I’ve been playing bass guitar for 40 years. I’ve learned something about playing music and a little about the electric bass guitar.
I took piano lessons as a kid and learned to read music and was getting to be a decent player. Then I decided playing sports was more important than practicing a half hour a day. That’s a big time regret. Oh well.
I’d always liked soul music and rhythm and blues and was turned on to the blues at age eighteen. I loved blues and still do. Harmonica looked like it would be easy to learn so I bought one and made ugly sounds for a while. Then it started to come together and I got pretty good. I still blow it now and again at gigs and it’s always fun.
I really wanted to play in a band though and knew I had to learn something besides harmonica since I’m only a mediocre singer.
Bass guitar had always fascinated me, and I had seen some of the best bass players of that time. A girlfriend and I had gone to the Fillmore in San Francisco and seen Cream. Jack Bruce had really impressed me. He was a great player and sang really well while playing. I didn’t know how difficult that was at the time.
I’d forgotten how to read music so I decided to learn to play bass guitar. I mean there are only four strings so it can’t be that hard. Right? Wrong!
My first bass guitar was a Fender Coronado. I thought that was cool because I lived on a street called Coronado Way at the time.
That was the only thing cool about the Fender Coronado. It sucked. It was hollow body so feedback was always an issue. The tone was bad. Even as a beginner, I knew the sound was bad. Of course, playing it through an ancient Fender Bassman with a blown speaker probably didn’t help.
I had a couple of lessons from a local guy that was a pretty good player and then I was on my own. I mainly learned by listening to records over and over and trying to figure out what the bass player was doing. Sometimes I was successful.
My first band was a blues rock group and luckily, the other guys weren’t much better than I was. The next band was a straight blues band called Hard Luck and Trouble. Good name for a blues band.
I was definitely improving and saved my money for a better bass. I’d become friends with a guy that worked in a music store and bought his used Fender Precision for $200 in a hard shell case. That was one great guitar. It was a 1964 and had a beautiful sound. You could drop that guitar and it wouldn’t go out of tune.
In the next few years, I played in a Latin band, country band, rock band, you name it. I learned a lot and was having fun.
I met my wife through music. She was singing and playing guitar in a country band and I was really impressed when I first saw her play. She was a great singer and solid musician. We were married for thirty years and played in bands together for most of that time. When I played with her, it was mainly top 40 country and then bluegrass. I even tried to play a stand up bass, but that wasn’t for me. It tore my fingers up and I just didn’t get along too well with that thing. Especially when I had to carry it long distances.
I’m living in the foothills of Northern California now, and I’m playing again with a blues rock band. My ears are a bit sensitive so I have to be careful and I do wear custom earplugs.
The Fender Precision is gone. It had become a collectible and I decided to sell it. It was heavy and my back just couldn’t handle holding that thing for three or four hours any longer. My friends thought I was crazy to sell it. I’m very sentimental about people and the past, but not so much when it comes to things.
I actually bought a very light woman’s bass. I love it. It has a good sound and my back feels fine after a long gig. I’m almost afraid to tell you what it is. Here goes: a Squier Jaguar. I’ve played and owned Precisions, Jazz Basses, Gibsons, and other odd and wonderful bass guitars, but this Jaguar sounds pretty good for what it is.
My ex-wife and I are still very good friends and I sometimes sit in with her band. I’m remarried and life is good. Very good. This website is my attempt at helping veteran and beginning bass players make equipment decisions and share some of my thoughts.
I hope you enjoy the site. I love talking to musicians so don’t be afraid to contact me.