Gin Blossoms Cake Fastball Songs Bass Play-a-long with Washburn XB125

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Washburn 5 String Active Bass Bantam Series XB125

It’s been eight years since I last played bass and performed these songs.

I’m a little bit rusty, the XB needs CRC, my fingers some WD40, so please bear with me.

Here’s my Bass Play-a-long of the songs from Gin Blossoms “As long as it matters” (UMG-A&M),  Cake’s “I Will Survive” (SME-Sony Music Catalog) and “The Way” by Fastball.

The video shows my own version, depiction, and rendition of these songs… based on fingers “muscle memory” recall.

Thank you!

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A Valentine’s Day True Story

na lahos og kinuskusbalungos
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It was February 13th when a young girl got a short visit from her boyfriend who was just dropping by to give her a box of chocolate and a heart shaped balloon.

Her boyfriend had an important matter to attend to so he told her that he will just come back the following day.

Next day it was Valentines day and he asked her out on a date and take a motorcycle ride with him to a local mountain spot.

It was a long trip and while driving up the mountain road there was a small store up ahead located on the opposite side of the road they were travelling on.

Her boyfriend made a quick stop and parked the motorcycle on the roadside across the store.

After stopping, her boyfriend then asked her if he could borrow some money to buy something.

So she gave him some money and waited on the bike as he crossed the road and went to the store.

After a few minutes she saw her boyfriend walking back towards the bike while holding something behind his back with one hand.

When he got to her, he asked her to close her eyes which she complied.

He then asked her to open her eyes and when she did, she saw her boyfriend holding three roses close to her face who then said to her, “Happy Valentines!”

As they drove on, she realized her boyfriend used the money he borrowed from her to buy the flowers and when she turned around to look at the store again she saw that there was a flower garden behind the store hidden by the trees and bushes that grew beside it.

retrieved from panoramio.com

three roses (retrieved from panoramia.com)

Three months later the girl and her female friend went to a shop downtown. While they were inside the shop, her friend who happened to be a friend of the shop owner were talking.

Now the shop’s owner and the girl’s friend were also friends of the girl’s boyfriend.

But the shop owner and the girl were not friends and didn’t know each other.

The shop owner also didn’t know that his friend was the girl’s boyfriend.

In their conversation the shop owner asked the girl’s friend if she saw their common friend (the girl’s boyfriend) because he needed to talk to him about something.

The girl’s friend told the shop owner that she hasn’t seen him for some time but told the shop owner to ask her friend because maybe she knows where he is.

After getting introduced and talking for a little while the shop owner finally said to the girl, “Your friend told me that you know “____.” I was wondering if you know where he is now because he still owes me payment for a box of chocolate and a heart shaped balloon.”

hershey kisses and a balloon overstock.com

…a box of chocolate and a heart shaped balloon (retrieved from overstock.com)

Crazy about Guitars

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(Guitar Acquisition Syndrome)

Nowadays one can easily find musical instruments like electric guitars and basses in the market coming in from China, Japan, Korea, Mexico, India, Indonesia and the United States.

Some guitar brands are quite heavy for ones pocket yet some are economical, a great deal, or just a steal and light on the budget.

Although a guitar’s price may be nominal, not to mention it’s brand new. Before purchasing one though, here are a few things one may want to consider:

  1. The kind of wood used

Most solid body guitars use species of tonewood that have been commonly used for a long time to make guitar bodies, neck, and fingerboard like Alder, Ash, Basswood, Ebony, Korina, Mahogany, Maple, Poplar, Rosewood, Walnut, and other Exotic woods.

However, some manufacturers may use alternate species of tonewoods depending on availability.

Since guitars are mass produced, with increasing demands in the global market, sometimes newer guitars may end up with wood that may not be well seasoned.

Well seasoned in a sense that they are Kiln dried, using heat to dry the wood and accelerate the aging process.

Unlike vintage guitars that use more stable wood that have been “air dried” and aged for a long time.

Kiln dried wood doesn’t retain as much moisture as air dried wood . Without enough moisture guitars are prone to warping and cracking.

So when checking out guitars, if you see a slight bow in a piece of neck wood this might signal that the wood had stabilized in the proper orientation for resisting string pressure.[1]

neck relief

Neck relief (retrieved from haloguitars.com)

If a fingerboard has that tiny amount of up-bow/forward bow or relief then the amount is just right because a little more than that may mean it’s a warped neck.

 

warped_neck learningtoplaytheguitar.net

Warped neck (retrieved from learningtoplaytheguitar.net)

 

Another factor also is that since guitars have become world travelers, the different climates also play a major role on a guitars “wood” health.

This is due to ones atmosphere’s relative humidity.

When guitars are introduced to a high-humidity environment like in tropical areas, a backbow may occur as well as the deterioration of glue or wood itself.

And the smallest amount of fingerboard straightening or backbow may cause considerable adjacent fret-buzzing.

basic set-up instructions adjusting up-bow backbow stewmac.com

basic set-up instructions, adjusting up-bow, backbow (retrieved from stewmac.com)

In a very low humidity area like in temperate regions the effects are more serious. This can cause moisture loss in tonewoods that produces wood shrinkage, uneven stress that relieves itself by producing one or more cracks plus glue joint failures.

Solid wood are more vulnerable to humidity change and may twists, warp, or crack. With changes in humidity they have the tendency to shrink or expand and this expansion and contraction ultimately affects the sound.[2]

twisted neck closeup littleguitarworks.com

twisted neck (retrieved from littleguitarworks.com)

Electric guitars come in different brands, shapes and colors and it’s really hard to tell the kind of tonewood used judging by the body’s weight alone.

Even if the guitar’s body has a natural finish, if one is not an expert or knowledgeable on the appearance of the different common tonewoods used, it’s pretty difficult to determine its kind.

Some guitars use Plywood for its body. Although plywood is only a mediocre as a tonewood, surprisingly plywood can withstand considerable atmospheric abuse.[3]

There are even guitars that have “Hardboard,” a type of fiberboard used for their body.

If you are living in the Philippines and plan on having a guitar custom-made for you, one of your best choices for body tonewood should be Mahogany.

For Mahogany is a wood that ages really well, it becomes better sounding every year, it’s a stable wood with less chances of warping over time than most other species.[4]

mahogany ratcliffe.co.za

Mahogany body (retrieved from ratcliffe.co.za/articles/bodywoods)

  1. Who is the Manufacturer?

If the guitar you’re planning on buying is made by a world famous Guitar Company then most likely you’ll be getting a good one.

Because these famous guitar makers are not only known for the quality of work and materials used but are also known for the type of tonewoods that they use.

High-end guitars may be expensive but one can at least be sure that the tonewood used is good.

And one should always think twice before purchasing a brand new guitar of the well known brands here.

If the price of the guitar is not right, if it’s a cut-rate then definitely it is a copy.

It may look genuine… a genuine copy.

In spite of that, we may see guitars that are moderately priced in the market that are of the top of the line brands that are made in Asian countries like China, Indonesia, Vietnam or Korea.

Although these guitars are crafted in these countries the materials they use are from the famous Company itself.

“Companies like Fender, Gibson, Washburn, Tanglewood actually get a large percentage of their guitars made at the same few companies in China. Washburn for example get some guitars made at a company which is known as Aiersiguitar, Devonmusik and Sinomusik.”[5]

Washburn Guitar

Washburn Guitar-Made in China

The factories that build them are either a franchise or branch of the larger company. And the guitars that are assembled there may use wood parts that are locally available in that country.

If you are from the Philippines and get this kind of guitar coming from another Asian country, this may actually be a good thing since the wood used come from an area of the same climate zone, i.e. tropical.

This is in fact advantageous in regard to your guitars “wood” health concerning relative humidity and its effects compared to a guitar that is brought in from a country that belongs to a different climate region, temperate like the United States.

Be that as it may, this still doesn’t mean one should just leave ones guitar readily exposed to the elements.

  1. How long do you plan on using it?

If you’re just starting out and plan on getting a better brand later then a cheapo may be worth it.

There are a lot of good cheapo’s out there, some of which are as good as their U.S. counterparts.

Because branch companies like those in China for one, make and export guitars to the U.S.A. as well as in other countries.

But the downside to other cheapo’s is that, their bodies may not be as resonant or sustaining and capable of enhancing any particular frequency range and overtones because of the kind of wood used.

If by some mathematical error the bridge of the guitar is not properly positioned or the bridge slot has not been routed accurately this can cause poor or inaccurate intonation and is not easily fixed.

Fact is, a high action can be remedied but inaccurate or poor intonation that result in bad scales are not uncommon among cheapo’s.

A misplaced nut that throws the entire scale off is also a problem that cheapo’s have, some of which may never be able to get corrected.[6]

If you ask any serious musician you know of, who takes their instruments seriously, they’ll surely ask you this query, “Is it quality? Will it be worth your every penny?”

So if you plan on becoming a serious musician and if your budget permits then you should get a good brand or save up for the good one.

Will a second-hand or used musical instrument of a known brand be just as good?

Used instruments at a bargain price may just be around you waiting to be found. If you go around you may find one with a great sound.

They may be old… but looking at them you’ll find a story is told.

DSC05948

And if you’ll find one that’s authentic then that would be fantastic!

Old means vintage and wood seasoned and aged.

So when choosing a guitar, one should consider its wood stability, sound quality, and overall durability, or better still its playability.

References:

[1] http://www.pjguitar.com/articles/humidity-guitars-health/

[2] http://www.ratcliffe.co.za/articles/bodywoods.shtml

[3] http://tonewood.com/luthier-resources/care-of-wood.html

[4] http://www.ratcliffe.co.za/articles/bodywoods.shtml

[5] https://www.guitarzone.com/forum/topic/194808-so-where-was-my-guitar-actually-made/

[6] http://www.koivi.com/guitar-intonation.html

Courting with Disaster: Close Encounters of The Venomous Kind (Whoa, What the hell was I thinking?)

Naja_samarensis retrieved from commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Naja_samarensis
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Samar cobra

The Samar cobra (Naja samarensis) is a highly venomous species of spitting cobra that is found in the southern islands of the Philippines.

Although it is a spitting cobra, this species only rarely spits its venom. It is considered to be an extremely aggressive snake that strikes with little provocation.

The venom of this species is not well studied, but is known to be an extremely potent postsynaptic neurotoxin that also contains cytotoxic agents.

According to Ernst & Zug et al the murine SC LD50 value is 0.21 mg/kg, making it one of the most venomous true cobra species (genus Naja) in the world.[1]

Venom

The Samar cobra’s venom is potentially deadly.

Envenomations can result in respiratory distress and paralysis, as well as considerable tissue necrosis around the bite site.

They are noted for their nervous behavior, and are quick to strike as well as to spray venom, which they generally aim towards the face and eyes.

If venom gets in the eyes, it causes extreme pain and mechanical damage to the eyeball.

If not properly flushed out, it can result in permanent blindness due to its tissue destroying properties.

Antivenin for the Samar cobra is produced in the Philippines, but is not widely available due to this species’ restricted distribution and thus, relatively low numbers of individuals.[2]

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Phew, Good thing I got my helm on, this Kobra Mam-buga is a real Spitter.

Well, if that doesn’t sound scary or petrifying enough to frighten the life out of you and keep your distance.

Then it would be unwise to turn such a situation into one hostile confrontation if you run into one.

Getting bitten by a highly venomous snake such as the Samar cobra can be deadly.

Although it rarely spits its venom, if you get sprayed in the eyes, it can be just as deathly.

There are many videos in Youtube like the GMA News and Public Affairs Video “Born to be Wild: Ang Cobra Hunter” and GMA News TV’s Video “I Witness 2012 Kamandag ng Palayan” uploaded by maria Salabat that featured the Samar cobra.

But one thing about the Video Clip below entitled “Samar Cobra in a HissSlithering Suspense ‘The Spitting Cobra’” is that it was able to capture that rare instant where this snake spit out its venom.

Even though the video clip was a bit blurry and shaky at 6:31 into the video as the camera moved in for a close-up, if you listen to the audio, you can hear the squirting sound as the snake spits out its venom.

Being the one who moved the camera closer to get an up-close look at the Samar cobra, in that instant, as I was holding it at very close range I saw the cobra lunged forward from behind the old sewing machines metal leg and spat out its venom that almost reached the ceiling about eight feet and seven inches high.

Holding the camera at arm’s length with the cobra just a mere foot away from it as it spits out its venom, I was clearly within its range.

One thing you’ll also notice in the video is that after the Samar cobra spat and retreated, it quickly emerged from behind the sewing machines leg again to take a peek, probably to see if its spray was effective….

Cobras are known to launch their venom a distance of 6 to 8 feet (1.8 to 2.4 meters) and according to Livescience.com they are incredibly accurate shooters and can hit a victim’s eyes from 2 feet (60cm) away with impressive accuracy.[3]

The venom does not hit the victim in just one spot but it lands in complex geometric patterns as the snakes rotate their heads and jerk them side to side as they spray.

Before spitting the snake engages their head and neck muscles. And as the venom is propelled forward, the muscles produce rapid oscillations of the head that disperse the venom, presumably maximizing the chance that a portion of the spat venom will contact the eye, Livescience.com said.

Mozambique spitting cobra spitting venom at a scientist (retrieved from Arkive.org)

Mozambique spitting cobra spitting venom at a scientist (retrieved from Arkive.org)

Come to think about my encounter, of what I saw, for some reason; was it because of bad aim that I didn’t get sprayed in the eyes?

I don’t think so.

I believe it was because of these three reasons that I consider myself fortunate.

First, the cobra was pinned down to the wall and behind the sewing machines metal legs and had to lean far forward to clear its obstruction.

Second, its body was slightly slanted, already stretched far enough and it wasn’t able to rotate or jerk its head side to side as it retreated back quickly.

And third, it was aiming for the “eye” of the camera.

And even if one may have reflexes like that of Anderson “The Spider” Silva, such spit, at lightning speed… would have been disastrous had it come in contact with my eyes.

As I am no snake hunter, wrangler or handler and literally was within spitting distance, I consider myself extremely lucky no venom got into my eyes.

What I did was foolish; it could have ended up bad.

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Speaking of one being “foolish,” like Anderson Silva who may have very quick-reflexes, was way within striking distance, but just opted to lean back after toying around with an advancing Chris “The All-American” Weidman – lights out, TKO.

What makes the Samar cobra and other spitting cobras among other snakes very dangerous is that they need not even bite you to cause damage.

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A Samar cobra that has just eaten. Caught at Newtech Pulp, Inc. (Photo courtesy of Ckinzki)

However, most snakes are shy, reclusive and avoid human confrontation. They usually avoid human contact most of the time.

The Samar cobra usually comes in conflict with people as their main food sources are frogs and rodents that live close by human settlements.[4]

Cutting open a Samar cobra’s stomach (Video taken by Ckinzki)

Going back to our little incident, it all started when I got back home ten in the morning, rushed to the garage table, sat on the bench and worked on a blog.

Our garage long table had a table cloth on with ends hanging very close to the floor which hindered me from seeing what’s directly underneath it.

As I continued writing something caught my eye from the outskirts of my periphery that passed close to my foot and when I turned to see… it was a big “snakey.”

Kids in the house, plenty of nooks and crannies, and surrounding concrete walls so tall I knew I had to make a tough call.

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Long ago I was able to capture, kill a number of snakes including one that was bigger on the road late one evening, and also one slightly smaller Samar cobra in the house before that didn’t spit its venom.

I once captured a small snake about 8 inches long in one rice paddy that gave me a tiny bite on the finger because as I was pushing it into an empty soft drink bottle, while the head and half of its body was already in, it coiled back and struck a finger.

When I checked the finger, there was a small nick, but it was a good thing the bite didn’t penetrate my skin, I guess, I was lucky back then I had callused fingers from years of bass playing.

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But sometimes when overconfidence turns foolhardy it may become a different story.

Paying no heed to this snake’s potential deadliness being one of the most venomous cobra species in the world is like courting with disaster.

And even if you listen to what Brom of Eragon said: “That’s the spirit – one part brave, three parts fool.”

Nonetheless, a bite could prove fatal since Antivenin for this snake is not widely available here.

Although Samar cobras rarely spit, that spitting experience was really unexpected.

It’s quite clear now that the snake meant business and for me it could’ve meant permanent blindness.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/25/Naja_philippinensis.png

Philippine cobra (Naja philippinensis) in a defensive posture. Also called northern Philippine cobra, is a stocky, highly venomous species of spitting cobra native to the northern regions of the Philippines. The Philippine cobra is called ulupong in Tagalog carasaen in Ilocano and agawason in Cebuano-Bisaya. (Mario Lutz via https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/25/Naja_philippinensis.png)

One should always exercise extreme caution, never let their guard down and think they’re always in control of the situation.

Because even snake experts (Joseph B. Slowinski, 38; Snake Expert Is Bitten, Dies-articles.latimes.com) get bitten sometimes and some are lucky they got stocks of antivenin and get it in time.

Don’t make a mistake even if it is just a baby… like a baby Krait that bit Slowinski are just as lethal and deadly.

Common Krait (Bungarus caerulus) not a baby and not found in the Philippines. But never underestimate a baby for a baby snake's venom are just as potent as adult snakes venom. (Jayendra Chiplunkar via https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0d/Bungarus_caerulus.jpg)

Common Krait (Bungarus caerulus) not a baby and not found in the Philippines. But never underestimate babies for a baby snake’s venom are just as potent as adult snakes venom. (Jayendra Chiplunkar via https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0d/Bungarus_caerulus.jpg)

In this kind of situation, if you’re not conscious about it, when all you can think of is seek and destroy a perceived threat, you may become careless.

So if I’ll find myself in the same situation again, I wouldn’t hesitate to call for professional help and not be reckless.

Kung Fu Hustle (retrieved from californiaherps.com)

Kung Fu Hustle (retrieved from californiaherps.com)

References:

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dangerous_snakes#Samar_cobra

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samar_cobra

[3] http://www.livescience.com/7646-cobras-spit-perfect-accuracy.html

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samar_cobra

 

Samar cobra in a HissSlithering Suspense “The Spitting Cobra” Directed by: Buchukoy

Samar cobra (Naja samarensis) image retrieved from tumblr.com
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The Samar cobra (Naja samarensis) also called Peters’ cobra, southern Philippine cobra or Visayan cobra, is a highly venomous species of spitting cobra native to Visayas and Mindanao island groups of Philippines. (Wikipedia)

Commander, this ain't no baby slug like them ones from the Hoth Asteroid belt... I believe it's a "Kobra Mam-buga!"

“Commander, this ain’t no baby slug like them ones from the Hoth Asteroid belt… I believe it is a ‘Kobra Mam-buga!'”

Boys and Girls, Please don’t try this at home (Never attempt to capture one Kobra Mam-buga), It’s very dangerous!