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Rockin'


Over the holidays I ordered a custom-built bass from the guitar-maker G&L, but they couldn't/wouldn't build it to my specs, so I canceled the order.

Then I began looking for a semi-hollow body Gibson bass, but despite his best efforts, the local music shop owner couldn't find one. The model I wanted had been discontinued in 2013, but it was expensive, and we thought we might be able to find one from a dealer.

When all of this was going on, I already had a solid-body Gibson bass, as well as a G&L I had purchased about a year ago. In retrospect, I should have played my G&L for a week before buying it, but among musicians, G&L has a reputation of being "the" brand, so I got swallowed up in the hype and as a result bought a bass I never fell in love with.

Fortunately, after buying the G&L, I bought the Gibson. I love it and am having some custom work done (pick guard, truss rod cover, control knobs) so it will be a one-of-a-kind instrument. I put the G&L into the back of my closet, figuring I'd sell it on eBay.

However, many musicians suffer from GAS—Guitar Acquisition Syndrome—and as you've probably guessed, I'm one of them. So, I was in the music shop this week, taking my bass lesson in one of the studios in the back of the store, when the owner came in with a bass. "This is what you want," he said.

I immediately began drooling. It was an Epiphone Les Paul Standard bass. Epiphones are made by Gibson; the difference between the two is that if they were cars, the Gibsons would have all available options, while the Epiphones would be a trim/options level lower. Their Les Paul bass model hasn't been made for quite some time; in fact, this particular guitar was built in September 1999 in Korea (ah, the wonders of the Internet).

Sadly, I didn't have enough money to buy it. But then I remembered the G&L sitting in my closet, which I was planning to sell. So I proposed a swap: the G&L for the Epiphone. The shop owner said he'd go along with it, but he insisted I take the Epiphone home to play for a few days.

I took it home, plugged it in, played a few scales and knew immediately I wanted it. It's a standard scale (my Gibson is a short scale), but the longer scale is offset by a fast, slick neck with a profile that I love. So when I go into town today, I'm taking the G&L to the shop, and this will take up permanent residence here:

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Wish I'd Said It

Nota bene: “Fear has governed my life, if I think about it. ... I always feel like I’m not good enough for some reason. I wish that wasn’t the case, but left to my own devices, that voice starts speaking up.” – Trent Reznor

“I hate to say this, but not many people care what you do. They care about what you do as much as you care about what they do. Think about it. Just exactly that much. You are not the center of the universe.” — Laurie Anderson

"The path's not yours till you've gone it alone a time." – William Carlos Williams

“Filling this empty space constitutes my identity.” – Twyla Tharp

"My definition of peace is having no noise in my head." – Eric Clapton

"The wreckage of the sky serves to confirm us in delicious error." – John Ashbery

"We are all here by the grace of the big bang. We are all literally the stuff of the stars." – Dwight Owsley

"For my part, I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream." – Vincent van Gogh

"It is only with the heart that one can see right; what is essential is invisible to the eye." — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

"Forget about being a perfectionist, because entropy always wins out in the end." – Darren Kaufman.

"Impermanence. Impermanence. Impermanence." – Garry Shandling

"Fame is a vapor; popularity an accident; the only earthly certainty is oblivion." – Mark Twain

"There is no realm wherein we have the truth." – Gordon Lish

"Actual life is full of false clues and sign-posts that lead nowhere." – E.M. Forster

“Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe." – Frank Zappa

“I try to leave out the parts that readers tend to skip.” – Elmore Leonard

“The secret of being a bore is to tell everything.” – Voltaire

• Journal title and subtitle: Ian Hunter, “Man Overboard”

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