Lowdown: March 2013

AS WE PUT THIS ISSUE TO BED, WE’RE TUNING OUR GAZE SOUTH TO ANAHEIM, WHICH will once again play host to the slap-and-shred fest that is the NAMM Show.
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BRIAN FOX AS WE PUT THIS ISSUE TO BED, WE’RE TUNING OUR GAZE SOUTH TO ANAHEIM, WHICH will once again play host to the slap-and-shred fest that is the NAMM Show. We’re beginning to hear bits and pieces about cool upcoming gear releases—and we got some sneak peeks at Bass Player LIVE!—but we’re champing at the bit to get down there to press the flesh and pick up on industry trends.

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In the last 10 years I’ve actually been paying attention to this stuff , and there have been a few trends of the type that refuse to be ignored—neodymium speaker cabinets and Class D amplifiers come to mind. In the past two years, digital manipulation of hardware, whether in the case of Ernie Ball’s Game Changer pickup switching system or TC Electronic’s TonePrint programmable pedals, seems to be a trend that continues to pick up steam. Thinking globally, manufacturers are finding ways to tighten quality control in off shore facilities, bringing costs down while elevating quality. Meanwhile, economists are predicting a boom in domestic manufacturing. What does it all mean? I’m sure I don’t know. But you can bet I’ll by trying to find out.

In the meantime, dig in and enjoy this issue of BP. Up front, we continue to mine all the gold deposited at this year’s Bass Player LIVE!. In the Feature well, we catch up with Andy Fraser and Ben Shepherd, two players that by all our metrics deserve major props for their contributions to two very different branches of the rock & roll family tree. In Soundroom, we take a look at six sweet new stompboxes. In the Woodshed, we’ve got three killer columns by some of the best bass teachers in the biz. And in Transcription land, Chris Jisi connects with Marcus Miller and Sekou Bunch to get inside “Funkin’ For Jamaica (N.Y.)” a tune that'll get your booty shakin’ like it's 1980. See you on the other side!

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