Almost exactly one year ago, I took delivery of a Gold Tone MicroBass. Thus began a new phase in my life as a musician.
Now there might be some of you who might wonder why I would want to play bass. To those few who think that, I’m tempted to say, stop reading now and go away! But no, I’ll just say that if you’re grooving to a song, it’s really the bass and drums that you’re grooving to. It’s the bass and drums that you’re dancing to. Bass and drums are the backbones of most bands. I can attest from the jams I participate in that the other musicians really appreciate the presence of a bass player.
In a previous installment, I discussed how over the Summer I borrowed a couple of full-sized bass guitars from the local musical instrument lending library to gain some experience with that instrument. However, when practicing and jamming, I was still reaching for my M-bass since it was so much easier to play. But when my M-bass was out of action for a couple of weeks, I had to jam with my borrowed Yamaha. It was just the push I needed to get over the hump. Within days, I was playing that Yamaha with confidence. I was even taking the Yamaha to jams after I got my M-bass back from the shop.
I liked that Yamaha bass. The quality of instruments from the MILL varies quite a bit, but that Yamaha was a good choice. I was even leaning towards buying a Yamaha of my own. But then back at the end of August, I visited the local music store.
For those unfamiliar with bass, Fender is THE name in bass guitars. For many bass players, the Fender is by far their instrument of choice. But due to their price, I never expected that I would own a Fender. However, the music store had this used Fender Jazz in spotless condition offered for an affordable price that I just couldn’t pass up.
The Fender isn’t as light as the Yamaha, but it’s rock solid. The neck is smooth with absolutely no sharp points on any of the frets. I’m not a big fan of the classic sunburst color scheme, but then again, when buying a used instrument, you don’t have the luxury of choice. Besides, I’ll take playability and sound quality over the color any time. And it’s an instrument that will keep it’s value over time.
These days, I participate in as many as three jams per week primarily with my new J-bass. The first jam of the week is at the local Senior’s Centre. For the second, I bring my M-bass to the ukulele jam in Gananoque. But the third jam is the one that offers the most challenge, and is the one I look forward to the most.
On Thursday afternoons, I jam with a group of people at the Collins Bay Legion, often with a bit of an audience. There’s me with my J, a tenor banjo player, a fiddle player, and the rest play guitar. They say you should always play with better players, and these guys are good. I’m always stretching my skills, and I often leave as a noticeably better bassist.
I’m really enjoying playing my Fender J, but sometimes it does feel intimidating. It’s a no nonsense instrument used by musicians in the big leagues. It often feels like that instrument demands as much from me as I expect from it. It’s a challenge, but it’s a challenge I’m gladly stepping up to.