On this day before Thanksgiving, year of our Lord 2014, here are ten things that make me thankful to be playing the bass full-time:
- For my five biggest bass influences: Jaco Pastorius, Pino Palladino, Jimmy Johnson, Tony Levin, and Marcus Miller.
- Re-tuning is largely no longer an issue. Assuming my basses are set up properly, have newer strings, and are in good repair I can tune up at the beginning of the gig and I’m good to go for most of the night.
- Speaking of strings, there is the issue of string breakage. I’m thankful I have never broken an electric bass string on a gig. I can’t say the same about guitar strings. That softens the blow of the costliness of electric bass strings.
- Thankful that the bass player gets to be part of a small specialty team (alongside the drummer) within the context of a larger team (the rest of the band). When that drummer is a great player and an even better person, there is nothing better. To paraphrase something Nathan East said: “When you play with great people, it’s like they are paying you to just have fun. It certainly isn’t work.”
- Although older bass amplifiers are back-breakingly heavy (mine certainly is) I’m thankful that my “rig” consists of a bass, an amp, and one or two stompboxes. That’s it. No massive pedal board to worry about or fuss over. That’s called liberation, everypeoples.
- As a bass player I get to be involved in the rhythm as well as the melodic aspect of a given song. That’s unique.
- The fact that a lone Fender bass (either a Jazz or a Precision) is adequate to handle 95% of the musical situations in which I might find myself.
- For all of the bass-related innovations that have occurred since Leo Fender brought his electric bass to market in 1951–for the fretless bass, extended range basses, acoustic bass guitars, the electric upright bass, the Chapman Stick, etc.
- Thankful for the beauty of boutique basses. Boutique electric or acoustic guitars can’t hold a candle to the beauty of basses designed by builders like Fodera, Pedulla, or F Bass.
- That the electric bass has been liberated from the misconception that it is the instrument given to mouth breathers who are in the band but are too dim to play anything else.