So when I left home I picked up the bass in its bag and looked forward to a night on a completely familiar instrument.
But no. When I opened the bag I found the Warr Guitar and was forced to play everything on it. Of course, having no option but to rethink my parts I had some panicky moments but also had a ton of fun. My kind bandmates also seemed to enjoy the change.
Teaser No. 2 - work in progress from the band New Accelerator from Will Cruttenden on Vimeo.
Many years ago I ordered a guitar from Mark Warr. It took a year to build and it arrived around the same time as my daughter, so I named it after her.
This instrument is a touch guitar and is designed to be played by tapping the strings against the fretboard, although you can play it in any style you like. I had previously owned a Chapman Stick, which is a purely tapping instrument and turned out not to be right for me. I didn’t like only being able to tap and, over time, I realised I did not like the tone.
The Warr Guitar is a wonderful, beautifully built, gorgeous sounding instrument, even when it isn’t amplified. But there was a problem. Not having anyone to teach me the instrument I felt my way and developed plenty of (probably) bad habits. I recorded it for bass and lead parts on my Spingere project and played soundscapes in front of audiences before Eclipse trio gigs. I even recorded the bass line for a country song on it.
The one thing I had never done was to play it, full volume, with a drummer in a band situation. At least, I hadn’t done that until last week.
The Band With No Name (soon to be revealed) tried out some new material and I felt this might be the place to let the Warr Guitar loose. I began with my back to everyone and the more comfortable I felt the more I turned around.
It wasn’t perfect. Getting consistent volume took a while and, as I was alternating between by bass and the Warr (both are tuned in different intervals) there were a few brown notes. But, overall, I was pleased with the sound and no one asked me to put it away and pick the bass back up.
The next step is to gig with it.
Thank goodness for the i newpaper and its five clue cryptic crossword.
I'm learning to solve cryptic crossword clues as part of my 50 at 50 list. I've tried before and got nowherr. I read Colin Dexter's book and got a tiny bit further. Now I can attempt these small but fiendish puzzles and feel seriously good when I get three out of five right.
Sometimes I don't understand the answer even when I have it in front of me. But I'm getting better and enjoying the difficulty. Time to read Mr Dexter's book again.