Sunday 26 July 2015

Tools part 6 - Ovation Magnum II

I get a lot of use out of this unusual late '70's designed Magnum II bass from Ovation.
Featuring a highly distinctive body shape, a thumb rest, unique bridge design and a rarely seen approach to active pick-ups, these instruments were replaced by the later Magnum III and IV before being discontinued.
It's a comfortable, but solid (heavy) piece of wood, also with a longer than usual scale length, which meant initially sourcing strings with windings that went past the nut was a little tricky, but I have settled on D'Addario ECB81 XL Chrome flatwounds.

It's capable of some grinding rock sounds, but it's appeal for me is either for thick rubbery dub type bass, or, with the foam mute in place, played pick style (sometimes in conjunction with a delay pedal) for a retro bass sound that my other, more modern instruments can't get close to.
I also sometimes use an Ovation Magnum I, which is the passive version of the same bass, you can read more on the differences between the two on this original Ovation manual.

Two pick-ups, and foam mute.

Close up of the tone/volume controls and pick up selector.

Neck pick up aka "Mudbucker"

Backplate showing serial number.

You can hear this bass in the dub section (an excerpt from the title track) in the middle of the above sampler of the new Metallic Taste of Blood album "Doctoring the Dead".

Also on  "Mesh":

It's very prominent on the title track of the new Tim Bowness album "Stupid Things that Mean the World" too.

Thursday 16 July 2015


Thursday 9 July 2015

O.R.k. - Update.

Just re-posting below a bit of info from

The Musicraiser campaign for "Inflamed Rides" has now finished, and all pre-orderers should now either have access to their digital versions, or be waiting for their CD's.

The good news is that we are preparing a more general release of "Inflamed Rides" through Cargo distribution, so, on October 2nd, it will be available through the more usual outlets, digital pre-orders can be made now through Amazonitunes, please check your local record store too…if you still have one.
Burning Shed CD pre-order can be accessed here

More details on all this in the very near future….the ride continues….

Sunday 5 July 2015

Tools Part 5 - Stealth Bongo

See above, my Musicman Stealth Bongo.
When I had the chance to try them, I always liked playing Musicman basses, and whilst searching around for a replacement for my Wal, which (thanks to some negative airline experiences), I temporarily retired from  service, I briefly used a very nice natural wood Stingray for a tour or two. However, I much preferred the Bongo as soon as I tried one, it felt more comfortable to play, flexible, expressive and with a very pleasing even response.
I was surprised, in a good way, by the very clearly defined low end, a lot more of it than you might expect, given it's actually quite light.  The tonal possibilities make it a very good all round instrument, and I have experimented with different string types from time to time, switching back and forth between round and flatwounds, currently I'm back to using round wounds.
I was lucky enough to get this bass direct from Ernie Ball and along with the simple black "Stealth" colour finish, I opted for dual humbuckers.

Two tone split controls, giving a 4 band EQ, pick up balance and volume control pots.

Bridge close up.

Distinctive 3 + 1 Musicman Headstock

 I believe the design team from BMW were involved in designing the stylistic aspects such as the body and headstock shape, it's certainly a different take on the bass guitar, "marmite" perhaps…..but I like it.

You can see this particular bass getting a workout on the Porcupine Tree "Arriving" Live DVD:

As well as a few other tracks here:

 More recently, I have used a (borrowed) fretless Stealth Bongo live with Burnt Belief:

Solo Work

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