May 21, 2015

New Toy: Gretsch G5440LS Electromatic Hollow Body Long Scale Bass Guitar - Orange

Cat Not to Scale
I just unpacked this, a little present to myself for my new promotion. I went downstairs and plugged in and played a little Slayer. This really isn’t a Slayer axe, but there’s no better break-in music.

First impressions:
I like it. Which is good. I spent a bit of money on it. It looks nice, but I am a fan of the hollow-body shape and the open sound holes. It is a bit bigger than I thought it would be. The body is pretty much the size of an acoustic guitar, and almost as deep.

Playing:
First, a bit of where I’m coming from. I have only been playing bass a couple of years. I started out with a Squire P-Bass, but I traded that in to another P-Bass, but this one is a Fender Blacktop. It has the same double humbucker pick-up setup as this one does, but the bridge pick-up is closer to the bridge. The neck pick up is further from the neck. When I play that one with a pick or my fingers, I usually anchor my striking hand with my thumb on the neck pick up.
What that means is that I tried to replicate that same motion with this machine. The problem was that the strings even in standard tuning had too much slack for me, and I was finding myself playing with my hand anchored down on the bridge pick up instead. That’s not an issue but it shifted my conception of where my fret hand was. I thought I was on the ninth fret, but I looked left and I was on the twelfth fret, It was a mental block, but I think I got the hang of it.

New factors:
This is not a solid body bass. It has that sort of bluesy soul and not really the rock vibe, but it works.
The hollow body means that there is some resonance, and I will be able to practice without plugging it in. I bet that excites my pets. The body is bigger than my Blacktop. Where the Fender machine ends, here there is more bass. That’s not bad, it just means that I need a longer strap.
The strings on this are further away from the body of the machine. That means nothing for finger-style, but I found that my standard style of pick playing didn’t work, I can’t anchor my thumb on a pick-up and play. It seems as if the best playing style with a pick is a floating hand, but I need some work with that (I know, I know, you never use a pick. But “Raining Blood” has some power-chords.).
The biggest drawback is that there is some neck-dive. My Fenders have been well-balanced, so I never really knew what people were talking about when they said this phrase. Now I know. I found myself having to give some support to the neck with my fret hand, which was a new experience.

Overall, I’m very pleased, but it is easy to feel that way right out of the box. Should it break tomorrow, I’ll come and update this.