Thursday, July 10, 2014

The new bass


I took the leap and got my first Fender Precision Bass a few weeks ago. (This, from the guy who's not really doing music anymore, right? Yeah. You can see how THAT is going.) A whole world opened to me by doing this. After a couple years of bumping along on a pretty-but-ultimately-not-completely-convincing Squier Modified Jaguar bass, I saw a blue P-bass hanging in my local Guitar Center at an unbeatable price. They gave me next to nothing for the Jag, but it really was of minor consequence; I knew I needed to upgrade, so I did.

First, I found that I could actually 'walk' on the P-bass with almost no effort. Having tried to do that with the Jag, I had never been able to feel comfortable without using a heavy pick or my thumb (ala Brian Wilson). The spacing between the strings on the P was so much more natural, and I was capable of effortlessly using my fingertips and coming out with a consistent and rhythmic sound. Can popping be far behind? Well, maybe not--the flatwounds are likely going on soon.

Also, the tone was a LOT more controllable. The Jag had some sort of active control that I never quite mastered, so much time was spent monkeying around to try to keep it from overdriving my amp. To hell with that. The P-bass is very simple. Pickup. Volume knob. Tone knob. Ideal for my small brain to wrap around.

OK, it is a little heavier, and I will have to do something about getting a case for it (I'm using a gig bag for the moment) since I plan on keeping this one.

But I feel as though I have finally obtained the correct tool for the job with a Precision Bass. It's not like I would ordinarily sit around and play bass unamplified while I'm hanging out, as electric bass doesn't seem like that kind of instrument in my mind. But I have done that with the P-bass, and it's delightful.

As many of you all have known about me, despite all the instruments I play, I have always been a frustrated bass player. Now I've been running bass in Baron Von Rumblebuss for a couple years, and I'm at last using the exact bass I have apparently always needed. Hooray!

3 comments:

Mike R. said...

I know you play a pretty good mandolin too (to great ambient effect on "WWOZ" by Better Than Ezra, for just one example). Are you a big country/bluegrass fan? Do you ever dabble with dobros or banjos or pedal steel?

Richard Kuhns said...

Dunno if I'm posting this correctly but...I have the passive version of the Squier Jag and absolutely love it. 'Course, I'm more of a Jazz Bass sound and feel kinda guy than you, apparently, so whatever works is what is right. My other bass is a mid 80s Fernandes but good luck finding one of those nowdays. I definitely agree about active electronics...way too much fiddling around and I blew channels out on the board with a cheap Westone active I had back in the day.

Richard Kuhns said...

Just wanted to mention I have the passive version of that Jag bass and love it. But it appears that I have more of a Jazz Bass kinda sound and feel in mind so whatever works for you, is the right tool!