Review: Dunlop Super Bright Nickel Wound Bass Strings

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that you can improve on such good things.

I’ve been using the original Dunlop Nickel Wound Bass Strings just about since they hit the market a few years ago. It was an easy relationship. They were never too harsh right when I put them on the bass and they lasted a ton of time in a nice, thumpy tone space. Honestly, they were the right tone I needed for the warm R&B tone that I like. I found myself not really being all that compelled to change bass strings as often as I normally do. Smooth sailing.

Earlier this year, I was chatting with my contact at Dunlop and he asked if I wanted to try out some of the new Super Bright Bass Strings that they were making since I was already getting a package from them anyway. I said sure, but the catch was that at the time, there was no set for a .40 G-string.

A few months passed and I was left with the Super Brights that weren’t my preferred gauge as the only set I had to put on my Fodera Emperor 5. In the time they sat on the shelf, I started to read some really great endorsements of what they were doing for the tone of players like Janek Gwizdala and Steve Jenkins. Especially with the promise of lower tension, I figured I would give them a shot.

I’m awfully glad I did.

From the minute I put these strings on, there was a world of difference in my playing, both physically and aurally. The Dunlop website lists just a few main factors of the Super Bright Bass Strings, and they’re all true. I’ll go ahead and go by them one by one.

The first item there is to evaluate is the promise of clear, defined highs and fat, balanced lows. Both of these are absolutely true. The lows are fully reminiscent of the original Dunlop strings, which were one of the huge advantages of that string. The highs definitely have a much better cut than the originals, with a fantastic singing quality. The one part that I’m definitely noticing is that there’s a fantastic growl in the midrange that really helps cut through the mix on stage. It’s like putting a MusicMan position pickup on your bass in the form of a string.

The next item that the Super Bright Bass Strings give you is lighter string tension. This is a huge upgrade from the original Dunlop string. I mentioned earlier that those strings were good for the R&B tone that I was trying to achieve. I think a big part of that is that the original strings were really tight, much more like a set of flatwounds. The Super Brights move around a ton and get intense for me even when I’m not digging in that hard.

The last bullet point Dunlop wants you to know about these strings is that they’ll respond much better to playing nuance. One major advantage to this feature goes back to the discussion of string gauge I had earlier. I’ve never really felt like a .45 G set of string felt good on my Fodera. No set from any brand felt like it captured the nuance and sing of the bass the way a .40 G set did, specifically the light strings that used to be Victor Wooten set from Fodera themselves. When I put the Super Brights on my bass, I didn’t notice the difference in string gauge at all and I still don’t.

In total, the new Super Bright Bass Strings from Dunlop are about as good as you can get in modern bass strings. Furthermore, these strings are a testament to the R&D at Dunlop. When a company that big and successful feels they can outdo themselves this much and succeeds at every point, there’s something really special in that. We’re lucky as musicians to have that kind of help in making great tunes!

Austin Baze

Very happy to announce that www.austinbaze.com the male duo out of North Carolina that I have been producing has had their song “Fighting” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLWSpdGvv7E (A song for our soldiers) adopted by www.wishforourheroes.org please check it out today and if you like it download it as a portion of this will go to help military families in need!

This is a very worth cause! Thanks for your time and attention!

MarkBass Randy Jackson TTE 800

MarkBass TTE 800

I was thrilled when I was able to sign on as an endorsee with MarkBass amps. On top of this having been a fan of Randy Jackson for years I was more thrilled when I saw that MarkBass was making the signature Randy Jackson TTE series bass heads! Well of course I had to have one!!! Any bass enthusiast will LOVE this amp!!

MarkBass TTE 800

MarkBass TTE 800

Randy Jackson’s signature TTE 800 will quickly become the amp of choice for those who want a warm vintage tone with stadium-rocking power. As with the 500W version, the TTE 800’s vintage vibe was carefully engineered with features such as an classic-style tube preamp, a tube compressor, a simple 3-band passive EQ section, a “Colour” filter (a tube adaptation of the famous Markbass VLE control), but gets amplified by a potent 800W power amp that features our innovative Tube Technology Emulator.

Spector Bass Guitar Clinics Added!

Spector Bass Guitar Logo

Spector Bass Guitar Logo

I’ve added two more Spector bass guitar clinics for March 2013! Come on out to Sam Ash Music in Nashville, Tennessee on Thursday, March 21, 2013 and Atlanta, Georgia on Friday, March 22, 2013. Both clinics start at 7pm. We’ll have some nice prizes to give away, come on out! The clinics are sponsored by SKB cases, Dunlop, Curt Mangan, EMG Pickups and Spector basses!

The bass clinic on Thursday, March 21, 2013 will be located at:

Sam Ash Music
1647 Gallatin Pike N
Madison, TN 37115
(615) 860-7475

The bass clinic on Friday, March 22, 2013 will be located at:

Sam Ash Music
2999 Cobb Pkwy SE
Atlanta, GA 30339
(770) 818-0042

Ernie Ball Music Man Reissues Sabre Bass

Ernie Ball Music Man Sabre Bass

Ernie Ball Music Man Sabre Bass

I was casually wandering around the NAMM show and saw that Ernie Ball Music Man is reissuing the Sabre Bass Guitar. This bass was arguably a great bass, heavily overshadowed by the famous Music Man Stingray Bass it is often said that the Sabre may never have gotten it’s fair stab in the bass world. The instrument I picked up felt like a long lost friend. It was very sleek and lightweight and felt just great in my hands. Please check one out at a dealer near you today!

Tom Hamilton Signature Bass Guitar by G&L

Tom Hamilton Signature Bass Guitar by G&L - Photo by Ross Halfin

Tom Hamilton Signature Bass Guitar by G&L – Photo by Ross Halfin

I was pleased when visiting NAMM, to run into Aerosmith bassist Tom Hamilton signing at the G&L booth. Upon further inquiry, I found out that G&L Guitars have offered a Tom Hamilton signature bass guitar. It has the famous (ASAT) tele style body with big flake sparkle finish available in only 3 colors; red, blue and turquoise. All three colors are stunning! The G&L Tom Hamilton Signature Bass retails for $2665, check one out at your local G&L retailer today! If it’s good enough for Tommy & Aerosmith, well then, enough said!

Jeff Berlin

Jeff Berlin

Jeff Berlin

I hope everyone is enjoying the new year and that work has been a plenty for all you working musicians out there. While visiting NAMM this year I was checking out MarkBass amps and talking with legendary bassist Jeff Berlin and as we were casually speaking he said to me “Dave play something you enjoy playing” .. well I admit I was pretty intimidated to play in front of this bass giant however I wanted to play something that was somewhat impressive that I had written so I played one of my original tunes that I was pretty proud of…after playing several bars Jeff stopped me and said very cool man…now play it in a different key…OH MY! I was at a loss…he just opened my eyes to something I never thought of…I was all of a sudden struggling to do this seemingly simple task of playing a tune I wrote in another key due to the convenience that open strings allowed. What a GREAT lesson I learned in that moment. It is always good to get out of our comfort zones and strive to do something we like to do in another key…this could be true in most any situation life throws at us. So I urge you to please reach out and get a little outside your comfort zones .. you just may discover some very cool things about what it is you do or even better about yourself as a person!

If you ever have the opportunity, I suggest you go study with Jeff at his player’s school of music in Florida!

Bless you all and remember to always “do unto others!”

MarkBass

NAMM 2013 in Anaheim, CA was a blast as usual. I am proud to announce that I have signed with MarkBass amps. They are built in Italy and I am very excited about playing their gear! I will be using two of the Standard 104HR cabinets (wired @ 8 ohms each and rated @ 800 watts each RMS) These cabs weigh 56 lbs each.

I will use the Randy Jackson TTE 800 head here are the specs for this bass head: Preamp: Tube Tube: 3x ECC83 + 1x ECC81 (compressor) Power Amp: Digital (TTE: “Tube Technology Emulator”) Power Supply: Special Markbass Digital Power Supply

Power: 800W @ 4 ohms / 500W @ 8ohms

EQ (passive)
– BASS
– MIDDLE
– HIGH
Controls: compressor – colour (tube-driven VLE)
Outputs: Speakers (2 speakon combo) – Line Out (XLR)
Weight: 6 kg or 13.23 lbs

I am super excited about these amps. Stay tuned for more details! Much thanks to Elisabetta Sheehan and Marco for making this possible for me.

Please check out all the great products offered by MarkBass!

Billy Sheehan EBS Pedal

My dear friend Billy Sheehan has teamed up with the great company EBS, based in Sweden and known for their high end bass guitar products, to launch the Billy Sheehan signature bass pedal!

 

EBS press release

EBS proudly present the EBS Billy Sheehan Signature Drive

Billy Sheehan EBS Bass Pedal

Billy Sheehan EBS Bass Pedal

Replicating legendary bassist Billy Sheehan’s technique of blending clean and distorted signals, coupled with the unique inclusion of separate clean and distorted effects loops, comes this new bass pedal from EBS Sweden developed in close co-operation with Billy Sheehan himself. Introducing the EBS Billy Sheehan Signature Drive …

The Winter NAMM Show in Anaheim at the end of January is the scene for the release of the new extraordinary EBS Billy Sheehan Signature Drive pedal. A pedal developed by EBS in close co-operation with legendary bassist Billy Sheehan.

“This pedal is a distillate of several important principles in the signal chain for bass. Compression, distortion, tone-shaping and blending all together.” Billy Sheehan

The new pedal is based on the concept of mixing together a clean signal with a distorted signal to be able to preserve low frequencies and find a perfect balance between distortion and definition.

The option to activate a built-in compressor makes it possible to keep the note differentiation clearly audible even when heavily distorted.

The pedal also offers unlimited pre-post mix tone shaping, through the unique features of a clean loop and a drive loop. Insert any other pedal in each loop to ‘pimp’ the effect into your own signature effect! For example, add a graphic EQ to the drive to change the character of the distortion. Or add your favourite compressor to the Clean Loop instead of using the built-in offered in the pedal.

On the new extended sized stomp box there are controls for Drive (gain for the overdrive engine), Tone (sets the frequency scoop for the drive), Level (sets level for drive channel post Drive Loop and pre final compressor) and Clean (sets level for the clean channel, post Clean Loop and pre final compressor).

The pedal offers three different compression modes: High, Mid and Off. The level of compression on the Mid setting can be determined by the user through an internal trim pot.

The pedal is due to start shipping out simultaneously with the NAMM Show, and will arrive in the UK early February 2013 priced at £179 RRP inc VAT.

AT NAMM? BILLY SHEEHAN WILL APPEAR FOR A SIGNING AT THE EBS STAND, HALL B #5391, ON FRIDAY, 4PM, CELEBRATING THE RELEASE OF THE NEW PEDAL!

Winter NAMM Anaheim, CA

I will be at Winter NAMM in Anaheim jan 24, 25 and 26…I’ll be appearing at the Spector Artist Zone Saturday the 26th so come on by and say hello!

Thanks!