Friday, November 30, 2012

Stress Induced Ideas

Last night I was struck with an idea of either madness or genius, [don't you just hate when you don't know which one?] Why don't I just get a right handed ABG? This is the conversation that ensued in my head between my ego and id.

[I'm referring to the Freudian understanding of the psyche. The Id is the selfish animistic part of yourself, the  Super-Ego is your moral compass imposed by society; the Ego is the mediator of the two who allows you to appear like a normal human being. Example: You need to take a dump. Your Id will say this is as good a place as any. Your Super-Ego will be ashamed that you still have that bodily function and your Ego will tell them both to chill out and find a bathroom. Your Ego can be swayed by alcohol.]       

Id: We should just get a right handed ABG.
Ego: We're southpaw you idiot.
Id: What? It's not physically impossible, you thought yourself we had better tone right handed.
Ego: We've already learned the fret board left handed.
Id: Not really, you still mix up the A and D strings plus the fret board would be the same. And you could just flip the guitar mid song and get a totally different tone!
Ego: So you want us to learn bass left handed right handed and backwards both ways?
Id: Okay slight overkill but having a different tone would be so cool!
Ego: True, but people would think I'm crazy.
Id: Since when have you been playing for other people? Since when have you not thrived on being weird?
Ego: it would take so much time.
Id: Look how far you've come in less then a year, and you spent most of that time on your ass. So what if you spend extra time on it, it'd be a cool skill.
Ego: A useless skill.
Id: Do you want an ABG?
Ego: Yes.
Id: We wouldn't have to settle with a right handed ABG, you could get any color.
Ego: Color is nice...but not a deciding factor.
Id: It'll have a better resale value being right handed if it doesn't work out.
Ego: Logical enough...Damn you!

I didn't drag my Super Ego into this because I knew it'd would give me crap for wanting another bass for the price of a biology textbook.  

Monday, November 26, 2012

Jazz Hands!

I was up until one in the morning slightly freaking out on Talkbass because I found the thread on bass injuries. I've mentioned proper hand position before but I haven't gone into detail because I don't really have a clue. Do you know what every bassist has heard at some point? "Youngen'  do the god damn hand stretches and save your hands." and years later most regret not following that advice. I don't know about you but I intend to play the rest of my life, and considering the fact our hands are rarely still we need to take care of them.

I have mild Cerebral Palsy, it mainly effects my legs but it is also very mildly in my hands. Every few years the medical field would flip flop on whether it was better to have a normal range of motion [What is a normal range of motion? I've never met a medical professional who knew] or just be happy that kids can function. Because of this I was in and out of OT most of my childhood. Like most PT there comes a point where the PT and I agree that I did something good enough and we moved on to another part of my body [I can't raise my arms ninety degrees over my head, it was never that big a deal until afew years later when I did water therapy and couldn't do a back stork. Another think I learned to do in PT was to curl my toes, that may sound crazy, believe me my doctor thought I was but when you watch people pick up things with their toes and think they're part Tarzan it's awesome.]

This is why I play southpaw, I'm more involved on my left side so it's running around a fret board with that hand made no sense. It's funny how since I've gotten Igor my middle and index fingers have become to nimble compared to the ring and pinky on that hand; and they're still twice as slow as my not involved right hand. I've always been told I'm going to get arthritis in my 30s, it's a reality of CP, and I realize I will probably get it in my hands since I started playing bass.

[Wow that got damn ass long, and I didn't hit on half the points I wanted to loop like a part 1]

    [This guy is really good, you should see his other videos, yes he yammers for abit in this one but he has a great accent.] 

This is Lame (it's Puny!)

Have you watched something and thought "that was me in a past life...wait this is fiction." Well for me it was when I watched Swing Kids and the kid with glasses just like mine couldn't keep up with his friends because of his limp. [and he had a guitar case on his back].

[Spoilers about to happen] 

It just all clicked, we both spouted out names of songs, can't dance, loved music and had an idea of where the world was headed. Just as ever limper I have ever seen Arvid dies in the movie, slits his wrist with a broken record, quite a poetic way to go out if you can divorce yourself from the hurricane of agony and angst left behind a suicide. There are no role models for limper, they all die because what other end could they have, we are all mortal in the end. I can only recall one limper who survived the end of his tale, he was Poe's Hop-Frog. I won't spoil that one for you but if you thought him your hero the psych ward would be at your door.

I think it was the mutational love of music that connected myself with Arvid. Don't believe we're alike?

  Arvid is holding the guitar.

Me for Halloween afew years back. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Derailed Post: I hate being female sometimes.

I've got loose plans with a friend to jam over winter break. I suggested it because she now has a car and I have a bass and piano [which she plays] at my house. Looking over my twenty second video two main errors stand out: my horrid tempo and that I need to stick to the plan in my head. The planing isn't that important for jamming but my timing will be since my friend has dabbled in everything but drums. I'm worried for nothing really, my friend has been playing forever, and I feel like a too old greenhorn. I've been wondering about jamming for awhile now, but those sickening questions of when will I join a band come bubbling back up. I know I'm not good enough for that,  hell the idea of having any kind of interdependent relationship scares me more then being on stage. I wish I knew what I wanted out of all this, I wish I could just be content being a bedroom bassist.

I wish the prospect of the unknown wasn't so exciting.  

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Air Singing and Tambourines

I think the best kind of concerts feel like a jam session. Everyone has they're part even if we fans only have the part of sing-screaming the lyrics; it still makes us feel like we're instrumental. Some [drunk] fans might feel the need air-insert-instrument-of-your-choice [no one has ever air-sung] but it's all good fun when it's short and no one gets hurt.

But there is a line. That line is people who bring tambourines.

I've been to one too many concerts where some lady has pulls one of these noise makers out of her purse. Unfortunately this has happen at christian concerts so it is frowned upon to break said tambourine/break said lady's wrist or tell her to fuck off; most are left to do what so many christian are good at: frowning and glaring. Unless you are my mother who will tell the wannabe Esmeralda that her tambourine is bothering her poor disable daughter. [I promise we only use the disability card for good!]

I guess people think tambourines are easy to play, that's why they drag them along instead of hyperventilating into a much more portable harmonica. Don't get me wrong tambourines can be alright in the hands of professionals [see video below] but then again I've been blindly in love with this band since just out of middle school so my judgment is probably off.


Friday, November 23, 2012

What's that Sound?

I did alot of research before adjusting my bass' action, I was prepared to hear fret buzz the moment I picked up Igor. I however was not prepared for when I picked up Igor and totally forgot what fret buzz sounds like... [I blame the top 40]. So I've been looking all over youtube for videos of fret buzz and still I can't really tell, maybe the cameras aren't picking it up right, or maybe I've stopped making it. 

One video really throw me, the guy said if you can't hear the fret buzz though the amp don't worry about it. I've never been able to tell if I'm making fret buzz with an amp, thus I really don't know what to think of this one. I got an amp two months after my bass, it set idle for along time because I knew I was making fret buzz without it. It might of been fine with that set up but what if I used a friend's amp to jam, or got plugged into a sound system or get an ABG? [please!] Then I sound horrible from a rather rookie mistake.          

I decided to send this out into the wild domain of Twitter and bugged some people who actually follow this blog while doing so. I actually got replies! [Green highlight is the person's twitter page and red highlight is they're other website; I don't know why my tweet is white...sorry color blind people! blogger is confusing me.]

Me: "if you can't hear fret buzz though an amp don't worry about it." BS or Truth?

   Ryan: False 
Mark Waldrop: it could go either way, but if it were me I'd fix it
It's supper cool to hear my thought process is kinda on the right track [and hell, just getting response from twitter].   I'm still not sure if I've lost my mind or am actually improving with the fret buzz but I thought that was worth posting about.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I feel like Jackie Chan!

I messed with the bridge on Igor and he still works! I can now almost always keep the G string down with my pinky. [I've never been able to do that without cheating with my ring finger]. All I did was twist the screws that you can get to without removing the strings, see the big wholes in the picture below? Screws go there and that's what you need to twist. Classic lefty loosey, righty tighty stuff unless your dyslexia is like mine and you'er saying it's all one big circle; in which case it's all trial and error. Twist abit, let it rest [I got totally wrapped up in a record for half an hour and it was lower by then] and see if you got the right result.      

I will warn you, there was that sickening sound when metal hits wood, [Yes, I did steal that line from the second Harry Potter book] but I think I'm the first one to mess with Igor for at lease five years and he's still playable.   

Monday, November 19, 2012

Remember Those Strap Locks?

Before the making of that video and the birth of my closet light source I was preforming some intermediate  bass acrobatics [blindly trying to work the amp while holding Igor and balancing on a pile of shoes] when my upper strap lock just snapped. I'm really glad it made a loud noise that got my attention, even if that resulted in Igor's head stock slamming into the closet's door frame. [That didn't even knock it out of tune, man Ibanze makes a tank.] Since the top strap peg is within my range of sight while playing I left it be until I was done.

Upon searching my bedroom floor I only found one half of the lock and a broken piece of black plastic which may of been apart of the other half. I'll continue the search tomorrow but even if it is broken I still consider it a good investment.         

[Hold up, I just checked my blog and I've only been been using those things for less than a month, I'll see if I can find the other piece before I make my final judgment.] 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I got off my Ass!

And I got results! Horrible results, but results all the same. After listening to too much Rush I was banished to my bedroom while the living room was being vacuumed and since I couldn't do homework I thought I'd play my bass. [I sat thinking about it, staring at my amp for the amount of time it takes to vacuum the living room plus listen to half the Of Monster and Men CD, great album] I finally got up, and tried to play my bass, but between the dark amp in the closet and the revenge of the shoes [they still haven't found a new home yet]  it wasn't successful. So I tossed all my shoes to the other end of my room and found a ghetto solution for the light problem.

 [There's a mini flashlight scotched taped to the wall]

After hunting for a memory card and discovering my camera had a low battery I decided to do a short video just to see how it would turned out. It seemed abit quiet so I put on youtube to see if that would help, then I said what the hell and made this post. Enjoy! [Sorry!]


Monday, November 12, 2012

Best One Time Musical Experiences.

I've been to my fair share of concerts and one of the best things about concerts is those once in a lifetime moments that leave you in awe. These are moments I've seen in my fifteen years of concert going that I will never forget.

#1 PRS Experience 2011, Bass Orchestra. I've written about this before and I'm not sorry I'm writing about it again.  I should of been miserable, it was cold and it had been pouring rain all day, you couldn't run to the hooters [port-a-johns, don't ask.] without getting soaking wet. The only warm spot of the day was the free hot coffee that I had yet to learn how to drink.
So there I was clutching my ice coffee because if I put it down my drink would of floated away and this starts up:

This is the best day of my life because it just proves the power of music. [and how blindly in love I am with the bass clef.] Also it is as close as you're going to get in the history of the world to people not talking during a bass solo. [but maybe all you need is more then one bass for people not to talk during the bass...solo..duo..gah].

#2* *[Not sure if this counts because I totally plan on witnessing this again.] Neil Pert's solos on 9/9/12 [Dear merciful God do not make me pick one.]

This guy has his own foot petal camera, and it is actually entertaining to watch. Need I--I'm just posting videos.

          #3 Relinet K preforming Deathbed at Creation Fest East 2009.
Relient K is a supper pop-y band. I have the CD that Deathbed is on, every time I'd play it my mother would stop what she was doing and ask me who I was listening to, it sounds that different. It is an eleven minute epic almost chorus less [think House of the Raising Sun] song. What made it so much more awesome was that they finally got an encore after at lease eleven years of playing this festival where encores are only given to the headlining acts. So they pulled out this baby, best meteorically middle finger ever given. This is the only live version of this song on youtube, not the one I went to but note it's in two part because youtube can't handle it!


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Passion vs Talent

Passion is a tricky thing.

I've had the talent of story making since before I could read and write. When I properly proof read I can take anyone into the world of my dreams without them getting lost. This is why I'm documenting my journey this way and not with videos or other types of media. I identify with my ability to string words together the most. I want to be a published author one day, I want to have a quill pen tattooed on my side because it is apart of me and I always forget about it.

Writing is an okay thing to do for me, but it's also really easy which translates to:
[I've looked it up and some people say I have the personality of Sherlock, Most agree I have the personalty of Moriarty.]  

Bass playing is fun, it takes work, which makes a success all the more satisfying. I can make this awesome sound that is also a feeling. When I'm upset all I want to do is cradle my bass, and when I go days without handling my bass my body knows it. I love it to a degree words can not express.

I realize I probably won't become much since my talent and passion is not the same; but I don't think I could remain sane otherwise.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

New Set Up.

I've rearranged my room and the good news is that I can see my music sheet and note chart and play without any buzzing. The bad news is that I can't see to adjust my amp in the dark closet or reach to adjust it when I'm holding Igor. All is fixable with a dollar store touch light and some duck tape, [I meant the darkness in the closet] as long as Igor can agree with the stand.

Now the real question, what do I do with all my shoes the amp displaced? [Yes, I gave up shoe space for my amp and I am a girl.]

Friday, November 9, 2012

Southpaw Playing Right

Jimi Hendrix, Paul McCartney, Kurt Cobain, these are the faces people think of left handed guitarists are mentioned. For Hendrix and McCartney who became famous in a time before southpaw guitars were made, the tales of how they flipped the strings on right handed guitars and played it up side down have become legend.

Guitars have come along way since that era, which make it impossible to flip strings. This is a nut:

The strings go though the holes, and as you can see there is no way in hell you're getting the G string [The thickest string on a four string bass] into the hole meant for the E string. You will be able to get the E string into G slot but it's going to move around alot and you're just not going to get the sound that guitar was meant to make. 

You could go to a guitar repair shop and have them trade out for a left handed nut and bridge, [yeah bridge, that thing that keeps your strings attached at the bottom, you'll need a left handed one of those too] but that's going to add to the cost and kill the resale value. 

Even if you do all that, you'll still be playing your bass up side down. That don't seem so bad until you think if like using a microwave up side down. All the mechanics will be hanging a way they're aren't supposed to, [the only way to have the spinning plate is to glue it to what is now the top or not have it at all] you just won't have the same quality instrument you started out with.

[Please, consider becoming a luthier if you really want to mess with your guitar.]   

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Game Plan

I want an ABG, [Acoustic Bass Guitar] bad. The thing is there are only two brands [Dean and Takamine, ever heard of that one? I haven't] that make them southpaw and under $1,000. I'd like to spend no more then $500, I think that's fair considering I was willing to pay $300 for my Igor.

The Takamines are at the tip top of my budget at $500-$550, and their reviews "show its price". [You know that $1,000 ice cream sunday in NYC that everyone raves about? I have this theory that once something goes to a somewhat crazy price people stop looking at the quality because "it cost that much it must be good!" or they don't want to look like an idiot.] Most reviews say they're really good, but, there's always a but sometimes an if but you get the idea; everyone is almost happy with it.

Dean on the other hand is well within my price range, both models have pre-amps, but I'm still not thrilled with the sound they're producing. Bonus points to Dean for having an interesting finish offered in southpaw [even if my inner wood girl is going "what the fuck?" look at this thing:


Also Dean has the best website for finding out if they have southpaws, it's right there when you look at products, no search bar needed. 

I haven't man handled any ABGs yet, but once I do I'll be on the hunt by my birthday in the summer; and if Ibanez don't come out with a lefty and I find an upper model Dean for under $200 I'll jump. It sucks when you don't find something you're not 100% in love with, but when you find an article saying ABGs are rare beasts you live with it. I figure after this I'll be set until I can drop a grand on something cool like a bango bass, or double bass or a 35 inch five string....

[Shame I can't just flip the strings, I really need to make a post about that.]    

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Action Adventure Stories!

I believe when you own something you should know how to take basic care of it. I totally intend to change my car's oil next time it's due [unless it's in February]. For the same reason I totally plan on changing Igor's strings at some point this year. I also believe there are something that should be left to the professionals like changing coolant or messing with the action. Sure alot of guys will tinker with the truss rod, but this is one stereotypically male trait I sadly don't possess.

I spent some time with my henchman today, due mainly to the fact I wanted to see if I could find the truss rod cover. [Found it no issue!] A string sounds good, but I did notice while my open strings are spot on tune when I fret a note is off it was a couple yellow thingies off. [from the view of a clip on tuner] I measured how far the strings were from fret board [called the action, now you see where I'm going with this!] and found them to be 1/4 of an inch which explains why I dread fretting the G string.

Micheal said I could adjust the bridge, so I'm off to do my research. I found one video that said it's just a twist of a screw but the guy in that video also said it's a 'trust rod' so I need more information before I mess with my bass.

     [So no action adventure stories in this, comment with your own!]


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Learning: Lessons vs Concerts

Disclaimer: This is what works for me that said I have no plans to become famous.

I haven't told that many people I have a bass, most people are finding out about it when I casually mention this blog. The reason for this is that when I first got my bass everyone would ask where I'm taking lessons and when I was going to join a band. Neither crossed my mind when I got my bass. [Seriously, have you heard a bass? It's very hard to think beyond "I want this now".]

I knew there was basic bass lessons on the internet, I figured I would find someway to learn when I out of grew them. Well I've out grown them, and real lessons cost alot. I've found them $20-$30 bucks a pop. I think that's alot of money spend on someone you might not gel with,especially when you could see a concert for the same price. That might sound crazy but let me tell you a secret: once you have the basics [like the right fret hand position so you don't injure yourself, it can happen] you can finger, slap, pick and pop anyway your heart desires. don't believe me? go to any concert or better yet watch the video below [but still go to a concert].

Plus you learn all the stuff that's kinda too rude to say like "When your cheering squad consists solely of the very drunk chicks, you might want to think of another career."   

My Cord has come!

And now I have to rearrange my room! It's a very solid cable but I had a minor freak out when I plugged it in and it buzzed like a hornet's nest. After demanding I return it my mother came in and suggested I back off my amp abit. [You'd think I was 12 the way I'm stupid sometimes.] That worked some, but my room is only so big.

Update coming soon!

Monday, November 5, 2012


I haven't named my bass, which I find sad since I'm totally convinced it is alive. I do consider myself in a relationship with my bass and I realize when I get another bass my first will get jealous. Since I'm getting tired of typing 'my' [and because Igor is so much shorter] I have decided to name my bass now!

Since I'd rather chill with a dude I'm bucking the whole call it she thing [That was made by heterosexual men anyway, right?] plus my bass in red which leads me to believe it's a male [nope, not falling into any gender stereotypes here].

Any instrument is an interesting thing, it's well instrumental, yet a minion to your commands, which it will follow to some extant. My bass has been around the block for longer then I've been interested in playing therefore it's an old man with alot of bumps and bruises, it's not the best bass out there so if it were to transform into a human it would be short. I'm not sure where it got an eastern European accent but it has it. It is my partner in crime, my henchman, therefore I christen him Igor! [Riff Raff is too ironic even for my taste, plus I don't believe he's capable of mutiny.]           

[Thank you Ashley and Micheal for making me seem sane!]

Sunday, November 4, 2012

How Geddy Lee is Like Chuck Norris.

I actually have afew qualms call Geddy Lee the Best Living/of all time Bassist. In my eyes just calling him a bassist is a gross insult to him and every bass play that will come after him. That man [just like the other members of Rush] is an awesome musician. He sings, he knows his way around the keys, he is talented beyond the bass clef. Rush is out there, in my eyes they created progressive rock, they are one on they're own. Do I want to emulate Geddy Lee? No. And I think anyone who tries is a fool. Why chase what so many call perfection when you can be an innovator in your own right?   

Geddy Lee can pull off skinny jeans, and Seth Bolt can pull off heels, I never will and I'm okay with that.

[I had to throw this in somewhere]

[Please tell me I don't actually have to explain how Geddy Lee is like Chuck Norris.]

Saturday, November 3, 2012

My Favorite Bassist

I am seriously shallow when picking the my favorite bassist. He is just the bassist of my favorite band with afew bonus points.

Seth Bolt is left/middle with the longest hair...let me find a single picture of him, just because I can!

Pardon me for going mega fan on ya'll, this is the little band I discovered when I was thirteen who had some potential [I said the same thing about Adele's first album, I really should be hired by some record label] that have since exploded to open for Taylor Swift and more. Now you may think I just like Seth Bolt because he's cute, he is cute but so is the rest of the band! [Poor underrated Joe Stillwell who has now left the band....] But the cutest bassist award goes to Phil Joel:   
See, my belief that all bassist are cute started young.

Seth Bolt is my favorite bassist because he doesn't use he bass as a counter weight, he doesn't spin around like some kind of spazzy rocker-ballerina wannabe.  He stands relatively still long enough so even I have a chance to remember a groove. He will stand back on stage and still sings along when he's nowhere near a mic. He was the one member of NEEDTOBREATHE who signed my bobble head box the summer of 2006 when I first saw them at a minor league baseball game. It was he who came to my mind when I had that fateful conversation with Mama Hood not eight weeks later. 

Musically I don't know how Bolt stands up, and honestly I don't care. I've seen countless bass players including Geddy Lee* just this year and all I can see is different styles and different skill levels. Yes there are those who are just want to be famous or a guitarist, but if they're heart wasn't in it I'd never call them bassists in the first place.       

*More to come. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

When I have too much money...

I am going to be that crazy instrument lady when I grow old. I'm not a cat person and I'm the only heir of my mom and uncle so I don't have a choice in the matter, but I'm okay with that; I am that kind of cool. But of course I need to spend way too much money on some crazy instrument.

Hint: It's a Bass clef!

[You have to click it, it being the green thing.]

Sorry that's the best I can do.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Summer Heat

I think alot of people forget what makes up a guitar; I know I did. I bought an Asian made bass that's body was made of some wood I had never heard of [my grandfather was in the wood business, not knowing of a wood is a feat.] and with heavy finish on it it's easy to mistake for plastic. Under all that paint there is metal and wood that reacts to the atmosphere.   

This summer I had a hell of a time playing my bass. My bass would sit in my un-air-conditioned bedroom until the evening when I'd crank on the air and pick up my bass. After three minutes my bass would be horribly out of tune, so I moved my bass to the always air conditioned living room and didn't play it much. About the third time I picked up my bass I decided to plug it in and turned on my air conditioner afew hours before hand. Little good that did because when I plugged it in nothing happened.

I than began my active bass owner's first heart attack. I don't care how prepped you think you are, own an active bass and you will totally freak when the nine volt dies. I go buy said battery, unscrew the panel and try to pry it out with my fingernail. No dices, but is the life of every guitarist right? Than I have the genius idea to just flip over my bass and let gravity do the work. Gravity was not my friend that day. I left it in an armchair panel side down for a hour with no luck. Finally I said hell with it and grabbed a knife [Of the butter variety] and went to town on the back.

Knives go though paint.

Utterly defeated I asked my mom for help. Even her great mom powers could do nothing, that day. Randomly the next week she asked to see my guitar and with her miraculous mom abilities she got the panel off. Lesson learned, watch the weather channel for no other reason than to learn when you have low humidity.

Must have depending on climate.