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Picking Up The Bass Again at 60: Bobís Story
When it comes to the decision to play the bass guitar, not everybody is
picking up the instrument for the first time. Sometimes, the person who
wants to play already has many years of experience. Did you play as a
young person and give it up when job, family and, well, LIFE needed your
attention more than your beloved bass?
We all know that players might have to put down their basses to do the
things they have to do in this world. But there's no reason why you
can't come back. Now that your major responsibilities have been met, are
you itching to get back to being a thunder-maker? If you're a bit
nervous or reluctant to take the plunge, read this little fictional
story. I hope it will inspire you to do what you know you want to do!
Bob strolls into the music store. He's grey at the temples, wears
glasses, and has a bit of a stiffness to his walk. In his eyes, a
lifetime of experience. He's been married for thirty five years. The
kids have gone on to start families of their own, and Bob's been
thinking about something.
The salesman watches as he makes his way over to the bass guitars. He
follows. "Can I help you find something?"
Bob tucks his hands in his pockets and motions his chin at the Jazz Bass
hanging on the wall. "She's a beauty."
The salesman eases the Jazz from its perch and hands it over. Bob lifts
his foot to the rung of a nearby stool and rests the Jazz on his leg. He
plays a 12-bar walking line with a lot of feeling and groove.
The salesman plugs the Jazz into a floor amp and sets the dials. Bob
plays more lines and the now amplified thunder shakes the floor. He
doesn't hear as the salesman relates some of the features of this
particular Jazz. All he hears is the thunder.
When he finishes his demo, he turns the Jazz over in his hands. "I used
to play when I was younger. We did school dances, local weddings. Pop
60s and 70s mostly."
The salesman asks, "Planning to take it up again?"
Bob hands back the Jazz. "Oh I don't know. Just looking, I guess."
"Well, you're pretty good, man." He gives Bob his card. "You should
think about it."
When Bob gets home, he takes out his old photo album and does a Memory
Lane once-over of the guys in the band and some of their stage gigs. He
really would like to play again, but the truth be told, it's been so
long and he knows he's no Spring Chicken anymore. And anyway, what's the
point of buying a brand new Jazz Bass when he's probably forgotten most
of what he used to know? A few basslines in the music store does not
mean he could still play all the songs he used to love.
But wasn't the thunder great, though? Wasn't it a genuine thrill to feel
the floor rumbling again under his feet?
I'm almost sixty, he reminds himself. I can't start all over again. He
looks at the salesman's business card.
Bob's wife comes in and breaks up the reverie. "Where were you?"
He closes the album. "Just a walk to the music store."
She sets a coffee cup next to him. "Remember, if you get to have a new
bass, I get to have a new acoustic guitar."
His heart beats a little faster. Maybe I could do this, he thinks to
himself. His breathing gets quick and the adrenaline rush hits him. He
gives her a wink. "Maybe we should take lessons this time."
She rushes from the room to grab her jacket. "Hurry up. The store closes
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