Reuse, refurbish, recycle!
As I type this blog post, I’m channelling every force field and charm to protect my anonymity. If this was a spoken media, I’d be speaking through a pitch changer to disguise my voice/identity, as what I’m going to tell you now is blasphemous, shocking, and out-right shameful…….
Here goes, here is my big admission……. I’ve been playing a regular Electric guitar like a bass guitar!
I know! I’m so embarrassed to admit this fact. I truly think I need to join a police witness protection program, so they can protect me from vengeful Bass players out to get me, for defiling their art form.
But hear me out, please let me explain how all of this came about!
As I had mentioned in a previous ‘Product recommendation’ post, I’d been teaching myself how to play the Bass guitar, as it’s the easiest of all the stringed instruments to learn/master. And in a much older post, I’d disclosed the fact that I’m completely blind……. So let’s just say that the only guitar I’ve properly seen/touched in recent times, has been a Bass guitar. So you can say, all I’ve known has been Bass guitars.
Around 3 years ago, my wife brought home my sister’s old Electric guitar- my sister in her uni days was teaching herself to play and after she moved out of home, the Yamaha was left behind at my parent’s place gathering dust. As my wife is a hella good guitar player (acoustic), she intended to muck around on the electric for a bit of fun. However life got busy and without the luxury of free-time, the electric guitar didn’t get played much and ended up just gathering dust at our place out of sight out of mind.
Fast-forward to the present, I was reading up on Bass guitars, trying to learn if a brand made less heavy Bass guitars. As my biggest complaint to-date with the entire learning experience, has been the shear physical pain of it! It’s almost torturous! I was feeling it in my lower back, in the shoulder blades, in my temples, in my neck, in my finger pads and joints, and cramps in my right bicep (from making a super tight chicken-wing to pluck the strings, as sitting to play, the guitar’s body was just not aligning to my physical make-up). So in short, sitting or standing to play, I couldn’t endure it for long! *head in hands*.
So from my web-browsing I learnt of hollow body Bass guitars, and I also learnt of Short scale bass guitars (there were also Ukulele Bass guitars, but even I will not sink that low to play such an inferior sounding instrument!).
And after watching several Youtube clips where influencers were reviewing a Short scale bass guitar, I was 75% sold on the concept of a bass that sounded like a bass guitar, but was more the shape and size of a standard Electric guitar. But going short isn’t an easy decision to make, as they say ‘once you go short, you can’t go back’. So was I prepared to never be a ‘proper bass’ player because I don’t play the real thing?
So I thought to help me make this decision, I needed to get my hands on a regular Electric guitar, to get a better sense of how it might feel to play. So I pulled out my sister’s old Electric guitar from storage, and it blew my mind!
I just tried playing the songs that I’d learnt, and OMG! It was like discovering that there were automatic cars out there, after only ever driving manual cars. It was like hopping on a travellator for the first time at an airport, when you’re rushing to make a connection (why would you ever walk on non-moving ground ever again!). It was like the discovery of Function Lock on a laptop, so you no longer had to hold down multiple keys to hit Function keys when working in Excel. Suffice it to say, all of a sudden making music became so much easier, so I could focus on playing, instead of just feeling pain- as this was a recreation after all!
Picking up an Electric guitar to play, it made me feel like I had the biggest strongest hands! Like the frets are actually there in finger’s reach! The strings are actually pliable, so I’m actually able to use other than my index and middle fingers to hold down strings. The weight, the weight! Now the guitar is virtually feather light (in comparison) so I can play standing and simply lose track of time! And the TONE! I’ve turned our amp up to max bass, max bass on the guitar itself, and selected the pickup for max bass. Although it doesn’t sound as deep and full as a Bass guitar’s sound, but it’s surprisingly bassy enough when notes fall on the E-string. And I actually prefer the bright crisper tone of our ‘Treble bass’! All it needs is a couple more strings lower than the E-string, and she’ll be right! Oh hey! I’ve just described the virtues of a Short scale bass. Der.
So yeah, I’m now 100% sold on the Short scale bass, if it’s 85% as easy to play as an Electric guitar! But my wife warns me that the Short scale’s strings will still be just as thick and unforgiving as a proper bass, so there will be a re-adaption period when the time comes. But for now, I’m loving my journey with learning a musical instrument.
Sure, I’m embarrassed to admit to anyone that I’m learning the bass on an Electric guitar. A work colleague told me that he wanted to hear me play, the next time we do a lunch-time catch-up over MS Teams. Now I’m thinking how can I weasel my way out of this one? As he doesn’t know that I’m playing bass on a Treble bass guitar! Oops! But from my perspective, if ‘cheating’ enables me to spend more time learning, practicing, improving, and increasing my love of playing? Is that so bad? Right?
And I hear you ask, ‘what is your end aim with all of this?’ As what is the use of a bass player, when outside of a band? Well, my end aim is to play in our church’s worship team! But before that’s going to happen, I definitely need to increase my competency in the modern-day 4 stringed lyre; get more hours of experience under my belt as you’ve heard of Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘10,000 hour rule’; and I need to pull the trigger on a Short scale bass before I can appear in public as a bass player. Oh yeah, not to mention I also need to gather up the nerves to audition, I heard that the audition criteria and the Worship leader are both hard to satisfy. So yeah…….
So I’d imagine this will go down in 2022, as I have this self-imposed resolution for the second half of 2021 which is to not to purchase another big ticket item until the New Year. As like many, I’m in the habit of immediate self-gratification of my on-line shopping needs. So a Short scale bass will be a 2022 purchase. So for now it’s all about reuse, refurbish, recycle!
You never know, perhaps this post might spark your own reuse, refurbish, recycle scenario? In this day of Covid lockdown and being confined indoors, what do you have lying around your home which you can reuse, refurbish, recycle! That may bring you hours and hours of enjoyment?