bass guitar

Using his Akai MPC 3000, J Dilla created an off-the-grid rhythmic feel that influenced a generation of bassists and drummers.

From James Brown to J Dilla, understanding note placement is a key to rhythmic mastery.

There’s so much to discuss when it comes to bass playing. One of the most basic and valuable skills to be explored on bass—or any instrument for that matter—is placement, or where exactly to play relative to the beat. To a certain extent, this can be a cultural question, decided by where one was raised or what one was raised upon. However, some musicians are more intentional about their choice of placement, and thus choose to study feel and the multitude of possibilities within.

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A bold fusion of Santa Ana and Fullerton styles yields a wide range of vintage-to-modern sounds.

Daring styling. Transparent onboard electronics. Powerful tone controls.

No passive operation. Hard to access upper frets.

$699

Jackson X Series Concert Bass CBXNT DX IV
jacksonguitars.com

4
3.5
3
4

I remember the extreme reactions when the PRS Silver Sky was introduced. The mashup (some might say, clash) of two well-known and classic designs was an earthly manifestation of sacrilege to some. The Jackson X Series Concert Bass CBXNT DX IV could be the Silver Sky's bottom-end equivalent: design elements from two legendary instruments fearlessly thrown together to create something new. The mix already has folks talking. But the real question is whether there is more to this bass than the mix of Fender-style P/J and Rickenbacker visual cues?

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Affordability is no obstacle to top quality in this understated P/J-style bass.

Solid construction. Beautiful finish. Affordable price.

Overly bright onboard electronics. No passive operation. No option to switch batteries quickly.

$549

ESP LTD AP-204
espguitars.com

3.5
4
4
4.5

Famed Japanese brand ESP launched the LTD series in 1996 as an affordable line aimed at the beginner market. But a visit to the LTD website these days reveals a line evolved well beyond that original premise, with a wide variety of offerings in several price ranges.

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