Sunday, May 06, 2007

I've been a student of the internet for a long while

I've had some trouble with these photos loading. Just keep refreshing the page if you can't see them. This new Blogger seems pretty buggy.

I now understand that to be taken seriously as a musician, image is everything. One must convey that one is a respectable musician by posing with one's musical instrument in proper fashion. So I'm like, "Hey, I got some banjos! I might as well become respected with them".
Please pay no attention to the amount of dust on the photo props.

Template number one: Your musical tool must always be held up, near your face. Cradle it lovingly and muster a look that conveys that you are 1. Pensive, 2. Contemplative, 3. Forlorn or 4. Holding back a fart.

Template One (a): Contemplative


Template One (b): Pensive


Template Two (stringed instrument only) : Loosen all of your strings and bend the shit out of them. Make it look like you didn't loosen them by grimacing or furrowing your brow. Here you see me casually executing a 5 half-step bend like I do it every other note on my (conveniently) scalloped fretboard. Too bad this photograph does not show that this instrument has stereo output jacks. This gets you Megapoints with the prog rockers. Of course I've owned this for about two years and I think I've plugged it in all of 4 times.

Template Two (B) would be to loosen the strings, bend the shit out of them, hold them with your teeth.


Template three (marketed exclusively to males): You must fret some exotic / esoteric chord that is pretty much impossible to whip into during a real live song without a 12-bar rest first to give you time to set up. Signify that this is easy by looking off in another direction like you didn't even notice you were doing it. In the picture below I am totally Jonas Hellborg. In fact, this makes the tendon in my arm hurt all the way to my gonads.

Lastly, Template four: Hold your instrument as if it were your lover. Note the Susannah Hoffs eyes, the Mona Lisa smile, the Jimmy Durante nose. This is sultry, people. This conveys that music is sexual, and that you are a sexual being. It also relates your level of intimacy with the instrument, and therefore "way around it".

It helps if you can have a little caption or some dialog wherein you discuss how you instrument is metaphorically an animal or a member of the opposite sex or better yet, both. A good quote like, "Punch it and it growls"* or "It cries when you pick on it"* or "I can make her make sounds only a dog can hear" will get you far. Billy Sheehan in fact refers to his original bass only as "His Wife".

Now that I've taken the time to take these photographs I would prefer that you all treat me like a right proper genius of a musician. This is only the tip of the iceberg as far as ideas that are cleverly displayed with musical instruments in photographs. Perhaps in the future I'll explore hair-down pictures, general concepts of revolution and selling non-conformity for $19.99 a pop.

Some of my myspace friends

This blog is dedicated to John Myung of Dream Theatre who, no matter what, makes sure to bring his six-string bass to every photo session just to make sure you understand that he plays a SIX-string bass, even if he's the only one in the picture holding an instrument. Thanks John, for perpetuating the bass-player inferiority complex.

Prop specs:
1.) 1978 Fretless Music Man Stingray
I bought this bass purely out of lust. It's strung BEAD and is just the sweetest sound you've ever heard.

2.) Yamaha Billy Sheehan Signature Attitude Ltd II (or something like that)
I feel kinda stupid when I strap this one on. I respect Billy Sheehan, but don't really seek to play like him. I needed a nice, straight, clean fretted bass as my old Fender is dying (as they do) and I got a great deal on it. I don't think I could use this in front of people any more than I could drive around in a Viper. You're just announcing a small penis to the world. I couldn't do it. People see you with this bass and expect screaming pinch harmonics.

3.) c.1973 Fender Telecaster
I've had this bass since I was 11. It freaking screams. I love it. But it's sloppy and noisy and is becoming irascible with old age. I'm getting tired of having it overhauled every few years, which Is why I bought the Yamaha.

4) mid-1990s Fender Jazz Fretless purchased in a Jaco Pastorius-inspired catatonic-state that makes all bass players who, after hearing Jaco for the first time march to a music store in a drooling, zombie-like trance and purchase a fretless Jazz bass while having no earthly idea how to play it or pay for it. The music store guys can see them (us) coming a mile away, "Here comes another Jaco! Polish up the crappy Mexican J-basses!"


*real, honest-to-gosh text from guitar magazine advertisements

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