You can tune a guitar, but you can't tuna fish...

You can tune a guitar, but you can't tuna fish...
Unless it has strings and tuning pets and a sound whole where the air bladder was

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Are Bass Players Frustrated Guitarists?

No. We're frustrated Drummers!

Seriously, lots of guitar players assume that the bass is just a big guitar that's easier to play. After all, most basses have four stings instead of the guitars six, and are mostly played one note at a time instead of strummed while several fingers hold strings to form chords.

And guitars live up in the high-registers, which is where screaming leads are played. Everybody notices the guitar god, while the bass player stands in the shadows next to the drummer.

Drummers sometimes get to play a solo, which lets the rest of the band go backstage for a smoke or a snort or whatever they need to keep them going. After that, the typical drummer fades back into the background, while the guitars retake their rightful place in the sun.

Of course, there's always the exceptions -- Neil Pert with Rush, Victor Wooten with the Flecktones, and others, but mostly the pattern holds.

Are bass players frustrated guitarists who're just not good enough? Here's a good way to test. Pick a simple bass line, say "Black Magic Woman" by Santana. Ask a guitar player to take your bass and play a few measures. Instead of the syncopated, soulful rhythm that drives that song, he'll be playing it like it's part of a lead riff--a bunch of notes, which sound like they should be moving to a bunch more notes.

Guitar players do RIFFS. Bass players do LINES.

For an example, listen to the bass part in Eric Clapton's "Cocaine". I bet it's not what you thought it was.

I play bass because I love rhythm. Lots of amazing bass players can play incredible leads and melodies, but they're always keeping the rhythm. Bass and Drums are married--Ideally, one doesn't follow the other--they're so much in the groove that the rhythm follows them.

Without a strong rhythm section, without bass and drums working flawlessly together, the best guitar player in the world can't make the band not sound like shit. I guess he could do a solo--if he's Steve Morse or Eddie Van Halen, but sooner or later he's gonna need his engine to make music.

So that's why I'm a bass player (and sometime drummer). Also, the Bass is MUCH more manly, and with drums, you get to HIT THINGS!!

Monday, July 7, 2008

My favoriate Bass players

Growing up, my bass guitar idol was
John Entwistle of The Who.
He still is! This shows his awesome bass solo during "My Generation"

After John Entwistle, I discovered
Stanley Clark!

Next came Jaco Pastorious,
without a doubt the best jazz/fusion bassest ever.

Finaly, the greatest bass player alive today,
Victor Wooten!
(playing here with Dave Matthews)

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Riffs

David and I have a lot in common. We both play red Fenders. Mine is a Jaguar Bass, and The King of The Jews is rockin' out on a sweet cherry Strat.

We also both hang our instruments low, for reasons that may differ. I just think it looks cool, but the dude who snuffed Goliath with a slingshot may be hiding another unimpressive-looking weapon (come on, you've seen the statue before :)

But unimpressive or not, David made the best of what God gave him, and the junk he's hiding behind the guitar was good for that babe-a-licious Bathsheba. It even managed to plant the seed that produced King Solomon , the original Wise Guy.

One more difference between us: I was made TO rock, but this guy is made OF rock!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Band that took my Virginity

I've haven't blogged for so long, I must have lots to write about. But that's the catch-22: the longer you go, the more time it's gonna take, so the more you put it off. Ok, no more excuses.

Lately, I've been thinking about all the bands I've been a member of in my life. I've still got a TShirt with the name of my first band, RoXoff, which signifies Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll in one logo. What do you think?

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Here's the Dear I'm most happy I've still got with me. My lovely wife, Christine, who's birthday is today! Here she is showing some of her many talents:

She can use the backside of a deer as a pencil sharpener!

She lets the kids eat popcorn in the living room!

She can grill better than me!

She designed this costume!

Happy Birthday, Sweetie-Pie!
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Like most musicians, I've gone through a lot of gear in my life. Most of it was crap, but there were a few things I sure wish I'd held on to. Like that '65 Gibson SG Junior that I sold for $50, and now sells on eBay for close to $1000. Or my beautiful Sun speaker cabinet with two huge 18" speakers. That monster took up the entire back seat of my '68 Cougar, and it weighed a ton! But compared to bass cabinets today, with those puny 10-inchers grouped together like a fly's eyeball, that Sun was rockin'! I'll take two 18-inchers over four 10's any day! (not in a gay way, though of course there's nothing wrong with THAT :)

Anyway, the one piece of gear I've kept and lovingly guarded since I was 13 years old is my '79 Fender Precision, which is still in mint condition. With the rosewood fingerboard, sunburst body, and black pickguard, I think it's a work of art. Judge for yourself:

The Precision was not my first bass, though. See if you can guess what the young aspiring rocker is plucking in the pictures below.

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Monday, October 8, 2007

Working Musicians

I recently ran into a guy who had travelled from New York to Southern Maryland to just perform at a local county fair. He must not have been paid much, so I assume he did it because he loves what he does.

But here's the kicker -- The guy is a Neil Diamond Impersonator!! He drove hundreds of miles to entertain a few dozen blue-haired ladies in folding chairs, mixed in with guys like me who can't avoid a show like that.

I thoroughly enjoyed both of his shows I attended, as did my wife. In the video, I'm the guy singing "Then he became one!" a measure early.

More power to working musicians like Mr. (almost) Neil Diamond .

The Frog Who Dreamed About Being a King

I Am I Said