehearsal, or lesson) and back again. Here are a couple tips, and some "dos and don'ts."
Soft carry bags come in a lot of different qualities and weights. For example, our "standard" gig bag has adequate padding for most players' use, but some folks prefer our "professional" model, which has thicker, sturdier padding and some additional features. If you're taking the bass out of the house a couple of times a week, you might consider spending a little extra on your bag; aside from offering more protection against more frequent bumps/knocks/bouncing around in the van, it will also be subject to more wear and tear. Though, with more padding and heavier-duty hardware comes more weight, too - so factor that in as part of your decision. But for once or twice a month "weekend warriors," a standard weight gig bag will suffice.
- DO: Read up on the instructions that come with your bag (at least when you buy them from us, anyway). Certain handles are designed for certain uses, such as carrying the entire weight vs. moving it around in your vehicle. Yanking on them contrary to their design can sometimes cause them to be damaged. We are talking about fabric and stitching here, there are limitations! And using things in ways for which they weren't designed will usually get you in trouble.
- DON'T: Trust a shoulder strap as if it were a backpack strap. Many bags include "D-rings" to add a shoulder strap. Proper use is to put it over one shoulder, and use your arm to steady/help carry. In today's world, many D-rings are only bent into shape ( ends not welded), and might not fully deserve your trust to not suddenly "let go," as they're not designed for the higher stress of being carried. If you want to carry it like this, some bags (like our pro bag) have real backpack straps built in, you can usually be confident that they are up to the task.
Bonus TIP! Bob got this handy bit of advice when he bought a two-instrument electric bass bag of a certain make over a dozen years ago: If you are uncomfortable with open or weak D rings, replace them with solid round split key rings.
- DO: periodically inspect your bag's integrity. Check for seam rips, examine strap and handle connection points, zipper stitching and condition. The old saying, "a stitch in time saves nine" is soooo true! Don't be embarrased, hit a store for a heavy duty needle and thread and take a shot at it, it doesn't have to be pretty, only effective. (Bob: I once had an old Kay case that was more iron-on patches than material when I retired it!)
When packing up for a gig, the bass has its unique issues. It's large, cumbersome, and fragile. The bridge could be knocked out of position if something falls against it, causing anything from a minor annoyance to a major catastrophe. I recommend putting the bass on its side, with its back against a wall of the vehicle (minivan, SUV, whatever you've got) and either bungee-corded to some hold-down points, or braced with large, relatively immovable objects to keep it from rolling over when taking corners too fast. Certain cars make that difficult (I wish I had video of the process it took to get my bass into my VW Jetta - but it could be done!) but this is the ideal.
Final, related, non-case carry tips:
- DO: Secure other items to prevent them from shifting and striking your bass (amps, folding chairs, other gear, etc.)
- DON'T: DON'T EVER lay your bass on its back without support. The scroll extends beyond the back of most any bass, and laying the bass on its back creates a stress "triangle" of sorts (see below). This puts a LOT of strain on the neck heel joint, which already is holding steady against the string tension. It certainly doesn't need any more stress (who does?) so don't do it! If you must lay it flat due to space or other considerations, put something (folded movers' blankets? Firm pillows?) underneath its shoulders to lift the pegbox up off the floor and prevent that damage. Same goes for those of us with sedans; having a point below the center of the body and the neck (on the seat backs, for instance) be the only support for your bass means you are yanking that neck joint into failure!
Never carry your bass by the end of the fingerboard, the f-holes, or the neck. Yeah, I know there are guys who stand on their basses... we're not going there!
any in-stock 2012 model U-bass!
If you've been considering getting one of these sweet "pocket basses", now is a great time - get 10% off regular prices while supplies last. Basses are first quality, ready-to-play, and include a foamshell hard case (Acacia, Mahogany) or well-padded gig bag (all other models).Models in stock as of May 2013:
- FRETTED - Gloss Black/Mahogany
- FRETTED - Spruce/Spalted Maple
- FRETTED - Hutch Hutchinson Signature
- FRETTED - Spruce Top/Mahogany Back
- FRETLESS- Solid Mahogany
- FRETLESS - Spruce Top/Mahogany Back
Act now, quantities are limited!
Newsletter subscribers can also get a FREE U-BASS STRAP
with the purchase of a U-Bass; simply enter "I want a U-Bass Strap"
in your order comments at checkout, or ask for it on the phone!
NEW PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT
Realist LifeLine Pickup, NS Design NXT Omni Bass
Some cool new upright bass items this time around - David Gage has come out with a new pickup, expanding his "Realist" line - and NS Design now has an NXT version of their short-scale "OmniBass" Electric Upright! David Gage Realist LifeLine Pickup
It uses a simple, but clever design; the element of the pickup wedges between the adjuster and wood of your adjustable bass bridge. (Its two "fingers" straddle the post of the adjuster.) While its use is therefore limited to basses with an adjustable bridge, it does NOT require you to swap those bridge adjusters out for a replacement set. It pops in and out relatively easy, and does not require professional installation
.What does it sound like?
Good question! It has some similarities in tone to the Full Circle
from Fishman, due to its similar position on the bass. On my personal bass, it had some of the "girth" of the original Realist
, but with a nicely defined tone without a lot of top-end clack - but I could still hear the distinct "ping" playing pizz on my Pirastro Evah Pirazzi strings. Arco was full and well-balanced, with really nice warmth on all strings. And digging in, the more aggressive bow tones came through the amp well.
And, like some of our other options, you get a 7-day audition period (see page for details) on this pickup, so no worries!
Visit our David Gage Realist LifeLine Page
for more information and ordering. NS Design NXT Omni Bass (Electric Upright Bass)
The original Omni Bass
debuted a few years ago (originally, it was somewhat confusingly called the "BassCello", but NS Design wisely changed its name to reflect its true "Bass-ness.") It has proven to be a useful, very portable bass instrument. However, being a premium "CR" model bass, its premium price tag hasn't been within the reach of everyone who wanted one.
Now, in the spirit of the NXT model basses, NS Design brings us the NXT Omni Bass
Same great design, scale length, and playability, with less expensive finish and preamp options! Similar to its sister product, the NXT Bass, the NXT Omni Bass does not include magnetic pickups, and it uses a simplified passive electronics setup rather than the blending active preamp of the CR model. Initial stock levels are low while they gear up production, so don't wait!
Choose from Transparent Black or Amber Sunburst finishes, with both 4 and 5-string models available.
Both of these cool new products are useful, pro-level tools for the working bassist. Check out their individual product pages for more details, specifications, and photos!
Upright Bass Innovations
Highlighting Neat Stuff for Upright Bass That You May Not Have Known About!
We're kind of lucky. We have lots of great opportunities to check out neat new bass "toys" at trade shows like NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants). We also often work with companies with advice, and to help them refine prototypes. For example, we got a very early chance to run the prototype Acoustic Image Ten 2 through its paces long before it was announced.
It also means that we carry a good number of unique, innovative products -- many that not every bassist may even know about. We've put together a short list
of some of the products that we feel are innovative, groundbreaking, or just plain cool.
Headlining the list are two great new products:
The Hipshot FreeRange Extender (at right)
, which is a simple add-on drop-tuning machine that can quickly and accurately switch between tunings with no modifications to your bass. Most metal strings will allow you to instantly turn your E string into a C string, for example, to extend the reach of your low notes at a fraction of the cost (and without the permanent modifications of) a headstock extension.
The new Radial Engineering H-Amp In-Ear Monitoring Headphone Package (at left)
is a complete setup to easily add personal headphone monitoring to almost any amplifier setup. What makes it particularly special is that it requires no power! Just run another speaker cable (we'll even include one for free from Gollihur Music!) from your amp to the H-Amp; its internal circuitry reduces the signal to headphone level volumes.
We think that both of these new products (just added to the site this past week) are something quite special, and we think you will too. And there are some other nifty "toys" on the list, too, like a cool adjustable replacement ebony tailpiece, the Upright Bass Buggie transporter, and more!
An Ear for Melody
I've played a lot of tunes in my life, but as of late I've been doubting how well I have actually learned each. From Fats Waller, to The Beatles, to Lady Gaga (Okay, maybe to a lesser extent) there are many aspects of "learning" a tune. I have always had trouble memorizing, or more importantly, internalizing, tunes. I've come to realize that there is a huge difference between playing through a harmonic progression, and truly knowing a tune, where you're not thinking about about changes, but rather thinking about the song as a whole. Although I look at this from the perspective mostly of learning standards, this can apply equally as well to learning any song -- be it a top 40 hit, an old time fiddle tune, or a traditional Irish song.
From a bass player's standpoint, much of what we focus on when figuring out the changes is the song's chordal and harmonic structure. We could be forgiven for only worrying about the chords, and of course the groove of our tune; our main responsibility is to bridge the gap between the two. As we develop as players, our ears become accustomed to these often used harmonic vehicles. But if the chords are your only connection to a song, Pachelbel's Cannon and Justin Beiber's "Baby" start to sound a quite a bit alike! So while chords and rhythm are important, in order to truly learn a tune -- to differentiate a song from the musical mess we all have in our heads -- we are required to take it a step further.
Ultimately it is the melody that reigns supreme (whether we like it or not!) When you ask someone about a song that they know, they can hum the melody, right? This is the song! No matter what groove or changes we put against that melody, the essence of the song remains, captured in its melody. As bassists we are tasked with complementing that melody with our lines, be it a simple root and fifth or a driving Paul Chambers bebop line.
So to truly learn a song, the first step should always be the melody. Learn it on your instrument, sing it, internalize it. Once this is in your head, you can really begin to learn a tune. Try playing chord tones underneath yourself singing the melody... if you can master that, I assure you: you will never forget the tune.
Now, go play!
The End of Tax-Free Shopping?Are your costs to buy on the Internet going up?
An issue that affects all of us is getting a good bit of press lately: a sales tax bill
is currently making its way through legislation. It was passed by the Senate, but faces a tough sell in the House.
If passed, it would essentially end tax-free shopping
... All US customers would have to pay their home state's sales tax on any purchase made online (and we'd have to collect and remit that tax, even if we're not based in your home state.) Right now we only charge sales tax to our friends in New Jersey, where we are located.
If made into law, it would have a HUGE effect on small businesses like Gollihur Music; it would mean potentially filing - and paying - sales taxes to almost 50 states every month (and what about hundreds of individual counties and other geographic areas within states that levy a little more?) This ongoing accounting nightmare will mean we may have to listen to Bob curse loudly (more frequently and for a longer period of time than usual) as he does all these calculations and fills out all the forms. Can you tell that he loves accounting?
Ebay's page at the link below (they are leading efforts to oppose the sales tax bill) will quickly and easily send a message to your home state's lawmakers. And don't worry, you can opt out of getting any eBay emails on the topic (or any other). If this matters to you as much as it does to us, please take just two minutes to make your voice heard.
Thanks for reading!
Our plan is to put out occasional newsletters that provide useful information to you, the bassist, as well as let you know of special offers and cool new stuff. If you haven't already visited, check out the Upright Bass FAQ section
(accessible from the menu bar under RESOURCES) and take a look at some of the other helpful articles we've written. There are a number of topics like Impedance and Ohms (input AND output perspectives!), Rosin, changing strings, bridges, Mystery Basses,
and more. More articles are in the works, and we welcome your suggestions for additional FAQs. Gollihur Music is not just an Upright Bass store, it's your URB information destination.
"Life is too short for bad tone."