End of Summer into Fall 2019

It’s been busy since the last I wrote! Good-busy for sure, the kind of busy you want in the summer months, gettin it in before the slowing down of autumn and the winter freeze. In early august I did a run of shows in New England with my buds Cold Chocolate then somehow the universe allowed that the end of that tour (Bethel VT) collided with a run with my friend, songwriter Rachel Baiman for the Green Mountain Bluegrass & Roots Festival in Manchester VT. What a great festival! We coordinated a drop off near Bethel and we had some hours to kill so I looked up a swimming spot on the White River (Thanks swimmingholes.info!!) as you do in Vermont in the summer! It had to be the most beautiful swimming holes I have ever visited (and thats saying something!) in fact it was so beautiful that after I passed from one band to another, I took Rachel and and Cy (who plays guitar w/ Rachel) back to the spot for another go.

Right before these dates I was excited albeit a bit nervous to drop my bass off at Mike Shank’s shop in Elizabethtown PA to undergo the most extreme work I’ve had done thus far – make the neck removable for traveling! In plain terms, Mike allowed for the bass’ neck to be taken on and off via a 4inch bolt through the saddle (bottom of the neck). I’m sure this sounds kind of insane to bass players and bass lovers alike but it is more safe than you might think and becoming more and more common in the past few years.

Taking measurements for the conversion

I knew that Mike was who I wanted to do the surgery. Mike is an incredibly talented luthier who, lucky for me, lives only 25 minutes from my parents house in Lancaster, PA. I bought the bass from him in 2006 with financial help from my Grandma Betty and the Christopher “Busetto” bass was always special for me. It got me through my undergrad and seeing me though countless gigs. It is equally equipped for arco playing and pizz playing and I find that it stratels that line about as well as any hybrid (plywood back and sides, fully carved top) bass can. Mike’s set up and finish are an enormous part of that.

w/ my Christopher bass @ Grey Fox 2008 😉

After compromising for so long,(read my post about what I had been using to travel here —> https://charliequestion.com/2019/06/27/tribute-to-a-travel-bass/) I still wanted to have a bass that I could take anywhere via plane/ train/ auto. I really wanted to be able to take that sound and feel with me on the road and Mike and I made a plan to make it happen. The risk of course was that changing the bass in such an extreme way could alter the tone/ volume of the instrument but it was something I was prepared to risk. Two weeks later I came back and tried it out! There was only the slightest loss of volume but the tone remained stunningly intact! We made a few adjustments, he showed me the set up and break down method and I was off with my newly travelable old friend.

Mike showing me the new rig!

We made some tracings of the instruments shape to send to CaseExtreme in San Diego who made a custom flight case for the instrument. It came *just* in time for its maiden voyage to the Wheatland music festival with my buds Freddy and Francine and it went off without a hitch!

w/ Freddy and Francine @ Wheatland Music Festival with the new bass!

In other, non-upright bass news, I was so excited to get to bring my friend Mike Reilly’s new record to the stage this past month. Mike’s project, “Pretend Collective”, released their first LP on the Philly-based label, Giving Groove. I was privileged to get to be in the *stellar* band for these shows in Philly and New York. I’m sure thery’ll be more shows soon. Check out the new record here —> https://www.pretendcollective.com/

I’ve got some more dates through New England with Freddy & Francine coming up in October as well as a West Coast run with singer-songwriter Joe Pug. I hope to see some friends out there!! Dates are below! Big love ❤

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