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

Basschat Double Bass Bash 2016

After a few failed attempts in previous years, this year, at the beginning of October, I was finally able to attend the annual Basschat upright bassists’ meetup, held in Risley near Derby, and what a fine day it was.

Basschat has a small but highly dedicated contingent of talented, experienced double bassists who don’t mind hauling their precious instruments to gigs up and down the country, and who gather every year at The Risley Park for a long-scale GAS-fest and a catch-up. Upright bass dabblers like me, absolute upright beginners, and bass guitarists curious to see what the fuss is all about are equally welcome. The room is spacious enough for several double basses, many electric uprights, some upmarket bass ukes, amplification rigs, and even a few interloping electric bass guitars (strictly for comparison purposes, of course…). Tea, coffee and a buffet lunch are included in the entry fee.

As well as trying, drooling over, and gassing after each other’s instruments and amplification, this year the group decided to concentrate on taking a closer look at bowing technique, mostly for the benefit of attending bowing newbies such as Happy Jack and myself. Guess what happened next: brand new bows and tubs of rosin have now joined our household. And that’s just because we already have a double bass and several uprights (but there’s always space for more, of course, even when there isn’t…). GAS, you say? I’ve no idea what you are talking about.





Owen explains the basics of bowing

Owen explains the basics of bowing


Happy Jack steps up to try bowing

Happy Jack steps up to try bowing for the first time


That's Owen's 5-stringer

That’s Owen’s 5-stringer


Organiser Bassace with his travel Kolstein

Organiser Bassace with his travel Kolstein


Organiser Owen with his Shuker

Co-0rganiser Owen with his Shuker


Yes, I know…


TheRev’s East German plywood DB and Eminence EUB


PhilB’s Strunal and rig


Happy Jack’s varied cohort, with Owen’s and Bassace’s DBs in the background



Yamaha Silent Bass SLB100, Rob Allen Mouse, Eminence, Clifton, Takamine TB10, KK Baby Bass, Thomann bass uke




Owen’s distinctively clothed 5-string DB


StingrayPete’s Gedo


Geoffbassist, StingrayPete1977, TheRev

Geoffbassist, StingrayPete and TheRev with his Eminence and DB


PhilB, Geoffbassist and TheRev


Happy Jack tries MrBassman’s Clifton


…and then his Yamaha Silent Bass, with PhilB scrutinising the proceedings








Stingraypete and MrBassman


Happy Jack turns his back to the food table and tries Owen’s Howlett bass uke


Howlett 5-string bass uke


Happy Jack, SpondonBassed and SubsonicSimpleton


SubsonicSimpleton with Happy Jack’s Zeller


… and with the Eminence


Owen with the Rob Allen Mouse

Owen with MrBassman’s Mouse



SpondonBassed brought a fretless rig

SpondonBassed brought a fretless rig


Invicts59 with Happy Jack's Takamine TB10

Invicta59 with Happy Jack’s Takamine TB10, and MrBassman in the background



Number6 with the Takamine


… And with the near-twin Zeller


PhilB and TheRev


Invicta59, Andyjr1515, TheRev, Stingraypete


Bassace, Stingraypete, TheRev


TheRev, Bassace, Owen


Some more amplification contributing to the magic:



I must say I love that Bose L1 PA.


Having at least one Barefaced One 10 is now compulsory at any bass bash!


Right, I’m ready for next year’s bash with unabated GAS. Watch this space.  😉


Basschat South East Bash 2016 – 10th Anniversary

This year’s South East Bash was the tenth event of its kind – the first having taken place in 2007 – and organisers Silverfoxnik, Hamster with wife Sarah, and OBBM made sure it was one to remember for all the right reasons.

It was held, as always, on the ground floor of the Jubilee School in Addlestone, and this time we had even more space to dedicate to setting up our gear than in previous years: two additional ‘quiet’ rooms had been opened to acoustic or ‘less loud’ rigs, while the customary Earth-shaking testing went on in the Hall, as in previous years. (I must say that there was surprising little slapping noise coming from there.) Drummer Paul of the Junkyard Dogs was again at his kit in the Jam Room, ready for some improv with those taking a break from relentless GAS. The Auditorium was exclusively reserved to talks and interviews with our star guests, while the Foyer was, as always, the business area with sections for our favourite Basschat-approved manufacturers and for Affiliate companies, plus a series of tables heaving with items for sale from the forum, and the table loaded with prizes for the 10th Anniversary Mega-Raffle.

The day was an absolute hoot from start to finish, and despite having a busy schedule, most of us managed to catch up with forum friends as well as attend the talks, and ogle other people’s rigs. The only negative was the failure to establish the planned skype connection with Stuart Spector, who was on holiday somewhere rural in the US. The call was supposed to be about the company‘s 40th anniversary, but technical issues meant it simply didn’t happen. Pity.

In the Foyer…

Andrew Needham of D’Addario UK –


The For Sale section - and John Bentley waiting to go on stage for his talk

The For Sale section – and John Bentley waiting to go on stage for his talk



TimAl with John 'Rhino' Edwards of Quo

TimAl with John ‘Rhino’ Edwards of Quo


A very busy Ian Robinson and the Wal corner

Luthier Ian Robinson, next to the Wal corner, was always very busy setting up basses and giving advice





OBBM's table of cable wonder

OBBM’s table of cable wonder –


Alex of Barefaced talks amps and cabs with Dave Swift while waiting to go on stage for his talk

Alex of Barefaced talks amps and cabs with Dave Swift while waiting to go on stage for his talk


Rhino with Darren Redick of Planet Radio, and Alex and Dave in the background

Rhino with Darren Redick of Planet Rock, and Alex and Dave in the background


And yes, we also had the Wal corner, our Wall of Wals. Oh Lordy, the GAS…

General view without owners...

General view without owners…


... and general view with the lucky owners!

… and general view with the lucky owners!


Nik introduces John to Herbie

Nik introduces John to Herbie



MacDaddy, Herbie and that tuba

MacDaddy, Herbie and that tuba



The Auditorium – Talks

This year’s informative, intriguing and entertaining talks were courtesy of Alex Claber of Barefaced, John Bentley of Squeeze and Herbie Flowers of, er, just about everyone.


Alex Claber's talk was the one to attend if you're into mega-distortion

Alex Claber’s talk was the one to attend if you’re into mega-distortion



John Bentley’s tales of life on the road and his insight into his band’s famous basslines were unmissable.


John with Silverfoxnik

John with Silverfoxnik


With Happy Jack and Bottle

With Happy Jack and Bottle




These are some excerpts from the talk:



On-stage preparations for Herbie Flowers’ talk took quite a long time and suggested something special might well happen. We weren’t disappointed.

Hamster sets up the stage

Hamster sets up the stage












That's what all the preparations lead to!

That’s what all the preparations finally led to!


Yes, we have video:





With the help of the audience, Happy Jack interviewed Herbie for Bass Guitar Magazine.



Meanwhile, the main Hall and the small rooms were in use for testing and showing off rigs.


Darren Redick of Planet Rock

Darren Redick of Planet Rock



Paul the drummer was again busy in the Jam Room.



And then it was time for The Tenth Anniversary Mega-Raffle!

The first prize we a piece of Barefaced history – the first Big One Prototype, complete with certificate of authenticity.


That's one of TimAl's customised cab covers, by the way.

That’s one of TimAl’s customised cab covers, by the way.


All ready for the first number!

All ready for the first number!


Herbie picks the first winner

Herbie picks the first winner


It's NancyJohnson!

It’s NancyJohnson!



All those who bought tickets went home with at least one prize.

All those who bought tickets went home with at least one prize.

It was a very successful raffle – we raised a whopping £1005.72 to be shared between three charities: Cancer Research UKNordoff-Robbins and 4Sight.

Well, the day went really fast, as always, so I’m counting down to next year’s bash already. If you missed this one, do make sure you come along to the next! 🙂


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



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.



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 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




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




‘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…








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





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.





Sibob’s Mum Valerie


And Dad Graham


Billy Apple






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! 😀




London Bass Guitar Show 2016

The buzz about the 2016 London Bass Guitar Show started as soon as we had recovered from the excitement of the 2015 show. At first, new information came as a trickle: the 2016 date was announced; we were promised the event would be amazing. ‘Huh, that’s what the organisers always say, isn’t it’ we mumbled to ourselves. How could the relatively unexpected, huge success of the 2015 show be topped?

But we had faith, and with each new announcement, our interest rapidly escalated. Several large exhibitors, such as Warwick, who had had to skip 2015 due to schedule clashes with other events, would be back. 2016 would be Spector’s 40th anniversary. The show would have a larger than usual number of brand launches for the UK – both new luthiers and amplification companies. There would be big stars giving masterclasses and playing in the auditorium – the names came in like a flood: Michael Manring, John Rhino Edwards, Peter Hook, Dave Swift, Neil Fairclough, Adam Ben Ezra, Freekbass, Suzi Quatro (wait, Suzi Quatro!?) Oh, and Rob Trujillo. Yes, that Rob Trujillo. Plays bass in some low-key Californian metal band, produced a documentary about a guy who defretted his bass… He would be sharing the stage at the Bass Show with some awesome musicians of his choice, including Mark King, and answer our questions in a masterclass.

This year I was working as a reporter for Bass Guitar Magazine – as well as being Basschat’s roving representative, as always – so I had to juggle interviewing exhibitors and stars with my attendance at shows and masterclasses. I did well; I only missed Rhino’s and Federico Malaman’s appearances on stage; I hope they come back soon, so I can make sure to attend. Luckily I had the opportunity to say hi and exchange a few words with each of them backstage and in the exhibitors’ hall.




Dave Swift with BGM editor Joel McIver

Dave Swift with BGM editor Joel McIver


Michael Manring

Michael Manring, mid-retuning manoeuvre


Neil Fairclough

Neil Fairclough


Peter Hook with Dave Marks

Peter Hook with Dave Marks


Adam Ben Ezra

Adam Ben Ezra


Suzi Quatro with Dave Marks

Suzi Quatro with Dave Marks


Suzi Quatro


Mass Mental

Rob Trujillo on stage with Mass Mental


Rob Trujillo


A few shots of the stars offstage:

Rob Trujillo

Rob signs flyers and posters for a long queue of fans


Rob Trujillo

… and is photographed backstage for Bass Guitar Magazine


Adam Ben Ezra photoshoot for BGM

Adam Ben Ezra is photographed by Eckie for Bass Guitar Magazine


Adam 'Nolly' Getgood

Adam ‘Nolly’ Getgood and his Dingwall


Andy Baxter

Andy Baxter (he of the vintage bass shop)


John 'Rhino' Edwards

John ‘Rhino’ Edwards of Quo with his Status


Rhino signs a bass at the Status booth

Rhino signs that same bass at the Status booth


John 'Rhino' Edwards


Federico Malaman

Federico Malaman stops to chat to fans in the entrance hall


I had time to say hi to a few visiting Basschatters, although I spotted many more in the crowd than I managed to speak to or take photos of.

Sean & Mick

Billy Apple and The Greek


Billy Apple, The Greek and Customstocker



Andrew Taylor-Cummings

Basschatter and Anaconda Basses mainman Andrew Taylor-Cummings


Marc Vanderkley, Scott Devine, Phil Mann

Basschatters Marc Vanderkley and Scott Devine with Bass Guitar Magazine contributor Phil Mann


Before we go on to the images of the exhibitors, it’s useful to bear in mind that most of the photos showing the stands in all their glory were taken early in the morning, before the general public was allowed in. The show was as crowded as ever; the pics below were taken while one or more masterclasses and shows were on (that is, during relatively quiet times).


The guy on the left seems to have noticed me taking this pic! Was that you? Let me know.  🙂


THE EXHIBITORS – in alphabetical order

AC Guitars  –

The basses have ART (Acrylic Resin Treated) tops and fingerboards



First an all-right-handed trio…



… then a lefty eventually materialises!


AGS Guitar Straps  –

AGS Straps

AGS straps

Owner Mamta Bose


Aguilar  – via Barnes & Mullins (


New lightweight cabs…



… and pedals. Lots of pedals. 🙂


Ashdown  –

Debuting the new Rootmaster-Evo and AAA-Evo product lines.





Bass Direct  –

Bass Direct

The by now customary Bass Direct GAS-fest!!


Bass Direct

Bass Direct



Sheldon Dingwall @ Bass Direct

Sheldon and his D-Bird


Mayones @ Bass Direct




Assorted knobs! 😉


Bassline Publishing  –

Bassline Publishing

Bassline Publishing

Stu Hamm’s and Marcus Miller’s books were newly published


Bassline Publishing


Chowny Bass Guitars  –


The CHB semi-acoustic, short scale bass debuted at the show



Stephen with a customer


Cort Guitars  –  via Proel International Ltd (

Cort - Proel International Ltd

Cort was showcasing the updated 2016 Artisan and Action series


D’Addario  –


The display was centred on the new, already very successful NYXL bass strings



Andrew, Elaine and Dood



European Guitar Builders

Rikkers  –


Le Fay Basses  –

Le Fay Basses

Brothers Reiner and Meik Dobbratz


Le Fay Basses

Close-up of that steel fingerboard bass, together with a nice fanned-fret bass.


Manne  –



De Gier Guitars  –

De Gier

Sander stands proudly next to his creations


DR Strings  –  via Barnes & Mullins (

DR Strings


East UK  –

John East

Basschat’s favourite retrofit preamp maker 🙂


John East


Eden Amplification  –

Eden Amplification

The new Terra Nova series, hot from winter NAMM


Eden Amplification

Eden Amplification

Freekbass visits the Eden stand


Eich Amplification  –


New company created by Thomas Eich, formerly of TecAmp



Eich provided Marleaux basses to play through their amps


Ellio Martina Guitars  – and

Ellio Martina Guitars

Bass Mute

Ellio still makes his basses and mutes entirely by hand


Enfield Guitars  –  with Sims Pickups  –

Enfield Guitars - Sims Pickups


Gillett Guitars  –  Gillett-Guitars

Gillett Guitars

Michael poses with one of his Contour basses


Gillett Guitars

Gillett Guitars

Gillett Guitars

The semiacoustic Contour basses have a special internal design, and the strings go through the body for better resonance


Jon Liebman  –

Jon Liebman

Possibly the only quiet-ish moment at Jon’s table in the whole weekend


Markbass  –  via MSL Professional (



Basschatter Mojoke (Kevin) helped out at the stand this year as well


Marvit Guitars  –

Marvit Guitars

Italian company making their debut in the UK


Marvit Guitars


Oliver Lang Instruments  –

Oliver Lang

The new series of Cadiz basses


Oliver Lang



OnkartGromt  –




These are the new effects launched at the show


Overwater Basses  –


Martin Lee with Lorenzo Feliciati



Phil Mann chats to Chris May and Kirsty Cowe


Peavey  –


Peavey showcased their new amp heads, the MiniMAX and the MiniMEGA




Phil Jones Bass  –

Phil Jones Bass

Pure GAS!!


Promenade Music  –

Promenade Music

A good variety of Nice Things on offer for pockets of all sizes


Promenade Music

Promenade Music



Rotosound  –


Owner Jason How with Alex Lofoco



Flying the flag! 🙂


Schack Guitars  –

Schack Guitars


Schack Guitars


Scott Dixon  –

Scott Dixon

These look pretty damn tough, and they are, but they’re also lightweight.


Scott Dixon

Scott Dixon

Space-age, armoured cab 😉 😀


SmoothHound  –


Not a cable or lead in sight – they’re not needed.


Spector  –



Stuart Spector

Stuart was there throughout the weekend to chat with customers and fans


Stuart Spector & Sean

… including Basschatter Billy Apple and his new purchase


Status  –

Status Graphite

Feast for the eyes


Status Graphite

The white one was signed by Rhino later


Status Graphite

Status Graphite


Stonefield  –


Hot from New Zealand for the big UK launch at the show



Passive electronics and tailpiece tuning



Strings&Things  –  with Ernie Ball/Musicman (


Ernie Ball strings


Bass Guitar Magazine Contributor Ellen O’Reilly with her band


Torun Instruments  –

Kamil Torun

Another brand launch – each of these basses is created as a work of art


Torun Instruments

That’s real gold leaf.


Upright Bass Zone (offered by Thomas & George Martin,

Thomas Martin Bass

The aluminium ones look cool, the wooden ones sound better 🙂


Thomas Martin Bass


Paolo was one of the very helpful guys who encouraged us to try the double bass. If only there had been a lefty one available…


Vanderkley Amplification  –


By early Saturday, Marc had already sold the whole of his LBGS stock!


Warwick & Framus  –


My favourite gear porn section…





The stand was always so busy I had to take photos early on Sunday morning before the crowds were allowed in.


Westside Distribution  –  with:

Dunlop Electronics  –  dunlop-electronics
Dunlop MXR pedals  –
Dunlop Strings  –
Mesa Boogie  –
Mono  –
Shecter Guitars  –


Westside Distribution


In conclusion – I’m counting down to next year’s LBGS! Only 11 1/2 months to go… 😀

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