Playing Guitar

Around September last year, I decided to learn to play Bass guitar. I’ve been a drummer most of my life and so I understand the workings and structure of music. It helps to know this when learning an instrument. So I bought an electric bass and amplifier.

I chose the Fender Mustang Bass because it is a short scale bass, meaning, the length between the nut (the point where the strings meet the head of the guitar) and the bridge is only 30″. A full size bass has a 34″ length. At 61 years old I’m not as flexible as I once was and not stretching another 4 inches to reach the first fret makes it easier to play. The Mustang is also lighter in weight so not as fatiguing to hold for long periods. Besides that, it is just plain sexy. I mean, look at it. A slim waist, beautiful curves. Who wouldn’t want to hug that thing?

I can strum a few chords on guitar but I chose the bass because it is a rhythm instrument, like drums. Most people don’t realize this but the bass guitar is as important if not more important to the rhythm of the music. It sets the groove, filling in the bottom end of any piece of music. Just try listening to a favorite song with the bass turned all the way down and you’ll see what I mean. It needs to be there.

I have a lot of musician friends. So I have been getting together with some of them to help me learn to play. So far, it’s been a fun adventure. Musicians are always ready to give advice and help someone be a better player. One trait that most musicians have is to believe that it’s not about them, it’s about the music. Most of them are very selfless when it comes to teaching. So I’ve learned a lot in a short amount of time. (It helps to be retired.)

I’ve discovered that I have guitar fever, just like many other musicians I know. One guitar is not enough. A few months ago I picked up a Taylor Acoustic Mini Bass.

This is also a short scale bass and a lot of fun to play. Yesterday, I had to take it in to the shop for a little work and I discovered a full scale Fender acoustic bass for a really good price.

This being a full scale bass is as I said, 4 inches longer than the Mustang. However, I’ve noticed that since I started playing my flexibility has improved to the point where I can play this guitar without too much trouble.

So I’m learning to play bass. I don’t think you’re too old to learn something new and it keeps you from shriveling up and dying. Besides, I love music and being able to make music is a real treat. I’m still playing drums as well and will keep doing it all as long as possible. As they used to say in the Sixties, Keep On Trucking!

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I Lost A Friend

fender bass
I sit at my computer not knowing what I’m going to write about. I lost a good friend on the 9th of this month. I could write about that I suppose. We first met in the 6th grade. His name was Gus. Is, Gus. His name is Gus. I am a drummer, and have met and played music with some exceptional musicians over the years. Some people start out playing an instrument and want to be a famous rock star. I never had that desire. I wanted to play music, that was all. Just have fun playing music. And I did. Gus was primarily a bass guitar player. And he was very good. Playing music with him was fun, but watching him play was even more fun. He was so smooth and made it look so easy that you thought you could just pick up that guitar and make it sing. But you couldn’t. It took him years of practice to make his magic happen.

Gus was very humble about his musical abilities and suffered from stage fright. Before going on he would be a nervous wreck. He’d pace and smoke cigarettes and drink. The first set of the night would be good but you could tell he was stiff. By the last set he was blowing it away. Every time he played would be the same. Not everyone knew this about him. We got to know each other very well over the years. After his divorce we spent a lot of time talking about life and the things we’d gone through. He had a lot of the same desires that many of us have. He wanted to be a good father to his children, a good friend to those he knew, and he wanted to enjoy life. And he accomplished all those things and more. I’m sure he made some enemies over the years as we all have, but most of the people that knew him loved and respected him.

He never became rich or famous, never became important in a worldly sense. But he was always ready to help a friend. Always there for his kids and those he loved. Those are the things I will always remember about him. He could be kind of grumpy sometimes as we all can be, but he was a good man. Cancer took him, as it takes a lot of people these days. Damn cancer. I will miss him.
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Gus