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  • Valerios Calocerinos

On the Jack Casady Signature Bass and Thomastik Infeld strings

I needed a bass guitar for a band, I haven't owned one for years and, as is the case with most instruments we sell, regretted the parting of each of them. (Motorbikes are kind of like that too come to think of it). I’ve always had Fender style basses (Precision, Jazz) and I wanted to try something different that would suit what I play. The Jack Casady is different in that it is an Epiphone. I had never owned an epiphone bass before although I did own an Epiphone guitar (ES 339) and it was a really nice instrument and like the Casdady Bass it is hollow body (semi for the bass).

I got a really good deal on the Pelham Blue from a retailer in Tasmania who shipped it that day. I would of rathered the burgandy but as I said I saved a lot on this bass (over $500 Aus) but in the flesh the blue is nice and its grown on me.

Next decision was strings. I listened to various sound clips online but it can be hard to tell. I have gone down the slippery slope with Double Bass stings and have landed on (and funnily enough started with) Thomastik Infeld Spirocore Strings (Weich 3885s). Double bass strings are expensive so experimenting with strings can be a dangerous step, some say obsession or sickness! Spirocres on a double bass are a bit of a staple amongst upright players, I find them to be a good arco and pizzicato hybrid (bowed and plucked) string that get better with age,

On my fretless acoustic bass (Dean EAB) I installed the Thomastik Acoustic Bass strings after de-fretting it. (if interested, I used superglue for the filler) These strings transformed the instrument. The Dean was relatively cheap but had good reviews. I've raised the action a bit on this with a shim under the bridge, The shim is actually just a split from a popsicle stick, I'd like to replace it with a more solid wood at some point but the bass sounds really nice and earthy with decent bottom end. Its great to play and hard to put down and is also nice when played in a kind of classical guitar fashion.

With nothing but good experiences with Thomastik Infeld strings I ordered some Jazz Flats for the Jack Casady.

I got the flats and installed them on the Casady, at this point I hadn’t heard the bass amplified. It took a little while to understand the Gibson three point style bridge but was pretty easy to set up with a relatively high action. Adjusting the intonation was easy and it seems to be staying true. My main concern when deciding on the Thomastic Infeld Jazz Flats was that some people reported they were too low tension but this hasn’t been an issue, maybe a higher action helped. The first time I played them amplified was at low level in the practice room playing along to some tracks. It was really easy to get a nice sound. I ran the bass direct into the same bass amp I use for my double bass (Clarus Mk1 and a 12inch EA whizzy) with the EQ flat and the tone was deep and rich. I'm kind of revelling in the "roll the tone all the way off on the bass" buttery sound but have experimented with a pick with more a brighter eq and it sounded good. It's easy to get a range of sounds on this bass. It's really comfortable to play standing with a strap and I haven’t experienced any of the neck dive that some have reported. The full scale neck is easy to navigate. I cant see why this bass would not be suitable for any style of music, although it might look a bit weird in metal band!

I like this bass because its simple with, one pick up that was easy to raise after I raised the action and one tone and one volume control. The tone control works and is basically an effective HPF. On my amp, I rolled off the mids a little bit but otherwise its flat. I play mainly with my fingers and its easy, a little bit like my acoustic bass. I can only explain the tone as rich , there's a fundamental to every note with, I don' t want to say double bass sound as some compare this set up to, I’d say just an acoustic type curve on the frequency response, to me there's a lot of information, maybe this is what people mean by a complex tone. The 3 way beak selector switches between 50, 250 and 500 ohms and is pitched as an impedance selector. To me it seems to add a bit of gain. To be honest so far I've left it on 500.

Of course at the end of the day, this is my experience, with my gear and my fingers and you're journey might be totally different and if you've read this far please don’t blame me if this blog is in any way to blame for your journey down the string and instrument rabbit hole... haha.

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