Listen to the sound of this bass now (Music by: Wade Craverusing this featured bass by KrashBurn):
KrashBurn Creates Another Masterpiece
We first came to know bass builder, Jim Kafalas a few years ago because he’s a local guy (Redding, our home town) who’s been gaining a lot of attention for his custom built guitars and basses. So, of course, we had to find out more! Since then we have managed to do a handful of video reviews of his basses over the last year and even went to the NAMM show in 2016 to help promote his new, custom basses to the world! The whole experience went really well for him and we are glad to see him succeed in the world of bass building because his custom work is some of the finest that we have ever seen!
This latest creation is a one to behold! We have taken some photographs and have given you all of the specs below. It is a beautiful bass with all of the best features built right into it. No need to customize because it is all done for you! KrashBurn will custom design your dream instrument! His attention to detail is superb. These instruments are the perfect balance of playability and design.
Flamed Maple top, Swamp Ash body laminated with grain accent.
Ebony fretboard with Abalam “V” inlay at 12th fret with Luminlay fret position markers. This amazing multi scale design provides an incredible low B with a scale length of 37″ to a G scale length of 34″.
The colors are incredible!
With recessed knobs, EVO Gold fretwire banjo size and Kalium Strings.
Nordstrand Pickups Big Singles.
With Darkglass Electronics Tone Capsule Preamp. What else is there to say? This thing is a tone machine!
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!
I also took the time to read through some of her posts online at NoTreble.com 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 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 BassCravers.com in order to inform us of the latest and greatest artists and equipment in the bass world. We will call it:
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 BassCravers.com, 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:
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.
He calls it Tone Mountain (Music & Nature)
This 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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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”.
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:
Once in a great while you get to check out an instrument at a yard/garage sale and are faced with the dilemma of whether or not to pick it up. In my case, I found two and they were both pretty beat up but I call it ‘vintage’ baby! Not only that, I have my own, ‘vintage’ bass that I call my MYSTERY BASS (because nobody seems to know EXACTLY what it is) and the thing that I love most about my bass is that it is a short scale, perfect playing bass. We paid a mere $50 bucks for it with the intention of ‘flipping’ it after fixing it up. However, after playing on it I found it to be the easiest bass that I have ever played and I love that I don’t have to be nervous about the way I handle it. (For those who don’t know me well, I’m not the person that you want to hand nice stuff too. I’m sort of clumsy and I have been known to drop stuff from time to time. So, please, don’t show me your basses! You people buy only the good stuff, I’m sure). Not me. Although, Damian Erskine did offer to pay me some good money for my MYSTERY BASS because he loved the way it played too (the nerve of some people! I don’t think he was expecting me to say “no”). Even so, I have felt some regret for rejecting the hundreds of dollars that he offered (because it was a very generous offer). For most people, it’s an offer that no dummy would refuse and it would’ve been our biggest bass ‘flip’ yet!
Damian Erskine offers ConArtistEConStancE money for her MYSTERY BASS.
So, maybe, I’m a bit of a dummy for rejecting him but I’m also a CRAVER. A BassCraver, that is and clearly, I just couldn’t give up the only bass that I feel comfortable playing. For that reason, it has value to me that supersedes the federal note. (Another thing that you should know about me is that I find no value in money when it means that I have to give up my creativity).
And when I have cash, I’m quick to spend it before it deflates in my pocket. I never hold onto it for long and try to put it to good use. Therefore, when I saw these two basses at a yard sale, I was hoping for something really cool to come out of my purchases.
Two, vintage basses at a yard sale.
Of course, I haggled over the price and came out $60 dollars richer (in basses). Did I do the right thing? The first and only thing that I noticed about one of these basses is that it had an ashtray cover and my MYSTERY BASS is missing hers – YAY! So, I’m fixing up my bass first. To heck with flipping! In that respect, I was stoked to have at least one of these basses because finding an old, vintage part really makes me happy. Especially when it comes to me with no effort on my part. Now, I’m sure that I spent too much paper on these basses if all I’m getting is one ashtray cover, but the exchange doesn’t compare to the instant gratification of getting something that I was missing and for that reason, it was meant to be.
The MYSTERY BASS with no ashtray cover. Pretty ugly!
Just testing it to see if it fits and it’s already starting to look nice.
I have to drill some holes into the (beat-up) body to make it work. So, I line it up perfectly and make marks where I need to drill.
By the way, this is the first time that I have ever worked on a bass!
It fits perfectly!
My shameless selfie in the mirror to see how the MYSTERY BASS looks with its new ashtray cover.
Something that I noticed after the install:
The second bass above that I got at the yard sale has two, different screws that mount on top of an ashtray cover. Installing these would allow me to get to the strings without removing the screws from the body every time! Dumb oversight on my part. So now, this second bass from the yard sale is my new sacrifice as I take from it what I need to complete my project.
First, the holes needed to be bigger to accommodate the bigger screws.
The previous owner filed a slot in the screws for an easier install. I swear, this bass is a Frankenstein!
Unfortunately, the bigger screws made it so that my ashtray cover didn’t fit over them!
I continued to improvise and filed out the holes in the ashtray cover until they fit over the larger screws.
Finally, it’s complete!
So, buying both basses really made a difference in the overall appearance of the ashtray for my MYSTERY BASS. Apparently, both basses from the yard sale have some neck issues and so there was no real ‘score’ on the purchases, but I guess that depends on what you consider to be a ‘score’ because I couldn’t be happier! The point of this post? Buying yard sale basses for parts is okay but expecting them to work on their own is a gamble. Thanks for reading. Please share this and any other article that you may like on this new, BassCravers website!
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.
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.”
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:
What started off as a casual introduction between restaurant owner Mathias Wakrat and bassist Tim Commerford from Rage Against the Machine turned into an epic upcoming album for their newly formed band, Wakrat.
The two were first friends because of their common interest in mountain-biking. They often spent time together talking about it. Commerford tells Rolling Stone, “We both just share the same enthusiasm for riding mountain bikes. We’d talk for many hours about mountain biking and one day, he was like, ‘Oh, yeah, I play drums.'”
Tim Commerford – Bassist For Rage Against The Machine – Has A New Band.
Wakrat (with the addition of guitarist Laurent Grangeon) is now a hardcore group with a deep message to send in their upcoming album that has yet to be titled, but the first single, “Knucklehead” has just been released. It was filmed in the new group’s rehearsal studio with Commerford, who wrote all the album’s lyrics, screaming, “Gimme the gun/Fuck the knife/I’m alright … Why am I locked in my aquarium?” For Commerford, it is a deeply personal song.
“I’ve been dealing with some very deep, dark family stuff in the last year, stuff that left me in tears,” he says. “I spent a lot of time crying in the last year and feeling trapped and alone. That’s what ‘Knucklehead’ is about. Sometimes the dark side spawns incredible things, and the music came from that. It’s the ray of sun at the end of the day. I went through some deep shit that I hope I never go through again, but look what came from it: this incredible opportunity in music that I love. The scream at the end of the song makes me feel like I’m just putting my face in a pillow and screaming my guts out.”
In addition to this new emotional grip that he has, he still integrates the political and social messages that have permeated his other bands (Rage Against the Machine and Future User) and the fans are excited to see this new emotional twist in correspondence with the overall anger that we all agree to have against the world as it stands today.
“I can’t stop myself from finding information that makes me mad and writing about it,” he says.
Wakrat has been together only 18 months and originally they were looking for a singer, but when they were unable to find anyone, Commerford took a stab at it and was able to work with the group’s “weird punk-jazz music with odd time signatures” which he originally thought would be hard to do. The upcoming 10-track album is a punk, fast and spastic to say the least and apparently they even use some electronic and spoken word to help round out the group’s sound. I love it!
“This is the music I grew up on and always wanted to do. It’s the same feeling when Rage Against the Machine started playing.” “I always looked at Future User as performance art. I had a vision, and I wasn’t a part of that vision,” he says. “With Wakrat, we’re a band, and we’re going to play all the time, and we’re going to pay our dues the old-school way. This is the kind of music that I grew up on and always wanted to do. It’s the same feeling as 1991 when Rage Against the Machine first started playing. It felt uncomfortable and doesn’t feel right, and I love that feeling. I am enjoying myself right now on a musical level more than I’ve ever enjoyed myself in my entire career. It’s incredible that I’m saying that; it’s a beautiful thing.”
This new band is treading water in the music industry the way it used to be done. They open for bigger bands and work in a grassroots sort of way, playing in small clubs with no label in place. “We’re bottom feeders. We got nothing” and Commerford says that he plans to work with “passionate people who go, ‘Fuck, I love this shit.'”