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My 30" Hofner hollow body bass with tape wound strings sounds great -- especially for jazz and reggae/ska -- but I have some pro studio work coming up soon and realize I need a more traditional full scale bass for that, without duplicating what I left behind in California.

https://reverb.com/item/5295275-g-l-kiloton-5-2017-vintage-natural-gloss-w-g-g-case-demo

I only found out about this new (as of 2017) passive model from G&L a couple of days ago, but I have been waiting years to find a MusicMan style bass that isn't active and preferably is 5 strings with ash body and maple fingerboard, and here we are! This is the exact one I am buying used from Guitar Center in Crestwood Missouri; I lucked out in finding its original sales post on reverb from when it was new, and matched it up visually and by S/N.

I especially like their all-black model with ebony fingerboard but it's a three month wait and I have a slight preference for ash bodies over alder. Ash is becoming rare, so I figured there might not be many more coming along as new stock (Fender has all but canceled all of their remaining ash bodied guitars and basses).

From the audio demos done by my former salesperson at the now-defunct Leo's Pro Audio in Oakland CA, I'm pretty impressed by this bass and its versatility. I was almost going to get a 4-string model but as I still have misgivings about my Yamaha BBP-35 (my third generation of Broad Basses by now!) -- especially its improved but imperfect Jazz Bass bridge pickup and its super-narrow neck -- I thought I might as well go for the 5-string model as I have always liked the ash/maple 5-string Marcus Miller model from Fender so I figure this might become a main bass for me and I may even sell the Yamaha once back in California (hopefully by late 2021).


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That's a sweet bass!!!! Ebony is my favorite too but maple is a close second and that's a nice piece they've chosen for the fretboard.
The G&L bridge design is far and away one of the best pieces of bass hardware ever. The ability to easily lock all the saddles in place makes a big difference in sustain and even response.
I recently set up a couple of G&L Tele style guitars and the workmanship and woods were excellent. A great choice for a USA made bass.or guitar.

I used to find 5 string basses confusing, lately I've strung my fretless BEAD and am pretty comfortable with it. A bit odd perhaps but I tried a set of D'Addario Extra Heavy Ground Wound on my mid 80's Peavey Fury and they were so heavy that I tuned them down to C# F# B E and now I am pretty used to that too. It's sort of like having a short scale bass with more low notes.

I bet your new toy sounds amazing!


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I was a bit hesitant as my first real bass was a G&L, one month after buying a Squier Bullet and finding it had no bottom. I bought the G&L on the advice of my teacher, but it had a baseball bat neck and he liked super high action so I developed some awful playing techniques that I still have to struggle to "forget". And it turned me off of that brand for decades, along with my ASAT (Telecaster) w/ whammy bar and non-whammy Strat, neither of which had any personality at all (and the G&L Strat had no "quack"). It made me think Leo Fender had gotten so purist that he lost sight of what made things musical and fun to play. But I haven't felt that way about recent G&L guitars and basses.

Interesting ideas about alternate tunings; I had considered that when I thought my next bass would be the short scale MusicMan Sterling passive 4-string bass or the non-active Fender Jaguar Bass variant (I once owned a Squier Jaguar bass and did find it pretty versatile for some gigs I did at the time that had a jazz set followed by an r&b set).

Last edited by Mark Schmieder; 12/13/20 02:42 AM.

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I still tune in 4ths so it's pretty easy. For BEAD I just remember that the EADG tuned basses that I am so used to are right there at the 5th fret. It's nice to get up the neck a bit anyway. I'm 6'3" and have large hands but I don't like the reach to the end of the neck on a long scale bass - being primarily a guitarist.

On the C# F# B E tuning of course it is the 3rd fret. Still easier and it does give me a way to go below the note and come up to it.
I haven't found the ground wounds to be as quiet as I was hoping for - string squeaks are still a problem. Maybe not as pronounced as round wounds but there all the same. I've cleaned up my technique for recording and that helps.
The fretless has my favorite studio strings, I should have gotten them for the Peavey too and may yet do it.

Rotosound Trubass, they have a smooth black plastic exterior but they are more lively sounding than any other smooth string I've used. You can still hear a bit of that harmonic fullness that full roundwound strings deliver.
No sound from sliding on the strings at all. They make a 5 strings set, that's what is on the fretless, minus the high G string.


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I am wondering if G&L makes a fretless, as the gorgeous all-black Kiloton model with the ebony fingerboard would be a good candidate.

Last edited by Mark Schmieder; 12/13/20 02:43 AM.

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They don't mention it here:

https://glguitars.com/bass-options/

but I don't see why not. Maybe just ask them.

You've reminded of one I didn't buy and should have. I didn't have $800 handy at the time. Used, near mint in a local shop - black Carvin neck through 6 string fretless bass with black ebony board. It had the filled slots, which I like - easy to know where you are. I played it a bit in the store, lusted mightily and left. A week later it was gone. Another "one that got away."


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It arrived at the Cary NC Guitar Center late today, but I decided to wait until tomorrow to pick it up as I worked late and tomorrow will be my nearby grocery trip (I try to shop a maximum of once a week, to limit potential exposure even with masks and distancing).

I'm excited that it arrived so quickly, as it means I'll be able to use it at rehearsal this weekend as well as some still-unconfirmed pro studio dates near the holidays and an audition for a ska/reggae band (though the 30" Hofner might work better for that project).


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Originally Posted by Mark Schmieder
It arrived at the Cary NC Guitar Center late today, but I decided to wait until tomorrow to pick it up as I worked late and tomorrow will be my nearby grocery trip (I try to shop a maximum of once a week, to limit potential exposure even with masks and distancing).

I'm excited that it arrived so quickly, as it means I'll be able to use it at rehearsal this weekend as well as some still-unconfirmed pro studio dates near the holidays and an audition for a ska/reggae band (though the 30" Hofner might work better for that project).

Nice! Let us know how it is.

The Hofner thing is overplayed I think. Robbie Shakespeare played one but Aston "Family Man" Barrett played a Jazz Bass with flatwounds.
If you like roundwounds then just turn roll off your tone knob and maybe set your amp EQ a little different.

Or, just play the tone you love. Reggae is not a strict genre, it's part of a stoner culture.


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Well, I've never even tried pot and am allergic to all hemp based products. I had to stop going to reggae concerts because my throat was constricting and I was near a panic attack once or twice.

My Hofner is different from the awful viola bass. It's more like a Gibson 335 Bass (rare but usually loved when found). It doesn't sound like a typical short-scale. I put tapes to give me another choice.

Generally my preferred bass back home is the 60th Anniversary Ash-body P-Bass with D'addario Flatwounds and Maple Fingerboard. P's to me are too hard to dial in with rounds on them .

I find that reggae works on almost any bass, if you play away from the bridge, cut the tone, and mute even more than usual, with even a fretless being appropriate at times.

The 5-string wasn't bought for reggae but rather for harder rock and for studio work where I want to make sure I have the tightest foundation possible. I might even keep rounds on it vs. going to flats.


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No worries, I wasn't really discussing the use or non-use of marijuana. It wasn't the point I was making.
It's more about the spirit in which the music is played - reggae is not a strict style by any means. There is considerable variety and often because somebody simply played what they felt like playing, whether that is chops, styles, breaks, or the instrument that they owned - whatever it may be.

As is often the case, we play the instruments that opportunity provides us and we play them the way we know how. Reggae is very open to that reality.

Sounds like your Hofner is sort of a bass version of a Verithin?
I don't really have a "typical short scale" sound in my mind. Our bassist is fairly short and has smaller hands, he prefers short scale instruments and lighter ones but all of the semi-hollow and hollow body instruments he's gone through during his tenure with the band will have some notes that resonate and others that lack power and fullness. He has a tricked out Fender Mustang bass that delivers the goods and he likes it. I think he flipped his Squier Musicmaster bass, it was pretty good too.
The Jay Turser Beatle bass is long gone, that thing had some notes that sounded huge and loud and 2 frets up or down you couldn't hear them.

Having been a guitar tech for many years, I got to try all sorts of bass strings when owners would bring in a bass for a setup and new strings. Not all round wounds are the same. Modern manufacturing techniques are making different sets from different manufacturers more consistent, I put an early set of D'Addarrio strings on a friend's bass and we could not get the G string to intonate - there was not enough throw on the saddle adjustment. I think it was a set where D'Addario was still trying to make a good round wound string that was more like a flat wound to the touch. Maybe they were using pressure to flatten out the winds? I don't remember.

I recently put a set of D'Addario ground wounds on more or less a Fender type bass - USA made mid 80's Peavey Fury - and they were easy to set up correctly. Progress, improve manufacturing techniques. Great company, I use their strings.

As to what works on reggae or any style in terms of tone - it really depends on what others in the band are doing. I was in a Motown tribute band and the keyboardist had an 88 key Korg Triton. He put his left hand too far left and was constantly stepping on the bassist's turf. I spoke with him once privately about maybe moving his left hand up an octave. He wasn't against the idea but as a creature of habit he didn't manage to get his hands to disobey his habits.

So the bassist got a 5 string, even though it was not used on any of the classic Motown records and tried to get down underneath him so he could have some space of his own.
Low end is always a puzzle, when I am recording or mixing I try to get the vocals out front and then I work on getting the low end cleared out. Only one instrument should be the bottom. It could be the kick, or the bass, or a synth. It doesn't matter as long as everybody has their turf.


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Yeah, I think the guitar version of the Verythin was popular in the early 60's (one or more Beatle might have owned one) and then disappeared for a long time. Can't remember if the bass version was coincident or a later idea, or whether Macca ever owned one.

I wasn't at all upset about the reggae atmosphere ref; just wanted to set the record straight as I actually have been kicked out of bands for being straight (in the old sense of the word). And I remember how annoyed I was at either Stereo review or High Fidelity's reviews of ELP albums in the 70's, saying they could only be appreciated when stoned on pot or tripping on acid.

I fell away from ground rounds and half-rounds a number of years ago, preferring instead to have instruments devoted to regular wounds and flats. I usually prefer flats on Fenders, except for my Geddy Lee which needs the rounds for the more aggressive sound and for slapping (which was invented on flats but non my view sounds better on rounds).

I am in full agreement that reggae and related styles are too loose to mandate specific instruments, strings, scale lengths, tone woods, etc. I only analyze to make initial choices, then go by intuition, and if that didn't work then I re-analyze. :-)

The plan is to pick up the bass tonight; I've been working crazy hours so couldn't make it the past few nights. But if I wait much longer, it might get sent back.

As for 5 strings vs. 4 strings, I was 5 and 6 strings through the mid 90's to early 10's and then decided to try a 4-string to discipline myself better. The motivation was listening to gigs, rehearsals, and pro recording sessions, and coming to the conclusion that the B string should be used extremely rarely as it can dominate and overpower everything else. So I went all-4-string for 6-8 years now, learning to rephrase to avoid octave leaps.


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My fretless is tuned BEAD but I mostly consider it a short scale bass with extra low notes. I do used the D below E on the B string, both to slide up to E and also just to have a fat D.
Below that I've had a hard time getting definition, maybe a synth would do a more convincing low B?

I don't think I'll get another set of ground wounds, I wanted something that was quieter in terms of left hand fingers sliding on the strings - for recording. The ground wounds are not much quieter that round wounds in that respect and they don't have the definition and punch that round wounds have or the thump that flat wounds would provide.

I've started working on a different technique, where I lift all of my fingers up off the strings before shifting positions. It's cleaner sounding but I miss the expression.

I'll probably put another set of Rotosound Trubass on the Peavey with standard EADG tuning. I might as well have some fun with it and the tuning I'm using for the X-Heavy set of ground wounds - C# F# B E.

Again, looking forward to a report on your G&L, it looks gorgeous and I suspect sounds gorgeous as well.


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I picked it up tonight (it arrived at the store on Tuesday but I worked too late this week to pick it up earlier).

I always play an instrument unplugged for a while before turning on an amp, so I get to know it better.

This sounds completely different from my Hofner short-scale hollow-body, or even my Yamaha 5-string. A bit closer to a P-Bass in sound and feel, but darker.

Surprisingly, it came with flatwounds, which is my first time for that on a 5-string. Not sure which brand, but they feel like D'addario's to me. Do they make a 5-set? Would have to un-string to see if each one is colour-coded, as a cue. Also, I left my caliper in California so can't easily tell the gauge.

The B string does seem a bit lacking in body and focus, but maybe once amplified it'll sound as one with the rest of the instrument. If not, I may sell it later on and get a 4-string model with ebony fingerboard.

At any rate, this one will do me much better for current projects in North Carolina. Much prettier in person as well, and definitely NOT a baseball bat like the G&L that I had in the mid to late 80's when I started out.


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Kuru, your revised technique sounds like what I've been doing the past five to six years (or more) as well. It was my now-deceased jazz bandleader who taught me to play like that and not to sustain so much. Now I go nuts when I hear other bassists sustaining forever and thus diminishing the overall dynamics and energy of the music, as there are no holes for other instruments to creep through.

I also came to the same conclusion about ground-rounds, but I'm not religious about it. I just don't see a need to have a bass strung up that way. I had flats on my Select J-Bass (rosewood) before selling it, but put rounds on the Geddy Lee (maple, 70's pickup spacing). Overall I have grown to prefer flats, even for metal and hard rock, but we're all familiar with that roundwound sound and sometimes it's what we want or need, thus the BB has rounds.


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I always play guitars and basses unplugged first too. If they don't sound good that way then I stop right there.

I am fairly forgiving about setup as long as there are no detectable defects. If a guitar or bass is sound I can set it up to play well. The feel of the neck is important, I have large hands and don't like to compensate for a small feeling neck. On a bass that's never been a problem. My Fury neck is slimmer than a Jazz Bass by a small fraction, I think it plays great.

Most of the time for live playing I've used a pick down near the bridge and muted with the edge of my hand on the pinky finger side. I don't like too much sustain either, there is a time and a place for it but to me bass should be more like a kick drum - punch hard and go away. To my ears it sounds a bit "clicky" to use a pick for recording. I don't seem to notice that as much live. Which pick makes a huge difference in tone as well. Live I use a heavy pick, studio probably sounds better most of the time with a medium or light pick. I've got one felt ukulele pick, those are good on flatwounds. I need to get a couple more.

Carol Kaye said once that you should put a 25 cent piece of felt over the strings down near the bridge and pick hard. I think she picked nearer the fretboard though. One may not choose to do that but it's hard to argue with somebody who has played on that many gold records. Still, James Jamerson just used his thumb and other successful bassists have different techniques so nothing is set in stone.

For studio work I mostly use my first and second fingers, sometimes my thumb. I try not to "root" my hand anywhere, there are so many tonal variations in the area between the bridge and the end of the fretboard - it would be a shame to lose those sounds due to a habit. That doesn't mean I won't temporarily take a position, just that I change according to what I feel and hear.

I've tried foam under the strings but never got the right combination, you do have to put a piece under each string, just so and no other way. I think I need to use double stick tape next time I mess with that, the foam will travel if left "fugitive".


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It's a very versatile bass, though the lowest two strings do seem slightly tubby compared to the top three, so the previous owner might have put too heavy a gauge on it.

I'll see how it works at rehearsal tomorrow night.

It sounds somewhat between a Precision Bass and a MusicMan StingRay Bass. Bernard Edwards lines (Chic/Sister Sledge/etc.) sound delicious on it!

And yes, for the pop and rock material where a plectrum is called for, I mostly switch between a yellow Tortex (same as for guitar; I used to use the blue and purple ones on bass though), and a thick felt pick (Beatles, Tom Petty, etc.).

Last edited by Mark Schmieder; 12/19/20 04:04 AM.

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Originally Posted by Mark Schmieder
It's a very versatile bass, though the lowest two strings do seem slightly tubby compared to the top three, so the previous owner might have put too heavy a gauge on it.

I'll see how it works at rehearsal tomorrow night.

It sounds somewhat between a Precision Bass and a MusicMan StingRay Bass. Bernard Edwards (Chic/Sister Sledge/etc.) lines sound delicious on it!

And yes, for the pop and rock material where a plectrum is called for, I mostly switch between a yellow Tortex (same as for guitar; I used to use the blue and purple ones), and a thick felt pick (Beatles, Tom Petty, etc.).

Nice! I'm sure I'd love playing on it. I'm good though, 2 high quality players is enough basses for now. My dream bass would be a 30" scale tuned like a guitar but with more of a bass design, the Fender VI bass is too much a guitar for what I want.
Fatter and flatter neck with gigantic frets, hardtail bridge and 2 pickups with one 3 way switch. Simple.

I could play bass and toss in some guitar solos for the duo I'm in, would cover a lot of ground with one instrument that way.

Have fun with that bass!!!


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Wow, best rehearsal yet, with the newly formed group I joined in Raleigh NC right after Thanksgiving. I was channelling Macca all night, perhaps due to just listening to three songs from McCartney III last night and being heavily inspired by his awesome bass playing yet again.

The low B string does have less tonal definition, and the upper strings seem a bit thin sounding, but that could be a reflection (no pun intended) of the room, the other musicians not setting their amps well, etc. Maybe I should put rounds on it, but it sounded great in every musical context, with its flats. They have purple at the windings so I think maybe they are Labella strings?

Strictly originals vs. covers, and no song is finished; we are creating musical concepts and throwing pre-written lyrics at these ideas to see if any of them fit one musical concept or another and which is the best match. So I was playing many different styles on this bass tonight, finger-style, yellow Tortex plectrum, and thick felt pick. Never once did the bass seem less than ideal for the task.

And yes, the personality and timbre of the bass are close to a P-Bass with a bit of MusicMan flavour added into the mix. Just as I expected, and what I wanted.

The neck feels great, and the instrument balances well on a strap. The string spacing is wide enough to be comfortable, unlike my Yamaha BBP35 which is narrower than a J-Bass.


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Sounds like a winner!!! Enjoy!!!!
Sir Paul is truly a great bassist at his best. A long time Beatles fan like myself is undoubtedly influenced by his bass lines even if it is a bit under the radar in my overly influenced brain.

The only drawback I find to collaboration is obtaining copyright. It is best to get clarity in the early stages as to who gets songwriting credit and how copyright will be implemented.
Can of worms, no fun. Most of us avoid dealing with it whether we engage in collaboration or not.

I have not and will not rule out collaboration, it can be very inspiring. The last group of friends I collaborated with - 3 of us - all agreed to trade the lines we'd written in other writers songs for lines they'd helped write in our own. In the end we each kept our copyrights. Then one of us moved away and the two remaining are still great friends but somehow we needed that third spirit to get anything done.

So I write on my own now for the most part.


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Oh, I write on my own too -- producing is what slows me down. I have almost 1000 pieces that I have written, across all genres from every corner of the world. But as the instrumentation is so inconsistent and the ones that have lyrics are in many different vocal ranges, I rarely feel it appropriate to unleash my originals on any band that I am part of, or my unique arrangements of covers either. Since decoupling those different aspects of my musical life roughly 13 years ago, I've rarely had any tensions or resentments in any project that I have been part of.


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I've had great experiences collaborating as well, no regrets at this point. For me, it seems that 3 creatives is the magic place. It is especially effective if the 3 are quite different people.
2 an work well together, I haven't done as well with 4 or more but I don't have any rules - if it works it's good.

The funnest collaborations have all been when we recorded a song on the spot and called it good. When that works the energy can really be inspiring.

And yes, producing your own work is not easy. Leaving the work alone and taking a break for a while has helped me there, so has sharing it with others to get feedback. Non-musicians often have very interesting comments!


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Yep, especially when they think a trumpet part is a flute and you're trying to figure out what their comments pertain to. :-)


Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari
Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1
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Yeah, haven't had that one yet! Sounds like fun though.

Recently I had a woman who heard me playing and singing (or trying to!!!) 5 years ago or so - tell me she really liked one song I sang and then she recited a line from the song.
It was one that I wrote so that made me feel pretty good and it still does. Completely random, I'll take it!!!!


Every Time I Am Wrong, I Learn Something.
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I figured out the strings:

https://www.ghsstrings.com/products...tm?category_id=1964710-precision-flatstm

Purple/violet towards mauve was the giveaway, then I remembered that GHS switched their packaging to match the winding colour.

The M3050-5 Stainless Steel Flat Wound Bass set is a bit heavier than what I generally use on P-Basses vs. J-Basses.

I had the 4-string seton my Fender P-bass before switching to the D'addario Chromes. Much better tonal balance and feel afterwards.

As the G&L bass feels and sounds more like a P-Bass than a J-Bass or a MusicMan, I'll probably switch to Chromes at some point.


Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari
Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1
XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL
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JustStrings user reviews on the D'addario 5-string Chromes follows my instinct and observations on this new 5-string as well as prior switches on 4-strings between GHS and D'addario sets:

"Before these I tried GHS Pressurewound and Brite Flats for my fretless, Those were a disappointment, not only were they not very smooth, but on the pressurewounds the B was dead, and on the Brite Flats the B and the E were dead, and not well balanced with the last three strings. These are smooth, and every string is bright with some to spare. I might even put these on my fretted bass!"

"I have used these strings for over a year now on an Ernie Ball Stingray 5 bass. I love the even tone that I get up and down the fretboard, and string-to-string. There's almost no string noise, which is great for recording, and they are very easy on the fingers. It's also nice that they are in a more standard gauge than La Bella strings, which require modifications to your nut, bridge, and in some cases tuning pegs. They are also amazingly bright for flatwounds. Mine are just barely starting to settle in after a year of heavy use. Highly recommended strings!"

That pretty much seals the deal. But I may wait until I'm back in California, or have some still-in-the-talking-stages pro recording sessions here in North Carolina.

Of course, I have an extra D'addario tapewound set with me, but it's a 4-string short-to-medium-scale set for the Hofner Verythin Bass and anyway I don't think I'd like tapes on this bass.

The big question now is whether I need super long, or regular length? The tension will be different, but I think only at full length. Not sure how JustStrings does their tension measurements.

Maximum distance to the bridge from the furthest tuning post is about 41.5". I think standard strings are 38" long?

Last edited by Mark Schmieder; 12/21/20 01:12 AM.

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari
Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1
XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL
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Thanks for that, I've regretted getting the Ground Wounds. Our bassist isn't a detail person and never records so his recommendation turns out to be not so good.
The Chromes sound good, it will be a while before I pull down enough Player's Circle points to get a "free" set. Next month I might get a set of Chromes or the Trubass set, which I know I like.

I added a Tech 21 Samsamp Bass Drive DI version 2 a little while back and it's doing a fine job delivering bass tones. Takes a little while to tweak it for what I want but that is partly because it has many options.
I got the Para Drive too but haven't run a bass through it yet. Really nice for direct guitar though. Living in a multi unit condo sometimes when I want to record going direct is my only option - partly keeping my own noise floor down and partly because there is uncontrollable external noise.

The refrigerator I can turn off, just gotta remember to look at the note on my monitor "refrigerator on? so I don't leave it off.
It's far from perfect but I manage.


Every Time I Am Wrong, I Learn Something.

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