When we first started singing cowboy songs, I had an electric bass guitar, Fender’s "bottom of the line". Of course, that doesn’t lend much atmosphere. You can have the outfit, the plywood cactus, the cow skull, but you need that stand-up bass. By the time we were officially the Sons of the Western Bootheel, I had found this old fiberglass student model. After several years of hard wear on the old girl, I was able to upgrade to an Englehardt EM-1. Sure it’s made of plywood (laminated, they call that in the advertising) instead of carved, but it has a very nice action and sounds fine. It’s a Chevy in a world of Ferraris, I guess, but it’s just fine for me, and quite an upgrade from the famous floating fiberglass boat/bass combo (a Yugo in the world of Ferraris).
The only thing about upgrading from a well-worn, long-used, student model is that you don’t have much trade-in. None, in fact. So, you could put it on Ebay, except the shipping costs are more than the bass is worth at this point. Or you could advertise it locally, except that it’s kind of a niche market thing. Kennett may not be the middle of nowhere, but you can see it from here. I thought about donating it to the school and taking a tax deduction, except they don’t have a string program.
As you probably know, it’s easier to do nothing than it is to do something, so the old girl has been sitting in the corner of the front hall for about two years. She’d been there so long that she was beginning to blend into the woodwork. I hardly noticed an extra bass fiddle lying around. My wife, on the other hand, remained acutely aware of its presence.
That’s why I was overjoyed when a Scouting buddy from Cape asked me where he might find a used upright bass at a reasonable price. I’ve had the pleasure of singing some Gospel with his family under the name, "Just in Time". His brother-in-law is going to start playing bass with them and it was the same old story. He’s got a very nice electric bass guitar, but you need that old "doghouse bass" for the atmosphere. Talk about a win-win situation: I no longer have to worry about what to do with the superfluous bass fiddle (my wife was happy for at least five minutes), and another bass player gets to try his hand at the stand-up style. If it works out, great. If not, sell it and send me half the money. I really only asked for one thing: don’t bring it back.