Hey all, just got back from 12 days in Florida, the first couple of which were in Orlando. I scheduled the trip so I could catch Gard's band and also make a long-awaited trip to Bass Central. Here's the scoop! Gard: For anyone who had any doubts, he's as nice a guy in person as he comes across on the board. My wife and I had dinner with him and his wife, and hung out at the gig, and we had a great time! Gard was also very accomodating at Bass Central. (More on that later!) Gard's band: Rico Monaco and Sol Sons. They played at an intimate little venue in downtown Orlando called "The Social." And, they were really great! Very entertaining.. they have nine guys up there on stage, and the music is fun to listen to. It has Latin overtones, but it's funky, and it rocks. As for Gard, he blended seamlessly into the ensemble, occasionally stepping up with a cool lick, but his job is to anchor the band and he did that very well. The band was super solid, with Gard, two percussionists and a drummer nailing it down! Gard had a big, fat, warm tone on his Zon Sonus Special fretless 5 and NS electric upright 5.. he sounded great on both basses. Tito Puente Jr. showed up and joined them on timbales for a few songs. If you are able to catch a RM&SS gig, definitely do it! Bass Central: Toys, toys, and more toys! Being in an all-bass store is definitely a cool experience. I played only a few basses, probably should have played more. My favorite by far was the Lakland Joe Osborn. What a sweet axe. When the Skyline version comes out, I am going to have a serious problem! I also tried a Skyline 55-01, and it is everything they say.. the B string is killer. If I played 5 strings, I'd have walked out with it! I spent most of my time A/B'ing cabinets, since BC has a lot of the higher-end brands that I've never had the opportunity to try. We set up an Eden Navigator preamp through an Eden WT-1000 power amp, and hooked up two cabinets at a time so I could do a true A/B simply by dialing the "Balance" control. I use an Eden D-410XLT, so I wanted to hear how it compared to some others. I used the Joe Osborn bass for all the testing. First, I did the long-awaited comparison of the D-410XLT vs. the D-410XST, which can handle more power (1000 watts vs. 700) and is supposed to have a more "hi-fi" sound. My ears liked the XLT better.. but I'm a rock player, and the XLT is said to be better for rock. Gard loves the XST.. "like someone pulled cotton out of my ears," he says! Oh well.. to each their own! Then, I tried the D-410XLT against the Aguilar 2x12. Uh oh. Shouldn't have done that! The Aguilar 2x12 flat out RULES! It sounded awesome.. like the XLT with a couple of extra balls. Boy oh boy, did that give me G.A.S. Oh, to have two Aguilar 2x12's and run my SM-900 in stereo! Maybe someday. I also tried the Aguilar 2x12 against the Epifani 2x12 and liked the Aguilar better. I'd say the Aguilar 2x12 was the hands-down winner. Thanks to Gard and Mark for their patience, and lugging cabinets back and forth across the store! So, that was my trip. Go see Gard's band, go to Bass Central!!