The bass audition from hell

Discussion in 'Bass Humor [DB]' started by jtlownds, Jun 20, 2005.

  1. jtlownds


    Oct 3, 2004
    LaBelle, FL
    This is not a joke. Just one of the memories of an ancient bass player.

    Back in 1964, my company sent me down to Washington DC to test a new software system at the Navy's computer center in the Georgetown section of DC. They put me up at the King George Hotel, which at the time was a 4 star hotel. Six years later, I returned, and it had degenerated into a flop house for derelicts, but at the time it was a very nice hotel. The first night, I went to the dining room for dinner. There was a 4 piece combo playing in the room. Piano, violin, bass and guitar. No amps or microphones, strictly accoustic, and the group was very tight. At the end of the first set, I introduced myself to the bass player, and informed him that I was a bass player too. I had a pleasant conversation with the band. Then the bass player graciously invited me to play the first couple of numbers on the next set. Not being one to pass up a chance to play someone elses bass, I immediately accepted. I don't remember what the first song was, but it was a simple old standard that I usually played in Bb. They called it in C - no problem. I started by walking down the scale from high C to low C. Something didn't sound right. It almost sounded like I was playing in A minor, and when I crossed to the D string for the F, it sounded like I jumped an octave to the C! I looked down at the finger board and thought "Oh Sh*t - this is a left handed bass". I didn't even know that such a thing existed. I had never seen one before, and I haven't seen one since. I looked over at my table, and the bass player was doubled over laughing his A$$ off. I looked at the rest of the band, and they were desparately trying to keep a straight face. I moved to the other side of the fingerboard, and had to think twice about every stop and every string crossing. At the end of the chorus, they modulated up a half step for the next 11 choruses, all the way back up to C. In a moment of panic, I abandoned my walking line and went into root 5 mode. It gave me more time to think about what I was doing. When the ordeal finally endid, the entire band congratulated me on passing the bass audition from hell. They said I had done real well, that most guys never got beyond the first 4 bars. I had never noticed that this guy had been playing left handed, and they took full advantage of it. These were a bunch of sick a$$es (my kind of people).

    Last year I joined the Charlotte County Jazz Society, and met Paul Milde, an 84 year old bass player who plays with the house band for the club. Paul spent most of his life in the Washington DC area, so I told him this story. Paul and his wife almost simultaneously said " that was Winnie Winsted". Apparently Winnie was the only southpaw bassist in the DC area, and took great delight in getting unsuspecting bass players to play his instrument. Paul said that Winnie actually started out as a left handed guitar player, and switched to bass later. He also told me that Winnie had passed away many years ago. Winnie is at the big gig in the sky now, probably trying to talk Charley Mingus into playing his bass. :D
  2. wow that is an amazing story man, thank you so much for sharing it!
  3. Peter Ferretti

    Peter Ferretti Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2005
    Hahahaha. Did you get interesting reactions from the band?
  4. jtlownds


    Oct 3, 2004
    LaBelle, FL
    The band was in on it. A bunch of truly sick bastards. Once I overcame the left handed hurdle (sort of), they decided to try modulating up a half step each chorus, just to tighten the screws.
  5. daofktr

    daofktr irritating, yet surly

    Feb 15, 2005
    aurora, IN
    OMG!!! those barstids!
    (i'm still lmao, but not at you...i woulda slapped someone!)
    i'm willing to bet a dollar onna dime that after that, nothing ever fazed you!
    lemme see if i can do an interpretive smiley sequence here:
    :) :bassist: :confused: :eek: :help: :mad: :bassist: :bassist: :bassist: :spit: ...sorry i don't have a smiley to show 'wanting to kill the band'!
  6. jtlownds


    Oct 3, 2004
    LaBelle, FL
    Actually, they were a pretty affable bunch. I did have a couple of seconds of anger, but they were very complimentary of my efforts. I think I got a free drink out of it too. I've been a lot more Pi$$ed at some musicians (?) who spent $6.00 on a set of sticks, and figured that qualified them as certified percussionist. :D
  7. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    I think you were a pretty good sport about it, and you brought a humorous story away from it. Lemonade from lemons and all that....good for you!
  8. Sippy


    Aug 1, 2005
    Yea what an awesome story!


    Aug 26, 2005

    What a great story. But FYI, Winstead was not the only southpaw in the DC area. WDC-based Steve Novosel is also a southpaw who was on the scene back in 64....however, Steve plays with a right-handed set-up!
  10. jtlownds


    Oct 3, 2004
    LaBelle, FL
    Glad to hear that Winnie wan't alone. But I'll bet that Steve wan't as sick a puppy as Winnie was. :D
  11. lwmoulton


    Apr 20, 2005
    Had a friend that takes me to gigs where the lefty bassist has me sit in. They are nice enough to not modulate and to pick a simple tune, but they did make me solo for a long time. It is an ear openning experience.
  12. jtlownds


    Oct 3, 2004
    LaBelle, FL
    I was hoping that I wasn't the only one who has had this experience. Things get real busy when you're playing a reverse set up, don't they.