Thursday, September 16, 2010


An upright bass is a giant “fiddle” which a person plays standing next to it. I love the story behind the bass fiddle that I learned on and I thought you might enjoy hearing it:

A musician friend of my brother was fishing with some buddies. He snagged what he thought was a large fish. However, as he started to reel in his “catch,” he realized that it was much bigger than a fish! In fact, he needed help getting it in without breaking his line, possibly even his pole! He summonsed his friends for help and they worked together to land the “monster”! Much to their surprise, their “catch of the day” was an old bass fiddle!

I’m sure that there were many speculations among these fishermen regarding how on earth this bass ever ended up in the river and how long it’d been there. I can almost hear the “fishing” tales flying!

The instrument lovers of the group concluded that they must attempt to preserve this new friend. With TLC, they gave it a new back, using floor under-layment and screws, a fresh coat of paint and a new set of strings. One final thing was necessary! It needed a name! So … they called it “The River Boat”!

Knowing that my brother, Art, wanted to learn to play a bass fiddle, “The River Boat” was passed on to him. He played it for several years and was told by a number of seasoned musicians that it was the best sounding bass they had ever heard!

After of few years of learning on and enjoying “The River Boat,” Art had an opportunity to purchase a beautiful, nearly new bass fiddle at a very reasonable price. He decided to take the offer, but knew that he didn’t need two basses. Knowing that I’d always wanted to learn, he said to me one day, “Why don’t you take ‘The River Boat’ home with ya?” Realizing that “The River Boat” had become Art’s close “friend” with sentimental value for his musician friends, I choked back tears and responded, “Really? Are you sure? What if I accidentally damage it or something?” He assured me that he’d like for me to take it and not to worry if something would happen to it. I felt so honored!

I had so much fun learning and felt a connection with my brother every time I played “The River Boat”! Often when I played publicly, I would share its story and then talk about how God took the trials in my life and transformed them into something which beautifully glorifies Him, just as He did with “The River Boat”!

One day I opened its case and one entire side was coming unglued and pulling away from the rest of the instrument! I panicked … then I prayed!! I called my musician friends and asked them to pray for the necessary extensive surgery! Having heard its story, it seemed that everyone who played in our band felt a special fondness for “The River Boat.” They were all devastated! A few days after the shock had settled, Gary & I worked together to loosen the strings and loving re-glue this instrument which had become a dear “friend.” Although we had no clue what we were doing, “The River Boat” seemed to make it through our amateur surgical abilities just fine, thanks to all the prayers!

A few weeks later, I had placed “The River Boat” on the ground next to our motor home while we were loading other instruments etc. after a music event. The shadows were settling in such a way that Gary couldn’t see as he came around the corner. He tripped over “The River Boat” and his knee landed right in the center of its belly! Not wanting to see the damage, I slowly opened the case and found that its body was shattered! I felt sick! My first thoughts were, “How will I ever tell my brother? He trusted me with his “friend”!

We were scheduled to play in a few days and there was no way that we could attempt the necessary surgery and have “The River Boat” ready on time. In fact, we weren’t sure that “The River Boat” would ever be playable again! So… we made a quick trip to visit a fella who made bass fiddles. He had several available that I could choose from, but my heart kept coming back to one that was painted Ocean Blue. It reminded me of “The River Boat” story. We brought “Big Blue” home and I’ve been playing it since.

We eventually took the time to painstakingly put “The River Boat” back together and returned it to my brother who was very understanding and seemed pleased with our reconstruction. In fact, he planned to hand it down to another friend who wanted to learn.

Yes, “Big Blue” and I are now good friends. However, there is a place in my heart for the “The River Boat” that another bass will never fill!


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