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Weekly Top 10: RIP Mike Porcaro and Andy Fraser, Vertical Harmony, New Bass Gear and the Top Bass Videos

Our least favorite thing here is to cover the news of a bassist’s passing. This week, we had to do it twice.

This top 10 list is usually a celebration of all the great things from the world of bass. But this week is different, with two stories making the list.

RIP, Mike Porcaro and Andy Fraser.

In Memoriam: Mike Porcaro

1. In Memoriam: Mike Porcaro

Mike Porcaro, who played bass for the seminal rock band Toto, has passed away after a long battle with ALS. He was 59 years old. Porcaro came from a musical family. His father is jazz drummer Joe Porcaro, and he is the middle brother of drummer Jeff Porcaro and keyboardist Steve Porcaro…

Viaceslav Svedov: “Rock and Roll” on ContraBass Balalaika

2. Viaceslav Svedov: “Rock and Roll” on ContraBass Balalaika

Viaceslav Svedov amazes me and cracks me up whenever he gets the ContraBass Balalaika out and plays. Here’s a video where he’s decided to add distortion to the mix and rock out to Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll”…

In Memoriam: Andy Fraser

3. In Memoriam: Andy Fraser

Andy Fraser, bassist and founding member of the ’60s rock band Free, has passed away at 62. Although a cause of death has not been released, Fraser had recently been battling AIDS and cancer…

Nik West, Featuring Orianthi: My Relationship

4. Nik West, Featuring Orianthi: My Relationship

Anyone that has jammed with Prince, John Mayer, and Bootsy Collins must have something good to say, and Nik West is one of those people. The bassist’s recently released Say Somethin’ EP blends rock, funk, and R&B for an engaging musical journey pinned together by her solid bass playing…

Mark Michell: Scale The Summit’s “The Dark Horse” Playthrough

5. Mark Michell: Scale The Summit’s “The Dark Horse” Playthrough

Here’s another great metal playthrough by Scale the Summit’s Mark Michell. The bassist tears through “The Dark Horse” from the band’s album The Migration at EMG Pickups TV studios. The song’s creative rhythmic variations tied with Michell’s tone make for a great bass part…

Exploring Vertical Harmony in Bass Playing

6. Exploring Vertical Harmony in Bass Playing

This week, Damian Erskine answers a reader’s question about internalizing “vertical harmony”. Damian shares his views on thinking about this, and how other musicians tackle this – as it can apply to us…

Robert Glasper Experiment, Featuring Derrick Hodge: Say Yes

7. Robert Glasper Experiment, Featuring Derrick Hodge: Say Yes

Derrick Hodge is a monster bassist. Adept at both electric and upright bass, his style brings together the best elements of jazz, R&B, and gospel. Here’s a clip of Hodge laying it down with the Robert Glasper Experiment during a performance at The Exchange LA in Los Angeles, California…

The Lightbulb Moment: Time For A Change (of Strings)

8. The Lightbulb Moment: Time For A Change (of Strings)

For her newest “Lightbulb Moment”, Ryan decided to write a letter to her bass… a letter, documenting the moment when you realize that things aren’t what they used to be but that you have the power to amend the situation and one that highlights a few subtle signs to help you determine when it’s time to make some modifications…

Spector Introduces NS-2 CT-B Carved Top Bass

9. Spector Introduces NS-2 CT-B Carved Top Bass

Stuart Spector was showing off his latest creation at NAMM this year with the Spector NS-2 CT-B, a carved top take on the company’s flagship NS-2 model. Handbuilt in Spector’s U.S. workshop, the bass features a chambered alder body with a redwood top that’s carved on both the inside and outside surfaces…

Ashdown Introduces Retroglide 800 Bass Amp

10. Ashdown Introduces Retroglide 800 Bass Amp

One of the many new products Ashdown introduced at NAMM this year was the Retroglide-800, an amp head built in their custom shop. The company describes the amp as a throwback to the ’80s with founder Mark Gooday saying, “[it] takes me back to my roots as a bass player [with] pure, simple tone at your fingertips”…