Building a Bass Guitar – Part 2 (Painting Body and Neck)

I’ve been waking up early and painting by moonlight to get this guitar properly finished.  The body coat is proving to be a real bear.  Little cans of green spray paint (I’ve gone through four) don’t cover like an air brush.  It’s kind of an awkward undertaking in the confines of my balcony as well.  There are newspapers spread all over the place, the guitar is hanging off the back of a porch chair to dry, and I’m usually in a 3M mask (originally purchased for a bird flu outbreak) tending to it all.  Yeah, it’d be enough to scare the neighbors if they looked over the wall.  I think Mrs. NH is questioning my sanity.

I’m headed to Kyiv this week so expect a break in bass progress reports.  I’m looking forward to visiting some favorite restaurant haunts.

I Bought A Bass Guitar

Yep, I did.  But it’s in pieces.  Some would call it a kit.  I call it my spring project.  It’s modeled after a Fender Precision Bass.  It’s all cut out.  It just needs to be painted and assembled.  Little NH totally egged me on last night and now I’m wondering what they call “metallic green” and “clear coat” in Czech hardware stores.  It’ll be here in a couple weeks.  Between now and then I’ll be thinking of cool basslines that I’ll probably never learn to play.  But hey, at least I kept my promise.  The picture isn’t brown.

Les Paul and My Synapses

I’ve always known that for me, music holds an incredible amount of power.  But I think I really experienced just how much power the other night.  After getting back from a long, mellow, mobile phone and e-mail free vacation on the beach, my mind had a chance to readjust and reevaluate what the daily grind had fashioned into my daily after work routine.  In doing so, a particularly shiny Les Paul that has been sitting under the bed for over two years bubbled up on the list as more important than watching the banalities of cable news.  Go figure.

So, tanned and relaxed I snatched the guitar from under the bed, dusted off the shiny black body and set about strumming old chords that I seemed to remember perfectly.  It felt great.  Later that night, I got out a book of chords that I have tucked away on the bookshelf and set about learning about three new chords.  They came incredibly easily and my fingers were surprisingly nimble on the fretboard.  I rediscovered the joy of an E chord and strummed it repeatedly as I finished puttering around with the blues scale and anything else I could remember as bedtime drew near.  I remember reading somewhere that The Edge calls E his favorite chord and now I see why.  Open, warm and confident, it seems to encapsulate everything that is alluring about a guitar.  I went to bed happy.

However, I laid there for about ten minutes and though my mind felt shut off, my appendages were still powered up.  My fingers twitched and forearms twisted and I sensed a sort of popcorn-snap of neurons in my head.  Instinctively I knew that it wasn’t creeping loathing of impending first day back at the office that sometimes hits at the tail end of a long vacation, it was my synapses.  Old, long-dormant parts of my brain were fired up and clicking rapidly in a way that they hadn’t in years.  It took awhile for this to sink in but once it did, I went with it and pictured the chords I had just played in my mind.  Before long, I was asleep and shredding solos with aplomb in my dreams.  Sweet dreams, indeed.

So, I’ve vowed to put the guitar back into my life.  I’ll never be a rock star but the enjoyment it gives me is much greater than any of the frivolous and fleeting activities that had taken its place.  In a mind-numbing conference call on Monday, I sat like a 21st century Buddha with the callouses forming on my fretting hand signifying a small key to happiness.  Well, that and the fact that whenever I have my guitar in my hand my daughter calls me “Edge.”  Like I said, sweet dreams.