Been a long time since I rock and rolled…
I haven’t touched my bass in 3 months and 3 weeks. Yesterday, I went to my brother-in-law’s apartment with my tuner and tuned up the bass he borrowed from their cousin. He grabbed tab and has been learning Stand By Me. When I was done, he played some of it for wifey and me. It made me realize how much I miss practicing.
So, I showed him a few small things, like why wearing his bass up a little higher might help him navigate the fretboard more easily, how to keep his wrists straight and why, and the first exercise I ever learned – to familiarize my fingers with the neck. Maybe one or two other things too.
After I got back home, I listened to wifey for a bit. She started classes for her 2nd master’s degree last week. She’s going after cultural anthropology. One of her classes is music anthropology. They’re going over a book about Fela Kuti, the father of Afrobeat. I watched a video about him last summer called “Music is the Weapon“. It was really interesting, and led me to some Wikipedia articles and a bunch of Youtube discussions (in the comment areas) about Afrobeat and Highlife. I think I’d really dig the class she’s taking.
- Fela Kuti on Wikipedia
- Afrobeat on Wikipedia
- Highlife on Wikipedia
- Fela Kuti: Music is the Weapon [DVD] (the documentary I watched last year)
- Afrobeat!: Fela and the Imagined Continent (the book wifey’s class is reading)
Anyway. Once wifey was done for a bit, I went down to the living room (we finished it!). I have an area there set up with my bass, amp, music stand and all of my bass books and magazines (along with a bunch of other music books). I grabbed my bass, wiped it down, tuned it up (it had gone sharp – I expected it to go flat with time) and went through the same exercise that I showed to Jay (my brother-in-law). After working my way down the neck three times, I tried the major scale. To my surprise, I remembered how to do it. I then tried the minor, with the same result. It put a grin on my face. Its kind of like riding a bike, I think.
I’m practicing again tonight. Things have slowed down enough at the house and are a little quieter at work (although we’re moving more people into 3.0 still). I’m going to reboot, basically start from the beginning and see how far I get again. This time, I’m going to mix it up by actually incorporating tablature into my practice, just to get myself playing some songs. Maybe I’ll do the same ones Jay’s doing from time-to-time, so we can practice together a bit.
But yeah, I’ve missed this, and I feel guilty about not working at it for so long.
Also – Alex Webster‘s book was pushed back from the beginning of September to the end of it, on Amazon. I’m looking forward to getting it. I preordered. And, I’ve been getting Bass Player, so at least I read a little.
[edit 11.02.11] Wifey wrote a review of Afrobeat! Fela and the Imagined Continent for one of her anthropology classes. She posted it up on her blog. Here’s a link to it, for those of your who are interested in Fela Kuti or Afrobeat: