In 1967 I bought a Guild Starfire double pick-up bass, which I’ve used almost non-stop since then. It’s a glorious instrument, and I love it dearly in the way that only a musician can bond with the tools of his trade.
But almost half a century later, I’m beating the crap out of it by practicing on it, performing with it, and hauling it to every rehearsal. It deserves a rest. It needs to be polished and hung in the hallway with its mates (see below), taken down and played on rare special occasions. Like gigs. Those are very rare, dammit.
So I got this one to practice on. Antonio, my lead guitarist, made this possible both by example — he goes through scads of guitars, acquiring them, playing them, swapping them, keeping a few favorites but sampling many more — and by encouraging me to at least shop around. So we went to Guitar Center where I handled a few and fell for this one. This is will be the practice workhorse for a while.
The choice came down to this one, a Hofner violin-body, or the Epiphone Thunderbird. The Hofner felt like a toy — didn’t like the action or the overall feel. While I’ve adored the look of the Thunderbird forever, its neck wasn’t exactly right for me. Plus I play a right-handed bass left-handed, which means the cut of the body doesn’t let me access the upper frets. This happens with many basses, but not the double-cutaway EB-O.
The EB-O’s short-scale neck is the same as my Guild’s, which is vital. In minutes it felt just like the Starfire; I didn’t have to think or recalibrate. (As a bass player, I’m encouraged to minimize my thinking.)
The Guild now hangs between the Gibson Ripper, a fretless bass whose (long-scale) neck I never quite accustomed myself to playing, and my very rare and precious 1967 Rickenbacker 4005, another museum piece I save for special occasions.
After just two sessions with the Epiphone, it feels like I’ve played it for years. With any luck. I will.
Welcome to the family. Let’s rock!