Monday, March 20, 2006

a bass embiggened

I finally took a pic of the upright to post here for anyone who happens to be interested in that sort of thing. I placed my favorite electric bass in front of it for scale. The picture to the left is a map of the Appalachian Trail. It is long and irregularly shaped, and you should not let it interfere in any way with your perception of the instrument. In retrospect, I probably should have removed it before taking the picture. It is a regret that I must live with, and I had very nearly put it behind me before you bastards had to go and bring it up.


By the way, the bass, as you may have noticed, is roughly a third longer than the Appalachian Trail.

There are many names for the upright bass. One might refer to it as an upright, a double bass, a stand-up bass, a bass fiddle, bass violin, string bass, contrabass, bull fiddle, bunkhouse bass, doghouse bass, large mouth bass, acoustic bass, Lord Thunderpants, or the widowmaker.

Playing it is quite a bit different from playing an electric bass. An electric bass is little more than a couple of manageable planks of wood screwed together and ergonomically cut and fashioned, while an upright bass is essentially a piece of furniture. To imagine playing a bass guitar one needs only to pick up a piece of crown molding and affix it to a thick cutting board. To imagine playing an upright one needs to dance around with a comparably sized chest of drawers balanced upon a remarkable strong fountain pen (this will represent the bass’ endpin) and with a large two by four strapped to the front.

Playing an upright bass makes an electric bass feel like a mandolin, and it is easy to see why bassists outside of jazz and bluegrass made the switch in the nineteen fifties. Still, an upright has a sound that even fretless electrics cannot match. It may be a bit impractical and cumbersome, but there really is no comparison as to which is more fun to tool around with for my own amusement.

More importantly, it will allow for us to finally get that Smothers Brothers cover band off the ground.

Indeed. Let us hope that this venture goes more smoothly than that time we tried to make it as Willie Tyler and Lester impersonators.

Who knew that blackface was still so offensive?

The folks at the Apollo Theater’s amateur night certainly did. Also, having “Lester” launch into that Dolemite routine probably didn’t help matters.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Let us hope that we fair better in whiteface.
I’ll practice my yo-yo.


Anonymous tha b said...

i smell acoustic versions of floz tunes to be recorded at my cheatau... at least I think that's what I smell... either way... you need to bring that thing over sometime soon for a mic check...

3:21 PM  
Blogger Rex L. Camino said...

I either need to learn to play the thing first or there needs to be some Fl Oz songs written using only three chords, none of which containing the minor flat ninth diminished and augmented jazzy regalia.

However, a cover of Foreigner's "Hot Blooded" may be in order, as I can ride notes like comfortably heterosexual cowboy.

Check it and see.

7:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Rex. Really it is "bass viol", not "bass violin". Because it is of the viol family, not the violin family. I knew you were in trouble. I had hoped I was wrong, but I see now I was right. Joe P.

9:11 PM  
Blogger Nashville Knucklehead said...

I learned to play bass (a Precision)in my mid-twenties, switching over from drums. A friend lent me an upright for about a year. Everytime I would try to play it, I would end up whimpering in a corner from the pain after about 5 minutes. I bet I could play the intro to Runnin' with the Devil though.

Got a fever of a hundred and three.

10:18 AM  
Blogger Nelumbo said...

Right on nashville, That's another difference between electric and long you can play before you get painful blisters...

10:12 PM  
Blogger SistaSmiff said...

Mr. Smiff has two HUGE callouses on his index finger. Both hard as rocks. I've always found it a bit sacksy. I don't find riding in the car with his bass sacksy. Sometimes I wish he played the Jew's Harp.

9:34 PM  

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