Black Sheep Bass-ic Training

Doing The Christian Walk With A Funky Strut

Woot. After 6 years of tryin’…

on August 17, 2013

…I can play the intro to Heatwave’s “Boogie Nights” at tempo, about 95% clean.

I know, I know.  Not Christian music.  But I’m trying to increase my skills as a bass player and that intro is an excellent speed drill.  How fortuitous that it was almost exactly 6 years ago I’d made my first attempt.  It was featured in Bass Player’s ‘Woodshed’ section in the August 2007 issue.   I’ve been noodling on it off and on since then, think I started trying to play it quarter notes @ 60 bpm.  Every time I’d pick it up, would do it just a bit faster, but then I’d hit a wall at some point.  Then I’d get mad, and chuck the mag back into my pile of stuff to work on, where it would get ignored for months at a time.  There were times I was convinced I’d never be able to play it.

See, I have hands that aren’t well suited to electric bass.  Small hands.  Short fingers.  Fingers different lengths, with the pinky being a full inch shorter than the ring finger.  And the ring finger and index finger kind of kink in toward each other rather than pointing straight up.  Now, on the plucking hand, the configuration isn’t a problem…I can zip across the strings pretty handily, alternating fingers as good technique dictates.  But this hand shape over the frets…oh, my.  Have a hard time with the 4-fret fingering in the lower 8 ’cause I have a small “wingspan”.  Always have to hold my wrist at a somewhat wonky position to accommodate for the short pinky, and have to roll it more frequently to shift up and down the strings to accommodate for the overall smaller hands.  All this extra/weird/strained movement adds up to compromised playing speed.

But it’s always funny who God uses.  The Bible is full of examples of people who were “unqualified” for their particular jobs, yet God used them in a mighty way.  I don’t know how much He intends to use my musical skill beyond its current service, but I will testify that He’s been able to take these mutant mitts and teach them how to get around a bass.

They were flying over the frets n’ strings tonight, eighth notes @114 bpm.

I know there’s plenty of bass players that could smoke me and make that look like child’s play…but hey, for me, this is big, something I thought I wouldn’t be able to do.  Still needs some cleaning up–the weakness in my left hand pinky made itself very evident and I’ll be concentrating on building up that strength–but it’s encouraging all the same, I’m more willing to set higher goals now.

I can do this.  Really.  *squee*  Nice to celebrate some progress on something after the (well-deserved) spiritual butt-kickings I got this week.  Think this is God letting me know He still loves me and still wants to use me.  Looking forward to making my joyful noise unto Him at church tomorrow.

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2 responses to “Woot. After 6 years of tryin’…

  1. Stacee says:

    🙂 I love how you connect playing your bass with living this life. Glad to hear you are encouraged with the progress. Keep on keepin’ on!

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