Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Basso Profundo



I believe in alternate realities, multiple universes. I can "see" some of these alternate realities, I can sense them (or I imagine I can). I'm more in touch with the details of some of these universes than others. In one alternate universe I know quite a bit about, my name is Reggie. I am a tall black man, long-boned, with knobby knees and elbows, big feet and hands. I'm very shy, awkward and softspoken. I wear my hair in natural dreads, wear faded t-shirts and jeans, and most important in terms of what I want to say today, I play the bass guitar.

The Reggie persona is one that I really "get," even though I am nothing like him physically or in terms of personality (me, softspoken? Uh ... I don't think so!) I really "get" his love of the bass.

Even here in consensual reality, I have always been entranced by the sound of bass guitar, by the feng shui of the bass. My first real boyfriend in high school, David Ingersoll, played bass in a band called the Soulphonics. Though he was a total sweetheart in every way you can imagine, I'm certain part of his allure centered around the fact that he played bass. The only time I've ever fallen in love at first sight was with Miles, who plays the bass. The greatest love of my life? Yep. He plays the bass (though he would prefer to play guitar, I think). Even my internist plays the bass! For heaven's sake.

With the idea of practicing happiness in the forefront of my mind yesterday, I sat for a couple of hours in a guitar shop, holding bass guitars and listening to the guy in the shop play different basses. They all sound so different, and feel so different, too. The guy in the shop was encouraging; I was hesitant to go in, thinking he might be disparaging. I imagined him thinking, Why does this old lady want to learn how to play the bass?

What actually happened is that he thought it was cool. He was clearly amused, maybe almost delighted by my interest. It was a lot of fun.

My spirit guides have been telling me lately: Be a cool cat at the end of a sizzling summer. Spirit guides are famously vague when they hand out advice. They want me to think, to work with their advice, not follow some literal instructions blindly, without contemplation and reflection.

What could be cooler than learning how to play the bass?

It's coming to me that there are moments in life when it's possible to create happiness, merely by following through on old plans and desires. I've wanted to learn to play bass since middle school. What have I been waiting for?

32 comments:

Steve Reed said...

There IS something sexy about bass players, I think because they seem so subdued yet alluring in their bass-player stance. Smoky, you know?

Anyway, bravo to you for exploring this idea! I agree about fulfilling longtime dreams -- what are any of us waiting for?!

Reya Mellicker said...

Smoky, yeah!! Perfect word, Steve.

NanU said...

If there's one thing I (slightly) regret, it's never having learned to play an instument. It would be so neat to create music. Go for it! No need to wait any longer!

Tom said...

yeah. some soothing bass would be nice accompaniment for your rainstick. i like

Reya Mellicker said...

Tom - cool!! Nancy - it is not too late!

Elizabeth said...

I totally see you as Reggie, his cool, calm, self-confident, at peace self, making music like a heart beat.

Everton Terrace said...

Yes NanU - never too late. My mother is 63 and wanted to learn the piano all her life - I keep encouraging her but she thinks it's too late as well. The guy in the shop didn't "think" you were cool - you ARE cool.

Jo Floyd Lucas said...

Everton has it right..you ARE cool.

I think the bass is so appealing because of the low vibration it causes. The music caused by the vibration in the air speaks mysteriously to our souls.

Strings in general do it for me, but the violin is what captures my heart. Ah, the memories of those college days on the lawn with my first boyfriend, listening to him play the violin...oh, yeah. That stirred it up for sure!

Brava, Reya!

Reya Mellicker said...

THanks, Jo! Honestly I am so NOT cool, but at the end of this sizzling summer, I will give it a go, at least for awhile.

Elizabeth, REggie is VERY insecure - not at all confident. He hides behind his shades, he keeps his mouth shut, he hides behind the bass. Oh man ... he is so not confident!

ellen abbott said...

Indeed, what are you waiting for? I always wanted to play a musical instrument. I tried a recorder, took piano lessons one year. The best I ever got was with a ukelele. But I was too shy to really play an instrument, even by myself. I figure I was not meant to be a musician this time around. My talent lay elsewhere.

simplycol.com said...

You go girl! Age has little to do with living a dream.

Cyndy said...

I've totally been where you are and you should definitely go for it! As a piano major who had given little thought to the possibility of playing other instruments, I discovered to my amazement when I started going out to jazz clubs that it was the bass I was most attracted to. I thought I should be paying attention to the piano player but I just couldn't. The bass was like a magnet. And then when I changed schools my roommate happened to be a bass player. It must have been a sign.

I didn't have a chance to get started on the bass until I was about 30, but it changed my life. Electric bass brought a whole new world for me too, and made it possible for me to switch over completely from being a piano teacher to just being a bass player.

Welcome to the deep end!

Barbara said...

What could be cooler than learning how to play the bass? Playing music with someone who plays the bass -- the double bass, that is. I too love the sound of the bass and have a great appreciation for those who play it. Your internist is a great musical partner!

Reya Mellicker said...

My internist is a great musician, a fantastic doctor and a wonderful human being. Oh yeah.

Reya Mellicker said...

Thanks, Cyndy. Hey ... do you teach bass? I will need a teacher.

Linda Sue said...

DANG now I have a new blog crush- Reggie...I want to have a pipes transplant so that i can belt out smoky tunes while Reggie strums and thumps.
Love that you are going for it- you are cool even though you deny this FACT!

E said...

Reggie has me completely fooled then.

Reya Mellicker said...

Reggie tries to be invisible. Does a pretty good job, mostly.

Cyndy said...

I do teach bass. And I know I would enjoy helping you get to where you want to be on the bass. I also have bass playing supplies that might be of interest to you at some point. Here's my blogger email: eadgcyndy at aol dot com.

Meri said...

Sizzle your way out of summer and into September.

Pauline said...

put on your Nikes and just do it!

Whitney Lee said...

My husband (lead) and my sister (rhythm) have told me there is nothing sexier than a woman playing bass. I think it's fabulous-go for it!

Reya Mellicker said...

AWESOME! I even have a blog friend who plays stand up jazz bass who is going to be my teacher. Wow!! Very cool!

John Hayes said...

As a guitar player who occasionally plays bass, I can say it's a wonderful instrument & that I 110% encourage you to go for it!

Nancy said...

No time like the present!

Paul C said...

'It's coming to me that there are moments in life when it's possible to create happiness, merely by following through on old plans and desires.' I commend you for staying sensitive to your inner feelings and desires.

Reya Mellicker said...

Thanks, Paul. Creating happiness is even more fun than practicing happiness!

Dan Gurney said...

GO for it. How can making music ever be wrong???

Reya Mellicker said...

Exactly!

Moonroot said...

When my sister turned 40 she decided she wanted to learn to play guitar. We all chipped in together to buy her a guitar & music lessons.

That was 5 years ago and she is now a great guitar player who often plays for the rest of the family when we get together. She's also writing her own songs and talking about forming a band with friends...

Go for it!

Karen said...

I'm so glad you've given yourself permission--and found the time and money--to pursue this long-held desire! Enjoy!!

Gary said...

Reya, I love the top picture. I also like the idea of finding happiness in old notions. I doubt there is anyone who did not follow through on something they wanted to do/learn. Go for the bass. For me, I would love to play the piano and be that musical person who can sit down and accompany myself. There is something so appealing to me about being that self-contained or capable. Have fun.