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Double bass Train Wrecks

Discussion in 'Bass Humor [DB]' started by bejoyous, Feb 5, 2006.

  1. bejoyous


    Oct 23, 2005
    London, Ontario
    Hey folks, there's a great thread in the humour section of the bass guitar forum called something like Greatest Train Wrecks you've witnessed/experienced. I was wondering if any of you jazzers or orchestral players have witenessed or experienced a train wreck during a performance? Or maybe conductor flubs!

    Mine is a personal train wreck and happened during a rehearsal. Way back in university, my best friend and I were to play the entire Beethoven 5th for the first time with a community orchestra. We got there a bit late as they were tuning while we were unpacking. The conductor tells everyone to hurry so we pick up our basses to get in position.

    Unfortunately, the tip of my scroll catches the underside edge of a table and K A B O O M ! ! ! the entire scroll is ripped off the bass! The sound is amplified by the instrument so it sounded just sickening. This was followed by my own blood curdling scream of terror!. 60 heads turn my way! It was so embarrssing!!
  2. Wow, decapitated bass, sorry man.

    In 8th grade marching band (played the trombone), we were practicing inside, and the conductor got a little...enthusiastic? swinging her arms around with the baton in one hand. On one swing, the baton came flying out of her hand and shot at a clarinet player. No damage/injury, but it was pretty funny and it took awhile to recapture a bunch of middle-schoolers attention.
  3. When I was in 8th grade, we performed the last movement of the Haydn Farewell Symphony. I was sitting first chair. When it came to the bass solo, my "assistant" got up to leave. He carefully set his bass down and started walking out. Seconds later, I hear a loud "BANG" and see that he knocked over his metal stool.

    So much for my solo...
  4. apfroggy0408


    Jan 21, 2004
    When I was in all-region, the conductor (who was a bass player). Tuned the first chairs bass, not me I was 3rd *tear*, then without realizing it. While he was attempting to hand it back he let go a bit way early. The girl couldn't catch the bass, then bam. Then some more bams as there were a small set of stairs where the bass was dropped.

    It was crazy...
  5. My freshman year in high school, I was playing a school bass, and just after tuning, I was standing there while my teacher was saying something, then I heard this huge explosion that rocked the entire room. The wire which had held the tailpiece to the bottom of the bass had broken, and the tailpiece had swung right by my head. 4,000 pounds of string pressure reduced to 0 in a second. Scared the **** out of me, by the way.

    Nowadays I cry if my own bass gets so much as a scratch.
  6. apfroggy0408


    Jan 21, 2004
    Wow, and I was scared ****less when my A string popped.
  7. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Well, I've heard the bridges falling over/tailpiece wire thing a few time, that's never pleasant.

    The worst instrument death I ever saw, though, was a French Horn that happened to be sitting on a chair that was in the path of a very large musician who was attempting to make her way to her seat in the section. She lost her balance as she passed the chair, and sat down on the horn with her full weight. If you've ever played horn, you know how thin gauge the metal is. Result; instant horn pancake.
  8. Geeibish


    Jan 30, 2006
    Clemson, SC
    Last year I was playing in the pit for Sondheim's "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," and about 15 minutes before the show, I set my bass down to get a drink of water. I returned only to find that my bass had been knocked over and the bridge was severely out of place. After trying to fix it, the bridge simply popped out. By now it's about 10 minutes to curtain, and I'm struggling to get the brdige back on in time. The best part was the conductor's face when he came in to find me fixing the instrument, looked like he had owl eyes. Good news was that I was able to fix it in time, and the show went great.
  9. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    I was playing slab bass in the pit senior year of high school for our choir department's end of year show-it was on the last tune, a Medley of the better tunes that our Varsity Show Choir [Laf. Jeff First Edition] had ever performed, the medley lasts about 20mins. We had just finished the first 10mins, and i broke my G-string. I play a 5 string, and the music was pretty easy, so i just moved everything up 5 frets. I played on like nothing ever happened. The only people that noticed was the drummer [across from me] when he saw the string flapping around, the synth player next to me-also noticed that the string was just waving around, yet none of the horn players [other side of the pit] heard or felt anything out of the ordinary. I was proud of myself that night.

    I've yet to have a major train wreck on DB. I'm nervously anticipating that day.

  10. mcbosler


    May 12, 2000
    Plano, TX
    I've been lucky myself thus far, but my teacher had a good one I'd like to share:

    "I took my nice Juzek string bass to a gig one rainy night. I noticed right away that it was harder than usual to play. Now those that play string instruments know that high humidity can effect an instrument, but this particular night was ridiculous. I am not one to be easily defeated in this area but I eventually gave up and had to finish the set on my electric bass. Well my self-confidence was restored somewhat when I took a closer look at the bass, and found that the neck of the bass had broken off of the back and the string tension was pulling the neck forward. I bagged it up and took it into the repairman the next day. He gave me another bass of mine that he had been working on to use for the next day or so while he fixed the Juzek. That second night I went back to the same club and started into the gig. On the last exciting tune of the first set, in the middle of a solo the cable that wraps from the tail-piece around the end-pin broke (they NEVER do!) and the entire bass kind of exploded in my hands; the end-pin fell out, the strings collapsed, the bridge and sound-post fell down, and right as the commotion on the stage was dying down I heard one the of the classic understatements of all time: from clear across the room we heard the bartender exclaim, "Bummer dude!" Yeah, it was."
  11. Not a bass story, but a near train wreck nonetheless...

    We'd been soundchecking a major Russian soprano and her female piano accompanist for a live radio broadcast. They were pushing the rehearsal time right up to the wire and the audience were waiting to get in. In their haste to get off the stage and changed before air time, the accompanist grabbed her music and knocked a glass of water balanced on the piano right on top of all the hammers.

    The piano tuner did go pale for just a second, but the thing about Steinway concert grands is that the whole keyboard and hammer action mechanism is removable. Since this was a major concert venue they actually had a second Steinway in another room. He swapped the entire keybord out in a matter of minutes and the concert went ahead as if nothing had happened.

    Talk about grace under pressure...:eek:
  12. I was playing in a bass section in which one of the guys was using a collapsible drum throne as a stool. During the concert, one of the rivets on the throne decided to pop, and the guy went ass-over-teakettle, trying desperately on the way down to save his bass from damage (which, as a credit to his extraordinary reflexes or dumb luck, he did).

    Of course, the conductor continued on as if nothing had happened.
  13. christ andronis

    christ andronis Supporting Member

    Nov 14, 2001
    I was doing a gig last year with a violin player that sends alot of work my way. He was at the side of the stage doing something and the violin slipped out of his hands and hit the edge of the riser just right, detaching the neck from the body. Since it is about a 150 year old violin, he was extremely freaked. Fortunately, he had his spare violin and we were able to finish the gig with no hassles other than a really pissed off look on his face. As fate would have it, his violin was easily repaired because the neck didn't really break, it just came apart so it was just a matter of resetting and gluing it back together. Alls well that ends well.
  14. I studied briefly with a cellist who played under Reiner with the CSO, and he had a lot of “train wreck” stories to tell. The famous one is about the bass player who, as a joke, took out a pair of binoculars to better see Reiner’s famously small baton strokes. He was fired on the spot.

    Another time, the orchestra was having a tough time with a very demanding guest conductor, and the stress level was extremely high. At one point during the rehearsal, the principal 2nd violin stood up and declared “I can’t take it anymore!” and smashed his violin to bits over his chair. Everyone was stunned, because they all, including the conductor, knew that it was an extremely valuable and expensive violin. What they didn’t know was that the whole thing was a gag -- during the lunch break, he’d gone to a pawn shop and bought a cheap-o $15 violin and secretly replaced his “good” fiddle with it. After that, the stress dissipated and they had a very productive rehearsal.
  15. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I have a buch of classics of my own, so I'll release them one-by-one as I feel energetic.

    My first steady gig (we had those in my old days), back when I had only been playing about 8 months. Obviously I didn't have a lot together at that point. I could read tunes off'n a page and had memorized some patterns to get me through standard progressions. I was 18 and the next youngest guy in the band was about 30, and they were all full time pros doing a favor for my dad, so I was freaked about the whole thing as well.

    One night, part way through the first set of a five hour gig, my D string pops off of my Peavey T40. No replacement string in my case. I learned the rest of the neck that night :)
  16. christ andronis

    christ andronis Supporting Member

    Nov 14, 2001
    so THAT'S why you started playing upright, huh? :)
  17. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    The old T40 will definitely get you looking around :)

    It was my first bass, though, so I have a weak spot for them -- bad (and heavy -- solid Oak!) as they were.
  18. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I remember those T40s...a lotta the country guys used to use them. Gotta love a slab that sounds like it was named after a tax form.

    I only heard this one secondhand, but I think it's fairly accurate; there's a bass guy in Honolulu that had a house gig at a very high end hotel. As is typical, he was required to enter and exit the venue through the kitchen. One night, he was leaving the gig, and stepped on some small piece of fruit that had been dropped by the staff, I seem to remember that it was a cherry. Combined with the requisite patent leathers he was wearing, it was enough to send him slipping onto his a$$, and the bass went straight up, and then straight down onto the tile floor, shattering into a million pieces. I've heard that it was pretty spectacular. He's had this bass reassembled (no small task in the Kingdom of Hawai'i), and still plays it every night. I think he's now allergic to cherries, however.
  19. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
  20. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Or, if in the New York Post, 'Bass Player Smears Fruit'