I am a musician; specifically a guitarist/bassist.
Yes, I’m both. Just because you play guitar doesn’t automatically make you a bass player. Sorry...that could be another post altogether.
I started learning to play guitar at age 13. It was a terrible steel string acoustic, nothing at all like my brothers gloriously easy to play Alvarez 12-string (one random finger brush across those strings set the hook). It was small, sounded bad, and held a tune for about a verse and half a chorus. I think my ear-training is owed in no small part to tuning that guitar about a million times.
But I loved that guitar. It showed me I could be something other than a painfully shy introvert.
Along the way, I was forced (as the youngest of 4 guitar players in our crappy basement band) to be the bass player. But as I learned the power of the low end, I embraced the bass. Truth be told, even though I was a guitar player first, the bass was my entry point into better garage bands, the jazz band at school, and ultimately the recording studio.
I loved playing bass. It showed me I could lead a song from the bottom floor, shaping the harmony and bending the chord progression to my will. Everyone talks about the lead singer or the guitar player...but the bass player is the sonic power behind the throne.
Finally, I had a decent electric guitar. Purchased with my own funds from the Wide World of Music in Birmingham’s Century Plaza Mall, that beautiful black Ibanez Les Paul clone was mine! I took to my room, huddled with my albums and the radio, playing until raw fingers could take no more. I devoured every resource I could find. I was determined to be not just a professional musician, but a Guitar Player, at home on stage or in the studio.
I loved that electric. It showed me my path to a future. A future where I had a voice.
Everyone knows an electric guitar needs an amp. Otherwise, what’s the point? I searched for years until I found an amp that made me sound like I thought I could. It was a small, solid-state Marshall combo. Oh my word. Finally finally finally I heard coming from the speaker the sounds I heard in my head.
I loved that amp. It was liberating to find the means to literally amplify the musical voice I was developing.
Every guitar player knows this not-so-secret fact; your electric guitar is only as good as your amp...
I found my confidence, I realized my power and responsibility. I discovered my unique voice, and found the perfect tonal platform.
What do I “say” with all this, what message do I send the world?
Do I musically wail and rail against what I hate, or lift up the good I see and the good that could be?
I am a musician, and I have a voice. I choose to amplify love and grace and mercy. I listen to what the song is wanting, and amplify the notes I can play to lift the music.
What will you amplify...? Love or hate, peace or war, racism and division or the unity of diversity?
You have a voice. Use it...