Any bass playing car mechanics?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by FunkSheep08, Aug 8, 2019.

  1. Hello all,
    I'm having a bit of a "mid-life crisis" and looking to try something different job-wise. I've enjoyed cars since I was a kid but never pursued anything with them because I was deemed "smart" and was herded down the 4-year academic degree path faster than you can say ACT. But a recent trip to a large car show reminded me of that early love, and I realized - if I want to own one of those classic beauties (and I do very badly!), it would be VERY helpful to have more wrenching know-how than I currently have. And heck, if I got enough of said know-how, I could go somewhere and get paid to do it!

    But a big concern I have is my bass playing. Music is and has always been my first love; bass is the favorite instrument of any I've played. I don't want to do anything to jeopardize that. So I'm wondering:

    How many of you (if any) are professional or hobbyist mechanics? Are these two interests compatible? Recommendations for how you make it work?

    Mods, if you feel this question is being posed in the wrong forum, please feel free to move. I put it here since it does relate to playing, and could apply to any instrument, really.
    Mertle72, jackn1202 and Winslow like this.
  2. Winslow


    Sep 25, 2011
    Group "W" Bench
    I'm not a mechanic by profession, but I have done plenty of work on my car(s) over the years that would be considered more involved than the average consumer ever does. I've never considered it a threat to my musical activities, and it never has been. (Over in OT, you'll find discussions on everything from drag racing to brake pads that show there are plenty more folks around here who enjoy automotive pursuits as well.)

    Similar to woodworking, instrument building, etc., the basic safety rules are there for a reason. As long as you're careful, follow the proper steps to the work, use tools correctly, and observe good safety procedures at all points in the shop/garage/project (including using hearing protection when necessary!), there's no reason at all why you can't keep all your fingers & limbs intact, and do both.

    Good luck! :thumbsup:
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2019
  3. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    From what I've heard, and zero practical experience, car mechanics wrecks your hands. Something to think about.
    bobba66 and FunkSheep08 like this.
  4. LexD


    Aug 17, 2011
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: D'Ambrosio Guitars
    Cars, (bass) guitars and cooking consume most of my waking hours.

    A good pair of gloves go a long way when wrenching.

    Nothing to worry about-- until you start GASsing for Snap-on tools.
  5. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    I'm not much of a wrench, but did all my own work on my motorcycles. I learned how to because I had to - couldn't afford to add mechanic's costs to the expense of owning a motorcycle.

    It's pretty rough on the hands. When I started playing bass, I became less and less interested in getting my hands greasy and didn't want to risk the scrapes and cuts that fingers get doing that kind of work. Yeah they have those latex gloves now, but I don't find them comfortable for more than about 45 seconds (hands sweat like crazy - which can give you that "been in the pool all day" feeling on the hands.) I've since sold my bike...
    FunkSheep08 likes this.
  6. tzohn


    Apr 26, 2015
    Latex gloves are not suitable for this kind of job except when handling burned oils, brake fluids etc. There are more appropriate gloves that won't sweat your hands too much and can get used to them pretty soon. It is not only for bass playing, it's also for safety.
    FunkSheep08, Winslow and LexD like this.
  7. LexD


    Aug 17, 2011
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: D'Ambrosio Guitars
    Right. Not latex.
    Check out the Mechanix line of gloves for those heavy jobs (yanking heads / motors / trans / suspension components).

    When detailing or fine work needs a more precise touch, the black nitrile are what you want.
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  8. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    Well, yeah for that kind of stuff the Mechanix line is appropriate and great - I actually use those for almost any chore outside of the house these days. But they don't work too well with those little itty-bitty screws and spaces where I can't even fit my ungloved meat hooks....
    FunkSheep08 likes this.
  9. jdh3000


    May 16, 2016
    Our keyboard player, who also plays bass, has his own shop.

    He has done both keys and bass over the years, he's about 60 now. His only complaint I've ever heard was if we have a gig during the week, out of town or something, he looses more money buy having to shut his shop down n than he makes on a gig.

    He has developed some wrist problems from a lot of wrench twisting and hurts his hands often front wrenches slipping off.

    It's a tough job to have for a musician.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2019
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  10. Winslow


    Sep 25, 2011
    Group "W" Bench
    I'll add to the discussion of nitrile gloves that a good fit on one's hands is important. The one-size-fits-most kind you see on the shelf at big-box stores have left us disappointed every time we've tried them. We get ours from McMaster Carr, who carries them in different sizes. A good, snug fit that acts as a "second skin" gives much better results when handling tiny parts. :thumbsup:
    FunkSheep08 and Johnny Crab like this.
  11. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    South Bend, Indiana
    '74 Camaro Z28 1.jpg I used to be a pretty good mechanic - back in the dim, distant past, when I owned one of these... But, now that I own one of these?
    Truck 1.jpg Uh.. not so much. Still work on this thing MVC-011S.JPG though. It's old enough that it still has a carburetor, even... I agree about the mechanic's and nitrile gloves, even though I very seldom use them. I know I should... I do use mechanic's gloves quite a bit, though - they make very good motorcycle gloves...;)
    FunkSheep08, Winslow and JC Nelson like this.
  12. nilorius

    nilorius Inactive

    Oct 27, 2016
    Riga - Latvia
    Don't think there are much.
  13. Harbor Freight Tools is a good place to buy mechanic's gloves.
    FunkSheep08 and Spidey2112 like this.
  14. Ggaa


    Nov 26, 2018
    I may be going off course a little but...I was a hobbyist type mechanic for a good many years. I was playing music before I had a real job...did some years in the pipe trades, CDL Driving, even worked in a music store, been an arborist for a long time(just turned 60). If you're careful, working with your hands is great for forearm strength which IMHO makes playing easier. Balance this with stretching the same muscles, pro massage if necessary occasionally to stay limber. Short story, strength and flexibility, and don't chop off too many fingers....
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2019
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  15. macmanlou

    macmanlou Don't push it. Just let it fall. Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2007
    Washington, DC Area
    Mechanic since the mid '60s, hobbyist bass player since the early '70s. Doing both makes you a bit more careful. I don't like wearing gloves to do either, since I hate anything that gets in the way of tactile feedback with either.

    Good tools will cost a small fortune, but they are worth it.
    FunkSheep08 and racecar5 like this.
  16. I've been in or around the car business my whole life until I retired and still do a bit of work on my own cars.

    It doesn't spark the same joy it used to.

    Very new to the bass and music in general. That sparks joy.

    Only one piece of advice...

    Wash your hands after you work on your car and before you play your bass.
  17. Kukulkan61

    Kukulkan61 Suspended Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2011
    Northern Arizona
    I'm not a mechanic by trade although I did maintenance on forklifts and conveyer systems in a major drug store company for a few years, I do most of my own mechanics on my vehicles unless it's something major that I don't have much knowledge of.
    Here is my other love besides music and bass playing!!
  18. Your '66 is sweet as pie! My favorite year and favorite color.
    Kukulkan61 likes this.
  19. jackn1202


    Feb 14, 2018
    Austin, TX
    I’m about to replace the plugs and coils on my GTI. Does that count? :laugh:
  20. Eighthnoterock

    Eighthnoterock Supporting Member

    May 25, 2018
    Lynden Washington
    Spent several years as a Heavy Equipment and Marine (boat) Diesel Mechanic. Hard on every part of your body. Crap will happen to your hands but as many have mentioned gloves.

    First, Nitrel or similar to protect from solvents etc.. that will tear your skin up. Second, what some call Mechanic's gloves or assembly gloves. I just used basic light weight general purpose gloves like for gardening. Will give some protection from cuts, abrasions etc...

    Quit mechanicing and got back into Land Surveying about 5 years ago. About a month and a half ago I took a fall looking for something in my shead. Broke my right hand middle finger and totally jacked up the knuckle.

    If it's going to happen its going to happen.

    Bright side my pick technique is getting better. :bassist:

    Drive on man!
    FunkSheep08 and Winslow like this.
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