There is a story to these two basses that grace the covers of my books.
Music Theory for the Bass Player Cover Girl
It all started with being hired by my friends over at TrueFire to create my first teaching video with them. I was super excited about this opportunity and wanted to do an extra great job. So I created a program for them with Wolf – I am super proud how it turned out – Pentatonic Playground for Bass. During preparation I thought about all possible details – one of which was what bass to bring. It occurred to me that a four-string would likely be a better choice. The only four-string I had at the time was a black Votan XS that had been a special order to Marleaux that never got claimed. Gerald gave it to me for safekeeping at a NAMM show many years ago and asked me to store it under a bed, so I did. This bass was black and a bit dull looking. As the shooting date came closer I thought this bass would be a great fit but it needed a bit of dressing it up. On camera, black tends to be swallowed and with its dark pickguard and dark fretboard I did not want it to disappear. So I thought a bit of color would help and researched old Fender basses. Seafoam green (and the lighter surf green) were very popular in the 70’s that were making a come back at the time by way of Fender remake models.
So I thought that that would pop well on camera. So I took the bass and went to some builders in the Bay Area with the request to color it. And they all said: won’t touch it! I don’t know this bass. Won’t do it.
Alright now we are just a few weeks away from shooting and Gerald is in Germany. Frantic phone call – can you paint it for me?
Sure, send it. Just the body.
Took it apart. Sent it. First it got stuck in German customs getting into Germany. Alright, sorted that. Gerald spray paints it, lets it dry (stuff takes time and time is ticking away!!) sends it back. Then it gets stuck in US customs. because that bass had been a special order of sorts it had an atypical bridge and pickups I wasn’t too fond of. Gerald sent parts along with the body. Sorted it barely with enough time to put it together and hop on a plane to record the videos! Whew!
But did I love the green Gerald had chosen! So joyful and energetic.
I decided to make it my business color, like so:
And when it came time to decide on the cover of the first book, this beautiful bass body created all sorts of inspiration for Carlo DelaCruz, my awesome cover designer.
I ran the search for a designer as a competition, by the way, and Carlo and his awesome watercolor background idea won me over!
As for the bass it is a Votan XS with Delano Pickups. It is passive and sounds great for funk playing. It has 22 frets like the Votans often have. It has a Fender character to its tone and sounds great with flats and roundwounds.
The Pattern System for the Bass Player Cover Girl
Fast forward to the new book. By now, Carlo is a fixed part of my team and of course, I wanted him to design the cover.
But we needed a new color scheme and a new bass. I wanted this one to be bright and happy also. “Make it orange, Gerald, a Consat! Four-string!” You do the rest.
Well, what do you think?! Gerald went to town and built me an amazing Consat with super-fast response, programable electronics and he even edged my “Learn-to-play-like-the-cats” logo into the front. WOW!
He brought it to me at NAMM and I loved watching people’s faces when they tested it. These basses are just so player-friendly with their slim necks and perfect balance. With 24 frets and Delano pickups and the programable electronic, I got an amazingly versatile bass that I just cannot put down. (Don’t tell my five and six, psst, they are in the other room!)
Once we had the bass, we needed photos. I found Aren Markusian, a local film student (it is LA after all!) who put the bass into its best light. Handed that on to Carlo and after a few iterations – early drafts had the good old green in it – we arrived at the final version for the cover – all orange please (I think that was Fred Pucci’s idea!):
To learn more about Gerald Marleaux and his epic basses, please check out marleaux-bass.de
If you are looking for a great designer hit me up and I pass on Carlo’s info!
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