Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Why I hate new strings

As I've touched on before [anyone else tired of me starting posts by referring back to another post?] by taking up bass I was able to kick some bad coping mechanisms I developed. It's worked amazingly, all I have to do now is think about playing or pretend I feel the bass waves and I feel relaxed.

 I only get the urge to feel something when I'm upset once every other blue moon, and I change strings more often then that. Every string change [save the silky flat wounds] the new strings always hurt my fingers, that sucks, because I always think this would be great if I was in a bad mood. This leads to a spiral of how horrible it is for me to think this.

I should look up how to change strings, maybe I'm doing it the hard way. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

First Impression of Pwounds.

I haven't handled Igor's new string as much as I like to [since the rotos bite me]. But I have my first impression:

Pro: I'm not playing a cheese grinder!
Con: That said, they are very mellow and I've been playing aggressively with them.
Personal Dislike: The silks are black, the same color as the headstock, thus making them hard to put on.  

Monday, July 29, 2013

Trading with the House Elf

As I've said, I've been on a major room cleaning spree. I don't like cleaning, doing so moves things, and things that I used to always know where they were suddenly disappear. This time it was my larger allen wrenches.

 I thought I had just slept with them [...again...] like I sometimes do when I use the my bed as a work bench [which is every time] and they don't all make it back to my bedside stand. I looked, and searched, flipped my box spring, nothing. The oddest thing was that they weren't all together, my two tiniest allen wrenches were right where they were suppose to be [possibly because those two have a magnetic charge].

After days of searching, my mom asked for something else I keep on my nightstand. Since I knew where the item in question was, I didn't bother turning on the light. After fumbling for a few minuets [and knocking my favorite necklace off the nightstand] I gave in, turned on the light and found the thing.

Later that night I went searching for said necklace and could not find it. The chain of the necklace was where the laws of physics said it would be, but no neon green bird skull pendent could be found. While searching around for the pendent what do I find? The truss rod allen wrench! I don't know if this is St. Anthony [patron of lost things] playing a joke or I suddenly have myself a mischievous house elf, but I want all my stuff back!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Clipper/Winder Review

Finally changed strings. I hate doing it, but I got to use my new toy! 

The winder was a god sent for taking off the strings, my want to try cleaning old string outweighed my want to just clip those old strings in half. Normally my fingers/wrist are sore after unwinding two strings, now I wasn't even bothered by the time all the strings were off. [One of roundwounds stabbed me on the way out, but that's not the winder/clipper's fault.]
The clipper worked well, I wasn't so sure about the E string [.106 gauge]  but it made it through. The rest of the cuts happened without issue, once I got a handle on the clipper. Winding up the strings is where the winder fell flat [read utterly failed]. The winder wouldn't stay on the tuner while winding down. It also kept hitting the edge of [Igor's admittedly oddly shaped] headstock.  

Friday, July 26, 2013

12th Fret vs Open String

While noodling the other the night I decided to partake in TalkBass advice #3: [yes I am giving these random numbers] Listen. The open string and the twelfth fret are the same note [just an octave lower]. I was trying to hear how they were the same, but I just can't. Beyond the dept of the sound the major difference to the sound was that the fretted note [does that sound off hand?] sounded very metallic while the open string sounded more woody, from the plastic nut.

I should try this with the "one string over, five frets down" same notes.     

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Written in Sharpie

One of the lesser know [or used] tips from TB is keep a practice journal. While on the epic room cleaning of 2013 I came across an American Girl binder. I hate binders. [Why carry something the weight of a text book when a folder and notebook sufficient for a quarter of the mass?] The only reason I have this one is because it's American Girl, and I probably got it for free.

Since my computer has been wonky lately, I decided to use this binder to keep up blog post ideas. This binder is classic early 2000s childhood and is filled with black lined paper. I used to have a myriad of pastel colored gel pens, which were the only things you could use to write [and thus see] on this paper. Alas I couldn't find any of these pens, so I tried writing in black ink. [That failed horribly] than I remember the sliver sharpie.

I hope you like this blog, because I keep up with it because I inhale lovely sharpie fumes every night before bed. [Okay, this blog and my bass playing is solely for my benefit, you're just along for the ride.]         

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Time with the Light

I finally dusted off the metronome, and turned it on. I started out like I normally do, at the lowest bpm setting [40bpm] and worked on the two finger technique. It went well, I guess, I noticed that my middle tended to be fast. I also tried to work in my ring finger to nimble it up and I had better timing with that finger then my middle finger. [Can you imagine that finger causing issues?]

After awhile I turned the beeping up to 60pbm for a little fun [that's closer to the resting rate of the human heart, so it's easier]. I decided to finish the woodshed with the metronome back down at 40pbm but playing at every couple of beeps. That ended in disaster since I was so punch drunk that I couldn't remember between how many beats to play.

I really tried to work on an issue I noticed the last time I used the metronome: playing consistently. There's only one beep [if you choose to, see above] but it's my job to pick one time [be it at, before, or after the beep] stick to that time. This time I decided to play on the beat, and I found it worked best when I was focused on the light that glows with the beat. I feel like this is cheating since I'm not using my ears. I also noticed the [light/tick] seemed to slow down when I got into it. I'm not sure if this was adrenaline kicking in or what, but I felt relaxed.    

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Confidence for the Win

I have a love hate relationship with my Shark [real name snark] tuner. The main reason for the hate is that it doesn't always pick up the E string. I have no idea why, there's only one place on the headstock that the tuner will clip to, but it just won't pick it up.

 I was just running through the G notes on the neck for the umpteenth time,when the third fret on the E string sounded sharp. [That's something I actually know.] The tuner was of course blank, but I still started twisting the tuning peg anyway. The tuner suddenly came to life and and told me that the E string was in tune.   

Monday, July 22, 2013

I may have half my hearing

I've always thought that I'm somewhat musically deaf. I've had test after test tell me so, and while tuning by ear is a commonplace skill for TB members, mistaking a sharp note for it's natural neighbor is completely excusable. [I thought I was just the oddball, being able tell the difference between a natural and sharp note.]

I still can't tell a C from a G if my life depended on it, but I've started noticing some notes compliment each other. With my tuner on, I realized these nice sounding notes were all natural notes. I've also notice it's nice to end a riff with a single sharp/flat note.

Eh, it's something.    

Sunday, July 21, 2013

I'm Getting Good!

Rule #6 I've learned off Practice what you aren't good at. Am I following it? Nope. I am working on not noticing fret markers and learning the fretboard, and I'm rocking it! It was a change doing it on Igor but my knowledge transferred over smoothly.

This time I was only off by one fret [a half step too high]! I've also been thinking about just learning all the notes above the 12th fret. I mean they just repeat themselves after that, and who really plays that low? [Besides Jaco, Jamerson, and ever bassist worth idolizing...] That idea got nipped in the ass when I went for G note on the seventeenth fret and got it right on the first, split second try. [That was the only note I got right the whole night.]    

Saturday, July 20, 2013

That Backfired

Mom made me clean my room, she wanted to make sure I had enough clothes to go to school four days a week [the answer to that is yes]. Remember when my shoes lost their home to my amp? I found another home for them! Unfortunately [for my wallet] the first thought that popped in to my head was "hey I can put another bass here!"

Right now the only thing keeping me from buying another bass is the fact I don't have the cash or space for another bass [I also don't know what I want, but that's quickly remedied]. With half my logic down it's just too temping to go window shopping. Thankfully [or perhaps horrifying] if I got another bass it would be  mid-grade, and there is really nowhere near me to try out more than 'beginner basses' [a must] unless I go to Delaware.

I could also go for a double bass, I don't have a fretless yet. I'd just have to wait until I graduate/get my first grown up job.      

Friday, July 19, 2013

Back in my Happy Place

I've come to realize holding Igor is my 'Happy Place', holding him just feels right. I messed up and got fret buzz a few times, but it didn't bother me like it does when I play the New Guy. Looking over Igor I must admit, the shop treated him right. There are no new marks or scratches, and the knobs are more even then they've ever been [and I've tried to straighten them out for ages].

I also think it's in my safest place is where I can most freely admit my faults. That homework I planned for summer isn't going to happen. I'll be lucky to practice my tempo [which I desperately need to do].

 At lease my uni life is starting out on the right foot. [Yay for hope for future employment!]     

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Picking Strings

I've tried roundwounds, I've tried flatwounds, now it's time for pressurewound.

Quick recap of my string history: Igor got [the much hyped] Rotosound Swing 66 Bass Strings, and they just weren't my jive. New Guy got GHS Flats and I loved the feel and longevity of them, but were too mellow for my taste.

I liked the price of the GHS strings and the brand have been on my radar before when I first started playing, when I was intrigued by their roundwounds that they market as Boomers. [On paper that is exactly the sound I'm going for] I've also been curious about pressurewound since it seems like a happy medium between the two extremes I've tried. 

Price was the deciding factor. I was going for the Boomers since they're cheaper, then mom said she'd handle Igor's repair for my birthday so I went for the Pressurewound [for $7 more on]. I should get them by Monday. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

New Toy; First Thougts

I got one of these suckers. I can't use it for its purpose just yet, but I can play with it. The winder/spinner seems stiff but I could loosen it with a screwdriver [if it ever has a death wish] but I'll see how it turns out when I actually use it.

The clipper is fun as hell. So far I've shoved every piece of trash that will fit into the choppers and it'll go through it all [save the solid metal costume jewelery chain].  I can't wait to put this up against bass string.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Big Day

I picked Igor today! He's still broke, but it's nice to have him back. I missed him, maybe Igor has a piece of an old man's soul, that would explain why I get an accent from him. My new toy also came in! I have a bass the needs new string, a toy to change strings but now new strings! [So I ordered a pack] I may have to wait but I should have the strings on for a week before I have to send him back to get fixed.

Monday, July 15, 2013

unpleasant childhood memories coming back in the form of awesome.

[This is another post that has been sitting in my drafts too long.]

When I was a kid I had a doctor's appointment where they helped determine how severe my cerebral palsy is. They pulled out this metal box with wired pads connected to it, put said pads on my legs and you could hear my muscles firing.

Guess what my amp can do?!? It's not the same, you only hear constant static [and not each tremor] but there's a difference pitch/tone [I should learn what these words mean] when you compare how my wrist sounds next to my ankle.        

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Prognosis

I called the shop Wednesday and Igor was on the table, they said they'd call Thursday. Guess who didn't get called? [Okay, maybe I'm being abit bitchy about this situation, but I have trust issues, and bad luck at music stores.] So I call Friday, and Igor needs a back ordered part. I'll be out $80[that's parts plus service] and they won't be able to get the part for a month.

I planned on spending $100 on myself for my birthday, so I can afford this and a pack of strings [I'll just put off getting my hair cut for a few more months]. I'm going to bring Igor home next week since I don't want him sitting around who-knows-where. I'll also be able to change his strings with my new toy while we wait for the part to come in.    

Friday, July 12, 2013

About Time

I had a stroke of genius/common sense the other day: Use my amp's tuner and my clip on tuner at the same time! For months I thought my two types of tuners were at odds, I'd use the clip-on, than the amp [And in the time it took to get my bass across my room] and end up with a full step difference in tune.

They must of known what I was doing, because they made total sense together, the clip on tuner even pointed out that the farther down the neck I played, the more off a note was. I realized I needed to tweak the truss rod, but was unable to find the right allen wrench. [Which is for the better since I couldn't recall which way to turn it.] 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Buying Away the Emotion

The dude at the guitar shop said they'd call with the estimate on Monday. Monday passed and I haven't heard anything. I dropped Igor off on Wednesday and they were up front about the tech being on vacation and the holiday being in the middle of the week, so waiting til Monday seemed reasonable. Now they're late. [Mom says to wait until a week later, but meanwhile I have visions of them selling Igor.]

In other news, my birthday is this month! With Mom's okay I ordered a bass string clipper and tuner turner in one [which she will be paying for]. I can't wait until Igor is back to try it out.     

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

New Strings!

[This post has been sitting in my drafts for months.] 

I got my flatwounds, and I'm in love. I liked them from the moment I peaked into the package the moment when I got them. The thread color is purple, and it only has thread at the top, which seems so old school [to my utterly uneducated mind]. They feel like silk, I want to keep running my hand over the strings [more the the feeling then the sound, like the rotos].

The roundwounds bite when you change strings, flatwounds don't and I could play them for hours for the feeling. The rotos sounded zingy with the G string sounding down right like a piano. In contrast the flats sound almost woody, dull in a warm way, mellow.

I'd probably go mad if all my basses only had flatwounds, but I like having one pass with them, it's calm, plus you can't beat the investment since flats last for years.        

Monday, July 8, 2013

I'm a Bad Madam

Ages ago I decided I really hated the look of The New Guy's string tree. So I took it off in a late night rage [fueled by vanity]. Some member of TB said the string is to keep the intonation right and help keep it in tune. The bit about intonation is true, now I can't get him in tune without half the strings being at a way different tensions; but I'm calling crap on the in tune bit. The tree string also chews up the thread binding on the strings ends which really annoys me.

I've said it and said it, so I'm saying not it again, but I need a new screw to get the string tree on.

[Maybe I should start calling my basses my troop of hobos]       

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Feeling the Sounds

Also while I was at the beach party there was a moment when I was alone. The sun was warm on my skin, the cool perspiration from my water bottle was a trilling contrast [especially to my neck]. I want relive that moment with my bass, I think it'd make a good song if I could get drums to mimic the waves and an electronic guitar to copy the cries of the gulls. It was beautiful.

Friday, July 5, 2013

He's Gone

I dropped off Igor today, I'm not lying when I say: I was very near having a panic attack before I handed him over. The panic began when I remembered that there was this circle piece that came out of Igor that hadn't made it's way in. I got that back in and I realized how much like a hobo Igor looks. My inability to use a screwdriver has resulted in a wanky strap knob and the truss rod cover being held on by only one [stripped headed] screw.

I thought far too much about what I was wearing, and finally got down to the shop. I was nervous as shit and it showed, but the dude I dealt with didn't make it worst. He commented on Igor being a lefty, but not in a condescending manner. First thing he noticed was the bowed neck, something I didn't even notice [there was a second weather whiplash while he's been broken] that I kicked myself for. I lied about the state of Igor's strings [to save some cash, and my dignity]. He asked about the the wiring issues and was surprised when I said it had nothing to do with the jack [as far as I can tell]. That felt like a victory until I realized it would just add to the bill.

I should get an estimate Monday, until than I am a very sad Madam without her henchman.   

Thursday, July 4, 2013

I should just dig a hole

I've been working on learning sheet music, and if a note [line/bar] is sharp, it will tell you at the beginning of the line, and that's the end of it.  The result is me triple checking if the note is on a sharp [line/bar]. I've been thinking of just highlighting the note in question but I don't want to develop a bad habit, so I ran the idea pass to see if it was a good idea.

The result makes me want to put my head in the sand. I am not musically talented, and I'm okay with that. Bass is less about sound and a thousand plus times about the feeling for me. The advice was about listening and learning by ear. I'm not stupid, I just learn a different way. I'll get it musically one day, it's just going to be a later day.   

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

I should look before I post.

It appears I posted this post too soon. Right after clicking the 'Publish' button I decided to check the thread that was giving me peanuts, and lo and behold real try-able ideas.

All I needed!
I decided to try a thin hairband between the top cap piece and the strap itself. I couldn't get top cap thingy off [I even went to the directions and no luck]. So I just wedged the hairband in and twisted it over afew times, it actually worked. There's still some rattle, but it's muted and barely audible [and therefore at a pitch I can stand].        

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

With Alittle Help From My Friend

Friends are awesome, I mean real friends who actually know who you are when you bombard their Facebook inbox with random messages. One of my friends is classically trained [like her summer job is teaching violin to kiddos] and after my humble Google search's best result was Wikipedia I decided to see if she had better resource.

[The answer was yes, and it is awesome!]

I really don't know what to say about this website [linked above] but it's a wealth of information that in no way seems condescending. Sheet music has alot of small nuances which make a world of a difference, this site really spells it out.  

Monday, July 1, 2013

Stolen Music

I didn't get Igor to the tech this week, instead I went out partying with some friends. Surprisingly my bass playing will be able forward because of it. The hostess grabbed some old papers to use as kindling for the bonfire, some of those papers were sheet music. My concern for the sheet music was overruled by the need of s'mores [thus fire].  

Miraculously [no seriously, the sticks were wet] a couple of the papers weren't burnt and I put the only one with the bass clef in my bag before turning the other un-burnt over to the recycle bin. The sheet is church music meant to be played on a piano, so I don't even know if it'll be possible to play on bass, but hey I can try!