BassLab Seminar / Open House Report

Our first BassLab Open House is now history! The event was held on the afternoon of Saturday April 24, 2004, at the Beechwood Golf Club in the Niagara area of Southern Ontario.

Attendees got quite a treat, since it was the largest gathering of BassLab instruments in North America! There were eight BassLabs, two each of the main models (STD-V, L-BOW-V, SOUL-IV, and C-GUITAR), plus two new Chapman Stick® XBL36™ tapping instruments.

Open House instruments
From left to right: SOUL-IV bass in "Woody" gloss with soundholes, STD-V bass in Imperial Blue, SOUL-IV bass in British Racing Green satin with soundholes, L-BOW-V bass in Satin Silver metallic, L-BOW-V bass in Black gloss, Stick XBL36 in Imperial Blue with black fretboard, Stick XBL36 in Satin Silver, STD-GUITAR in Red Melon metallic, STD-GUITAR in Signal Orange. Missing from this photo is the STD-V in Satin Silver metallic with soundholes.
Photo courtesy of Rob Schafrick.

The two STD-V models and one of the L-BOW basses had the new BassLab custom strings on them. These stainless steel strings have a special extended taper (bare core) over the bridge on the D, A, E, and low B strings. One attendee was heard to exclaim "the sound leaps off the bass!"

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On stage at the Open House, Greg Holmes showed off the features of each of the instruments. Here's a quick run-through.

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Greg Holmes and Glenn Poorman at the Open House
Glenn Poorman on Chapman Stick and loops, with Greg Holmes on e-drums at the Open House.
Photo courtesy of Rob Schafrick.

The BassLab instruments were demonstrated on the very clear Acoustic Image Clarus amps.

During the stage presentation, Greg told the story of how he got BassLab of Germany and Stick Enterprises of California together to collaborate on the new Chapman Stick XBL36 extended scale tapping instrument. Prototypes #1 (Satin Silver) and #4 (Imperial Blue with black fretboard) were at the Open House. Besides the different finishes, the headstocks are different, with p#1 having an experimental tilt-back headstock, while p#4 has the traditional flat headstock. Also there are small differences in the composite body material between the two prototypes.

Glenn Poorman at the All Star Grill
Glenn Poorman playing his Chapman Stick at the All Star Grill.

The Stick XBL36 development process provided a unique opportunity for Heiko Hoepfinger to run some tests comparing his tuned mixed composite material with wood. Until now, there have obviously been no instruments shaped like BassLab instruments :-), making it quite hard to perform a direct comparison of just the body materials.

Jason Brock at the All Star Grill
Jason Brock on Chapman Stick at the All Star.

The development of the Stick XBL36 has made it possible to eliminate other variables, since the Stick XBL36 has the same external measurements and hardware as previous Sticks. This leaves only the body material as the difference. Frequency and impulse tests showed that the BassLab tuned mixed composite really does respond faster and with better frequency distribution than wood. This is something that players have always "felt", but now the hard proof is there. Read the test results.

For more on the BassLab Open House, visit Rob's page.

Glenn Poorman of Detroit demonstrated the Stick XBL36 at the Open House, and made some great music at the show later in the day at the ALL STAR Tap & Grillhouse. The draw for a coupon worth US$150 off a new BassLab instrument was won by Jason Brock from North Bay! Jason also played a set or two at night, showing off his wonderful tone on the melody side of his Stick. The show was recorded, both audio and video, with Greg Holmes acting as MC (and opening act).

We're now planning our next BassLab Open House, and we're taking it on the road! If you want us to come to your area, contact us.

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