Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Ibanez 1915 Hollowbody Bass

This is the first in a series of posts about my bass guitars. I have been playing the bass for close to 20 years. I am not a great bass player, but I do enjoy a good session.

My father bought my my first bass guitar back in the late 80's. I don't know how much did he pay for it, but I can guess that it was a cheap-ish one. It was an old (I didn't know how old then!) Ibanez 1915 bass guitar.

According to the blue book of electric guitars, it was a model based on the Yamaha SA-70 bass with a semi-hollow symmetrical double cut-away body, with two f holes, bolt-on neck, 22 fret rosewood fingerboard that was manufactured between 1971 and 1973. It came in 2 colours, mine is sunburst red.

Thanks to the magic of the internet, and the excellent work of some hard-core fans, I was able to find all of these details, including a picture of the original catalogue from 1971. (The picture was originally hosted n the new ibanezwiki - At some stage I am hoping to upload some pictures of my bass. It is still in good shape, the sound is incredibly deep and warm, and it is a joy to play. One neat feature, is that it has a fret 0!

Unfortunately it is not in perfect shape. The pickguard and bridge cover are missing, one of the pick-ups is busted (I'm trying to get a new one), the bridge is a bit rusty, and I am not sure if it is a "feature" or bad design, but the neck seems to be a bit sunk into the body, which makes it difficult to use the higher frets on the 1st string.

When I got the bass originally, it came with Nylon covered black strings, which made the sound really dull. I am using it with flatwound strings at the moment to get a nice warm sound out of it.

The bass is the second from left to right in the picture. I will try to post pictures of mine at some stage.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Fish live at the Sugar Club - March 2008

Last Wednesday I was lucky enough to see Fish. For those of you that don't know who Fish is, he used to be the lead singer in Marillion. More info as always on the wikipedia

Now, I have been a Marillion fan for over 20 years, and have seen them live a good few times, but nothing could have prepared me for the almost cult like devotion of some of his fans. This obviously made the concert even better. The gig was delayed a while as there had been an electrical issue. The tension outside was palpable, and it reminded me of the first time I went to a gig when I was in my teens. But we are talking grown ups here that had seen this man a few times! Make no mistake about it, I am sad enough o have been there early enough to get a sit on the front row, buy the special edition CD from the merchandise table, and get a copy of the setlist at the end of the show. But I was amazed by the fact that the hardcore fans knew every single lyric, even for the new songs.

Eventually Fish himself came out and explained what had happened and that there would be a short delay but that the gig would go ahead.

I personally prefer he Steve Hogarth Marillion, so I was not sure whether I would like the show or not. I shouldn't have worried, the show was fantastic! Fish played a lot of songs from Clutching at Straws and a good few songs from his new album 13th Star. I have been listening to 13th Star since Wednesday, and I have to say that I like it! Check it out

If you have never been to the Sugar Club, I have to say that t it is a very interesting place. It is a small club for perhaps 200 people. The main entrance is on the side of the stage. There is a real intimate atmosphere, and makes for a great experience if you are into the music as you can almost touch it.

The quality of the music was superb, and the performances were even better. I was quite impressed with Steve Vantsis the bass player. He played a couple of 5 string Spector basses which I hadn't seen in years. What struck me when the group came out was that they didn't look like rock stars. They all looked like musicians who were enjoying the music, and playing together. The full line up was:
  • Fish - Vocals
  • Frank Usher - Guitars
  • Steve Vantsis - Bass
  • Foss Paterson - Keyboards
  • Gavin John Griffiths - Drums
  • Chris Johnson - Guitars
There are a few pictures of the gig in Fish's website.

And finally the setlist, mind you, they didn't play the last encore because people came down and effectively blocked the stage. I am sure a lot of them would have been gutted if they knew!

Until next time!