I spent a good part of the day noodling around on my guitar and my bass. In guitar land, I have a new tune, and I have something vaguely resembling lyrics, but these two things don’t seem to bear any relation to one another, so it seems I’ve got two entirely different creatures in progress. In bass land, I’ve been noodling. The last time I rocksmithed, I noticed a really, really obvious 4 note pattern in one of the simplest songs in the game. I’ve also recently decided I had the major scale enough in my head that adding the minor scale wouldn’t be a bad idea at this point. I don’t think I’m going to forget the major scale (though I do still have to learn the notes and get used to counting 1 through 8 in my head instead of just counting on each string. That’s something I’ve still got to be very conscious of to do.). Well, put the two things together and the pattern I noticed became rather obviously a pattern based on the minor scale. Ok. Cool. I formed a really basic, bare bones connection between a scale and pattern. Little by little, dots are connecting. I spent a good deal of time today just futzing around with the scale and pattern, and also with and without the pick. Now that I’ve gotten to a point that I can manage a pick without being a complete idiot about it, I’ve been alternating my practice time and experimenting both ways. And, now that I have my “fancy” homemade credit card picks, I’m actually grabbing them more often than ever before. Go figure.
In any case, having noticed a pattern, having connected it to a scale, I did some noodling around today on bass that actually sounded like something. That’s definite progress. It’s a first step in not being completely dependent on rocksmith to figure out wth to even work on. Now, I’m still a long way off from having enough information in my head to really have a solid grasp on bass in general, but starting to see patterns and connect them to something is definitely a solid step in the right direction, which is a damn good thing since I went and ordered a ukulele bass.
Should I have? Nope. But, here’s the thing. I really regretted not doing so the last time it was available (several months ago). As far as left handed u-basses go, the options are seriously limited.
-You have the kala u-bass. That retails at about $500 (a bit less, but add on shipping and any tax, and that’s about the price tag you’re going to be looking at for the lefty).
-If you’re not strictly looking at ukes, Gold Tone has the mikrobass, but that’s gonna retail around $500, too.
-Luna makes a uke bass that you can grab for around $200-300, but this one is tuned an octave higher. That means with other ukes it will function as a bass, but put it with guitars and it’s just a guitar with two less strings. Now, if you’re only going to ever use it with other ukes, it’s a nice option, but it loses some versatility with the lower price tag because of the higher tuning.
Now, you all darn well know that most of my ukes, with the exception of my acoustic electrics (the Ibanez and the Rubin) are flipped over righties. That’s fine for a regular uke, because the reentrant tuning means the nut usually won’t cause significant tuning problems if you just re-string (sometimes your C string will turn into a pain in the butt, though usually it works out), but once you add electronics into the mix, things get fussy. With bass tuning though, you’re almost guaranteed to run into tuning issues on a flipped over righty due to the different width of the strings in slots on the nut that are significantly the wrong size whether it electronics or not(mind, all the options I’m aware of DO have electronics, so it’s a fairly moot point).
So, I’ve known from the outset that for a small scale or ukuele acoustic bass, I was absolutely going to want a left handed model. At the price point of the above models, it was also absolutely going to be quite a long while in my progress before I would be adding any manner of acoustic bass to my arsenal. If I spent $500 on an uke, that would, easily, be the most expensive piece of equipment I own. Not to mention there’s no way in hell I’m spending the big bucks on anything that doesn’t start and end with the word “couch” until I’ve replaced the battle-weary mess sitting in my living room.
However, there is one model I didn’t mention above: Rondo Music’s Hadean Ukulele Bass is made in a left-handed model that retails at a budget-friendly $149.95. The last time I saw this turn up, I decided to wait. I definitely didn’t need it, and I decided if it disappeared before I wanted to buy, it wasn’t meant to be. And, when within the week it was entirely sold out, I regretted not buying it while I could. I told myself the next time it was available, I had to just suck it up and fork over the cash for one, since the lefties sell out almost faster than you can blink. So, when I was going through my Amazon ‘saved for later’ list to delete my backlog of ‘window shopping’ (I often will save for later several similar items while debating on the best choice for me, and then forget for half a year that there’s all this crap on my list I have no intention of buying, so I have to go clean up), I saw it was back in stock. Crap. So, I’ve ordered one, and I’m just crossing my fingers that it’s not a mistake. Given that I was kicking myself the last time I missed out on it, and that the lefty sells out in the blink of an eye, I decided it was worth taking a chance on, and it’s cheap enough that it won’t set me too far back on my furniture fund.
I know very well an instrument that’s small, acoustic, and portable is an instrument that I’m more likely to pick up and noodle around with, because it’s just really convenient, rarely in the way, and doesn’t require an amp (or even a headphone amp) to be heard over the house noise. So, I’m hoping the splurge means I’ll be spending more time with bass lessons, just by virtue of an uke-bass being incredibly portable and convenient to practice on. I’ll talk about that more when it arrives (should be some time this month).
In any case, it’s taken a lot more time, but my head is starting to connect enough dots to make something that sounds like music on bass. I could record something for you…but…that would involve actually amping up so you can hear it, and I just…meh. Nope. Not tonight. I have another post on a different subject to write, and it’s already after midnight, so you will have to patiently wait for me to get around to…ever recording anything bass related.
Until Next Time, mentally connecting dots.