Cliff Engel's Institute Of Bass





Bass Gear


Yamaha John Patitucci TRBJP2

2015 Yamaha John Patitucci TRBJP2



Yamaha John Patitucci TRBJP2 Specifications
Body:
Neck:
Fingerboard:
Nut:
Scale length:
Pickups:
Electronics:
Bridge:
Tuners:
Hardware:
Other:
Weight:




Fender Marcus Miller Jazz

2010 Fender Marcus Miller Jazz

First introduced in 1960, the Fender Jazz bass has set the standard for bass tone and design for over the past 50 years. Many other prominent bass builders have continued the Fender tradition by retaining the classic look, feel, and tone of the Jazz bass through similar body shapes, neck profiles, and pickup configurations. While many luthiers today are creating amazing boutique basses costing over $5,000, no other bass has been featured on more hit recordings or used more for live performances than the Jazz bass. Watch any award show or late night program on television where a live band is playing and you will find that Jazz basses or Jazz bass replicas are used over 90% of the time.

The Marcus Miller Jazz bass works well in any style of music, and for slap bass playing, you simply won't find a better sounding instrument. Shortly after purchasing this bass, I made quite a few modifications to it. First, I replaced the original tuners with Hipshot American Classic tuning keys and installed a Hipshot Xtender on the E-string. The large white pearl block inlays on the fingerboard make this bass a great instrument for teaching, and since I often use this bass for instruction, I removed the chrome pickup cover so my right hand would be easier to see when demonstrating different right hand techniques. I had a one-piece customized pickguard made to replace the original set of three. Instead of having a total of 23 screws in the three original pickguards, the custom pickguard now installed on the bass has 12. As a result, the bass has a slightly cleaner look to it since there are 11 fewer screws present on the front of the instrument. I installed a set of Aguilar AG4J-70 single coil pickups which provide more definition to the notes than the original Fender pickups. After several phone calls to Fender, I obtained and installed the 18-volt preamp that is used in the American-made 5-string version of the bass. I also replaced the original black plastic bass knobs on the tone controls with chrome knobs to match the volume controls.

Fender Marcus Miller Jazz Specifications
Body: Ash with polyester gloss finish
Neck: Maple
Fingerboard: Maple with 20 frets and white pearl block position inlays
Nut: Synthetic bone
Scale length: 34"
Pickups: Aguilar AG4J-70 single coil
Electronics: 18-volt active preamp with neck pickup volume, bridge pickup volume, bass, treble, active/passive mini toggle switch
Bridge: Hipshot KickAss
Tuners: Hipshot American Classic series with Xtender on E-string
Hardware: Chrome
Other: Single-piece custom pickguard
Weight: 9 lbs., 5 oz.



Carvin B24

2011 Carvin Brian Bromberg B24

Designed in conjunction with world-renowned bassist Brian Bromberg, the Carvin B24 represents the evolution of our bass guitars, with an innovative new design and new features not previously available on Custom Shop basses, including Kiesel Radium KRJ radiused alnico single-coil pickups for amazing tone. These new basses are designed based on Brian's personal style and taste, with sound and playability that any bassist will appreciate. The modern, ergonomic shape of the Bromberg basses is usually reserved for boutique instruments, but with Kiesel Guitars, you can design and order your Bromberg bass without paying a boutique price. And with hundreds of available options, you can design a fully-custom USA-made bass at a price that can't be beat. This is the third signature model Bromberg bass I have owned. I also had a 1993 and a 1994 Peavey B-Quad, and the B24.

Carvin B24 Specifications
Body: Two-piece swamp ash, deep triple step black stain quilted maple top, no-show neck, blackburst edges, black back, string-thru body, clear gloss finish
Neck: 5-piece maple neck-thru design, black back, clear gloss finish
Fingerboard: Ebony, 24 stainless steel medium jumbo frets, side dot markers, 14" radius
Headstock: Deep triple step black stain quilted maple
Nut: Graphite
Scale length: 34"
Pickups: 2 Carvin RAD-JVA single coil pickups
Electronics: 18-volt Aguilar OBP-2 with neck pickup volume, bridge pickup volume, bass, treble, passive tone control
Bridge: Hipshot A-style thru body
Tuners: Carvin GB7 with Hipshot Xtender on E-string
Hardware: Black
Weight: 9 lbs.



SWR Baby Blue

SWR Baby Blue II Combo Amp

The SWR tradition of innovation began in 1984 when founder Steve W. Rabe developed an entirely new concept of bass instrument amplification. Responding to advice and suggestions from the leading L.A. recording bassists of the day who wanted their live sound to resemble what they heard in studio playback monitors, Rabe developed a full-range, hi-fi bass system that allowed players to dial in any tone they wanted with the accuracy of a studio mixing console. The SWR Baby Blue II combo amp serves as my primary amplifier. The SWR Baby Blue preamp is considered by many SWR enthusiasts to be the finest preamp they ever designed. During an interview I conducted with Michael Manring in 2005, he told me that practically every electric bass guitar track he had recorded since the early 1990's had been done through an SWR Baby Blue preamp. The Baby Blue Studio Reference Bass System was designed and developed for the discerning professional bass player in need of a superior small bass rig for studio applications and smaller venues. The precision electronic section is entirely built by hand and employs everything from vacuum tubes for the preamp section to discreet solid state components for the power amplifier. Each individual component was selected for reliability and accurate reproduction of the signals from both electric and acoustic instruments. The features were chosen with an emphasis on studio applications and for use in live settings where a very true signal is needed. By using just the power switch and volume controls, you will experience the cleanest and most transparent sound you have ever heard out of your instrument. The aural enhancer and tone sections were designed to bring out the character of the individual musician and their instrument without altering or masking their inherent qualities or techniques. The speaker system in the Baby Blue is patterned along the lines of studio reference monitors and is quite unique to the musical instrument field. I usually keep the Baby Blue II amplifier connected to one of my Aguilar GS 410 cabinets as one-half of my stereo bass rig (see Tower Of Power picture below). I also run all of my basses through the Baby Blue II preamp when recording. SWR stopped producing the Baby Blue II in 2003.



SWR Grand Prix

SWR Grand Prix Preamp

I purchased my first SWR bass rig in 1990, the classic SM-400 amplifier along with a Goliath II 4x10 speaker cabinet. The Grand Prix preamp together with the Stereo 800 power amp are the ultimate combination for any bassist seeking the SWR sound in a powerful but modular system. Purchased in 1994, the Grand Prix preamp and Stereo 800 power amp are the two oldest pieces of equipment I own and still use. Unfortunately, SWR ceased production of both units in 2001.



SWR Stereo 800

SWR Stereo 800 Power Amplifier

The Stereo 800 was designed in conjunction with the Grand Prix preamp in the early 1990's. It produces enough power to amplify multiple cabinets even in the largest of venues. The Grand Prix preamp and Stereo 800 power amp are connected to one of my Aguilar GS 410 cabinets and function as one-half of my stereo bass rig. Between the Baby Blue II and Grand Prix preamps, I am able to generate a true stereo signal with independent control over both speaker cabinets.



Aguilar GS 410

Aguilar GS 410 Speaker Cabinet

I've been using Aguilar GS 410 speaker cabinets since 2007. I run two of them in my stereo bass rig, and they can easily handle the power and wide frequency response produced by my amps. They are capable of handling 700 watts and feature four 10" cast frame woofers made by Eminence to Aguilar's specifications, top and bottom front ports, a phenolic tweeter, a variable tweeter level control, neutrik speakon and 1/4" inputs, seven-ply, void-free Philippine mahogany construction, a wide 40 Hz to 16 kHz frequency response, and removable caster wheels. Although it is a relatively heavy cabinet that weighs nearly 100 lbs., its compact design allows for fairly easy transportation and storage. The GS 410 responds very quickly for a tight, articulate, and full-range sound which permits it to respond well to all of the contemporary bass playing techniques including fingerstyle, picking, slapping, and tapping in every live performance application. It works well for solo bass gigs as well as for playing within different band configurations in large venues at high volume levels where the bass is often muddied or lost in the mix. I've played through and owned dozens of speaker cabinets including 4x10's, 2x12's, 2x10's, 1x15's, and 8x8's, but I haven't found a better sounding full range cabinet than the GS 410.



SWR Mr. Tone Controls

SWR Mr. Tone Controls EQ

Back in the 1990's, SWR founder Steve Rabe created a 9-band semi-parametric EQ called Mr. Tone Controls. It is a single-space rackmount unit that was a special order, boutique item. SWR never advertised or stocked the Mr. Tone Controls EQ in shops. Today, they are extremely rare because few of them were ever made, and I've only seen a few used units for sale since the late 1990's. The Mr. Tone Controls EQ features 9 bands of EQ that span across a frequency range from 20Hz to 16kHz. Each band has its own level and frequency controls which provide up to 15 dB of boost or cut. I keep the Mr. Tone Controls EQ plugged into the effects loop of my SWR Baby Blue II preamp. With the Mr. Tone Controls EQ engaged in my signal chain, my tone becomes high definition. Along with my Carvin B24 bass, the SWR Baby Blue preamp and Mr. Tone Controls EQ are the most important pieces of equipment I own.



Raven Labs MDB-1

Raven Labs MDB-1 Mixer

Raven Labs was started by Steve Rabe, the founder of SWR Amplification. From their 1998 to 2005 production run, Raven Labs manufactured a series of professional outboard gear for musicians and engineers including DIs, mixers, preamps, equalizers, and effects that have become revered for their high-quality, durability, and superb tone-shaping abilities. The MDB-1 is a combination mixer/direct box/buffer in one small unit that enables the user to set the levels of up to three signal sources simultaneously. You never have to fumble with the volume knob on an amp or the fader on a recording console to compensate for signals with various gain stages. This little box offers super low noise, low distortion, and a frequency response from 10Hz to 60kHz. Like most other Raven Labs products, the MDB-1 can be run on either an AC adapter or two 9-volt batteries. The MDB-1 is great for gigs that require the use of multiple basses because I can plug in and mix all of my instruments without worrying about signal loss, and at the same time, the MDB-1 allows me to send two signals to my stereo bass rig. I send a signal from the line out of the MDB-1 to my SWR Baby Blue II preamp and another signal from the auxiliary send of the MDB-1 to my SWR Grand Prix preamp. As of Rabe's retirement in February 2005, all development, production, and shipment of Raven Labs products ended.



Raven Labs True Blue EQ

Raven Labs True Blue EQ

The Raven Labs True Blue EQ is a 5-band semi-parametric EQ designed to enhance the essence of your sound while maintaining true signal integrity. Most EQs use active series circuits that can muddy signal, cause phase shifting, and other undesired anomolies. With the True Blue EQ, boost or cut is achieved by adding or subtracting the original signal to itself in a parallel arrangement. The bandwidths in the boost mode were chosen for musicality and are a function of frequency. The bandwidths in the cut mode are narrower thus creating a notch filter affect. This design philosophy makes the True Blue EQ the ultimate choice for unmasking hidden qualities, reducing feedback, dealing with hot or dead spots on instruments, correcting room acoustics, remote recording, and putting that certain air into your sound without drastically altering it. The Raven Labs True Blue EQ is the direct descendant of the SWR Mr. Tone Controls EQ. The True Blue EQ features 5 bands of EQ that span across a frequency range from 30Hz to 10kHz. Each band has its own level and frequency controls which provide up to 15 dB of boost or cut. I keep the True Blue EQ plugged into the effects loop of my SWR Grand Prix preamp.



Furman PL-Plus II

Furman PL-Plus II Power Conditioner

For over 30 years, Furman has been the leader in AC power management solutions for audio, video, and broadcast professionals. Furman's advanced SMP+ circuit absorbs, clamps, and dissipates any offending surges or spikes to save your gear without sacrificing any parts. With their proprietary Linear Filtering Technology (LiFT), Extreme Voltage Shutdown (EVS), and high current TVZ-MOV components, Furman's technology offers the world's most advanced electrical surge and spike protection available. Every piece of gear in my bass rig is plugged into the PL-Plus II, and with its rear BNC connector, I illuminate the back of my rack with the Furman GN-LED gooseneck light.



The Tower Of Power


The Tower Of Power


The Tower Of Power From Top To Bottom

SWR Baby Blue II Amplifier
SWR Mr. Tone Controls EQ
Furman PL-Plus Series II Power Conditioner
Raven Labs MDB-1 Mixer/Direct Box/Buffer
Raven Labs True Blue EQ
SWR Grand Prix Preamp
SWR Stereo 800 Power Amplifier
2-Space Locking Rack Drawer
2 Aguilar GS 410 Speaker Cabinets



D'Addario Strings

D'Addario Strings

I have been using D'Addario ProSteels and XL Nickel bass strings exclusively since 2006. D'Addario's XL Nickel wound strings are their most popular and best-selling bass strings. All XL strings are precision wound on digitally-controlled machines, ensuring each string has excellent intonation, clear fundamentals, and unparalleled consistency. Each string is wound with a nickelplated steel wrap wire known for distinctive bright tone with excellent magnetic output delivering a universally appealing and versatile tone for all playing styles. ProSteels are one of D'Addario's brightest and most corrosion resistant strings. A specialized alloy delivers harmonically rich and brilliant highs coupled with deep, tight lows which produce unsurpassed clarity, powerful sustain, and grand piano-like tone. I setup my Yamaha John Patitucci TRBJP2 with XL nickel strings, my Fender Marcus Miller Jazz with ProSteels, and my Carvin Brian Bromberg B24 with XL nickel strings.

I use the following sets:
EXL165-6 - .020, .032, .045, .065, .085, .105 (Yamaha TRBJP2)
EPS190 - .040, .060, .080, .100 (Fender Marcus Miller Jazz)
EXL180 - .035, .055, .075, .095 (Carvin B24)




D'Addario American Stage Cables

D'Addario American Stage Cables

Gives you the most secure connection possible. Ordinary cables tips don't allow for varying jack tolerances. But the D'Addario-designed patented Geo-Tip works with any jack to give you the most secure, trustworthy connection possible. Planet Waves American Stage Guitar Cables save your tone from being mangled before it hits your amplifier. American Stage Cables use audiophile-quality wire and custom-designed Neutrik 1/4" plugs that make a robust connection and deliver your precious tone with pristine clarity. So because sound quality and and reliability should be at the forefront of every player's needs onstage or in the studio, you don't want to compromise by using inferior cables. Open your ears to the difference a great cables make, and trust your signal to Planet Waves American Stage Cables.




Evidence Audio Cables

Evidence Audio Cables

Specializing in high performance instrument, microphone, and speaker cables for both live and studio applications, Evidence Audio was founded by Tony Farinella in 1997. As one of the most critical components placed in the path of an audio signal, cables can degrade tone by adding unwanted coloration, obscuring definition, and compressing dynamics. Even the best cables influence the sound to a certain extent, and since no cable can actually improve tone, the primary goal of Evidence Audio has always been to produce transparent cables that don't impart their own sonic signature on the sound being generated. Rather than creating products based on marketing hype, Evidence Audio has conducted years of research in cable theory and design to formulate an award-winning series of cables. Unlike most instrument cables that are constructed with stranded wire, at the foundation of Evidence Audio's cables are solid core conductors which preserve clarity, nuances, and articulation. Evidence Audio cables are engineered to faithfully transmit the characteristics of all instruments as signal is passed from its source to its output destination, but they are especially suited for handling the speed, power, and resolution required of bass amplification. Instrument cables are probably the single most overlooked piece of equipment in a bassist's signal chain, and practically everyone I know will plug their basses into an amp using any instrument cable they can find. I'm always amazed at the number of bassists who are playing high-end basses worth over $5,000 and plugging their instruments into expensive bass rigs using a $10 cable. What is the point of spending thousands of dollars on bass gear and then have your signal compromised with a cheap cable? I use Forte and Lyric HG instrument cables and Siren speaker cables exclusively.



Comfort Strapp

Comfort Strapp

The Comfort Strapp is unlike any other strap I've ever used. Its composite design will relieve at least a couple pounds off any bass you play and is especially useful with heavy instruments. I keep a Comfort Strapp permanently attached to each bass I own.



MXR M81 Bass Preamp

MXR M81 Bass Preamp

The MXR Bass Preamp combines a pristine bass preamp with a studio-quality Direct Out in a Phase 90-sized box, providing clear tone without hogging precious pedalboard space. Use it to add a new voice to an old passive bass, sweeten up any amp, or put some special sauce on a particular song. Dial it in just the way you want it and send it straight to the house-pre or post-EQ-with the built-in Direct Out. The Bass Preamp features separate Input and Output level controls and a 3-band EQ section with sweepable midrange-from 250hz to 1khz-for extensive tonal flexibility. It's all delivered super clean with high headroom thanks to our own Constant Headroom Technology™ , and you can use the PRE/POST EQ switch to set whether or not your Direct Out signal is affected by the Bass Preamp's EQ section. And of course, the Bass Preamp features a GROUND LIFT switch in case you encounter ground loop hum. The Bass Preamp is factory preset to operate in 1/4" out buffered bypass and Direct Out active. For players who only want to use the 1/4" out, there are two internal switches that disable the Direct Out and ¼" out buffered bypass for true ¼" out bypass mode. For studio-quality bass tones wherever you play, rely on the MXR M81 Bass preamp pedal. Separate input and output level controls let you take advantage of MXR's innovative Constant Headroom Technology for clarity at volumes other preamps just can't produce. The flawless direct out can be sent to the house pre or post the 3-band, sweepable midrange EQ section - dial in tone for your amp and leave the PA to the sound chick. To get a new tone from an old bass or amp, or for just a touch of something every now and then, the versatility of the MXR M81 Bass preamp pedal is what you need.




Line 6 POD HD

Line 6 POD HD

Line 6 POD HD Desktop Guitar Multi-Effects Processor The first desktop POD featuring revolutionary HD modeling POD HD represents a giant leap forward for amp modeling. It is the only desktop multi-effect to boast 16 state-of-the-art Line 6 HD amp models, 100+ modern and vintage-styled M-class effects, and a collection of essential digital and analog ins and outs. POD HD is the most up to date version of the original, time-tested lineage of Line 6 desktop direct-recording devices.




Tech 21 VT Bass DI

Tech 21 VT Bass DI

For the pro on the go, the VT Bass DI covers a lot of ground in a small footprint. This multi-function, multi-application format features three different outputs. You can complement your current rig, record direct, drive power amps and go direct to the PA. Just throw it in your gig bag and you're ready at a moment's notice. Like its sibling, the original VT Bass, you can get the same legendary tower of power tone pumping through a stack of 10-inchers. This is for players who enjoy being heard. From chunky funk with the ubiquitous flip top, to the higher gain growl of indie rock. Want more? Lean on the Character control for the fat distortion of Crimson and King's X. The VT Bass DI incorporates a Blend control to adjust the ratio of direct signal and SansAmp circuitry, and a Bite switch to engage a presence boost and a subsonic filter. With the VT Bass DI, you can go from clean SVT-style thump to dirty earthquaking rump. No matter which way you dial it in, it all sounds massive.



EBS Billy Sheehan Signature Drive Deluxe

EBS Billy Sheehan Signature Drive Deluxe

The Billy Sheehan Signature Drive Deluxe is the extended version of the previous signature model, also released by EBS. It is a complete analog design with exceptional features to turn it into your own signature pedal. It is developed by EBS in close cooperation with Billy himself.More gain. The Billy Sheehan Drive Deluxe offers significant more gain than the original purple version. A Boost footswitch even push the gain on the Drive to the extreme when needed. The level of boost can be adjusted internally by a trim pot.Phase inverter switch. With the Phase switch set to Inv (affects the drive only) you will achieve a more growly kind of distortion compared to the Normal setting. Swappable op-amp. There are a lot of drive pedals that are considered to be classics . Many of them use some variation of a standard type of op-amp circuit design called an 8-pin dual inline op-amp . The EBS Billy Sheehan Signature Drive Deluxe offer the user the unique ability to change this chip to one that offers different characteristics to the Drive effect. The chip is accessed easily by removing the bottom plate of the pedal. It's attached to the board by an IC-standard socket, and does not require any soldering to be swapped. See the Demo Samples Tab for a op-amp shootout video as a reference guide.Shared features with the Purple versionThe super cool loops. Use the Clean Loop to send a clean signal to an octave pedal and obtain optimized tracking while the Drive channel is still in use. Or put an Equalizer in the Drive Loop to fine tune your distortion character. There are countless options to use these loops in creative ways; these are only two examples to get your mind spinning.The built-in compressor. This pedal comes with a built-in compressor that you can leave off, set in Mid or in High position. The compressor helps to maintain definition of tone while you re using heavy distortion. It also helps to blend together the distortion and clean tone better.




Morley Pedals

Morley Volume Plus & ABY MIX Pedals

The Volume Plus does what you’d expect from a great volume pedal. But why the ‘Plus’? Well, it comes with a cool twist – a Minimum Volume knob. This little additional feature allow you to set the pedal up for fast, easy and smooth transition between your rhythm volume and your lead volume. Electro-Optical Volume Control – No pots to get scratchy and wear out! Smooth Volume Taper – Great for Volume control and Volume swells. Minimum Volume Knob – Smooth transition between rhythm and lead volumes.

If you use two different guitars or two different amps on your gigs, this little routing pedal is a lifesaver. No more muting and unplugging your cable to switch between e.g. an electric and an acoustic guitar. Just connect it all to the ABY MIX and route any two inputs to any two outputs – and match their respective levels precisely. Flexible Routing – Route any 2 inputs to any 2 outputs. Independent Level Control – Each input has a level control so you can match the levels precisely.




Hipshot Tuners And Bridges

Hipshot Tuners And Bridges






Mackie 1402-VLZ3 Pro

Mackie 1402-VLZ3 Pro Mixer

The Mackie 1402-VLZ3 Pro mixer is the central hub for my entire studio. Practically every piece of gear that I own gets plugged into this mixer, and the audio signals are then routed to my computer. It's the ideal compact mixer for home and project studios seeking superior performance in an economical, small-footprint package. The 1402-VLZ3 Pro comes equipped with Mackie's XDR2 studio-grade preamps for ultralow noise and high headroom performance. The 6 XDR2 mic preamps can handle inputs from a whisper all the way up to a scream without any added coloration. It also has 6 mic/line level input channels, 4 stereo line level input channels (balanced), XLR stereo main outs, phantom power, and powerful RF rejection. Other features include 2 auxiliary sends, 2 stereo auxiliary returns plus effects to monitor, 3-band active EQ on each channel, a lo-cut filter on the mic channels, balanced stereo control room and alt outs, a headphone jack, steel chassis, faders, and much more.



Mackie MR8 Studio Monitors

Mackie MR8 & MR5 Studio Monitors

The Mackie MR8 and MR5 studio monitors provide professional quality sound at an incredibly affordable price. These active monitors are ideal for stereo or surround sound applications in project studios. The rugged cabinet houses an 8" (MR8) or 5" (MR5) steel-frame woofer along with a 1" tweeter to produce a full frequency response. The rear panel of these monitors contains XLR, TRS, and RCA inputs which allow you to connect to practically any signal source. High and low frequency filters as well as a level control are also provided for fine tuning your sound to the acoustic characteristics of the room. The rear bass port is tuned to deliver superior bass performance without vent noise, distortion, or pressure. Every audio component in my studio is plugged into these monitors.




Finale

Finale

Finale is the world's best-selling music notation software for creating, editing, and printing sheet music. My high school band teacher got me started using Finale in the early 1990's. Every lesson consisting of standard notation and tablature that I have written was created with Finale music notation software.




Band In A Box

Band-In-A-Box

Band-In-A-Box is an award winning accompaniment program. With Band-In-A-Box, you can enter different chord changes, pick a style and tempo, and Band-In-A-Box automatically generates a full backing arrangement of piano, bass, drums, and guitar which you can then utilize for creating bass lines and improvising solos. Band-In-A-Box is also a powerful tool for composing and developing musical ideas because it provides instantaneous feedback. Once you have finished your product, you can burn it directly to an audio CD or output as an MP3 to distribute online. Band-In-A-Box was the first music program I purchased in the early 1990's, and I still have my first version on 5.25" floppy discs. It is the single most important computer program I've used in my studies. If you are like most musicians who don't always have the opportunity to practice with a live group, Band-In-A-Box is the next best alternative for simulating a real band.




Transcribe!

Transcribe!

Transcribe! is the world's leading music transcription software. Nearly every transcription I have completed since 2005 was done with Transcribe!. With Transcribe!, you can easily transcribe solos and bass grooves from your favorite recordings by slowing down the tempo without changing the pitch. Set loop points to capture small excerpts or even loop complete tracks over and over at a slower speed, and increase the tempo incrementally until you can play note-for-note alongside the original performance. You can edit tracks and then export them at a slower tempo for practicing passages that are just too fast to play.



Cliff Engel's Institute Of Bass


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