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A somewhat rare 6-string puts the groovy and gonzo guitar design aesthetic of 1960s Japan on full display.

Does size matter? Well, according to yours truly, size does matter—especially when it comes to guitars. Being an extra-large dude, I've often gravitated to guitars that are, well, extra large. I love my big Gretsch Tennessee Rose and old Harmony Rocket because they just feel right in my hands and strapped up. I've owned plenty of “tiny" guitars, but I've never really bonded with any of them. Even a Telecaster seems a little small to me! So, I'd like to talk about one of the biggest of the vintage made-in-Japan electrics: the Marlin PA-25.

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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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Flexible filtering options and a vicious fuzz distinguish the Tool bass master’s signature fuzz-wah.

Great quality filters that sound good independently or combined. Retains low end through the filter spectrum. Ability to control wah and switch on fuzz simultaneously. Very solid construction.

Fairly heavy. A bit expensive.

$299

Dunlop JCT95 Justin Chancellor Cry Baby Wah
jimdunlop.com

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Options for self-expression through pedals are almost endless these days. It’s almost hard to imagine a sonic void that can’t be filled by a single pedal or some combination of them. But when I told bass-playing colleagues about the new Dunlop Justin Chancellor Cry Baby—which combines wah and fuzz tuned specifically for bass—the reaction was universal curiosity and marvel. It seems Dunlop is scratching an itch bass players have been feeling for quite some time.

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