From the guy who writes entries that are way too long for Talkbass, but hopefully entertaining enough for those that read them… When I started playing bass, my first amp was a little 25 watt “Stadium Bass” brand combo box. I used to carry it across the neighborhood to my best friend’s house – he was a drummer. Played it like it was stack. My very first experience playing bass was through my Dad's Ampeg B-15 - but that's a story for another day. But MY first “real” rig was a Hartke HA3500 I bought in 1990 along with a 210 Hartke Transporter cab. I had that set up until about 2008. I had stopped gigging for a number of years in between and started getting serious again around that time. And, it’s not that I didn’t like my Hartke, I was just in a different place in my life. I wanted to try and play other gear. I had a real job, no kids yet and I was gigging again so I started experimenting. The following list of heads I owned, sold and/or traded is no exaggeration (remember, since 2008!): Hartke 3500 Ampeg SVT 7 Pro Peavey Tour 700 Markbass Little Mark Ampeg PF500 Genz Shuttle 6.0 Genz Shuttle 12.2 GK 1001RB And don’t get me started on cabs. Various 410s, 210s and 115s. Mesa, Ampeg, Genz, Fender… Over the last several years I have been gigging fairly regularly with a couple different bands. I also “friended” Larry Hartke on facebook (like any of us can) and ran into him at the Sam Ash Bass Lounge a couple years ago on a fairly regular visit to the store (the old and the new) in NYC. At first, I was awestruck. I mean, it’s Larry Hartke… the guy in the bass magazine ads. The guy who gave Jaco his rig. The guy who knows all the guys in the industry. And he was super nice. For my day job, I am in the city fairly regularly – a couple times a month sometimes. And every time, because I am a bass nerd (like you!) I would go to the Bass Lounge. And Larry was more regularly hanging out there – running the bass section. It got to a point where he started to recognize me. He’d ask me about my bands and other things I’d post on facebook. There were literally times where I’d walk into the store and not even end up playing a bass because we’d just be talking. And then, if I’m being honest, I started feeling a little guilty that I played Hartke stuff for 18 years and then abandoning it to become an amp drifter… a gear whore... couldn't settle down. He was cool about it. Whenever I’d mention some new piece of gear (that I would buy at a good price here on talkbass) he’d say, “yeah that’s cool,” and not make judgement at all. But, I’m just that guy. I mean, it's like telling Henry Ford you bought a Nissan. Kinda. Maybe. I dunno... The last time I was in the store I told him I was looking to replace my B-list 410/115 set up to go a little lighter but keep the same power (or similar) and upgrade again to pro-level gear. He set me up in the store with an LH1000 and 1 Hydrive 210 to just try out. I then tried two of them together and I loved them. And it didn’t hurt that he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. He did the same sort of thing on the US Geddy bass I bought from him – still don't have the heart to tell him I traded that for a practically new Rick 4003s!). So, I called the artist relations number he gave me and ordered up my two 210s. Within days they were in my garage and I put my GK1001 up on ebay. I bought a used LH1000 here on TB for a great price and am now back in the Hartke family. He has some new stuff coming out in the Spring I believe and so I may upgrade the LH1000 directly from him then … by then my attention span will probably require something different. In the meantime, here is my new rig. I am so glad to be back with the Hartke stuff. It really does sound amazing. It’s got power and clarity like nothing else in the price range. Seriously, if you are going to spend $500 on a head and you don’t buy an LH1000 you’ve made a huge mistake. The cabinets aren’t light, but they aren’t heavy. At 30-something pounds, they are easy to handle and getting two 210s vs one 410 gives me a ton of flexibility as a bar band bassist. I can bring one cab if I need to or, as I expect I will one day, I can add a 410 and essentially have a 610 for venues where “size matters.” But 2x210 is great for a local gigging bass player (like most of us here). And they are tight sounding. The punch and power is hard to beat. And, if you get a chance, I cannot urge you enough to go see Larry at the Bass Lounge at 34th street in NYC. He’s a great guy who will gladly talk shop with you or leave you alone and let you play anything on the wall. He is The Man in our industry. The Lounge has everything from $200 Squiers to Sadowskies and Rickies. Effects for days and, of course his amps (and other brands). You’ll also see his “barbecued Fenders” and a few museum pieces from Jack Bruce, Stu Hamm and the original Jaco cabinet. When I was there last he also had one of Dave Ellefson’s Megadeth stage rigs. I am counting down the minutes to my next gig to get out and play this stuff … I will be posting a demo video this weekend.