I hate active electronics. It’s not that they don’t serve a purpose, they just don’t serve a purpose for me. I play death metal and run everything through distortion, so actives are pretty pointless. I’m not looking for clarity in tone, I’m overdriving everything. Unfortunately, any new gear seems to be marketed with active preamps and pickups and a bunch of bullshit that’s going to fail on me. Such was the case with my OTHERWISE excellent LTD GB-4 bass guitar.
We went on tour in October of 2021 and this bass failed on me two separate times live (and in front of some lovely looking people i was trying to impress). The GB-4 comes with a Seymour Duncan STC-3M3 active tone circuit to compliment the passive Seymour Duncan SSB-4 soapbar humbuckers and it also eats batteries like a mother fucker. Once we’d figured that out after it died on me twice on stage, i was replacing batteries every 4-5 days. Also on stage, something happened to the active treble and bass combo knob, and i had to tape it in place so it wouldn’t crackle. Embarassing. I was done with it. This bullshit active electronics package was going to be ripped out and I was going to piss all over it.
Membership has its privileges. I got a new LTD bass from ESP for playing in Exhumed. While I have a couple ESP basses, they are tuned to D for other bands. So, on the last Exhumed tour, I had to drag my old B.C. Rich Ironbird out of retirement because it was tuned to B standard (and looked cool). Exhumed is sponsored by ESP, though. That’s largely just because Matt Harvey is, like, you know… Matt Harvey. He pulled some strings and Tony at ESP made sure we’d all be repping proper for our upcoming tours.
Yeah, that’s the bass I chose. I like the body style a lot; it looks like a Fender P-bass and a Gibson Thunderbird got together and fucked. And yeah, I chose “seafoam” green, or as I like to call it, “doktor” green. Or as I also like to call it, “maybe this metal thing won’t pan out after playing for 26 years and I’d like something that wouldn’t look inappropriate covering dad-rock at a bar” green. In any case, it came tuned to E standard and I needed it in B. So in lieu of hiring someone to do it, I did my own down and dirty intonation on this bad boy.
Wow, that is something I thought I’d never see… a NEW Ampeg V-4B. While I was doing a search for something else related to my OLD V-4B, I came across the press that this month, Ampeg has re-introduced my favorite all time bass amp back into their line-up. Ain’t she a beaut!
It’s funny that they’ve recreated the V-4B, as the original was a guitar amp. They added the B when bass players started using it, changed a few caps, and ditched the reverb. As a guitar amp, it ruled, but as a bass amp, it surprisingly ruled even harder.
Musical instruments, good ones, are often compared to one’s children. Well, how many children are thrown in a case, plucked, hammered on, plugged into, or hanged? Don’t answer that. (Please, really, don’t.) Without these precious musical items, though, it’s hard to call oneself a musician. That is, lest ye fortunate to have the talent of Susan Boyle (hopefully not the face). My favorite, my child, my baby, my fifth limb… my B.C. Rich Ironbird. This thing is a mother fucker.
It’s an American made (or at least assembled, I dunno) classic, with the big “R” inlay on the headstock indicating its origin in the land of the free. Birthed sometime around THIRTY FUCKING YEARS AGO, it’s got neck-through construction, a rosewood fretboard, and a simple one-knob configuration. Because metal don’t need a fucking tone knob. I scored it over a decade ago at a used-music shop in San Jose for a meager $300, during a period where “metal” was a dirty word and Prodigy was the band of the future (where are they know?). It’s been with me on countless tours and tons of recordings.