A tale of two Fenders

IMG_8387-red I can finally understand those guys who get teary when they talk about their first cars or first baseball gloves. These coming-of-age symbols carry a lot of sentimental value. I understand because I just sold my Fender bass guitars.

Each has its own story.

My 2000 Fender fretless Jazz Bass was my standard axe for the longest time. I had it specially ordered at Ted Brown music in Tacoma my junior year of high school so that I could handpick the “midnight wine” color (I was even a wino back then) and inlayed frets.

The purchase really made no sense at the time or ever. Sure, it was a beautiful instrument, but fretless basses (think an electric bass that plays and sounds like a traditional upright bass) really only work for fusion music and jazz. I was playing hard rock at the time with my band, fatefully called Faceplant (which fatefully transitioned to the equally silly “focuspoint”). I bought the bass mostly because Wesley’s brother Greg had one and he is a bass guitar genius.

Sidenote: In high school, Wesley, Scott and I would often drop by a dairy distribution warehouse in Fife where Greg’s hip-hop band, All Kinz, practiced. We spent many a night there listening to tunes, shuffling through a stack of old Playboys and being oblivious to the band’s frequent drug innuendos. Considering the location, we also scored a lot of free chocolate milk.


Sometime after college I realized that the fretless jazz bass was no longer doing the trick, especially as I wanted to learn how to perform slap and pop techniques that require a fretted bass. I picked up a light blue Fender Precision Bass off of eBay for $200 from some guy in Miami. Made in 1992, this bass had seen better days, but it still played well. I put some new hardware on it, recorded most of focuspoint’s first album and played most of focuspoint’s 20+ 2007 shows with it.

After a couple raises at my job, I had my eye on my dream bass – a MusicMan Stingray. This bass was also designed by the same guy who designed the Fender basses, Leo Fender, but could basically produce the same tones as both Fender basses and more. I found a great deal from a Seattle University student on Craigslist and picked up the bass from him at Guitar Center, ironically.

Sure enough, the Stingray blew my other basses away, which were subsequently retired to their cases under my bed. When Amanda and I moved to Tacoma they transitioned their hibernation to my office closet.

A high credit card bill reminded me last month (Hello honeymoon!) that I probably didn’t have the room in my wallet or closet to backline two bass guitars that I was no longer using. I put them on Craigslist and, to speak to how great these Fenders are, got responses for both of them within the hour.

I sold my first car, the Green Hornet, with no remorse. I’ve never thought twice about an old baseball glove. (Credit this to Dad who bought and sold several homes and cars and liked to host garage sales or make dump runs every other weekend during the summers.)

I’m just not a person who attaches a lot of emotion to possessions, but I’ll never forget those Fenders.