Sunday, March 31, 2013

That was convenient

Until it wasn't. My strings and bridge came in on the same day! Than I realized I got a different bridge then I thought I got. Instead of having to drill three holes I'll have to drill five. I should still be able to use the bridge, but The Middle Schooler looks so deformed; naked without the strings and mouth-less without any bridge. [But that may be because I just finished Let Me In.]

Did you know there is a wire under the bridge? I did not. [TalkBass you are so dear to me!]   

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Screwdriving Punch Drunk

In one word: DON'T. It may sound fun [and maybe dirty] but it will lead to trouble.

My cautionary fable starts late one night, no actually I was putting off homework one afternoon. [Damn, I wasn't even punch drunk] I was trying to change strings when I wondered what was under the pick guard. Having a screwdriver at hand proved to be dangerous, off went all the screws, including the ones holding the pick up in place.

Did you know there's a spring between the pick guard and the pick up? I did not, and it was a bitch getting it back together. So for nearly two weeks I had a bass I couldn't plug in. [That didn't really matter because of the state of the strings, but still not a smart idea.] Even my mom's Luke [Gilmore Girls reference] thought it would be impossible for one person to put it back together.

[This is a weapon of organized destruction.] 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Oh, Internet Shopping

I'm on my way to modding; I bought a new bridge and strings for the new guy. I'm going with flats because I wanted flats last string change but chickened out, plus they were on sale for the price of rounds. The bridge is more or less the same as Igor's [which I have no complaints about whatsoever!]

At $42 for the bundle it's not bad at all, now to wait....

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Burn That Bridge

I hate the bridge on The Bronco. Much to Pilgrim's dismay [Super helpful member of TB with a modded Bronco] I could not imagine keeping it on. Allow me to get a picture of the evil thing:
As you can see it only has two saddles, so you end up adjusting two strings at once. I actually wasn't too bothered by this, its true vice is the back plate [proper name is bridge plate]. See that bill hanging over the saddle screw? It is from hell's deepest circle. 

First it's impossible to access the saddle screws without scratching the paint. I may not be in love with this bass, but that's still not okay, especially when I get it repainted. [For those of you who think getting another screwdriver would fix this problem, hold on to your hat.] Secondly, that bill always cast the screws into shadow. It can not be gotten around. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

This Made Me Tilt My Head

Somethings you just come to learn. When greenhorns are learning to play they always hear about the one finger per fret technique; if they continue playing bass for two or more days they learn that the one fret for finger often goes against the "just relax" attitude of playing.

This is how most seasoned bassist's fretting hand looks. [Pardon the myriad of Seth Bolt pictures, I have a ton of pictures I've taken at shows.] Fingers all clustered together, somehow snaking around the neck to the right notes.

On another noodle session [which happens twenty times for every woodshed] I noticed my hand was automatically doing that super chill bassist hand thing. I never tried to learn this, it just naturally developed.        

Monday, March 25, 2013

With No Emotional Attachment

Comes what should be horror [when it comes to basses]. I'll let this post be about the strings.
They never felt right, one of many things I disliked about the bronco was that the strings were far too light.

I had a moment of giddiness as I recalled the higher gauge stock strings I kept from Igor. But Igor is a full sized bass, and the new guy is a short scale. TB said not to do it, but as still a teen with a bass I don't love [yet] I had to try.

If the tuners were set up backwards [so that the largest string was set at the top of the head stock] I might of had made it work; but there was no way it was going to happen the way the tuners were set. There was no blood this time, just much disappointment. There was a bright spot of hope as I remembered every teenager's partner in shenanigans, Duck Tape.

Sadly, even Duck Tape could not remedy this [fact Duck Tape can only double as a bridge for strings up to .65 gauge]. So my minion has been setting cockeyed and untouched for much too long.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Dealing with the Flip

I am a southpaw bassist. [Yes I dare to call myself a bassist, a bad bassist but a bassist nonetheless.] Yet I don't regret buying a right hand[-er?]. I still grab the neck with my right hand, I still question if the strings are in the right order, but there are moments when it feels so right.

It's so hard to explain, those moments when I'm frowning over adding something else to the to-do list, and I realize how much less I have to think right handed. It's like there's less effort to get out what I want to play, when playing right handed.

Playing southpaw isn't harder, it just takes longer in the millisecond frame of time. It's kinda scary yet totally awesome.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Comparison Time

Two entry level basses: 2002 not fender Bronco and 2005-06 Ibanez GSR200l.

Starting with the head stock I prefer Igor's. I like the look of the in a row tuners but let me tell you that top tuner is a pain the the ass to reach. Igor's head stock looks odd, notably where the head stock meets the neck; but The Bronco's is just too big for the bass. And what is that not tuner metal thing in the middle of the head stock? It's messing with my string spacing and I don't like it.
Last thing about the head stock, Igor has a truss rod cover, this new guy doesn't; it seems cheap and immodest without it. Ibanez wins for best head

The necks really are two totally different beasts. I can't tell if the maple fret board really 'poppy-er' since I still have stock strings on it. I haven't played long enough to properly compare the two, but the bronco has this strip down the back of the neck like the clocking of a stocking which is damn sexy.

The body is really where the bronco sucks, between the over sized head stock and the small and fat  body, I feel like I'm holding an awkward middle school-er. I miss the nice horn of my Ibanez, I feel like I have nothing to grab onto.

Hardware wise it's give and take. I love where the jack plug is on the Bronco, I still fumble around when plugging in Igor. The knobs are also better on the bronco, they're even with no screw needed.  The Bronco's bridge has to go. I couldn't adjust the action without scrapping paint with the screwdriver, good thing I plan to repaint it, but I have to get a new bridge first. Also there's something very stone age about the tuners.

This new bass makes me really love Igor.  


Saturday, March 9, 2013

It's Here!

It came! It came! The weekend before I have a test, quiz, and paper due [thank you Murphy] my minion arrived. [Minion isn't his official name, that's just what popped into my head as I carried it into my room and Igor was setting in his stand; yes I felt like I had to introduce them.]

  He's kinda adorable. The head stock is much too big for him, and the body really doesn't give you anything to hold on to. The bridge is a bitch, and the tuners are stone aged, but I'm still so giddy.   

Friday, March 8, 2013

Stiff Left Hand

My left hand is going through boot camp this week as I wait for my Bronco to arrive. I made a point to count my change yesterday [so I didn't feel too bad about spending so much for that bass] and made myself put all the coins back into the piggy bank using only my left hand.

I'm also writing this post with just my left hand. [I've had to stop twice thus far for cramping.] My hand is creaking like an old person's but I have to keep working at it.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Trigger Happy?

I was impatient about this bass. I suppose I was spoiled with my first bass; I bought Igor twenty five hours after deciding what model I wanted. It had been over a week and the only broncos where coming up for $139 used [they're $149 new] which would be more then new after shipping and taxes after it would be all said and done.

Monday I clicked on to GC's website and freaked when I saw three new broncos all within my price range. I was too late for the $79 one, but the $99 ones were waiting for me. I jumped, and cringed when the final price checkout was $132. That's almost more than what I payed for Igor, who I got at 60% off him; and it was not even $20 off retail for the Bronco.

I starting regretting buying it right then and there. Posting about it on TB made me feel better since most said I still payed a good price. Most shocking is when my mom heard that I payed more then I wanted for it. [My mother is the legendarily frugal one in the family.]

"Eh, you love playing, no biggie."

It should arrive by Friday if this storm doesn't muck with the shipping. [Just in time for a load of school work.]        

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Bull's Neck

[This post is so behind the times.]

I spent a solid eight minutes with the bronco [in person] and I have to say, it's not as homey as I remember the Fender ABG's to be.  The neck is thick, quite the opposite of my Ibanez, which causes cramping every so often. I have heard of bassists sanding down the back of their necks [of their basses] since I plan on modding this bass I might add this to my to-do list; but it will be far down the list.

The frets were also sticking out on the neck on the sides. This is a normal problem/easy fix for low level basses, but it's still more work than I planned and I'm unsure if I want to go though of it.

Monday, March 4, 2013

What Luck

Whenever I want to go out to a music store it normally takes about six weeks to actually get there. So when I discovered a bass I wanted to check out [not this one, which I'm totally over] was at the local Best Buy I flipped. I managed to get a ride there within a few days, and the outing went without drama

When I entered the store I was greeted by an employee from some section I wasn't interested in. [It may of been the guy who was the Rush fan, or he thought I was a shoplifter since I was wearing a winter coat.] Upon entering the music section I was pleasantly surprised to see an employee behind the counter [that happens about 1/3 of the time] and it was kinda awesome that it was a chick too. But luckily the bronco was on the lowest level of hangers, so I needed no one's help.

Funny thing, at one point I handed the bass to my mom who was shocked how heavy it was. I never even noticed.      

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Sounds of Life

I remember being younger, watching some Disney as a tick of a clock and the tap of a hand lead to half a dozen people breaking out into song. I tried to make this happen in real life but I only got as far as a few people tapping along to the same rhythm.

The other night I was listening to old songs on my MP3 player [like shit I listened to in middle school old] and turned on one of my favorite songs from that era.

Listening to this song made a smile spread across my face, not from memories of the age [may they always rest six feet under] but from the simple yet fun bassline. I don't know if I always loved this song because of the awesome bassline, but it makes me feel alittle bit cooler.

The next day at school I couldn't help but hear beats in every interaction, or really the pocket to put the bassline in. You know when one person sneezes or coughs in a quiet place and two to five people follow suit? That had me laughing with the great basslines going on in my head.


Saturday, March 2, 2013

First Try Success

48 hours after attending to move the truss rod, I picked up Igor and two less frets are buzzing! I'm so glad I got the Allen wrench turned the right way on the first try. I searched Google and ended up with the Dummy's page [Why? That book really is no help] The clock motion explanation made alot of sense to me but the picture throw me for a loop. Seriously what models have you access the truss rod from the bottom of the neck?

Since I still had two buzzy frets at the top of the neck I loosened the middle strings, popped them out of the nut and gave the wrench a solid twist. Now to see how the action looks tomorrow.       

Friday, March 1, 2013

Death of a Straplock

I never was able to find that missing strap lock, and the other one is officially almost dead.  There is a huge crack in it. They lasted four months, but for the price I'm thinking of getting another set. At a cost of a dollar a month I think [for my situation] they work.

Other strap locks cost upwards of twelve dollars, but need to be insulted on your bass. It's fairly common to drill into your bass to make them work, and that's one step I just don't want to my bass. I've also heard it can be a pain to get the strap on and off [like grab a wrench] when I actually want the strap to come off.  

With these simple strap locks it's no problem, they come on and off easily enough and give audible warning when I'm being too rough.