Held my new bass guitar for the first time this weekend. That's mostly all I've gotten to do, carry it around. Since picking it up at the shop, I've been running from family-thing to family-thing ("put that down!" "put that back!" "don't take the guitar!") to plane to shuttlebus to sleep. Nearly fell asleep cradling my bass as a pillow in the back of the shuttle from the airport when the driver got pulled over for speeding (resulting in me reaching the house at 2am and still having to wake up before 5am for a meeting. I'm glad I don't need much sleep).

Meeting was deferred to a phone call later, so I'm getting my writing-twitchiness out while I can, and doing my morning thinking (hopefully I'll finish that early enough to grab a nap before the CommArch day starts full-tilt). So this one's an ode to my bass.

I now have an instrument to play whose entire range I can hear. And it travels! It's a ministar basstar 5-string fretless - basically a fretboard with a pickup hooked up to an output jack (don't know if there are other terms I should be using here) -  and to my untrained eyes and ears, it's gorgeous and sounds the same way. I was whisked away to do Family Stuff before I could take it out from its case at home, but that's fine, I have a pocket amp and a 1/8" to 1/4" converter and a song in my head to work through. Game plan:

  1. Tune it.
  2. Learn which notes map to what spots on the fingerboard.
  3. Learn (and record, to get a baseline for later to see how much I've improved) the bass part for Sir Duke.
    I've always loved the solo part that starts at 1:42, so it seemed like
    a good (if ambitious) first thing to hurl myself at to see how far I

I had about 20m at the airport gate to pull out the bass, chuck in the pocket amp and stuff in earbuds, tune it (badly, probably to the right relative but the wrong absolute pitches), learn which notes went to what spots on the strings, figure out where the various frets were supposed to be, and start learning major scales. I also realized that I have... a pocket amp, which makes it hard for me to record anything (because only my headphones can hear it) unless I get a 1/4" male-male cable and hook that into the mic input of my computer, which just seems like something I am Not Going To Get To this week.

All the same, I'm having fun - there's something nice about the way a bass sounds and feels in my hands, and for the first time, I find my mind running ahead of my fingers on an instrument; I keep humming licks I can't figure out how to play, whereas with the piano I'm technically capable of doing pretty decent runs of notes but need sheet music to give me ideas on what I can do. So this is a different way of learning - first time I've learned an instrument by ear first, and then worked to make my fingers match the thought.