years of the Bass Monkey Workshop blog…time has passed so quickly. Though we have accomplished much, there is so
much more work to do. When I look back
at the first day the blog was created in January 1st, 2009 until now,
we could have never dreamed of the wonderful people we have met, the basses that
we have been so fortunate to own and restore, but most important is the music
that has brought so much joy to our life.
If you have
read through the blogs, I have posted about everything from bass restorations
to Lonnie’s passion for his beloved first car, his Mustang. I have also posted about his work on banjos
and my multiple comments about the weather (a favorite hobby of mine). My favorite posts are about the
wonderful people we have met along our journey and the joyous opportunities to
make music with some of the finest musicians.
We are very
fortunate to live in a region that is rich with bluegrass music. Any given night with a 100 mile drive we can
play bluegrass music. We are now jamming
up to three times a week. These local
jams give me an opportunity to test drive all our basses in a live
setting. We get to hear the volume and
tone of our basses against the other instruments. Some of our jams get quite large and pretty “snappy”
as our one friend likes to say, and my bass always gets the job done.
love all our basses some I favor more then others, mostly because of sentimental
reasons. Of course my number one bass is
my Gunner, the 1941 Epiphone B-1. He is
my first Epi and the Epiphone that started the research project and the journey
to study the Epiphone upright bass history project. This bass will never leave our collection; he
will be with me until my last day on earth.
He looks like he was drug behind a truck and has never had one cosmetic
touch up. The patina and wear on this
bass is just perfect, I would not change a thing if we could. He is perfect just the way he is…repaired
neck, chipped edges, ghastly green brown finish…just the way a 1941 bass with a
deep history and thousands of gigs should look and sound.
One of my
other favorite basses is my 1937 Kay M-4 named Polly Pretty Polly. She too has a special place in my heart as my
second Kay bass I ever owned. Her
flowered engraved tuners have always been a soft spot for me. She is a beautiful dark honey blonde and her
finish has aged with a nice cracked patina.
She too is a bass that has an awesome tone and is a joy to play. I have been playing her exclusively the last
few weeks and am being reminded why Kay was the Father of the plywood basses…she
has such great tone and playability. She
is a sweet ole gal.
is my 1937 American Standard with the humped shoulders named Elliot, he too was
my very first American Standard bass. He
unlike Gunner or Polly has gone through a complete Bass Monkey restoration with
a new finish and wears a full set of Gamut gut strings. He is a gorgeous, big, bad,
bass that has that classic American Standard low end boom. I don’t play this bass nearly enough as it is
so beautiful I don’t want to get it banged up in public jams. He tends to stay home and gets good “woodshed”
time. It also takes a few songs for me
to get acclimated to the 43” string length verses the 42” string length of the
Kay or Epi. He too has a special spot in
my heart as my first American Standard.
core of three basses are several other favorites like my pristine 1941 Gibson
B-135 bass named Mother Maybelle to the 1941 Epiphone B5 named Big Daddy. Both of these basses are in a time warp. They have barely aged from the day they were
made. Both basses are completely original
with no damage and no repairs. Just
stunning examples of two great basses from that golden pre-war era. I could go on and on why each of our basses has
a special connection for both of us.
Either by how we acquired it or the history and stories behind each
bass. They are all special to us in some
unique way. We hope once the holidays
pass that we can get back to bass restoration projects. Lonnie has been working on the Mustang this
winter so the Bass Monkey workshop has been pretty quiet.
fortunate to have many visitors (and many international visitors) to the website
and the workshop blog everyday. We hope
you have enjoyed reading our stories and share in our joy of American-made
plywood upright basses. We can only
wonder and imagine what the next five years will bring.
Our New Years
wish for you is a life filled with good health, great music and the joy that
you can bring to others by sharing a song, a smile and a kind word.