Play that Bass


Music is food for the soul and therapy for whatever ails you, and lung disease is no exception. Listening to music and learning to play an instrument has been an enjoyable and sanity-saving hobby for me.

Ive always had a fascination with the way harmonies are created. As a child I would tinker on the piano trying to figure how chords were constructed. I played lead trumpet in elementary school and then messed around with the bass a little bit in my teens and early twenties. After that the realities of having to make a living caught up with me and didn’t pick up another instrument again until I was 57 years old.

Learning to play new tunes is just as important to me as taking my morning nebulizer treatments. Playing an instrument like the bass can be quite challenging at times, because the medication I take causes painful muscle cramps in my hands, making it hard for me to bend my fingers. But just like everything else in my life, I find ways to adapt.

I love all kinds of music styles, but being bass oriented I tend to lean more towards jazz, swing and pop, or anything with a good beat to it. Im not very good at slap or fancy acrobatics on the instrument, but I can read a chart and pound out a pretty decent walking line while maintaining a fairly steady tempo.

Below are a few videos of me playing along to various tunes. Many of them were written for, and performed on upright acoustic bass. I do my best to emulate that sound with my electric bass. Some day I hope to have the space in my house to play the Upright bass. Once again, this is just a hobby for me, so I’m totally allowed to screw up.

A special thank you to Rick Shaw, Gordon Goodwin, Kris Berg Victor Lopez, Paul Clark, Alan Baylock, Doug Beach, Alfred, Kendor and Barnhouse publishing, and many many others for their musical talent and educational contributions.

If you suffer from chronic health problems, I encourage you to seek out a hobby for yourself. One that bring you joy and one that sets you free from your daily struggles….at least temporarily.

Rick Shaw is the bassist for Johnny Mathis and Gordon Goodman’s Phat Band

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There’s a little bit of everything here, even some Christmas tunes…. but mostly Swing……..