Monday, September 24, 2012

My Not Counter Weight

Husky not included
I've found that being clueless is a double edged sword. On one side you have no one to help you go shopping, on the other end you have no one to tell you ibanez apparently has a shit reputation.

Before I did any research I set my budget at $300. I'm a college student and I only wanted something to learn on, maybe play at Mass, and since when has God cared about the quality of an instrument? Upon research I found my budget to be in an odd spot, for $350 I could a above bottom line bass, but that was more then I was willing to pay. That left me with $100 no-name china made model [Don't do it, just don't. I read reviews saying people were cutting themselves on the frets. Don't throw money away on shit, at lease invest in something you can sell for $50 if you don't stick with it.] or a couple ibanezs.

I wanted a bass, something that could roar, and if plugged into the right amp would frighten small children, thus no guitar sized neck for me. [Bass guitars started out as just tuned down guitars in the 60s, over time the neck lengthened and the sound got deeper. (Strings also play a part in the sound also, but more on that later)] The GRS200 really stood out to me for the for the two reasons, it was only $250 retail, and considering what it was, it had good reviews.

I've had my bass for ten months come Oct third and I got it due mainly to two reviews. The first guy said he played professionally, had found this guitar at a pawn shop ten years before and it was his go to for playing around the house. The second guy had gotten his bass just a year before the review, and in that time managed to drop it down a flight of steps. The finish was cracked but it was totally playable.

In the ten months I've come to agree with alot with the reviewers. The pick-ups are shit, I still don't know which one does what, but one can turn off the sound. That said it's great if you don't want to jazz or blues, or if you're like me and picking one style is like picking your favorite song [or way to eat chocolate, or child] Also another complaint was the small neck, any fellow small handed people beware it's true. At less then five foot two I didn't think I'd have an issue, but it can be a pain for long playing.

My final advice for buying a bass is this: BUY USED!!! It's cheaper [dirt cheap if you buy southpaw, seriously no one buys it] and every dent your guitar will ever accurate was a result of the previous owner.                  

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Final Countdown

Afew weeks after getting back from Spain it was time for the PRS experience. By some lucky twist of fate my family got on the invite list for the Paul Reed Smith Guitars open house. Never heard of PRS? You have heard them, seriously, they were used in the opening ceremonies for the London Olympics. I remembered the first year I went, only afew weeks after my conversation with Mama Hood; I was chatting with one of the female workers whom I told I was thinking about playing bass, she played bass and was hoping PRS would start making basses again soon.

Four years later I sat under the big white tent in Kent [I didn't intend for that to rhythm] clutching my ice coffee while making jokes of whether or not the tent would hold under the pounding rain; Paul made an announcement.


They were making basses again, and to show them off he put five basses on stage and let them at it. It was the most amazing musical performance I'll ever see in my life. Just five guys jamming and trying not to sound like crap. I was sold, the music was beyond words, and I could own a beautiful, locally made (with great wood!) by great people bass. [After going to the open house this year it looks like I'll never get one due to the fact I could only find one bass on the sales floor (though it did have a crowd around it) and the "Bass Orchestra" was actually a band transported from the 70s with fifteen people on stage, and WTF with the keyboard?!?!? Can't you at lease keep it in the bass clef?!?]

That christmas I spent the holiday in Charleston, it was awesome being someplace that had a music scene that isn't closeted in the bars. The bands on the public channels were freakishly good considering they were basement bands.      

When I got home Mom handed me $100 and Bass Players for Dummies. I devoured the book in hours and one thing became clear, I needed a guitar. I googled, budgeted and googled some more. To buy the model I wanted new I'd have to wait three months, until I plugged in "ibanez grs200l" one last time before going to bed Dec. 26th 2011. There it was a used cherry red grs200l at a guitar center in Colorado for $120. 

I jumped, and bounced for the next week waiting for it to come in. On Jan. 3rd me and my mom walked into the local guitar center while my mom reminded me of the thirty day return policy, after all I had never stuck to an instrument for very long.

We stand in front of the register for a good eight minutes before being acknowledged by the guy behind the counter. During this time we notice we are the only females in the store save the mother standing awkwardly in the corner as her minor son frolics around the drum section. When the manager finally asks what we want he laughs in my face for getting a southpaw guitar, and told me I should of gotten a "real bass". Due to the fact we were clearly clueless women we asked we asked them to polish it, tune it, and plug it in to make sure it works. Man did they love that, but they did what we asked [well they tuned it as if it right handed, yeah that only took me six months to figure out]. When we were walking to bass room I felt like a nervous wreck. what was I doing? I sucked at music, I was never going to become famous. Then he plugged it in, and I remembered, the thrill and rush. I wasn't doing this to become famous, I loved the sound and I wanted to be a bass player. 

I can't say I never looked back, I remember being shell shocked on the last day of that return policy. That was the day I ordered an amp.            

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Why does Toys "R" Us not have Basses???

Genes simply put. That's why I love music, my uncle is a basement drummer and my mom has been his roadie forever.  Rush and Bon Jovi were my lullabies, I was always pounding on the piano, tripping over the dulcimer case, and digging though the piles of recorders, pennywhistles and harmonicas that filled half the crannies in my house. My mother started dragging me to concerts when I was four, that was the year my uncle got me a mini drum set; the year after that I got a keyboard and the next year I got a child sized guitar. Funny thing is I only remember asking for the keyboard, I didn't give a shit about the concerts until I was eleven. [Thank you Mom for putting up with my horrid bratty-ness during that time!]

I've never been musically talented, but I remember the first concert that truly blew me away it was Relient K at Creation East 2004*. [My mom switched over to christian music when I started listening to lyrics; thank you Bon Jovi for teaching me I was 'just born to die'.] Ironically I had a great view of bass player and was in awe of the crap they had on stage, and actually used.

Despite dreaming about bass players, always finding the bass player the cutest and nicest person in bands; it never hit me to get a guitar until I had a conversation with Mama Hood. Mama Hood is probably the second coolest mother ever, she is a mother of seven and a fan of measles cars.  One day she was telling me how one of her sons had begun to pick up the guitar and asked if I had ever considered playing. I began to mumble my main excuse: guitars have six strings and I only have four fingers. She pointed out basses only had four strings.

That was the seed, I spent the next three years researching and thinking. Finally at Creation 2010 I came to the breaking point. I was on the rail for Superchick and was super excited, they hadn't played the year before, and the year before that they had had they're set cut horribly short. When the band came on stage to set up they totally ignored the yelling crowd and soon all fell quiet. I mustered up all the courage and yelled "We missed you guys last year!" The guy I thought was the bass player stopped what he was doing, walked to the edge of the stage looked around and quietly said "We missed you guys too."   That was it, my year was made and if so many bass players could be so awesome why couldn't I be that too? [Upon fact checking I realized he was actually the guitarist but that is now irreverent.]

For my seventeenth birthday I went to the local guitar center and held a bass for the first time. I felt like the clueless moron I was until I strummed the bass. I could control thunder. I started budgeting and could afford the bass I wanted by christmas. Than I had the opportunity to go Spain, if I pinched every penny, so...

The bass got put on hold.

*This is only memory the year could totally be 05, I'm not sure.   

Friday, September 21, 2012

And this is a blog about not fish.

I am a freak, history buff, bookworm, anthropology major, music lover, bad catholic [...] asexual, right handed, a girl who plays around with bass guitars.  If someone was to ask me to describe myself that would be the list I'd come up with, given enough time. What bothers me most about the list is that at this time I am just 'a girl who plays around with a bass guitar' to call myself a bass player would be an utter lie. I am making this blog in hopes that it will get my ass in gear and maybe help some fellow green horns. I know this isn't an easy road for a girl or anyone who plays south paw, but I find casting thunder is worth it.