Sunday, December 30, 2012

Bass Withdraw

The past few days have been hard. When I snapped the A string [Grr] I was sad, feel it in the pit of your stomach but I could see the light from the corner of my eye. With passing time and clouding days I knew I had to do something before I slipped into depression, so I took a break from listening to music with adds. [Sorry Spotify, I'm cheap.] I've ended up listening to Anberlin's Cities for two days straight. It's a good record, never seen the band live to say if they can hold it up live, but their recorded music is solid Alternative Rock; interesting yet not overwhelming.

Today I was torn between listening to Cities for the tenth time or taking a nap. Since I didn't want to drag my laptop to my bedroom I curled up into a ball and entered the first layer of sleep. As I wavered in semi-consciousnesses I picked out this and that about the music, some of the drum fills, mostly the bass. I was here and there with the bass until I noticed small surges of energy in my fingers. Thinking 'what the hell' I relaxed and let my fingers move. Voila! I had unquestionably found the bass track! Odder still is that both my dogs have wagged their tails to the bass of a couple Joan Jett fronted songs while sound asleep.

Sometime later I found myself dreaming of lesser Classic Disney characters preforming to the CD. Baloo of The Jungle Book was doing the back up singing while the evil snake from the same movie [can't recall his name] was on drums. [He was bad since he could only use his tail.] Singing lead and on double bass was none other then the Cheshire Cat. I want to blame my Rush overload on this dream, I'm not sure why.

[I'd also like to note I have never seen this picture before this post] 


Friday, December 28, 2012

Changing My Heart Strings

My mother is going to help me change stings, she done way more times then I have [I've done it never] but so far she's explained the process in drum terms.

[Time lapseTime lapseTime lapseTime lapseTime lapseTime lapseTime lapseTime lapseTime lapseTime]

It worked! For twenty minutes until I noticed the A string was smacking the pick up. [And I am a very light plucker]  Comparing the tension with the other strings I realize I must have A string tuned down an octave. It snapped. The fucking A string snapped. Not the E string everyone breaks but the fricking A string.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Ghetto Had to Go

Remember when I taped a flashlight to my closet wall? [I did] Well it doesn't work when you have to rip it from the wall to change its battery [which you don't have]. So I came up with a less ghetto, more college educated solution.

I hung a larger flashlight from a clothes hanger from its wrist strap and hung that from another hanger so it was at a better height. I also moved up my amp so I can actually reach the knobs while holding Igor.  

But I haven't found that other half of the strap lock yet.....

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Awesome that is

If you've come across this page looking for something bass [not fish] related you've probably already come across links for If you've come here by googleing something else [like how am I the third result for 'southpaw Paul McCartney'?!] let me tell you want an awesome place it is. Started in the late 1990s [yes a website from the 90s!] TalkBass is now huge! Every greenhorn question has been answered seven times over and it has all the questions you never thought to ask.

For me that question I never thought to ask was this thread: I learned about a thousand things from this thread but one word stood out, listen. Several people posted just that one word, to me that seemed rather duh, until one user said it was more then playing a fret board. [Sorry unnamed user, I went though twenty pages of replies and I'm not looking for your name. That said, thank you so so much!!]

That got me thinking about what I do when set down with Igor; and lucky for me the thought hit me again when I was actually holding my bass. I listened, really listened like when I fall into a song, putting all other senses to a minimum. It was euphoric, really resonating in a way that makes me wonder how a drug high could be appealing. Besides rediscovering how awesome a bass sounds I realized that listening really implied the second most given piece of advice: Slow the [insert expletive of your choice] down.

You can't [okay I can't because of audible processing delays] really hear a note when playing a million a second. You have to slow down to appreciate it. [My, how much like love it is.....I'm starting to blabber so point being is make an account, lurk for a year if need be but one day someone greener then you will ask a question about something you've been though; you reply the best you can and some guy who's been playing for thirty years will say you have gave great advice.

Second best bass related feeling ever.                     

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Finally Did the Clicking

Ordered strings and a metronome on my go to site Amazon.  

 I got these strings:   
Why? These were the strings [that seemed] like almost everyone used. [Gross over statement.] They were $20 and a Christmas gift so I'm not footing the bill plus I'm taking off the stock strings so it has to sound better. I also got this metronome: 
Why? It had good reviews. I kinda like the circle thingy design, it was in my in my budget and it had free shipping. The free shipping was a major bonus. Review to come. Both items are scheduled to be here before the new year.    

Surprise bass related present! I got a shirt that says:  

I don't think I'll ever have the nerve to wear it out of the house but I still love it! 

Monday, December 24, 2012

This One is for the Ladies

Or guys to keep their nails long.                      

Do you love super long nails like this?
Do you also love playing bass?

 You are going to have to choose.

Yeah it's just not going to happen.

Case and point: today I picked up my bass after afew days of a dry spell. Something felt off, more painful; my nails were snagging on the strings. I don't play in super long nails, hell my nails were two millimeters long [I measured them with a pick; those things are good for something].

So Ladies, [and possible Gents] keep your nails short, I've heard tales of women ripping their nails on the strings and that's not fun in any way.

But fear not!
You can still paint your nail!
Isn't this cute?
And it looks totally playable! 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Oi tabs.

 I'm not a fan of them. Which is a shame since you can find loads of free tabs for just about every song known to man. They just don't tell me enough, and it's too easy for me to believe they're wrong. Tabs look like this by the way:

0 is an open string and the other numbers is the number fret you're supposed to play on the corresponding string. Seems fairly idiot proof unless you're a type A idiot like me and going "what's the note length? What's the tempo? This can't be the only way to play this song! Is this the easiest way to play this or how it was written? Who is this easiest for anyway?!"

One of the first things I noticed as a fan reading lyrics on the inside of the booklet was just because it said X was the lyric didn't mean that was what was sung on the CD. Same goes for live shows, it's great when a band sounds just like their recordings but if there is no variation at all I start thinking the show is prerecorded.
Seth Bolt of NeedToBreathe

Who's to say 'this' is the finished song anyway? Who dares to say a song is wrong? Even if there is a mistake when you hear the song live, it's still the song. Maybe there's a different drum solo, whatever, music is not concert.

That's why I love it.     

Saturday, December 22, 2012

I picked my...

I broke open the picks today! It was rather anti-climactic. It was 1.5mm purple Delrin pick I got at a charity craps game. [Don't you love calling dice that?!?] Maybe I need more practice, maybe the picks were just too thick; whatever it was was difficult and didn't sound that good. Every time I plucked sorry picked, the pick ran along the string instead of you know, doing what I wanted it to. It wasn't just doing it on the G string mind you [actually it only worked on the E string, and that annoying sound is one of the major reasons I love bass].

Yes, I would.

I much prefer the sound when I pluck up and my fingernail hits the string, it's not that painful when you do it lightly. I might pick up picking again at some point, [I'm lying] I'm just grateful that I can be considered a good bassist and never touch a pick again [wait, I don't care what other think....] 


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Days Off

During finals week I came up with a brilliant plan: Go to bed before midnight and use those morning hours for something more productive [it's not like there's anything on late night worth watching besides that one Carol Burnett infomercial]. This gave me time pick up Igor without being slam-him-into-the-bedpost tired.[Okay there were a couple head stock meets night stand moments.]  I didn't bother to plug him in but just holding my bass for ten minutes was a great way to unwind before sleep.

Thinking about playing got me though my last final, a class I honestly wasn't sure I'd pass. By four o'clock the middle finger on my right hand was sore [Yes I have a middle finger on both hands, they get used in everyday actions, stop making it into something vulgar.] At first I slightly panicked thinking it was arthritis creeping up on me, than I realized it might have something to do with the death grip I had on my pencil for the eight page final I took that day. So I took the night off, it made me sad but possibly doing damage wouldn't of been worth it.

In the morning my hand felt fine and I found that I has passed that worrisome final.

[I WILL NEVER HAVE TO TAKE A MATH CLASS AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!]

So the pain was worth it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I have time now!

I'll be ordering bass strings soon! They won't be in until after Christmas but I've never been one for holidays [besides Halloween, I love that day!]. I actually enjoy Restocking Season as I call the month of January; everyone has a better attitude, the stores have a freshness about them, and everything is dirt cheap! I might even make it to the big music store in the state in two months time! [The number of times I've planned to go there and it got derailed is...making me bitter..] 

I'm also worried about the...musical doodle....I'm working on. I don't know enough to write it down properly [understatement of the year] although I'm sure I could record it and have a friend steer me in the right distraction. Then there are the strings, I'm 96% sure I'm getting flat wounds, which will take some time to break in but will last a lifetime. It's silly I know but I know where on the neck sounds like my dogs. I'm worried it will sound too different, I'll have to find that sound somewhere else or it won't be on the neck anymore. I plan on keeping the stock strings, I'll try my hand at cleaning them, no harm if they end up destroyed.

I'm thinking of getting a metronome, there are free programs online but then I'd have to lug around my laptop and it is the end of finals so why not treat myself?

That's all I have planned that comes to mind at the  moment. [That's a flat out lie but this is getting long.]             

Saturday, December 15, 2012

I'm Writing!

Two finals down one to go! I haven't been able pick up my bass in over a week but man have I been brain storming. I really enjoy learning new riffs [or is it grooves?] a pattern of five or less notes that can be played anywhere on the neck. I can tell a sharp note from a flat note from a [natural?] note; but I can't listen to a song and copy the baseline from ear. This is one of the reasons I'm not a fan of tabs [have I made a post about that yet? I have so much to write about] It doesn't tell you the tempo or how long the notes are and a myriad of other reasons.

I haven't learned a song all the way though, Sharp/Flat notes normally come up or I get though a fun/hard part and I'm just not in the mood to work on my tempo with half notes. [Nope, not foolishly ignoring major musical foundation or anything] I've always wanted to write music, but I could never recreate what I banged out on the piano [besides the fact I always got confused when I tried to use both hands] plus I was fearful that I'd end up repeating something I'd heard long ago that was stored in my subconscious. [Thank you Suite Life of Zach and Cody] I can't tell A from G but I can tell timing [I can tell, not necessarily repeat] note length and emotion portrayed. I started thinking about all the non-music sounds I hear, no trouble trying to recreate that right?

I'm working on the sounds that happen when my mom comes home from work, the swing of the door, the two different dogs getting excited ect. I've got my one dog Poe's prancing down as well as the sound of her breathing in her sleep. I plan on having the tempo change though At what point to call musical doodling a song?

She is a spazz when not asleep

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hey All!

Just putting out there that I'm swamped with finals, I noticed I last posted on a depressing note so I wanted to say something. I will have loads to post about during the break I promise!

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Letter from an Ex-Cutter to her Bass

My Henchman Igor,

I've never had a boyfriend and I think our relationship is worth a letter. You were cheap, your fret board is small, you came to me covered in dust and your pick ups are shit; I sometimes knock around the E tuner when messing with your troublesome A string. There are better basses out there but I'm glad we happened upon each other. I don't know how you got most of your nicks (not that I'll admit to where the other ones came from) but I can see you spent too much time unused. I hope you are played enough even if I can't get to you everyday. You know I've been lusting over ABGs for afew months now, but don't worry I can't replace you. Truth is you helped me kick my cutting. You made my pain something beautiful and healthy, now the pain goes to my fingertips where I can dance it away across your fret board or twirl my feeling away with a pen. (It comes out as words now but I hope one day it will be notes that you can roar.)

You aren't my boyfriend, you're an inanimate object capable of amazing things. I'm glad our relationship is tilted, I'm on the bottom of the totem pole in every aspect of my life right now and it feels good to talk down to something.

Your Madam

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Music Stores.

I tried to get strings for my bass today, it didn't go well. Mom planned an impromptu [...] trip to the local music store. I was in a mild panic on the whole drive down. I knew the cousins of the shop owners in middle school, I've blocked out my middle school years.

We walk in and they're blasting Spirit of the Radio, there are two guys behind the counter and two customer in the store. We stand there for five minuets looking around, no basses. They had a mandolin, but no bass. Nor are we acknowledged in our five minuets of standing there. One customer is talking with the two employees and the other customer looked pretty content browsing.        

We left. This is what happens every time I go to music store, I'm totally and completely ignored until I'm yelling do you want to make a sale or not? [that came out dramatic] I kinda get it, music seems to attract introverts [heck I'm one of them] we can be shy, but when you'er in sales you need to fake it! I've been in sales [okay just getting kids to sign up for a summer reading program, but same general idea.] plaster on a fake grin and say hi.

It's so hard to be even a bedroom bassist without a mentor. Maybe should pay for lessons.