Homecoming (long)

I grew up in music, everyone in my family played. Every Sunday we would gather for a cookout or fish fry, my uncles would be in the living room or on the porch playing and singing. My grandmother was even a drummer for a bit. When I was 4-5 years old I picked up a guitar one of my uncles sat down and started mimicking the adults playing. That day my dad took me to Sears (not a lot of music stores back then). He purchased me a 1981 Sears brand “concert acoustic guitar” for $49.99 it looked like a Martin. Honestly, that guitar was built very well and I had it well into my teens. It was like a good Alvarez. From that point forward my dad started teaching me cords, I’d have to go practice 1h every evening and when he’d come home from work I’d have to play for him. If I flubbed too much I got my @$$ kicked and sent back to my room to practice again for an hour, rinse repeat. Needless to say, I got pretty good rather fast.

By the time I hit high school, I was a full-on guitar player, no one in the school played as I was growing up, there were a few piano guys and violin, etc. In high school, you had marching band only. Yet, because of my grades, I could not join. At the end of my junior year, I had nothing to do for the summer so I signed up for six weeks of summer school, to get a credit and to get in the band room, as I signed up for band… never playing a marching band instrument. The music teacher soon figured that out and stuck me on trumpet. I hated it, I really wanted to play sax, but he said there were no student loaners. One day he assigned me to clean out the equipment room (you know because I couldn’t play anything haha). Way back in the back under everything I found a big really heavy case. I thought it might be a big brass horn. I opened it and it was a Con Baritone saxophone (bass baby). I pulled it out and knocked the dust off of it. Found an old reed never used, got it fixed up, and started trying to play it. By the end of lunch my band teacher came in, I already figured out 2 measures of a song the band was working on. He spent 2h with me, and I knew how to play it. Yet it had a bit of damage, so he took it to a repair shop and got it fixed up for me. By the time I started my senior year at the end of that summer, I was already 2nd chair for sax and a band officer and was sent to Troy State band camp during that summer period.

During my senior year, I was playing guitar, now sax and I really wanted to play bass. The music teacher kept refusing. So I went and traded my Nintendo for a Cortez P Bass in a pawn shop. Built a cabinet in my dad’s shop and put some car speakers in it. Ran a car amp to it on an inverter and plugged my bass into it with a modified 1/4 male to RCA jack. It… would… thump… So that whole year I taught myself bass, 2-3h practices a night.

Right before I graduated I was signing up for the Airforce. I wanted a solid “career” path going into electronics, learning it in the military then using G.I. Bill to finish my education. Well, things went bad… very very bad… For the past couple of years leading to that point, I noticed I was getting weaker, harder to walk up steps, and hard to run. During my physicals, they discovered something and sent me home to see a specialist. One week later I was told I had muscular dystrophy, no cure, I’ll be in a wheelchair within 3 years, and dead by 25 because I’ll lose the ability to breathe on my own, etc. Devastation… I just sat there listening like it wasn’t real, I had tinnitus and just saw the doctor’s mouth moving. I glanced over at my parents and they were crying. I graduated that year, middle of my class, with many awards in art and music, I was the guy who painted all the murals for the school etc.

After high school, I went into engineering, not the military. I also started gigging with bands and did a few recordings with some now lost to time. Won a few battle of the band contests etc. By the time I was 25-26, I wasn’t dead, but I lost the ability to play, it was too hard to stand and I started not being able to session more than 5min without being exhausted. So… I put down my bass, and sold all my gear, a year later would be in a chair and that is where I’ve been for 23ish years now. Lost the ability to lift my arms, lift my head, move my legs, and so on.

For a year all I have been doing is thinking, how can I play bass again? I’ll never be Geddy Lee or Jaco, but for what I want to do I might be able to make it work. So I started planning, and as of yesterday, I have another full rig… I got a cheap Glarry I know I know… I just had to see if I could train myself to play again. I also got a Fender Rumble 100w (based on reviews from Bass Buzz). If this works out I’m looking at a Sire Marcus Miller P5 Alder the red one, or the Sire Marcus Miller P7 black one.

I’ve got pics and documenting my journey back. I’m starting today practicing my scales, pentatonic first actually, then my major and minor. Oh, I’m doing this from my “lap” I built a stand to hold the guitar while I fret down on the strings. I installed a string guard to rest my hand on and I can play with my fingers. I can even slap, but trying to get that pop… I’m not too worried about all that right now. I just need to get my muscle memory working on the scales.

I just wanted to introduce myself, give you guys a long story and say thanks for ALL the great information on the forums and Bass Buzz. You guys keep it bassy.


Wow, talk about dedication!! Very moving and inspiring to read - thanks for sharing!

I wish you all the best of luck and perseverance in making this work - and the community will be here to help in any way possible!

There are many others here who struggle with some kind of handicap or disability - small or large - and sharing the challenges with others is part of the “healing” (or, homecoming, if you will) :smile:


Welcome, @sleazybass!
That’s an impressive introduction. Hope BassBuzz delivers everything you are working to achieve.


WoW & Welcome

Stay Strong ,


Welcome, @sleazybass! Really glad you’re here. You’re a true inspiration to players of any and all instruments. Keep after it, man. If anyone can get it done, it’s you.


Great to hear you are getting back into it, @sleazybass! I wish you lots of fun!

Welcome! BassBuzz is a wonderful place to learn and chat. Glad to have you with us!

1 Like