Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ed Goode's Six String Stellartone Barker Bass Project

We have no English word equivalent to the German "schadenfreude" (taking joy at others' troubles). Likewise we have no word for looking backwards and taking pleasure in what you did to get to where you are.

There are three parts to the joy of this project. First has been the association with Ed, the client, who is a bassist out of New Jersey. You can see some wonderful images of him playing on that site, as well as a detailed chronicle of the progress of this project.

The second look-forward-to-every-day part was the newness of the concept. What if, Linda and I had wondered, someone sent me a bass (guitar) that he or she liked, and I converted it to a Barker--same electronics, same neck, just the upright playing position and all the benefits that offers.

Obviously cosmic forces intersected: Ed's desire to move beyond his 5 string Barker to a 6, along with our interest in giving this process a try. The newness, the headscratching, the 3am insights, the doubling back to make sure that the next forward step was as unencumbered as possible--all these dispense oodles of endorphins from head to hands.

And the third part was getting a glimpse into the world of extended range basses. I know some players: Stew McKinsey and Gregory Bruce Campbell and Edo Castro, for example, and Fred Bolton of McMinnville, Oregon, who makes basses for the likes of these guys.

The thinking here led me into questions relative to, "when does a scooter become a motorcycle" and "when are heavy hors d'oeuvres actually a meal." It would seem that adding a 5th string to the long-accepted four of the bass was ok. Adding overdrive doesn't change the carness of a car.

But adding a sixth required not only a different player approach to the instrument but also new nomenclature. "Six String Bass" approaches the "Fourth Trimester" category. So now we have ERB: Extended Range Bass. Fair enough. And I'm honored to have been let through the gate and onto the range as an ex officio observer. I can't claim a place in the luthier's corral yet, but my boots prove I've been close.

Looking back, I embrace the three joys of the process. Nominations for a word to express that are welcomed!

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