Warr time

As regular readers might have noticed I’ve been having a good time recently, making the most of being a bass player. I’ve stuck with one instrument (well, one model of instrument) religiously since my main band went on hiatus at the beginning of last year. Five string, fretless and proud.

But, sitting in the corner of my room is a slightly larger instrument. The eight string Warr Guitar, tuned (mostly) in fifths. This is a beast which I don’t play as much, probably because the tuning forces me to think more and it’s not as easy to take to a session as the regular bass. I grew up with four string basses tuned in fourths, the five string is in the same tuning, just one string deeper. The Warr Guitar, however, requires another mode of thinking and playing (it’s one of those instruments sometimes called a Touch Guitar).

But, whenever the Warr comes out of its case, even if it isn’t plugged in to an amplifier, I get the hots for it. It has a range that reaches from below the lowest note of the bass to almost the highest note of an electric guitar. It is perfectly balanced, it responds to notes being tapped, or plucked, or whatever you need to do to get a note. The tone, even played through the smallest of amps, is gorgeous.

So I fall in love with it and promise myself to play it more and get more gigs with it. But this is hard when almost all gigs require a simplistic bass player role and, more often than not, music based around blues scales. One thing the Warr, in this tuning, is not great at is the blues. It is, as Trey Gunn suggested, a tuning that makes you avoid the blues scales and licks.

Last night I sat up late into the evening with the Warr plugged in to an effects pedal and a looper and created music I wasn’t ashamed of. I made notes and started the process of building a short set. Now all I have to do is dare myself to get a gig of my own. Or find a percussionist and form a TU tribute band. ;-)


Johnny said…
Beast! Wishing somehow we lived in closer proximity to each other...for now I'm playing blues

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