There is an unusual sight during halftime of Camden High School’s football games this fall.
When the band takes the field, there are the usual marimba, vibraphone, xylophone and bell players, along with the ubiquitous gong. This year, standing in the center, there’s me. On the electric bass guitar. OK. All right. Not what I expected either, but I like it.
The bass guitar is a truly powerful instrument, although I did not fully recognize it until I started playing it just a few months ago.
For one thing, its sound is unique and like the guitar, it can take on a variety of tones. I especially love the big booming quality to its sound. I play a lot of that kind of stuff in our marching band show and I feel awesome while doing it. It can resonate in a way that a guitar can never match, and unlike guitar, you can actually feel the bass. I love the sound of a bass guitar and being able to recognize it when listening to music. Although in some songs the bass can be indistinguishable, in others it’s very prominent, and these are almost always really catchy songs, I might add.
Bass is a supporting instrument, technically, but it just blows my mind how much it can add to a song, and I guarantee you that music would be much more boring without the bass. With guitar, one might be playing the melody or rhythm, but with bass it’s much more of a groove. Often it’s very easy to enjoy what you’re playing and immerse oneself in the song when playing bass because the bassline is simply catchier than what the guitar is playing.
I think the bass is a great match for my personality as well. Bass almost never takes the lead in a song. You just don’t ever hear bass solos because the bass is always playing the supporting role. That is how I kind of feel in life. I don’t really enjoy the limelight. I like to help people and play the support. I think that the world needs leaders, but it underestimates the role of a follower. Every band needs a bassist as well as a guitarist.
Beyond sound, bass looks awesome as well. For some reason, I could see myself buying a really expensive bass but not a guitar, although I technically play both and technically have been playing guitar for about three years longer than bass. I love the longer neck on a bass and having four big strings instead of six small ones. Bass carries an air of mystery and intrigue around it but still makes the player feel, and look, like a rock star when you play it. Everyone deserves to feel like a rock star every now and then.
Although I love a great guitar riff as much as the next guy and will continue to play them from time to time, I’m so glad I discovered bass. I feel almost as if it was the instrument made for me, like a soulmate. Call it love at first pluck.
(Anna Mock is a senior at Camden High School and one of this year’s high school columnists for the Chronicle-Independent, Camden, S.C.)