Over the years, NorCal BASSIX has reviewed many products from some of the worlds best manufacturers.
Be sure to visit NorCal BASSIX T.V. for our past video reviews including the largest bass string review on YouTube.
OK, you've got your dream bass, a brand new amp with cabinet, endless effects pedals on an enormous pedal board and your ready to go. The stage lights dim and your given the "go ahead" to hit the stage. As the first chord is played, you notice that you have no signal going to your amp. "CRAP"! Now you stand there looking at a spaghetti pile of cables running everywhere, wondering where the bad connection lies. Sound familiar?
A bad cable can render $10,000 in gear useless in an instant. Having top quality cables is essential to any setup, whether its bass, guitar, pro audio....you name it. The solution to this problem is simple.....use better quality cables. I recently had the opportunity to check out some amazing cables from Tsunami Cables. These cables feature bullet proof construction with top quality connectors. There's no "bad cable" shutting down your rig with Tsunami Cables.
Available in a wide array of colors, lengths, straight and right angle connectors(for that enormous pedal board), mic cables,speaker cables, power cables and more, Tsunami Cables are hands down some of the finest cables I've ever used. Although, there are many manufacturers of cables out there, I prefer a manufacturer that not only offers the best of the best, but also takes the time to truly care about those who spend their hard earned money on products. That being said, I'm proud to announce that Tsunami Cables will now be the official cable of NorCal BASSIX. Check out Tsunami Cables for all your cable needs.
Aahh...the Red Ripper from Tech21.
As I sit here looking at my laptop, trying to come up with some "snazzy" opener for this review, I find myself speechless for once. The Red Ripper is indeed the cause of this mind-funk that I find myself in. To put it simple, the Red Ripper is a monster distortion pedal, unlike any other. The Red Ripper combines various levels of distortion with slight characteristics of a flanger or envelope filter. But I'll get back to that in a minute.
To start with, the Red Ripper is housed in a rock solid chassis, equipped with 1/4" input and outputs, a studio quality 3 band E.Q.(Low, Mid, High), Level (adjusts the output level), Drive (adjusts overall amount of gain and overdrive) and of course the R.I.P. control. Once you set the E.Q. to your desired tone, you can then increase the Drive control to reach unbelievable depths of distortion. Then, using the R.I.P. control, phase through various harmonic ranges of distortion. This lets you go from a gnarly fuzz tone to straight up grunge distortion with the turn of a knob. The Red Ripper also features a Low Pass Filter switch that provides a thick low end while engaged. Turning off the Low Pass Filter, provides a brighter tone and harmonic range. A buffered bypass footswitch, means no more pops and clicks when you activate the pedal.
As I mentioned, the Red Ripper, has slight characteristics of a flanger or envelope filter. Though it's hard to describe in writing, when you play an open E for instance, you can hear a slight phasing in the distortion, similar to a light flanger. The Red Ripper also behaves similar to a envelope filter, by sensing your picking attack. Pick harder for more distortion and pick lighter for less. You'll get a much better idea when we post the video review to NorCal BASSIX T.V.
Another thing I'd like to mention, or should I say, warn you about. When using the Red Ripper with the Drive set to max, be sure that the level control is set low. While running the Red Ripper through the paces at the NorCal BASSIX studio, we neglected to adjust the Level control to compensate for the increase in Drive. When we activated the pedal, we nearly blew the windows out, not to mention every ear drum in northern California. Did I mention that we were running the Red Ripper directly into a Tech21 VT Bass 1969 head and two B410 cabs? Whew...
So, to be blunt, if you feel like stomping on a pedal with killer graphics and achieving the monster fuzz bomb or a shredding distortion, stomp on a Red Ripper from Tech21 and stand back.
With an endless flow of custom built ,exotic basses out there, how does one choose the "perfect bass"? That is a question that has bothered bassists for years. Factors such as tone, electronics, woods and amount of strings, have always been a conversation topic around the NorCal BASSIX crew.
We recently had the opportunity to admire a beautiful Warrior Isabella 4 string bass. This bass was brought to us by Brian Wilkes, who has served many tours overseas, in the military. A huge thank you for your service Mr. Wilkes
As we spent time admiring the outstanding choice of woods used to build this Isabella 4, we were also impressed by the wide spectrum of tones available from the jazz pickups, paired with a Mike Pope custom 18 volt preamp. With action as low as you could possibly imagine, the Warrior Isabella offered a playability unseen in your average, off the shelf basses. Despite being shipped from Georgia, the bass showed little signs of temperature change, which will occur on basses constructed of lesser quality woods and truss rod material. Equipped with Hipshot tuners and a Hipshot A style gold bridge, the Isabella can be set up to fit your playing needs and stay that way.
At NorCal BASSIX we don't believe in rating any basses we review, due to the fact that one mans "perfect bass" can be anothers unsuccessful attempt at acquiring the "perfect bass". But.... if we were to give the Warrior Isabella a grade, it would surely have an impressive GPA.
Below are the complete specs provided by the always wonderful people at Warrior Instruments.
Collection- Isabella 4 string
Neck- 9 pc maple/walnut with purple heart tone bar
Top- flamed maple
Back- flamed maple
Headstock- flamed maple with Brazilian rosewood logo
Fretboard- Birdseye maple
Inlay- Dran michael wood block with sword on 12th fret
Pickups- 2 Jazz
Electronics- mike pope custom 18 volt
Hardware- black and gold
Pickups covers- flame maple
Knobs- figured maple
Build time- 7 months
Warrior Instruments builds amazing guitars and basses, that are sure to meet and exceed your wildest bass dreams. Be sure to visit the Warrior website for a great selection.
It's not our fault! Just because we play BASS... the best instrument on the planet,doesn't mean we can't have our own clothes. If you saw a guy with a guitar shirt on, would you ask him if he played guitar? NO! But if you saw a guy with a bass shirt...you wouldn't have to ask.
GROOVE-DNA offers a variety of essential clothing for bassists. Top quality apparel with durable graphics. Available in all sizes.
You know you wanna show your groove....so
Check out GROOVE-DNA.com and let 'em know what you do......play BASS!
Just when you thought playing bass couldn't get any better.....BAM! Our own clothing line.
Lathon Bass Wear offers top quality apparel for bassists. Hoodies, hats, shirts, jerseys, beanies and more. Check out the Victor Wooten and Marcus Miller shirts available from Lathon Bass Wear. I personally see nothing wrong with wearing a bass logo on every item of clothing I own. I'm just waiting for some Bass shoes....hmm
Even though I don't like the way it sounds, it is nonetheless true and therefore, I have to admit that I am a bit of a "bag" lady because I have a bag for every occasion, or at least, I attempt to. However, none of them have saved me from my disorganized methods of storage and none were suitable for my most important need for a bag and that is to carry my delicate recording/video/performance gear to any major event or even just out back to the studio down a tiny flight of concrete stairs that I have been known to drop important items on in the past, thereby, demolishing them. My only resort was to use any bag that I had on-hand. Unfortunately, in all bags, my headphones were crammed, my cords were jammed and I would never even consider toting my laptop in any one of them, let alone was I able to find a pen when I needed one! That is, of course, until I got my hands on the "Club Bag" from Gruv Gear.
And now, calling myself a "Club Bag" lady is just fine by me because it IS so much more! For example, there are separate spaces that keep their shape with zippers that provide access to each and every part of this bag so that I don't have to "dig" around for anything. Instead, I unzip a place on the side and have two cubby holes that I can easily fit my interface, cords, hard drive or microphones in without fear of the knobs getting mangled, anything getting crushed/scratched or my cords getting tangled up with it all. Also, my favorite spot is where the headphones go, right at the top in a safe, convenient location with a Velcro strap to keep them in place. Besides, now that I have room for a laptop, it's even more of an excuse to 'expand my game' and possibly record public performances with other microphones that I wouldn't have brought beyond the studio.
As the audio and video clips pile up during the producing of NorCal BASSIX T.V., having this level of convenience in one pack, allows me to travel with my video/audio equipment, prepared for any situation. Whether I find myself recording footage for NorCal BASSIX T.V. or capturing audio and video of the worlds finest bassists, such as Norm Stockton, Michael Manring, Brian Bromberg, Stu Hamm, Bill Clements, Ray Riendaeu, etc., I only have to carry one bag...the Club Bag from Gruv Gear. Here is a convenient layout of the Club Bag dimensions provided by the impressive Gruv Gear website.
The Club Bag is just one of the top quality, innovative products available from Gruv Gear. The VCart Solo is a multi postion cart, designed to make life very easy for musicians. The VCart Solo, Stadium Bag, Club Bag, Solo Strap , Fret Wraps... you name it. Top quality accessories for any use by GRUV GEAR.
Customizing your Bass with
Our past "Customizing your Bass" review, featured a Squier Classic Vibe Precision Bass, being customized with Basslines Quarter Pound pickups, Basslines active circuitry and a Hipshot Xtender. As the views rack up and the comments continue to flow, I've noticed one thing.....nobody had any problem with the Hipshot Xtender. Whether you enjoy the sound of a passive or active bass, one thing can be said. Hipshot products KICK @!# Since 1989, I've been a huge fan of Hipshot Products.
For a detailed installation of the Hipshot Xtender, skip to 5:30 on the above video.
Over the years, NorCal BASSIX has been fortunate to review many amazing products from Hipshot Products, a company that produces some of the most innovative products for bassists. With the introduction of the Bass Xtender, Hipshot began an era of high quality tuners, bridges, tremolos and more. Providing essential components for some of the worlds finest bass manufacturers, Hipshot has become a leader in the music industry. For those of you interested in building a custom instrument or perhaps you just want to customize that old favorite, I suggest a visit to Hipshot Products.
The Hipshot Xtender allows you to drop tune your lowest string, a whole step, half step or lower, which you can determine with a fine tuning adjustment, located on the rear side on the tuner machine. Also available with a Double-Stop feature(which allows you 3 different tunings), the Xtender is an exact replacement for most tuners, requiring no drilling. For installing an Xtender, simply remove the rear screws from your tuner, then remove the front nut from the tuning post(this step is only required for gotoh type machines). Once the original tuner machine is removed, you can now replace it with the Xtender and replace all screws etc. It's that easy!
As you can see, Hipshot offers a wide selection of replacement bridges for all basses. And yes...that's a bass tremolo. When replacing a bridge, make sure to order the correct replacement. Having the same bolt pattern as the original, will prevent you from having to drill new holes in your bass. Always have your local music store help you if your unsure about any modifications.
Hipshots' wide selection of bridges, tuners, Xtenders and even knobs, require little to no modifications to your instrument. In fact, most replacement parts available from Hipshot, will match up to factory drilled holes, making your customization a breeze. Be sure to stop by Hipshot Products for a huge selection of replacement parts to customize any bass.
Fusion F1 Bass Guitar Bag
By: Ryan Trujillo
Let's face it, it sucks hauling anything back and forth for rehearsals and performances. Because It can be such an inconvenience, the least we can do is make it a little easier on ourselves and do it right. Fusion has introduced a line of gig bags designed with players in mind.
The Fusion F1 Bass Guitar Bag (available in four color options; black & blue, black & orange, black and lime or all black) is lightweight, weighing in at 3kg (6.6 lbs), and is padded with a 30mm (1.8 inch) high density foam shell and and a 10 mm (.39 inch) padded velvet interior. The outside padding is constructed with robust rip-stop, waterproof material.The interior also has a high density adjustable foam headstock block to keep your bass in place on the go. Your bass won't move an inch inside the case and I haven't had any problem with my bass going seriously out of tune when commuting from bumps in the road or anything.
The Fusion F1 Bass Guitar Bag also uses a unique flow system back and lumbar support to keep a steady flow of air between you and the bag. The bag's design keeps the majority of the bag from coming in contact with your back, and has a belt you can choose to use, making carrying it a breeze. Coming from Norcal, where we are no strangers to sweltering heat, it's nice to know I won't have to deal with a sweaty back if I have to go hauling my gear any distance into a rehearsal space.
Fusion also uses a Fuse-On system, allowing you to velcro two seperate bags, the small back pack and laptop backpack, onto the F1 Bass Guitar Bag. I was really surprised to find that Fusion's design makes carrying several bags on your back a lot more comfortable than you would initially think. Even with a load of books, my bass, my music, a laptop, and all of my tools and knick knacks for playing on the go, It's still comfortable and easy to get in and out.
A few other interesting features; the bag's logo and straps are made with a reflective material that really do their job, there's a small compartment in the right strap for an mp3 player, and every strap has a spot where it can be stowed away, essentially transforming the case into a softer hard case.
I picked up one of these fusion bags at the NAMM show this year and have since had the pleasure of putting it to the test. For the last month I've been using the Fusion F1 Bass Guitar Bag with the Laptop Bag attachment for school and rehearsals. Being able to keep everything on my back and have my hands free when traversing campus has made my life as a music student easier than ever and it's even stood up to Norcal rain, wind, and sun without any problems. As a student and a musician, a bag like this feels like it's designed with me in mind.
Over the years, we've had the opportunity to review many products from Tech 21. The VT Bass Deluxe, Bass Boost Chorus and RotoChoir to name a few. Reviewing the NEW Boost DLA pedal from Tech 21, is another one of those killer products you'd expect from Tech 21. For those of you who may not be familiar with Tech 21, you may also think of them as SansAmp, that little black box behind bassists such as Geddy Lee (RUSH) and Justin Chancelor(TOOL). For years, Tech 21 has created professional grade effects, preamps, cabinets and more for bassists. I must admit... over the years, I've grown to greatly admire the craftsmanship, design and functionality of Tech 21 products. That includes the VT Bass 1969 head, B410 cabinets, VT Bass Deluxe, RotoChoir, Boost RVB, Bass Boost Chorus and more...
The NEW Boost DLA, from Tech21, featuring a new paint job that is sure to set off your pedalboard, is equipped to handle all of your Delay needs. With features such as Mix, allows you blend the amount of wet/dry to your signal. Feedback, determines how long of a Delay you prefer. Fidelity, provides various tonal options to the Delay signal. Time, allows you to preset a Delay time, which can also be set using the Tap Tempo switch. Level w/Boost, ensures that your signal won't disappear when you activate the DLA. The Tape Drift control, provides a modulation effect that only affects the final stages of the Delay. Joined with a Trails and Dotted 8th switch, the Boost DLA is a must for all pedalboards. Whether its used for live, rehearsal or recording applications, the Boost DLA is sure to find a place in your sound.
You can always find our past Tech 21 reviews on Norcal BASSIX TV. Below is a sample of the Tech 21 Boost DLA pedal.
As you know, NorCal BASSIX is of course, a website devoted to BASS. At times, I think it's important to step back and take a wider perspective to music. As we all spend hour after hour practicing, recording and rehearsing, I think we may tend to forget the big picture. The "SOUND". No matter what we spend our time working on, hearing the true sound is, in my opinion, what matters most. Whether I'm listening to an ipad or plugging into my amp, I want headphones that not only sound terrific, but can handle everyday abuse, and be compact.
While attending the 2013 NAMM show, the NorCal BASSIX crew was introduced to CAD Audio. There, we were given an opportunity to demo the Sessions MH510 headphones available from CAD Audio. To start with, I'd just like to mention that the NAMM show is probably one of the loudest events you could attend, with thousands of drums, guitars, basses ...you name it, all playing at once! That being said, once I tried on the MH510 headphones, I was amazed how all of the noise around me disappeared. The MH510 headphones provide an amazing level of clarity with an impressive extended low range. Extremely smooth mids and crisp treble with little coloring to your tone. The MH510 can handle more than enough power for anyone. Combined with one of the finest isolations (concealing outside sounds) that I've ever experienced in a headphone.
The Sessions MH510 headphones come with 2 different cords (straight or curly) and are both detachable. The MH510 ear pieces pivot enough that they can be used for DJ applications, when you may need to only use one side of the headphone. The option to fold the MH510 headphones into a compact and easily portable unit, is made possible by pivot points that keep constant pressure when in use, yet allow you to compact your headphones by folding the ear pieces inward when not in use.
CAD Audio has also made the MH510 in various colors, which also come with two sets of ear pads. One, being more of a felt material, designed to cut out even more background noise and are very comfortable and warm. The other replaceable ear pads are smoother and also comfortable. The MH510 also comes with a carrying bag. With a compact folding design, excellent audio capabilities, durable construction and a price point around a hundred bucks, the MH510 headphones from CAD Audio are a must for anyone who decides to get back to the "SOUND".
Visit your local CAD Audio dealer and check out a pair.
Having to make crucial adjustments to your bass while at a gig, in the studio or on the road can be a nightmare. Having the right tool for the job can make all the difference when time is running out. As a bassist that does all of my own instrument setups, having a durable and versatile tool is essential. Having a tool that is also compact, allows me to still have room in my gigbag for cables effects etc. Combining all of these elements can be hard to find in a multi-tool. Thats where the CruzTools Bass Multi Tool comes in very handy.
CruzTools is a California based company providing quality products for musicians, motorcyclists, electricians and more. The CruzTools GrooveTech Guitar/Bass Multi Tool is another example of innovative designs available from CruzTools. Introducing the first multi-tool for guitars and basses that’s actually useful. Whether you have a USA or imported bass, CruzTools has you covered for most bridge, truss rod, and other adjustments. Includes four metric and three fractional hex keys, two Phillips screwdrivers, a 2.5mm slotted screwdriver, and ruler for setting action. Truss rod sizes are ball-end for easy access. All keys are pro-grade, using heat-treated S2 material with a polished chrome finish.
Be sure to stop by CruzTools for a wide selection of great products that are sure to make life just a little easier.
For a complete list of our past video reviews, including UBass, Tech 21, Krashburn Guitars, ZON Guitars,Hipshot Products and more, visit