Yes, I know that this is supposed to be a synthesizer blog, but please just forget that for a moment while I introduce the newest member of my little musical family:
Yep, I got a bass guitar. It is, in fact, the first guitar I’ve ever bought. And about the second or third guitar that I’ve ever held. In fact, I’ve tended to be pretty anti-guitar through my years.
It wasn’t always like that. I actually wanted to learn the guitar when I was a teenager (when else?) but I was afraid that it would be too hard. The bass guitar seemed much less intimidating. I remember talking to some guitar player when I was about 14 and explaining that I wanted to learn the bass. He poo-pooed the idea and said that I really should just learn the regular guitar. If I did that, he said, I could easily apply all those skills to the bass guitar. But the reverse wasn’t true if I started to the bass and then wanted to move to the regular guitar. And so, I shelved the idea and figured that I would start with the regular guitar. Of course, I never did.
I haven’t learned a new instrument since I was in middle school. I’ve recently been thinking that perhaps it would be a nice change of pace to have to learn something new. I thought about that old teenage desire to play the bass (the regular guitar still intimidates me). But I’ve also found myself admiring a certain type of bass sound. I remember hearing it all over Brian Eno’s “Another Green World” album.
After a bit of research, it turns out this is the guy behind the bass sound on that album:
Percy Jones, with his fretless bass. What a great sound!
And so, against the better advice of just about every bass guitar forum I have searched, I decided to dive right in with the fretless bass. For the record, I’m being a wimp and taping some masking tape to the neck so that I can draw the fret lines in.
Anyway, here it is. It’s an old Ibanez from 1979. I’ve had a little trouble figuring out the model, but I’m pretty sure it’s an ST-924.
Upon its arrival I wasted no time in opening it up. All the pots on it were scratchy so I decided to remedy that first thing with a little cleaner. However, I was a bit rushed and clumsy and I managed to unknowingly sever two very brittle wires inside. When I plugged the bass back in, I got absolutely nothing out of the pickups. I spent a little while in a state of panic/deep regret while I read shoddily-drawn schematics online and tried to deduce where the wires originally went.
Luckily, I stumbled over the answer and got it all soldered back up. Thoroughly chastened, I screwed everything back together and vowed to never take it apart again.