Friday, September 10, 2010

Sore Fingertips but a Smile on My Face



After my intro to bass guitar yesterday, I had to get out for a big bike ride. There was so much energy moving through me, wow. Or should I say 'whoa'? Seeing the bass here in my living room was completely normal, familiar as my sister Deborah said when she saw a pic on FB. However the concept that it's ME who is supposed to pick it up and play is unnerving - in the best way possible.

I remember when I first started cooking I felt unsure and awkward, so stupid! Also when I started learning how to do bodywork, I was very self-conscious. I felt bizarre putting my hands on people. Both endeavors were really hard, but in both cases the fact that I stuck with it and got past the self consciousness, got past the awkwardness, has brought such beauty into my life. I love to cook! I love putting my hands on people! It was well worth the learning curve.

Similarly, picking up and holding the bass, putting my hands on it the way Cyndy showed me, strumming, trying to find the "sweet spot" where the notes don't buzz, is thrilling and strange - surreal, actually. But that said, please know: I LIKE IT.

I'm especially enthralled with the practice amp I'm renting. It's a crusty old veteran of many a gig, clearly. It is beat up and scratched, but still sounds great. It's very cool. The bass itself is pretty, not too heavy, and has attitude. It is not the bass I would choose for myself - but it's a character, a worthy adversary, daring me to pick it up and strum a few notes. In other words: perfect.

Perhaps I should have already figured this out (DUH) but the fact that it is an electric guitar means I am also learning to work with electricity in a brand new way. I didn't think about the fact that there would be pick ups and volume controls, knobs and plugs and cords and adjustment thingies to work with, too.

I am officially in awe of all musicians. All I can say is: wow.


In the shadow of the Washington monument

18 comments:

NanU said...

Next time I visit I'm gonna have to sit in your kitchen and listen to you play bass while eating something fabulous!

Reya Mellicker said...

Yes please!

Rebecca Clayton said...

Did anybody tell you about the sore-finger remedy for string players? You can soak your sore fingers in a little vinegar a few times a day. It "toughens them up," which you really need for acoustic bass. I didn't think electric bass players had that problem, but I've never tried it. I love hugging an acoustic bass!

Barbara said...

Let me know when you're ready to jam. Oops! I forgot I don't play by ear. But I'm sure there is a simple duet for bass and piano with the notes written down.

Didn't your father teach piano? Maybe you have his musical genes. Good luck with your new musical project. Now all you have to do is practice.

willow said...

I admire anyone who can play a musical instrument well. Keep up the good work! (Love the "yes". LOVE it.)

John Hayes said...

The fingertips will get callouses in time & then they won't be sore; but so wonderful to feel the excitement in your words!

ellen abbott said...

Go Reya! Opening your life, making space. Perhaps a musician in your future?

Reya Mellicker said...

There's always at least one musician in my life. Now I'll be one of them!

Meri said...

So happy to find that a current of excitement is flowing through your spirit and out your fingers. And that your visit with your sister shaman was filling.

Everton Terrace said...

Today you are my hero. I'm just so impressed with this. Bravo!

Bee said...

Learning how to do new things (especially if they are intimidating) is so cool! Do you have a particular song that you want to master?

Reya Mellicker said...

I'm doing it because I want to channel music the way musicians do. It's not about virtuosity or any particular song or even any particular kind of music, it's about communing with an instrument that has fascinated me my whole life.

Now if that isn't a good excuse to suck when it comes to the actual playing, I don't know what would be!! ha ha

Reya Mellicker said...

IF I get to a place where I'm able in any way to play with other musicians, that would be the creme de la creme of this experience. That's a looonnng way in the distance, but wow. How I would love to experience that way of communicating and merging. Wow.

Expat From Hell said...

Michael Manring
Marcus Miller
Edo Castro
Mark Egan

I can hear you now, Reya! Just give a listen to any one of these, and know that they, too, have found that sometimes the bass plays THEM.

I loved this. EFH

Pam said...

Fantastic Reya. I'm sure this will take you to some fabulous learning experiences and fascinating people. The journey's half the fun!

Reya Mellicker said...

It surely is!

California Girl said...

impressive you are learning to play guitar at this stage. i've lately thought how nice it would be to re-learn piano. i took several yrs when a young teen but the teacher discouraged my inclination to improvise. i didn't want to play the notes as written. she was wrong. and i quit.

the hands thing, yes; i've wondered if i could ever get my hands to play separately again. i have the reach but would i regain the tempo? interesting questions.

kudos to you Reya!

Gary said...

It's so true about feeling awkward when beginning new things that later turn out to be life changers. I felt that way when I was first learning to sign. Sometimes the slow going makes the journey and the arrival that much more meaningful.

I see that you are going to have quite the party in your kitchen. Count me in.