Basschat Herts Bash 2016

If it’s the first week of June, then it’s got to be Herts Bassbash time! And again, organiser Mick The Greek – with help from Bassface2k10, Lozz196, Grangur’s wife Louisa and Sibob’s parents – did a sterling job. The ream created an excellent opportunity for us to meet up, ogle and try each other’s basses, amps and pedals, catch up with old friends and meet new ones, as well as attend the customary tests and talks, and also gathered an astonishing number of high-value prizes for one of the most successful Basschat raffles ever. All proceeds from ticket sales and the raffle go to the youth centre hosting the bash, Breaks Manor in Hatfield.

Breaks Manor, Hatfield

Breaks Manor, Hatfield

 

Bassface2k10 and Louisa

Bassface2k10 and Louisa in the kitchen/reception area

 

Bluejay

Let the photofest begin!

 

The Middle Hall was where the action started; Andrew of D’Addario had set up his mini-stall in a corner, and everyone else placed their rigs around him, until most of the space was taken.

 

D’Addario’s stand had strings for sale, two basses to try and lots of extra goodies; the company also offered three large raffle prizes and several small ones.

 

NYXL

Basschat favourites: the D’Addario NYXL bass strings!

 

 

Andrew and NickD

Andrew and NickD

 

Andrew & Nick

… aka The Battle of the Beards!

 

 

Andrew & Happy Jack

With Happy Jack

 

Andrew & Graham

With Graham Poulton

 

 

Andrew finds a moment to play bass too!

 

Truckstop tries the 5-stringer

 

… while Happy Jack plays the Jaguar 4

 

Grangur’s turn

 

The undeniable star of the show was Mick The Greek’s no-name bass, which was transformed from woodfire into a stylish, great-sounding bass by Andyjr1515 of AJR Guitar Modifications.

 

It’s the one in the middle, but the other two basses, also by Andy, are pretty damn cool too.

 

It doesn’t just look good from the front.

 

Ergonomic curve

 

Andy shows the bass to several admirers

 

Mick’s thank-you gift to Andy

 

Andy’s other small but perfectly formed ‘reclaimed’ bass, tested by Grangur

 

Meanwhile, nearby, Valentin of ForteVio was displaying his hand-made upright bass and cabs.

 

ForteVio

 

ForteVio cabs

 

 

Happy Jack tests the upright and amplification

 

Ordep and his other half Cynthia observe the shenanigans

 

In a rare moment away from reception duties, Bassface practices photography

 

 

 

 

Sibob’s basses

 

 

The Shuker!

 

 

Another star was Happy Jack’s Takamine TB10.

 

 

‘Yes, guys, it can be played like a bass guitar, not just as an upright’

 

MacDaddy, Billy Apple, the TB10 and Happy Jack

 

Happy Jack with Will and Doctor of the Bass

 

CamdenRob

 

Looks good in the display of beauties

 

TheStick with a Precision

 

After GASsing and socialising, we moved to the Main Hall for the much-anticipated DI/Pedal test with Lozz196 and Sibob.

 

The tools of the trade

 

 

 

The rig!

 

Lozz prepares the pedals

 

Sibob helps out

 

One of the pedals categorically refused to collaborate.

 

After the test, the audience was allowed to see and try the pedals.

 

Here is the recording of the entire test. Please note: the humming noise wasn’t added by the camera – it came from the PA system, and could be heard in the room as part of the test itself.

 

This is how Lozz summed up the shootout:

Ok, great day at the Herts bass Bash, and the Preamp/DI Pedal shooutout went as follows.

First off thanks to Gary Mac for letting me use his new Handbox 400 amp (with groovy lights), secondly thanks to Sibob for assisting on the technical side of the test. Given that each pedal had different features, such as sweepable mids, dedicated gain/no gain etc, I decided that I would play a few notes/lines with all settings at 12 o’clock (hoping that this was the flat setting for the pedals) then adding some highs, then reducing highs but adding some gain. Pedals tested were as listed below. After the test the audience had the opportunity to mark their fave for each setting, which will be listed alongside the pedals.

Aguilar Tonehammer – Clean 0, Highs 0, Gain 0
Sansamp Bass Driver – Clean 0, Highs 0, Gain 0
Zoom B3 (on Sansamp Bass Driver simulation) – Clean 2, Highs 0, Gain 0
Sansamp Parea Driver – Clean 0, Highs 0, Gain 1
Behringer BDI21 – Clean 0, Highs 1, Gain 0
Tech21 VT – Clean 0, Highs 0, Gain 3
MXR M80 – Clean 2, Highs 0, Gain 1
Zoom B3 (on MXR M80 simulation) – Clean 2, Highs 0, Gain 0
Sadowsky – Clean 3, Highs 0, Gain 0
Radial Tonebone – Clean 0, Highs 0, Gain 3

So, for cleans we have the Sadowsky in first place with the MXR M80, Zoom B3 MXR Simulation, and MXR Sansamp Simulation in joint second.

For highs we only had one preference, that being the Behringer, and as was explained to me by said voter, that’ because they weren’t too shrill.

And then for gain we have the Tech21 VT and the Radial Tonebone, very interesting as the Radial Tonebone had no added gain, that was its stock sound.

So overall impressions then – well the core sound of all of the pedals was very similar, only the Sadowsky and the Radial Tonebone offering any real difference, the Sadowsky being much warmer and richer sounding, and the Radial Tonebone, as we see, being a bit naturally gainier. But my main thoughts were I could get a good workable sound with any of them, and the Zoom B3 especially surprising me as the simulated sounds of both the Sansamp and the MXR were so near to the originals. Im sure with a bit of tweaking they could be made identical.

And yet again, in one of these shootouts I`ve managed to get zero scores for my own gear, namely the Aguilar Tonehammer and the Sansamp Bass Driver. Bah :angry:

 

 

The Main Hall was also where other Basschatters’ rigs had been placed, which meant more ogling and GASsing while we waited for Nick ‘Doctor of the Bass’ Smith’s talk.

 

That Stanley Clarke Alembic

 

 

Out goes the Alembic, in comes the Wal 6!

 

This is the very bass thart was reviewed in Bass Guitar Magazine

 

‘Lovely’

 

‘Hang on a minute, there are far too many strings on this bass, where’s the note I was looking for?’

 

‘Just stop being rude to my Wal!’ And in the meantime, Lozz enjoys playing the Moollon.

 

Billy Apple with the Moollon

 

Happy Jack and Lozz

 

Still underwhelmed by that high C string, Happy Jack compares the weight of the Wal to that of a SimS-equipped Jazz and finds them both rather heavy.

 

Next to CamdenRob’s Wal and Moollon, Bottle’s rig, and his P-bass with two strings!

 

An E and an A, apparently.

 

Truckstop and Happy Jack are intrigued.

 

Walking further towards the back of the Main Hall, there was Ordep’s rig.

 

Ordep, Cynthia and Happy Jack check out the pedalboard

 

 

There it is – pedalboard porn

 

Walking round the room we saw Jabba The Gut’s amazing array of hand-made basses that used to be doors, tables and what-not!

 

 

Not the Musicman, though

 

Nor the Status…

 

Jabba!

 

 

 

 

 

Closing the circle were fashionably dark-coloured basses, and Gary Mac’s weirdly decorated vintage P.

 

 

Noisyjon

 

Skinnyman’s Dingwall, and a lovely Bass Collection

 

The much-talked about Barefaced 1×10

 

Gary Mac’s P-bass

 

 

 

A vintage P-Bass is irresistible to Happy Jack

 

It was then time for Doctor of the Bass and his talk about SimS Quad Pickups as showcased on Enfield guitars.

 

Enfield Basses

 

 

Nick demonstrated the retrofitted SimS quads on Mick’s Mystery Bass

 

Here is the video:

 

CamdenRob has a go on Nick’s bass

 

Will opts for having a play on the Enfield P-bass

 

And so does Happy Jack

 

Good-looking bass

 

After his talk, Nick has a go on the ForteVio upright

 

‘We need a bow!’

 

Laurence Cottle was also at the bash, but kept a low profile

 

The Small Hall also saw activity, and that’s before the raffle too. Sibob’s Dad, Graham, was again offering his professional photography services for free to those who wished to be portrayed with their gear.

 

Sibob with the ForteVio upright

 

Graham with Noisyjon

 

Yours truly with Happy Jack, plus his Takamine TB10 and minus my camera, which was taking this photo in Graham’s capable hands.

 

 

Sibob’s little Finn slept through most of the bash, but was rocking hard in his sleep nevertheless!

 

At the end of the day, the Raffle!

 

Laurence Cottle watches the proceedings

 

There were a lot of prizes and all of them highly covetable.

 

How’s that for a luxury raffle?

 

 

There were Bass Guitar Magazine issues as prizes, and a special LGBS issue singed by Rob Trujillo offered by Guy Meredith

 

 

 

No, Ped’s photo wasn’t a prize in the raffle – that sheet of paper was a token to exchange for one of three free Basschat super-stylish polos. Also, the top hat at the back was signed by Jools Holland and his Orchestra

 

In addition to the small prizes, D’Addario UK offered three bags full of high-quality goodies, from the famed NYXL strings to cleaning cloths, tuners and T-shirts.

 

The first prize: a Musicman SUB Ray offered by EBUK.

 

Very nice from the front, and with something special…

 

Signatures by the whole Jools Holland R&B Orchestra, including Dave Swift, on the back!

 

The winner is Skinnyman, after NickD went for a different prize

 

NickD chose to leave the SUB and went for the stand instead

 

Mick shows the 1902 Bottle of King’s Ale signed by Mark King, offered by the Charrington Bass company

 

And Sparky Mark won it!

 

Basschat polo for Ordep

 

Valentin took the unfinished cab to work on as a project

 

TheStick took one of the top hats

 

And Doctor of the Bass took the other.

 

 

Truckstop

 

Sibob’s Mum Valerie

 

And Dad Graham

 

Billy Apple

 

Bottle

 

CamdenRob

 

Nosyjon with Andrew Needham of D’Addario UK in the centre’s garden.

 

So I’m very happy to report that this was another very successful bash, with a well-judged balance between talks and time to catch up with friends and try their rigs. And the raffle was the icing on the cake (of which there were several types, courtesy of Valerie and Louisa). When’s the next one? I’m in! 😀

 

 

 

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