bluegrass bass Musical Instruments

The $47.01 Bass Guitar

As many people know, I am always looking for a good bargain with musical instrument equipment. Bass guitars are probably top on my list, mainly because I have always loved playing the bass, and I love teaching bass to young students. I have posted a few blogs about using the electric bass in a bluegrass setting, so I really am conscious of finding inexpensive bass guitars for those interested in bluegrass bass.

About a month ago, I found a listing on eBay for a Glarry Burning Fire electric bass that a third party was selling overstock for about $40.00. Tax and all made it closer to $49.00, but I took a shot. About a week later, a small package arrived with the same USPS tracking number that was provided upon payment. The package turned out to be a pair of ladies underwear! I contacted eBay and PayPal, and fortunately, I got a full refund (and am stuck with some underwear !).

I knew that it was too good to be true. At least I got my money back, and all that it cost me was a little frustration. About two weeks ago, I was surfing the website for bass guitars. You can usually pick up a Chinese no-name P-bass for about $65.00, coming out to about $80.00 with shipping and tax. However, I did come across one ad that had a P-bass for $32.35! I wondered if I should take a chance. I have had decent luck with, the only problem being a long delivery time. With tax and shipping, the total cost was $47.01. I rolled the dice and took a chance.

A week later (a lot faster than usual shipments), the package was at the post office for me to pick up. And yes, it was a full-sized P-bass! I shook the box a little to hear if there were any broken parts (my previous experience with Glarry was that it was shipped with no packing material to cushion). OK, no noise, so let’s get it home!

To my surprise, it was packed really well, inside molded styrofoam and wrapped in semi-bubble wrap. Pulling it out of the package, I found it to be typical of the Chinese no-name basses – lightweight body (so the headstock tends to drop down if you are not holding the neck), mediocre tuning gears, fret ends needing some smoothing, and the neck feeling a bit rough on the back. I haven’t yet plugged it in to see if the pickup and controls work fine, and I’m figuring that the pickup will need to be adjusted for height. A good set up will make this a decent playable bass. For $47.01, it is well worth it!

A bit of learned information about this purchase was a lucky shot. Occasionally, the site will have sale prices, but you have to be in the right place at the right time. When checking on this same P-bass a few days ago, the price was back up to $68.00. They will also have items like cords, tuners, foot pedals, and practice amps sold at decent prices as well as the occasional deep-discount sale. But you have to be scanning every day. Again, the only real concern is shipping time, so if you were buying a Christmas present for someone, you would have to order it in early November to get a guarantee pre-holiday arrival.

Now getting a gig bag for this bass is another thing. Trying to find one less than $20.00 is near impossible, even on Which leads me to what I want to do with the bass. I already have four other basses, including a Chinese no-name P-bass. I will probably just get this new one set up, then sell it on Craigslist in the same packaging that it was shipped in.

I’m not sure how next weekend looks, as it is Christmas. Hopefully I will find the time to post some short note.

Chew on it and comment.

Music Industry Social Media

Glarry and Its Loyalty to Facebook

Some of you readers have seen in my previous blogs how I have talked mostly positive about Glarry, the musical instrument company out of China that produces decent-quality guitars, basses, and violins at very affordable prices. Well, my most recent experience with the company’s PR end has changed my mind considerably about it, and not for the better.

Now, this negative reaction has nothing to do with the instruments themselves. I still feel that they are worth the money for beginner musicians. Moreover, what I am about to discuss is not only a reflection of Glarry, but of many companies promoting products by having contests.

During the past two weeks, Glarry had a contest in which they were giving away 15 instruments. The stipulation was that one had to take a photo of oneself holding his/her Glarry musical instrument, then post it on Facebook or Instagram.

Here’s my situation: I do not have a Facebook or Instagram account. In fact, I have very few accounts in the social media world. I refuse to have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Tik Tok account (the four most popular) for two main reasons:

  1. I do not support these networks’ stifling the free speech of one side of the political spectrum
  2. I do not waste my time posting mundane and uninteresting news about myself or others

I have a LinkedIn account for my employment networking (which unfortunately has become a dumping ground for Facebook-like postings), a ReverbNation account for songwriting networking, a YouTube account to post songwriting clips (which is also becoming like Facebook and Twitter in its censorship; I’m considering moving to Rumble), and a rarely used Parler account, which is used even less after the whole take-down scandal.

We have seen in the news over the past year or two how these social media companies are controlling the thought process of much of the population by their censorship. I won’t get into that end of it here. I have my opinions, and do not feel like debating that with anyone.

What I do want to talk about is that Glarry, as well as many other companies out there, feel that their customers, especially the most loyal ones, MUST have a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account in order to be rewarded.

I contacted Glarry by email about this. I wanted to take a humorous photo of me with my Glarry guitar and bass strapped around my shoulders, as well as holding my Glarry violin. I was told that I could only enter the contest through Facebook or Instagram because that is how most of their customers communicate. Well, not ALL of your customers communicate that way. I am sure that any company that to enter a certain contest, one must wear a certain type of clothing or cut his/her hair a certain way, that company would be ostracized, boycotted, or taken to court.

But this is a trend among a lot of companies, and the masses are allowing it without recourse. The world is full of people that cannot live without a Facebook account. Everyone thinks that his/her voice must be heard, no matter how boring, dumb, or obnoxious the statement is. We don’t count the friends that we have around us, but instead count the amount of Likes we have on our last post. We destroy other people’s lives with the click of a mouse button, and have no remorse if we were wrong about the facts.

As for Glarry, when I wrote back stating that I did not have an account, would not open an account just to enter the contest, and would be dealing other companies in the future because of this, Glarry wrote back with a “have a nice day” reply. All right, so they won’t miss my future business, I am just one customer out of thousands. However, if more people would take a similar action, perhaps companies would take notice and make such contests available to all walks of life. Glarry is not the only company that handles its contests as such, and unfortunately, the social media world has become so popular that those who do not wish to be lemmings are treated as less important.

Chew on it and comment.

Bluegrass Music Musicians

Tidbits #2: Eddie Van Halen, Finger Torture, IBMA Awards, Glarry Violin

Eddie Van Halen RIP – There wasn’t a lot of coverage in the news of his death, but anyone that grew up in the 80s or was a big music fan took notice. I was never a big fan of Van Halen, but I did know that Eddie was an amazing guitarist. He is LITERALLY up there with Hendrix, Clapton and Page. He may have not been the first to try out double-tapping on the guitar fretboard, but he perfected it and made it an art form. There was not a lead guitarist in any hair metal band that did not emulate Eddie. He had his demons with drugs and alcohol, but had a great demeanor. I have never seen an interview with someone that, when asked about Eddie, that person talked about how humble of a guy he was. I remember seeing a cable television tribute to Les Paul many years ago, and all of these guitarists came on stage to laud over Les. Eddie went one step further and hugged and kissed the man. His last years in life were fighting throat cancer, which eventually took his life. He will be missed by many, especially other musicians, but his guitar work on Van Halen recordings as well as others (that was his magic playing lead guitar on Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”) will never be forgotten. Rest easy, Eddie, you have definitely changed the music world for the better.

Finger contraption – My fretting/fingering hand for guitar, bass, mandolin, and fiddle has never had great dexterity. I could never get that pinky finger to stretch out for that illusive fourth fret, or have enough strength to form a true barre chord. I relegated my fingerings to a lot of open chords and lead playing rarely went past the ring finger. So a few weeks ago, while ordering some music stuff off of the Wish website, there was a deal that if you purchased a certain amount of items (which I did), you get a huge discount on a few other related items. There wasn’t much to choose from, so I ordered a finger stretcher. It is four plastic rings spaced apart in a straight line. You slip your fingers through the rings, and press down on the contraption as far as your finger spread will allow. Yeah, it looks like something from the Spanish Inquisition and was painful the first few times, but I have been doing this every day for about 20 minutes, and I have noticed that the pinky on my left hand does have a little better stretch. Playing the fiddle lately, I find it easier to finger those high notes. I’m not sure if this thing is doing the job, but I got it for next to nothing, and if anything, I feel like it is helping. If you can get one of these things for under a few bucks, and you have trouble stretching the fretting fingers, you might consider trying one of these gigamadoos.

IBMA Awards – The awards were handed out last week, and here is a list of the winners: . I would have taken the list off of the official IBMA website, but they still have not posted it yet. I’m glad to see my friends Mile Twelve winning Best New Artist, and another good friend Becky Buller winning Song of the Year (“Chicago Barn Dance”) and Collaborative Recording of the Year (“The Barber’s Fiddle”). Talk about a Who’s Who of bluegrass fiddling, check out the video.

Glarry: I picked up another fiddle, this time from Glarry. This is the model GV306, the most expensive violin they carry. At $89.99, that is really not expensive. I based the purchase on a review from my hero, Jerry Rosa at Rosa String Works. I am relatively satisfied with it. There were a lot accessories included (shoulder rest, tuner/metronome) that it wouldn’t matter if they were there or not. One drawback is that it only has a high “E” string fine tuner, not on all four strings like the lower-priced models. I ordered and put on three more fine tuners before setting it up. Another drawback is that the bridge is really thick. I had to file down a lot of wood to make it more like a true violin bridge. I plan to get a better bridge in the future. Finally, the strings that Glarry puts on their instruments are horrible. I’ll be replacing them soon with a decent set. However, the tone of the violin is nice, very woody and low. My other violin sounded like a screech owl compared to this one. It inspires me to keep practicing. The video below is Jerry’s review. The first violin he reviews is the GV306.

Chew on it and comment.