Beer, Bowling and Boogie Tour?

Recently, the Kool Kat has taken to playing the Pup bass -- the powder blue Chinese cheapie, hybrid Jaguar-Jazz bass.  Lighter strings.  Brighter tone.  Thinner neck.  A semi-surf vibe.

The bass is far from a “stock” Chinese cheapie.  Before entering the Doghouse, it made a stop at Buzzard’s Bass in Massachusetts.  There, it had a makeover of sorts.  Level the frets.  Shielding.  New electronics and bridge.  Change the nut.  Match the headstock to the body.  Tortoise pick guard.  The process was more than putting lipstick on a pig.  It converted the Chinese cheapie into an overpriced "custom" Chinese cheapie.

For two years, it mostly sat in the closet.  It came out for Sierra Surf Music Camp last year.  But, as loyal readers know, it developed a buzz on the low C, which made it useless to me.  Back on the floor of the Sacramento Valley, the buzz disappeared.

A couple of weeks ago, the powder blue (now overpriced but custom) Chinese cheapie came out of the closet again.  Robert showed up without his bass and asked, “Where’s your bass?”  “In the closet.”  “Can I use it?”  “If it doesn’t buzz on the low C.”  And out it came.

We hooked a strap -- adjusted for me -- to it.  Robert threw the strap over his shoulder.  He looked like a punk bassist as the Chinese cheapie hung down around his knees.  A trip to my strap collection led to tiki strap which could be adjusted easily.  Robert shortened it up, and -- voila -- he was playing away.  No buzz on the low C.  No chattering strings bouncing off of the pickups.

Wow.  The Chinese cheapie bass actually sounded really good!

Pressing it into regular -- or semi-regular -- service required taking it to Guitar Workshop for an overhaul.  A trip to Guitar Workshop also was an opportunity to talk about music and guitars, bounce some ideas around, and watch professionals at work. 

Any non-lesson time at Guitar Workshop centers around the workbench where Dave and Steve perform their jobs as master technicians and skilled craftsmen.  Usually, in addition to run-of-the-mill set-ups, some major project occupies the bench -- refretting a vintage Ric or refurbishing of a vintage Gibson.  But they treat a Chinese cheapie bass with the same care and attention.

Enthusiastically, I promoted the upcoming Sunday Surf Party to Dave, Steve, and anybody else within ear shot.  Dave’s response was encouraging, “Surf music, beer, and bowling just go together.  You need to take it to bowling alleys all over Northern California.”

OMG.  The Beer, Bowling and Boogie Tour!


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