Greetings fellow bassists.

I just got back from a really inspiring workshop given by Ron Carter at David Gage’s bass shop in Manhattan. First, a little background for those of you who might not be familiar with these names: Ron Carter is one of the most distinguished, accomplished, acclaimed jazz bassists out there in the world today, with a discography that reads like a history of recorded jazz over the last 50 years. As for David Gage, his shop is a real nerve center for the world of bassists and string players in general. The kind of place where you’re likely to bump into someone like Ron Carter.

The audience for this workshop was a buzzing mixture of students, young freelancers, heavy hitters, and just plain music-lovers. The theme was “amps, amps, amps” and Ron approached it in a very controlled, almost scientific way. He had his personal bass rig, a 10-inch Flite cabinet powered by an Acoustic Image head. Next to that were a lineup of amps and speakers by Genz Benz, Epifani, and there in the middle of it all was a Bose double-bass system. Ron played the same Simandl etude through each system, followed by a few choruses of walking bass line over a blues progression.

After his Flite/AI rig, and two Genz Benz units, he moved on to the Bose system. There were clearly a lot of people in the room who had heard of this new Bose thing, and were seeing it for the first time, and they had a lot of really great questions for me before Ron played note one. People seemed very interested in the custom preset concept – Ron was using the new Gage Realist preset, (#92, when it becomes available).

I heard from a number of people, David Gage, Sam Finlay, who works at the shop, and some audience members as well, who were really impressed with the sound of our system. Comments like “really amazing” and “it really fills the room all the way to the back”. I also heard it very plainly from an audience member, and from Ron himself, that as much as they loved the sound, the size and weight were a major issue for them. These guys need something they can pick up in one hand or sling over their shoulder, and carry the bass in the other hand. We're talking about guys who take the subway to the gig. (When the subway's running.) I heard a couple of comments along the lines of, “can’t you guys make something smaller that sounds that good?”

After Ron had gone through all the systems, and encouraged people to draw their own conclusions, the audience pressed him for his opinion. Asked about the Bose system, he reiterated that he loved the sound, but not the size/weight. In fact, it seemed clear to me that he was sticking with his Flite/AI rig, by far the smallest and lightest setup in the room.

All in all, I was really happy with the way the system stood out from the crowd, and the custom Gage Realist preset sounds fantastic, no tweaking neccessary. Though I have to admit, the high point for me was when he unplugged and we got to hear him au naturale, just fingers and strings and wood. Nothing like it in the world.


Anyway, I’ll post some pictures if I can figure out how to do that.

-Jesse

[ken-at-bose made this a featured topic]

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And here's the line-up of gear for the evening. Starting on the left, a Genz Benz combo, our own double-bass system, a tiny but very capable Epifani speaker cabinet and head, and another Genz Benz offering. In the corner you can see some assorted electro-stringy oddities, including some instruments by Ned Steinberger. Not pictured here is Ron Carter's personal rig: a Flite 10-inch speaker cabinet with an Acoustic Image head.

More pictures to follow as they become available.
Beutiful report Jesse.

I think Ron Carter is the absolute bomb. He's part of the soundtrack of my life, along with Garcia, Miles, Monk, Coltrane, and others.

Dang, in another life, or if I die today, if all that separates him from bass sound that can delight hundreds at a time, can I be reincarnated as Ron's equipment carrying dude?

Ken Jacob
Chief Engineer
Boy, talk about a live room! I bet all those basses & cellos were humming right along with Ron.

I had the pleasure of having Ron be a guest soloist / clinician with a big band I played in back in the 70's. We also had Alan Dawson on drums. They were simply amazing. The "halo" effect that clinic had on our ensemble playing lasted for a long time.

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