Meet the New Boss
Hello and welcome back to The Low End.
I’ve been involved with bass gear since 1976
and along the way I’ve met some interesting
folks. This month I’d like to introduce to you
one of those people. Peter Dapello is a hotshot player, gear collector, and the poobah of
one of the best vintage bass-oriented forums
on the internet. His M.O. is probably much
like yours; he’s a regular working stiff, hailing
from California’s Bay Area. Pete’s collection
features some heavy hardware, including
a slab board 1962 Blonde P-bass, various
early ‘70s Precision and Jazz basses, string-through Stingrays, various boutique basses
and an early NS2 Spector – all run through
vintage Ampeg big rigs. He can be found
playing some good meat-and-potatoes rock
n’ roll about every other weekend with his
classic rock cover band, Mr. Meanor.
So he’s a lot like you. But how does this tie
into the world of vintage bass?
Vintage bassdom is an interesting place to
be. Is it an industry? Is it a hobby? Is it a
brother or sisterhood? The answer to all the
above is an emphatic “yes.” There is a sizeable support from magazine columns, in-per-son roundtables and in electronic town halls
– also known as the online forums.
There are numerous online forums available
not just for bass players or vintage aficionados, but for musicians of all stripes. They
range from those dedicated to a specific
manufacturer’s products to those dealing
with new and vintage gear. Forums are a
vital part of the player community, providing
advice on everything from technique to help
finding a scarce piece of gear. There’s always
an education to be had from pro-level players
who moderate or swing by to input their two
cents, and these online havens can provide a
heads-up on a great piece of gear – or on a
real dog not worth your money.
But perhaps the most important, and most
overlooked, aspect of these online communities is that they are a great social outlet. You
have the ability to electronically chat with
musicians who are just like you. While I’ve
found a ton of great gear thanks to bass
forums, I’ve also met some of my best
friends there. In the iPod/Nintendo age, it’s
nice to be among your peers. The forum
that Peter started ( badassbassplayers.com,
referred to simply as BABP) is geared toward
an older crowd, who may or may not be
vintage players or collectors but have an
appreciation of the gear; however, a large
percentage of his forum members do in fact
own and play vintage gear.
BABP was conceived when a forum Peter
was moderating began turning in a social
direction, and leaving its gear, music and
player-related roots. He wanted to get back
to what drove his passion – mainly, everything bass! Pete and his lovely wife Karen
gathered together a core group of guys who
agreed they wanted to open up a place to
call their own. This was not as easy of a task
as it may seem – 99% of forums either die
on the vine or never gain the needed member strength. This occurs because there’s no
“buzz” around the forum, the forum is weak
in content or the forum is weak in character.
Many online communities can quickly turn
into wolf packs when someone does not
agree with the group’s norm, whether or
not that norm is correct. A successful forum
is properly moderated and this behavior is
not allowed. The content has to be truly of
substance, related to the nature of the forum
and kept fresh. Sadly there are highly successful forums that fail simply because these
standards are not adhered to, and it’s not at
all limited to musical forums.
On January 29, 2006 – what would have
been James Jamerson’s 68th birthday – the
BABP forum was launched. For a
few months it was mostly comprised of
chatter between the moderators (including
myself, acting as the vintage moderator) and
some new members who stumbled in. With
the help of some valuable feedback from
members, the moderator ranks grew and
chapters of the forum expanded. Today the
forum is flourishing, nearing the 1000 member mark. The median member age is in
the late 30s and a very high percentage are
gainfully employed family folks. The forum
also has a strong international presence.
I believe the forum has been successful
because Peter started with a passion, turned
the passion into an idea, turned the idea into
a concept and turned the concept into an
item, which in turn becomes your passion.
Most great ideas never take hold – he
persevered and made a nice home for
us middle aged guys, and for folks a few
years younger and older as well.
All forums have their place. This is not
an endorsement of any site; they all
have their own merits and faults. Choose
what works for you. The important thing
is to pursue your interests, support your
hobby and fuel your passion! Take a
peek at badassbassplayers.com, as well
as talkbass.com Visit the brand specific
forums for Gibson, Fender, Rickenbacker
and Musicman. These sites are not factory
forums; they are enthusiast-run sites and
have good information.
That does it for this installment; see you
next month after the NJ and Arlington
shows. Until then, don’t forget the cannolis.
Kevin Borden has been a bass player since 1975, and is
currently President of Goodguysguitars.com.
Feel free to call him KeBo.
He can be reached at