Lowdown: May 2013

I COULD GO ON FOR PAGES AND AGES ON THE THINGS I LOVE ABOUT LIVING IN THE SAN Francisco Bay Area—the climate, the landscape, the musical heritage.
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BRIAN FOX I COULD GO ON FOR PAGES AND AGES ON THE THINGS I LOVE ABOUT LIVING IN THE SAN Francisco Bay Area—the climate, the landscape, the musical heritage. And though the foggy mellow of the heady, Dead-y Haight has long since harshed, the funk of the East Bay Grease pumping out of Oakland has dissipated, and the torrent of Dookie and Pork Soda gushing from the streets of Berkeley has slowed, there’s still a healthy community of players hard at work here. I like to think of myself as a productive member of that society.

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Somewhat luckily, the Bay Area and its outer reaches are home to some of the best in instrument manufacturing, as well. There’s Dunlop/MXR in Benicia; Gallien-Krueger in Stocton; Zon Guitars in Redwood City (city motto: “Climate Best By Government Test”); Mesa Engineering, Kala, and Reunion Blues in Petaluma; Dean Markley in Santa Clara; EMG Pickups and Alembic Guitars in Santa Rosa; Modulus Guitars in Richmond; Rick Turner/Renaissance Guitars in Santa Cruz; Monster Cable in Brisbane, Mono Cases in Larkspur. . . . The list goes on.

I recently had the good fortune to spend a day working up in the North Bay at EMG Pickups. It was actually personal business that brought me there; my band was looking for a facility to record a video demo for our EPK (Electronic Press Kit), and EMG happens to have one of the best facilities in the vicinity. Like so many other manufacturers savvy enough to realize the importance of social media—YouTube, in particular—EMG has gone big, investing in a full-featured, stand-alone studio complete with multi-track audio capabilities and no fewer than seven broadcast-quality video cameras.

The nature of any kind of studio work is that there’s often an awful lot of downtime. If I were to focus that day on the task at hand—playing my best for the session—I would have spent those hours of setup prep woodshedding and warming up, maybe taking a few minutes to tame my ever-growing, ever-greying beard (which is still a far piece from Sklar-land, but is closing in on Grizzly Adams territory.) But as the firewall that once separated my personal and professional personae has eroded to the thickness of cheesecloth, the scale of EMG’s operation soon got me thinking about BP and its ROI vis-à-vis B2C DM via SM, etc., IYKWIM.

In other words, I started musing on the role of video for what was once merely a print product and is now a growing network of Twitter handles, Facebook profiles, Instagram feeds, YouTube channels, you name it. I’ve always considered myself to have a face for radio and a voice for print, so the prospect of stepping from behind the keyboard to in front of the camera feels foreign. But in talking with friends and neighbors at EMG and Dunlop, who both do this sort of thing extremely well, I’ve come to better understand the value of virtual face time. So in the coming months, I’ll be looking to grow that video branch of the big and beautiful Bass Player family tree. It’ll be a work in progress, so I’m relying on you to let me know what you want. Product demos and lesson content seem like no-brainers, but is there anything else you’d want to see? The first step is to subscribe to our new YouTube channel at youtube.com/bassplayermag. Then sound off . It’s easy. It’s free. It’s what we need to get this thing rolling.

As for the demo video that sparked this train of thought, we’ve got lots of editing to do before I’ll know what we have. I have complete faith that the man behind the camera, EMG’s in-house director Jeff Brockman (who happens to be a badass drummer) knocked it out of the park. What happened in front of the camera remains to be seen. But I promise to put it out there, warts and all. And I’d encourage everyone to do the same with their various projects. The beautiful thing about YouTube is that it’s an easy—and again, free—place to learn and share. I’ll see you there.

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