Posted by: Chelsea Novak | July 7, 2007

Back to Bass-ics

Last night, after more than a month of repairs, I picked up my beloved double bass, Dee, from the shop. That’s correct, my double bass has a name and if you’re really clever you’ll know that it’s named after a basketball player. It’s back in playing order with a new bridge, new strings and a wonderful new end pin. I even got a new case for it, as I’d been using the same case it came in 17 years ago.

It may have been folly to attempt 30 minutes of practice after a seven year hiatus from the instrument, especially since I did not one, but two classes at the gym today, but I couldn’t help myself. My double bass has been such a source of joy for me and to have it back in working order, it’s just so good.

Yes, I suck at it right now, but there’s a lot of muscle memory there. My plan is to work my way beyond the level of skill I had back in 2000, cause I’ve always believed that I had the potential to be a much better bass player than I was but there were boys and parties and a myriad of excuses not to practice. So I’m going to work my way through my technique book and apply the practice principles Mrs. Wood taught me back in the day when I kind of kicked ass at the piano. Five times perfectly with no stop-prepares. This will come as a life-threatening shock to my mother, but I may even purchase a metronome.

It’s going to take time and it’s going to hurt. I can already feel the fine muscles in my left hand aching from being in position again and I’m going to have to get my callouses back, but it’s all so worth it.

Picking it up, I even got to have a “Yes I do play the double bass” moment when I left the store. There’s a particular look of wonder and/or bewilderment people get when the see me carrying my double bass around. I guess the juxtaposition of someone like me playing or even carrying something like a double bass turns heads. And I’ll be honest with you, I totally enjoy that.

Today’s play-along-song: “L’Elephant” by Saint-Saens*


*I was totally going to walk down the aisle to this song, but figured that one day telling my grandchildren that the processional for my wedding was “Clair de Lune” (Moonlight) by Debussy would endure better than The Elephant. Especially if I get really fat one day. Also “Clair de Lune” means a great deal to M and I, so sorry Saint-Saens.


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