Warwick Bass Camp: A Week at the Willy Wonka Factory of Bass

Now in its fifth year, the 2016 Warwick Bass Camp kicked off at Warwick’s impressive facilities in Markneukirchen, Germany, which I can’t come close to pronouncing, but I now know is a beautiful place.
By Jon D'Auria ,

Now in its fifth year, the 2016 Warwick Bass Camp kicked off at Warwick’s impressive facilities in Markneukirchen, Germany, which I can’t come close to pronouncing, but I now know is a beautiful place. Thrown by Warwick founder and owner Hans Peter-Wilfer, the camp is a bass player’s fantasy rolled into six chaotic days full of insightful lessons, encounters with bass legends, and tasty sausage for every meal. After nearly 20 hours of travel to get there, it was quite a spectacle to walk into Warwick’s state-of-the-art factory and offices—ultimately the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory for bass players. With walls lined with custom creations of all colors and string variations, it was hard not to get distracted and trip over the steps made of polished bubinga wood.

The all-star list of instructors included Felix Pastorius, Stu Hamm, Rex Brown, Juan Alderete, and Angeline Saris, as well as Steve Bailey. Warwick’s Hans-Peter Wilfer, Tetsuo Sakurai, and Etienne Mbappé. Alderete, Pastorius, Jonas Hellborg, and Bailey. Clinics ran throughout the week, on everything including the use of effects, mathematical approaches, the art of practicing, and grooving with a drummer. The all-star professors included the talented likes of Stu Hamm, Alphonso Johnson, Felix Pastorius, Juan Alderete, Steve Bailey, Scott Reeder, Yolanda Charles, Anthony Wellington, Dennis Chambers, Angeline Saris, Joe Hubbard, Tetsuo Sakurai, and others. Camp attendees flocked from room to room with basses in hand to learn from some of the best, while also getting to jam along with them.

A detailed tour of the factory gave campers a look into every step of the bass-building process from the selecting of the wood to the stringing of the strings, which is all painstakingly detail-oriented and done either by futuristic machines or highly skilled craftsmen. The week-long camp concluded with the arrival of the rest of the bass convoy, including Justin Chancellor, Rex Brown, Bakithi Kumalo, Stewart Zender, Ryan Martinie, Steve Lawson, John B. Williams, Dave Swift, and others, all to talk shop and enjoy the closing ceremonies that take form as the Reeveland Festival. This included performances by Powerwolf, Kill Devil Hill, and Entombed, amongst others. Delirious from maximum bass intake and delicious German beers, the campers and clinicians departed back to their respective corners of the world, happy to be a part of the Warwick family, and looking forward to next year.