Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Okay now that I have jammed with Big Daddy a few times I have some observations.

The bass is gorgeous and really is an eye catcher. Lonnie says when he watches me playing it from a distance the wood is so beautiful and flamed. The bass catches the light and glows. So we have established (several times) this bass is a looker!!! The volume of the bass is good and loud in a jam…but…the Thomastik medium strings are part of the volume and I have a difficult time adjusting from guts strings to steel strings and then back to guts (Gamut guts are my favorite).

My style of “flat out” playing really comes to life when I play a bass strung with guts…I love to dig in and thump. While the Thomastik medium gives this bass a lot of volume and sustain, I feel like I can’t dig in enough to get my groove going. I asked Lonnie to put a set of Thomastik Weich (lights) on the bass to see if I can dig in more and have softer tension to the string. I think it may compromise the volume a little, but I am wiling to give it a try. He may cut a new sound post at the same time. This one fits well, but it is skinny. Lonnie likes a more meaty sound post that has good contact with the top and back of the bass. I guess we will try one or both changes to see if I like the playability better with the Weich strings. We don’t want to compromise the tone the bass currently has…which is very loud and great for jamming.

It is difficult for me to adjust to different basses set up with different strings. It has taken a while for me to reach a place where I know what I like and what feels good when I am playing. For me my “go to” bass is my 1941 Epiphone B-1 with a full set of Gamut guts. This bass gets lots of comments for the opposite reason that Big Daddy gets comments. My Epi B-1 bass has had a hard life and it looks like it. The finish is a greenish-brown; the edges are worn down smooth. I got two comments Saturday night before I started to jam at a festival…”boy, that bass looks used”. “It looks like a rat was chewing on the edges” “Bet it was used hard and put a way wet”. I just smile and agree. Then they hear me play it and nobody cares how it looks…they love the sound. So I have the most beautiful, pristine Epiphone B-5 in Big Daddy and the complete opposite with a run down, well used Epiphone B-1 named Gunner…and I love them both. I have the best of both worlds and could not be happier. I’ll give an update on any changes we make to Big Daddy and how it affects to playability and volume.

Lonnie is preparing the next bass for a Bass Monkey makeover. A 1945 Epiphone B-5, # 811 named Luther. This bass came complete with a rattle snake “rattler” on the inside. More to come on that bass soon.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I know I keep going on and on about how beautiful this bass is…it really is!!!

Lonnie has finished the set up and it now touching up the edges. This bass has a slight milky white factory overspray around the edges. This bass by no means needed this detail but it is factory original.

We also tested the volume on this bass with Thomastik mittels…OMG…this bass is off the chart. It pushes almost 90 decibels. My loudest bass pushes 84-86 on its best day.

I won’t full appreciate this bass until we jam this weekend. Can’t wait.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Big Daddy gets some bling...

So…we were looking for an easy Epiphone bass to get up and running…well a sure way to peak Lonnie’s artistic creativity is to give him no deadline and no expectations. He has been down in the workshop for hours and he has been so very quiet. I even went down to check on him a time or two just to make sure he was okay. Yep, he was just fine but deep into a new bridge design. His passion for light, loud and bone original is taking over on this bridge design. He had laid out in his mind a way to lighten the bridge but keep the strength. He has hand carved a design on the BOTTOM side of the bridge that is quite nice looking. His thinking is when you are playing the bass and looking down at the bridge you should not see his modifications.

We discussed this the other night while driving to a jam. Lonnie has always had a “thing” for a vintage car that looked stock original but had the horses under the hood. He calls them “grocery getters”…the little old car Gramma’s drive to church on Sunday with the dog dish hub caps. But the car can lay rubber and out run the neighbor’s hot rod…you know that kind of car! It is the same way with basses. He likes to see vintage original with a little something special in the set up. The kind of bass that makes you stop, look and listen.

We shall see what this new bridge design does for Big Daddy. He is a beauty of a bass and a little bling-bling on his bridge will be just fine and dandy with me.