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As the editor of not one but two magazines devoted to the mighty bass guitar, I’m asked on a regular basis if I think that the bass movement is progressing or stagnating. It’s an interesting question, and highly relevant because we bass players have such particular regard for the pioneers of our sound from half a century ago. The answer is clear to me, though – we as an industry of players and gear-makers are moving rapidly and purposefully into the future, with eyes and minds wide open.
Look at this issue’s cover star Tal Wilkenfeld as the perfect example of this progression. She’s young, supremely talented and driven, of course, but then so are dozens of other bass players that you or I could name. What defines Wilkenfeld is her understanding of where bass is at and what it means. Do bass frequencies need to come from a bass guitar? Similarly, do bass guitars need to emit low frequencies? It’s not so much that there is a right answer to these questions; what’s more important is to be aware that these questions can, and should, be asked. She’s heading into the future of bass, and we’re right there with her.
At the same time, we take pride in saluting the bass greats who made all this forward motion possible. Veterans of our world such as Guy Pratt, Nick Beggs, Bjorn Meyer and Jens Ritter rub shoulders in this issue with relative newcomers such as Bobby Wooten and Sonia Nusselder. In our gear reviews, we salute the resolutely retro Danelectro 64 and Rickenbacker 4002 just as passionately as we road-test forward-thinking products from Yamaha, Sadowsky and Electro-Harmonix. In our world-class bass education section, our Trio Of Doom of tutors – Stuart Hamm, Steve Lawson, Phil Mann and Stu Clayton – cover old-school techniques such as muting just as effectively as modern tapping.
You see my point. Bass is going forward and we’re going with it. See you in April!
Joel McIver, Editor