Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Joining the band.

Last night I met up with the new guys to play bass. It goes without saying that I met up with the craigslist band in a public place a week earlier to make sure they were alright. And they were. Bunch of guys in their late 30's early 40's that have been playing together for a long time and seem to have a rotating string of bassists. Which is great for me, because their expectations are low.

For example, they were very happy that they could simply hear the bass. I guess the last guy played softer and softer as the amp was turned up. I don't know how this is possible though, once you turn up the amp to a reasonable sound, you get a full note just by tapping the string.

Which is beautiful. I had never heard my bass play with an amp that was made for it. Bass strings are very difficult to hear without an amp. Then if you strike them hard enough to hear without one, you're going to get a clacking noise as the string bangs against the fret board. Which is different than the buzzing you get for not holding the string down hard enough in the first place. Anyway, it sounds ugly.

The practice space is a storage shed unit with an electrical hook up. Apparently the guy who owns these storage units doesn't care who rents them, and no one else is around to complain about the noise, so it's turned into a little bazaar of garage bands. Driving down there for the first time, there were at least 2 other bands playing in our row. There's something cool about the glow coming from underneath the roll up metal doors.

I'll assume the unit was once a concrete block, but that's not the case anymore. The walls are covered in foam honey combing to block out the sound, there's peg boards for hanging cords, rugs on the ground, equipment and speakers stacked high, a couch in the corner, and even a recycling bin. Someone has put a lot of effort into making this their conclave escape from their children. It feels very much a home. It's exactly the kind of look you'd want to define a masculine, utilitarian space that doesn't try too hard. Which of course, was never the point and the very reason it works so well.

Musically, I do suck. Let's just put that out there. Even if the guy's standards are low, my self standards are not. I have a lot to practice on. 1st, I need to develop rhythm. A good bassist should be a human metronome. Luckily, there's plenty of websites out there with metronomes on them, and working on my consistency isn't going to cost me anything. 2nd, I need to work on holding my notes out as long as possible before going to the next note. I put a lot of gaps between my notes, and this is largely due to the fact my fingers have to work out stretching on the frets. So to get to the next note, my fingers will hop, the string is prematurely released, and the note is dropped. Which is fine if you want to play staccato notes, but only if you're into doing that intentionally. 3rd. Well, I need to work on my fret work, understanding where the notes are and eventually pulling in chords. 4th. You know, that's enough to work on. I'm a beginner. Everything else will come with time.

My index finger is a little numb right now. Kinda feels like a milder version of the bottoms of my feet the first few days of surgery rotation.

Tonight I need to get back to my lifts. Yesterday I had to put them off for a day due to time constraints. I got out of clinic around 6 and it was finally grocery buying time. And cooking. OH Yes, cooking. Heart stir fry with a ton of greens. It's been a rough couple of weeks with low funds. 3 lb weight loss kind of rough. So I needed to buy some beef, even if I can't really afford any other cuts.* Eating Iron again was good.


*I think I freaked out the hipster roomie a little with that heart. Bro roomie was down with it though. There's a fair amount of cleaning of chordae tendineae, pericardial fat pads (Which are hard as hell, who figured?), and sometimes a little valve work you have to do to get your meat. Still worth it. No bones = high yield.

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