Wednesday, June 01, 2016

My basses: the high school years

Today's my day off. I dropped some junk at a local recycle place (3 computers, monitor, TV) and of course stepped in the guitar shop next door.

Hanging on the wall was a beautiful orange/white G&L SB-2T. I played it for a few and really liked it. But for $1300 or so? I will just have to slum with the SB-2 I have now.

It got me to thinking, though. What basses have I had over the years? Do I have photos?

Well, lots and yes. But I'm too lazy to look for photos of all of them so off to the web I go.

Ibanez Soundgear.

Me and said Soundgear at my high school graduation.

My first bass was an Ibanez Soundgear that my parents got for me out of a Musician's Friend catalog. I must have been a sophomore or junior at the time. Played it for many years. It ended up being with me at least until 1995 or so. I think I gave it away in the early 2000s.

Kramer Fretless bass. If you look under the bed on the first picture above, you'll see the case for this bass!
Somehow I thought I needed a fretless bass. I got a model like this from a local music shop. I remember the forked headstock and the metal down the back of the neck. I also remember the giant black knobs: clear plastic with numbers inside. The bass was super heavy and I could never get the intonation right. I don't remember what I did with it, but it's not part of my life anymore.

Kramer acoustic bass
Weirdly, friends and I thought we'd be able to busk at markets to "get our music heard." Rather than lugging amplification around, we'd use acoustic guitars. Hence, the acoustic bass. For some reason, I think the one I had was a Kramer as well, but I can't honestly remember. This bass I didn't have for too long.

Hohner headless bass.
I first became obsessed with Rush during my sophomore year. I had heard Tom Sawyer before, but I was 9-10 at the time. When I played in a band called the Roundabouts in my sophomore (?) year, we did some cover tunes (So Lonely by the Police, Jet Airliner by SMB, IIRC) and for some reason, I was reintroduced to Rush. And then when I saw Geddy Lee playing his little Steinbergers and I saw a copy at that same local music store (was it MusicWest? I can't remember), I had to have one.

This little guy was tiny and sounded like crap. Then again, I had a crappy amp (still have it: Peavey Basic 40), and didn't have any clue (still don't) on how to get good tone. I loved the little kickstand you could use to play the bass while sitting down. It also had a XLR output on it for those times when you wanted to go direct to the board. That bass somehow ended up in the hands of an old bandmate. I don't know if he still has it but I'ma gonna ask. Maybe it'll make its way back to me.

Of course, knowing what I know now about basses, I wish I'd have "borrowed indefinitely" the basses I played in my HS jazz band. Every morning, I'd show up for jazz and play either a Fender P or a Fender Jazz bass. At least I think there was one of each. There definitely were 2 Fenders at my disposal. There was a big ol' Fender Bassman amp and cabinet, too. I'm sure they've all been put out to pasture by now.

I think those are the basses I had in high school. It wasn't until I got out of college that I graduated to other basses. I'll write about those next.