Terri’s Bass-Aholic

In January of this year I had the idea of creating a website that would catalog all of the different models of basses that I was familiar with.  My partner Anita figured there were only a hand full of companies making basses.  I thought I could come up with maybe a dozen or two at the most. As you will see if you follow this blog, we were both very mistaken!

My intent was to list only the basses that I was interested in.  But my interest has instead become finding more and more companies that make basses.

After just a few months I have a website that contains close to a hundred different manufacturers of basses.  There are also a dozen or two other companies listed that make other types of instruments such as guitars and keyboards.

The Internet has become a wonderful place to find information.  Many of the luthiers I have on Bass-Aholic are one-man operations producing unique one of kind instruments.

One of these is Steve Wishnevsky who makes Wishbass.  Wishnevsky makes instruments that are made from exotic woods.  He strives to use very little metal.  This means no truss rods and simple bridge assemblies.  Check him out at Wishbass on Bass-Aholic

Another is Carver Doug Rowell.  Rowell is more of a sculptor than a luthier and according to his tag line “I can carve anything…out of anything. ”  My favorite is his Yellow Submarine bass.  Check him out at Doug Rowell on Bass-Aholic

There are many more of these and I will try to detail them as I go along.

In the meantime check out the main website bass-aholic.com.

Terri

Gear Acquisition Syndrome – Do you have GAS?

addiction to buying music gearIf you’ve been reading this blog you may have GAS.  No doubt about it, I have it too.

G.A.S. is a funny acronym that stands for Gear Acquisition Syndrome.   (Follow the this link to a wiki explanation.)

People that have GAS have an unending need to buy more stuff.  Originally the “G” stood for Guitar, but now its use is more general.  Thankfully so.  Otherwise bassist would need to say they have B.A.S. for Bass Acquisition Syndrome.

For myself there always seems to be just one more instrument that I need.  For bassist it seems that this compounded by the large variety of kinds of basses available.  4-string bass? Well of course! 5-string bass? I just need that extra low note! 6-string bass? I need to play a bit of melody sometimes! Fretless?  I just love sliding into those notes and that buzy sound the string makes against the fretboard! 8-string? Those octaves help me stand out in the mix! Upright?  Don’t you just love that vintage vibe!

And it doesn’t end there.  There vintage and boutique, artistically beautiful, technically advantage or just that special tone that you just have to get.

Well the list could go on forever and well beyond pretty much any one person’s budget.  GAS is an obsession, isn’t it.

And all to the chagrin of your spouse.  Once, I bought a bass for myself then realized it was Valentine’s day.  Somehow I’m still married!

I wonder if there is a twelve-step program for us?  If anyone starts one in Vancouver, please let me know!

Terri

PS I think it’s safe to say that John Entwistle had GAS.  In fact John could be the poster bassist for our affliction.  (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!)  In fact I’d bet that a lot of us wish we could afford to have GAS.  Or at least be able to satisfy the urge for GAS.

 

Bass Bass Bass (Bais, Bayce, Bass)

Okay this may be a bit silly or anal or whatever, but here it is…

Nomenclature:  Bass is bass.  When I say bass I’m usually referring to an “electric bass” which is what a lot of people refer to as a bass guitar.  (In my books “bass guitar” is a misnomer.)  I often refer to guitars and sticks and sometimes other stringed instruments as basses, just because, well I guess it’s an age related thing.

I was once in a music store with my son, when he was about two.  The sales clerk was impressed because my son was pointing at the basses and saying “bass”.  The clerk thought he was a bright little kid and knew the difference, when really he didn’t know what a guitar was.

I used to always argue that electric bass is not a bass guitar since an electric guitar is derived from an acoustic guitar and an electric bass is derived from a double bass.  An electric guitar is strung and tuned like and acoustic guitar and an electric bass is strung and tuned like a double bass.  But then there are those acoustic basses that look just like an acoustic guitar.  Maybe calling that type of bass a bass guitar makes more sense.  Maybe as soon as you put frets on it becomes a guitar?  But then again there are fretless basses and people still call them guitars.  Or maybe when you turn it sideways and put a strap on it, it becomes a guitar.

 

Bass Guitar or Bass Fish

Bass Guitar or Bass Fish???

The other annoying thing is, that in English, bass refers to low frequency sound, but it’s also a fish.  Why do we spell bass (rhymes with face) like bass (rhymes with ass).  I think a unique spelling would be more to the point.  Don’t you?  How about “bayce” or “bais” or “baise”.  Actually let’s skip “baise”.  I Googled that…and… Yikes!

I actually like bais.  What do you think?  If we could get enough people to spell electric bass as “electric bais”, we could forever change the spelling of bais.  Maybe then I’d be okay with calling it a bais-guitar!

Anyway, bass is bass.  (bais is bais)

Terri

How do you think bass should be spelled?  

Bass Guitar Number 2 – ’92 Warwick Corvette Proline

This bass is a 1992 Warwick Corvette Proline 5-string.  I bought this a few years ago from Long & McQuade.  I know little about its past, but there are a few unusual things about it.  First of all the body is ash which is not too common and Proline series seems to have been discontinued.

Shortly after I got this I was trying to understand what all the control knobs were for.  I found a PDF on the Warwick website that details the electronics for “every” Warwick bass.  My bass has five knobs.  There were no five knob electronics configurations in the manual.  After posting on the Warwick forum and talking to a few people there, I think that the bass is either custom shop or has been modified.  Looking at the electronics they have no appearance of being modified, so draw your own conclusions.  The other odd thing is that the bass’s output is not nearly as loud as an active instrument normally is.  (Yes I changed the battery)

Anyway, all that aside.  This has been my fave for the last while.  If basses had odometers this would be very high mileage. I love having the 5th string and I love the sound of the instruments and flexibility of the sounds it can get.  Having said that my bandmates are always telling me to play my Fender.  Oh well!

Check out Warwick on Bass-Aholic.

Terri

Bass #1 – 1975 Fender Precision Bass Guitar

My “Number One” blog bass post just happens to be the second one I’ve ever owned.  My 1975 Fender Precision Bass Guitar

Before I officially started playing bass I would often play basses that belonged to friends.  When I officially decided to be a bassist my first job was to buy a bass.  At the local music store I found an inexpensive bass that was a copy of a Gibson EB-0.  It was not a very good bass, but I played it constantly.

A few years later I had gotten to the point where I really needed a good bass.  I had a little bit of money and I had a 12-string acoustic that my parents had bought for me.  So I sold the 12-string to a friend and used the proceeds as a down payment.

I was always a Rickenbacker fan.  I was also a big fan of Chris Squire from Yes and I loved the sound of his bass.  To me the Rickenbacker was the sweetest bass you could buy.  So I went to downtown Vancouver to the original Long & McQuade store on Granville Street in search of a bass.   A friend had told me that there was a used Rickenbacker there for $350.00 a few weeks earlier.  I really wanted that bass.

But when I got there I found a used Fender Precision for the same price.  In those days new Fenders and new Rickenbackers all went for about $750.00.  This was a fortune for me.

The Fender was sunburst with a maple neck and tortoise shell pick guard and the price included the Fender hard shell case.   Even though the bass was used it looked brand new.  The story I got from the clerk was that it had been purchased in Calgary, then returned less than a month later to the Vancouver store.   I really wasn’t that excited about the purchase, but it was the sensible thing to do.  This was a professional bass and one that I could take anywhere.

I used my cash as a down payment and put the rest on account to pay over the next twelve months.  Somehow, even without a job, I paid it off over the next year.

The store clerk had told me that since the serial number started with a “6” that the bass had been manufactured in 1976.  That seemed reasonable.  It was April of 1976.  Years later I found a Fender serial number chart and found that it is really a 1975 model.

Thirty five years later I still have this bass and recently it’s been restrung and is seeing a lot more use.

I don’t think I could ever part with it now.

All this said about my Precision, what about the Precision in general?

 

1975 Fender Precision Bass Review

1975 Fender Precision Bass

The Fender Precision was first built in 1951 by Leo Fender.  It was one of the first electric basses made and was quite revolutionary in its day.  Prior to its introduction bass players carried around large acoustic “double” basses.  (Also known as a bass violin.)  Double basses were large and bulky, they weren’t very loud and, since they didn’t have frets, were more difficult to play in tune.  The name “precision” came from the fact the bass had frets, thus allowing bassists to more easily play in tune.  The shorter scale of the bass (34 inches instead of  42 inches) means the spacing between notes is smaller making it easier to play.  The precision also had an electric pick-up allowing it to be amplified.  Fender also makes amplifiers.  This allowed bass players to compete with drummers and the newly emerging electric guitars.

The Fender Precision underwent a complete redesign in 1957.  The original Precision was modeled after the Fender Telecaster.  The newer Precision was modeled after the Fender Stratocaster.  In 1968 Fender started selling the original Precision style, calling it the Telecaster Bass.

The Precision is easily the most popular bass ever produced and is still very popular today.

Click for more information about FenderOr, click here for more info on my bass.

Terri

Pricing: VGPG $2300.00 USD

next bass

Granny Rock

I thought I’d give a brief history of my playing. I realized in doing this that I’d be giving away my age. (oh well)  Of course I look very young for my age!

I started playing guitar when I was twelve and practiced everyday until I had blisters and the skin at the end of my fingers was raw.  I started by working through a book of chords learning old country and western songs like Down In The Valley.  At that age I hated that music.  I was already listening to lots of what was current in the late 1960’s.  The Beatles were by far my favorite.  But this book was good for helping me learn all those basic chords and was a good start to playing.  Besides what was in the book I had to learn songs like Day Tripper and The House of the Rising Sun.  Smoke on the Water would come along much later.

My best friend in those days had an older brother that was into music and would buy all the latest albums.  We would sit in his living room for hours listening to The Moody Blues, The Steve Miller Band, Simon and Garfunkel, Ten Years After, John Mayall, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd and just about anything from that era.  Mostly, I wanted to listen to the Beatles albums like Revolver and the White Album.  I can vividly remember the first time I heard Abbey Road with that intro to Come Together.  That sound was like nothing anybody had ever heard.

In the days before the Internet or CD players or MTV the only way to hear your favorite music was the radio (FM radio wasn’t popular yet) or to buy the records.  If you were lucky you might catch an artist on the Ed Sullivan show for three minutes in between Topo Gigio and a group of Russian acrobats.

Another good friend had Beatles 65 and A Hard Days Night and a bunch of Johnny Cash records.  He loved Johnny Cash and I eventually traded him something for those old Beatles albums.  I still have them.

My main source of music was a small transistor radio that my dad found in the alley behind our house.  The plastic case was badly broken, but was held together inside a fitted leather case.  We were quite poor and my biggest challenge was keeping the radio fed with 9V batteries.  I remember one time the battery died in the middle of Hey Jude and in frustration, as the music was fading away,  I threw the radio across the room.  It didn’t bring the music back but did take a few more pieces off the plastic case.

After I had being playing for a while I started to meet other kids that also had the rock music bug and also wanted to play guitar and be rock stars.  For me I figured that I would be a rock star and would be like the Beatles and be famous by my early twenties.  My time line was by age 21.  That’s how old Paul McCartney was when he played on Ed Sullivan.

I played for a while with a boy about my age.  He was quite good at finger picking in that folk style and I learned a lot from him.  He was also the bad boy type who was quite into drugs and petty theft. When I first knew him he had only an old acoustic guitar.  But one day he showed up with a rather nice red Gibson SG copy.  While I played it, he explained how he got the money to pay for it. He had basically rolled a drunk and took his cash.

My friendship with him lasted for a while longer.  He introduced me to ….ahem, recreational drugs, and we had a great time getting stoned and playing and listening to music.  But eventually I saw that his attitude and lack of regard for others could only end up in me getting into trouble as well.  Fortunately we didn’t stay friends for too long.

As time went on I met other musicians and progressed through a number of bands…

Sex and Violence and Rock ‘n’ Roll

Or, maybe just a girl with a bass?

My name is Terri and I’ve been playing for just about as long as can remember.  People tell me I play pretty well.  (I always want to say, “…you mean for a girl!?”)  I also play guitar and a bit of piano, mandolin and few other things.  But mostly I play bass.

My purpose for this blog is to try to document interesting stuff about music, musicians and mostly basses and other instruments.  Also, I’d like to talk about life as an amateur musician.  It can be the most rewarding, yet mostly unpaid, work you can ever have.

For me my love for music goes back to early childhood and my my interest in musical instruments goes back to adolescence when I first started to play.  Basses for me are like shoes are for a lot of girls.  You see one and you just gotta have it.  Too bad you couldn’t buy basses for the price of good pair of shoes. (sigh!)

Over the past while, I’ve been documenting a lot of information about basses.  You can see this at http://www.bass-aholic.com/ I’d love to hear any comments that anybody has.

Anyway… more later,

Terri