evolution

For at least a decade, the classic Ampeg SVT was the dominant bass amp for power and tone.

Photo courtesy of ampeg.com

From the giant, hefty beasts of yore to their modern, ultra-portable equivalents, bass amps have come a long way. So, what's next?

Bassists are often quite well-informed about the details of their instruments, down to the finest technical specs. Many of us have had our share of intense discussions about the most minute differences between one instrument and another. (And sometimes those are interrupted by someone saying, "It's all in the fingers.") But right behind our backs, at the end of our output cables, there is a world of tone-shaping that we either simply ignore or just don't want to dive into too deeply. Turning a gear discussion from bass to amp is a perfect way to bring it to an abrupt end.

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Last Call: Evolution
The male zebra finch starts out emulating its father's songs, but eventually learns to make variations and compose its own melody to attract a mate. Photo by Peripitus

Much like birds, we are constantly developing our own musical voices.

“Man, sometimes it takes you a long time to sound like yourself." —Miles Davis

Episode 2 of the Netflix series The Mind, Explained noted that the male zebra finch must come up with his own unique song to impress a mate. Young males listen to the songs of their fathers, and then try to emulate them. Diving deeper into it, scientists hooked the birds up to machines that tracked brain and muscle patterns. They found that, while sleeping, the bird's vocal muscles and brain patterns were very similar to the muscle and brain patterns present when these birds were mimicking their father's songs. But there were reoccurring variations in these patterns suggesting that “these feathered Casanovas appear to be dreaming of variations of their love songs…. Each night the songs get looser and each day they tighten up until a unique, clear melody emerges from the chatter."

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