Monday, April 26, 2010

Ace of Bass

In Which I Fearlessly "Play" an Instrument I've Never Even Held Before

There were three of them. They played instruments. And they would jam on Fridays.

Last Friday, one of them wasn't there. So they asked me if I wanted to sit in.

"But I don't play an instrument."

That's fine, they said. Then you can play bass.

So I picked up the electric bass. How hard could this be?

And I plugged it in. The guitar player showed me some notes, which I forgot immediately.

I joked about Stu Sutcliffe, the Beatles' first bassist who couldn't play (so John Lennon turned off his amp), then made sure my amp was on.

I had a good sense of when I needed to play and how long each note should last. But I had no idea what notes to play or where those notes would be even if I knew what they were.

So I tried not to overplay. I followed the drummer. I discovered that strings on the electric bass will vibrate forever when you pluck them.

And. If I turned up my amp, the stage vibrated beneath my feet. A tambourine lying on the stage started to move and shake.

I suddenly knew why rock musicians feel like gods when they're onstage.

I'm sure it sounded horrible to anyone listening (although one of the musicians charitably told me later that I "wasn't as horrible as half the people who claim to know how to play the bass").

But when I was playing, it felt like this:

2 comments:

thingy said...

That is cool. : )

Everyone should get the change to be a rock god.

Holly A Hughes said...

Bass players are truly the kings of rock. Just don't tell the lead guitarists that.