“Finish him,” the voice inside me said. The hulking late-teenager facing me may have been a brown belt to my white, but I had an extensive-yet-rusty set of kung-fu skills from my late teens/early twenties and wasn’t going to let him get the best of me.
I’d already won the fight. Young and brash, he’d pushed the offensive and showcased all his flashiest moves to intimidate me. Being older and wiser, I let him run himself into a sweaty, panting mess of carefully-masked frustration. Yet in the split second of opportunity as I saw his chest and throat open up, I abandoned my wisdom and the safe win. Instead, I opted for the show-stopping, Mortal Kombat-style finishing move to teach him a lesson. And I ended up teaching myself my biggest lesson in humility to date.
Continue reading Humility
Today would have been my nephew Jesse’s birthday. We lost him due to still-undetermined medical reasons in his sleep, late last year. The unexplained cause of his death makes it all the more unsettling, unresolved. I’ve had to process a lot of loss over the last few years but Jesse’s death may have been the final straw, bringing me lower than I’ve been in decades. I write to heal, and this is no exception. However, I’m writing this a few days earlier and scheduling it, as my hopes are to be somewhere along the coast with Devin at sunset to wish Jesse a happy birthday by the ocean he loved so much.
Continue reading Remembering Jesse
“You’re a creature of habit,” she said, setting the same old soup and salad combo I always order at the bar in front of me with a flourish. “It’s a great habit,” I retorted. And it was a pretty fantastic pairing, no doubt. Best soup and salad in town.
But that’s beside the point- it was still a pretty obvious habit of mine. Performed by an obvious creature of habit. Ouch. That feels like a lesson coming on.
Continue reading Creature of Habit
If there’s one title that should be on my gravestone, it’s ‘bassist’. I know this, it’s the foundation of who I am. But I’ve got to admit a dirty secret – being relegated to 4 (or more commonly, 5) strings isn’t enough to quell my need to learn. Musical cross-training is my new jam. And I’m not sure I can stop.
Continue reading Musical cross-training
I woke up suddenly around 3:30am this morning. It wasn’t just a minor stirring amidst the sheets, a quick mid-sleep water break or dazed round-trip to the bathroom. My eyes came fully open and my head was clear, although my thoughts were anything but. I’d gone to bed early after my Sunday rehearsal and a quick dinner. However, despite pleasant company throughout I felt unsettled and withdrawn the whole evening, and not in a particularly social mood. Some words I’d spoken still hung in my ears:
“I feel like a stone in the eye of a tornado. Like I’m barely holding onto balance while everything around me goes crazy. And I mean batshit crazy.”
At that moment, I hadn’t made any connections between that phrase to any other particular event or circumstance. There’s been an awful lot on my mind over the last couple years, and I know at times things have seemed a little scattered. It’s been sometimes hard to put a finger on exactly which brush fires are causing me the most heat, generally speaking. But when I looked at the calendar again things started to come more into focus.
Continue reading Equinox
It’s the opening day of Winter NAMM 2017, the music gear event of the year for most musicians I know. Vendors roll out their latest drool-worthy instruments and gear. And there’s a name for the affliction many musicians emerge from NAMM with – Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS).
Umm… Gear Acquisition Syndrome?
Yep, it’s a thing. GAS’s key symptom is a relentless drive to grab your wallet and upgrade all your instruments, gear, and accessories to the shiny new hotness you’ve just played with. When it comes to GAS afflictees, I’m pretty much a poster child – so it’s a good thing that I’m not attending in person this year. Restraining my wallet hand is getting easier with age, but from early signs we may need medics at NAMM this year. It’s gonna be a gear acquisition syndrome outbreak!
Here’s my first two candidates for ‘wallet magnet of the week’.
Continue reading Gear Acquisition Syndrome, or NAMM – Day One
I’ve installed Badass high-mass bridges in every bass in my collection that will take them. Why? I love ’em to death for their beefy sustain and definition. That said, they often come without string slots cut. This doesn’t exactly make them a drop-in mod, they’ll need some handiwork to install. I avoid the pre-slotted bridges, as cutting them yourself allows you to get a perfect string spacing and fit for your particular bass. If you’ve got an unslotted Badass bridge (or one of the recently-available Omega bass bridges from Allparts, which from what I can tell are exact replicas of the Badasses, even constructed w/zinc), here’s a rundown of how to install them.
UPDATE: re-edited this in January 2017 to add pictures (finally!) from a new build. Also note- if you’ve got an Omega bridge, these steps should also work.
Continue reading Install a Badass or Omega bridge on your bass.