Workshop Cleanout

posted Jan 8, 2013, 11:23 AM by Michael Dekker   [ updated Jan 8, 2013, 11:23 AM ]

It is rare for me to be able to shoot different cabinets together, but I decided to take the opportunity to do so, even though most of the cabinets were not completed. 

The two centre cabinets are the marine mahogany builds for a client (fEARful 1212/6/1 and fEARful 12/6/1Cube). The two on the left are standard fEARful 15/6/1 cabinets - the bottom one just needs the grill to be installed, the top needs wiring, drivers, and grill. They were originally to be demo units of the modularity possible. On the right, the bottom one is yet another 15/6 that I built while the weather was pleasant but has no particular home yet, while the top unit is a 12/6/1 that is to be a matching pair for a previous client.

SHOBass fEARful builds in progress

To tweet... Or not to tweet

posted Jan 1, 2013, 5:42 AM by Michael Dekker   [ updated Jan 1, 2013, 6:01 AM ]

Bass and treble clef sharing the love
A very common question asked by those wanting a bass cabinet is whether a tweeter is "really necessary". The tweeter adds a bit of high-frequency character, but it never defines the sound of the note. If you take away the tweeter, your audience can still easily tell what note you were playing.

Where it makes the most difference is if you are effects-heavy on your tone. Dirt, grind, crunch, synth, whatever you call it, you are adding some high-end to your tone. If you are used to hearing your sound without a tweeter or horn, you probably don't realize that there IS indeed sound up there.

Everyone has their opinions on the subject, and to be honest, it is a matter of personal choice. Even if you are playing a straight, clean signal, there is some high-end making it through.

For me, I always recommend adding the tweeter. For the relatively low cost of the tweeter, you can fully shape your sound, or use your cab to play a backing track, etc. And for those times when you just don't want the high end to interfere, just dial it out! There is an L-pad included on all SHOBass bass cabinet builds, allowing you to turn down (or off) the tweeter.

More to come on this subject...


And The Screws Go Marching 4 by 4 - Hoorah! Hoorah!

posted Dec 28, 2012, 5:17 PM by Michael Dekker   [ updated Dec 28, 2012, 5:19 PM ]

Was painting a whole whack of screws in preparation for the final steps in 4 concurrent builds. Well, two are for a client, and the rest are low priority - two are for myself, and the last is an early pre-order for the spring.

Too bad they don't sell small gauge screws in black oxide! These are a combination of #4, #5, and #6 screws, used to hold the small chevron, large chevron, and L-pad plates. These are high-gloss black enamel spray paint - I personally use Tremclad Pro. If you are doing your own screws, don't forget to give them a quick wipe with some mineral spirits after putting them in some wood or cardboard, and allowing them to thoroughly dry before shooting them with paint. Allow to dry according to the can, then shoot a second coating. Go really light, because you are NOT trying to fill the head. If you do, you'll just end up scraping the paint off when you try to screw them into your cabinet. In case of emergency, Sharpie to the rescue.

Spray painted screws

Crossover Weekend

posted Dec 10, 2012, 2:29 PM by Michael Dekker   [ updated Dec 10, 2012, 2:29 PM ]

This weekend I was busy catching up on my soldering skills while I waited for a backlog of drivers to arrive... Sorry for the poor quality of the pic, but I didn't notice until I had everything all packed up again. Haven't had a chance to test anything yet, but they're hot off the presses!

Buried in the mix are two fEARful 15/6/1, a fEARful 12/6/1Cube, and a fEARful 1212/6/1.

Crossover collection for fEARful bass cabinet builds

fEARful Phenominon in Bass Gear Magazine

posted Jul 20, 2012, 9:47 AM by Michael Dekker   [ updated Jul 20, 2012, 9:49 AM ]

Bass Gear Magazine logo
The fEARful phenomenon has been spotlighted in issue #8 of Bass Gear Magazine. You can follow this link to jump directly to the article itself. I'm rather proud of the fact that no fewer than six of the photos came from my fEARful build-progress logs!

Though in the article Tom gives some nice measurements of the fEARful 15/6/1 and 12/6 cube, I would have liked to see more description about the charts. Even just a legend on each one would have explained more about what each line/trace meant.

Thank Tom!

Celebrate Moog's Birthday

posted May 23, 2012, 3:54 AM by Michael Dekker   [ updated May 23, 2012, 3:54 AM ]

Robert "Bob" Moog was born 78 years ago, and though he didn't have much to do with bass, he did alot for what passes for music today. Obviously, he invented the Moog synthesizer! To celebrate this, the Google Doodle for May 23 is a mini Moog Synthesizer, complete with 4-track tape recorder for you to play with. Go ahead and be creative! You can even share the recording!

Google Doodle of a Moog Synthesizer

Spring Return

posted Mar 19, 2012, 8:57 AM by Michael Dekker   [ updated Mar 19, 2012, 8:57 AM ]

Doors open after winter hibernation
The snow is almost all melted, and temperatures are shooting through the roof. In fact, here in Ottawa we beat our previous record high temperature by over 8 degrees Celcius (that's 17 F for you southerners).

Because of this early spring, I am opening a few weeks early, and am now prepared to take orders for the new year!

If you're interested in any cabinets, be sure to let me know!

Review: Victor Wooten and Carter Beauford - Making Music DVD

posted Jan 30, 2012, 5:49 AM by Michael Dekker   [ updated Mar 19, 2012, 8:58 AM ]

Victor Wooten and Carter Beauford: Making Music DVD
For Wooten fans, this is an interesting video. The format of the video is Victor and Carter (and others) in the studio working on recording some songs. There is a significant amount of studio playing, showing Victor on Bass and Carter on the drums, and a bit of Fleck, but not much of the other musicians. Having said that, it is an interesting peek into the recording environment, and a great display of musicianship all around. 

As for whether this DVD is enjoyable for you will depend on what you hope to get out of it. If you are looking for any techniques, you will be sorely disappointed. It is, however, a very inspirational look into the studio process. If only I could be surrounded by individuals of the same musical caliber as that, then our jams would be smooth! It is interesting seeing them improvise new parts for the songs they are working on, and to see the final results.

Interspersed, there is also some interview-style dialog with Victor and Carter speaking about their partnership.


Other Countries

Video snapshot from Making Music DVD with Victor Wooten and Carter Beauford

Getting All Jacked Up

posted Jan 11, 2012, 5:46 AM by Michael Dekker   [ updated Mar 19, 2012, 8:58 AM ]

Output jack
My Washburn Taurus has been acting up of late - strange popping noises while jamming, competing with the kick drum for volume! Jiggling my instrument cable repeats this noise, so I grab a spare cable and repeat the test, but sure enough it still makes the noise. It seems my bass' input output jack has bad or loose contacts inside, and needs to be replaced.

I went to my local music store (actually a Long and McQuade) and purchased a mono output jack. The jack is actually a Parts Express packaged Rean NYS2202 jack. Seeing the raw cost from Parts Express and my receipt from Long and McQuade, I really wish the shipping costs from the U.S. were more reasonable, allowing me to order directly. As it was, I paid almost 10$ for a jack that sells for under $2! Oh well. Can't be helped.

So once again I put my bass on my surgeon's table (I'll have to recount that story another time) and opened her up. Her guts were familiar to me, as I've been inside before. I still plan on trying to shield the cavity, as I am currently unable to adjust J pickups separately without introducing an unpleasant hum, but again, that is for another day.

Yesterday I simply re-verified which wire was for the tip, and committed myself by snipping the lead. First thing to point out is the nut supplied with the PE jack is rather... diminutive. I kept the "old" nut since it was beefier and would give more support against the inner wood of the bass body. If you are doing a similar operation on your bass, remember to place the nut over the wire INSIDE the body of the guitar, then thread the wire through the hole in the body, then solder it onto the jack. That way, when you push the barrel through the body from the outside, the nut is already over the wire. If you forget that step, you'll be un-soldering and repeating everything, and you don't want that!

I stripped the wire back and separated and twisted the shielding wires, then stripped and twisted the signal wire. I threaded them carefully through the holes in the solder tabs on the jack then wound the end around once for additional mechanical support (not that it would need it on what seemed to be 30-gauge wire!). Soldering was quick enough with such thin wires. After that, I crimped the lead wire into the provided support, and re-assembled everything.

A quick test with my amplifier, jiggling the cable, revealed that things looked fine. I'll see how it holds out at this week's jam for a real workout.

Dean Markley NPS RoundCore Bass Strings

posted Dec 31, 2011, 6:40 AM by Michael Dekker   [ updated Mar 19, 2012, 8:59 AM ]

Dean Markley NPS Roundcore Bass StringsAfter having used flatwound strings for, well, forever, I decided it was time to make a change to roundwound. My foray into roundwound territory lead me to the Dean Markley NPS Roundcore Bass Strings.

The set I tried out was the LT-4, light gauge strings that went from 40-100. Here are the specs from the Dean Markley site itself:
4 String

  G D A E
2653 LT 0.040 0.060 0.080 0.100
2657 ML 0.045 0.065 0.085 0.105
2655 MED 0.048 0.067 0.085 0.106
5 String

  G D A E B
2654 LT 0.040 0.060 0.080 0.100 0.125
2658 ML 0.045 0.065 0.085 0.105 0.125
2656 MED 0.048 0.067 0.085 0.106 0.128

I haven't had too much time on these strings yet, but I'll be sure to come back to fill in the details. 

Compared to the D'Addario flatwounds I used previously, these light gauge strings feel thinner. The windings don't feel as aggressive as some I've tried, which is nice since it's not as harsh on my fingers. The feel of these strings right out of the package is pretty nice, and definitely playable right away.


These strings definitely are lighter than my last! In fact, after a couple days of buzzing, I had to adjust my neck since I was getting too much buzzing. Seems the LT don't put as much tension on my neck as the D'Addario XL Chromes, so the neck straightened out too much. Not a negative at all, but just something to consider if you are switching gauges as drastically as I was!

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