Pedal Power!

Pedal boards and the electric bass

I know, it's a mess, but it's not finished!

It’s something I’ve always thought would be cool, but in the every day sideman world, effects pedals have little or no application for the bass. I have vivid memories of being 13 years old and running my Fender Precision through my dad’s Cry Baby wha wha pedal and having fun– by myself in the spare bedroom. Try pulling that out on a gig. You had better have a vision of how it fits into the music! Well, I’m older now, and I’ve realized that if you want to get crazy with the pedals, all you have to do is form a band and write music with the pedals in mind. Easy! READ MORE

Ground Hum Got You Down?

I love a good problem, especially when I’m actually able to figure it out AND it doesn’t involve my stereo. You can imagine my dismay when my stereo developed a loud ground hum after I had an electrician install two dedicated AC lines.

I was all excited to fire up the system that first night and listen to music that was un-muddied by all the noise running through the 60 year old circuit that I was using to power my fancy stereo. There are only two circuits for the 2nd floor of my house, which was built in 1942. In addition to lights, my stereo was also sharing the juice with a fan, TV, Tivo DVR, and a computer. All of these appliances introduce a little noise into the AC flow. You may not be able to notice it if you’re listing to music through a Bose Wave radio or similar entry level stereo, but you can definitely hear that gook in my fancy-schmancy system that I’ve put together over the last five years! READ MORE

My Earplug Odyssey

I have been a fan of earplugs for a long time, but it wasn’t until I lost my custom moulded pair that I reflected on my long term relationship with these little silicone live savers.

I’ve been playing gigs since I was about 14 years old, but it wasn’t until I went on the road with Maynard Ferguson that I realized it was time to fill in ye olde ear holes. I vividly remember my first rehearsal with Maynard. We were set up in an empty hotel room in Indiana. Two saxes, three trumpets, trombone, piano, bass, drums, and Maynard. Now, if you’re not familiar with trumpet players, they can really hurt their lips if they can’t hear themselves properly. That being the case, Maynard was playing into a microphone which was being piped though two stage monitors at his feet. You heard me right. I was standing three feet from the legendary Maynard Ferguson, in a small room, whilst he played double Cs into a PA system! READ MORE

Your Luthier and You. How’s the Happy Couple?

Just how important is the relationship between bassist and luthier?

A friend of mine from England had a great idea for a research paper. He thought it would be interesting to interview a few luthiers and bass players to get their idea of what they thought about the relationship between a luthier and a bassist.

The interviewer is a nice bassist from London England named Greg Cordez (picture on the right), who interviewed Barrie Kolstein (USA), Martin Penning (UK), and myself (da Bronx).

When Greg told me about the idea, I thought it was an amazing thing to research. Just last year in Argentina I spent a good 20 minutes of a master class telling everyone that they need to learn what to ask for from their luthiers, but it never occurred to me to actually write out my thoughts. I’d like to give a HUGE thank you to Greg for actually following though with this and letting me publish an excerpt of it here on my blog. I hope he keeps the ball rolling, since this is such an important topic that often gets overlooked by bassists. READ MORE

My New Music Store – What is HD Audio??

I’m excited to finally be able to add digital downloads to my new music store! Why is that exciting, you ask? Well, in addition to your usual industry standard MP3 download, I can now offer 96K-24bit downloads, which sound a whole heck of a lot better than compressed MP3s or even a CD! READ MORE

Welcome to My New Website!

Hello world! That’s what I’ve been staring at for the last two weeks while I’ve been designing my new website. Thank’s to the miracle of the WordPress, which is an unbelievably powerful open source blogging code, I’ll be able to bring a whole new level of usability to this site!

First off, you’ll notice a whole new level of shopping experience. Gone are the old clumsy PayPal buttons scattered around the site, grouping bundled packages. Now you can simply select what ever item you’d like, be it CD, download, or book, and check out when you’re ready. I can even offer discounts for buying multiple items! If you by a LaFaro book and any of my personal CDs, you can enter the coupon code BOOKANDCD during checkout to receive $5 off of your order.

The site may be 99% complete in terms of functionality, but now I have to focus on adding content. I receive a lot of questions from people all over the world about everything from bass strings to turntables. It seemed like a good idea to finally add a blog to my website so I can share my answers with everyone (and only have to type them once!)

I have some long term ideas for the site as well. I’m beginning to write a method book based on all of the ideas I talk about in my master classes, so I was thinking of adding a subscription based area of the website for video tutorials and resources. Until then, I’m beginning to accept students via Skype, which has been working out great.

I’m still working out the bugs, so please bear with me whist I work out the bugs. If you have any problems with the site, please don’t hesitate to let me know!

Thanks for visiting!

–Phil