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My Old Sorento Beatle Bass Guitar
My little studio.
Back in the early 70s.
I had hinted to my dad that I wanted to play the bass guitar. He came home one Friday after work and we went to a furniture store in town that was selling a few musical instruments. He bought me a Sorento Bass guitar with his last fifty dollars. It was a Beatle-style bass like Paul McCartney's...his instrument was a Hofner.
A couple of weeks later he bought me an AMPEG amplifier. Every free minute I had...I was thumping on my new bass. I sat many nights in the kitchen with dad and he would play old country songs on his guitar or fiddle while I accompanied him on bass. He was the only person I'd ever heard play harmonica and violin at the same time. It sounded similar to an organ.
Within six months of practicing, I auditioned for a job in a local Country music band. A girl named, Sharon was the lead singer. The band's name was, "The Primrose Ramblers." We played lots of Catholic wedding receptions, parties, and a few clubs.
Sharon was a great singer and a beautiful young woman. Friend Tommy was the lead guitar player. I loved hearing him play. We went through quite a few drummers. One drummer we had only had one leg. We called him, "Coconut." I never did know his real name.
After about a year of playing, Sharon for personal reasons decided to quit performing. Tommy and I checked out joining a few other bands but only came across losers. We jammed together a few more times and then just lost touch.
I decided that I wanted to sing and play six-string guitar so my old bass began collecting dust. I got into songwriting and recording. The old bass always came in handy for the bass tracks. Every song out of hundreds has the old bass thumping in the background.
I gave the old bass to Grandson William. I think of all the music I played on it and all of the people I played music with. I know it is just wood and metal. It isn't considered valuable as far as instruments go, but my dad bought it for me. He gave me something I could earn money with and enjoy throughout my life.
It was in the early 90s when we moved to Nashville. My sister Ann and I had set up a small publishing company in Berry Hill which is a small town inside the city. We signed songwriters and pitched songs including ours there for nearly six years. We had many songs on hold, published a few albums, and made some wonderful friends.
I recorded many songwriters on my Tascam 4 track and there was always a track for my old Sorento bass guitar. By then, it only had one working pickup but the sound was still sweet and solid. We left Nashville in 1998 and moved back to Ohio. In the last couple of years, I have given Grandson William bass lessons. He started out thumping on the old Sorento but shortly my wife Tammy and I bought him a bass guitar to learn on. It is the one he's playing in the video below.
He has learned amazingly well. We play everything from the blues to Heavy Metal. He has a new 5-string now so he can play in D tuning. His mom says I've created a monster. It is a wonderful feeling to have grandchildren carry on a tradition of music in the family. 11-year-old Granddaughter Ella has taken up Cow Bell.
Grandson William and I performing at a family memorial gathering.
These days I spend more of my time writing short stories than any other type of creative work. I do write an occasional song and work on re-writing some of my novels. Music opened up the realm of writing for me. I was first influenced by The Rolling Stones, CCR, The Beatles, Elvis, and many others. All of my writings come from the seeds of imagination.
I remember sitting on my bed in a farmhouse in rural Franklin County Indiana thumping on the Sorento bass to songs and commercials on the radio. I used my thumb to pluck a lot because it gave me more drive. I learned the theme to Pink Panther and Mickey Mouse just for fun.
I believe one of the greatest gifts for a child is an instrument and lessons to play music. I was lucky enough to have a father who taught me the basics and was determined enough to learn the rest on my own. Just listen to any version of, "Ode To Joy" and you'll understand.
My Father's very old Framus violin.
© 2010 Tom Cornett