lunedì 11 dicembre 2017

The violin strings are settling in well.

Signora Violina having time out with
boyfriend Jim Dandy.
The new strings seem to have given Signora Violina a new least of life. Who knows, if these two keep carrying on like this we might be hearing the ting, ting, ting of a mandolin!

giovedì 7 dicembre 2017

String change time.

It's too long since I've changed my strings. Nice to have a fresh sound.

venerdì 1 dicembre 2017

December has arrived.

That means just over three weeks until Christmas.

All that glitters is not gold.
I guess it's nice to celebrate Angry Jesus' birthday, pity though about the crucifixion and his dad's part in it.
So what happens at Christmas?
  • People give each other presents.
  • People get pissed.
  • Robert goes to church.
  • People put little figures in mangers.
  • People often eat English style food.
  • People sing carols.
  • Uncle Steve comes to stay.
  • People get time off work.
  • A lot of people get new socks, underpants and handkerchiefs.
  • A lot of bathrooms have a new addition - soap on a rope.

I think that's about it. I guess there are also a lot of lonely people. 
There are people in hospital and mental wards, so it's not all just one big fun time.
Some people drink too much and have fights.

Okay, I think I've covered Christmas. 
Then there's New Year - a very similar event but no one famous gets to have a birthday. Though maybe there are famous people out there who were born on New Year's Day?

Miles Davis born Jan 1st  1928?

Bob Hope born Jan 1st 1905?

Liza Minnelli born Jan 1st 1945?
In fact, I'm sure there is a rather long list of famous people born on Jan 1st.

Anyway, that's it from me for today.
Just not Angry Jesus though.

lunedì 27 novembre 2017

Sticky Fingers.

Okay, I played at a blackboard concert last night.

You've already seen the photo over on Richard's Bass Bag*
and many jokes have been made about the wine glass.
What happened a few hours before the concert could have made things very tricky.

I think I'll need to explain what this is.

The thing in the picture is the part of a German double bass bow that is used to tighten and loosen the hair. It was built by the guy who build the frog that I used to change one of my bass bows from French to German. It was my only bass bow at the time - a very good bow.


I'm not sure why this bit of the bow is called a frog - the name makes sense on the French bow, but not the German bow.
The guy who made this frog was very clever. It is different from most German frogs and is designed to balance better on a French stick. It works very well.
Shortly after the frog was fitted the wooden bit on the screw you use to highten the bow fell off. No big deal because I had the screw from the French frog and I simply fitted that.
This bow (for reasons I won't go into here) has had it's frog changed a couple of times and, when my current luthier has some spare time, it's going back to German.
I remembered that I had the broken screw bit in my drawer and decided to fix it. Now you don't usually use super glue on instruments but I decided that a bit of super glue would fix this piece of equipment for life. I'd bought a very good glue last week to fix an ornament that Shelley had damaged. The wooden bit has a hole where the metal bit goes in.
I poured in too much glue and, when I put the metal bit in, the glue went everywhere - including over my fingers. I was in a bit of a panic and noticed that some of my fingers were starting to stick together - it was bloody powerful glue!

Fortunately I was able to get most of the glue off my hands and to keep my fingers apart. It would have been challenging to turn up to the gig with one good hand and a clump. It was my bowing and pizzing hand that would have been the problem.
My advise: If you are a string instrument player, be careful wien using super glue.
Actually this applies to all musicians, except singers and trombone players.

* the original bass bagging site

domenica 26 novembre 2017


Hello and welcome back to Richard's Bass Bag 3.*
As I write the All Blacks are playing Wales and I am checking the latest score on line.
Sometimes I don't know why I bother doing this.
Sport has changed.
In the old days, when Colin was playing, they played test matches in the afternoon. If you wanted to follow the game, you got up in the middle of the night and listened to it on the radio.

Then live (and delayed) TV came along. Soon after rugby was put onto pay TV and it all became about money.
I was reading that Ireland evidently lost hosting the world cup (after the Japan one) to France. Someone hinted that both Japan and France had made it worthwhile for the rugby union bosses.

I think that having a world cup in Ireland would have been great. 
It's a real shame if money got in the way.
If Wales pull off a win today, life will go on.
I'll check on the score shortly.

* the blog that's not too bad and has more of an old style flavour

venerdì 24 novembre 2017

Solo Double Bass

On Sunday I have a plan to play some solo double bass at a blackboard concert in Newtown.

A blackboard
For anyone who doesn't know what a blackboard concert is, let me explain.
The idea is that you show up and put your name on the blackboard. When your name is called you get to play a couple of tunes.

I'm using this concert as a motivator to get my solo playing up to scratch. I've been practising a Bach tune for quite a while - it's fairly tough. So, this week, I've been doing a lot of work on it to get it ready for performance. This involves slow practice and a lot of repetition. 

I think I'll be ready.

mercoledì 22 novembre 2017

Okay, let's be honest...

...the double bass is not a new instrument.
Take a look at a double bass.

You won't find effects pedals, or an electronic tuner attached to the top of it. 
It's a big, physical instrument that is not for sissies.
It has two different bows - well, there's a choice!
You have to be reasonably fit to take it to a gig.

Sound too hard for you?
Well, you might want to try one of these instruments...

Good for people with a low
IQ or no musical ability.

Easy to carry. You can make the after concert party
while the rhythm section is still packing up.

You'll be playing at home with this one but,
at least, the below fives at your house will
enjoy blowing it too. Wash it out before 
you practise.

Actually, probably best to avoid this
one if you want to keep your friends.

You won't read much about electric guitars, synthesisers or glam rock bands on this blog.
When you venture over here your mind will be challenged in a more old style way.
Pop by and enjoy.