Thursday, February 28, 2013

My Date with Allen

I did it, I got out all the Allen Wrenches in the house and I attacked the Truss Rod! Well it was a battle just getting to the truss rod. First I had to unscrew the panel to get to the truss rod.

As you may be able to tell, I was only able to get two of the three screws undone. The screws are super tiny [Look! Something tiny on a bass.] and the screwdriver was causing the black paint to flake off [and made the screw head look like it was stripping] so it was alarming.

Once I put the wrench in I gave it a twist the best I could. Everyone stresses not putting too much pressure on the truss rod, and by extension the wrench; but I wasn't 100% sure the truss rod was actually turning.     

Now I wait, up to a few days for Igor to fully adjust. Igor is hanging out in his stand tonight, I'll see he feels after school tomorrow. Hopefully I actually did some adjusting, but better I did none than too much when messing with the truss rod. [Right?] 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Mary and The Pick Ups

Recall that I took another stab at picking. [By clicking on the red highlighted link.] and you'll remember I was concerned about electrocuting myself. I've since gotten over that fear, in fact, I decided to spend sometime woodshedding picking. That didn't last.

I had the metronome going and everything when the thought popped into my head, about having a place somewhere on the bass for a pick, when it happened. I thought the medal was balancing on strings for a minuet, but it was sticking to the pick up [magnetically]!

That planned woodshed was hit by a science driven train. Cue me seeing if I could get a different sound with the medal on the pick ups. I think there would of been a different sound if I had had more medals...    

Voice Tuner?

I've heard from several people that bassists should learn to sing. At first I thought it was meant as to learn another skill to make you more marketable; but upon woodshedding more I discovered singing worked as a form of melody. [Does that make sense?]  

Rock Music 101: The drums make the beat that is the backbone of the music. The guitar makes the melody that will get stuck in your head. The bass acts as the bridge between the two. With my metronome keeping the beat and the the bass in my hand, all I need is get my vocal chords to do something and I take one step forward.

There was one part of my life where I was in a chorus, it was during a very dark part of my life [otherwise known as middle school] which has been hard to revisit. That was quite a hypocritical attitude for me to type, I love how at concerts lead singers act like utter nut jobs on stage, but still it's hard for me to be a goof.

At one point, I was able to scat [scat singing] and kinda mumble in a tune like fashion. I forgot to turn off the clip tuner and even when I wasn't playing, the tuner was picking up frequencies. When I was scatting normally I hit D sharp and when I was fooling around down low I hit a B. Probably useless, but I found it to be amusing.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Bad Twist?

I got one concerning reply to my latest post on When I first posted about me tuning backwards a few people brought up how my old tuning could twist Igor's neck. [More tension on the strings, thus more pressure of the neck, in a way it wasn't designed for.]

Since raising the bridge worked on all the strings but the E string, it seems like that might of happened. Some TB-ers suggested that having my bass tuned properly might set it right, since the neck is made of wood which is pliable.

Only time will tell, but it does set my gut in a knot...  

Monday, February 25, 2013

Pampering Igor

Image taken from The Graphics Fairy.
While worrying/waiting for my bass to readjust I decided to clear Igor. I didn't know where the good polish was, and I know better the to use water on metal/wood; so I just wiped him down with a soft dry cloth.

Under a white craft light you can really see the fingerprints, and hairline scratches [but only at a few angles]. I also took some dry Q-tips to the dust encrusted pick ups and found some red color was coming up on the dry Q-tip.

Come to find out the bridge to be the dirtiest part of the bass.       

Sunday, February 24, 2013


I was upset the other day. Anger, frustration, fear was coursing though my body; stressing my body out to the point of illness. Within a few hours I remembered my bass, and as soon as I could I let loose on it.

I didn't record it or even bother to plug in, I'm glad I did.  It was a horrid, gnarly, buzzing, messy disaster. Just how I felt. Funny thing, I was playing on a windy night and when I stopped I realized I was playing to the rattling window frame as well as my rage.

In the morning both of my hands hurt along with my right elbow and shoulder. I know it was because I was stressed as I played, I know I need to find a way to relax while playing like that, but it felt so, so, good! Interesting enough the soreness went away faster then any other bodily pain I've ever been in.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Getting Some New Action

With my [new] proper tuning I found myself banging into the strings harder. Since I dropped my tuning by a few octaves I wasn't surprised since I more times than not mix up pitch and volume. The three largest strings kept hitting the fret board which annoyed the hell out of me, although not uncommon among bass players.

So back up the bridge went. [After much worrying, including but not limited to googling pictures of lefty loosey righty tighty] I got all my strings up to a good height, besides the E string. It's still doing it's smacking thing. Cue one late night cryptic post [sorry TB community!] and it has become clear,  I need to find an Allen wrench.

Friday, February 22, 2013

I Picked Mary

I used Mary as a pick actually [or rather a Miraculous Medal]

I have to say I really liked using a pick with some meat on it and the texture of the medal worked nicely as a grip. I didn't have any issue having the medal sliding up the strings like I did with the plastic pick, and I must say I enjoyed the sound.

It was late so I had to wait to try my new technique, which was just enough time to lay awake in bed and remember that Inspector Gadget episode where he handles an electric guitar, gets graphically electrocuted, than wakes up in a hospital. A cartoon Inspector Gadget ended up in a hospital. Suddenly it came flooding back, the fear that kept me a yard away from electric guitars until I discovered my love of mosh pits.

In reaction I posted about the possibility of getting electrocuted on and looked up just how sacrilegious it is to deface the image of Mary.

Thanks to The Church wanting to get away with idolatry, picking with the medal is no issue; but upon returning to my post I found several Inspector Gadget fans and one too many mention of Keith Relf. [Is there anyone who was in the Yardbirds that hasn't become famous for some reason???] Long story short, he electrocuted himself with an electric guitar.

Yet my story doesn't end here....                 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

How to Use a Gigbag

Please note I am writing this post to document my own stupidity, I do not actually think anyone needs to be told how to use a gigbag. [If you are looking at this for this reason, I won't tell anyone.]

When placing a bass within a gigbag [for you must place one within before you take one from it...unless someone puts one in for you...] Take note of what side is up, for your bass. To just take off my bass and put it in a gigbag means that the logo on the bag has to be on the floor [Since it's a lefty]. Maybe I'll being approaching my gigbag from the other side, or I'll make the effort to actually turn my bass around.

When zipping up your bag [god given it will have a double zipper] make sure to have both zippers meet in the middle of the bass or at the top of the head stock. If you have the zippers meet in the middle UNZIP THE TOP ONE FIRST. I can not stress this enough. If you unzip the bottom zipper first the bass will fall out since it is bottom heavy and crash horrifically on the floor.    

Sunday, February 17, 2013

I Need to Stop Thinking

I lay my bass on my bed if I play with it during that day, it's just a little thing I do because I'm too lazy to put him away to show respect. The day of the tuning episode I turned on my music and wanted to sit on my bed before bed; to do this I had to pick up my bass.

It's The Temptations! Get it?

So I noodle about for a bit and decide to try and play along with my music. I realized Florence and the Machine's What the Water Gave Me wasn't the ideal song, but it was late and I didn't care. I try to play along and just manage to utterly confuse myself. I stop noodling near the end of the song and there it is the bass line holding down the harp. And it sounds just like when I was noodling around without thinking.

At 5:09 on this video is when you can really hear it.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Before Lent I made an honest attempt to learn chords, but I just ended up trying to memorize the fret board in a musically organized fashion. Funny thing, my backwards tuning made total sense until my got away from the nut on the fret board diagram.

Then my mind and hands just switched to how I should of been playing all along. I mean, what the heck Dyslexia?!?! Suddenly my head totally understands where everything should be when the only marker I can see is the string thickness [when it is clearly upside down].

Whoa, I just got this [as in while I'm typing this] this is for a left handed person playing a right handed guitar upside down. So doesn't have an idiot proof website; or maybe that's why they took these diagrams down....    

Friday, February 15, 2013

Ash Wednesday

I tuned my bass like a normal person. If you think that's not enough for Lent [I was leaning that way] it was, believe me it was. Also saying "I don't need to stretch, I'm only tuning" is total bull shit. 

or not...

To say flopping my strings' tuning was a struggle is putting it mildly. First I tried to get each string into the desired note using my snark tuner. The little bugger must know I've been disrespecting it, the tuner was all over the place when it was picking up frequencies at all. At one point the strings were smacking the fret board, when I thought it was good enough to fine tune on my Bronco 40's tuner it sounded like the tiny [I'm unsure if I should call it the tiny string or the tiniest, but not much is small about a bass; calling it by note is out for the time being.] string was a piano string and the other three were a cool growling bass tone, but would hit the fret board if it was played too roughly. [And God, was that tone begging for that!] 

I get my bass over to my amp and discover the three cool sounding [yet impractical to play] strings were tuned randomly like F sharp and shit. Reworking the tuning using my amp [which is a literal pain, the printing is so tiny I have to stoop to see, not fun while holding Igor] I got the E and G strings in the right place [Biggest and littlest strings] but the former troublesome A string was passing on its legacy to the proper heir. 

I was so tired from this tuning ordeal, I just put my bass down, not bother to see how I like the new string tension, which is what I set out to do.                

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Strap Placement

I've been standing with my bass again. When I first got my bass I told myself I'd stand up every time I'd play it for some random form of exercise. That actually lasted awhile but now I sit when unplugged and stand when using my amp. I've been reluctant to use my strap but with some reminders that I need to get my strap at the right height. [Too low may look right but it does hell on your wrists.] Since it was a pain to adjust the buckle from near the bottom strap knob I decided to flip it.

That worked, somewhat. It got the cracked leather out of my line of sight, but at the proper height the buckle is on my shoulder which is painful. I play until I am sore and right now my shoulder is the first body part to be in pain.

Also I timed how long I could play while standing, with the annoying strap its up to half an hour.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

My Left Hand

When I play my bass, my left hand is doing the plucking. My left side has Cerebral Palsy worst [in its mild way] than my right side. When I picked up bass, playing right handed was out of the question because I could only handle two frets in a position.

After eight months of noodling around on Igor, I flipped him over for the heck of it. To my amazement I found I could handle three frets comfortably [my right hand can handle three and a half frets]. My ring finger was rather useless but my index and middle fingers were nearly as nimble as my right hand. This is because of one thing, me playing.

The speed in my first two fingers has tripled since my pre-bass days, so I've been trying to incorporate a three finger plucking technique into my woodshedding when I pick up Igor. It's way above my skill level, and I don't care, thoughts of getting a right handed bass once I have the cash up is all I need.

I can compensate without the extra movement, it is nothing to me but adding a trick to my bass playing.              

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Metronome Review.

I bought one of these guys:
Its a Seiko SQ50-V Quartz Metronome. I got it off Amazon for about $20. [Looking about amazon it seems that the price has been upped.]

I really like it, it goes from 40-208bpm but doesn't have every single beat in between. It has a dial set up so all it takes is a quick twist to change up the tempo, no time lost.

It has two 'ticks', one that is very electronic sounding, the other is more like a clock's tock. With my bass plugged in I found that I couldn't make out the electronic sound out, but the tock worked great.

The volume on it was enough for young ears like mine, but I've heard reviews that it can be an issue for older users. I haven't used the head phone jack but it takes everyday music headphones. It has a red light that blinks along to beat but it's rather useless. [This isn't just my visual delays talking, reviewers agree.]

It also has a kickstand, but I've found it sets up on it's own; it runs on a D-Volt battery, which it actually comes with!

I really love that it also lists the Italian music types. [That is most defiantly, not its real name.] 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Taking on Lent

I'm currently a Bad Catholic, still a Catholic mind you I just haven't been to Mass in over a year. Last year was actually the first year I managed to not eat meats on Fridays [I also said I'd pick up my bass everyday-- that lasted four days...]; this year I think I'm going to tune my bass like a normal person's.

This all stems from learning that my mind is really fucked up, after seeking advice from I've decided to try learning chords [different from chord charts, necessary to know]. With using Lent as a jump off point. Since you know, eating Asian food with chop sticks is getting old, [and never ends up working out].  

Whoa, according to this I've been using chop sticks backwards too...

Friday, February 8, 2013

B&B music

This is a really bad part three. [No reflection on the store] I'm just burnt out on the topic.

Big store, hard to miss, very clean. My first impression was on the corporate side. Due to another corporate music store that shall not be named [behold the tact] this put a sour taste in my mouth. Entering the store I found it stocked very well, if someone was standing in the designated pathways   you had trip over instruments to get anywhere. Again I found an employee eager to help me without attitude [Go Delaware, seriously though, go spread this awesomeness to the Western Shore....pretty please?!?]. Sadly all they had to offer was Ibanez, and like I said I had tasted crack with the fender neck and wasn't interested. That said they had every ABG Ibanez made so major props to them for that.       

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Music Stores of Delaware

Remember this post? Well this is part two, written in a much less eloquent way.

Earle Teat Music, small shop, almost drove by it, that aside I really liked the place. It reminded me of your hometown dive bar that intimidates tourists but is a great place for the locals. The walls were cluttered with instruments but the store was nicely laid out and you can move about. They have a nice sized bass section and to my amazement, attentive staff.

To that dude at Earle Teat Music, I'm sorry if my behavior seemed bazaar, I'm from the Western Shore.

I tried out the Fender T-Bucket. To everyone who says acoustic basses are too big in the body, it's nothing. Really. I'm five foot one and have "small" hands and have never needed more then a minute to readjust to a bass. The neck of the Fender, it felt like home in my hand, as odd as that may sound. My fingers were where they needed to be without trying, and never felt like cramping. The guitar wasn't tuned and I was still in a traumatic state since my string snapped so I didn't try to tune it; but I knew an ABG wasn't for me.   

I asked about a semi-hollow body bass and the employee knew off hand [this amazed me] that they didn't have one in stock but that they could order one from Epiphone.

Eh, this is long enough, B&B review will come next [ish].              

Saturday, February 2, 2013

New Level of Enlightenment

Disregard everything I have ever said about string and note placement. I am a day away from my 13 month anniversary with my beloved Igor and I have just discovered I have been tuning the strings backwards  this whole time. [Well not really, I've only been playing the right notes for six months I thought the idiot at GC tuned my guitar backwards.]

Long story short, it made the most sense in my head. Funny when you take into account my dyslexia, my right handedness, and my family history of doing one activity with the submissive hand. In my psychotic mind's defense the whole low end/this fret board diagram throw me for a loop.

[Not good on a dyslexic mind.] Now I need to decide what to do, I want to crawl into hole but I can't do that without life sustaining items [ie my bass] so I need to decide what to do. Should I finally get with the program and tune my bass like everyone else or continue my freak show ways because I understand them? I'm taking my plight to 

Friday, February 1, 2013

String Review

I've been putting this off doing this review [dare I even call this a review when all I have to compare them to is the stock strings?] because I haven't had my bass plugged into the amp since when the first set of strings snapped. I've been playing before bed so plugging in isn't in the cards.

By god, do these strings beg to be touched [Rotosound Swing Bass 66] I can spend minutes just running my hand up and down the neck listening to the strings whistle [I'm calling it a whistle because it's too sweet to call a whine]. Playing wise they sound like a piano, very pop-y, abit like a guitar.

Interesting enough, the first set of strings [that snapped] felt odd, like there was some kind of coating on them or something. The second set of strings felt more like the stock strings, maybe I got used to the feel of new strings, but I don't think so.