My Bass Guitar Theory

There are three types of bassists in my opinion. Mark might say ‘good, bad and ugly’ because he is all three. I see the archetypal, the muppet, and the groover. I would like to think I’m the latter. The archetypal bassist knows all the scales and is usually classically trained. They play nice melodies but have no soul, like Macca from the erstwhile Scouse band that is unmentionable at HQ, nice tones but no groove. There’s the muppet, those who think four strings and root note is enough to make a career, you never hear the groove, you don’t know they are there. Then there’s the groover, bassists like Entwistle and Mannie. Their fingers glide along the fret board, no unnecessary frills but providing a beat, perhaps a few fifths and a few pull offs. When timed with the drum or a guitar riff, pull the whole thing together. When that happens, you’re making music. Olly lays down a groove, I jump on and Mark uses his pedals with the dexterity of a Russian call girl. That’s when the magic happens and that’s what playing the bass is all about for me.


The Rickenbacker Journey.

Like all musicians I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have GAS.  I don’t mean the stuff Olly releases from behind the bass drum. I’m talking Guitar Acquisition Syndrome. When I first started playing with Mark, I had a lovely cherry red Gibson Midtown. It was a solid reliable piece of kit, like a good-looking cousin of Mark’s Gretsch.  It had those rockabilly curves. But as I played more, I realised it wasn’t good at cutting through at the high end. I needed something else.  
So, I did what all musicians do and started going on forums and seeing what people said. And as usual Joe public is full of shit. I ended up with a five-string fretless bass. Couldn’t play it for toffee. Kind of thing one of those soulless archetypal bassist plays. So, it went straight back on eBay. Good riddance.
I looked for inspiration in my heroes. Mannie with his epic tones in The Stone Roses provided the answer. I hocked everything and got myself a Ricky. For those who know about this stuff, Adolf Rickenbacker invented the electric guitar with his brother. The brother then stupidly invented and invested his fortune in the National guitar. Which is like a model girlfriend, pretty to look at but fuck all use.  
So, I’m a Rickenbacker convert. Won’t change. Gives me high and low. Dependable, solid and rhythmic.

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