I own quite a few basses: I'm fond of them all, and they each have their own particular and very different characteristics, but these differences pale beside the three different basses I play, regardless of what musical instrument is in my hands at the time. Puzzled? Let me explain First of all, there's bass No 1. This is the bass I play on my own, in my room, either solo or along with a CD. This bass plays quite accurately, and I'm able to fret it with a delicate touch, even though I'm often playing stuff I've never tried before. The fingers of my left hand seem to glide from position to position, while those of my right hand pluck with a gentle assured touch, whatever style I choose to play. I can hear the smallest fret buzz and I cringe at the slightest mis-timing of a note, all through about 5 watts of practice amp. It shows up all my faults, yet in a curiously helpful way, and all in all, this is a satisfyingly obedient bass to play; I seldom find that it delivers less than I ask. Bass No 2 is the bass I play when jamming or practising with the guys. This chap is an excitable little devil. For some reason it never quite gets used to the effect of others around it, and as soon as the drummer starts up it wants to get moving, and it wants to get loud. For some reason, it makes no difference how high I turn up the amp, this bass thinks it's not being played properly unless I'm almost breaking the strings. It's not a bass which appreciates the subtleties so beloved of Bass No 1, and consequently most of my long practised technique goes out of the window as soon as I start to play this fellow. I think Bass Nos 3 and 2 may have grown up together as they share a lot of each other's character. No 3 however, has a couple of extra tricks up its sleeve, which never cease to amaze. This bass is the one I play in front of an audience, and somehow (and I really don't know how it does this) it manages to make me feel as if I'm wearing gloves. It also has the knack of rendering me selectively deaf, in that I can hear the vocals, harmonica, guitar and drums perfectly well, yet the sound of my own playing seems to be coming from about a mile away. The thing each of these basses has in common is that they each of them know their place. I can try as hard as I like but Bass No 1simply won't be there when there's an audience, and No 2 always holds sway at a practice, whatever I do. So there you are: I don't play bass, I play basses. How about you?