Duffy bass 1987

(CORRECTION: In the original version of this blog post, the photographer was mis-identified. My apologies.)

To the right is an image of yours truly, in about 1987, playing a Guild Pilot bass guitar that is long gone. The photo was taken by Kristen Westhoven at the Channel. I am no longer that good-looking. And I haven't played much bass in the past 15 years or so. I switched to keyboard in about 1995 and have had my hands full with that.

But sweet necessity calls, and I have a bass gig next month, on Thursday, Feb. 11, at House of Blues in Boston, with my old colleagues Rods and Cones. So now, in addition to keeping up with the electric piano, I'm plucking those four bass strings, one at a time.

The bass is more physical than a keyboard instrument. You can rock out on the bass. You can shake the floor, and if you have a good drummer, you can get people moving and swaying. And you have that whole lower sonic range all to yourself -- no one else can play down there, even if they want to.

So for now, every night, I'm strapping on my 1971 Fender Telecaster bass (much classier than that Guild anyway), and plucking those flatwound strings, trying to regain some muscle memory and building up some calluses. And although it may be simpler, it requires just as much work to get it sounding right. So if you're reading this and you are a bass player, I'm feelin' ya.

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