Archive for the "Basses" Category

PRS SE Bass Guitars: Kingfisher and Kestrel

PRS have released new basses to their popular SE import line. The basses are called the Kingfisher and the Kestrel:

Designed in PRS’s Maryland shop, the Kingfisher and Kestrel both feature neck through construction for sustain and evenly balanced tone, but are very distinctive instruments.

The SE Kingfisher is a huge-sounding bass with distinct old-school tonal character that delivers that huge “clacky” tone missing from some modern basses. Featuring a Swamp Ash body, 24 fret maple/walnut neck, and 34” scale length, this bass is instantly comfortable for players old and new. Kingfisher (4B ‘H’) proprietary pickups are deep, thick-sounding humbuckers with plenty of top end clarity and punch. The sparkling highs and the Kingfisher’s high midrange growl allow the bass to cut through the mix while holding down the band with its sweet warm fundamental tone. The SE Kingfisher bass will be offered in a variety of finishes, including Natural, Scarlet Red, and Tortoise Shell. For full specifications, videos, and audio samples, visit

The SE Kestrel takes a traditional singlecoil bass platform and adds PRS’s fit, finish, and attention to detail, delivering a new take on a classic instrument. Starting with an Alder body, 22 fret maple/walnut neck, and 34” scale length, the Kestrel is instantly familiar. A modern bridge allows you the choice of strings through the bridge or the body to yield even more tonal possibilities. Kestrel (4B ‘S’) pickups are extremely punchy and focused, giving players the ability to walk a low-mid focused blues line, articulate a high-mid focused fretless part rich with harmonics, nail the scooped midrange and sweet top-end sound slappers favor, and wield a razor sharp blistering rock bassline. This bass has growl to burn! The SE Kestrel will be offered in Black, Metallic Red, and Tri-Color Sunburst. For full specifications, videos, and audio samples, visit

“I have been a gigging bass player for 23 years and working at PRS for 17, so I have been not only highly involved but personally engaged in the design and prototyping process of these basses from the beginning. Working with Doug Shive, our SE Project Manager, Paul Smith, and the rest of the team here has been a rewarding, collaborative process. I am truly proud to not only sell the SE basses but am inspired to play them for many years to come. They really are wonderful instruments,” Jim Cullen, PRS Guitars National Sales Manager.

PRS Guitars SE line began in 2001 in an effort to bring high quality, high value guitars to the market. Starting with great design from the PRS Maryland, USA shop and developed with partners overseas, the SE line marries the highest quality components with a rigorous process that ensures playability and dependability. All SE products that are shipped in the USA are individually inspected and play tested at PRS’s Maryland facility before shipping to dealers.

Posted in: Basses, Videos


Les Claypool’s Duo De Twang – Four Foot Shack

Last week, bassist extraordinaire Les Claypool released a new album titled Four Foot Shack with a new band he’s calling Les Claypool’s Duo De Twang. I was intrigued when I saw that the album features some interesting covers, including some from Claypool’s own past albums as well as the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive,” Alice in Chain’s “Man in the Box,” and Jerry Reed’s “Amos Moses.”

An interesting choice of covers for sure, but even more interesting is the fact that Duo De Twang is truly a duo of Claypool and guitarist Bryan Kehoe, with occasional accompaniment from Claypool’s son on banjo. Like all of his albums, Claypool’s quirkiness is front and center on this album, and I wondered how that would work in a stripped down setup like this. However, I find the album has many high points, although it can get repetitive in some places.

There’s no denying Claypool’s talent on the bass. His quirkiness can turn some people off, but if you’ve enjoyed anything he’s done in the past, I think you will enjoy this new project. I happen to dig it.

Check out some fan footage of Les Claypool’s Duo De Twang performing “Stayin’ Alive”:

Posted in: Artist News, Basses

2012 Fender Pawn Shop Series

Fender have announced a few new guitars for 2012 to add to their Pawn Shop Series. The new models are the Jaguarillo, the Offset Special, and the Reverse Jaguar Bass. I think the Offset Special looks pretty cool. I’ve heard good things about the Pawn Shop Series, but I haven’t had a chance to play any yet. I look forward to trying these out. Check them out below:

Offset Special


Reverse Jaguar Bass

Posted in: Basses, Guitars


NAMM 2012: Ampeg Micro-CL Stack

For the bassists among us who want an Ampeg amp in a more house-friendly setup, Ampeg have introduced the solid stte Micro-CL Stack:

Let’s face it. You are the type who would happily crank up a full Ampeg SVT stack in your living room. Heck, who needs neighbors anyway? And noise violations are really just a badge of honor, right? For the rest of us, there is the Ampeg Micro-CL Stack, delivering 100 watts of pure Ampeg tone. It’s perfect for those just getting into Ampeg or for the seasoned bassist looking to practice in far flung locations like the master bathroom.

  • Includes tough 2 x 10″ cab
  • Stereo input / headphone out for silent practice
  • Effects loop and direct out

Posted in: Basses, NAMM

Fender Modern Player Series Guitars and Basses

Fender have introduced a new line of guitars and basses called the Modern Player Series. There are five guitars and three basses in the new lineup. These guitars are targeted towards entry-level players with an aggressive price point (starting at $399) and modern appointments.

The guitars in the Modern Player Series include the Modern Player Stratocaster HSS, the Modern Player Telecaster Plus HSS, the Modern Player Telecaster Thinline Deluxe, the Modern Player Jaguar, and the Modern Player Marauder. I find the Thinline and the Marauder to be to most interesting of the new models. The Thinline Telecaster Deluxe departs from other Fender Thinline Telecaster guitars in that it features a mahogany body and Modern Player MP-90 pickups. The Marauder (pictured above) features a new body style, a Modern Player Jazzmaster neck pickup, and a three-coil Fender Triplebucker bridge pickup.

The bass guitars in the Modern Player Series include the Modern Player Telecaster Bass, the Modern Player Jazz Bass and the Modern Player Jaguar Bass. The Modern Player Telecaster Bass is the most interesting of the bass models to me with its two Wide-Range humbucking Precision Bass pickups.

This looks like a nice addition to the low-end of Fender’s product line. Find out more details about the Modern Player Series on Fender’s site.

Which of the new models looks the most interesting to you?

Posted in: Basses, Guitars


Fender Blacktop Basses

Fender have recently released two new additions to their Blacktop line of guitars and basses: the Blacktop Jazz Bass and the Blacktop Precision Bass. I’ve played several of the Blacktop guitars before and, generally, think they are a very good value.

The features of the Blacktop Jazz Bass include an Alder body, a rosewood fretboard with 9.5″ radius and 20 medium jumbo frets, three control knobs (one volume knob for each pickup and a master tone knob). The Blacktop Jazz Bass is available in Black or White Chrome Pearl. The Blacktop Jazz Bass model in black is pictured above.

Like the Jazz Bass, the features of the Blacktop Precision Bass include an Alder body, a rosewood fretboard with 9.5″ radius and 20 medium jumbo frets, three control knobs (one volume knob for each pickup and a master tone knob). Also similar to the Jazz model, the Precision model is available in Black or White Chrome Pearl. However, the Precision Bass includes two high-gain humbucking pickups, which could make the Blacktop P-bass an interesting model for modern rock and metal music.

You can get visit Fender’s website to get more information about their Blacktop line of guitars and basses.

Posted in: Basses


Lemmy Documentary

I haven’t heard about this before, but a documentary about Lemmy, the legendary bass player for Motorhead, has been made and is currently being played in a number of theaters across the country. Check out a trailer for the documentary below:

You can check out the website for the documentary to see if the movie is playing in your area.

Posted in: Artist News, Basses


Flea has recently announced a new line of basses called the FLEABASS that he is going to be putting out this year, with the goal being to create a solid line of guitars for both the entry-level student and the professional.

Describing his inspiration for FLEABASS, Flea said “FLEABASS is born of my love of music education as a studier and a teacher of music, and a lover and a romanticizer of the tradition of it. I wanted students to have an instrument they could fall in love with, and I wanted them to be able to do it with the limited means that most of them have for acquiring one.”

The inspiration for the new basses came from Flea’s involvement in a non-profit called the Silverlake Conservatory of Music that he created to help teach music to school-age children. He saw that the instruments being made for students were low quality, so he saw an opportunity to step in and create a high-quality product for a low price. He’s planning on putting his money where his mouth is, too. In a recent Bass Player magazine interview, he said he’s planning to take these out with him for the new Red Hot Chili Peppers tour.

Both 3/4 and full-size FLEABASS models will be available. Full-size models will have a retail price of $499, and 3/4 models will have a retail price of $399. The basses will be available in four different finishes: Sunny Bass” (orange with yellow), “Water Bass” (blue with orange), “Punk Bass” (green with pink), and the “Wild One” (black with white). See photos and get more information at the FLEABASS Web site or on the FLEABASS MySpace page.

Posted in: Artist News, Basses


Meet Tal Wilkenfeld

Bassist Tal Wilkenfeld has been featured in Gibson’s Lifestyle section in a piece by Jerry McCulley titled “Meet Tal Wilkenfeld, Jeff Beck’s Young Aussie Bass Prodigy.” The piece covers a brief history of Tal’s career to date, including her stints with Chick Corea, the Allman Brothers, and of course Jeff Beck:

By 20 she’d become variously a band leader and in-demand session/live player who’d gigged with the Allman Brothers and recorded Transformation, a well-received debut solo album she cut in two days of hectic NYC sessions, recordings which she also composed and arranged. At 21 she was touring Australia with Chick Corea, who she says “had heard about me and was looking for a bass player and so I sent them some of my stuff. Then I got this call from his people and they said: ‘Hey, do you want to do these gigs in Australia?’ And I was like, ‘Yes, sir!’”

I think we’ll see some great things from Tal in the future!

* Photo credit:

Posted in: Artist News, Basses

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Jaco Pastorius


Twenty years ago on September 21, 1987 the world of music lost bass legend Jaco Pastorius. His death was a tragic result of a violent confrontation that occurred outside a Florida club on September 11, 1987, during which Jaco sustained critical injuries. Although Jaco had suffered health problems later in his life, he made a tremendous impact on the world of bass guitar, both as a solo musician and as a member of Weather Report.

I must confess that I’d never heard any of Jaco’s music until last week. I finally picked up and listened to a bit from his solo album, Jaco Pastorius, and Heavy Weather by Weather Report. I’m amazed at how good he really was. I see why he was called The World’s Greatest Bass Player. In addition to his solo work and his work with Weather Report, Pastorius played on many other albums, including albums by Joni Mitchell, Al Di Meola and Mike Stern.

Jaco was well known for playing Fender Jazz Basses. On one Fender Jazz Bass, he removed the frets in order to make a fretless bass. According to Wikipedia, he felt that frets were “speed bumps” that got in the way.

I encourage you to add Jaco Pastorius to your musical playlist this week in remembrance of one of the greatest bass players to ever play the instrument. Below is a video of Jaco Pastorius playing “The Chicken.”

* Photo credit:

Posted in: Artist News, Basses