Author: Williams, Dave

We just got back from ourÖ

March has been a very hectic month. We just got back from our trip to the tropics to celebrate the spring equinox. The day after the time change, we packed the RV with plenty of tequila and as many musical instruments as we could carry and headed south. We were hoping to get to the equator because you know how I feel about having the sunís subsolar point directly above the equator but we didnít quite make it. There seems to be some kind of restriction on Class C motorhomes in South America (I think it has to do with black water tanks emptying counterclockwise in the southern hemisphere.) So with that being the case, our journey ended somewhere on the Caribbean coast at about 12į North latitude. The partying was wild and the jamming was terrific. Mostly they were playing a style of music they were calling west Caribbean grass. It is definitely a big tent kind of thing that is probably not everyoneís cup of whiskey but it grew on me. The style features a kind of syncopated calypso bass line that gives it the west Caribbean flavor. Lucky for me that just before the trip my bass teacher finally helped me break the code, taught me to count and had me playing syncopated bass lines. I was fired up and ready for this west Caribbean grass stuff. We had so much fun partying with the pagans that we ran out of tequila and had to switch to rum. Anyway, the sun finally crossed over to north side of the equator and it was time to head home.

Iím sure most of you realize that the above may or may not have actually happened. What did actually occur, though, is the breakthrough in learning to play some syncopated bass lines. As reported last month, I have had a long-standing problem with syncopation. I have two pieces of good news to report on this, first is that my bass teacher read last monthís column and took my ďconditionĒ as a challenge and came up with a strategy to help address this issue in my lessons. The second piece of good news is that she (or anyone for that matter) actually reads my column.

My goal was to use these past winter months to improve my bass playing by spending time in the woodshed and through hooking up with a teacher for some direction. In my estimation, the combination of both has been good for my chops. The lessons have been productive coaching sessions that involve good give and take dialogue during the lessons that have improved both my technique and my perspective.

Just to see who is paying attention, Iím going add a 1st Thursday quiz hereÖ..Name my bass teacher? The answer to this question is available on a message board post that followed one of my previous 1st Thursday columns and I have dropped a number of hints in this column and some previous ones (and in a few other places) as to who it might be. Heck, you can probably guess just as easily.

Unlike the real trivia quiz around here, go ahead and answer on the message board. Iím buying a beer at Vernís for the first couple of people to post the correct answer. Iím good for it. Look me up. Vernís is my FDF volunteer gig.

Back in the real world, Iím working my last day next Tuesday then I get to put my money where my mouth is and put into action all my retirement plans. My raised vegetable garden is still an idea in the design phase and I need to really get going on that as the season is progressing quickly. Same goes for my beer making plans, no equipment and no spaceÖ..yet. More music was also on tap (pun intended). I also seem to remember that this was time I was going to take all the other instruments I own out of the closet and see if I can get to playing some on them.

Linda and I are headed out tomorrow for the Walker Creek Music Camp. We are looking forward to hooking up with friends, taking some classes and jamming. Beyond that there is plenty of music in the next few months including the Santa Clara Valley Fiddlers monthly jams (including this Sunday), CBA Campout, Parkfield Festival and in June the big one in Grass Valley. I hope to see you all out and about at these events. Iíll be the one with the tequila on the table. Stop by.

Catch up with you in May

Posted:  4/4/2013

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