Monday, April 23, 2007

Bass Instincts

After running yesterday, I did what my friend Gareth describes as a "Good Thing".

My son Kohta joined the (electric) guitar club at school some two or three months ago. He had to fight us a bit for the permission because he is already in the brass band club, and there is only so much a kid can fit into one life. One problem was he didn't have a guitar, nor any experience playing one, nor a parent that knows the first thing about it. The other kids in the club (all three of them) declared that what they really needed was a bass player. So Kohta was volunteered for that role. And he was keen. But unfortunately he didn't have a bass. Nor did he have especially sympathetic parents. We were a bit worried about several things: a) Would it just be a passing fancy? b) Would he be able to practice without disturbing the neighbours? c) Who would teach him? (the guitar club had no teacher) d) Wouldn't this cost us a fortune?

He located a second hand bass in a nearby trash and treasure. It was only 5000 yen (A$60?). Hmm, pretty cheap. But we were still not convinced due to reservations about quality of a 2nd hand machine and that he would still need an amp, strap, case, etc, none of which we knew much about. So we let it go, days went by, then weeks, and weeks turned into a couple of months. Still he kept raising the topic. I have been feeling symathetic to his cause for a few weeks, having been convinced of the strength of his motivation, and so we managed to convince the financial controller that we should invest a modest amount to give him the chance to try it. But still there were questions....

Then two things happened. Firstly, he told me a couple of days ago that the new headmaster has his own band and is going to teach the guitar club...AND, he can play/teach bass. That was one big obstacle out of the way...at least he would have every opportunity to learn, and it would be entirely up to him. The one remaining obstacle was the complete state of ignorance on the part of his parents when it comes to all things musical. And that was where Gareth came to the rescue. He has been learning electric guitar for the past couple of years, his 50th birthday present to himself. To cut the story short, he emailed me after the run yesterday to point me towards Rock Inn, a guitar shop in Shinjuku that sold starter bass sets for 20,000 yen (a bit over A$200). He then very kindly met us there later in the afternoon. And to cut this rapidly lengthening story even shorter, we ended up getting a slightly more up-market starter set for 25,000 yen: an Ibanez GSR320. It is a pretty nice machine (picture shows actual colour), and since that price includes a 10 watt amp, bag, strap, leads, tuner and assorted other bits and pieces, it felt like a bargain. It was one of those shopping experiences that really made you feel good. It certainly made Kohta happy and it was fun watching him pop the study DVD he bought into the player and get stuck into the practice as soon as we got home.

Could this be the beginning of the career of the first musical Lacey in existence?

8 comments:

2P said...

Be grateful it wasn't a drummer the band needed...

Ingo said...

Now you have got to get him a few Ron Carter, Jaco Pastorius and Charlie Mingus albums!

Tesso said...

How about some Youtube-ing so we can follow his journey :-)

Pete said...

You did good. That's a relatively cheap investment in what could be a lifelong passion for the lad...

Gareth said...

Not my 50th. Two years ago about now, in fact. just about last weekend or the weekend before, but two years ago. It has six wires, and if you flick at them with this triangular bit of plastic it makes a noise. The same is true for banging on the big round hollow part, though not so much for the long thin part where the wires run.

I'm sure Kohta will soon be as good as I am. In fact, as his guitar only has four wires, whereas mine has a total of six, I am sure he will make even faster progress than I did.

I look forward to playing "Michael Row the Boat Ashore", "Kumbaya" and other timeless classics with him, as soon as I can remember the cords. Cords, wires, it's all very confusing.

Ewen said...

The financial controller might have to spring for soundproofing for his room. Wait until he's as good as Stand Tall Steve before Youtubing.

Scott said...

Cheaper than a dam "Garmin" I'd bet.

Don't worry the Kid's alright! A career in Music never hurt anyone.
I'll rephrase that. Keith Richards survived, didn't he? I'll rephrase that.........

Think of the girls he will bring home in the future.

Yeah that's it!

Rachel said...

Yeah, I'd love to play the bass guitar. The bass is the foundation of every band, what drives the music and so versatile to every genre of music. Hope it goes well!