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Barker Bass Learning Curve

Discussion in 'Barker Bass Forum' started by Ed Goode, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. Ed Goode

    Ed Goode Jersey to Georgia Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    Had an interesting discussion this past weekend with a bassist friend of mine regarding the B1. He is a DB guy, no electric playing at all, and was very interested in the Barker. He stopped by my Sunday afternoon jazz date and noodled around with the bass during a break, then asked "How long is the learning curve on a bass like this?"

    Now, of course, as a DB player he had issues with the scale length, the (by comparison to a DB) flat neck, small body, etc, etc, but it made me think about how long it really took me to be comfortable with the bass. After pondering that a bit, I came up with 3 levels in my learning curve ...

    Level One: Immediately after I got the bass, I was comfortable enough with the verticle positioning to play semi-proficiently within about a half hour. Thought I was hot stuff, that is until I took it to a studio date after owning it for 1 week and found out how terrible I was in controlling the sustain :rolleyes:. Humbled, I went to ....

    Level Two: I started using the Barker more than just one quiet set per night when gigging (I was playing the B1 for the first dinner set at my restaurant gigs then switching over to my slab basses for the rest of the night). Made some adjustments to the positioning with the stand, eventually abandoned the stand altogether, switched strings, adjusted the action (raised it slightly), and a few other changes to make it more "comfortable" to play. The bass really started to sound great the more I used it, until I started to use it exclusively for jazz gigs (mostly duo/trio work). I found myself reverting back to DB habits, especially when reading charts, which obviously messed with my intonation :help:

    Level Three: Now, with over 2 years of B1 playing time under my belt, the bass is 2nd nature to me. It's at the point where I can just play it without thinking "Wait a minute, this thing is verticle, not horizontal, blah, blah, blah ...". Where before, I would have to kind of do a head check before playing, now the bass is just a part of me.

    So I guess my answer to my friends question should have been: I was able to play it immediately, but it took me about 1/2 year to be "intimate" with the bass .... :cool:

    BTW, I'm really enjoying sitting down with the bass and I'm back to using the stand when sitting ...

  2. yodedude2

    yodedude2 Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2005
    san antonio, texas
    my experience: the first time i played my barker b1, it was immediately completely natural for me. i had to discover how best to adjust the stand, but the playing position was and is absolutely comfortable for me.

    so much so, that now when i play gigs with a traditional bass guitar, i take an adapted drum stand along so that i can play my fender-style bass guitar vertically.

    i have to adapt to a bass guitar whenever i strap one on...later, ron
  3. JKT


    Apr 30, 2007
    Buffalo NY
    Endorsing Artist: Barker Basses
    Mmmm. I think I may land somewhere in-between on this.

    Less than an hour total out of the box I knew it was going to the gig the next night. A couple gigs later I knew it was going to be my main axe, and it felt like it. Since mine is fretted I had no intonation issues to deal with though.

    I still drag the P-bass around but only for a couple things and mainly because for those few tunes, I prefer the Fender/rotosound combination. It would be totoally necessary. I'm just old and want everything my way.

  4. JKT


    Apr 30, 2007
    Buffalo NY
    Endorsing Artist: Barker Basses
    And being old I have apparently lost the ability to spell "totally" and "unnecessary" :rollno:

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