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Mr Tangle
By
Circle_Something

Mr Tangle

Tags: mr, tangle, bass, love

The somewhat weird story of Mr Tangle

For the first time since I got Mr Tangle, my bass, I've been able to use a guitar strap. Because I prefer to play standing, it makes it so much easier, no longer do I have to balance the bass on myself, or stand on one leg with the bass on my knee. Actually, I do that anyway, so I’ll probably keep that up. The reason I couldn't use a guitar strap before now was simple procrastination, in all honesty. I’d been meaning to fill and re-drill the hole where the strap button went, but I was too damned lazy, so I just adapted my playing style to having no strap or sat down.

Ever since I got him, he gave me trouble, lots of it, hence the name Mr Tangle, also he’s made by Tanglewood, but it’s mostly because he’s put me in some tangles. Scratching my damned nut, I was. Especially when the nut broke, that was mega annoying. It was the first thing I got tech services for on Mr Tangle. Of course, before that happened there were a raft of other problems. First, he wasn't set up properly. The strings were miles above the fretboard, so the action was all wrong and a bugger to play. The truss rod didn't adjust properly, so the relief was horrible and eventually the truss rod broke from too much tension, thus necessitating a new neck. He went out of tune far too easily and the electronics were a mess.

Originally I bought him with the intention of learning to play, but over the years, have had to spend a lot of time and money getting him up to a playable standard. You might ask why I didn't just take him to a shop and get everything done that needed done, or get my money back from the original shop. Good questions and here's the answer: I enjoy a challenge, so if I wasn't playing, or learning to play, I was fixing. It became a hobby and I learned some valuable skills, mostly from looking at tutorials on the internet, but also from going to my favourite guitar shop, Strung Out Guitars, and conversing with the techs there.

When the truss rod broke, I went to them and they quoted me more money than I had to repair the truss rod, so I had them investigate whether I could have them order a new truss rod so that I could fix it, or a new neck, both with the intention of fitting them myself. Indeed, they came through, after some running around and phone calls to suppliers and found me a suitable replacement neck, which only cost me 35, which was a damn sight less than it should have cost. Fitting it was a piece of cake, all that was required was a bit of shearing and shimming and then I was able to get the action just right, so for a little while he was playable.

I was also able to replace the truss rod on the old neck for 20 and replace machine heads on both necks, I can’t remember the price for that, but now I have two necks, fully functional, but only one bass. The solution? Take the frets off one, fill in the holes, find some wood, make a new body and have two five-string basses. That, I haven't gotten around to yet, but one day, when I have enough skills, time and money, I will. It’s the thought of having to make a channel to make the neck pocket that scares me. If you don’t get that just right, you’re screwed. I have to try though, it's one of my lifelong ambitions to build a guitar and I know I'm not starting from scratch, but if I try it and fail or do badly, I can at least say I tried my best. Of course, failure isn’t an option. You see, when I put my mind to something I do it, even if it takes me years to get around to or even complete.

Amusing aside about the truss rod: one day I went into Strung Out Guitars and ordered my replacement truss rod. As I was a regular and they didn't normally stock it, they had to order it in for me and I think they gave me a small discount, I can’t remember, but playing the odds, they probably did. It took a while for it to be dispatched because they had to wait until they placed their monthly order, so that they could pass on the discount, or something of that ilk. I was bristling with excitement and anticipation, so when I got the phone call to tell me that it was ready for uplift, I was so happy.

I was working for a large banking company at the time doing data entry, and it was about that time in the day when I was getting pretty bored, so when the phone call came in, I coolly got up and walked at a brisk pace outside to take the phone call. I shouldn’t even have had my phone on, but I’m a rebel and it was on silent anyway, no harm done. Someone with whom I worked saw me taking the phone call, witnessed my rather animated reaction and decided to hang around.

Once I got off the phone they quizzed me on who I was talking to and I told them it was Mhairi from the guitar shop. They got the wrong end of the stick and thought that she'd asked me out and that's why I was so happy. I tried explaining that that wasn't the case, but they wouldn't listen. Solution? Well, I had to shut them up, so I went with it. I told them that I had a date at lunchtime the next day, asked my boss, who was more of a friend, for a cheeky wee half-day and decided to see how long I could keep up the pretence of going out with this woman. Turns out, it kept going for about seven or eight months. Yeah, months. Gullible fools!

The sad thing though, was that I really did fancy Mhairi, but never had the courage to ask her out, partly because I wasn't sure if I was her type, if you know what I’m implying (I hope she never reads this, that might get a wee bit embarrassing. Oh well, if it does get embarrassing, I’ll get over it.), but also because I was too shy, so I never did. No big deal really, I mean, if I ever see her again, I might ask her out for a drink, but I don't forsee dating happening. I'm not ready for that yet and it wouldn't be fair because I'm having feelings for someone else. Of course, there’s always the possibility that she’s seeing someone else, being the lovely, sexy lady that she is, plus, she plays bass, that’s always a bonus with me. I just remembered her bass there. Wow, it was beautiful. A cherry red Warwick Corvette equipped with DR strings, if I’m not mistaken. Beautiful sounding and feeling. She’d taken it in to work on it and let me have a play on it. I fell in love with the bass and wanted it and would have bought one the same, if I had a spare grand or two.

Anyway, I'm digressing. Back to Mr Tangle. About a year ago, I took him to get rewired because I had to admit defeat: I just couldn't do the wiring, so I stripped my bad wiring, removed all the pots and paid to have it professionally done. He sounds pretty good now, apart from a buzzing single coil pickup, but that's single coil pickups for ya, they buzz like my brain on a busy day. At least I’ve somewhat dulled the buzz by insulating the electronics cavity.

Now all I need to do is the aesthetics and Mr Tangle will be perfect. I've already painted the knobs glittery red, I'm going to paint the headstock glittery black when I finally manage to get some black glitter, I intend to mix my own paint, you see. I like glitter. The jack plate will be painted, using glittery red nail polish because it gives the best finish and can be easily sealed. I might put the original neck back on and make him a fretless, but we'll see how it grabs me. I'm really glad I fixed the hole for the strap button. It just goes to show that given the right time and effort, one can do anything, including un-procrastinating. Oh and making up new words, too, though I'd say that was something I do every day, being the creative wee Kitty I am.

There is one other thing that I want to do with Mr Tangle and that’s to get a new pickup, but I don’t have enough money for that just now. I did replace the capacitor a while ago, so he sounds even more meaty than before (mmm, meat!). I just really wish I could get a Laney amplifier, but it’s far too loud for my setup. I had a Laney amplifier years ago and it quite literally shook the windows in their panes and that’s double glazing we’re talking about! So I’ll just wait until I can get my room soundproofed, or when I make my millions, I’ll build my own house in the middle of nowhere and play as loud as I want, maybe get a band together, though I’m more of a solo person. A drummer would be nice though.

If you’re wondering about the guitar strap I’m using on Mr Tangle, it’s a leopard print one. Very effeminate, but really rather sexy too. Or maybe I make it look sexy, who knows? Excuse me, I need to go play now. Now, if only I could master that pesky slapping technique. Hey ho, away I go!

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