CustomDLC.com

A good friend of mine, who I shall call Simon, since that is his name, has set up a new website dedicated to hosting Rocksmith customs. It’s free to join and I am now posting all my customs there by default. Head over there and sign up – it takes seconds – http://www.customdlc.com/

Upgrading to Go PlayAlong 4

Although I’ve had it since its release, I’ve never really taken to GPA4, much preferring the feel of the previous version. However, as it’s not possible to get V3 any more, I’ll be updating my customs guide shortly to include GPA4 and Guitar Pro 7, as it’s really time I got with the times!

Picking it up…

I’ve always wanted to be able to play with a pick, and after seeing The Stranglers playing at the Cambridge Corn Exchange in March 2019, I decided that it was time to give it another go.

I’d got some picks I’d received as freebies from various sources, but these were all too flimsy for any serious bass playing. Some research told me that J-J Burnel from The Stranglers used Gibson Heavies, so anything which was good enough for him, was good enough for me.

2019-05-15 16.07.55 I duly ordered half a dozen heavy picks from DirtyRiffs.co.uk via Amazon. They came packaged in this nifty pick box:

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Trouble was, the heavies weren’t heavy enough. Luckily, Fender turn it up to 11 with their Extra Heavies, which are just right for me.

 

 

 

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Whilst searching for picks on Amazon, I noticed that a company will engrave a stainless steel pick for you. Here’s mine. If you’re interested, here‘s the page.

 

 

 

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Finally, in my Facebook group, someone mentioned Felt picks. Felt? Surely not. Well, they do exist. These came from China. They’re about four times the depth of a heavy pick and quite comfortable to use. The sound produced is a fairly gentle thump. Apparently they don’t last long though.

 

 

So how’s it going? Not badly as of the time of writing. I still can’t play as fast with a pick as I can with my fingers, and at rehearsals I’m often dropping the pick so I can carry on as before. I’ll get there though.

I’m still unsure of the best way to play. Make all the movement in my wrist, or use my lower arm. Either way is quite tiring at the moment!

Going Fretless

For several band rehearsals, I’ve been taking my fretless Squier Precision. None of my bandmates noticed, other than saying that I’ve brought a different bass along, although one did say that “someone had stolen the dots”, to which I replied “and the frets…”

It’s a lot easier to play than I’d thought. Experience with Rocksmith showed that intonation needed to be spot on, but with the band, it’s not as critical. It’s a very light bass too which helps. Standing for 2-3 hours with one of my heavier axes really doesn’t do my back any favours.

I’m back to playing the fretted Jazz or Jaguar now but may well go back to fretless before long. One day I shall treat myself to another unlined fretless to replace the Hohner B2AFL which was stolen many years ago.

 

Fitting the Jag’s High Mass bridge

The new bridge arrived late last week, then I had to wait to pick it up from the local Post Office as there was a customs charge on it #not happy.

Jaguar---new-bridge-in-bag

The bridge is a nice piece of work, definitely chunkier than the standard fit bit of bent metal:

It was simple to fit – take the strings off, unscrew the old bridge, (give the bass a dust), fit the new bridge, making sure that the ground wire was in contact, then put the strings back on again.

The bass looks better with the new bridge – I just have to go through the motions of setting the action and intonation now and see what difference it has made. Hopefully the sustain will have improved in the same way as it did when I added the Babicz to the P Bass.

High Mass bridge for the Jag

The standard Squier/Fender bridge on the Jaguar is just one of those crappy bent bits of metal. When the bass arrived, the bridge needed some fettling as it hadn’t been put together properly (nice QC) and since I’d got the nylon strings on it, I’ve never been happy with the intonation. The E string saddle is almost back as far as it will go and Rocksmith often suggests that I’m not playing the right notes, which can’t be right of course.

I did think about putting a Babicz bridge on, but although one transformed my Squier Affinity P Bass, I’m not keen on spending >£100 on a bridge. I liked the Badass II bridge which I had fitted to my Jazz bass by Andy’s Guitar Workshop in Denmark Street in the late 80’s and thought I’d see what Fender had done to the bridge since buying the design.

They are like hens’ teeth! ebay seems to be the only place they can be found at the moment and they’re not cheap either $50+ with another $40 thrown in for postage in some cases. I managed to find one at a shop in Arkansas for around $30 delivered which seemed much better. Let’s see what difference this makes. The new bridge on the Affinity P gave the bass far more sustain so I’m going to be very interested to see whether I can get the same effect on the Jag with this High Mass bridge. Watch this space…