One of the best experiences a musician can have is the day you buy your first instrument. I remember that day for me, clearly, as if it were yesterday. My father drove me to the biggest music store in our northern California county so I could shop for a bass. I remember the my criteria for what I could considered a good bass was not that much. Whatever I bought had to sound like John Entwistle’s bass. I wanted the strings to resonate like piano strings hit by a hammer. I had no opinion on color, shape or style.
That store was Bananas At Large and that bass was a Yamaha BB-800. I remember the case, the key to adjust the tuning pegs (which I still don’t understand to this day) and the smell of the bass. I remember my father asking me if I was sure and I remember him getting a little concerned because we were in the store for so long.
My father and I had gone to a couple of stores in San Francisco and he would let me run around the store and when it came to making the deal, he left it up to me. I thought he was going to do the negotiating but my Pops said “this is your thing and you are going to have to learn how to shop and buy music gear.” I remember getting yelled at by a salesman guy at a shop on Van Ness for taking so long to make a decision. I also met Bobby Vega at Don Wehr’s Music City where he was working for a short time.
After having a rough shopping experience in the big city, my father and I settled on Bananas At Large and my bass ended up on the first Racer X record, Street Lethal. That bass eventually got painted dayglo yellow because that is what you did in the 80’s. I swapped the pickups a few times but other than that, it still sounded the same as when I bought it in San Rafael that day. I loaned the bass to an ex girlfriend and have not seen it since but that bass sounded as huge as it’s neck.
I am a very fortunate guy to get to do clinics for the great Earthquaker Devices and next week, on Wednesday Sept 3rd, I get to do one at Bananas At Large where I bought my first bass at. I am excited to see some old friends and be able to show off the best pedals made today! Please come through and say hi and I promise to give my hometown store the best sounds I can muster.