My musical explorations have taken a few twists and turns over the past decade. It’s now almost eleven years since I started playing ukulele. In the mean time, I also started playing a tenor banjo. Not a great stretch since I tune it like a low-G uke. But now, I’m a bass player.
While attempting to get other members of my family interested in music over the past few years, I borrowed a number of bass guitars from the local musical instrument lending library. But that only served to pique my own interest in the instrument. As a ukulele player, I was of course very tempted by the Kala uBass. But ultimately, I decided on a Gold Tone MicroBass, and I’ve been playing it now for the past month.
Why did I pick that instrument? I wanted something easy to play, and I think the MicroBass is just that. The polymer strings are definitely easier on the fingers than any metal strings. And I wanted something that sounded cool. Something suitable for folk and jazz. Paired with a Fender Rumble amp, it sounds great.
How have I been handling my new obsession? Well, so far, in the past month, I’ve played my bass three times at the weekly jam at the local Senior’s Centre. And I’ve done not too badly on it. Granted, I did some noodling on the borrowed instruments, and I did some research on how to play the bass before diving whole-hog into the instrument. But within days of taking delivery, I was pounding out some respectable, albeit simple bass riffs. Over time, with practice, I can only get better at it.
Why play bass? The obvious choices for people taking up an instrument are the popular ones: guitar and ukulele. They’re easy to learn, and you can play solo. However, when playing with a group, variety becomes important. Throwing a bass into the mix of instruments, the whole flavor of the sound changes. I know from experience that a bass player is very much appreciated in a jam environment.
How important is a bass? Well, recent studies determined that the bass was the most important element in any band. While not everyone may agree with that, others argue that at least the bass is more important than the guitars. And I think they’re right on that point.
So now, I begin a new chapter of my musical endeavors, on yet another four-stringed instrument!