Okay now that I have jammed with Big Daddy a few times I have some observations.
The bass is gorgeous and really is an eye catcher. Lonnie says when he watches me playing it from a distance the wood is so beautiful and flamed. The bass catches the light and glows. So we have established (several times) this bass is a looker!!! The volume of the bass is good and loud in a jam…but…the Thomastik medium strings are part of the volume and I have a difficult time adjusting from guts strings to steel strings and then back to guts (Gamut guts are my favorite).
My style of “flat out” playing really comes to life when I play a bass strung with guts…I love to dig in and thump. While the Thomastik medium gives this bass a lot of volume and sustain, I feel like I can’t dig in enough to get my groove going. I asked Lonnie to put a set of Thomastik Weich (lights) on the bass to see if I can dig in more and have softer tension to the string. I think it may compromise the volume a little, but I am wiling to give it a try. He may cut a new sound post at the same time. This one fits well, but it is skinny. Lonnie likes a more meaty sound post that has good contact with the top and back of the bass. I guess we will try one or both changes to see if I like the playability better with the Weich strings. We don’t want to compromise the tone the bass currently has…which is very loud and great for jamming.
It is difficult for me to adjust to different basses set up with different strings. It has taken a while for me to reach a place where I know what I like and what feels good when I am playing. For me my “go to” bass is my 1941 Epiphone B-1 with a full set of Gamut guts. This bass gets lots of comments for the opposite reason that Big Daddy gets comments. My Epi B-1 bass has had a hard life and it looks like it. The finish is a greenish-brown; the edges are worn down smooth. I got two comments Saturday night before I started to jam at a festival…”boy, that bass looks used”. “It looks like a rat was chewing on the edges” “Bet it was used hard and put a way wet”. I just smile and agree. Then they hear me play it and nobody cares how it looks…they love the sound. So I have the most beautiful, pristine Epiphone B-5 in Big Daddy and the complete opposite with a run down, well used Epiphone B-1 named Gunner…and I love them both. I have the best of both worlds and could not be happier. I’ll give an update on any changes we make to Big Daddy and how it affects to playability and volume.
Lonnie is preparing the next bass for a Bass Monkey makeover. A 1945 Epiphone B-5, # 811 named Luther. This bass came complete with a rattle snake “rattler” on the inside. More to come on that bass soon.