A beginner bassist's foray into the unknown

Archive for September, 2016

Amplitube 4 bass amps & some home recording thoughts

Here’s a video that shows a bunch of bass amp options available in Amplitube 4. This is from one of the paid versions, so it has quite a bit.

Amplitube 4, BASS AMPS, HQ Audio ! Ampeg, GK, Fender and others

Also, here’s a short thread on Talkbass that discusses going ampless for people who play mainly at home. A lot of it goes into recording options, but I found this particular advice/formula from Digitalman in response #2 good to know:

The products I mention are almost irrelevant. You just need a DAW, an interface, and an amp modeler that all work together and are Mac compatible/versions.



Amplitube 4

So, last night, I came across some info about Amplitube 4 when I was looking at ways to record bass. I’ve been using the Rocksmith cable and was curious if there were other ways that weren’t pricey that would also allow me to hear what I’m playing as I play it. Right now, with the Rocksmith cable and Audacity, I play “unplugged” on my electric. I know that this affects technique on bass. I press the strings really hard, and I’m sure it affects my speed as well as other things.

Amplitube looked interesting. Its a “real time guitar and bass multi effects processor” according to the IK Multimedia website. I saw that the company makes a bunch of different types of software for musicians, has been doing so since the 90s, and also manufactures various input devices that allow guitars and basses to be plugged into computers, tablets, smartphones and maybe even other devices.

I also noticed that Amplitube has a “free” version available for Mac and PC, so this evening I grabbed it. Its called the Amplitube Custom Shop.



Time and Feel Exercise for Bass Guitar

So, the other day, I mentioned seeing a video from Yonit Spiegelman called Time and Feel Exercise for Bass Guitar. That video led me to the online lesson site, Lessonface, where Yonit teaches. I posted about Lessonface already, but meant to talk about the exercise video as well.

The idea of the video is that when practicing with a metronome, we generally count 1-2-3-4 as we play a bar of music. Yonit moves away from this with a task to help us internalize time by not counting the “strong beats” (the 1 & 3) and instead focusing on the “weak beats” (2 & 4) and lining up our playing with those. (more…)

Jo Bench (Bolt Thrower) – Collected interview snippets

In my previous post about Jo Bench, I spoke about a dearth of information regarding her bass background. Since then, I’ve scoured the internet to find relevant interviews and articles about her that have some of that info. Here’s what I found:

  1. Jo Bench interview by Chazz and Lork K Philipson for Global Domination (from Bolt Thrower website)
  2. Bolt Thrower Interview – Leviatan Metal Magazine
  3. Cvlt Nation Interviews Bolt Thrower
  4. Eternal Terror: Jo Bench (Bolt Thrower) – I’m self-taught (fantastic bass info!)
  5. Tartarean Desire: Bolt Thrower interview

A website from the Netherlands called Kmachine had the following snippet about Jo:

She plays bass on all albums but not on the demos. She was asked to join Bolt Thrower when her then long-time boyfriend Gavin Ward had switched from bass guitar to guitar. She is one of the few women playing in a ultra-heavy death metal band, besides bands as Delirium, Mystic Charm, Achrosticon (all three Dutch), Runemagick (Swedish). And she is at least one of the first. She is from Leamington Spa. Jo has been a vegetarian since 1984.

The following sections summarize snippets of information about Jo related to music, bass and social politics. At the end of each piece of information, I’ve included a number in parenthesis that denotes which of the five interviews/articles (listed above) that it was taken from.



So, yesterday, during dinner, I watched some bass videos on YouTube while the baby figured out more of Let It Go and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on piano. After taking the summer off, her lessons are due to resume next month. I think the only time slot available is 9 AM on Saturday. We’ll essentially wake up an hour later than on regular school days (we get her up around 6:30). No rest for the wicked.

Anyway, YouTube suggested a video called Time and Feel Exercise for Bass Guitar, by Yonit Spiegelman. Apparently, she’s part of a group of instructors from Brooklyn who created or work with an instructional website called Lessonface. It looks interesting. It mainly offers real-time music lessons over the internet.


Jo Bench (bassist for Bolt Thrower)


Those of you who are death metal fans know that Bolt Thrower retired last week. Its been a year since the passing of their drummer, Martin Kearns (Kiddie), and with that, they’ve finally laid down their instruments together.

In previous posts, I’ve mentioned that their bassist, Jo Bench, is one of my favorite low-enders. Her style is relentless and unstoppable. Whenever I talk about her with people, I end up comparing her to a steamroller, flattening everything in her path with the riffs emanating from her bass. She’s not flashy, but her groove and sensibilities mesh with Bolt Thrower’s playing so seamlessly, it makes me tear up. The duo of her and Kiddie are one of my favorite rhythm sections in metal. When I think “driving rhythm” in metal, they’re one of the teams that always come to mind.

Jo is one of the first women to gain prominence in death metal. She might actually be the first. While editing my wife’s thesis on women in extreme metal, I learned about classifications of women in metal from scholars such as Sonia Vasan and Deena Weinstein that placed them into two main categories, one of which flaunted their sexuality or gender difference to find a place in the scene and another of which adopted more “male” trappings and behaviors to fit in. I think Jo fit into the latter more than the former – although she might have somewhat sidestepped the entire issue of being a “woman in metal and/or rock” by being a musician first and woman second, when conducting herself both on- and off-stage for Bolt Thrower.