Monday, November 14, 2011

Hostile Takeover!

Well, after forty plus years of playing professionally, I still encounter situations that educate, and yes, frustrate.

Case in point?

I was to play electric bass guitar in a combo hired to accompany a local college choir for their concert.

Like the good band mate that I am, I packed my bass and rather large (and quite heavy amp) to the music building auditorium. Although I am pushing sixty, I would rather strain myself for a few minutes before the performance, than suffer emotionally hearing my bass part played through an inferior, yet much lighter amp. I also owe it to the director, students and other band members to give it my best.

Then enter the guitar player with an amp the size of a two-slice toaster!

After the first selection, he reached over with his guitar cord in hand and said, "I can't hear myself over the band, mind if I plug into your amp?"

Before I could answer, he unplugged my bass from channel one, and reinserted me into the aux channel and plugged his ax where I was.

Instantly, the bass tone tanked, and my instrument was speaking softer than his guitar was before the switch.

But wait...............

it gets worse!

The next song was a slow ballad in which the guitarist played some really sour clunkers!

The director, horns and rest of the rhythm section glared at me as the offending tonal onslaught was coming from my amp set-up. (For those who don't play guitar or bass, the lowest notes of the guitar overlap the highest notes of the bass. Therefore, if the chord chart calls for a G chord in the first inversion (G/B), the guitar is actually playing a third lower than the bass note).


A muddy gloppy sludge of low tones a major third apart trying to be produced by the same speaker.

So what to do?

Do I suffer in silence and keep a brave face as the everyone grimaces at me?

Do I start a nasty input fight on stage which takes the focus from those college students who have worked hard all semester for this night?

What would you have done?

write me at:


I would love your opinion on this.

Back to the story.........

So what did I do?

You'll have to wait for the next post to hear that, and the summery of your responses.

good gigging!

Larry Marra

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