We always hear about learning life lessons thru other people’s or your own experiences. I have learn some thanks to my bass guitar.
My faithful 5-string is a Curbow, especially designed by the late Greg Curbow to be crafted by the Cort factory in South Korea. My other options were a Steinberger Spirit XZ-25 and a Tobias Toby Pro 5. But as soon as I had the Curbow, there was no turning back: I found what I was looking for.
I can say with that both the Tobias and the Steinberger needed some customizing to be able to meet my demands, but the Curbow was right, right from the start. And as if it was any human interaction, each virtue is also a defect at once. It all depends ot your viewpoint.
What my Curbow taught me was that features, simply, are. But out attitude towards them is what morph them into good or bad ones, just like people. The same person that can be seen as “perseverant” can be described by others as “stubborn”.
So… following my time-honored (or boring) analytical mind, I wrote the features of my Curbow bass. And as you will see, the same quality can be seen as either a defect or a virtue.
How many times have we wondered how can someone be attracted to certain person? Why our positive traits can be seen as annoyances to others? I think it depends of who’s looking. I have had great guitar virtuosos who needed to be replaced because they felt the music was boring for them. They turned a great personal gift into a defect for the band.
When it comes to my bass, I am a very skinny guy so I prefer a small and lightweight instrument. However, I let a very large man play my Curbow once and they looked ridiculously funny together. Too bad I didn’t took a picture, but it looked like this:
While many people love the Curbow looks, I still remember a sound engineer who told me “Wow, your bass looks SO GAY!”. Maybe he expected me to use a battered P-bass for a hard rock band. However, after the concert he said: “Your bass might look gay, but it sounds amazing!”
And that’s the real thing here: it has to sound good in the first place. Yes, a Fender might be enough, but I can’t stand neither its weight, nor the thick neck shape, nor the fact it has an enormous neck heel that forces to stick the thumb out, and the fact it only has 20 frets. My Curbow is lightweight, comfortable, has easy access to its 27 frets, and unlike most Fenders, can be setup with a very low action. And yes, its sound is unique.
So… once again, keep an eye into what’s really important for you. No one should settle for what others think they need. Yes, listen carefully to their advice, but work towards getting what you need and want, because not everyone has the same needs and desires.
Many thanks to Greg Curbow, for creating the bass I needed.