I’m relieved that most people got the humor behind my last blog post. I want to stress the part where I said, “That’s not to say we bass players don’t have our own share of divas and douchebags.” I’ve been that douchebag. Geddy Lee was my first bass hero, followed by Stanley Clarke, Billy Sheehan, Jeff Berlin and pretty much anyone who could slap or play fast.
Although I play a guitarist on TV, I’m actually a bass player. That’s what comes naturally to me. I won’t lie: Deep down I’m a frustrated lead guitarist. Let’s face it, no one imitates the bass player when they grab a tennis racket and practice their moves in front of the mirror. I have guitar envy.
In my last blog entry, I lamented my inability to sing. In college, after years of ignoring conventional wisdom and thinking I’m as good a singer as anyone and torturing my friends and family with my renderings, I finally took voice lessons, because deep down, I knew I was, well, ignoring conventional wisdom.
I can’t sing for shit. I play a lot of instruments (I like to think I play them well), I write what I like to think are pretty good songs, I have a good understanding of harmony, I have a good ear, I know a million cover songs ... but not being able to sing well has been my Achilles’ heel for as long as I can remember.
A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to make a series for YouTube using the same concept, only showcasing pop songs and aiming the lessons at beginners. Two of them have gone live so far — Plain White T’s’ "Rhythm of Love" and "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele.
I often get asked how I got into transcribing music. This’ll sound arrogant, but to be completely honest, I think I always transcribed in some way. Even as a little kid, in my head, I was dissecting stuff I heard that appealed to me, even if I didn’t know the terminology.
Too many people get caught up in tweaking their gear, getting bogged down in theory or doing what amounts to hours of non-musical calisthenics in order to perfect some inhuman guitar or bass technique.