Bass Player Live!

Fender News writer Jeff Owens shares some of the highlights from the weekend’s Bass Player Live! event in Hollywood…

Fresh out of the box, Fender’s four new Bassman® TV Series combo amps await their public debut at Bass Player magazine’s weekend-long Bass Player Live! event in Hollywood, Oct. 24-25.


The four amps—the Bassman TV Duo Ten, Bassman TV 15, Bassman TV 12 and Bassman TV Ten—actually came out earlier in 2009, but Bass Player Live! marked their first public appearance together, and they promptly scored a direct hit. Everybody who came by the Fender exhibit was wowed by their old-school look and charm; players were doubly wowed when they actually plugged into them and heard what they were capable of producing. Everybody wanted one of these things.

Throughout the weekend, players at the Fender exhibit eagerly plugged in Fender basses to put the new Bassman® TV Series combo amps and the new 115 PRO cabinet through their paces. I didn’t mean to rhyme “basses” with “paces” just now. Sometimes it just happens. In certain places …


Hey, looked who stopped by the Fender digs! Why, it’s none other than sublimely talented and supremely cool bass ace Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Macy Gray, Tori Amos, Beck).


The always-eloquent Johnsen, an avid Fender player who’s been busy touring with Nine Inch Nails, stopped by to say hello and wound up severely digging on a fretted Tony Franklin signature Precision Bass® through one of those new Bassman TV Series combo amps that all the other kids at the show were so abuzz about.

We always like to see Justin because, in addition to being such a great guy, good friend and stellar player, everything seems, like, ten times cooler when he’s around.

Another really big hit was the Steve Bailey Jazz Bass® VI, seen here being given a workout by one of the many players who visited the Fender exhibit.


The presence of this particular instrument—Fender’s long-awaited first six-string bass—at the show was made even more utterly badass by the presence of the esteemed Mr. Bailey himself, who charmed everyone there with his affably friendly manner and awed everyone within earshot with his astounding playing on the instrument bearing his name.

Ah, here we see our good friends, bass titans Steve Bailey and Justin Meldal-Johnsen, locked in animated conversation at the Fender Exhibit.


What on Earth do you suppose those two could’ve been talking about? Fishing? Stock tips? Post impressionism? Coltrane? The Yankees? That balloon kid from a few weeks ago? Hard to say, really—it was really loud in there.

Here’s our host at Bass Player Live!, Bass Player magazine senior editor and longtime Fender friend Jonathan Herrera, hearing no evil as they say during a visit to the Fender exhibit at the show.


Herrera, himself a formidable player, stopped by and took a fretless Steve Bailey Jazz Bass® VI for a spin through a new Bassman TV Series combo amp. As for why he’s plugging his ears, well, it definitely wasn’t because of us. If memory serves, it may have had something to do with someone who was talking rather loudly about guitar solos …

L.A. session great Tim Landers takes a Road Worn Jazz Bass for a test drive at the Fender exhibit.


Fender signature artist Steve Bailey—he of the behemoth Steve Bailey Jazz Bass VI six-string model—conducts a clinic before a packed room at the Oct. 25 conclusion of Bass Player Live!.



Listeners sat in rapt attention as the genial Bailey, cradling his popular Fender signature model, demonstrated his phenomenal technique and imparted general bass wisdom. Quite a raconteur, too—the guy has a million of ’em. If you ever bump into him, ask him to tell you the Jaco story …

This guy maybe sort of kind of seems to be enjoying himself and digging the gear at the Fender exhibit. Actually this is how we feel when we play our gear, too …





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