BEYOND THE BASS CLEF
In the beginning there was a bass. It was a Fender,
probably a Precision, but it could have been a Jazz --
nobody knows. Anyway, it was very old. Definitely
And God looked down upon it and saw that it was good. He
saw that it was very good in fact, and couldn't be
improved on at all (though man would later try). And so
He let it be and He created a man to play the bass.
And lo the man looked upon the bass, which was a beautiful
'sunburst' red, and he loved it. He played upon the open E
string and the note rang through the earth and
reverberated throughout the firmaments (thus reverb
came to be). And it was good. And God heard that it was
good and He smiled at His handiwork.
Then in the course of time, the man came to slap upon the
bass. And lo it was funky. And God heard this funkiness
and He said, "Go man, go." And it was good.
And more time passed, and having little else to do, the man
came to practice upon the bass. And lo, the man came to
have upon him a great set of chops. And he did play faster
and faster until the notes rippled like a breeze through
And God heard this sound which sounded something like the
wind, which He had created earlier. It also sounded
soumething like the movement of furniture, which He
hadn't created yet, and He was not so pleased.
And He spoke to the man, saying "Don't do that!"
Now the man heard the voice of God, but he was so excited
about his new ability that he slapped upon the bass a
blizzard of funky notes. And the heavens shook with the
sound, and the Angels ran about in confusion. (Some of the
angels started to dance, but that's another story.)
And God heard this (how could He miss it) and lo He
became bugged. And He spoke to the man, and He said,
"Listen man, if I wanted Jimi Hendrix, I would have
created the guitar. Stick to the bass parts."
And the man heard the voice of God, and he knew not to
mess with it. But now he had upon him a passion for
playing fast and high. The man took the frets off the bass
which God had created. And the man did slide his fingers
upon the fretless fingerboard and play melodies high upon
the neck. And, in his excitement, the man did forget the
commandment of the Lord, and he played a frenzy of high
melodies and blindingly fast licks. And the heavens rocked
with the assault and the earth shook, rattled and rolled.
Now God's wrath was great. And His voice was thunder as
He spoke to the man. And He said, "OK for you, pal. You
have not heeded my word. Lo, I shall create a soprano
saxophone and it shall play higher than you can even think
"And from out of the chaos I shall bring forth the drums.
And they shall play so many notes thine head shall ache,
and I shall make you always stand next to the drummer."
"You think you're loud? I shall create a stack of Marshall
guitar amps to make thine ears bleed. And I shall send
down upon the earth other instruments, and lo, they shall
be able to play higher and faster than the bass."
"And for all the days of man, your course shall be this;
that the other musicians shall look at you, the bass player,
for the low notes."
"And if you play too high or fast all the other musicians
shall say 'Wow' but really they shall hate it. And they
shall tell you that you're ready for your solo career, and
find aother bass players for their bands."
"And for all your days if you want to play your fancy
licks you shall have to sneak them in like a thief in the
"And if you finally do get to play a solo, everyone shall
leave the bandstand and go to the bar for a drink."
And it was so.
Alas, many of us have fallen short, and are guilty of these
crimes. Let us, however, not forget the words found in the
book of Proverbs, chapter two, verse 7a, ...
"He holds victory in store for the upright."