I've written all I'd wanted to write in these blogs and thought it would be appropriate to address what I wrote. These blogs were nearly 2 years in the making and it's interesting to reflect on them so far down the line. Nothing fancy here - let's go:
The Gospel According to Fitz - Chapter 1: Flea
While I wasn't particularly hard on Flea I made the points I wanted to make and they weren't popular ones. Not much to go on here but I guess I whetted the taste of those who began to follow my blogs - the flair wasn't there yet but the integrity was.
The Gospel According to Fitz - Chapter 2: Fretless
This is a very informative blog that has a little bit of flair to it, but I hadn't any of the bombast I ended up with at this point in time. Every single word of it is true and there is still no excuse for bad technique. If you can't play fretless in tune, you're lazy. Period. I can play upright in tune and it doesn't even have any side markers. The more I think of it the more I understand that my starting off slow and steady may have made my blogs popular; if I started out crazy I might've scared away the masses.
The Gospel According to Fitz - Chapter 3: The Gig
What a waste of fucking space. I don't know why I dragged my band's first gig into this mess of a Gospel. OK, hooray for me. A lot of good things happened within a few months of that blog and absolutely fuck all since.
The Gospel According to Fitz - Chapter 4: Jaco Tone
Whilst not overtly insane I started doing in this blog what I've been doing since - saying "fuck you" to preconceptions. People read tidbits of information and listen to soundbytes and spout them off as truth. And naturally, there's no questioning it. You can never sound like Jaco and Jaco can never sound like you. Getting his fretless tone, however, is as straightforward as it gets. And there were the steps that needed to be taken. So fuck you and your "it's all in the hands" bullshit. Listen to his bootlegs of him playing with Albert King on a fretted Precision and tell me it's all in the hands.
The Gospel According to Fitz - Chapter 5: Halo
This is when my Gospel took full swing and I'm happy it did this way. The concept of "it's on TV, it must be good" started here and it's only gotten worse. Take every bog standard feature that's been around for decades and throw it together. Literal cookie-cutter bullshit. Next, market it. Finally, tell everyone it's fresh. What happens? Success. A problem? No, not really, because all fads die. The problem lies with the smug legion of idiots that keep the fad going as a legitimate and timeless artform. Derivative is good and shouldn't be questioned as long as people write it, right?
The Gospel According to Fitz - Chapter 6: EQ
Fucking idiot detractors can knock me all they want for this reason and for that, but facts die hard. I am a master of the EQ and have the best tone I've ever heard. You know what the crazy part is? I've gotten that same tone on several basses across several rigs - and it's all in the EQ. So if you don't like me because on your semi-annual trips to UG you find me to be a prick, actually try to understand what I'm saying - after you go fuck yourself, of course. If I ever have a UG legacy I hope it's that I got the bass forum using their EQs. This Gospel, and my other EQ blog, may have a part in that. If I would add anything, it's that compression has a helluva lot to do with tone. If you're getting the tone you want but there's just something not right about it, try adjusting your compression. My SWR sounded great but a bit iffy - I had the limiter set to a point where it would smooth out some of my B-string's attack but little more. Out of sheer happenstance I cranked the compression and things just plainly and simply started sounding better - it thickened up while retaining clarity, pops didn't break my ear drums, and the bass was pumping from an open B to the 26th fret of the G.
The Gospel According to Fitz - Chapter 7: n00bs
Probably my crowning acheivement on this site, if not on all of the internets. It took 7 blogs to get to this point but I had finally acheived what I set out to do: address a touchy subject, piss people off, and be 100% correct in every word that was typed. I stand by this blog now more than ever and will fight to the end if I need to. If people are too stupid to understand what I was saying in that blog and got caught up on the delivery, they should have and still can kiss my ass. N00bs are no longer a problem on the UG bass forum, and they definitely weren't after I wrote this blog. This FAQ that would allegedly kill the Bass Forum because nobody would ask any questions anymore worked like a charm and I hope it continues to do so. Every point I made in that blog - no matter how pissed off people got - turned out exactly how I said it would. I'm still kinda suprised about the backlash it got, especially from folks who are on UG so fucking infrequently and insignificantly - folks who were barely remembered - folks completely out of the delightful memery that was UG at the time - had the nerve to speak up. I'm glad they did though - and I hope they stick around long enough to trully appreciate how right I was. It's a beautiful thing. This is all still flair and bombast - it's really beside the point now and I no longer care, but it sure was fun to revisit. I didn't and I still won't back down, no matter what shitstorm I cause. Too bad not everyone appreciated my integrity.
The Gospel According to Fitz - Chapter 8: Cliff
Yum, yum, yum. Chapter 8 was the subject I had originally intended to be my Chapter 1. People actually requested I start writing blogs to address this very topic, and I had been teasing it ever since. These are perhaps the glory days of my blogs and my days on UG because I was saying what I wanted when I wanted to, and I didn't care about the consequences. The only difference between then and now is that then people seemed to care . No point in going over what was said in this particular blog since you can read it yourself but there have been some interesting events since. Since the Guitar Hero/Rock Band cancers (can you believe I didn't do a blog on them!?) had mixes containing songs' isolated instrument tracks, Cliffs reputation has taken a deserved beating. People posted Cliffs isolated lines on YouTube, and the responses were classic. Wait... what!? He wasn't playing 16ths at that part? Just sloppy, clacky, quarter notes? Wait... huh!? Those quick bits were actually the guitar? Terrible tone, silly technique, and overestimated lines. It's just funny that the original mixes were so bad that the slop and lack of speed were not apparent to begin with... maybe that's for the best. Some YouTube videos of those bass lines actually disabled comments in light of all the recent Cliff flaming. Naturally my blog had nothing to do with that but it's nice to see folks who now share my point of view.
The Gospel According to Fitz - Chapter 9: Hurt
Yeah, it was hard to follow that Cliff blog but I bet it's just as well that I went down in a dirty stink hole than try something ambitious and not make it. Yes should've released Tormato after Close to the Edge, not Tales. I brushed on some interesting topics that were echoes of the Cliff blog, but I never followed through with that acoustic version. For shame.
The Gospel According to Fitz - Chapter 10: Shit
My God am I ever embarassed about this blog. Still man enough to leave it there, but not man enough to talk about it now. But boy, I'm really glad I wrote these 2 terrible blogs after 2 perfect ones. This way I can start fresh. And did I? Let's see...
The Gospel According to Fitz - Chapter 11: Rhyming
Oh yes, I most certainly did. The informativity of the first few blogs with the bombast of the last few. It's still shocking how much WORSE lyrics have got since I wrote that blog and how even less people care. I just want to make something clear, though - rhyming is NOT subjective. Rhymes are rhymes. Sounds. Period. There's no agreeing or disagreeing with rhymes. A fart is a fart and if you think it's actually a burp I don't care. Read the fucking blog again - that's how you rhyme. I literally laid it all out there. I'm not explaining jack shit again because I already did the first time.
The Gospel According to Fitz - Chapter 12: Viagra
I will work this into a comedy routine some day. Literally every sentence in that blog contains some sort of joke. I know some are so subtle that you'd miss them, but it's a shame because it's absolute comic gold. For shame I didn't include more blatantly comedic blogs in the Gospel.
The Gospel According to Fitz - Chapter 13: Gear
I'm STILL shocked that I managed to write a blog that was longer than the character cap. That blog was so long and involved that there's no reason for me to go over it again. I will say that I've noticed that the Forum's been really, REALLY soft in the last 6 months or so. It's sickening. Like... great, Behringers still suck, but the T-Bird love on the forum is embarassing. "Not well designed but good for certain things" just doesn't cut it in my book. By the way, this is my book. It doesn't cut it.
The Gospel According to Fitz - Chapter 14: Drugs
Legalize it all, or legalize nothing.
The Gospel According to Fitz - Chapter 15: Bass
I'm really happy with how this turned out - I actually caused a handful of guitard-backlash on the Forum. I don't have too much to add here since the post was somewhat recent, however I'd like to point out that the paper trail on one of the comments left by a guitard is amusing. Notice the "oh shit sorry then" finale.
The Gospel According to Fitz - Chapter 16: Music
I have nothing to say about this blog other than I've said all I wanted to say. This is my view of music, and the world, in one solitary blog. All others orbit around it. It all lead up to this one.
So now I leave. The Gospels themselves tell a story but the blogs I've written in between tell a more intimate one. I've had some interesting times while being a member of UG but now I've reached the point where I own everything I've ever wanted to own and I've said everything I've ever wanted to say. I no longer have no advice to offer nor experience to discuss. I no longer enjoy being a member of Ultimate-Guitar and that's no fault of yours; it's me. I'm out of touch with the goings on and seeing people's new basses no longer interests me in the slightest.
I'm still alive, though. My band's still going and we just came out with an album - if you really want to follow thefitz check out www.myspace.com/damndirtygrapes or look for The Damn Dirty Grapes on Facebook. I'm still around, just not here.
The fact of the matter is that you're all blind. Every last one of you.
No matter if you love screamo, ____core bands, rap, or good music, you're an idiot. Everyone has their own opinion about music, gear, and life, but at least they all think the same about the music business right now: wrongly.
Music is, was, and always will be a form of entertainment - showbusiness. I've brushed against this concept in my last blog, but I'll explain it in more general terms here.
My generation was one of the first to be full-fledged subject to the theory of multiple intelligences. The theory was started in the early 80s by someone named Howard Gardner and the underlying concept is that there are 8 ways people are smart. Absolutely everything anybody does in any way makes them intelligent. The folks who play hockey and can't spell or count can be considered to be in the same league of intelligence as doctors with no physical clout whatsoever.
There's absolutely no way you're stupid. But you are. YOU are. I'm not talking about idiots - I'm talking about YOU.
When I was at my grade 8 graduation (yes, the fact that it exists makes me sick) I was one of FIVE class valedictorians. If memory serves, there was the academic valedictorian (me, the real one), the artistic valedictorian, the athletic valedictorian, the religious valedictorian (Catholic school), and the school spirit valedictorian. The fact that they found the need to give awards to students who essentially cannot fail at age 13 is pathetic - but the need to make the odds of becoming valedictorian to about 1:10 is just nonsensical. Plus there were other awards.
Fast-forward 4 years. My kid sister's graduating from that school. The class is bigger, the kids look younger and smaller, but the concept's the same. She was also one of those five. Plus, the half of the rest of the class got some sort of subsequent award, beit for science, music, dance, gym, etc. Quite literally 50% of the entire class got some sort of personalized award of some sort. 1:2 kids.
Then the principal started handing out the generic awards.
That's right; every single kid in that class not only left with a diploma signifying their completion of a curriculum you cannot fail, they also left with some sort of extra award. You're EXTRA special in some sort of generic sentiment!
That same year I also graduated highschool as class valedictorian. The proportion of awards:students was befit the concept that the awards actually meant something. I'm still thefitz, dammit.
I'll'nt get to political but I believe that freedom is of utmost importance and that equality should not be enforced. People should earn their worth and if you're the best, you'll be considered the best no matter your race, age, or sex. If you're useless, you're useless because you're unskilled - not because you're a certain race, age, or sex.
I can understand the drive behind trying to introduce other sexes and races into vocational environments historically dominated by white males, even if I wholeheartedly disagree with it and think it does more harm than good. Requiring there be a certain number of women or visible minorities in a certain institution is more of a human rights violation than letting the cream rise and the shit sink. But still, I understand the reasoning.
But we were raised with institutions doing that with people's actual intelligences. We were raised being told that not only were we special in some way (which is fucking stupid but fine), but that specialness was directly translatable into intelligence. Not ability - actual brain thinky smarts.
We were raised knowing that we're all smart, special, and important. Then an anomaly occurred - people realized that there's a difference between self-esteem and ego. Put simply, self-esteem = 'I'm as good as...' and ego = 'I'm better than...'. So us kids had as low of a self-esteem as any generation before us, but with a raging ego that's never been seen before. 'I'm a piece of shit, but I'm still better than you'.
We were raised being told that things we were good ate/that made us smart/that we enjoy made us special and that absolutely nobody could tell us otherwise. After all, there are 8 forms of intelligence. Everything you like makes you smart in some way.
Then folks started feeling that way about music. Movies and music are pretty much the same in every logistic way; you act instead of playing an instrument. You recite lines, via bass or off a script. You have to deal with a fickle business and if you want to be successful you have to have mainstream appeal. Yet somehow folks started attaching songs to their personal existances in ways that movies just didn't.
Music is not art. Music is not life. Music is entertainment. Music is showbusiness.
Music's just a lot easier to get into, easier to experience, and easier to express interest in visually. It's hard to dress like a fan of slasher flicks but if you're a punk rock stoner...
And we were told that things that we find easy make us smart. And they're just as worthwhile as anything else. Hockey and the human genome. It's all good as long as you're all happy.
I mean, think about it - if everything we've ever done in school has made us smarter in some way, there's no way something we take interest in can be as simple as showbusiness. Nononono - there has to be some significant personal and academic purpose to it. That three chord shit about a generic love interest that applies to you because it's basic CAN'T NOT be meaningless.
Collect yourself for a second. Understand what I'm saying before we continue.
Now back to business. Literally.
Our music world is absolutely positively fucked up. Yes, there are a lot of idiots on UG/TB who say "it's all good as long as folks are out there making music" (and the fact that all their hopes, dreams, and best years are behind them nonwithstanding) but I have one fact that'll stare them in the face for the 10 or so years they have left to live:
There's a genre called pop.
Think about it for a second.
Pop stands for popular.
A song is considered to be popular before it is written. A band is considered popular before it is formed.
But pop's been around forever! Look at the Monterrey POP festival!
Look at it, asshole! Hendrix. The Who. Captain Beefheart.
I own a copy of Deep Purple's "Made in Japan", and on the inside of the sleeve it says "file under Pop Groups". Why? BECAUSE IT WAS POPULAR. People heard it, people liked it, and people purchased it. The PEOPLE made pop music. All the record companies did was print and promote.
As time went on, record companies became larger, and they began inventing bands - yes, we all know that, great. But people still hated that shit.
But the biggest change happened over the last few years. Here's an EXAMPLE - and ANALOGY. It perfectly illustrates exactly what I'm talking about so you can understand my concept. THAT'S ALL IT'S MEANT TO DO. ANALYZING IT FURTHER IS POINTLESS.
A few years ago there was a series of Juicy Fruit commercials featuring some faggy douchebag with a high-strung acoustic guitar singing a campy song about the product. "Get your skiis shined up, grab a stick of Juicy Fruit, the taste is gonna move ya..." The song was irritating as hell and each commercial ended up with the guy's guitar getting smashed or him ending up dead.
The song was irritating. People were happy when the guitar got smashed. A very successful campaign.
Now watch television. You'll see a smoking-hot-but-somehow-completely-generic-America n-looking girl named Julianne Hough promoting the product. How do I know her name? Because the commercial took the time to mention it in the corner. Chewing gum is now promoting a "pop" star... but anyway, yeah. She has great looks and no personality and she dances while promoting the NEW JUICY FRUIT STICKS! Wait, it's the exact same gum that's been around for 283902 years. Same shit under a new package. So what's that unremarkably mint piece of ass dancing over? Oh, what do you know? The exact same fucking Juicy Fruit song from years ago! The lyrics are identical, with the exception of "get your skiis shined up" becoming "get the beat turned up". Same melody, same key, same chords, same song. A different version of the same song. Quadruple tracked vocals covering an irritating and not-that-gifted voice.
Somehow, the song that was written to irritate the entire public is now cool. I'm not going to emphasize that point.
The television and the internet is telling us what to like and what is cool.
And since we were raised being told that we were super-smart and special, there's no way those stupid tricks would work on us. Right? RIGHT?
They've been doing that with music since post-grunge. And it's been a long, long time forming. And what really started it all? Rap. Yes, I blame Rap. Not the OGs who actually had a point to their music, but the second and 3rd generation jackasses who allowed a complete lack of singing or melody to become musically accepted. Starting at around Tupac.
But it wasn't so much their music that fucked everything up - it was their concepts. Rap had such a huge impact on the music business because it was so cheap to make, required so little effort from producers or musicians, and birthed some of the most visible personalities the business has ever seen. It was sound at it's most basic and easy to ingest. That approach then spread to every single genre in music and is the reason we're in the shit we're in.
I'm going to introduce to you the concept of THE THREE MOST DAMAGING CATCHPHRASES IN MUSIC HISTORY! 1 - 'Only God can Judge Me': This is when shit started going south. The phrase's original intention didn't last very long as suburban white kids started using the phrase to counter the fact that their parents were embarassed of them. This marked the point where "fuck you" became a legitimate response to "this song sucks". Music simply needed to exist to be considered legitimate and noteworthy.
b) 'Don't Hate': The most damaging phrase in music history, bar none. Not only is it on the banner of everything that's wrong with music and society today, but it's bastardization is yet another example of exactly how things went wrong. 'Don't Hate' was derived from "Don't hate the player, hate the game", which the Urban Dictionary flawlessly defines to mean: "Do not fault the successful participant in a flawed system; try instead to discern and rebuke that aspect of its organization which allows or encourages the behavior that has provoked your displeasure". That noble and intelligent concept turned into 'Don't Hate', which, from what I understand, means... I have no understanding of what it means. The best way I can describe it is that it means "you're just jealous and being jealous is not socially acceptable because you're smart in your own way and should have no reason to be jealous of my preferred medium because your own is just as good but no better than mine no matter what it is". That, or "I disagree, but feel like an asshole for having the opinion you have because I say so". This marked the instant where it was fine to have a positive opinion about something while all negative opinions are taboo.
iii. 'Nickelback doesn't suck. You might not like Nickelback but they don't suck. 30 million people like Nickelback': OK, so I might have paraphrased the actual quote, but that's pretty much how it went. It signified the instant where the rap concept of "fuck you I'm rich bitch" crossed over to rock. I don't suck because I have record sales. Seriously.
I had a conversation about music with a friend and all 3 quotes manifested themselves in his speech in some way. I countered them all with the Ahmet Ertegun line "Record sales don't mean you're good. McDonalds sells a lot of hamburgers." His response was that he likes McDonalds hamburgers. My response was that he was absolutely no taste in hamburgers.
Why are these quotes so damaging? Why is this a problem? Back to that in a sec.
People always blame the record industry for ruining music. They're idiots. The record industry is the only thing that's never changed. Since day 1, all the record industry wanted to do was make money. That's it. They wanted to make money with the least amount of effort possible. It's a business - that's what businesses do. Most return for the least effort. Boom. Keep scouts in the underground to find a big sensation, bring them to the mainstream, ride the wave with copycat acts until the scene has gone stale, and then bring up the next underground act your scouts have been looking for the whole time. That's how every era of music has gone up until rap became mainstream. The industry found a whole genre of easy-to-market music that required almost no musicianship, studio time, or post production. They found a whole wealth of up and comers. They found a genre that scared their audience into keeping them fresh.
If anyone says rap sucks and has lost it's way, the rappers will say "don't hate," the fans will say "don't judge", and the companies will say "they don't suck, they sell lots". And this generation has been taught that every single person is smart in their own way and they should accept what people do no matter what those people are doing to the industry they love. Let people do way they want, no matter what it does to me.
Now every single genre has unlimited life (metal and core bands, anyone? Death metal hasn't changed since 1991), the musicians are being sampled so they can pay them for 1 hour of their time instead of 10, and the musicianship is so stripped down everybody can identify with it. Since if you can identify with something, it makes you smart. And nobody wants to feel stupid.
So, how is this NOT the fault of the industry?
Simple. The music industry is the one that's calling the shots. This is the first time in the business' history that it reached structural equilibrium - the companies are telling the people what they want. And the people are lapping it up. They were raised being told they're brilliant and therefore there's absolutely no way they can make an uninformed decision.
Just like the Big 3 auto industry. Not the recent crash - the one from before with the oil crisis. When was that? The 70s? 80s? American companies told people they wanted huge cars with big engines that drank gas. Then the gas prices went up considerably. So the people switched to fuel efficient and smaller Japanese cars. And all of a sudden those guzzlers weren't so popular. And the Big 3 never recovered. They're all fucked now.
That's what's happening with music. The record companies are telling us we want this watered down, homogenized, robotic, easy to swallow, easy to make garbage, and like those gas guzzlers, we're lapping it up. Plus we were raised by schools and the industry to be super-accepting and to never be critical. There will be no oil crisis if things keep going at this rate. This shit will g'wan forever.
Critical feedback is extinct in this society and it's the reason the music business sucks. It's the fault of the people we're in the situation we're in. We're buying what they're selling. The industry's been selling and that's all they've been doing since their inception. We've just been telling them what we want up until the 2nd/3rd generation rap craze.
Every word you say about music that isn't "we need to burn down every record company warehouse" might as well be "I support the state of music today." Every time you hear Lady GaGa on the radio without smashing the device into pieces is allowing music to continue behaving the way it is. If you think "I can understand how someone could think that Amy Winehouse has talent beyond her hard-living gimmick" you're really thinking "I hope I never hear a song I like again". If an out of shape, non-dancing, lip-synching Britney Spears is coming to your town pretending to sing to songs she never wrote and you're not there with a torch, you might as well let aliens murder every member of every band you've ever listened to and enjoyed.
It's all on you. It's been way, way too long since you were allowed to openly dislike something.
"Don't Hate the Player, Hate the Game" is exactly what the music industry and all its minions need right now. We need to be proactive. "Not my thing" no longer cuts it, and if you keep it up, you won't have a thing. You let the industry turn in this direction, and you're the only one who can turn it back. Screamo is the new hair metal. Modern rap is the new New Age. Let's grunge. Now. Get an axe and start grunging.
Well I'm stealing the thunder from my last blog. Oh fucking well.
If you recall I traded my old BEAD-tuned Wenge neck Warwick ProLine and '51 Precision for an upright. The dude seemed to love the basses and was pretty happy with my trade, even though I felt a little ripped off. However, it was my own fault as I didn't do my research.
The basses I traded. Fucking bullshit. Sure, he can do what he wants with the basses but dude was hustling me. Straight up shit-talking when he said he was taking up bass again and wanted some new axes. He has a basement full of crap that he's trading to people to get more stuff to sell. With a pleasant and friendly demeanor used to hustle. Now he's whoring out the instruments I've played out and cared for. This guy is a player, but he doesn't play instruments. If I knew he was just going to sell them, I'd have never traded them to him.
I wrote him a message saying how hurt I was and how unhappy I was at him trying to make a quick buck out of this stuff. I'm expecting one of three answers: "fuck you, they're mine and I can do what I want", "I just lost my job and conveniently need the money, but didn't the short while ago I made the trade", or " ".
I have fucking integrity, and I expect that from people. Musical instruments aren't things you whore for a quick buck - you play them out and use them like they should be used. This is fucking gutless and I'm not happy.
No, I mean it. Stop reading this, get up, and get something to drink. And tell everyone in your house to just fuck off for a minute.
You done? Good.
My first Gospels were rooted in information and quickly turned into opinionated pontification. Now, don't think for one second that I'm losing one particle of opinion in this blog, but I'm going to go out of my way to teach you something today. Prepare to do one of 2 things; learn, or fuck off. I'm thefitz, you're on my profile, and you're reading my blog. I'm about to make you both smarter and a better bass player.
Unfortunately, you're going to have to learn my teaching style; I'm going to confuse the fuck out of you, provide an eureka moment, and leave you smiling. If you read this blog and are too stupid to figure out what I'm talking about by its end, you're too stupid to make any difference in life anyway and can just fuck off right now.
Now, guitar players are actually great listeners. No, really. Sure, we make fun of their self-important ways and moan about how they mistreat us, but I really do believe that none of it is malicious. Seriously; if they knew better, they wouldn't do those things. I've been in many conversations where guitarists were plainly and simply wrong. They didn't know they were wrong, but they were. I explained the situation to them, and they all listened. If you don't have the balls or self confidence to properly talk (down) to a guitar player, then you're probably a shitty bassist (since you don't have the balls or confidence to properly play bass).
Guitar players are people, too. Very naive people. Most people are, so we can't blame them too much. A lot of people have problems temporally relating to the time before they were born; if something happened 45 or 60 years ago, by and large it doesn't make a difference. If something was true 60 years ago, and kinda seems true 500 years ago, then things must've held constant between those 2 points in time. Guitar players don't understand that their prized and loved guitars by and large started with the Fender Telecaster. Nay, they think the guitar is this amazingly popular standalone instrument that has been around and the same for centuries. They think it's an instrument that's steeped in tradition, as celebrated as the piano or the violin. Oh, it's such a wonderful thing; I mean, it was around since before many of us were born, and you do hear it in classical music, so it... must be... fuck, guitars are SO cool.
I mean, it's the patriarch of... oh, sorry, I'm just thinking about how much pussy I'm going to get later, I mean since I own a guitar and all. Actually, I gotta go to the washroom for a sec. Be right back.
OK, wow, I don't feel so horny now. Anyway, like I was saying, the guitar is the patriarch of the guitar family. You know, the guitar family. This one:
Yeah, that family. Yep, the family of instruments that was conceptualized in 1980. Nineteen Eighty. Yep, the instrument family that was funded in the year 1986 (Nineteen Eighty-Sicks) by an Austrailian Council grant.
Did your boner go away, you fucking retard guitar players? I am the same age as the guitar family. But then again, I could probably convince you that I'm an ancient person with centuries of tradition and billions of fans. In fact, I do this daily.
THERE IS NO CLASSICAL GUITAR FAMILY. YOU... FUCK I HATE YOU.
The "guitar family" was made 37 years AFTER THE TELECASTER WAS. Y'know, the first properly sellable solidbody electric guitar. Wait a sec, am I denying the existance of the classical guitar? No, I'm not. I'm saying that instrument families are completely and totally fucking irrelevant in modern music - hell, since music started becoming amplified.
Who gives a fuck about instrument families? Guitar players do. It makes them feel special like they're part of some sort of multicentury family; it makes them feel classier, better, smarter, and more talented. Y'know, fuck the instrument without frets or side markings... you know, ones that require bows instead of picks (which classical guitarists don't use) and have a fingerboard radius that's just unfair. Fuck that shit. I want to be part of some amazing tradition that's so fucking easy to play it's almost stupid. Fuck standard notation - just tell me the numbers where I'm supposed to put my fingers. Yeah! I want it all! Yeah!
Sorry shithead, no. There's no guitar family for you. There's the electric guitar. There's just one. Electric guitar. That's it. Oh, right, acoustic, almost forgot. Oh, sure, forgot, there are baritones. Yep, they didn't exist before 1986, but let's pretend they give legitimacy to my instrument's historical importance. Right, almost forgot to mention the completely oddball 12-strings. They don't fit into a "key", but... they... are there. Oh, by the way, Santa Claus isn't real. But, if it's any consolation, fat guys exist. I've seen them, I swear.
If for one second you think "but there is a guitar family! You just showed me!", you're an idiot. You're missing the point entirely.
The point is that guitarists have a built in ego. A chip on their shoulder that has was created in 1949. It's not their fault, really; if they knew that their instrument isn't as (historically) important as they thought it was, they wouldn't take themselves so seriously. That's the problem. They take themselves way, way to seriously. But lurkers, just relax for a sec before you claim I am a blanket statement maker. You're not the only ones, but you're the ones that are the biggest pain in the ass. Also, all Americans are stupid.
It's kinda funny that I've gone on this long without really talking about the bass. I just kinda started going off on guitar players there. Well, I'm laying out one of my arguments backwards. After all, some people think bass players are a type of guitar player. Y'know, since the bass guitar is a type of guitar.
I'm about to suck the spine out of your asshole, son.
I don't have to argue this point much - the bass is not a guitar. It's not an offshoot of a guitar. It's not a type of guitar. IT'S NOT A FUCKING GUITAR. Mercifully, I've already proven that there is no guitar family, so I needn't harp on that now. You've already soaked in the details I was going to drown you with.
But, maybe... just maybe... the making of the bass guitar created a guitar family. Y'know, a modern instrument family. With... erm, 2 members. It's just a guitar with... 2 less strings. Just randomly. Also, a significantly longer scale length. Just because. Erm... string tension... yeah. That's the ticket. Because Carvin didn't make 25.5" basses back then. Gibson didn't try to reinvent the scale length. Neither did Rickenbacker. Nope, guitar is king, and bass is their supportive brother.
Let's stroll down the evolution of the modern band, shall we? I'm not going to drop names or years - just needs. Country, rockabilly, any genre - the music business was booming, concerts were getting bigger, everything was becoming popular, and shit was hard to hear. The guitar, with it's chordy goodness, was what made a song identifiable (after the voice, of course, which was already amplified). They needed to make that electric, and they did. Now, these big, giant wooden basses - they were getting drowned out in the cacophony of it all. They're so hard to play though... and so hard to hear... enter Leo Fender. He wasn't the first to do this, but he was the first to make it work. Let's take the upright bass, shrink it to a managable size, and make it play like one of those Telecaster guitars. They don't feed back too bad. And get rid of that silly fingerboard radius - nobody uses bows nowadays! And... let's give them frets, just like a guitar. We'll call it the Precision bass, since the notes are precise. Precise means consistant. Every time you reach for that note, it's going to be the same note every time. You don't have to worry about your intonation as much.
No, you fucking retards, Leo Fender (or anybody else for that matter) didn't say "let's take that guitar and make it an octave lower." Oh, well fuck me, he did! The Bass VI! And how did that work out? See them often?
Guitar players either think the bass is its own instrument, or they don't know what a coincidence is. That's the only reason the bottom 4 strings and all 4 strings of a guitar are tuned EADG.
I'd love one guitar player to explain to me:
- Why there are 4 strings tuned exactly like an upright bass
- Why the strings that are on a bass guitar are only the strings in common with a double bass and a guitar, and NOT just a guitar
- Why the first bass strings were flatwound, just like on upright basses
- Why you're so fucking stupid
The bass guitar is an upright bass/electric guitar hybrid. It's not a guitar. It's not an upright bass. It's its own instrument. But it's bass first, guitar second. That's why it's a bass guitar, and not a guitar bass.
But come now, let's give guitarists their dicks back. They do belong to an instrument family: the string family. The same family as all violwhatevers, all classical guitars, all basses. A musical family, like the the notion itself, that is completely irrelevant and archaic in this age of music. Get fucking used to it.
Every single bass that was designed as a type of guitar is terrible. All Gibson basses derived with/from guitar designs play, sound, and balance poorly. Acoustic bass guitars, which are basically (and sometimes literally) guitars with long necks, are acoustically feeble and are tonally inept. There is not one guitar-derived bass that works; all well balancing, sounding, and playing basses were designed from the ground up, with at most a visual inspiration from a guitar.
Now, it's disclaiming time.
There are a few good points to raise here that the idiot "I've raised a counterexample and therefore your whole argument is defunct lalalalala" crowd maybe have.
He believes the bass to be a type of guitar that should be used in an orchestral setting. He invented the 6-string bass, which even predated what most would consider the first modern 5-string bass (the high-C 15-fret Fender Bass V doesn't count). However, he's basically the only person who believes this, and his 6-string contrabass guitar (as he and only he calls it) is the least guitar-like instrument that has been made; it has 28 frets (almost/exactly like an upright), no tone controls (just like an upright), and the longest scale length of modern basses (36"). That's right, a scale length closest to that of an upright and farthest from a guitar. The dude's essentially blowing smoke. He goes on and on about the contrabass guitar yet he has invented the least guitarlike bass ever. Another case of someone taking themself way too seriously, but I'll get to that later. I promised already.
Now, argument 2 - electric uprights. If the bass guitar wasn't a type of guitar, why do they exist? They exist because the bass guitar doesn't sound very much like an upright in many situations where the distinct upright tone/look is needed but the size and difficulty of amplification is a burden. And let's face it - those situations are few and far between. It's a niche instrument that exists as a poor excuse for the real thing, and there are essentially no situations where someone would spring for an electric upright over an acoustic. If they want an electric, they get a bass guitar.
If at this point you think the electric bass is a type of guitar, you're fucking nuts. I cannot understand why people just love taking themselves so seriously. The whole concept behind these Gospels is to caricaturize people who take themselves too seriously. That is what thefitz does every second of every day. Music is a fun, wonderful form of entertainment. Most people can't mentally process engineering or medicine or science or theoretical math and physics - so they need to legitimize the fuck out of shit that should be taken for what it is. Music isn't art. It's AN art like cooking, but it's not art. It's showbusiness. It's showbusiness with elements of art. It's performance art. Exactly like movies. People need to sit and enjoy movies and music for what they are. Love it - hate it - analyze it - blindly follow it - just don't make up shit. Don't try to form an infrastructure that doesn't need to be there. Instrument families... roles in music... who fucking cares? Sure, people who don't have the mental capacity to deal with real issues of the mind want to feel important. But why not just shed the unnecessary shit and make fucking music?
It's AN art like cooking - so technique is most important. You should play bass the proper way the same way you should cook fish and chicken the proper way.
Did I just contradict myself? For people who love contradictions and think they end conversations, no I didn't. "Infrastructure doesn't matter" doesn't mean "it doesn't matter if you consider a bass a guitar or not". Either take things for what they are, or don't take them for anything. There's absolutely no need to complicate things and relate them to eachother and to history for no reason other than to make them seem more intellectually legitimate than they really are. Chicken and fish are both animals. You don't bother saying they're both in the "animal family" (and therefore the "chicken family" if you think chicken is #1). You don't cook chicken and fish the same way. You don't play bass and guitar the same way. They're not the same instrument. They're not the same type of instrument. The only things they have in common and on purpose are their frets, their solid bodies, and the way you hold them. Everything else is either negligable or coincidence.
The second you refuse to take things for what they are in favour of adding frivolous infrastructure, your performance will suffer. It doesn't matter what the performance is; acting, music, writing, anything. The second you start playing the bass as if it were a type of guitar is the second your bass playing suffers. You're limiting yourself with made up rules and you're going to hit a ceiling of your own creation.
Take this for a spin; the bass isn't an instrument, it's a concept. The bass is what you play and the way you approach an instrument that can play the bass, whether it's an upright, an electric, a piano, or anything. It's your amp, it's your pedalboard. It's the sum of everything. Keep your fingers straight and have one finger per note, and you'll play the bass. Run it clean, dirty, with a pick, without one. Bass transcends all instruments. The upright bass is a hybrid of a violone and a viol de gamba and changed over time. The electric bass is a hybrid of an upright bass and a guitar and has changed over time even more drastically. It's all the same. Don't start tying yourself down with an irrelevant lineage that doesn't exist. It'll hold back your playing.
Now this is where the whole 'taking yourself too seriously' thing can fuck you up. Don't take this "concept" and run with it far beyond its useful boundaries. Technique is not a concept, and another huge difference between a bass and a guitar. Know the sound you want to get and get it with the instrument you want to get it with. Nothing more, nothing less. If you think shit left and right hand technique will get you the sound you want, you're either a liar or an idiot. You'll still need to play efficiently and in tune to get the concept happening. Think in terms of the song and in terms of bass. Play what will sound good. If you want to play in 16ths along with the guitar and drums, fucking do it. "But it'll sound muddy." How the fuck do you know? If you've read my previous blogs, it won't sound muddy. Get the fucking guitar to play in 8ths. If it doesn't sound good, don't do it. But make your decisions on the SOUND of the bass and not on what the other instruments are doing. There's no lead, there's no rhythm, there's just a song.
What the fuck is a rhythm guitar player anyway? I don't want an answer. As far as I'm concerned it's a guitar player who isn't a talented lead player. If you're a great lead guitarist who can't play rhythm, you're taking yourself way too seriously and are limiting yourself laughably. What, all you practice is leads? Too good for playing the other parts? Like... can what I'm saying get any more clear? How the fuck can you know the theory behind leads but not rhythm? Bass players, how can you dilute yourself into thinking this idiotic way? I have no respect for a lead player who can't play "rhythm" (whatever that is) and I simply will not be talked into the notion of a "rhythm" player who can't play leads as a skillful equal to a real "lead" player. A "rhythm" player who comes up with crazy alternate chord voicings should have no problem coming up with a really cool lead, even if it might not be as fast as the "lead" guitarist. A "lead" player who plays crazy arpeggiated solos should have no problem playing cool, alternate chord voicings. It's irrelevant.
Play the bass. Play the guitar. Learn real fucking technique. Don't pick random bits and bobs to learn because they suit these made-up "roles". For fuck's sake...
... I just love the tone of my Vampyre, but just couldn't settle on it. Basically, I love the passive tone, but just wanted more bottom. I tried various ratios of the 3 band EQ... the treble was clear but too chattery and harsh, the mid was present but took up too much room, the bass was thick but a bit overly so on the low strings.
All sounds beautiful, just not 'it'.
I thought... crap... if I could only get that passive tone, just with more bottom.
So I turned all bands to flat and turned the bass knob up a bit.
Fucking hours over days of knob twiddling, playing the same licks at deafening volumes... and all it took was the following of my own fucking directions.
It's the perfect combination of my Jazz and my old Corvette with the fidelity and woodiness that only a $6000 bass can provide.
Not worth posting in-forum, but I thought some people might find that funny.
EDIT: Well, it seems that I was a bit hasty in posting that last blog, but the ultimate outcome is also worth mentioning. While I liked the tone I was getting with the simple bass boost, I soon realized that, while good, the tone wasn't Fitzy enough. I could just hear the guitars piling on top of it in my head. So, in addition to my healthy bass boost, I added a fair mid boost, and a very, very slight treble boost. That treble boost is so sensitive it's fantastic and just a testament to the detail of sound in a Warwick.
Now, it's basically a woodier, Warwickier version of my prized Jazz tone. I'm happy now... until I fart around some more and come up with something again
However, why is this interesting? Because the EQ curve on my onboard EQs on by basses are mirror images of eachother. On both the Jazz and Warwick, I boost the mids (both spec'd at 500Hz) the same amount. I added a significant bass boost on the Warwick (spec'd at 30Hz) and a very slight bass boost on my Jazz (40Hz). I added a slight treble boost on my Warwick (10kHz), and a huge treble boost on my Jazz (8kHz).
The same sound concept, completely opposite EQ curves. It just goes to show you how little the pickups and EQ themselves affect the tone, and a testament to how woods make all the difference.
Well, I got a phone call from Long and McQuade today after being annoying and persistant on the phone this past weekend. Now, I can be all dramatic but I'll get to the point.
The bass works 100%. I get it tomorrow.
The repair will cost me sixteen dollars.
What was the problem?
Well, remember that bypassed EQ?
The bass' push/pull knob didn't pull out. According to the website, the bass has "active electronics" and not the "push/pull active/passive" electronics every other bass has, so I thought nothing of it.
Well as it turns out, the previous owner of the bass removed the knob of the push/pull pot, pulled the post out to passive mode, and put the knob back on, screwing it on tight. Why? So the bass was always in passive mode. You needn't pull it out again, but you can't push it back into passive mode.
It took the tech 15 minutes to figure out to take off the knob, push the post back to active mode, and reattach the knob like originally intended.
I say again, nothing was ever broken. The dude just kept the bass in passive mode.
LMFAO!! I can't fucking believe it. There was never anything wrong with it! Thank you, Guitar Center in Hallandale, FL, for making my bass-playing life thus far.
Believe it - thefitz owning a $6400 bass (according to basscentral.com) for $216 + tax. It's like Richard Branson winning the lottery! HAHAHAHAHA!!!
Well folks, I've something I thought I'd mention to those who care.
We're the opening track of a compilation called Rock 4 Life Volume 3, courtesy of QuickStar productions. As such, the album is posted on a bunch of online retailers, meaning you can download the song Diesel from iTunes! Hurrah! If you liked the song (and a good bit of you seem to) and you want to support crazy ol' Fitzy or the band, I would be honoured for you to download it.
So where does that leave our album? Finished, of course. We just recorded the title track off of our album this last weekend, called Machine. I can't express my undying love for this song accurately enough - a dual fuzz bass line, three rhythm guitar tracks, and five simultaneous guitar solos. It's epic, but not in the internet meme sense. However, it IS 34 tracks, so it's gonna be a while in production.
And finally, my fretless is structurally complete - I was playing it last night and today and it's just incredible. Unfortunately, I still have to add electronics, but I'll bring it in when my Vampyre's done, which I'm going to call about tomorrow.
Once all this stuff's out of the way, I'll finish off these Gospels. I've probably lost all the momentum I had with these Gospels, but oh well. I'll get it back. Believe me.
Thought I'd give a little update on the status of the bass.
I still stand by my prognosis of the bass' problem. I took it into the Long and McQuade where I got my wenge neck. They seemed pretty "oh, cool" about the bass and nothing more, and I told them the story and what I think was wrong with it.
The dude said that Warwick are notorious pains in the asses when it comes to getting stuff. They can get a wiring diagram, but they will NOT give schematics. Crap, some stuff comes with the schematic in the bloody instruction manual! Parts take around three months to get from them, too. So basically, if the problem is what I think it is, the repair won't be a problem at all. Anything else requires a full preamp replacement. If that's the case, chances are I'll go third-party. I don't think I'll have to, though.
The downside is that right now they say they have a four week turnaround - so I probably won't be able to have it for the show if that's the case. However, my friend reckons it isn't - they said it would take the same amount of time to get his BC Rich guitar fitted with new pickups (one of the good BCs, a NT Mockingbird in the same colour scheme and top configuration as mine) but it only took them a week. This was Tuesday. So we'll see!
I hope the chronicle stops at three so I can resume the Gospel
This blog's title sounds like a prog metal album, dunnit?
So I took my $200 Warwick Vampyre LTD downstairs and plugged it in.
I immediately noticed that the bass was not only working, but sounding fantastic. Absolutely stunning. WTF?
After some investigation, I noticed only the volume and pickup pan knobs respond. I also noticed that taking out the battery decreases the volume by 99%, so the active component of the electronics are fine.
Then I figured out that the previous owner was a Mike D'Antonio/Peter Ewers/Paul Romanko type of guy that was too metal to have a working EQ - he simply bypassed it in the wiring. My friend noticed some strangely located soldering points, and the slight imprint of a soldering iron along the edge of the control cavity . The electronics were so complex my friend couldn't really do anything other than that.
So, basically, I have to take it to a store in downtown Toronto (the one that gave me my Wenge neck and brass JANI) and get them to restore the wiring to it's original state. Other than that, the bass should be 100% as it was, less some road scars, and most importantly, some perfectly worked-in neck finish.
I'll post new blogs as I have updates. This thing sounds awesome and will undoubtedly be my main axe. This bass was meant to be mine. Dyvyne ynterventyon. The previous owner replaced the Warwicks straplocks with straplocks of the exact same type and colour of a set of straplocks I had on a strap that's the exact same colour as the bass! Can you believe that shit? Was that sentence even readable?
Hell, I might not even bother getting it done, it sounds so awesome. But I probably will - it's not driving my gear, namely my fuzz, and the low-end of my head, as hard as I'd like it to. But once it's all sorted out, fuck, game over man.
This may sound smug but I'm very proud of the gear I own and am very grateful I've been fortunate enough to own it. Never in a million years did I expect to own a bass that completely schools my Fender at 1/9th of the price.
Now reading week's over - I have to return to the drudgery that I call my existance once again, feeling the punishment I deserve from not doing the work I should have over the break. It's going to be a terrible day tomorrow and the next 2 following days. But hopefully I can hammer it out. Plus I have to work on at least 2 songs, one of which is the song that'll make me.
Fuck off, guitards linking in from the hope page. A-thankyou-thankyou.
Anyway, today was my first day of school this semester, and everything's plodding along. Over the break we recorded our album, titled "Thank You. Now Die", and I'm going to be mixing it. As of today I'm pretty much half-way done, meaning I've mixed one of the songs we recorded over the break. Once that's done, we're going to get it professionally duplicated and hopefully set up for digital distribution. Like a proper real album to play and promote.
February's looking to be a busy month - it's a 4 weekend month, and reading week occupies 2 of them, and I might go to Ottawa with a friend's band for support for a third. However, I'm thinking I might piss off work hardcore if I take all those days off. I have a bad feeling about it. But I always overthink stuff like this. Always looking for stress.
I've a correspondance set up with 2 bookers, and hopefully one of them will land us a March show. One only gave a show listing for Jan/Feb and the other one none at all. I asked for March gigs from both. Both look promising, assuming they offer some.
Once I'm done mastering, or even during, we really need to start spreading my band's internet awareness. We need to start whore-adding friends hardcorps. It's pathetic, I know, but fucking effective. I guess I've been hesitant to do it because of sub-par recordings. So anyway, if you guys have bands that I've not added to myspace yet, know bands that we'd like/would like us, know bands that sound like us, or have friends that would like our music, please do us a favour and either give me links to their myspace accounts, or get them to add us.
That compilation CD we're the opening track of should be finished printing this month, meaning our single, Diesel, will be on iTunes pretty soon. Once it's there and we've got our myspace up to snuff, all this DDG on UG is going bye-bye. Cept maybe the live stuff. Yeah, we'll keep the live stuff. But if you like our stuff and want to hear it, either head on over to the myspace, or pick up a CD. But that'll probably be a while.
On the gear front, I never thought I'd own an electric upright before my custom fretless - but it's almost done. Literally minutes away from completion. Just the tone pot shafts aren't long enough. I'm gonna tell my buddy to drill more wood out of the top so the pots need only go through the control plate, not the top and the plate.
The upright meant I'm not replacing my cabs any time soon, but they doesn't annoy me that much since I stopped using my Sonic Maximizer. It was a godsend for small combos, but for stacks it just sucks the tits off of your tone. It's clear, it's deep... but something's missing. If anybody's interested in my Sonic Stomp for sale or trade, PM me.
So yes, that's that. I had a great break that reaffirmed my knowledge of exactly how great all my friends are. I hope 2009 is the year of the Grape and holds many significant events. I'm getting stir-crazy and I get grumpy when I'm stir-crazy.
I hope I'll get videos from our last show soon. The soundboard recordings are on the DDG UG page - one that I haven't updated other than with music in months, if not a year.