This followed several months of me buying, stringing, trading, selling and trying to learn acoustic and electric guitar without much success, joy or good sounds despite the beautiful instruments I was using.
The bass fits my hands and fingers and ears better and makes sounds, to me, equal in beauty to the instrument strung an octave higher, with those pesky and fiddly extra strings.
My Fender acoustic/electric bass (ABG) BG-29 circa 2007. Sold it near my cost following an elbow tendonitis bout.
But I deal with arthritis, tendonitis, tinnitus from the war, and no musical talent or training. So in nine months I basically have not yet learned a song, only some scales-A minor, E minor (same thing basically), and F Major (some); and some nice Hal Leonard student riffs.
And I’m only halfway through Leonard’s 1st Fast Track bass book, even skipping 3/4 time and other rhythms or notes I can’t do yet. So safe to say I won’t be joining the Sex Pistols soon.
As with all my metastasizing projects I like fiddling with the hardware as much as I like banging and mauling the basses.
Above: Fender 2001 MIM (made in Mexico) active Jazz Bass Deluxe Series. Best sounding bass I’ve ever owned but heavy, complex and expensive (for a tightwad).
Sold at my cost to a Ukrainian church bassist and keyboardist.
So I don’t mind most of my cheap instruments ‘needing work’. These children of Leo Fender come apart with a screwdriver, wrench, and solder gun and are totally modular, man, so repairs and upgrades are fun.
And I usually prefer the old to the new, the chips, dings and scratches giving me license to abuse the pretty old things my own way. I’ve always got to change or tweak something or I’m not happy.
And I waste money putting wonderful D’Addario nickel round-wound strings on these mostly cheap instruments too, so they’ll sound right for the next gal/guy? No, for me.
And oh do the new strings ring! Sounds like a baritone guit** if amped clean. They’ll dull down to a normal bass sound with use. Till then, if you play reggae or something, I guess muffle them with foam.
Strap hanger buttons and jack screw holes usually need the glue-jam-toothpicks-in trick. The 1/4 inch input jacks see a lot of wear, I’ve replaced three this week, mostly because I’m behind the learning curve on competent soldering.
My success rate is pretty good for fixing old bass guit**s, much better than for bikes, airplanes and boats which hovers around a 50% completion rate.
Every bass has sounded better after I mistreated it with tools. I like them better if I have skin in the game and am becoming at least a half-ass good bass fixer and stringer. Which is something even if my musical advancement is painfully slow.
Fun to learn from bassist forum talkbass such facts as “…basses with flat-wound strings, curly patch cords and tort (tortoise-shell) pick guards just always sound better”.
So I’m getting a lot of opinions without having any musical experience, skill or any basis to judge who’s right! You’ve got to love the Web, providing free bass tabs too!
So I don’t know any songs yet unless you count the riffs from Seven Nation Army and Dazed and Confused, which I don’t.
And my sister-in-law keeps asking “…do you know any songs yet or are you just torturing people around you with scales and student practice?” I was forced to confess to the latter. [I almost wrote covfefe.]
It’s all good because music is my muse these days, giving me happiness I can afford. I’m retired with no goals at this time except a new hip on 20 July and learning the bass.
I need the monstrous complexity and wonder of Music right now, especially because my fingers, hands, arms, ears, feet, back, age and talent gap are all against me. But I ain’t fixin’ to jine the band, not my goal.
What I am going to do is take another lesson real-soon-now and have her/him tutor me on that string-ringing thing (muting), 3/4 meter (waltz time), and what all those knobs and controls on the amp and bass do.
And what’s with that funky honky slapping method, I wanna sound like Seinfeld too. And maybe I’ll try harder to learn, you know, a song. Happy Lisa?
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