I had the pleasure of seeing Michael Manring do a clinic at Guitar Center here last night. It was simply amazing! Thought I'd give y'all a recap. Michael started out with "Monkey Businessman" off his "Thonk" CD, and then talked a bit about altered tunings. He tuned his bass to C-G-D-A, which he said was a good one to start out with for people who want to experiment with different tuning. He said one of the reasons he likes C-G-D-A is that it's an octave below cello tuning; he then put a capo on the bass at the 12th fret and played the Prelude to Bach cello suite #1. He also performed "No Wontons for Elvis" from his CD "The Book of Flame".. that tune is in C-G-D-A as well. To demonstrate a really altered tuning, Michael played "La Sagrada Familia," which is in F#-G-C#-B tuning (I may be wrong about the C#.) He said his bass wound up tuned this way after a long plane trip, so he decided he had to try to write a piece in that tuning. (He had the bass capoed at the 7th fret position for most of the song.) He then played some stuff in standard tuning, for the benefit of us mortals! It included a really cool medley of Beatles tunes. Michael ended the clinic by playing "The Enormous Room," which was a real treat. He took questions throughout; the topics included his musical influences (many) and his time studying with Jaco. I thought the most inspiring thing about the clinic, besides watching him do his otherworldly thing, was hearing him talk about the motivation and meaning of music and playing music for him. He used words like "passion" and "life" and "beautiful" a lot. You can tell that music just pervades every aspect of everything for him. It's really amazing to see him play, and I guess it goes without saying that if you get the opportunity to see him, DO IT! Side note: Joe Zon was there as well, and the Guitar Center had a bunch of Zon basses, including a couple with satin finishes on the back of the neck. WOW! Anyone who doesn't like the stickiness or plastic-y feel of graphite necks, this will change your mind. G.A.S.!!