The Curse of the Bass Player (A Cautionary Tale)

In the beginning there was a bass. It was a Fender. Probably a Precision, but it could have been a Jazz… nobody knows for sure. Anyway, it was very old… definitely pre-C.B.S.

And God looked down upon it and saw that it was good. He saw that it was very good and could not be improved upon although men would later try.

And then He created man to play the bass. And, lo, the man looked upon the bass, which was a beautiful ‘sunburst’ red, and he loved it before he held it in his arms. He plucked the open E string and the note rang through the earth and reverberated through the firmaments. (Thus reverb came to be.) It was good.

And God heard that it was good and He smiled at his handiwork.

Then in the course of time, the man came to slap upon the bass. And lo, it was funky. And God heard this funkiness and He said, “Go man, go.” And it was good.

Time passed, and having little else to do, the man came to practice upon the bass. And lo, the man came to have a great set of chops. And he did play faster and faster until the notes rippled like a breeze through the heavens. And God heard this ripple which resembled the wind which He had created earlier. It also sounded something like the movement of furniture which He had not yet created, and He was not so pleased. And He spoke unto the man, saying “Don‘t do that!”

Now the man heard the voice of God, but he was so excited about his new ability that he slapped upon the bass a blizzard of funky notes, and the heavens shook with the sound and the Angels flew about in confusion. (Some of the Angels started to dance on the head of a pin, but that‘s another story.) And God heard this – how could He miss it? And lo, He became Bugged. And once again He spoke unto him and said, “Listen man, if I had wanted Jimi Hendrix I would have created the guitar. Stick thee unto the bass parts!”

And the man definitely heard the voice of God this time and he knew not to mess with it. But now he had upon him an uncontrollable passion for playing fast and high. The man filed the frets off of the bass which God had created and did slide his fingers upon the fretless fingerboard and play melodies high up on the neck. And in his excitement the man forgot the commandment of the Lord and did play a frenzy of high melodies and blindingly fast licks using alternate fingerings. And the heavens rocked with the assault and the earth shook, rattled and rolled.

Now God‘s wrath was great and His mighty voice was thunder as He rebuked the man yet again. “O.K. for you, pal. Ye have been thrice warned and have heeded not My word. Therefore, as a suitable punishment I will create a soprano saxophone that will put forth piercing sounds that will be higher than you ever thought possible. And for further torment I will also bring forth a Kenny G, whose bleating will be ubiquitous and impossible to avoid. Woe unto you! Your seed for generations to come will curse the day you heeded not my bidding!” “And from out of the chaos I shall also bring forth drums and cymbals, temple blocks and boo-bams, cowbells and tom toms and a drummer with no ears. He shall play so many rhythms that thine head shall ache, and furthermore, I sentence you to always stand right next to his high hat.” “You think that you are now loud? I shall create a stack of Marshall amps to make thine ears bleed. And I shall send down upon the earth other instruments, and lo, they shall all be able to play higher and faster than the bass.

And for all the days of man, your curse shall be this; that all the other musicians shall look unto you, the bass player, for the low notes. And if you play too high or too fast, all the other musicians shall say “Wow,” but really they shall hate it. And they shall tell you that you are ready for a solo career and find other bass players for their bands. And for all your days, if you want to play your fancy licks you shall have to sneak them in like a thief in the night. And if you finally do get to play a solo, and only after everyone else in the band has had extended solos, all of the other musicians shall leave the bandstand and go to the bar for a drink and the audience will talk among themselves as if you were not there.” And thus it was and will be forever.

Source unknown. Please advise of a missing citation!