Bass aka "Feel the Vibration"
I tend to fall for bass players. The precedent was set in high school by a boy I was madly love with but was not in love with me. I didn’t know what the bass was until I stalked the poor guy and learned everything about him. Once I figured out what bass was I realized that, “oh that’s the part of the song I like.” So began my love affair of the bass and the men who play them.
When I was 19 I dated another bass player who told me that, “girls can’t play bass.” To which a resounding “oh hells no!” rose from the depths of my soul. It took a relationship with another bass player to crash and burn, graduating from college, and having a decent job to get myself a bass. I had no idea what to do with it. I’ve never had any musical training nor tried playing an instrument on my own. (Well if you don’t count the six months of electric organ lessons once a week during seventh grade. Quick story: My aunt gave us her old organ, mom thought we should know how to play it, we took lessons, but no one played it for years. Now we have a piano no one plays.) And for the next five years I would pick it up, learn something, drama would ensue in my life, I put the bass down and react to aforementioned drama.
Recently it hit me that rather than dating bass players I could be one, maybe not a good one but one nonetheless. So I’ve picked it up again and it’s a different experience. It makes more sense to me now. I have a friend teaching me and we recently “jammed” (I feel like a fraud using that word) with some other folks. This was the first time playing with other people and although I was awful it was awesome. And to be honest I used to be reluctant to keep playing bass because I thought I would have to cut my nails really short and would develop man hands. (Yes I’m that vain.) But it is not so – I still got my girly hands but they are just a hell of a lot stronger. (All I can say is that my next love it going to be a very lucky man. Very. Lucky. )
Since playing with other people I’ve been listening to music differently and thinking about why I love the bass. Some think that playing bass is boring, that it is repetitive or unimaginative and that playing guitar is more interesting. I beg to differ. Guitar players have to sprint about the track, jump hurdles and do back flips. Guitars just aren’t consistent. They get you used to a nice rhythm and once you get into it – bam! They are off and running over here and over there, sometimes stopping for another instrument or playing something new altogether. Guitar has to be the center of attention. It’s always screaming, “Listen to me! Listen to me!”
But the bass players tend to lay low, keep a steady pace and go the distance without a lot of fanfare. Bass never loses that mellow tone, the bass line is always the unconscious part of the song. Sometimes if you are not listening for it you don’t seem to hear it with your ears; but it’s always there driving your soul along the path of the song. Playing bass is all about being a team player. I much rather be a team player or be played by a team player. I’ll take a strong and steady bass rhythm over an intricate and racing guitar any day. I understand that they work together, but it’s the bass that calls me. Essentially for me the difference between guitar and bass is that a good guitarist can entice the wild horse in your soul to break free but a good bassist frees the whole fucking herd to stampede.
Now lets discuss the men who play bass (this is not an attack on the lady bass players – I’ve just never dated one). For me it’s about the hands. To play bass your hands have to be strong, flexible and able to keep rhythm. Now I know some guitar players may object. It takes a lot of dexterity and skill to hop between all those little strings and even closer frets but bass requires * both * hands to be stronger so has to hold down and pluck those thick strings. But most importantly, playing bass requires stronger * finger tips* for plucking and/or slapping out the bass line; all while playing in a consistent rhythm that a woman can count on. I’ve found that in general it’s nice when your man comes to you with pre-trained hands, but especially when he touches you with hands and a soul trained to play bass.
Drums make me want to move my hips, guitars make me want to sing or jump but the vibration of the bass changes my heartbeat to beat in time with its own sound design. Bass seeps in through my ears, flows down my chest and touches that place that neither I nor plastic can get too; the place that can only throb from some good bass playing or from some good lovin.’ And that is why I love the bass.