Mar 22 2015

Pimping My Bass With John East, Part I

*** Geek Alert!! Non-bassists might find this post a bit boring but I don’t care ***                                            *** Brace yourselves boys and girls!! ***

Happy Sunday folks!

I had a show with Clare Teal last night in Lichfield and thought it would be the ideal opportunity to pop in to see John East to have one of his Marcus Retro preamps fitted to my Japanese Fender Marcus Miller bass. I’m so excited about the results I had to tell you all about it!!

John East March 2015 #2

All bassists know of electronics wizard John East, particularly his fantastic J-Retro preamp that has been around for years. I’ve read numerous rave reviews from bassist all over the world about John’s preamps so when I saw him on his stand at this year’s London Bass Guitar Show I sidled up for a quick chat.

John has developed a preamp specifically for the Fender Marcus Miller bass and I got to try one out on John Bird‘s Marcus bass at a filming session for iBass Magazine about a month ago. I was blown away by the range of tones available and thought it was about time I gave my Marcus bass a bit of love as It has been slightly relegated by my two P-basses over the last couple of years.

So having had Martin give it a fretstone at The Gallery in Camden last week I took the bass over to John East so I could have him fit the preamp himself. What a treat!

John East March 2015 #1

John’s Marcus Retro preamp is based on his famous J-Retro circuit, but the “bass and treble contours are voiced to be similar to the preamp that Marcus uses. Two versions are available, with and without control plate“. So iyou can fit it in any jazz-style bass but if you have the Marcus signature it comes with a matching faceplate from Fender so you can pop it right in.

My Marcus bass now has one volume knob stacked on the blend knob (way better than the standard jazz two knob scenario), stacked bass & treble, stacked sweepable mid and tone with a switch to lock the pickup selector if necessary. There’s also handy push/pull functions to switch between active and passive modes and bright boost. Such a delight!

It feels like I know have four basses in one! The tonal range available now is incredible. I can now can a beautiful p-like subby fat tone (even with roundwounds) alongside all the usual classic jazz bass sounds. And an improved Marcus Miller slaptastic twang, obviously!

Marcus Miller Bass John East preamp

If you got one of these basses, just get one of these preamps! Don’t even think about it. Just get one. I’ve been thinking about selling this bass for years as I rarely use it but now I can see this becoming one of my busiest basses. Seriously. Just go get one…

So, what’s next? you may ask yourselves. Well, I also took along my trusty Warwick Triumph bass (yup, I left London with a carload of gear!), which John had a look at and he’s now designing a similar preamp to fit this bass. It’s be going to be based on the Marcus Retro but without the tone knob and with a voicing aimed specifically at the Triumph. John has a stomp box version of this preamp; I tried the Triumph through it and it sounded fantastic. Hoping to get that fitted sometime next week.

I’ll let you know how it goes and post some more pics!


Mar 28 2013

Gear For Sale!! Danelectro Dano ’63 Bass

Hello folks

Just a quick post to let you know about a bass I’m currently looking to sell.

It’s my trusty Danelectro Dano ’63 bass. The one I used with Duke Special for a few festivals and at the Shanghai World Expo. It hasn’t been used that much though and is in pretty near perfect condition.

Here’s some bumpf about the bass:

The Danelectro Dano 63 Short Scale Length offer heavy retro vibe in a 30-inch scale length bass guitar with a unique and versatile sound!

Based on the Silvertone 1457 guitar which Danelectro produced in 1963 for Sear-Roebuck department store in America, the Danelectro Dano 63 Limited Edition Short Scale bass guitar features several improvements over the originals. The Dano 63 Short Scale Bass uses a plywood frame with pressed wood back and front rather than the masonite found on the original, an adjustable bridge rather than the wooded original, and sturdier tuners. The hollowed non-contoured body is light and comfortable, and adds a bit of top end to the bass tones.

The Danelectro Dano 63 Short Scale Bass guitar features two lipstick style Alnico single-coil pickups, volume and tone pots, and 3-way toggle pickup selector switches.

  • Body: Plywood frame with pressed-wood top and back.

  • Neck: Maple.

  • Fingerboard: Rosewood.

  • Pickup: Danelectro single-coil lipstick

  • Controls: Volume, tone.

  • Nut: Aluminum.

  • Scale: 30-inch.

  • Weight: 6.5 lbs.

  • Colour: Red Burst.

I’m looking for about £180 for the bass. It’s currently got flats on it and comes with a soft case. I’ll even throw in a thin leather strap (you need a thin strap for this bass as the strap button is rather awkwardly placed). It sounds great and is so lightweight you’d hardly know you were playing it. Here it is in action at the Beautiful Days Festival a couple of years ago…

Simon Little with Dano '63

If you’re interested in this bass either let me know in the comments or contact me via the contact form above or via Twitter. I’m currently trying to scale down the amount of gear I’ve got and this one just doesn’t get played now I have my new Fender Precision. If you know anyone who might be interested, do pass on the link.

Cheers!


Oct 12 2012

Gear Clearout Alert!!!

Hello folks,

Just a quick post to let the bassists and guitarists among you know about a couple of bits of gear I have just posted up on eBay for sale.

First is my Lexicon MPX G2 guitar effects processor and R1 midi controller. This is the processor I used to create all the sounds on my first album Mandala (CD’s still available by the way… hint hint). And those of you familiar with Steve Lawson (aka the mighty @solobasssteve), this is the unit he uses for all his solo bass work. It’s a great piece of kit and they are pretty hard to come by, especially here in the UK. Here’s the link…

Lexicon MPXG2/R1 Controller

The second offering is my beloved Warwick ProTube IX bass amp. I bought this from a guy who got it from Cass Lewis from Skunk Anansie. It sounds absolutely amazing and has been my backup amp for a couple of years. I’m attempting to scale down my bass rigs at the moment and this is just a bit too hefty for my usual requirements so I’m letting it go. The fan is a bit loud once it’s revved up and the little W light doesn’t light up anymore but these are minor issues. The amp works a treat. And it’s essentially 1000 watts. Which is rather powerful folks. Here’s the link…

Warwick ProTube IX

Happy bidding folks!

I’ll be at Nolia’s 11 on Stamford Street, Waterloo tonight 9-12 with the Alex Hutton Trio if you’re about. Hopefully see some of you there.

Until next time…