Hi, I'm Craig Boeker and this is my page. I'm not a fulltime musician - that's just my avocation. It's also the main reason I get on the 'net for fun. I'm a family guy (a picture of my son holding an ex-bass of mine is here and a picture of my daughter with another bass is here). I've been involved with a number of different bands over the years. I've got a couple of soundclick pages for different things including my original music and gear soundclips.
I'm playing more bass than anything else these days. That started in my first band out of college where we had two saxes and no bass - Ed and I split both sax and bass duties and shortly afterwards both wanted to do bass full time. I started on clarinet in elementary school then switched to sax in junior high which fit me much better. I played sax (tenor and occasionally bari) all through high school and college and then added bass afterwards.
Reverend Rumblefish PJ
bugeye black chrome
TI Powerbass (roundwound)
The neck is everything the reviews say it is - just wonderful in feel and dimensions (if you like a narrow neck). The square body edge can cut into your right forearm but I got used to playing a Godin A4 which was even worse. The biggest drawback for me is the short horn moving the neck a few inches left making it a longer reach to first position. After some experimentation I found a strap length that makes it work for me. At any rate the sound is IT for me. Punch and depth from the P pickup (and P growl) with added texture (growl and spank) from the J. I'm a happy bass player. And this was a 40th bday present from my family, too.
I swapped in a DiMarzio Model J pickup in the bridge position (so no more hum) and converted the controls to blend/vol/tone and am now a really happy camper. Unfortunately Reverend has stopped making basses so it's even more precious (beyond the sentimental value it has for me) as it's irreplaceable.
In the long run it's not quite as comfortable to play as I'd like (for me). So although it's my favorite bass sound I can't play it exclusively. Bummer. But it's never going anywhere . . .
I tried a Yamaha BB714BS (Billy Sheehan sig) that had a "mudbucker" in the neck position with a split-coil P pickup and absolutely loved the tone(s). But the ergonomics weren't there. So I decided to get a G&L SB-2 and modify it with a DiMarzio Will Power neck humbucker to try and get the same tones in a package that is more comfortable for me. This Trib SB2 is the anticipated donor for that project.
This bass has the backup/beater slot. As a Tribute it's less expensive and I feel less guilty/worried taking it places where the environment (weather, locale) and circumstances (have to share, leave in car, etc.) has me worried about it's effects on a bass. It's also taken a great setup (low action, easy to play) and is a lot of fun to play with all the tones it gets.
The bass is light enough - 8.8lbs - and I love the finish. The deep metallic burgundy/wine red looks great. I had a local shop to the routing and pickguard trimming for me and I wired it myself. I went with a couple of stacked pots and set it up with a volume for each pickup and a tone. I added a switch that puts a .01 mF capacitor across the neck humbucker only - an idea stolen from the Yamaha Attitude circuit. I wired the DiMarzio in series and found that its standard wiring was out of phase with the MFDs so I had to reverse the red & green wires.
Now I get to play it and decide whether it gives me what I liked from the BB714BS (if I can remember). My inital take is I like the tones and there's some added fullness in the low end as compared to a stock SB2. The question is how useful and good the tones are live. I trashed the rounds that came on it (less than 1/2 a wrap on the A string post?) and dropped on some D'Addario XLs. I'll see how I like them as time goes on but I'm thinking Silencers or Power Flats are in the future for this bass.
The mudbucker is a lot of fun - it gives some vintage tones that make me think of the 60s. Now that I've gone back to 3-way cabs I'll be able to see how useful the mudbucker is live. Through the headphone amp I really dig the tones I can get using it (not usually as the primary pickup but blended with the others) and if I can get those to work live then this configuration may become my new favorite.
I like the tones I get out of this bass with any strings -- I've used SIT Power Flats (groundwounds), SIT Silencers (compression wound), D'Addario XLs (nickel rounds) and GHS Pressurewounds. They are all nice but lately I've been wanting the sustain/ring of rounds/compressors so it's wearing Silencers again.
This is a sweet 2009 L-2000 with a #8 neck with rosewood board, alder body covered in the old metallic gold finish that weighs in at 8.6lbs, and K switching. I got it from a friend who bought it new shortly before he stopped liking narrow necks.
I keep going back and forth between L2Ks and SB2s as my favorite G&Ls. I'm going to try settling down with this set of four basses and see how long I can go in 2012 without buying or selling a bass. An L2K has a ton of tonal options and the feel and weight of this one will be just wonderful. I may have to spend some time finding just the right strings for it (I never found a set that made me happy on my copper L2K).
This is a wonderful example of an L2K. Very light, great neck, striking metallic gold finish (I'm sure I'll get some comments about that). Now to see if I can keep it around for a while. I may drop some flats on it as I enjoy them on my fretless L2K and liked how they sounded on a Trib L2K I had previously. Maybe flats on an L2K is the right combo for me.
I am liking the D'Addario Chromes on it (never liked those strings before) enough that I've put them on the L1K as well for now. The L2K is tuned DGCF for something I'm doing next month but I don't think that will be long term, it will go back to EADG which is what I use the most.
Over time I've grown to really appreciate the tone you get from a Jazz-style bass (a pair of single coil pickups) and a G&L JB-2 is really the only version of that type of bass that has been comfortable for me. I tend to prefer the sound from a Tribute JB-2 over a US JB-2 (probably because of the pickups) so I suspect I'll eventually swap out the OEM pickups for some third party ones. But I'll still have USA G&L build quality and comfort.
I swapped a fretless L2K for this JB2 plus some additional cash and it will be an "alternative" bass for me for when I want the bite/growl/clank of a J-style bass.
This is a nice bass and, once again, I find I'm not a huge fan of the OEM G&L jazz pickups. But I do like the J tone and this bass has good weight and comfort so I will eventually do a pickup swap and then, hopefully, be fully happy with it. It will probably get a series/parallel switch at that time as well. I think I'll swap the strings out for some TI Superalloys shortly as the D'Addarios are not a good match with the OEM pickups (IMO). The Superalloys didn't do anything more for me and I moved to trying some Webstrings flats for a complete change of direction on it.
I'm enjoying discovering how it sounds and performs with the Webstrings flats on it. I don't know if they'll stay on it long-term but there is plenty of sustain and growl available. I have some Fender SCN jazz pickups on the way to swap in. They should be higher output (which I want) and are humbucking so no noise. I will also wire up a series-parallel switch when I install them for another tonal option.
An SB-2 has proven to be the best G&L for me from a tonal standpoint. The high-to-low balance, simplicity and overall tone (as long as it has a tone knob added) always works live. This is a nice fretless SB2 for when I want the slippy-slidy effect of a fretless.
I've had, in the past, both a fretless L2K and a fretless SB2 at the same time and preferred the SB2. So I decided to go back to an SB2 for my fretless which has the added benefit of being 100% passive so I don't have to worry about active (and complexity) in a fretless which I use infrequently.
I've done my usual SB2 tone mod and slapped some TIJFs on it. Now I'll get it set up and see how often I play it.
I had several Yamaha BBT-500H heads and always like the range of tones they put out. With the efficiency of the Schroeders that combination can get quite loud. I usually prefer the simplicity and plug'n'play nature of the Carvin heads so they have taken over as the go-to heads but the Yamaha is sticking around as a backup and for when I want a change of pace. I think my son has appropriated the BBT-500H because he loves the distorted & overdriven sounds so I don't know how much I'll get to use it.
The 250W @ 4 Ohms (and only 125W @ 8 Ohms) from this amp drove me to getting sensitive 4 Ohm cabinets. 250W into a Schroeder 15+L is plenty loud for the things I want to do. That has handled all rehearsals regardless of volume (and earplug use) as well as many small-medium gigs. And the overdriven sounds are lots of fun. My son has more-or-less stolen it from me (actually stolen it from pile of backup equipment) and is enjoying it. It's also light enough that he can handle carting it around when he needs to use it.Carvin BX500 head
The BX500 does everything I need in a small & light package. I've used it for hours at a time at 2 Ohms with my pair of 4-Ohm Schroeder cabs and it's run like a champ. I may look for one of the new Carvin BX1500s at some point for even more cabinet flexibility. If only Carvin put it in a small/light combo like the Markbass CMD121P I use for quiet things, then I'd be all set.
I love the tone from this guy and 500W into a single 4 Ohm Schroeder is louder than I want to be next to. Push in the 2 Ohm button and 500W into the pair is very loud - I don't want to have to worry about getting any louder. But psychologically I prefer the B800 when I'm using a pair of 15+Ls. This may be the amp of choice to match with the incoming Schroeder 12+L because of it's size/weight.
I keep installing this in the Carvin BR12 combo for a while, then removing it because I want to use it with the Schroeders. It's back in the BR12 because that combo handles the lows better than the Schroeders (because it's a sealed cab?) and that's my one-piece rehearsal and coffeehouse amp. I like the tone from the 12/6/1 a little better but the haul of the BR12/500 is easier.Peavey IPR3000
The BX1500 had to go back to the shop a second time (I'm going to see what it takes for them to invoke the "lemon law" and actually swap it out rather than repair it). I needed something to drive my nEarfuls so I pulled the trigger on an 8lb Peavey IPR3000 power amp to pair with it. I've got several options for the "preamp" - either of my smaller amps (Carvin BX500, Yamaha BBT-500H) can drive it and I can use the Fishman Pro Platinum Bass or MXR M-80 as well (although their levels may not be enough to get full output from it). I can also use my Behringer mini-mixer for a mini-PA setup.
Weight-wise this will be very nice and will let me use a variety of options for driving my LDS cabs. It will probably live in the "backup" pile once Carvin makes good on getting me a big amp that actually works.Carvin BX1500 head
This is a 10lb 2 rack space stereo head that puts out 300/450/750W @ 8/4/2Ohms per side or can be bridged for 900/1500W @ 8/4Ohms. That will let me really drive 3012LF or 3015/3015LF based 3-way cabs in bridged mode and still crank out plenty of volume with my Schroeders. I've loved the tone from all the Carvin heads I've used (B800, BX1200, BX500) so this should make me happy tonally while being adequately light and very flexible as far as what cabs it can drive.
At 10lbs it's light enough that the weight is a "don't care" and in a 2-space rack it's a really easy haul. It has the Carvin BX tone I like and as much power as I'll ever need. I've had zero problems with all the Carvin amps (bass and power) I've had so I've got my fingers crossed that the good luck continues.Schroeder 15+L cabinet
The Carvin LS1503 cabinets I had sounded great but were a bit big/bulky/heavy for carrying up/down stairs and for quieter things. So I tried out a Schroeder 15+L. It's pretty small, ~30lbs and is a dream to cart around. It has rhino lining exterior so it doesn't pick up bar smells like a carpeted cab (the LS1503s) and will has a more traditional 2-way bass cab voicing. It is plenty for rehearsals (including loud GDB rehearsals) and more than enough for church and coffee house gigs.
While I didn't like the sound of the angled baffle (1210, 1212) Schroeders I've had I've always been super-impressed with Jorg Schroeder's service. The 15+L is a "standard" direct firing 2-way cab and the size & weight fit what I want in a smaller cab. I'm thinking that it will serve me well for quiet gigs & rehearsals. I liked the sound well enough that I purchased second one and made them my primary rig.
So far the Schroeder 15+L is knocking me out. It sounds great (which I never thought of the angled baffle Schroeders) and is light and easy to cart around. It can handle both quiet things and loud rehearsals (the 250W from the BBT is enough for either).
I'm backing off from the "loud band" thing - I don't want to do any more bands that require earplugs in rehearsal. As such this little rig is becoming the top dog. With a medical reason to avoid heavy things I'm moving to this setup as my only rig and added a second 15+L as when I sold off my heavier stuff. A pair of 15+Ls with 500-1000W into them are louder than I want to be next to and easy to move around.
I missed my midrange equipped Carvin LS1503s too much and am going to get some custom LDS cabinets with midrange drivers. I will probably keep around one of the 15+Ls as an extension for my Carvin BR12 and to use with the Yamaha BBT500H.LDS 12/6/1 cab
This is an LDS cab based on the fEarful 12/6/1 cube plans. Eminence 3012LF woofer, 18sound 6ND410 midrange, Eminence high end. It has the 3-way tone in a smaller, more portable footprint than my modified Carvin LS1503. Nice cup handles and duratex coating.
It's still not as light as I'd like (I'm spoiled by the Schroeders) at 44lbs. I hope to build my own 12/6/1 cube with 1/2" ply this summer. I also have some feet and a set of tiltback legs that I want to install on it when I get the time. The feet were easy but I'm not sure on the tiltback legs - those might just go on my own build rather than trying to cut a section of the existing cab out.
Nothing else I've tried comes close to an Eminence 301xLF equipped 3-way cab for producing real low end and full range sound. I'm still adapting to this one but it's the smallest cab I've had that doesn't cry like a baby when I use an L2K with it at louder volumes.
Being far busier than expected lately I've given up on building one for myself and have ordered a second cab from LDS. The pair of 12/6/1s will be my "big rig" and cover all my potential gigs.
Although a Schroeder 15+L plus a head isn't overly heavy it's still a separate head and cab. And can get very, very loud. All the church & coffeehouse type playing I do doesn't require that much volume and I thought it would be nice to be able to breeze in with a tiny combo, a power cord and an instrument cord being all I need. So I'm looking for a combo that can fit in below the "single Schroeder 15+L and microhead" level but be no larger/heavier than a single 15+L.
The Carvin BR12 is discontinued small combo - 1x12" driver with a tweeter and 120W. Not very powerful but it should be loud enough for my church and coffeehouse gigs and not too heavy a schlep at 36lbs (nominal). It has built-in tiltback which is a big plus for me as I always tiltback in my quiet settings, using one of several gizmos I've made or acquired.
My first post-LS1503 combo attempt was the Markbass CMD121P which was a great size/volume/weight combo but the tone wasn't quite what I wanted and it wouldn't work with one of my 15+Ls as an extension cab. So I'm going to try the older (but NOS) Carvin BR12. It's nominally 36 lbs so that's "good enough" and I'm thinking I can find a way to slide the BX500 into it replacing the amp part (info I can find online seems to indicate it might be a drop-in replacement with the bolt pattern matching perfectly). And maybe a neo driver to lighten the load even more and deal with the higher power of the BX500. Then I'd have a killer kickback 1x12 combo that could use a 15+L as an extension (put the BX500 in 2 Ohm mode).
The BX500 does fit perfectly in the BR12. Now I've got a 300/500W 1x12 combo and need to figure out what upgraded driver to drop in it . . . I'm trying an Eminence Kappalite 3012HO driver. I dropped in an 8 Ohm version and am seeing how I like the sound. The OEM driver I removed was a Carvin PS12 (4 Ohm, 300W) that did pretty well. The Carvin driver was warmer and more "vintage-ey" while the Eminence driver is edgy and has that "Neodymium" sound. I'm going to give it a while longer to see how the sound with the neo grows on me but I wouldn't be surprised if I drop back to the OEM one after a while. Either way is a win-win - both can handle the power of the BX500 and either leaves the combo light enough.
I swapped the OEM speaker back into the amp - with the 300W rating it should be able to handle the BX500 output, at least for as loud as I need to get and sounded like a better match for the (sealed) box. It actually handles low end better than my Schroeders - maybe because it's a sealed cab? It may not actually produce the lows but it's not overwhelmed by them either. The overall tone is not quite what I'd like ideally but it's pretty good, the schleppage is nice and it gets more than loud enough for everything I'm doing these days.
Tiny Combo Amps:
Pignose Hog 30
There are times when a tiny combo is the answer. The Peavey I picked up essentially for free off of Craigslist (I bought it with a bass that I cleaned up, tried for a while and resold for more than I paid for the bass & amp together) and the Pignose was bought new to be used for "unplugged" (back porch, at the park, etc.) playing. ABGs aren't loud enough to compete with an acoustic guitar and I don't play upright so a small battery-operated amp takes care of those playing situations.
Sennheiser 1092D wireless
The Sennheiser is a digital wireless that preserves the low end nicely. The plastic rack ears (cheap on the part of the mfr) finally gave out. So I either carry it separately or toss it into the pedalboard. I use it primarily to disconnect myself from the wiring of the places we play and not because I'm so mobile I can't stay wired up. In fact lots of times I do just use a cable. It seems to have a tendency to be overdriven and uses a 9V battery for a 3-4 set gig so I don't use it all the time.Rondo pedalboard:
The tuner is a must-have and the DI gets used for going to the PA (and occasional all-out distortion). The Zoom is for a little bit of whatever I feel like (some synth, some flanger, etc.) and the LS-2 lets me mix in some dry bass signal so the bottom doesn't drop out (and bypass the Zoom completely so tone doesn't get generally sucked out bigtime). Now I've got everything on the board and drag it along but don't use effects much at all.
The Rondo pedalboard saved my gear for sure once when I accidentally tipped my stack over while packing up and the rack case hit the [thankfully closed up] pedalboard. The pedal case shows some scars but the electronics were unscathed.
I can run the M-80 directly into a power amp if necessary so that's a backup rig. I don't like it as much as a dedicated rack preamp but it will work in a pinch.
I don't use effects much - 2 songs out of 40 in my most recent gig (one tune with octave up+distortion, one tune with octave down). My main gig is just too loud & the spectrum far too full to hear much with effects on the bass. I use them more when playing fretless (which I don't do much).
I'd like to compact this down somehow and possibly get it up to where I can modify settings without crouching/kneeling down. Either a set of analog effects (miniPOG, Bassdrive, . . .) on a platform for easy tweaking, something like a Bass Pod (in the effects loop) on a mic/music stand where I can mess with it, or a rack-mounted effects processor like the Zoom ones (cheap - I'm sure there are better ones out there for more bucks). My main effects of interest in order are: octave (up&down), overdrive, synth, flange/chorus -- all with dry signal mixed in.
Buescher 440 student model tenor sax
This is my one and only tenor to date. Bought new back in about 1980 from Giardinelli it's seen me through high school band (concert, marching & jazz), Monday night jazz band at CWRU and a number of rock bands since then. I haven't picked it up in a few years as I've been 100% bass lately but it's still there waiting for me when needed. I generally use Bari plastic reeds and the plastic mouthpiece it came with. It's been through a couple of repads and I've worn a lot of the lacquer off the body near the thumbhook. As much as I've gone through basses looking for newer/better I've just gone with the one sax all along.
I did have a silver curved Buescher soprano for a while but sold it to get my first 4-track. I suppose if good saxes were cheaper or I played sax more I might look at another but for now it's the one and only. If I could figure out how to get a Bari sax I suspect the tenor would get lonely, but those are kind of spendy.
I finally pulled the trigger to get one of these from Patchman music along with their updated patches. My hope is that it will let me use my rusty sax chops to get different tonalities out and write some music. I may also look for opportunites to perform/gig with it as well if it works out. It fits my needs to practice quietly better than my real sax and will have a lot more flexibility (although I expect it won't give the same satisfaction as playing a "real" horn).
Wind Synth Rig:
bass amp used as power amp
I can use my mini-mixer to get the output of the wind synth into a power amp or any of my bass amps. The LDS 12/6/1 is a 3-way design which will cover the full sonic spectrum and have great low end in a reasonably portable package. I do tend to use the Pignose Hog20 at times when I want an easy way to get the wind synth loud enough to use.
On the [realistic/shorter term] GAS list:
On the [eventually/medium term] GAS list:
On the [unrealistic/longer term/idle speculation] GAS list:
Bases I'd like to have/try someday:
All in all I've got the gear I need for the things I do (playing & recording). And I need to spend more time writing and practicing and less obsessing on gear. But it's easier (and quicker) to think about gear than work on songs and skills.
My bass churning has led me (with help from some friends) to try and come up with a couple of simple rules to avoid making mistakes I've already made several times: