I Had To Start Sometime…

Welcome to the JerryMark.com Blog! I’m new to this stuff, so bear with me while I get the hang of it and I’ll try to make the thing as informative, entertaining, and thoughtful as I can.

So let me start with this: I think the bass guitar is really the stealth leader of the pop ensemble. I’ve heard many comments and anecdotes to support this contention, but of course since the bass guitar is my only instrument I obviously have a bias! Here are two that have stuck with me (and forgive me for not exactly remembering who said what):

“If the bass player knows the tune, everyone else will be alright.”

“At Motown, they taught us (singers) to listen to the bass player.”

One more, and though I’m paraphrasing, I know it emanated from Janis Joplin:

“I have to stand in front of the bass player’s amp in order to sing.”

So take that in, and remember the last time you saw a band playing live in a video. Unless the bass player happens to be the lead singer or is one of those low-end virtuosos who is fronting the band (Esperanza Spalding, for example), he or she is absolutely guaranteed to get the least camera time. It doesn’t even seem to matter if the bassist happens to be a hot chick, which is increasingly common these days. Even the background singers will get more camera time.

The bass is the instrument that bridges the purely rhythmic instruments, such as the drums, with the purely melodic instruments such as the voice or the lead guitar, and the rhythmic instruments that also have harmonic content such as the rhythm guitar. With the exception of certain aspects of electronic keyboards and the amplified sound of the bass drum (the “kick”), the bass is the only instrument that is not only heard but truly felt deep in the gut.

I don’t spend much time in DJ clubs, but it’s absolutely astounding to be in a space that holds maybe three hundred people and yet has a wall of subwoofers that could fill a good portion of an arena. The fillings in your teeth rattle sympathetically. Then of course there are the cars that you can seemingly hear from half a block away with so much bass content booming one wonders how the windows don’t blow out.

So clearly people like bass, but I wonder how many actually think of the instrument in the same way they think of the guitar or the drums.

My wife and I once gave a ride to a friend of hers to a concert we were all attending, but the friend’s seat was in a different location. I asked her after the show if she liked the bass player. Her response: “Which one was the bass player?”