On bass...

On bass...
Originally uploaded by Roostar
I’ve worked my way through a good few basses in my time. Some I’ve stuck with for years, others not so long. My absolute favourite for many years has been an Ibanez, five-string fretless (except for playing soul music, when an old Fender P-bass has the edge). I’ve been playing this a lot lately and love playing it so much I’ve bought another one, just in case. They aren’t identical. The main one is made from better wood and has better hardware and electronics, but the dimensions of the body, neck and string spacings are the same. What’s fascinating (at least to me) is the difference I feel when playing them. I was in a rehearsal room last week, playing the new model and felt very happy with it. The sounds, tone, balance, everything. Then I swapped to the older bass and felt instantly happier and more relaxed. The temptation is to just play the old bass and keep the new one for emergencies but, of course, it makes more sense to play the new one and ‘break it in’ for a while.

I know, logically, that instruments do not have a life of their own, but it is hard to shake the idea that years of playing don’t imbue them with something other than wear and tear. Is it just familiarity or is there something deeper going on?


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