The 2015 Warwick Bass Camp is going on now from August 31st to September 4th at Warwick Headquarters in Markneukirchen, Germany. Bass Player Magazine's own Jonathan Herrera made the journey out to cover the event and bring you the inside scoop on all of the action taking place.
How many bass players you know can tell a story about the time they backed up Ray Charles on Bill Cosby's show playing Quincy Jones arrangements? One. Chuck Rainey.
Whip-smart and a pocket that just won't quit. Divinity does rock.
Even the teachers come to the Warwick Bass Camp to learn. Just ask Alphonso Johnson.
The Warwick Music Hall is responsible for some beautifully eccentric all-star jams. Here Andy Irvine joins Wolfgang Schmid and Antonella Schmid on a bass-heavy stage.
One of the cool things about the Bass Camp is the openness Warwick has to the bass community in general, regardless if they play Warwick. They also keep a gorgeous collection of other basses on hand for reference.
No German venue would be complete without a place to buy beer.
The process for getting this chrome finish was explained to me in broken English, but basically you spray something on something else and then it turns shiny. I think.
Brother, can you spare a tuner?
This is what makes basses these days. A CNC program is in the middle of cranking out a new Warwick body.
Mmm. Ice shakes.
You know you're in the midst of a cool experience when you watch Felix Pastorius play the Fender modeled after his dad's bass.
A glove-less Etienne Mbappe.
Not as well known in the States, Helmut Hattler is one of Germany's foremost pick stylists.
Given how hard it is to get effectively caffeinated in rural Germany, was glad to start my day at Jonas Hellborg's lovely house. The cappuccino was as good as the bass.
This is what music camps are all about. Random serendipitous moments of music. Like this jam I had with my old pal Kai Eckhardt.
Ryan Martinie had excellent insights into breaking out of the creative rut.
Most of the Warwick Bass Camp nighttime activities happen in the "Musik Halle," a purpose-built performance space for the camp and more.
Bass porn so ubiquitous at Warwick, you almost feel dirty.
Some spalted maple Streamer top blanks.
Wood. Lots of hot wood.
The ever-tasty Rhonda Smith helped her class unlock pentatonics' potential.
Scary looking machines that make things and/or take over the world.
Remember what I said about all that wood?
One of the instrument's true raconteurs, Lee Sklar told many an amazing tale.
Unbeknownst to many Americans, Warwick is one of Europe's largest distributors of other companies' products. Here we see a smattering of Pigtronix effects.
Source Audio is another of Warwick's major distribution clients.
Alphonso Johnson helped unravel the ever-tricky duple-over-triple feel common to African music.
The local version of "Mexican" left something for this Mexican to be desired.
The Warwick factory showroom is chock full of shiny, desirable things. Sort of like a bass jewelry story.
Bay Area-based badass Kai Eckhardt schools his class on the mysteries of polyrhythms. His fluency in German and English was a big help.
Gary Willis focused on the importance of developing good ears. He says you should be available to visualize the geometry (physical shape) of any interval you hear.
Bobby Vega's wide-ranging masterclass touched on nearly every aspect of bass playing, from tone to time to technique. As usual, his stupefying pick technique blew many minds.
Ah, the joys of a visit to a bass factory. Paralyzed by options.
A particularly colorful example of Warwick's extensive custom work.
A stack of bodies fresh out of the CNC machine.
Prior to going into the CNC router, bodies are rough cut and outlined.
If you want perfectly consistent contours, CNC is the way to go. Here a pin-router carves gentle curves into a rougher-cut body.
Bobby Vega and Stu Hamm "hamm" it up before "jam" class.
Steve Bailey leading a class in an arrangement of "Watermelon Man" that'll be debuted at the weekend concert.
The arrangement starts to come to life.
Bobby Vega gets down the way only he can, with Andy Irvine providing excellent support.