Bass Fitness

Written by:

It’s summer gol’ dang it and I couldn’t be happier about it. It is still light out at 9:00 and I’ll gladly pay the loss of an hours sleep in early March for this, regardless of what the health experts say. Any politico that suggests messing with Daylight Savings Time will feel the full wrath of my political might. Be warned.

Summer also means more gig opportunities which also tickles my spirits. This year though, I have to hustle more to play gigs because all my bands are on extended hiatus, which is a very passive way of saying disbanded. The reasons for the band break-ups are the usual, arguments and disagreements over royalty monies as well has which band member gets the largest suite in the tour hotels and other such important issues. Yeah right. Actually if I had to come up with some reasons for band breakups, I would pin it mostly on boredom, not wanting to play 3 or 4 set gigs and not wanting to drive 3 hours for a 40 minute set. In other words, old age.

Not having a working band means, I have to infiltrate some groups, usually jam groups, to get gigs. Rodeos, wine tastings, gallery openings, backyard BBQ’s and of course the granddaddy of semi amateur gigs, Farmers Markets, has been my spring and early summer work and never with the same band (if you can call them bands).

I need these gigs and the jams that propel them for all sorts of metaphysical reasons that keep me young and mindful but also for more purely physical benefits. One of the bands that I am very partial toward is my Fitbit wrist band. You know the one you wear to count your steps and to keep track of a dozen or so other “vital” functions of your well-being. It turns out that my Fitbit records steps when I play bass. This didn’t happen until I upgraded my device but now playing bass at a jam or a gig usually adds significant steps to my daily total. I say usually because sometimes I get nothing but most times I get a number of steps or least my Fitbit says that I do.

The Fitbit feeds my recently developed OCD tendencies. I’m always checking my steps while walking my dog or on an exercise walk. It also tells me how many miles I walk, what my heart rate is, how many calories I burn and how well I sleep. It basically runs my life. I suggested to the Fitbit folks that they should add a metronome and tuner function into their device. I’d be in Fitbit heaven with those functions added.

I first discovered that I get steps from playing my bass when I was playing at a club contra dance. I had about 5000 steps from my normal daily activities and had no thoughts of reaching the gloryland of 10000. I set up to play the dance and wasn’t thinking anything about steps or Fitbits. At the end of the night, I happened to look and I had 15000 steps.

Now I’m on to something. Either I’m getting exercise from playing bass or Fitbit is a fraud. I can’t accept the latter so I now have a fitness program that relies on me playing bass. Sweet huh!

It does have its drawbacks though. At jams, all the other players think I have to be somewhere or that I’m bored as I keep looking at my “watch” after every tune checking my steps. Even more so than before, I tend to pick up the tempos as I discovered that I get more steps that way.

As you can likely perceive, my OCD can take over and I become obsessed with steps and not with music. Recognizing this, I try to become more mindful of the music and my playing. Usually this works out and I am finding a balance but if I do say myself, I am playing much faster these days.

Time to go. I need to get my exercise walk in. I have a regular jam today that is very productive as it is on the second floor after a long walk from the parking spots, so I get real steps and floors before getting more fun exercise for the day. I bet I get 15K steps today. I hope the music is good too.

Read about: