This past weekend, I took a new step forward in my hobbies.
What was it? A new set of chisels? A new table saw? Instruction on a new technique?
I picked up a bass guitar.
Now, why would I take good money and spend it on something not woodworking related? Call it a dream. Call it a lark. Call it a mid-life crisis. Whatever…
Let me tell you right now that I have never picked up an instrument before in my life. Never. Nada. I dabbled with the thought of playing the trumpet back in grade school as part of the band, but never went for it.
I figured the bass over the guitar for a few reasons. First, there are fewer strings. That’s gotta be a good thing. The bass is considered a more ‘laid back’ instrument. I hear there are fewer bassists than guitarists, so if I ever want to play in a band, I might be a hotter commodity. And, after hearing the digitally-remastered Beatles albums released last year, the bass grooves laid down by Paul McCartney really got me jamming.
So, this past Friday night, I got the money, I got the nerve and I took my youngest son with me to pick this up – a Fender Affinity Series Squier Precision bass. The body is made out of some kind of wood painted a deep, metallic red with a white plastic pick guard. The neck is made out of some light wood with a darker wood fret board and a strip of darker wood down the back of the neck. This provides a guide for my thumb to rest on while I play the notes.
The whole thing came as a kit. Guitar, amplifier, tuner, cables.. the works. I unpacked the stuff from the box, assembled it per the instructions and proceeded to make nothing but noise.
Yes, that’s what most people who pick up any instrument do the first time they touch it. After an hour or so, my wife told me to kill the amp and give it a rest. Man, that was rough. I put the bass down in disgust. I was NEVER going to learn how to do this.
That’s when it hit me. Eleven years ago, I didn’t know the first thing about woodworking. Nada. Zip. Zilch. People told me I was nuts. Too expensive. I would never learn how to do it. I would save time, money and frustration by just buying the furniture and calling it quits.
I’m so glad I didn’t. Today, I can do it. Practice, determination and time in the shop have made me a least a little more comfortable when it comes to woodworking. That’s what I want to do with the bass… get better.
Now, for all you folks gathering at my garage door looking for the big woodworking tool sell-off or donation, you are outta luck. I’m not planning on giving up my woodworking. However, on those late nights when it’s just too hot to work in the shop, I’ll be putting some time in on the bass.
At least until my wife tells me to turn the volume down on the amp.
P.S. – Anyone know a good technique for learning the bass? 🙂