On Learning to play the Bass….
When I was a teenager, I listened to the Red Hot Chili Peppers ALOT. What I liked most about that band was the Bassist. He’s probably the most famous bassist although not really the best. His stage name was Flea. That band really got me started really wanting to play the bass. Then I heard a local band when I was young called Sacred. They had some bass riffs that were really good. I really enjoyed their stuff.
Now I’m older and saved. The Chili Peppers don’t do it for me really and Sacred is no longer together. But, throughout the years the fascination for the Bass has never left me. I would find myself listening to songs and deliberately listening for the bass line. I would love to listen to those foundational, deep, low, and straight up awesome notes that inadvertently was the foundation of sound for the whole ensemble. If a band didn’t have a bassist, then it was obvious. But throughout my life, the opportunity to really spend time with a bass has been very few and far between.
Then I became an Intercessory Missionary at the House of Prayer in Hattiesburg. At that time my enthusiasm to learn the bass had long since waned but my overall fascination with the instrument had not. I wanted to learn an instrument. I tried the guitar for a couple of weeks and I found it not as fascinating. It really didn’t hit my musical ‘spot’. I have always had a really awesome fascination with low sounding instruments. In High School, I played the saxophone. I started on the Alto Saxophone, but, my attention was really on the Tenor Saxophone. In Junior College I played the Baritone Saxophone in Jazz Band and my music teacher constantly remarked on how good I was playing a saxophone. It seemed that the lower sounding instrument it was, the more fascinated and better I was at it. So looking at it like that, it seemed only natural that I would want to pick up the bass.
So I’ve been playing the bass for two months now. All I needed was for someone to tell me what the strings were originally and someone to teach me how to read tabs. Then, I took off. I practiced for at least an hour a day. I would play the songs in my songbook that I sang out of on sets. I would scour the net for tabs and print and play them. I would search for bands I liked and songs by them that I knew. My two favorite bands are Dead Poetic and Anberlin so I got alot of their songs. I also played by ear. I picked out two of my favorite songs out by ear on the bass. I eventually want to write my own stuff. I’ve played on a few sets since I picked up the bass. People have been very impressed with how fast I’m learning. Which goes to say that I think God has given me a “low instrument anointing” or something. That would be hilarious if that were the case. But God has blessed me musically and I praise him for it. I look forward to playing my music only for him for the rest of my life.