Followers of this blog may have noticed that I didn’t post a “Tuneful Tuesdays” entry yesterday. For those who don’t follow this blog, “Tuneful Tuesdays” is when I pick out a song that has either helped me through a difficult time in my depression or one that accurately describes some of the feelings that come from having it. My musical tastes have always been very eclectic, and it’s fun to be able to be able to sit down and over-analyze the crap out of the music I enjoy listening to so much.
I didn’t have time to write anything yesterday, though, because I went out last night and did something I haven’t done in a very long time: I played my bass and jammed with a couple of other guys.
Well, actually, there wasn’t that much jamming. It was more like noodling and sitting around talking about songs we liked or wanted to learn together. We didn’t really accomplish very much, and I wound up staying up so late that I took a nap this afternoon, which I hardly ever do anymore because afternoon naps have a tendency to make it hard for me to fall asleep at night.
You know what, though? Who cares? I had fun.
Here’s a brief history of my relationship with the bass guitar. Around my senior year of high school, I decided I wanted to learn how to play the guitar. I was a huge fan of Eddie Van Halen at the time, so that was the kind of guitar player I wanted to be. I am not being pessimistic or short-changing myself at all when I say, however, it became almost immediately evident that I was not going to be that kind of guitar player. My hands are not that big, and my fingers don’t move that fast. I was getting the hang of chords and chord progressions, but I couldn’t solo worth anything.
So I decided to do what any struggling guitar player would do: I decided to pick up the bass.
I know that last statement might seem counterintuitive to what I said in the paragraph before. I mean, playing bass is sort of like soloing all the time, and your hands have to be fairly strong to be good at. For some reason, though, me and the bass guitar just clicked. I had a feel for it I couldn’t explain, and I progressed fairly rapidly on it. Probably more than anything, though, people actually told me I was good at it, so even though the guitar still remains my instrument of choice for writing and leading songs with, the bass is the instrument that truly feels like home to me.
The only problem with being a bass player, though, is that unless you are a truly unique talent like a Michael Manring or a Victor Wooten, playing it by yourself is really not that much fun. It’s good for practice, but there’s no live drummer to lock in with rhythmically and no guitar player to provide support for. Maybe that’s why I like the bass so much: You can attract attention, but you don’t have to be the center of what’s going on. I’ve always felt more comfortable in a support role anyway.
So I sat in a chair in a friend’s garage last night and noodled away for probably a couple of hours, surprising myself at how well I was able to play for a guy who had only picked up the instrument sporadically the past few years. I felt all that love for making music and being the backbone of what was going on return, even though I don’t think we ever finished a song the entire night. It was a feeling I hadn’t experienced in a long time, and I liked it.
We have plans to start getting together regularly, but you know how life goes. It may be another couple of years before I find myself in that situation again. For one night, though, I wasn’t sitting at a computer writing about music; I was doing it.