Re-living the past, bassically…
In 1987, for my birthday, my parents bought me my very first bass guitar. That instrument was a “Rock Bass” from Epiphone/Gibson, a basic, passive model with a J-J pickup configuration. It was a great “starter” bass for the time; made in Korea, back when there wasn’t anything worth owning coming out of China – it was solid, well-appointed, good-sounding and even kinda cool looking (pointy headstocks were all the rage in the late 80’s.)
That bass carried me through my early years as a player; it was my main bass for Outcry, my first “real” band that played “real” gigs (only two of them, but we rocked out both times!) When I co-formed Ransomed Soul with my friend Scott in 1990, that was the bass I was playing. It saw lots of action at lots of seedy bars (can I get a shout-out for Bonnie’s Roxx?) and sounded really good.
When I cobbled together the scratch, I upgraded the pickups to an EMG JJ set. When we recorded our debut album(s), I ran the bass right into the mixing console with no additional preamping or other toys – and the bass really sounds tight on those recordings. And it played really well.
As the years went on, 5-string basses became more popular, and I eventually found one that worked really well for me and started using that as my main bass, which relegated the Epi to backup duty. Once Ransomed Soul broke up, she mostly gathered dust. When (with Scott, again) I co-founded Second Story in 1996, it was playing my new SIX-string bass. Knowing that there was little to no chance that I’d be using the four string for any of the Second Story material, and needing the duckets for other musical gear (a future post will detail my INSANE Second Story rig), I sold “Heather” (yes, she had a name) to my co-worker and friend – and aspiring musician – Tom. A few months later, I was transferred to a new store, and I lost touch with Tom, the bass, and eventually, that job.
I’ve recently been feeling a bit nostalgic for old musical toys, and I don’t really have a way to get in touch with Tom – so, I’ve been trolling eBay for similar basses to the old girl – and a little over a week ago, I found one: Epiphone Rock Bass, late 80’s vintage, black hardware (rare) on black bass, rosewood fingerboard, JJ pickup setup… in good, played but not abused condition. The bass is virtually identical, and even came with the original case. So, I snagged it.
Because I’m a total freak, I also snagged a set of EMG old-model JJ pickups on eBay for cheap – used, but not abused. I figure that a little soldering will get me an almost exact duplicate of my original bass – all I need now is a set of black Dunlop Straploks and a purple strap…
So I’m really digging re-living the past – the bass will mostly live on the wall in my home studio, and maybe get pulled out for the occasional studio track. But it’s cool that I was able to find it.
It’s sometimes nice to go home again.