London Bass Guitar Show 2018 – Part 1

This year the London Bass Guitar Show had a different look, the main exhibitor area having been divided into smaller areas through floor-to-ceiling partitions. The new layout had the function of dampening the noise and gathering together similar exhibitors, creating, for instance, an Amplification Zone and an Instrument Zone. As always, in addition to the exhibitor areas, there was a packed schedule of performances and masterclasses, a corner with microphones and seats where we could enjoy talks and demos by highly esteemed luthiers, and a bass setup room. By popular demand, Scott’s Bass Lessons returned with its star guests and their very successful workshops.

This first part of my blog will try to show the new general look, and focus on what was going on in the areas not dedicated to exhibitors: on stage, in the luthier zone, and backstage. We’ll deal with each exhibitor booth in some detail in Part 2.

Despite the heavy snow preventing travel in much of the country on the Saturday, the show was very well attended. For many of us, The London Bass Guitar Show is an unmissable annual appointment not just with GAS-inducing gear and amazing stars and educators, but also with many bass-playing friends and acquaintances we only rarely see in person. Given the dreadful state of many main roads throughout the country and the disruption in public transport, I was genuinely surprised to see how full all the rooms were only a few minutes after the doors opened to the general public on the Saturday.

Now, with me being so little, and panoramic shots being difficult to take this year due to the new layout, there would be no point in posting images of people’s backs taken at peak times. The photos below – and in fact most of the photos in this blog – were taken before the doors opened to the general public.

The entrance hall

The lift doors and the cloakroom were behind these stands.

General Views (1) - Entrance Hall 1
(Incidentally, the guys at the Mercury stand were really nice!)

The entrance hall again, now looking towards the door to what used to be the Gear Hall. The customary long table dedicated the European Guitar Builders was again there. (More, much more on the EGB to follow in Part 2!)
General Views (1) - Entrance Hall 2

The Exhibitors’ area

Walk through the Main Hall door, and you see in front of you a small area with the entrance to Scott’s Bass Lessons and some stands, all being busily set up for the day.
General views (2) SBL

Turn left, and there is a corridor with two doors on the right.
General Views - corridor (1)

This is the same corridor seen from the other end – the doors are now on the left.
General Views - corridor (2)

The two doors led to two separate rooms, one dedicated to amplification, the other to basses and accessories.

The Instrument Zone
General Views (3) - Instrument Room 1

The door to the corridor seen from inside the Instrument Zone.
General Views (3) - Instrument Room 2

The Amp Zone
General Views (4) - amp room

The Luthiers’ Room

Next to the cafe area there were seats, a desk and a microphone: that was the Luthier’s ‘Room’. This photo was taken at the beginning of one of Martin Sims’ talks.
General views - luthier zone (1)

The view from the side of the desk at a quiet time between talks.
General views - luthier zone (2)

This area of the show was by far my favourite this year. As a rather technically-minded person, I am never tired of listening to highly respected luthiers explaining not just the physics, acoustics and electronics involved in creating and playing a bass, and the different nature and uses of tone woods, but also the processes that led to the luthiers’ individual choices in designing and building their instruments.

The list included talks by Sheldon Dingwall of Dingwall Guitars with Christian Sturgess, Alan Cringean of AC Guitars and Colin Cunningham, Martin Sims and Nick Smith of SimS Pickups, and Rob Erlick of Erlick Bass Guitars. Chris May of Overwater Basses was mentioned in the programme but was unfortunately blocked in Cumbria by the snow, and couldn’t attend.

Sheldon Dingwall

Sheldon Dingwall was joined by Christian Sturgess of Brutai and his beautiful red 5-string Combustion for a talk about the best way to do a setup on Saturday, and tone woods on Sunday.


Christian played along to his band’s songs to show us many different playing styles on his Combustion.


Despite the background noise, the footage below is thoroughly fascinating.

Setup explained

Tone woods – do they make a difference?

Now watch the company’s proper youtube series: Dingwall Guitars Setup Series – playlist

Martin Sims and Nick Smith

Yes, those are highly covetable Enfield basses!

SimS (1)

SimS (2)

SimS (3)

SimS (5)

Martin shows the simple, totally retro-fittable design of the Super Quad
SimS (4)

Watch the guys demo the Super Quad and explain how it influences tone.

Have a look at Martin Sims’ Youtube channel too.

Rob Elrick


I wish I could show my footage of Rob Erlick debunking some bass-building myths in a thoroughly fascinating way, but the background noise during his talk was so loud that my recordings are virtually inaudible and, regrettably, unpublishable. Such a shame. Have a look at his company’s Youtube instead – some good stuff there. Elrick Bass Guitars on Youtube

Despite my efforts, I wasn’t able to attend Alan Cringean’s talk – too many events to juggle! I’ll make sure to make his seminar a priority if he’s back next year. And while I’m at it, I’ll also make sure to have a look at the Ultimate Bass Setup room, which was another thing I missed this year. Judging by the crowds I saw leaving the room at the end of each seminar, it must have been very popular.
Third thing not to miss next time: the Scott’s Bass Lessons room, where seminars are always oversubscribed and it feels both rude and awkward to enter after the doors are closed.

Performances and Masterclasses

Bobby Vega
Bobby Vega (0)

Bobby Vega (1)

Chris Childs
Chris Childs & band

Chris Childs

Guy Pratt
Guy Pratt

Joe Hubbard
Joe Hubbard on stage

Joe Hubbard

Snow Owl
Snow Owl on stage

Snow Owl

Steve Lawson
Steve Lawson

Yolanda Charles
Yolanda's band

Yolanda on stage

Yolanda Charles

Mini-performances and interviews were happening at some booths too.

Becky Baldwin at Chowny Bass
Becky Baldwin & Stephen Chown

Alex Lofoco at GRBass
Alex Lofoco

Bobby Vega at IQS/Proamp
Bobby Vega (2)

Shez Raja at Warwick
Shez Raja

Lorenzo Feliciati talks to fans in the Amp Zone
Lorenzo Feliciati

Clive Newnham at Anaconda Basses
Clive Newnham

Chris Attwell with Ellio Martina and Marc Vanderkley
Chris Attwell


Bobby Vega (again!) and his shark
Bobby Vega

Peter Hook and his Shergold Marathon

With BGM editor Joel McIver
Joel & Hooky

Dave Marks
Dave Marks (4c)

That moment when Hooky photobombs you on the Auditorium stage at the LBGS…
Dave Marks (13)

Mo Foster, laughing at someone’s t-shirt.
Mo Foster

Two special basses

I followed the progress of the signatures on this Musicman SUB throughout the weekend.

Signed SUB (1)

Signed SUB (2)

Signed SUB (3)

Signed SUB (4)

The title of this section should probably have been ‘five special basses’, considering that the following is not one but actually four basses! This is Roland Kaschube of Bass Professor not just lifting the instrument but actually playing it, at the Eich stand.

Four-neck bass (1)

Four-neck bass (3)

I guess it doesn’t get much lighter even when you take off the strings…

Four-neck bass (4)

Four-neck bass (5)


More gear to follow in Part 2 – the booths. Stay tuned!


NAMM 2018, Part 4 – Beyond Bass

The last part of my NAMM blog series includes booths that were not specifically aimed at bass players, but managed to attract our attention and intrigue us even amid the chaos and cacophony. You’ll also see some bass amplification, as well as a few well known faces we spotted randomly at booths.

Aguilar Amplification

The guys were doing good business even early in the morning.


Aim Gifts

These are music-themed lamps that change colour. Rather nice.

Aim Gifts (1)

Aim Gifts (2)

Aim Gifts (3)

Aim Gifts (4)


Buy all the bits loose, chuck them in your suitcase, assemble the bass once at home.


Ashdown Engineering


Bergantino Audio Systems


Calton Cases

If you buy a colourful one you won’t lose sight of your instrument, even when you want to!

Calton Cases (1)

Calton Cases (2)

EBS Sweden AB

EBS (1)

EBS (2)

EBS (3)

Ernie Ball Musicman

Another colourful booth.

Ernie (1)

Ernie (2)
(Photo by Happy Jack)

Funguy Mojo Guitars

Weird and very interesting.

Funguy (1)

Funguy (3)

GHS Strings



Gotoh (1)

Gotoh (2)

Gotoh (3)

Guitar Grip

This appeals to the metalhead in me! And they have right and left hands.

Guitar Grip (1)

Guitar Grip (2)

Guitar Grip (3)

Harris Musical Products

Besides the fancy plectrums, they also sell picks by the pound, for those who are always losing them.

Harris (1)

Harris (2)

Harris (4)


One theme we noticed at NAMM 2018 was the number of booths offering aluminium-based guitars. This is the one we liked best.

Heliarc (3)

Heliarc (4)

Heliarc (5)

Heliarc (7)

Jam Pedals

Each of these is a work of art in itself!

Jam Pedals (1)

Jam Pedals (3)

Jam Pedals (4)

Jam Pedals (5)

Jocavi Acoustic Panels

Beats the egg cartons of yore.

Jocavi (4)

Jocavi (2)

Jocavi (3)



Luthiers Beyond Limits

A special section for original designs.

Klein Guitars

Luthiers Beyond Limits - Klein Guitars (1)

This is still Klein Guitars, despite the poster in the background.

Luthiers Beyond Limits - Klein Guitars (2)

Pagelli Guitars

Luthiers Beyond Limits - Pagelli


Yes, they had the wall of Marshalls, and people were having their photo taken in front of it, while playing their favourite air guitar.


One Control

Small, elegant and colour-coded. But you need tiny feet to operate a pedalboard full of these.

One Control (1)

One Control (2)

One Control (3)


OnkartGromt (2)


You definitely couldn’t miss the Orange booth. Excellent for finding your way around the hall. Oh, and the gear was great too.

Orange (1)

Orange (2)

Orange (3)

Orange (4)

Orange (5)

Orange (6)

Orange (7)

Poly Expressive

The solution to a crowded pedalboard: it’s flat, it’s smooth, and you can slide your foot on the correct controls without hitting the wrong ones. The piece of paper with the effect names is customisable.

Poly Expressive (1)

Poly Expressive (2)

Poly Expressive (3)

Poly Expressive (4)


I’ll have all of those, please.

Powersoft (1)

Powersoft (2)


RCF (1)

RCF (2)

Rip Tie

A number of different solutions for keeping cables tidy. Colourful and customisable.

Rip Tie (2)

Rip Tie (3)

Rip Tie (4)


Happy Jack really liked the Tanajura – percussion you can plug into an amp.

Rozini (2)

Rozini (1)

Rozini (3)

Rozini (4)


Schaller (1)

Schaller (2)


Another weird percussion instrument that makes perfect sense: you plug it into an amp, and then you can slap it with your ‘plucking’ hand, change the pitch with your ‘fretting’ hand (the holes mark the notes), or place it on a flat surface and use it as a normal percussion instrument.

Slaperoo (2)

Slaperoo (3)

Slaperoo (4)

This is the double bass version! He is sliding his foot along the bottom of the stick.

Slaperoo (5)

Swing Guitars

While the basses look normal, the guitars certainly don’t.

Swing guitars (1)

Swing guitars (2)

Tsunami Cables

Seemingly bullet-proof.

Tsunami Cables (1)

Tsunami Cables (2)

Tsunami Cables (3)


Another clever accessory for pedalboards: add wings to knobs, and turn then with your feet.

Wingman (1)

Wingman (2)

Wingman (3)

Wingman (4)


The photo below was taken early in the morning, when the metronomes were off.

Then, during the show, they were all activated.

Wittner (2)

No two metronomes were ticking in unison! 😀

Wittner (4)


The choice of recording devices, and weird bits to add on top, is fascinating.

Zoom (1)

Zoom (3)

Zoom (4)

Zoom H1n (2)

Woodwind and Brass

The area was much quieter than it could have been! Some Chinese companies alongside more traditional European names and US distributors.

Bakun Musical Services

Brass - Backun

Buffet Crampon

Brass - Buffet Crampon (2)

Brass - Buffet Crampon (1)

Cannonball Musical Instruments

Brass - Cannonball

Eastman Winds

Brass - Eastman (2)

Brass - Eastman (1)

Opus Music

Brass - Opus (1)

Brass - Opus (4)

Brass - Opus (2)

Well, this was big.

Brass - Opus (3)

I do mean big! Hopefully not too heavy, though.

Brass - Opus (3b)


Brass - Weissenberg (1)

Brass - Weissenberg (2)

The Drums Section

There was a thoroughly captivating area dedicated to drums and percussion. We loved it.

Ludwig Drums

Drums - Ludwig

Remo Colortone

Drums - Remo Colortone (1)

Drums - Remo Colortone (2)


Need a cymbal? Have a few hundred instead.

Drums - Sabian (1)

Drums - Sabian (3)

Drums - Sabian (4)
(Photo by Happy Jack)

Drums - Sabian (5)
(Photo by Happy Jack)


Drums - Tama (1)

Drums - Tama (3)

Zildjian and Vic Firth

Drums - Zildjan Vic Firth (1)

(Photos below by Happy Jack)

Drums - Zildjan Vic Firth (3)

Drums - Zildjan Vic Firth (4)

Drums - Zildjan Vic Firth (5)

Tempted to buy one of these spiral cymbals for your drummer? We were.

Drums - Zildjan Vic Firth (6)

Stars at Booths

Random signings and performances! There were many more, but these are the ones we could take photos of.

Happy Jack spotted Bootsy at three different stands while he was walking around. Perhaps Bootsy was secretly following him.


On Friday, the Tsunami Cables booth had none other than Cody Wright and Andy Irvine playing bass together to the delight of bystanders.

Cody Wright and Andy Irvine

Lee Sklar was being interviewed at the Warwick booth.

Lee Sklar

Skid Row were signing autographs at the Reunion Blues booth.

Skid Row

There was a lot more happening than I’ve managed to show here, but there is a limit to how many photos can be published from one event! Thank you for reading so far.

Next, the London Bass Guitar Show 2018!

NAMM 2018 Part 3 – Bass!!

The hall that holds much of the gear we GASsing musicians are there to ogle/stalk/drool over/lust after (delete as appropriate) is located on the ground floor in the main centre. The hall is, in fact, made up by four adjacent mega-halls linked by large doorways. We worked out that it’s a rectangle the size of no fewer than 22 football pitches, to which a further, corner-shaped area is added at one end.

Have a look at the show’s detailed exhibitor map.

Hall D – occupying one quarter of that huge rectangle plus the corner area – was the one where most of the electric bass action was taking place, although a lot of the stands dedicated to electric stringed instruments exhibited their newest models of both basses and guitars in the same space. The stands showcasing amplification, effects and accessories were also targeted to both bassists and guitarists. (I’m placing most of those stands Part 4, to avoid making this already humongous section even bigger.)

Happy Jack and I were at the show on the Thursday to help out Stephen Chown and David Konig of Retrovibe at the Chowny Bass stand (they would be joined by endorsee Scott Whitley from Friday onwards). For the rest of the show we were free to roam as Bass Guitar Magazine reporters and, above all, as kids in a candy store on a permanent sugar rush.

The following are photos of only some of the exhibiting companies. Although I saw most booths, I didn’t manage to visit every single one at times where the crowds were thin enough to allow acceptable photography. All the gear booths were well worth a visit – often a protracted one! While most names were familiar the world over, some booths were clearly targeted at the US market, and their companies (usually resellers of mass-produced instruments) were virtually unknown, or perhaps simply known by a different name, in Europe. In this Part 3 I have concentrated on the companies that are better known to us in the UK.

There were also a lot of double basses, and a booth showcasing special, dedicated amplification, as well as a booth selling a cool accessory – scroll to the bottom to see a few photos.

Most of the models on show on each booth were new for 2018, and had their first ever outing at NAMM.


There were some new beauties at on Alan Cringean’s show table in the Boutique Guitar Showcase area. How we GASsed…

ACG (1)

ACG (2)

ACG (3)

ACG (4)


They look good enough to eat, and Happy Jack played a few of them – they sound and play equally good.

Aria (1)

Aria (5)

Aria (2)

Aria (3)

Aria (4)

Chowny Bass Guitars

We spent a day with this stand as our main base, and we liked what we saw!

Chowny (1)

Chowny (2)

Chowny (3)

There was an Aguilar rig and a PJB headphone amp, making sure that we could have two people trying the basses without annoying each other (that was a task our neighbouring booth had seemingly decided to take on).

Chowny (4)

David Konig, Stephen Chown, Happy Jack

Chowny Stand (1)


Chowny Stand (4)_PS

Scott Whitley

Chowny (7)

Davie504, who was there to demonstrate his new signature EVO Retrovibe, but enjoyed playing all of the Chowny models on show.

Chowny (6)

Pascal Mulot

Chowny (5)

The roaming team from Andertons Music Company interviewing Stephen

Chowny Stand (5)

One of the less busy times at the booth

Chowny (8)

Cort Guitars

It was a large booth – I concentrated on the basses section.

Cort (1)

Cort (2)

Dingwall Guitars

Drool, drool and drool again.

Dingwall (9)

Dingwall (1)

Dingwall (2)

Dingwall (3)

Dingwall (4)

Dingwall (5)

Dingwall (6)

Dingwall (7)

Dingwall (8)

This was the special Darkglass model, at the company’s booth.

Dingwall (11)

Abasi Guitars/Falbo Designs

Both companies usually collaborate to create guitars, but we spotted this bass prototype that looked very intriguing.

Falbo (1)

Falbo (2)

Falbo (3)

Falbo (4)

Falbo (5)
(Photo by Happy Jack)


Very elegant models, as always, and they even had a lefty.

F-Bass (1)

F-Bass (2)

F-Bass (3)


The Brooklyn company had lots of models, and also samples of the various woods and trimmings they use.

Fodera (2)

Fodera (1)

Fodera (3)

Fodera (4)

Fodera (5)

Fodera (6)

Fodera (7)


Once again, I concentrated on their bass section, and I saw my first lefty Hipshot detuner in situ.

Hipshot (1)

Hipshot (2)

Hipshot (3)

Hipshot (4)

Hipshot (5)

Hipshot (6)


The German company opted to place its booth in the quiet Acoustic Section, surrounded by cellos, violins and double basses. The models below are very nice re-issues. Strangely, no lefties around…

Hofner stand (1)

Hofner stand (2)

Hofners (1)

Hofners (2)

Hofners (3)


Huge, GAS-inducing booth!

Ibanez (2)

Ibanez (1)

Ibanez (3)

Ibanez (4)

Ibanez (5)

The star of the bass section was the new not-too-long-scale upright.

Ibanez (6)

Ibanez (7)

Ibanez (8)

Kala U-Bass

For those who like a double bass-like sound but don’t want the bulk.

Kala (3)

Kala (6)

Kala (9)

Kala (1)

Kala (2)

Kala (5)

Those bass uke strings have a nylon core and silver-plated windings, and we were so intrigued we ordered some once we were back home.

Kala (7)

Kiesel Guitars

Headless bonanza! And a lefty too.

Kiesel (1)

Kiesel (2)

Kiesel (3)

Kiesel (4)


Extremely busy stand at all times, except very early in the morning, when I took these photos.

Markbass (1)

Markbass (3)

Markbass (4)

Markbass (5)

Maruszczyk Instruments

Adrian recognised us from the London Bass Guitar Show, and we loved every one of his basses again.

Maruszczyk (1)

Maruszczyk (2)

Maruszczyk (3)

Maruszczyk (4)

Maruszczyk (6)

Mayones Guitars & Basses

This was another very busy stand, only possible to photograph early in the morning, when entering it was forbidden.

Mayones (1)

Mayones (2)

Yes, I had to do a double take on this, but it’s undeniably cool.

Mayones (4)

NS Design

Unmistakable modern take on stringed instruments. No lefties at the booth, but I have one at home.

NS Design (1)

NS Design (2)

NS Design (3)

NS Design (4)

NS Design (5)

Phil Jones Bass

We’re big fans of PJB’s, and were happy to have a chat with Phil himself.

PJB (1)

PJB (2)

PJB (3)

PJB (6)

PJB (5)

PJB (4)

Phil Jones with Happy Jack

25 Jan - NAMM Day 1 (8)


You could not fail to notice the Rickenbacker booth – unlike all other booths, there were no seats, no amplification, nowhere to plug the instruments into, and in fact, the instruments were secured to their hooks. However, we got to talk to John Hall and were shown into the special quiet room at the back, where Happy Jack put the new 4003S/5 through its paces.

Rickenbacker 4003S-5 (2b)
(Photo by Happy Jack)


Rickenbacker (2)

Lefties! (We thank you, Sir Paul McCartney.)

Rickenbacker (1)

Do not try to play this instrument.

Rickenbacker (3)
(Photo by Happy Jack)

The new 4003S/5

Rickenbacker 4003S-5 (0b)
(Photo by Happy Jack)

John Hall with Happy Jack

26 Jan - NAMM Day 2, Rickenbacker (2)

26 Jan - NAMM Day 2, Rickenbacker (4)

Ritter Instruments

We expect no less than this from Jens! More on that bass below.

Ritter (1)

These guitars have had tight dresses sewn on.

Ritter (2)

Ritter (3)

Ritter (5)

Ritter (6)

Swarovski jewels.

Ritter (7)

This one made me want to bite into it!

Ritter (8)

Very special bass – the equation on the fingerboard is real and can be solved.

Ritter (11)

Ritter (12)

SimS Guitars and Pickups

Great to see the guys doing great at NAMM too!

Nick ‘Doctor of the Bass’ Smith and Martin Sims

SimS (1)

SimS (2)

SimS (3)

Nick with Happy Jack

SimS (4)

Rudy Sarzo created a large crowd when he performed and signed autographs at the booth. I sneaked through to get this shot.

SimS Stand (6b)


Another good company we were happy to see at NAMM after meeting them for the first time at the LBGS 2016. They even have a lefty model on show – spot it!

Stonefield (1)

Stonefield (2)

Vigier Guitars UK

We finally had the opportunity to see a full Vigier stand, as opposed to just a few models as part of a mixed display.

Vigier (3)

Vigier (2)

Vigier (1)

Vigier (4)

Warwick Bass

If I thought I was over my Warwick addiction, I was wrong. I seem to have spent a lot of time ogling and taking photos of everything at their large booth. And I would like all of those models, please – left-handed if you don’t mind.

Warwick (3)

Warwick (1)

Warwick (2)

Warwick (4)

Warwick’s rational solution for messy pedalboards

Warwick (5)

Warwick (6)

Warwick (7)

Warwick (8)

The only thing I wasn’t able to see, touch or photograph is the new Idolmaker model – 4 and 5 strings – because it hadn’t arrived from Germany! Hopefully it was eventually released by Customs, but I wasn’t at the show during the weekend. All I could do is take a photo of the Framus guitar models it was inspired by. I will hopefully have better luck at this year’s LBGS.

Warwick (9)

The Double Basses

Double basses and other orchestral instruments seemed to be, with some exceptions, the domain of Chinese companies at NAMM. And very nice they were.


Double basses (1)

Maple Leaf Strings

Double basses (2)

Krutz Strings

Double basses (3)

Eastman Strings

Double basses (4)

Double basses (5)
(Photo by Happy Jack)

Christopher String Instruments

Have double bass, will travel.

Double Bass - dismantled (1)

Double Bass - dismantled (2)


You can smile at the shape of these speakers, but they sound absolutely great.

Double bass - Sonusphere (1)

Double bass - Sonusphere (2)

Double bass - Sonusphere (3)

Double bass - Sonusphere (4)

Double bass - Sonusphere (5)

RC Williams Musical Instruments

Have double bass, will wheel it around. Rick Williams demonstrates.

Double Bass - RC Williams (2)

Double Bass - RC Williams (3)

Double Bass - RC Williams (4)

Double Bass - RC Williams (5)

There was much more bass-related ‘stuff’ to see, but really, you had to be there. 😉

Stay tuned for Part 4.

NAMM 2018, Part 2 – A general look

2018 has been the year I finally attended the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show in Anaheim, California for the first time. Held at the end of January, it’s the first music-related show of the year and the largest, as well as the broadest in scope. The footprint of the show is huge, as it sprawls through several campuses, all hosting a seemingly infinite variety of seminars, talks, press conferences, networking meetups, live concerts and more. The main building is the Anaheim Convention Center, with gear halls on the ground floor, basement and part of the upper floor, and vast seminar/quiet rooms on the rest of the upper floor; in addition, the show continues in hotels and venues next door. The entrance to the complex is a garden which provides, with its palms, fountain and some seating, a pleasant common area for rest and relaxation.

Just look at the large-scale map!

My photographic documentation of the show is way too vast for a single blog entry. Part 1 of my NAMM series was about the new lefty Dingwall Combustion NG – let’s now go back to the beginning, and have a look around at the place itself in Part 2, before focusing on bass-related booths in Part 3. Part 4 will show a selection of weird and wonderful, not necessarily bass-related, instruments and devices.

The following pictures are mainly of the ground floor, Halls A, B, C and D. Even with the best intentions, I wasn’t able to visit the entire show, let alone take acceptable quality photos of it. Bear in mind that even the images containing people shown here were taken at quiet times: at busy times, there was barely space to walk in the aisles, and no real possibility of photographing the booths.


Main Centre

‘Excuse me, what’s the name of the event being held here? I can’t see it anywhere…’


Sunny Californian weather – 26°C in January

Entrance Garden (3)


Entrance Garden (2)


The Foyer



Equally nice in the evening, when you’re knackered but refuse to go home.

Entrance Garden (1)


Some shots of very large gear halls, cute orange vehicles, last-minute checks, and empty isles and stands, before everyone else gets in.

Before The Crowds Get In (1)


Before The Crowds Get In (2)


Before The Crowds Get In (3)


Before The Crowds Get In (4)


Before The Crowds Get In (5)


Before The Crowds Get In (6)


Before The Crowds Get In (7)


Before The Crowds Get In (8)


Before The Crowds Get In (9)


The first wave of attendees has been let in!

Halls - General View (1)


Halls - General View (2)


Halls - General View (3)


Halls - General View (4)


The DJ area was something to behold.

Halls - General View (5)


Halls - General View (6)


Halls - General View (7)


Imagine having access to either of the following effects for your pub gig.

Soap bubble machine, on an industrial scale. Distract your drunken punters and they’ll (hopefully) leave your pedalboard alone.

Bubbles in the Air


Artificial smoke – LOTS of it. On second thoughts, not recommended for your local – it will trigger their smoke alarm and make your band very unpopular indeed.

Smoke Carpet


It’s now time to give the gear booths a closer look – stay tuned for Part 3.

NAMM 2018, part 1 – Bluejay plays the New Left-handed Dingwall Combustion NG

A couple of years ago I interviewed Sheldon Dingwall for Bass Guitar Magazine, and had the opportunity to ask him if he was planning to ever start making left-handed models. To my surprise and delight, he said he was, and would start producing at least one model as soon as the company could afford to add the necessary manufacturing tools to its collection. My GAS instantly hit the ceiling – I would sooner or later be able to see for myself how my hands would react to a 5-string fingerboard with fanned frets, as opposed to only having to rely on opinions expressed by right-handed players. Since then, I’ve kept a close eye on the company’s website and social media announcements: the Combustion range will soon be available as a left-handed option. In January this year, at the NAMM show in Anaheim, I was finally able to play the first ever lefty 5-string Dingwall, the beautiful Nolly Getgood Combustion model in pearl white with black pickguard, of which more later.

First of all, some info about my preferences as a bass player: I am petite and have tiny hands, so I favour basses with small bodies and 34″ scale. I am, however, not too keen on shorter scale. I play mostly 5-strings, and use predominantly fingerstyle and almost exclusively low-tension flatwounds. I find it frustrating when, on certain songs, such setup only produces an indistinct rumble, as opposed to a proper pitch, while I play or fret the low B string. In terms of sound, I like modern rather than traditional.

The Dingwall booth at NAMM 2018 was one of the busiest in Hall D: in addition to the throng of righty fans, I can’t have been the only lefty who descended on the booth just to focus on one bass! In fact, the first time I visited, someone else was already playing it, so I had a drool over – er, I mean a look at – the righty models and then decided to call back later. The second time I was luckier: the area was still very crowded but the bass was available, and so was a seat next to an amp.

Lefty Dingwall Combustion NG (1)R

Lefty Dingwall Combustion NG (2)R

So I pick up the NG – it feels heavy, but hey, I’m a Warwick player for Heaven’s sake, I have no business complaining about weight. I sit down and plug in, while someone else is loudly slapping another amplified Dingwall three feet from me. No point starting a volume war, so I keep my amp quieter: at this stage I don’t even know whether I’m able to play properly on a fanned fingerboard, so I decide to avoid broadcasting any forthcoming fret buzz and bum notes, if possible.

From the first pluck, the low B (roundwound) sounds magnificent: its 37″ scale banishes indistinct rumbles to the dustbin of bass-playing. Fretting that string correctly feels surprisingly comfortable, even with my little short fingers; the trouble starts on the four higher strings. I like to play bass mostly on the first five frets, especially on a fiver, so I place my hand in my usual position near the nut and… can’t find my way around! I’m deliberately only playing a couple of scales and seventh chords. I usually don’t look at my hand while I’m playing, but in this case I realise I have to. I slow down and, with a bit of patience, finally produce the correct notes. Bit of a struggle. Also, I realise that the longer scale – on all strings except the G – is making my fretting hand work harder than on my usual 34″ necks. The bass feels bigger – in fact, is bigger – than my 5-string Corvettes, and its neck is, inevitably, longer to accommodate the longer B and E strings. Maybe I’m simply too little for this bass.

I slowly realise that there’s something my plucking hand is also feeling slightly uncomfortable with. The two pickups, in the neck/middle configuration, are positioned very close to each other and slanted like the frets, so placing my thumb on the top of the neck pickup feels like I’m still plucking too close to the bridge. Presumably just a matter of getting used to it, or indeed ordering the three-pickup configuration instead, but a little disconcerting the first time. And I didn’t think my fingers would be able to notice the single millimetre difference in string spacing between my basses (17mm) and the NG (18mm), but they do. Once again, a trivial issue and, I’m sure, easy to overcome with practice.

I’d love to sit at the booth for another half hour, run through all the sound options offered by the NG’s much-lauded Darkglass Tone Capsule preamp, and play all over the fingerboard as opposed to just the first five frets, but the noise around me is giving me a headache, and a couple of guys are standing nearby, patiently waiting for their turn on the bass, so I decide to hand it back. My GAS, as well as my curiosity, are definitely not over, though. I’d certainly like another, closer look, perhaps if Dingwall comes back to exhibit at the London Bass Guitar Show. Stay tuned.

Bluejay @ Dingwalls Booth, NAMM 2018

That’s me, getting to grips with the NG, with Sheldon Dingwall standing behind me and talking to other NAMM attendees

Basschat South East Bash 2017

Our usual September appointment with the Jubilee School in Addlestone was another well-attended GAS-fest with mouth-watering gear on show in the Main Hall.

In addition, we had an early talk by Lee of Anderton Music, and two great guests offering two totally different takes on bass playing: Davey Rimmer of Uriah Heep and solo bassist Steve Lawson.

Our favourite luthier Ian Robinson was again there to rescue our instruments from bad setups, while Basschat affiliates Chownybass and OBBM had stands showcasing their companies’ popular wares.

Add to the mix a well-stocked raffle table, the BC sales corner, refreshments and lots of catching up with friends, and you end up with another thoroughly enjoyable meetup.

Front door

The Foyer

Bassace’s double basses

Bassace's DBs

The For Sale area

For Sale and Raffle

For Sale (1)

For Sale (2)

For Sale (3)

For Sale (4)

Ian Robinson at his table

Ian Robinson

OBBM (Dave) with his cables and connectors


Stephen Chown, with Stingray5 in the background

Chowny (1)

This is the bass Stingray5 was grabbing in the pic above. The effect pedal was to be added to the raffle prizes.

Chowny (2)

Stingray5 again

Chowny (3)

Happy Jack, OBBM, Stephen

Chowny (4)

Happy Jack

Chowny (5)


Chowny (6)

The refreshments.

(That’s what was left at the end of the bash – I didn’t manage to get to them sooner!)


Sarah was again on hand to feed us and quench our thirst 🙂


The ‘Quiet Room’

Merton rocks

Quiet room (1)

His reverse head ACG – and the Status isn’t bad either

Quiet room (2)

Darren Redick


Davey, an upside-down Spector, and Cetera

Davey and Cetera

The Auditorium

Davey’s rig

Davey's Talk (1)

I do fancy that Warwick, LEDs included

Davey's Talk (2)

Davey's Talk (3)


A couple of playalongs!

Steve Lawson…


Steve (1)

… and his Monique

Steve's Monique

Some solo bassing

Ped and Davey join a group of curious Basschatters after Steve’s talk

Steve (3)

The Main Hall

Feel free to ogle, GAS, drool and/or covet!

Main Hall (1)

Main Hall (2)

Yes that’s Mick’s Psilos bass, among others

Main Hall (3)

Main Hall (4)

Sibob goes 6-string

Main Hall (5)

Ped, Orange Friday and two weird and wonderful basses

Ped & Orange Friday

Ped and an aluminium guitar with no strings

Main Hall (6)

And this is his Wing Bass

Main Hall (16)

Lefty corner!

Main Hall (7)

Main Hall (8)

More ogling…

Main Hall (9)

Main Hall (10)

Main Hall (11)

MacDaddy Shukers and their trickery 😉

Main Hall (12)

Main Hall (13)

Main Hall (14)


Main Hall (15)

The Raffle

A tableful of prizes

Raffle prizes (1)

Raffle prizes (2)

Raffle prizes (3)

Raffle prizes (4)

Steve, Davey, Hamster with the Chownybass pedal prize, Ped, Silverfoxnik, and The Doggie!

Raffle with Dog

Steve and Davey

Steve and Davey

It was another great day of bass-related happiness. We are already planning next year’s bash, to be held on 29th September 2018. This is what Hamster said a few weeks after the 2017 bash:

Well, the SEBB was a financial success and as usual we made a profit that has been distributed to good causes as follows:

Cancer Research UK – Specifically for breast cancer
Prostate Cancer UK – For those gentleman’s nether regions
4sight – Supporting people with sight loss
Shooting Star Chase – A local children’s hospice

I’ve already had a planning meeting, well it was actually an excuse to go to the pub, about what contacts we can approach to make a guest appearance at next years SEBB.

The short list is impressive!

The date is already in the diary. Watch this space for more info!

London Bass Guitar Show 2017

For the best part of this year life got majorly in the way of my music blogging, but I finally managed to sift through my photos of the event back in March – here they are!

This year, once again, the show was mostly populated by smaller companies whose offerings have nothing to envy the big names for.

The Main Hall was as busy as ever:

LBGS view (1)

And so was the Entrance Hall:

LBGS view (2)

LBGS view (3)

We spotted a few well known faces in the crowd. Here is Dave Swift with fiancee Lucy (and Bump, now lovely baby Oscar) talking to Andrew Gouche

Dave, Lucy, Andrew and Bump (1)

Dave, Lucy and Bump (3)

Once again, we enjoyed some mesmerising performances and masterclasses.

Andrew Gouche
Andrew Gouche

Cody Wright
Cody Wright

Ida Nielsen
Ida Nielsen

Andy Rourke
Andy Rourke

Dmitry Lisenko
Dmitry Lisenko

Glen Matlock
Glen Matlock

Shez Raja
Shez Raja

David Ellefson
David Ellefson (1)

David Ellefson (2)

David Ellefson (3)

Stu Hamm
Stu Hamm (1)

Stu Hamm (2)

Stu Hamm (3)

A first this year was the opening of an additional room, the teaching centre:  Scott Devine’s lessons

Here he is surrounded by students and fellow tutor Steve Lawson.

Scott, Steve, students

Scott and Steve

Steve and Scott

Steve Lawson

And we had all of our favourite exhibitors, and more!


ACG (1)

ACG (2)

ACG (4)


Aguilar (1)

Aguilar (2)

Allianz Music Insurance




Barefaced and Cog Effects

Barefaced (1)

Barefaced (2)

Barefaced (3)

Cog (1)

Cog (2)

Bass Direct and Emma Electronic

Bass Direct (1)

Bass Direct (2)

Bass Direct (3)

Bass Direct (4)

Bass Direct (5)

Emma (1)

Emma (2)


Sam, Tina, Ricky (Charic), Chris (Ped)
Basschat (1)

Dan Veall (Dood) with Ped
Basschat (2)

Si (MacDaddy) guards the Basschat table while the others take a break
Basschat (3)

Basschat (4)

Bassline Publishing

Bassline Pubs (1)

Bassline Pubs (2)

Bassline Pubs (3)

Bass Guitar Magazine



Blasius (2)

Blasius (3)

Blasius (4)

Blasius (5)

Börges and Löwenherz




Cort (1)

Cort (2)

Cort (3)

Cort (4)

Cort (5)

Cort (6)

Darkglass Electronics

Darkglass (2)

De Gier Guitars

De Gier (1)

De Gier (2)

DR Strings

DR Strings (2)

DR Strings (3)

DR Strings (4)




Eich (1)

Cody and Ida jam at the Eich stand!
Eich (4)

Eich (5)

And here is fellow lefty Peter with his upside-down-but-correctly-strung bass guitar!
Eich (6)

Ellio Martina

Ellio Martina (1)

I like both the bass and the stylish stand.
Ellio Martina (2)

Enfield and SimS

Enfield (1)

Enfield (2)

Stuart and Nick with sister basses
Stuart, Nick, SimS Enfield

SimS (3)

I like that!
SimS (1)

SimS (2)

Ernie Ball/Musicman

Ernie Ball (1)

Ernie Ball (2)

Ernie Ball (3)

Ellen O’Reilly on bass with her power girls
Ernie Ball - performance (1)

European Guitar Builders

European Guitar Builders (1)

European Guitar Builders (2)

European Guitar Builders (3)

European Guitar Builders (5)


Franz (4)

Galli Strings

Galli (1)

Galli (2)

GR Bass

GR Bass (1)

GR Bass (2)

Jim Fleeting

Jim Fleeting (2)

Jon Liebmann (and son!)

Jon Liebman (5)

Le Fay

Le Fay




Markbass (4)


Love ’em, just love ’em.

Marleaux (1)

Marleaux (2)

Marleaux (3)

Marleaux (4)

Miguel Di Carlo

Miguel Di Carlo (4)

Miguel Di Carlo (6)

Music for All

Music For All (2)


There’s no missing a single resonant vibration with this bolt-on system and the through-body strings.
Neubauer (1)

Neubauer (2)

Neubauer (3)

Juan ‘Snow Owl’ García Herreros
Snow Owl

Juan with Andreas Neubauer
Andreas and Juan

Nik Huber

Nik Huber (2)

Nik Huber (3)

Oliver Lang

Oliver Lang (1)

Oliver Lang (2)


OnkartGromt (1)

OnkartGromt (3)


Peavey (2)

Peavey (3)

Phil Jones Bass

PJB (2)

PJB (3)

Stand well back!
PJB (4)

PJB (5)

Proamp and IQS Strings

Proamp - IQS (3)


Promenade (4)

Promenade (5)

Promenade (6)

Promenade (7)

Promenade (10)

Promenade (12)


Providence (1)

Providence (2)



Rheingold Amplifiers

Rheingold (3)


Rikkers (1)

Rikkers (2)

Rikkers (4)


Roto (1)


Safran (1)

Safran (2)

Safran (5)

Safran (6)

Two lefties (me included) and a lovely acoustic
Bluejay @ Safran


Sandberg (1)
Sandberg (2)
Sandberg (3)

Sandberg (4)

Sandberg (5)

Sandberg (6)


Schack (1)

Schack (3)

Schack (4)


Schönitz (1)

Schönitz (2)

Scott Dixon

Scott Dixon (1)

Scott Dixon (2)

Sever and Tonetech

Sever and Bill
Sever - Tonetech (2)

Possibly the cleverest lightweight hardware systems I’ve seen so far!
Sever - Tonetech (1)

The etched line will help you see the amount of turn on the knob
Sever - Tonetech (3)

Sever - Tonetech (4)

And they make beautiful, lightweight, personalised aluminium knobs, and appropriate earrings!
ToneTech (1)

My Corvette with the knobs in situ.
Corvette Knobs


Shuker (1)

Shuker (2)

Basschatter Chris Sharman bought that one!
Chris & Fretless Shuker

Smooth Hound

Smooth Hound (1)

Smooth Hound (2)

Smooth Hound (3)


Spector (5)

Spector (1)

Spector (2)

Spector (3)

Spector (4)


Stonefield (1)

Stonefield (2)

Trace Elliot

Trace (2)


Ellio and Marc at the stand
Vanderkley (2)

Marc feels Phil Mann’s love
Vanderkley (3)

Vanderkley (1)

Definitely looking forward to March 2018!

Press pass