Essay | Felt, Not Heard

I took up the bass guitar on almost a whim. It could even be described as an accident. My sister bought a bass to join a band, and soon dropped out of it, leaving the big dumb thing without a home. It was offered to me, and I took it. Despite this very unserious origin, it is now one of my hobbies that I am determined to make something of. It is one of the few things that I actively aspire to be great at someday. Other hobbies or skills stagnate after a while, when you're satisfied with your level of expertise, which is usually mediocre or good. With this, though, it's one of the few things that I dream of being able to keep doing until fluency.

Of course, I'm nowhere near that right now. I don't think I can even justifiably call myself good yet, not while I'm still trying to properly understand how to utilize scales and barely getting the slap-n-pop technique right. In fact, I found out just a few days ago that I've been doing pull-offs wrong for two years. It's like learning you've had your pants on backwards since the 1st grade.

What attracts me as I study the bass guitar is its interesting role in the typical band: It is the anti-spotlight. The lead singer gets all the face time, and the guitarists get the crazy, easily discernable riffs and mid-song solos. The drums are the loudest, and any extra instruments have a novelty factor. The bass, it seems, is necessarily hidden and cannot draw attention to itself. If you've ever wanted to play the thing, chances are that someone's related to you a common, tired, saying: the bass should be felt, and not heard.

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