Before I launch into this post, let me preface it with a couple of statements:
- I’m leaving out the name of the store and the employee for obvious reasons. There are a few big box music stores in Indianapolis, and I’m not specifying which one.
- My reaction to this exchange was no doubt influenced by the fact that, during the whole time I was listening to this, I just wanted one set of strings. I was only there because I needed the strings on short notice, and I’ll be stocking up today from my usual outlet.
In any case, the person in front of me at said store was going over his new pawnshop purchase (a Korean-made P-Bass copy) with the clerk and asking for advice. He’d already made me quite sad by hauling said purchase from his car to the store without a case in the freezing drizzle (NO NO NO – the first thing you should have gotten from the store is a case. ANY case, dammit), but such is life. It was the conversation itself that was driving me crazy.
For example, the clerk indicated it was a Jazz bass by pointing at the thumb rest just above the strings. The thumb rest is nothing but a thumb rest – it does not make a bass any jazzier than another one. You can play jazz on any kind of bass (Monk Montgomery used a Fender Precision to fine effect), and the traditional Jazz bass is defined by the pickup configuration, the neck style and the body shape. This was definitely a Precision knockoff, not a Jazz knockoff. That’s Bass Guitar 101 right there.
Furthermore, just because you’re using your fingers doesn’t make it “jazz.” Steve Swallow, Anthony Jackson and their picks need to have a word with you.
Also, not telling the new bassist that a P-bass knockoff might not be the best funk slapping machine around (which the bassist emphasized he would be trying) might help him avoid buyer’s remorse for a bit, but it’s just not responsible. Let him know what’s going on and where he might want to go from there (that Jazz bass you were talking about earlier might do the trick).
Then there’s the strings. I realize you’ve got commission to think of, but you’re trying to sell dude some strings that (evidently) cost about the same as what he did for the bass. Take it easy, sell him the Ernie Balls, and be done with it. They’ll work.
Finally, don’t tell me “Yeah, you know what you’re talking about. You’re a bassist, you would have corrected me.” Another customer corrected you once during this exchange, and I didn’t want to pile on.