Which company do you think has stayed the most faithful to bass players over the years, whose produced some of the finest quality instruments and would be a huge shame to see go?
Now, that's a good one.
On the instrument front; I think Leo has done the bass player a lot of favours. Precision, Jazz, Stingray and the G+L basses. Have to salute him. On the amp/cab side, the trad in me sides with the Marshall Superbass and Ampeg SVT valve heads. But, it's a modern game and applause also goes to Eden, Ashdown, SWR and Aguilar. Given the importance of active electronics in bassland, honorary mentions to Bartolini, Dunkmore Semen, EMG, Aguilar (again) and the J-retro. Lakland have produced a range of great basses that pretty much allow you to choose what you want.
I don't want to forget the starter basses, either, and Aria stand tall for providing great basses at penny prices. Have I forgotten anyone?
You mentioned Aria so I'm happy but leaping to the other extreme what about Alembic, not just some really pretty (and some butt-ugly) basses but really willing to experiment with electronics/materials and construction, some of that must filter through to us mortals eventually...
Good/complex point, Tim. I mentioned Leo because, historically, he was one of the first (if not the first) to look at the (much smaller) market for bass players and offer them solid-bodied, plug-in basses (with frets :!: - hence "Precision") to compete with the lead players. Also, the amp to go with it (The Bassman), copied by Marshall et al; hijacked by guitarists for their own use.
On reflection, I shouldn't have singled out Lakland. As Tim says, you could make the argument for Alembic, Warwick, Jaydee, etc etc.
What I don't understand is that bass guitars are quite radical; thru-neck, active EQ, active pups even, headless, graphite necks, exotic woods, yet the players then happily "DI into the PA/mixer" or maybe go through a SansAmp. Compare that with lead guitarists who buy either a bolt-on 3xSC or a set-neck 2xHB, (name a best selling thru-neck, active lead guitar :shock: ) then spend a zillion years talking about their pedals, amp, cab, drivers, gold-pinned EL84s, etc.
I wonder why this is?
Not worrying about getting to the next note in exactly a 17th of a second gives bassists more time to ponder how it feels in the hands (the bass that is) and the more you think about it the more important it seems.
But after lugging your bass amp/cab etc to 1 or 2 'Upstairs Function Rooms' plugging into the backline seems waaaaay easier, plus, sound engineers prefer it = quicker sound check = more beer time = better gig and better sound (to your ears anyway :D )
:lol: Upstairs gigs, smallish hatchbacks and old, "war-wound" back twinges all contributed to me falling out of love with those 2x15" behemoths.
Still, I keep faith with valve heads and (happy coincidence) found out that a lot of those wardrobe cabs were rubbish, anyway :) . Just my own pref, but I think that modern drivers work best for bass and weigh a lot less in the bargain. Easy enough to sell some old Fanes/Celestions to guitarists :P
Trace Elliot, started out as a small company in Victoria rd, Romford, and always listened to what bass players wanted, moved to Maldon in Essex and produced some of the finest amps ever, Gibson bought them a few years back and they went to pot, went quiet for a couple of years, but are now back with an excellent range.
Norman wattroy still plays them. So does our bass man Gary from our originals band LAND, and he is now joined by John, the bass man in our covers band, The Stone Monkeys, im suprised it didn't get a mention here.
I never mentioned TE because I never got on with them. I was always fighting the preamp, with it's little compressor/limiter LED lighting up to tell me that it didn't like my attack. More than once, it just gave up and cut out on me. In fairness, though, these stacks were legendary gear of the 90s for bassists in Britain and Europe and they still attract humungous bidding on the Fleeb. Not for the Jack Bruce type, though.
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