Jonathan Randall

Musician / Bass Player

BLOG Entry - 2023 May

It’s been a while since I did a BLOG entry so here is one that covers a fair bit of 2023 (at least the first half).

I have been busy with teaching and now have a lot of regular students including some online (Zoom) students. Their interests vary greatly and the teaching materials and requests reflect that with everything from PRIMUS (Shake Hands with Beef, Tommy The Cat) through to Yashu (Fly Day in Chinatown).

Admittedly, some of this stuff is challenging to play but I am thankful that there are a number of transcriptions already available !

I have also been rehearsing with our band playing variety of 90’s , 80’s, 70’s style covers. While the tunes themselves are not too tricky, the quantity of material to learn is always challenging. I really believe that to make a tune groove it’s best to memorise it so your brain is not being distracted, trying to read. (Thats not to say that sight-reading doesn’t mean you can’t groove, its just a lot more fun (and easy) if you have a tune memorised - and probably a bit more interesting for the audience to watch)

Gear-wise : No new bass gear apart from my Fender Kingman acoustic bass (cant remember if already posted about that). The acoustic bass has its own unique, look feel and sound. Most noticeably for me is the lack of a thumb rest or pickup to put my thumb on. Thus you have this floating right hand to deal with. Beyond that my particular instrument had a few issues. Some were corrected by having it professionally set-up and the biggest problem was corrected by having the bridge saddle cut in half (under warranty from Fender). Apparently a common problem with acoustic basses is that the thicker strings (E and A) pull down harder on the floating bridge saddle more than the thinner strings (D and G) (causing a see-saw effect). This in turn means that the bridge saddle is not sitting evenly in its slot (on top of the piezo pickup sensors). - Technical note : The way piezo sensors work is they detect vibration and pressure. This means that the piezo sensor was registering a stronger (louder) signal on the low strings than what it was registering on the higher strings. Which meant the sound when playing was unbalanced with the bass notes booming and the high notes almost disappearing. By splitting the bridge saddle the pressure is equalised between the strings with no see-sawing effect from one end of the bridge being pulled down harder than the other.

As I write - the weather is changing and winter is coming. Im looking forward to using some of the extended indoor time to work on my playing and develop new curriculum for my students

Peace Jon