The Bass Amps of the New Orleans Jazz Festival May 3rd through 6th 2018

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Jim C, May 16, 2018.

  1. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    I meant to post this but forgot until I found my notes.
    Went to Jazz Fest in New Orleans from May 3rd to the 6th.
    This year there were 12 stages from pretty small to huge (like maybe the capability of 20,000 + people). On average each stage would have approx. 6 acts per day from Friday through Sunday with Thursdays being more local and smaller acts. Approximately 250 possible bands to see.

    There are very few (if any) traditional jazz acts.
    It's mostly New Orleans creole, cajun, or blues, zydeco, rock.
    To put this in perspective, the headliners (in my mind) were Smokey Robinson, Jack White, Beck, any combination of the Neville brothers, Steve Miller, and Aerosmith.

    So what bass amps were used?
    I saw approx. 25 acts over 4 days. Here is the list of bass amps visible on stage which was 100% for solid body basses, not sure what the upright guys were doing.
    There were very few stages where the backline was covered with fabric or located elsewhere.
    Maybe 20% in ears with the rest using conventional monitors.
    Best as I can remember, all amps had the same brand cabinet.
    No idea if these were player supplied or backline; based on logistics I would guess rented backline

    Needless to say, the King was at the top of the list.
    12-14 tube SVT's (lost count one day)
    4 GK (RB 1001)
    1 Eden
    1 SWR
    1 Hartke
    1 Mesa Subway
    1 Fender Bassman style head
    I don't remeber any pre/power amp rigs

    For basses, it was mostly J style.
    Approx 4 coffee table botique basses
    1 or 2 P's
    1 (maybe 2) Stingrays
    Approx 6 J versions
    The rest were all Fender Jazz basses (we had the Big Chief seating option so visibility was very good)

    For guitar amps
    Fender combos were way more prevelant than anything else; the ones I could see clearly were your tradional Twins, Pro Reverb, and Deluxe Reverbs; also saw a Hot Rod Deluxe
    The big rock guys had more than one Marshall or Fender per player and Silvertone's for Jack White.
    Regular bands all had single Fenders with 2 Mesa's and 1 tiny Marshall head

    For guitars the styles were- Strats, Les Pauls, Tele's, and maybe 2 LP Juniors

    Most important
    The clip on headstock tuner looks like A$$ to the crowd

    As always, IMO. I may be off by a few but the trending is rock solid.
    Thought you all might want to know.
  2. basss


    Aug 27, 2001
    Cool! I'm a little surprised there weren't more p basses. Do you happen to remember speaker cabinet configurations?
    bobyoung53 likes this.
  3. Cool survey, I'll bet that was a great event!
  4. bobyoung53

    bobyoung53 Supporting Member

    I went through three of those things in less than a year, dropped all three and broke all three and the last one I bought was an expensive one so I am back to my old Korg tuner that I bought at least 10-15 years ago and it's still going strong and the audience doesn't see it and I agree they look stupid sticking out from the headstock.
    Long live the SVT.
    Wisebass and spankdaplank like this.
  5. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    As I recall:
    The SVT's all had 8x10 cabs
    The GK's all had 2ea. 4x10 cabs
    The Subway had Subway cabinets but no idea of what's inside
    Pretty sure the Hartke and SWR also were 4x10's

    No idea for the Fender; thinking about it now, I am surprised that I don't remember 2x15's cabs but there must have been some.
    Is the 2x15 platform disappearing?
  6. Bim1959


    Apr 15, 2009
    Naples Florida
    Sales and electronic tech/piano tech: England Music Center - Clinton IA - now closed
    I have some of those Snark clip-on tuners. They break easily when dropped. But i agree they look like a**. So. I have fun and make heads turn and bring out my Petersen 450 strobe tuner.
    bobyoung53 likes this.
  7. Snowglo

    Snowglo Pro Aris et Focis

    Nov 15, 2013
    U.S. Military endorsement since 1984
    Did the Mothman make an appearance?
    bobyoung53 likes this.
  8. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    Tragically no, although it does live down the street at Action Music in Falls Church VA.
    Nice store but too risky to visit since the MM arrived...
  9. bobyoung53

    bobyoung53 Supporting Member

    I don't think they're disappearing but they are nowhere near as popular as when I was a kid when that's about all you could find. I used 2 x15's until I bought my first SVT in 1976. I used Dual Showman's and Sunns before that. I still like them. I just bought an old 1967 Ampeg 2 x 15 from the 60's, I think it had a solid state head that went on top originally, it's a portaflex cab, haven't even tried it yet but I got a good deal on it.
  10. dabis


    Mar 27, 2016
    Amazing stathistic report. Usually the "pros" are not in the hype, I think they tend to think less than us about the stuff, so no fearfuls-bergs-markbass with 1X12 or 2X12. Didn't see any Aguilar rig? They're modern-oldschool oriented, as I consider myself (my rig is driven by a TH350).
    rodl2005 likes this.
  11. Cool report, thank you @Jim C

    I use both 2x15s and clip on tuners... I do take em off for 95% of any gig. Tho, I put mine on backwards, so I read it at the BACK of the headstock. Almost invisible from the front.... but I still remove it after I've tuned at start of each set.
  12. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    I used to handle audio for one of the headline stages at the Sacramento Jazz Festival for close to 25 years (they had as many as 20 stages and 200 acts, but over the last 5-7 years attendance began to fall off rapidly as the traditional Jazz audience was dying off. Alas, there will be no Jazz Festival this year.

    Since it was mostly trad. Jazz, there were a lot of Polytones, a few GK-150's, Walter Woods, and Shuttle 3's & 6's (wonder why? ;) ), hardly an SVT or other "big amp" in sight. The stage that I handled saw more acts in the crossover between Jazz/Dixieland and blues, folk, Americana, big band, swing and (light) fusion. There were a LOT of mighty fine players with serious chops, yet having fun playing.
  13. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    If the stage didn't have reserved seating, you sometimes were pretty far away.
    I thought I saw 1 Aguilar but it was so far away I wasn't positive.
    I also should mention that this year I didn't go in the Gospel or Blues tent as well as 1 of the small outdoor stages.
    I'm reasonably sure that there were probably at least 1 of a few different amps there (just based on sheer numbers of performers), but I didn't see them.

    I was surprised I didn't see more Mesa's (both micro and old school).
    When I think about the logistics for moving and setting up this many amps (12 stages x approx 6 acts per stage x 4 days) it makes more and more sense that all but the big boys used a supplied backline.

    Aerosmith and Jack White being the exceptions for guitar amps based on original Tweed Fenders and older Marshalls for Joe Perry, and old Silvertones for Jack White. Not so sure that reliable stage worthy examples of these are available for rent.

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