Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My baby's back!


My first bass, a 1971 Fender Precision which I bought used in...., let's just say it was a few years ago (it wasn't old enough to be considered "collectable" when I bought it), is now back in playing condition after a long period of lying dormant and unplayable. A couple of years after I bought it, I removed the fretted neck and replaced it with a fretless neck. After a number of years of playing and several fingerboard dresses the fingerboard got so thin it started to split. (The problem with playing fretless is that the act of playing actually wears grooves into the fingerboard, necessitating the removal of material from the fingerboard to level it out, which is called "dressing" or "re-dressing." Eventually, you run out of fingerboard.) By that time, I had acquired a second bass to serve as a back-up instrument, but it became my only functioning bass when the Fender became unplayable. The Fender went into storage until the day when I would figure out what to do about it. A few years passed, I ended up making yet another fretless bass and eventually decided I didn't need three fretless basses, so why not put the original neck back on the Fender so I could have a fretted bass in addition to the two other fretless instruments? It took over a year to accomplish this, as it turned out that there were other problems that needed addressing to make the instrument playable again. The luthier to whom I had entrusted it for these repairs was very busy and I made the mistake of telling him it wasn't a rush job. Now it's done and I played it for the first time tonight. It's kind of beat up, but it feels good and it sounds great. It was nice getting reacquainted.


Here we are when we were first getting to know each other.
Photo: Elizabeth Miller

14 comments:

Suzy said...

Awwwww ... my baby's back!

Suzy said...

Clarification: The picture of you at ... what? 17? I remember when you looked like that. Back when you used the Buster Foyt alias. <3

Ed said...

Yeah, I'm pretty sure I must have been 17 when that picture was taken. I was 17 when I bought that bass, too, so it was brand new to me in this photo. Previous to that bass I was playing a loaner bass: the Thunderball 007. It was a crappy instrument. What a joy it was to have my first real instrument!

Matty Boy said...

You were working that feathered look back then, Ed. If you had met Farrah Fawcett back in the day, she would have totally had to have sex with you.

Glad you have your bass back.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Now that is some rock and roll hair.

Ed said...

The trick to that haircut is to start with a Regular Old Men's haircut and let it grow out for six months or more. Voila! Instant (or sort of instant) feathered hair. Rock stardom and sex with Farrah Fawcett couldn't possibly be far behind!

Suzy said...

You had sex with Farrah Fawcett?? You never told me that! I'm contacting an attorney!

Actually the joke about Mr. Ed in those days was about his resemblance to Shaun Cassidy.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ed,

Hey, I think I took that photo! That is to say, I think I have a copy in one of my photo albums.

I'm glad you got your guitar back in working condition.

Beth

Ed said...

Yes, Beth, I think you did take that photo. One thing I learned from my father was you always give credit to the photographer, illustrator, or whomever. I apologize for not giving you credit in the post. I will correct that immediately.

Suzy said...

Hi Beth, It's from the era when he dressed like a lion tamer. You have always been an excellent photographer.

gomonkeygo said...

That bass was the reason I first talked to you at an Appliances gig. I fell in love with it watching you play. You had a very "special" relationship with it. So, I guess it is your bass I actually like and not you? ;)

I'm still working my way up to a great bass. Got a Mexican-made Fender Jazz this spring that's probably the best I've owned. "The Boy" is taking lessons and playing it in his school jazz band, so we're sharing.

Ed said...

The Jazz bass is a nice instrument and the Mexican made Fenders aren't much different than the "Made in USA" Fenders (they just ship the parts across the border, something like 1/8 mile and assemble them in the US and call them American made. They might use higher quality components and fancier wood in the USA models, but only so they can justify charging more. They're still manufactured in Mexico.) For rock music, though, I love the punch you get from a Precision bass. It can't be beat.

Pagan Sphinx said...

I love the electric base. I won't go into detail...

Great photo. Suzy must have swooned. So great that you two have been together all these years and, it appears, very happy.

Peace,
Pagan

Ed said...

Hi, Pagan. It's no surprise that you like the bass. To quote Mark Abraham, bassist extraordinaire, bass is "the sexiest of all instruments...". And, yes, mostly happy, with a few bumps along the way. She's not really the swooning type, though. Besides, at the time that photo was taken, Suzy had her eye on someone else, but it only took her a few years to see the error of her ways.