Saturday, February 16, 2008

Modulus Graphite Flea (Funk Bass) #302

Yes, I own Inca silver Flea number 302.

Modulus Graphite instruments are popular here due to the weather and their tonal flexibility. I've played several models, but I'd never quite found the right one.

I first spotted my Flea one summer at Mars Music in Cincinnati. It was somewhat similar in design to a Music Man model popular in our area. To me, the controls were easier to use and more effective than the Music Man's. Also, I really liked playing it, but it was very expensive.

And, there was a chance I might get laid off from work.

Later, when I heard Mars Music was going out of business, I went down there hoping it would still be available. It was, but it was very shop worn and a knob was missing. When I say it was shop worn, it resembled some of the distressed instruments being sold by Fender.

Somebody told me, "You don't want that one, because somebody told me it fell off the wall."

I made Mars Music an offer that I figured was about $100 more than they paid for it. However, the lawyer representing the court wouldn't allow me to buy it for that amount. He explained their plan was to mark down each item a percentage per week until "even the light fixtures are sold." The salesman pleaded with him; then apologized to me, and I left.

Work and weather permitting, I drove 200 miles every few weeks to see it. Later, I saw a kid with it in line. I gave up, bought some great speakers for $60, and went to eat at Dave and Buster's next door.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving, the day before Mars closed, I went to check things out. I'm not sure why. Sure enough, they had a few five string Modulus basses among the tons of cheap third world nylon string guitars.

The one salesman I knew saw me and said, "I was hoping you'd come back."

"The bass was sold," I said.

"Yes, a kid bought it with a blank check from his parents who made him bring it back as they didn't think it was worth what he paid for it, because it was damaged."

I bought it for less than I'd offered weeks before.

Is this not one of the great rock'n'roll stories of all time?

Top Ten Reasons You Don't Sound Like Recording Artists

1. Is your guitar or bass decent, in tune, and properly set up using quality medium strings?
2. Do you have a decent amplifier and cable and a properly rated clean power supply?
3. Have you focused too much on stage presence and vibe over craft?
4. Have you focused too much on music theory over originality, passion, and urgency?
5. Do you listen to each other while you play?
6. Do you listen to the meaning of the song and search for an appropriate original arrangement?
7. Is your recording medium any good like HD, digital stream, or round reel?
8. Do you understand the delicate art of compression?
9. Are you trying to fix problems with balance or EQ in the mix or during mastering?

And number 10. You do realize, beyond of the obvious studio tricks, that a few "hit" songs are slowed down and quite a few are sped up? There can be improvements fidelity and psycho-acoustics when songs are sped up. Plus, the players sound better and singers voices more closely match that of teenage girl record buying public.

The right mixture of compression, EQ, and speed variation used to be called "sweeting" the recording.