My friend Bennie posted recently about selling his beloved B.C. Rich Mockingbird bass and it inspired me to come up with a blog challenge. And it’s pretty simple. Go up to the attic and dust off that old whatever-it-is. Saxophone, tennis racket, ashtray from metal shop, whatever. Take some pictures and tell me a story or two. And when you do, post a link in the comments so everyone can come hear your tales of glory.
When I was nine years old I told my parents that I wanted to be Eddie Van Halen take guitar lessons. They obliged me, and for six long years I went from teacher to teacher, all of them taking my parents’ money and sucking all of the joy out of playing music. My mother complained bitterly about how I never practiced and maybe she should sell my guitar.
Then in the ninth grade I bought a cheap little bass guitar and a tiny practice amp and got myself a teacher who was a full-time musician in Pittsburgh. This cat and his brothers had toured as the opening act for Van Halen. It was 1988 and he had jet black hair halfway down his back and earrings. To put it mildly, I was inspired. My mother’s comments changed to “You know, musicians can’t afford to feed their kids.” Like I cared. It wasn’t long before I was playing in a basement garage band with some friends. I was also playing in church and in school; apparently bass players are always in demand. It also wasn’t long before I decided I needed something a little more awesome, and my teacher knew a guy.
The guy had bought a custom made bass from a guitar maker in the Pittsburgh area. It was a six-string bass, but the strings were spaced closer together than on a normal bass. Too close, it seems; his large fingers couldn’t play the thing so he was selling it for a song. I just happened to have a song, so I got it. And it worked out well, because this is probably the only six string bass in the world that my tiny little fingers can play.
People who saw me play always asked me if my name was Dino. My skills were probably so killer that they thought I must have my own signature bass.
I don’t think Dino makes custom guitars any more. Now he makes BSX electric upright basses.
My red beauty has served me well through high school, college, and beyond. I’ve played mostly in churches through the years, so I’m not exactly a rock star. But I still love playing, and whenever I get a chance to play I do. I have recorded with my Dino bass, and the recording engineer (a fellow bass player) commented on how great its tone is (and he, being an expert in the field, would know). So that’s my baby, and if I’m ever inclined to go smashing my guitar London Calling style, it won’t be with this one.