REVIEWED: LANEY RICHTER R500H BASS HEAD AND R410 CAB
When people refer to things as ‘workingman’s’ versions of other things, nine times out of 10 they mean it as an insult. I didn’t figure this out until way later than you’d think, and for ages I couldn’t understand why people were using that term to refer to things they didn’t actually like. Sheer snobbery I say. The workingman is the salt of the earth, the guy who leaves home the pretense, trickery and flab that comes with his opposition and gets the job done efficiently and properly. Now, this credo should by no means apply only to the coarser trades; it’s also true so often in the music world that it should be written on the cover of the guidebook. Workingman musicians need supremely reliable tools and few are more trustworthy and forthright than Laney’s new R500H Bass head.
REVIEWED: LANEY NEXUS SLS112 BASS COMBO
Bass players really do get a tough run in the grand scheme of band things. Their rig is almost always the heaviest, their parts the least showy and they get the least attention from the audience, Geddy Lee notwithstanding. Truly, the keepers of the rumble deserve more affection, surely those responsible for making the lower half of the frequency spectrum full and rich deserve to have some of the heavy lifting replaced by sheer tonal satisfaction. Laney Amplification sure think so, and in response offer up one of the simplest yet most effective 500-watt combos available, the Nexus SLS112.
DV MARK MULTIAMP FG
Nothing splits a room full of guitar players in two quite the way a conversation about modelling amps does. When talk turns to these tonal smorgasbords you’ll find the gulf between which side of the argument considers themselves the purists is never wider with both parties at the mercy of points of various validity and relevance. Love them of hate them, the steady march of technological advancement has found no smoother passage than the digitised, option rich path carved by companies like DV Mark who confidently tread that route time and time again.
Ashdown Rootmaster EVO Head & Cabs
Introduced in the UK in 1997 under the lead of company founder Mark Gooday, Ashdown Engineering has developed into a serious manufacturer, from bedroom amps to full stadium rigs. Dedicated to “hard working bass players,” the new Rootmaster EVO range aims to deliver “workhorse reliability at a great price.”
Markbass JB Players School Combo
Renowned bassist (is ‘Jazz God’ too strong a term?) Jeff Berlin has long been a fan of Markbass products. Bass players around the world already use his signature Jeff Berlin CMD 151 combo on gigs every night. Now there’s a new option for students looking for a reliable combo, again at an affordable price and with the stamp of approval of Mr. Berlin himself. This model – again part of the Markbass Black Line – is made up of the exact same circuitry as the Little Mark 250 Black Line head with the addition of a single 200 watt 15” speaker. Berlin and Markbass designed the amp to meet the needs of Berlin’s students at his Players School of Music in Florida, as evidenced by the nice big badge on the speaker grille.
Eden Amplification Terra Nova TN501 Bass Amp
‘Colourful’ is not a word bandied about too often where modern, or even vintage, bass amplification is concerned. Between the limitations of human hearing, engineering specifics or purely and simply the state of the room you’re playing in, there is a pretty severe set of limitations placed on the frequency range in play. The majority of amp makers take aim squarely at ‘coloured’, preferring to dictate nuance rather than offer up a bevvy of options and, while this focus has yielded some of the tastiest low-end thunder imaginable (see Motown, Bootsy et al.), it’s taken a lot of work to come to a build that offers anywhere near a full sonic spectrum.
MarkBass Little Mark Ninja Head
Following on with their collaboration/signature models, MarkBass has just released the impressive 1000-watt brute of a head designed in tandem with another monster of the bass world, Richard Bona. Once again their company reputation is top notch, as is the playing and musicality of Mr Bona, so I can see how this association fits.
Markbass 121 Lite Bass Combo
Having played with the likes of Frank Gambale, Mike Stern and Billy Cobham, Alain Caron is a highly respected player in the music community. Likewise, Markbass is one of the most well-known bass amp manufacturers on the planet. It’s then understandable why the two parties would collaborate on the 121 Lite Bass combo. Continuing with their portable and lightweight amps that push some serious volume, Markbass seem to be onto another winner.