Bummer of bummers, the bass arrived on Monday with a broken tuning peg. It being of Chinese extraction, replacements were hard to come by, but ultimately Trade Up was able to locate a semi-compatible piece among their collection of scavenged parts, so all was well and I’ve got a shiny brass peg on my D string. A replacement should be in the mail from musiclandcentral sometime soon. Had to make a few additional purchases, but I am close to being kitted:
Jay Turser JTB3 Bass : $299
Roland Cube 30 Bass Amp : $225
Gretsch Guitar Strap : $29
ULTRA Guitar Stand : $20
10′ Cable : $6
Pick : $0.25
Not too bad. I’d like to restring it with Thomastic-Infeld Jazz Flats, but haven’t found a shop in town that carries them yet. Other than that, and a case, I’m pretty good. Buying the Cube 30 will probably save me a bit of money that I’d have otherwise been tempted to spend on pedals — it has some built in effects, like an an octaver, chorus, flanger, wah, reverb, etc., as well as some nicely modeled tube amps o’ the past. Shouldn’t be mucking with it at this juncture, I know, but it’s fun.
Right now I’m just working on familiarizing myself with the fretboard… a fretted short-scale is a definite change from a 7/8ths upright, but I think I’m getting there. Slowly rebuilding calluses on the fingers of my left hand, and playing a lot of scales. Woo hoo for arpeggios. I’ll worry about technique once I’m not overshooting third position. There seems to be a fair bit of buzz, which might well be down to my own incompetence, or to needing a bit more clearance, but I’m waiting to have it professionally set-up until I receive the replacement tuning machine and locate some Jazz Flats.
Hooray! The bass is en route to Portland as of June 30th, albeit moving rather slowly. No planes for this axe — it’s being shipped via UPS Ground — so it’s only covered about 250 miles. Just 2,600 to go. Brown estimates arrival to be on Monday, July 10, which is a bummer. Hopefully some trucker will be bucking for a bonus and it’ll arrive a few days early, but I doubt it — these things are probably fairly regimented.
The bass is currently in New Stanton, PA, cooling its heels on a Sunday afternoon. Track its progress, if you care to. I know I am.
Huh. OK, so Portland Music Co. seems to have nothing in hollowbodied bases. Apple Music Row carries Epiphones, including the viol-bass, starting at $399, but I’m damned uncomfortable in there, being closely scrutinized by the salesdude as though I were gonna walk out with it under my coat. Too self-conscious, perhaps, but still, it harshes my novice shopping mellow. Trade Up Music (on Alberta) has the un-branded sunburst Höfner 500/1 knockoff (sadly, with failing varnish) for $299. Their Division location had no hollowbodies. Old Town Music has a Höfner 500/1 knockoff (a Johnson, I think it was) for $299. I called Guitar Center (both Beaverton and Clackamas) and they only stock the Ibanez Artcore, at $399.
I emailed Jay Turser two days ago, to see if they could help me out by identifying a local dealer who has at least ordered a JTB-3 in the past, but haven’t heard back from them. Called them today, but somehow 4.30 EDT == not business hours, and I can but assume they’re closed on weekends. Pity, because their website is so outdated as to be no help at all — in its world, the JTB-3 isn’t even a product.
Aesthetically, I really want to get a fatty archtop like the JTB-3. At least, I think I do, but I’d want to play with it a bit first. The Höfner 500/1 viol-form basses are very comfortably small (shortnecked, yes, but I mean body width and depth)… of course, I’ve only played one sitting down, resting on a knee… might feel different strapped-up. But (and this is terrible) I really don’t want a sunburst paintjob, hate the switches on it, and even though I don’t associate the viol-form with Sir Paul, it seems that everyone else does, and I’d rather not ride that vibe and find myself perfecting the sub-hook to Day Tripper. Then again, I imagine that that’s the first task of every aspiring electric bassist, in the same way that the intro Jaws riff was de rigeur for upright bassists in the 7th grade. Meh.