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BassLab Seminar / Open House Report

Our first BassLab Open House is now history! The event was held on the afternoon of Saturday April 24, 2004, at the Beechwood Golf Club in the Niagara area of Southern Ontario.

Attendees got quite a treat, since it was the largest gathering of BassLab instruments in North America! There were eight BassLabs, two each of the main models (STD-V, L-BOW-V, SOUL-IV, and C-GUITAR), plus two new Chapman Stick® XBL36™ tapping instruments.

Open House instruments
From left to right: SOUL-IV bass in "Woody" gloss with soundholes, STD-V bass in Imperial Blue, SOUL-IV bass in British Racing Green satin with soundholes, L-BOW-V bass in Satin Silver metallic, L-BOW-V bass in Black gloss, Stick XBL36 in Imperial Blue with black fretboard, Stick XBL36 in Satin Silver, STD-GUITAR in Red Melon metallic, STD-GUITAR in Signal Orange. Missing from this photo is the STD-V in Satin Silver metallic with soundholes.
Photo courtesy of Rob Schafrick.

The two STD-V models and one of the L-BOW basses had the new BassLab custom strings on them. These stainless steel strings have a special extended taper (bare core) over the bridge on the D, A, E, and low B strings. One attendee was heard to exclaim "the sound leaps off the bass!"

Four of the five instruments pictured here (plus four others) were at the Open House. The colours in this image are pretty accurate.

From left to right:
  • L-BOW-V bass in Black gloss with two soapbar humbucker pickups.
  • STD-V bass in Imperial Blue, two pickups.
  • STD-GUITAR in Red Melon metallic. Seymour Duncan pickups.
  • STD-VI bass in Deep Cranberry Pearlcoat. This 35" scale custom bass was made for a player in New York state.
  • L-BOW-V bass in Satin Silver metallic with three pickups.
This photo was taken shortly before the Open House.
L-BOW-V, STD-V, STD-GUITAR, STD-VI 35, L-BOW-V

On stage at the Open House, Greg Holmes showed off the features of each of the instruments. Here's a quick run-through.

STD

STD-V bass Imperial Blue pearl - This bass is a 5 string headless with the BassXX preamp, 2 pickups, black hardware, and is strung with the new light gauge custom strings (G to low B 035/050/070/095/125). The controls are: vol#1/mute, vol#2, treble/bass/passive, mid amount, mid frequency. The "mid tuned" composite material of this bass, combined with medium action height, provides a tight, punchy sound, which is excellent for fingerstyle playing. This bass was reviewed by Bass Inside magazine, and received 5 out of 5 stars. picture (17KB) Second from left in the photo above.

STD

STD-V bass Satin Silver metallic - This 5 string headless bass has soundholes, the BassXX preamp, 2 pickups, and black hardware. It is currently tuned high C to low E, using the standard gauges of the custom strings (030/040/060/080/100). The controls are: vol#1/mute, vol#2/passive, treble/bass, mid amount, mid frequency. For a change, the passive switch is located on the second volume, not on the treble/bass control. The composite body material is slightly lighter than the blue STD-V. Along with the soundholes, this gives the instrument a subtle smoothness in the mids. The action is set low, making this bass a killer tapping machine. picture (17KB) picture (50KB)

L-BOW

L-BOW-V bass Black gloss - This 5 string bass has the BassXX preamp, 2 pickups, and black hardware. The controls are: vol#1/mute, vol#2, treble/bass/passive, mid amount, mid frequency. Non-taper-core strings are installed on this bass, which is tuned G to low B (040/060/080/102/126). This bass sounds and looks great for rock, and of course works fantastically in other styles. The neck pickup is in the "sweet spot", and you can use the bridge pickup to dial in some funk. This bass was used at AccuGroove as a reference bass. On the left in the photo above.

L-BOW

L-BOW-V bass Satin Silver metallic - This bass is a 5 string with the DaCapo preamp, 3 pickups, and black hardware. There are 3 strap pin locations on the back side of the bow, providing balance options for different playing styles. The bass has the new custom "Signature Set" strings (G to B 035/050/070/095/130), with remarkably balanced tensions across all strings (nearly identical number of turns on the headless tuning system to bring them up to pitch). Three pickups with individual volumes, the "low bow", and low action combine to make this a very flexible bass. picture (16KB) On the right in the photo above.

SOUL

SOUL-IV bass British Racing Green satin - This bass is a 4 string with the BassXX preamp, 2 pickups, soundholes, and black and chrome hardware. The clearcoat has a classy satin finish, rather than the usual gloss. The controls are standard: vol#1/mute, vol#2, treble/bass/passive, mid amount, mid frequency. The entire instrument has a very precise feel about it, with the crisp fretboard edges and the trussrod in the hollow neck. The bridge is recessed into the top of the body for a lower profile. This gives a more consistent feel across the strings for slap and pop. This bass appeals to traditional players, of course, but is still lightweight. This bass was in the hands of Polo Jones who toured with Zuccherro. picture (69KB)

SOUL

SOUL-IV bass "Woody" gloss - This 4 string bass includes the BassXX preamp, 2 pickups, standard controls, soundholes, and gold hardware. The finish is a special hand-painted "wood" effect, with a gloss clearcoat. The front surface of the bass is thinner than normal, for a more acoustic tone. This, combined with the lack of trussrod, makes this bass lighter and richer in tone than many other Soul basses. What you hear is the pure sound of the amazing BassLab tuned composite material. The low action makes this bass very easy to play. picture (18KB) picture (90KB)

C-GUITAR

STD-G guitar Red Melon metallic - This guitar has 2 Seymour Duncan "Screaming Demon" pickups, Schaller bridge, 25 frets, and black hardware. The punchy mid-range tone is quite evident, and is the result of the "arch top" STD design. Each pickup has itís own volume, tone control, and mute switch. In addition, there is a switch to put the pickups out of phase to each other. This configuration was created for maximum flexibility in the studio. picture (11KB) In the middle in the photo above.

C-GUITAR

STD-G guitar Signal Orange gloss - This guitar has 2 EMG active pickups, tune-o-matic bridge, 24 frets, and black hardware. The controls are laid out in a very popular configuration, for easy live playing: volume, tone, and three-position pickup selector switch. The upper horn is a bit shorter than normal, and there are some other small changes in the shape. A Fender tech with Limp Bizkit in a studio in France called this guitar the most aggressive and best sound for metal he had ever heard. picture (15KB) picture (33KB) picture (45KB) picture (48KB)

Greg Holmes and Glenn Poorman at the Open House
Glenn Poorman on Chapman Stick and loops, with Greg Holmes on e-drums at the Open House.
Photo courtesy of Rob Schafrick.

The BassLab instruments were demonstrated on the very clear Acoustic Image Clarus amps.

During the stage presentation, Greg told the story of how he got BassLab of Germany and Stick Enterprises of California together to collaborate on the new Chapman Stick XBL36 extended scale tapping instrument. Prototypes #1 (Satin Silver) and #4 (Imperial Blue with black fretboard) were at the Open House. Besides the different finishes, the headstocks are different, with p#1 having an experimental tilt-back headstock, while p#4 has the traditional flat headstock. Also there are small differences in the composite body material between the two prototypes.

Glenn Poorman at the All Star Grill
Glenn Poorman playing his Chapman Stick at the All Star Grill.

The Stick XBL36 development process provided a unique opportunity for Heiko Hoepfinger to run some tests comparing his tuned mixed composite material with wood. Until now, there have obviously been no instruments shaped like BassLab instruments :-), making it quite hard to perform a direct comparison of just the body materials.

Jason Brock at the All Star Grill
Jason Brock on Chapman Stick at the All Star.

The development of the Stick XBL36 has made it possible to eliminate other variables, since the Stick XBL36 has the same external measurements and hardware as previous Sticks. This leaves only the body material as the difference. Frequency and impulse tests showed that the BassLab tuned mixed composite really does respond faster and with better frequency distribution than wood. This is something that players have always "felt", but now the hard proof is there. Read the test results.

For more on the BassLab Open House, visit Rob's page.

Glenn Poorman of Detroit demonstrated the Stick XBL36 at the Open House, and made some great music at the show later in the day at the ALL STAR Tap & Grillhouse. The draw for a coupon worth US$150 off a new BassLab instrument was won by Jason Brock from North Bay! Jason also played a set or two at night, showing off his wonderful tone on the melody side of his Stick. The show was recorded, both audio and video, with Greg Holmes acting as MC (and opening act).

We're now planning our next BassLab Open House, and we're taking it on the road! If you want us to come to your area, contact us.


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Main  |  STD
STD
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 |  ·Prices·
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 |  ·Sounds·
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 |  NEW!
·In The Lab·
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 |
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Call us toll-free at 1-866-666-7858. We accept VISA, Mastercard, and other payment methods.

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