Friday, March 25, 2016

This And That

It's me - you remember me?  Sorry I've been away so long.  It's because of a combination of laziness and the effects of the dark days of winter.  I had this massive, heavily linked tribute to Lemmy Kilmister that was completely lost when I was doing the final editing on that entry.  I was so pissed off/saddened by that loss that it was hard to buck the "fuck it" attitude towards this blog.  Needless to say, I tend to be in sort of a fragile emotional state when the days are short and cold.

But life does go on.  It's not like there hasn't been anything going on.  There's always plenty to write about.  Today, I think I'll just use this entry to clear some random things out of my mind.

Free To Be You And Me
I had mentioned briefly that I'd be playing bass in the pit band for the Stages musical production of "Free To Be You And Me".  That time has come and gone, and I can say I had an absolute blast!  It felt good to be practicing hard and staying busy with that show, especially during "tech week" (that's the wee of full dress rehearsals).  The band sounded great, and I pleased with my playing.  I used my Jazz Bass for two shows and my Sting Ray for two shows.  Both sounded so good that I wanted to keep playing - it was so pleasurable that it was like a revelation.  I am so often playing my basses unplugged or through a preamp/headphones combo that I seldom get to hear the basses for how they were designed to be played:  through an amp to a crowd.  What a joy it was - really.

And the kids sounded great too.  Now that it's passed, I can say that I was sweating it for the kids during tech week.  They struggled with all facets of the show - memorizing lines, blocking, and the particulars of singing, like volume and enunciation.  But once the show started, both casts (there were two different casts; each cast got to do two shows) did a phenomenal job.  All and all the experience was a musical highlight for me.  And I got paid!  Shocker!!1!!1!

New In The Stable
. . . and so I made a little money off the "Free To Be. . . " show.  In my mind, it was spent before I even saw a check.  I had all kinds of crazy ideas for the big(gish) pay day, everything from bass lessons to sewing lessons to a down payment on a new bass amp.  I had a hard time narrowing it down.  Ultimately, I began exploring the idea of a travel bass.  You might recall that I've owned not one but two Ashbory basses in my past.  Though I definitely thought they were nifty, ultimately, I got rid of both of them over time.  There were a lot of things I liked about them; but at times, they felt like more of a chore to tune and play.

But I have never really let go of the idea of a bass with a small form factor (to steal terminology from the computer world) that I could easily take on my bike/in the car on vacation that would sound and play decent.  Enter the Gold Tone solid body Microbass.  I had done some Googling around about the bass and liked what I saw.  Most importantly, should the bassist dislike the silicone strings that came on the bass, LaBella Strings had developed a custom string with a metal core that would play a bit more like a traditional bass.  Alas - it was cost prohibitive to get a Microbass.  I couldn't find one anywhere for less than $400; most were over $600.  I put it out of my mind thinking I was never going to be able to afford one.

Then I remembered how I got my upright bass:  I emailed the factory, asking around for factory seconds (that is, bases that are fine save for finish blemishes.  Often, you have to try hard to find these blemishes and the warranties are usually still in effect).  I emailed Gold Tone and hoped for the best.

It turns out they did have a microbass with a flawed finish, and I could have it (and the padded gig bag!) for just over $300!  I bought it and eagerly awaited its arrival.  I could do a whole blog entry on this bass; but basically, I'd say there are a lot of things I love about this bass (looks, balance, ergonomics, improved tuning and strings) and a lot of things I don't like about this bass.  The good news is all the things I don't like about it can likely be addressed.  For instance, I believe that the buzzing around the upper registers (due to the strings vibrating on the fingerboard) can be addressed with the higher action that the LaBella strings will probably bring due to the (likely) higher tension.  I'm also hoping that the LaBella strings will have better tone.  I knew that this would not be a perfect bass; but so far, it is perfect for what I want it for - throwing it in the car/bike pannier and hitting the road.

Just Because It's Damned Entertaining
Like any metal drummer worth his salt, Joey Muha is great using a double kick drum (or in his case, a kick drum pedal with two mallets) and uses it waaaaayyyy too much with hilarious results.  What makes Joey even more entertaining is how he can spruce up the tamest of songs with his drumming. Check out what he does for the "My Little Pony" theme:

There's a bunch more here if you need more of that.

That's it for now; have a kick ass weekend everyone and happy Easter!

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