All posts by ConArtistEConStancE

I am a spoken word performer (ConArtistE) and a writer (ConStancE). If you have questions about this website, please contact me at:

Spotted! Uriah Duffy At ‘The Dip’ in Redding, CA with his band ‘Points North’!

SHOCKED is the least that can be said about how we felt when we were at The Dip (in downtown Redding, CA)  last night (Monday, Sept. 11th), waiting to watch an evening of modern instrumental musical fusion with The Mark Letteri Trio (Guitarist Mark being part of the GRAMMY winning band Snarky Puppy!!) when we looked up and saw Uriah Duffy! First of all, getting the opportunity to see The Mark Letteri Trio alone was reason enough to be out on the town and so, our night was already a hit, that is, until Uriah Duffy walked into the room with his bass on his back as he made his way to the stage!

Backstory: Years ago, Wade and I were at NAMM 2012 as NorCal Bassix with the intention of providing opportunities for some bad ass bass players to visit our FAR northern neck of the woods in California. Therefore, going to NAMM for us was like traveling to a new and heavily populated planet in order to achieve this!  But that’s where we both met with Uriah Duffy for the first time. At the time, he didn’t know anything about us but he stopped in his tracks, listened to what we had to say and was extremely polite. His Mama raised him well!

Click here to check out my footage of him performing in a booth that year

He never did make it to Redding for any NorCal Bassix events but obviously, he’s a busy guy!

So, back to Monday night in Redding: Imagine our surprise last night to see him exactly where we always hoped he would be; that is, right here in front of us and our friends (in Redding, CA) and about to play some bad ass bass!

I went straight to him and Wade was not far behind to take this picture:

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I reintroduced myself and he immediately made the pretense that he remembered us completely. When we asked  him why on earth he was here, he explained that he was part of the opening band, “Points North” with guitarist, Eric Barnett and drummer, Kevin Aiello. Drummer Kevin was a great guy too and when we had the opportunity to meet and greet with him before the show, he revealed to us that Points North was Uriah Duffy’s first “original” project and that he’s always excited to play bass in it to his fullest extent. Now, we all know that Uriah is THE bassist for hire for many, well known bands and musicians but we can definitely appreciate the desire that such a talent might have to do his own, original music. Therefore, we were looking forward to what they had to offer and the second they started we were NOT disappointed! They were fast, furious, tight, sensational and absolutely flawless! The guitarist, Eric Barnett, was a real force to be reckoned with on stage and could have clearly stolen the show but had no problem sharing the wealth up there with his talented band mates.  Later, he turned out to be just as nice to us as the rest of the band when we had a chance to speak with him one on one.

I literally couldn’t believe what I was hearing during their performance because their sublime talent and enthusiasm was almost too much for this Redding crowd!

My Cellphone Footage:

However, these days, The Dip is churning out a surprising line-up of musical talent that this town desperately needs in order to become a REAL destination for these world renowned musicians to perform. That is why we tried so hard with NorCal Bassix during those years to change that by bringing a new caliber of bassists around and now we are thankful that others in town feel the same way about creating a new palate of entertainment for the locals to digest.

So, thanks to The Dip for an awesome show on Monday, September 11, 2017!

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After the show, Uriah was sure to get the crowd psyched up for the main act, The Mark Lettieri Trio. However, after “Points North” blew us all away with their performance, it was hard to fathom that there was still a main band to take in!

So, our excitement to be standing with Uriah Duffy and taking in the next band that dominated the stage that night, The Mark Letterieri Trio with drummer, Jason “JT” Thomas and bassist “Wes Stephenson” was surreal! It was also evident from the beginning that Uriah was a huge fan of this band and has enormous respect for the bassist, Wes Stephenson, saying this in his Instagram post from Sept. 10th:

I’m having a hard time finding the words here- of how inspiring this guy is. Every element of his bass playing is full and rich, executed perfectly and dripping with feel. Big. Great lessons in how a bassist can make the songs their own while staying in the pocket. I’m in awe every night on these gigs our bands are sharing together- on this 5 show ‘Jazz Millions’ tour. I knew he was good, but damn. I’m proud to have a new bass brother. Ladies and gents- Wes Stephenson (Mark Lettieri/Funky Knuckles). #funkyknuckles#marklettieri #pointsnorth #bassist #5string#givehisbandalisten

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So, it appears that we have spent years traveling long distances for the opportunity to meet and greet some great musicians only to find out that you can also find what you want in places closer than expected! We couldn’t have asked for a better evening in Redding, CA (unless we put it on ourselves)! So, thanks to The Dip, The Mark Lettieri Trio, Points North and a special thanks to Uriah for always being kind and respectful of his supporters, fans and other musicians alike!

Points North:


Why The Most Important Band Member Is A Bassist!

If you play bass then you are used to being treated like the most UNimportant member of the band!  We normally assume that this is because other members of the band are driven by their egos and not what the music is capable of accomplishing for the audience. However, it turns out that it is so much more than that.  In fact, a new study that was conducted at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario explains WHY bass is the most important instrument for the audience to listen to!  They say that the low-frequency information that only bassists provide are important to the listeners for these reasons:

The most vital rhythmic information comes from the bass.

The study indicates that listeners can more easily detect these low-pitched tones better than the higher-pitched ones.  This is why the timing is most often encoded into this sound because it is present in these lower tones.

These-lower pitched tones is why rhythm is assigned to bass playing.

This complements any high-pitched tones produced by singers and guitarists. Without it, all you hear is wailing!

Listeners groove to the bass more so than they do to the guitar riffs and vocals.

That’s because the auditory spectrum is multi-voiced and although the most important melodic information is carried by the highest voice (vocals and guitar), the most rhythmic information is supplied by the lowest voice (bass).


With that said, it’s important that bassists in any band feel good about their contributions to the music because we all know that they are rarely given the accolades that they deserve.  In fact, the bassist is usually the most “replaceable” member and yet, those who get rid of a great bassist soon learn to miss the groove that they provided and often notice that their audience participation is sacrificed by constantly replacing this member of the band.

Bass Pedal Tricks with Michael League ‘Snarky Puppy’

Brian’s Bass Booth

This newly released video from shows some pretty cool tricks that bassists are always doing with these pedals.  It’s no surprise that pedals are an excellent way to represent your particular style of playing as they have been around for a long time and have always been the companion of guitarists but over the years, bassists have learned to use them for their music as well.

In this case, Michael League, bassist for ‘Snarky Puppy’ tells us that he uses pedals so that he can sound more like a ‘key’ bass.

Otherwise, he strives for the James Jamerson or Bootsy Collins sound with his bass playing.  However, he relies on pedals to make sure that the music itself is well represented.  He says that he only uses a pedal when it would be “musically inappropriate” not to. Well said!

Then, like all pedal enthusiasts, he dives right into describing his set-up and giving us a taste as to what each of them sounds like. He even tells us all little about his musical past and his influences over the years.

In between it all, Michael League unleashes a sound on his bass each time that just makes this whole video work.  As much as I like to hear about the pedals, I love to hear how he uses is to his unique advantage.

Therefore, there’s really no point in agonizing over what to play and how to play it because when you see this video, you begin to realize that this guy absolutely loves to play bass which is the beginning of all that is great!  Check it out:

Michael Manring – Taking Bass Playing Further!

Michael Manring is one of the world’s leading solo bass artists who pushes the threshold of bass playing to its absolute limits!  He does this by following the instructions that he has learned from the late, great bass legend: Jaco Pastorius  which includes developing his own, unique approach to the instrument.  He revealed during a performance that he didn’t even plan on being a bass player! (See Zon video below)

Fortunately (for us) He Picked Up The Bass!

Michael Manring – Zon Hyperbass

Here is some footage of his performance on that day in which you will witness how he is able to create a tapestry of music on his Zon Hyperbass.  It is one of the most viewed performances on ConArtistE Publications and it gives you a true sense of his capabilities with this iconic instrument built for him by Joe Zon.

The Story Behind The Hyperbass

According to Joe Zon, he was introduced to Michael through his music on CDs and he found his music and compositions to be so moving (containing so much emotion) that he really wanted to help Michael take his bass playing further.  Especially when he saw him perform for the first time and he noticed that Michael was constantly needing to re-tune his instrument between songs because of his alternate tuning techniques. Joe Zon said that he found himself “crawling out of his skin” because he knew that he could help Michael facilitate this much more efficiently. When the two of them finally met, they had some pretty crazy ideas about how to make the ultimate bass that is now known as the Hyperbass. Together, they collaborated ideas and created this iconic bass that we are so familiar with today. See the full story here:

However, another great performance was done at a later date in this next video and it was recorded using a Heil Sound microphone which was able to capture the true intensity that he unleashes through his sound.  Please take a look at this other video of Michael to see for yourself:

The Enormous Room – Michael Manring – Audio Recorded Using Heil Sound Microphone.

LA Bella Strings – Limited Edition – “Tiger’s Blood”

By: Brian Wilkes

The “Tigers Blood” strings are Copper White Nylon Tape Wound Bass Strings with Black Silken stripes under silky smooth white nylon tape,

Unfortunately no more Tigers Blood strings are available.


However, there will be another color released and they are all released in limited quantities.These strings are new to the LA Bella Line of nylon tape strings. LA Bella has had nylon tape strings in black and in white. The black nylon tape string is usually made of stainless steel with the nylon tape and the white nylon tape string comes in Golden Alloy (80/20 brass), copper and stainless steel as well.

I set up the “tiger’s Blood string” on my Warrior Isabella 5 string tenor bass.


I also used a Tsunami cables chain into a IRig2 – into an iPad air 2,with the app,Bias FX set up with a GK 800 and Beats pro studio phones. I turned all pedals off and all knobs were set to flat to get a neutral tone. The strings are very smooth and have a very warm tone to them. They have a good sound for finger style funk, and can also fit in a lot of different genres. They have a decent sustain, very warm lows and very nice, clear and crisp highs. I found it good for finger style, chords and two hand tapping. Using a pick also sounds good. The lows are pretty warm and it doesn’t have that sharp attack. The highs are also still good.

Now, slap is definitely a different sound but if you like a warm thump with a crisp high on a pull then these strings might be for you.  However, the low end of the slap to me sounds very muted. I really believe these would work great on a fretless bass as well. Especially if you want a round wound, warm sound, these are perfect because they do not have a lot of sliding noise that normal round wounds have. These strings are smooth as Silk because that nylon tape gets rid of the sound of me sliding on the strings.

LA Bella is doing a great job making innovating strings for all instruments. They have been making hand made strings in the U.S. since 1914 which makes them one of the oldest string companies in the United States. The family has been making strings since 1640. These new nylon tape strings are available now as they just released this style at the 2016 NAMM show. If you want more info or to buy some LA Bella string go to:


I know I am going to start putting these on my fretless!

Hope you found this helpful.

Brian’s Bass Booth – Part 2 – The Many Styles Of Bass Playing

So, Brian has been keeping us busy with all of the bass updates (thank you very much) and in this series of videos, he wants to show us the many different styles of bass playing that can be done.  Below, you will see music videos featuring bassists playing slap bass in the dark, tapping in the snow, playing flamenco on an upright bass, doing Cliff Burton’s bass line to the song “Anesthesia” by Metallica AND a cover version of the song “Hello” from the popular singer, Adele, on a fretless bass .

With regards to this last video, I have to say that listening to a popular pop song on the bass (minus everything else) is much easier than listening to the original version.  I don’t always like to hear the latest and greatest music that the world considers a “hit” but that is why we are glad to get a version that we can relate to.

There is something about these videos that gives us the sense that bass is more than just an instrument, it is a way of expressing our deepest emotions.  These players all have an uncanny ability to draw us into their song, whatever it may be.  Also, these videos are well done with terrific sound. You can also be sure that you about to hear a wide range styles on the bass because Brian Wilkes shows no signs of sticking to anything, in particular.  He is a true BassCraver who enjoys treating us all to some of the great bass playing that is taking place, right now, on the web!  Take a look:

Fernando Molinari “Tropical Rain” – Heavy Slap Bass.

Payam Ghasemi – Bass Tapping In The Snow.

Renaud Garcia-Fons “Bajo De Guia” – Flamenco On Upright Bass.

Rob Scallon “Anesthesia” by Metallica – Upright Bass Cover.

Zander Zon “Hello” by Adele – Fretless Bass.


Ryan Madora – Her BASSic story

My first introduction to Ryan Madora was watching her play bass in the Aguilar booth at a NAMM show years ago. The first thing that I notice about her is her timing.  It’s absolutely impeccable! This means that she’s a real asset to any band because this sort of of rhythm has its own, internal clock that can only be accessed by a hard-working bassist and the bitch of it IS – that she makes it look so easy! (Here’s some footage from 2013 in which you cannot deny her ability to groove!)

So, the next that I saw her in January 2016, I wanted to be sure to say “hi”.  That’s when she told me about her latest project, The Interludes and I asked if it was okay to write about her on this website (she IS pictured on the front page, collage photo!) I also want us here in the west to understand exactly what we are missing because we need to be flooding her with our support!

Find out more about bassist, Ryan Madora.


I also took the time to read through some of her posts online at where she appears to have a deep understanding about music combined with a no nonsense delivery about the topics that she covers. She was also extremely influenced by the documentary “Standing In The Shadows of Motown”. So, without further ado, here is one of the songs off her new album, The Interludes in which she performs a “Slide Bass”.  Very unusual (for bass) but VERY cool!  Take a Look:

However, our favorite song here at NorCal BASSIX off this album is The Lizard (it was unanimous one night when I put her videos on the big screen in our studio to get a feel for her new project).  Everyone here agreed that, in this performance, she does a solo that one person referred to as “sweet” and another said “tasty”!  And I have to agree that her patient playing does have a sweet ‘n tasty style that is well appreciated in the bass world.  For us, we loved hearing each note and feeling the vibe that she inevitably creates (at 3:30) in this song .  See for yourself and PLEASE support her, follow her online or otherwise take notice of her in any way that you can because she’s very, very cool not only as a person, but as an extraordinary bassist!

Brian’s Bass Booth – Part 1 – NAMM Recap

Brian Wilkes, an army veteran, good friend and avid BassCraver who has also been a long-time contributor to NorCal BASSIX is now receiving his own space on in order to inform us of the latest and greatest artists and equipment in the bass world.  We will call it:

“Brian’s Bass Booth”

Brian Wilkes on NorCal BASSIX

Brian Wilks

He will be helping us maintain this steady stream of information because he has a deep passion for the bass and therefore, is our honorary BassCraver!  We want to thank Brian for this information and encourage him to keep it coming!   Here are his latest links and videos for us to check out that were recently captured at the NAMM 2016 show by other bass enthusiasts.

As far we’re concerned here at, all websites and BassCravers are welcome and therefore, besides providing you with original content, we are glad to share with you what others have found at NAMM.  Thanks again, Brian, for tracking down these videos.  We hope you enjoy them:



DR Strings – Pure Blues – Video Review!

All of us here at came to know more about DR Strings through a mutual friend named Jorgen Moholt who happens to live in the Northern California mountains, near our home town of Redding, CA. Jorgen is a bassist as well and he has built a state of the art studio that rivals any other. His first featured guest was Norm Stockton last October of 2015.  BassCraversNormStocktonToneMountain

He calls it Tone Mountain (Music & Nature)

BassCraversToneMountainThis place is for those who really want to get back to nature but don’t want to compromise their sound in order to do it!  We anticipate great things happening there in the months and years to come.  For that reason, we were more than happy to hear what Jorgen had to say about DR Strings and when he was able to get his hands on a set of the new Pure Blues strings that is now Victor Wooten‘s newest sound, we had no problem reviewing them.

DR Strings pride themselves on being handmade even though at the time that they began production, computer assisted machinery and semi-automatic machinery was a common practice in winding strings.

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However, they were convinced that they could hear and feel the difference between hand-made and machine-made strings and so they have committed themselves to making only handmade strings. Players feel the same way as they are the ones who are making the sound and so the company has thrived on this standard ever since. Another major component of this is the fact that DR Strings are also “American made with old fashioned hand craftsmanship, combined with the very finest of American made high quality metals”.  So, go check them out and see what they can do for you!

DR Strings

Meanwhile, you can hear for yourself the difference and quality of this string in our latest Video Review.  Take a look:


January 2016 – Stu Hamm – In Redding – At NAMM – Twice In One Month!

We are excited that the legendary Stu Hamm is coming to Redding CA once again and this time he is bringing his band (Alex Skolnick and Joel Taylor) on January 15th to The Dip (located downtown at the newly rennovated space/formally known as Bombay’s) on California Street.  Doors open at 8pm and the show starts at 9pm with a $15 cover charge.  This is part of the Band’s winter long tour along the west coast to support his new solo album – “The Book of Lies”.

The Stu Hamm Band At The Dip in Redding, CA.

Stu Hamm
Stu Hamm Facebook Page

The last time that we had the pleasure of his performance was back in 2011 for a NorCal BASSIX Bass Day event. He showed up early and gave some bass lessons for those who wanted to learn first-hand from one of the best bassists in the world.  Afterwards, he told stories and played for nearly 2 hours straight to a very excited and attentive audience.  He was entertaining, funny and his performance on the bass was extraordinary.  In fact, I did manage to get some footage of the event back in 2011 but I never released it (ConArtistE Publications). However, after going through it again, I put together a video mix-up to let you all know what it was like to spend time with Stu Hamm.  Therefore, if you missed him the first time, you can catch him again in different locations all along the west coast this winter. People in this area still talk about his performance at Bass Day and therefore, it is my pleasure to remind everyone that they have a chance to see him again!  This footage contains the Star Spangled Banner in its entirety and several clips of a wide range of songs that Stu Hamm did for us on that day.  You will, no doubt, get a feel for his limitless talent on the bass.  This video only makes me excited to see him perform again which is exactly why I did it, to encourage you to support him by coming out to one of his live performances that he is doing for you this winter. Take a look:

Also in January, The NAMM Show’s Newest Bass Event – Bass Jam starring Stu Hamm!

JT’sBassJam-PR - Tsunami Cables -

Besides being near us in mid January, we were glad to hear that Stu Hamm is headlining the Newest Bass Jam show sponsored in part by our favorite cable company, Tsunami Cables who has certainly become the cable of choice for a variety of artists while making a Tsunami sized impact in the bass community as well. In fact, when NorCal BASSIX met with the owner, Keith Stickney a couple of years ago, Keith was well on his way to becoming a great success!

Since then, there has been a whole lot of enthusiasm for his cables in the bass community at places like Bass Player Live in 2015 and also in Bass Musician Magazine. Therefore, we look forward to seeing all of our co-conspirators in the bass world this January, both here in Redding and also at the NAMM show at the end of the month! Thanks again to Tsunami Cables for all of the information and support to our bass community here at – See you soon!tsunami cables