From the bass

Elixir bass strings, six months later

Elixir bass set, after 6 months About six months ago, I started our spring concerts series with a brand new set of Elixir medium bass strings, based on the various recommendations I had found regarding these, centering notably on their long life span. In spite of the various warnings I had read about their peculiar tone, I thought I'd give them a chance to prove their worth.

Servon recording

Although technical problems (batteries !) prevented a full recording of the concert, the middle section is now available to group members.

Regrettably, until licensing terms are cleared up, these recordings cannot be made public.

In the meantime, here are a couple of shots from musicians playing in the other bands that night:

String gauge and metric units

For some reason, I had never bothered to pursue the relationship between string gauge and actual string diameter. However, when I sorted my stash of old strings after putting brand new Elixir medium strings in order to sound best at next week's concert, I found several strings for which I didn't know the gauge, meaning they would be next to useless in case of an emergency (which is typically the only situation under which I'd put on a used string). And I only had a metric vernier caliper available...

Minor chords and heavy distortion (Muse live in Paris)

Muse Live in Paris Bercy 2006While attending the Muse concert in Paris Bercy on 2006-12-14, I took particular notice of something rather specific in the sound of the band: their ability to bring out a mix of major and minor chords with full distortion on the bass or guitar, sometimes even superimposed with crystal clear keyboards.

Now, if you've ever tried to play a minor chord with half the distortion Muse actually uses, you've certainly noticed how awful this can sound. I sure did, and hearing this sound great at the distortion and amplification levels of Muse was intriguing. What was going on ?

Popping the rasgueado

Rasgueado is the well-known technique of flamenco guitar players. Because it sounds strong and can be impressive, one cannot but be tempted to try it on the bass.

However, the sound will typically lack the precision required for a non-solo bass part, especially if included in a slapping or tapping part accompaniment. But there is a trick...