Category Archives: Videos

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!

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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:

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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!

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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.

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DR Strings – Pure Blues – Video Review!

All of us here at BassCravers.com 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!

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

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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.

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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!

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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 BassCravers.com – See you soon!tsunami cables

 

Day On The Green “YYZ”

Canadian rock band, Rush did an instrumental rock piece called “YYZ” on their 1981 album” Moving Pictures”.  It has since become one of their most popular pieces and many musicians enjoy covering it as did this crew from the music store “Music Max” in Palo Cedro, CA.  This group (no official name) includes the staple players and musical instructors at the store since its inception, all of whom have had other, ongoing, successful, musical accomplishments in their lives. The band’s composition is guitarist: Al Mires (store owner), drummer: Kenji Kato, keyboards: Cleveland Boney and NorCal’s own, Wade Craver on our favorite instrument, ‘da bass’. Needless to say, these guys are the best of the best in town and watching them take on this song during this outdoor gig was amazing to watch. I’m guessing that this took place at least 3 years ago, maybe more. I apparently managed to get a decent recording of this performance back then and nobody has seen it since.  Until now.




This video was found in my archives in a folder titled: Day on the Green and inside was this video.  I have bragged before about how much footage I have that nobody has ever seen and this is definitely one of them.  This event, “Day on the Green” was held at Anderson River Park and had a great turnout.



 Tech 21 sent some gear to support our bass community and we were grateful for that. The purpose of the event was to showcase some local bands and provide people with some outstanding music.  It was no wonder why Music Max and its elite group of musicians got involved.  They really made this song, YYZ a showstopper. I had no idea that this footage had come out so well. The day was bright and it was hard to see the lens on my video camera but I was clearly focused on the bassist, as per usual.  Take a look:



Accugroove – El Whappo

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As we spend an enormous amount of time practicing, recording and experimenting with various bass techniques, a players’ ear is on the “never-ending” quest for tone. To some, the quest has come to an end many years ago with the creation of various types of bass enclosures. Whether you’re a fan of the 15″ sub-woofer enclosure or a 410 cab, odds are some of you are still on this quest of tone. After years and years of playing through every type of bass enclosure I could imagine, I still find myself analyzing my tone. Then there’s the fact that  once recorded, the tone of the bass is then played back through studio monitors, home theater systems, headphones etc. Now….ask yourself, what do these have in common? They all playback in a full range spectrum (meaning that the lows, mids and highs are perceived equally). Well….why not just have your bass tone come out in a full range spectrum to begin with? Good question.
Accugroove has provided the solution to this very question. Offering a selection of various full range speaker enclosures is the bread and butter of Accugroove. I was given the prilvilege of sitting down with the El Whappo from Accugroove. The El Whappo is an enclosure featuring a 15″ Neo Sub-Woofer, 12″ Neo Mid-Woofer, 6″ mid range and 2 Neo tweeters w/ circuit breakers. Equipped with Speakon connectors and a handling capability of 800 watts at 4 ohms, the El Whappo, delivers a clean, crisp, full range tone, in a single enclosure at an impressive 58 lbs.
During the review, we chose to run a couple different heads through the El Whappo. To start, we used a Tech21 VT Bass 1969 head, rated at 350 watts. The El Whappo easily provided a clean tone, allowing the true characteristics of the Tech21 to come through. The other head chosen was the Gallien Krueger MB 250, for its crisp clean tone. Again the El Whappo successfully reproduced everything with sonic perfection. The basses used were a Regenerate Malibu 5 and Regenerator 5.4, a ZON Sonus Special 5 and a Kala Ubass. All of these basses provide different tones yet the El Whappo always provided a clean and precise way for each bass to show its characteristics. To put it simply… Accugroove enclosures offer an uncolored, clean, studio monitor sound, that lets you hear the true sound of your bass.
So…. if you feel that Accugroove can bring your quest to an end, check ’em out and see what they have for you.

Tone Mountain Studio In Northern CA Presents: Norm Stockton

We recently had a clinic in Northern California with Norm Stockton at a place called Tone Mountain in Douglas City. It is approximately 45 miles northwest into the mountains off Hwy 299 from Redding. Needless to say, this place is off the beaten path and for that reason, it is the last place that you would expect to see a state-of-the-art studio with a sound room, one big jam room, 2 bathrooms, a back porch and fresh, mountain air surrounded by small cabins. The drive alone is a beautiful trip that leads you to a space where the mountain opens up to make room for this surprisingly advanced studio set-up.

Tone Mountain Studio in Douglas City, CA

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Years ago, Jorgen Moholt, owner and creator of Tone Mountain had a vision and went through great lengths to get it done right. He even had to explain to the local county clerks that he wasn’t building a ‘living’ space (because the details of the specs were so involved and included installing 2 bathrooms) but, of course, they have never heard of such a thing up in the hills. . . A studio? They assumed that he was building a “living” space which requires a whole new set of permits. But he wasn’t. In fact, a “studio” is nothing more than a glorified “shop” so when he finally convinced them that all he was building was a “studio”, he was on his way and ended up with the coolest “shop” that any musician has ever seen. A space that was built for musicians, by a musician (Jorgen plays bass, so, that’s cool!). I mean, there might be bigger studios in the world or studios that are simply set up differently, but this guy has every detail in place that makes this one comparable to all of those. You can see it from start to finish on his website: ToneMountain.com. So, to commemorate this new, awesome place,

Jorgen’s first, featured guest was none other than bassist Norm Stockton.

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Norm found his way up the mountain and produced a clinic that was so profound that even I learned a little something! Mainly because he has an easy approach when he speaks so that any amateur bassist (like myself) doesn’t feel overwhelmed by any sort terminology that he has to use in order to describe the bass and its purpose in most performances. Norm Stockton tends to “feel out” what the audience is capable of keeping up with because when he did touch on ‘theory’ for a bit, he was quick to notice that some of our eyes were beginning to glaze over because (let’s be real) the topic tends to be boring and so he quickly switches gears, plays hard, answers questions and really just let himself enjoy the atmosphere.

The one thing that I can say is that he did tend to lead any “potential bass players” into his own direction which he calls “session” work.  Norm describes session work as showing up and having the music plopped in front of you. He explains that each band member is playing just the right supporting part and that the music is a great tapestry of stuff (who writes this stuff? That’s my question). He also admits that anyone could’ve played it but, in his opinion, a session player requires tons of skill and talent with a huge bass vocabulary. I agree.

“I want to encourage you as bass players to listen to a broad range of music and have a broad range of music in your vocabulary. It’ll increase your potential vocationally to have a wide array of styles”.

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In my experience, bass players themselves come in a “wide array of styles” and “session” work is a pigeon hole (that pays! That’s really the point that Norm was trying to make) but it doesn’t seem to leave a lot of room for creativity and some of the best bass players in the world don’t read music or worry about theory and (even the slappers) are creating the coolest rhythms and sounds that anyone has ever heard. Session work? That sounds like a compromise to most of them.

However, Norm suggests that “if the idea of playing a bass line like that sounds like a drag and a waste of time – you picked the wrong instrument”. Then he discusses the two ends of the spectrum, according to him (with reference to NAMM artists playing in booths, jamming their little hearts out all alone with no sheet music to guide them).

“On the one end there are session player chops (which consists of music being plopped in front of you) and on the other end, there are NAMM show chops. On the NAMM show side,” he admits that “there is some jaw dropping stuff that took some time to work up, some talent, some dedication and some hard work. . .wow,” and then he jokes, “I don’t know where I would ever use that. . . but wow!”

He goes on to say that “one of these two [styles] have complete applicability to most of the music that you and I will ever play and that is the session player thing.” Which, as he puts it, has a lot to do with interpreting the song and being able to help convey it. “I want to encourage you to develop your session player chops and that involves listening to a broad range of music” and that there is “value to knowing what some of those rhythms are, even in your own genre.” Well, THAT I can understand. I like it when we get on the topic of value. In this case, mixing Rock and Latin to create “something fresh” might spice up your band’s music, making it a valuable experience.

When he does discuss the slap technique, he says, “it’s not that hard to get the technique to where you can put together a steady stream of 16th notes. It’s a matter of getting the mechanics together and develop your ability to be subtle.” Subtle? Not the BassCravers that I know!

However, despite any differences in styles and approaches, getting the opinion of a successful bassist like Norm is always a gold nugget of knowledge. He is sincere in his efforts and wants only the best for us all. It was good advice. So, thank you! We had a great time. Here’s the video if you want to see more:

Customizing Your Bass

In the beginning, most people didn’t long to play the bass. In fact, most bassists started out playing another instrument and then switched to the bass because a bassist was needed in order to complete “the band”.  However, as time marches on, bassists have grown to become a fundamental part of music both as solo artists and as strong members of the band.  These days, there are many Bass Players that newcomers can look up to and in doing so, they realize that playing the bass is more than just a talent, but also, an emotional equilibrium. That is, Bass Players tend to be more level-headed and calm. If this is not the case with you, no worries. Everyone is different :)

However, as bassists go, you are an essential part of the band whether your band members say it or not. Your audiences are not interested in squealing guitars and over-the-top drum solos. They listen to music for its calming relationship between the mind and the spirit. That is what you provide!

For that reason, it is important that you know your instrument well and are capable of changing it up a little, if needed. That is where NorCal BASSIX helps out. The founder, Wade Craver, takes you through the process of “Customizing a Bass”. This includes adding new circuitry and changing the tuners on your instrument. Normally, when we buy an instrument, we assume that we are stuck with the unique sound that it makes and all the parts that it comes with. Period. But that’s not true! An instrument can be upgraded, fixed, restored, customized you name it! Sometimes all it needs is a little love. . . .

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Regardless, you are in control of how your instrument sounds and the only person that should be touching the instrument is YOU! The connection that you have with your bass should be a strong one and this video gives you the tools that you need to perform the task of customizing it all on your own. Countless companies are out there with parts and pieces that can add a new dimension and feel to your sound and instrument. So, take advantage of it! You are not stuck with the instrument that you buy because each instrument is capable of a makeover. This happens to be the most viewed video on NorCal BASSIX TV and it’s no wonder. The information in this video is priceless for those who want to do more with the bass than just call themselves Bass Players because the truth is, you are musicians, artists, creators and are in complete control of the business of your sound! Take a look:

Brian Bromberg And His 300 Year Old Upright Bass – 17 Minute Video

When NorCal BASSIX managed to get Brian Bromberg to stop by and visit with us in Northern California on his way to Seattle, we were very excited. Founder, Wade Craver was a long time fan of Brian when he first heard a cassette that was given to him approximately 20 years ago, simply titled “Brian Bromberg”.  According to Wade, he’s an icon and we were about to find out why.

Brian never travels with his 300 year old upright bass but he just so happened to have it with him on this trip.

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And when he picked it up and started to play, the audience was flabbergasted.  Brian stopped momentarily to receive questions and one question that was asked of him was, “Where are you going?”  Brian initially seemed confused by the question and the audience member explained,  “You close your eyes, where do go when you do that?”  and then Brian gives an honest answer:

“I play to the best of my ability, as honestly as I possibly can whether I’m playing for you, here in Northern California or if I’m in front of thousands.”

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In this case, it was a room just shy of 100 people, but Brian graciously hangs out with Wade and myself after the show and we are honored to be able to hear him play up close and personal. You don’t get a lot of opportunities to hear a player like him in a music store on a small stage.  For us, it was huge!

He continued answering the question posed by the audience member, explaining that he is “communicating on a spiritual level,” he said “that’s a beautiful question. . . where do you go?  That takes the most amount of time and ownership of your instrument to not let your ability on your instrument stop your spirit from what your spirit is trying to communicate”. Very deep and if you haven’t seen this 17 minute video of Brian Bromberg “going somewhere” with this bass performance, now is your chance to check it out.  According to one comment online, “10:43 — this is when Brian starts to go crazy… ”  You decide:






 

Regenerate Guitar Works Review

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Well, it’s that time of year again…. NAMM. This year the NorCal BASSIX crew, consisting of Bruce Calin, Ryan Trujillo, ConStancE aka ConArtistE (the actual brains behind NorCal BASSIX) and myself, endured the road trip to sunny Anaheim. I must say it was the best year ever. We got to see friends from the entire world all under one roof. How cool is that? You could say that for me, it truly is the kid in the candy store effect. Is it possible to say too many basses in one place….nah. So after hours and hours and hours of listening to the worlds top bassists playing the worlds top basses through the worlds top gear, I continuously found myself standing in front of the same booth. The Regenerate Guitar Worksbooth…..hmm. What can I say, I guess I just follow good tone.

Once I realized something kept bringing back to this point, I figured that I better review these basses.

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Regenerate Guitar Works is a Seattle based company built solely around the concept of providing top quality instruments at an affordable price and made in the USA. Also focusing on both right and left-handed players to ensure that no matter your technique, your Regenerate bass will play the way you want. Whether you prefer an exotic Cemphor Burl top or a stunning metallic green paint job, a jazz bass or precision bass, soapbars, active, passive, 4, 5 or 6 string, Regenerate can not only provide these options, but provide them at an amazing level of precision. Anytime I get a bass in my hands, I find myself checking for building flaws (that’s what you get from repairing basses for 20 years) After doing the eye comb over the Regenerate basses, I could honestly not find one design flaw.

Loaded with Nordstrand pickups, Hipshot bridge and tuners and slung with Regenerate strings, every model from Regenerate Guitar Works, was in itself a true piece of art. Models include the the VRB (Vintage Recording Bass), Regenerator, Malibu Series and more.

Shortly after NAMM, the crew was given the rare opportunity to demo a wide array of Regenerate basses in our studio.

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We not only got to play these great basses, we also had the opportunity to ask Rod Banach many questions about what actually goes into the building of these instruments. He was even kind enough to open a couple instruments, in order to see the shielding throughout the control cavity. It was like having the writer of a great novel explain why he wrote what he wrote.

Regenerate offers all instruments in a wide array of active/passive pickups and circuitry from Nordstrand pickups. Regenerate also offers the Duo-Tone option which gives you two passive tones in a single control knob. This push/pull tone knob provides your standard tone controls in one position, but in the second position you get more of the upper mids left in your tone. This provides an upper mid snap, unlike your standard passive tone. All in all…..Regenerate Guitar Works offers a very complete line of basses and guitars that anyone can enjoy.
A huge thank you to our photographer, Jazmin Mae. Without you, we wouldn’t have captured this experience.

Check out our video review: