A double bass is the largest instrument normally carried around by a supergroup. It weighs about 25lb, measures over 6ft and is designed to be carried comfortably by a Martian. To learn to play it takes a matter of weeks; to learn to carry it is the job of a lifetime. But, if the following hints are borne in mind, there is no reason why you should not develop a healthy and trusting relationship with it.
1. Any airline will undertake to put a double bass in its freight hold and trust to luck. At the end of the journey it will still weigh 25lbs but will only measure 3ft overall. The well-to-do bass layer is advised to buy a second seat for his bass. The poor bass player is advised to put the bass in his seat and travel freight.
2. The average bus is designed to allow the bass on the platform and no further. You are not allowed to travel on the platform with a bass. By the time this is sorted out, you can travel for about four steps, free.
3. The average tube train has space in the middle ideal for taking double basses; it has been occupied at the previous stop by a French student with a mountainous orange back-pack. The French fpr “Please move over to make room for my bass” is “Fous-moi le camp, si tu veux garder ta vie.”
4. The average car will take a double bass if you a) lower all the seats b) take no passengers c) like travelling in a prone position d) can steer without necessarily seeing the road.
5. The average taxi can take a double bass with six inches to spare. No taxi driver ever believes this. But he is prepared to put up with it because it gives him the chance to make a taxi-driver’s joke.
6. There are four taxi-drivers’ jokes about double basses. Here they are, with your correct response.
a) “On the fiddle, then?” (“Ha ha ha, oh ho ho Ho!”)
b) “Got a woman in there, have you?” (He he he, oh haha Ha!”)
c) “Bet you wish you’d taken up the mouth organ.” (“Nice one, cabbie, very droll, I like it!”)
d) “How do you get it under your chin?” (Why don’t you get stuffed?”)
7. If you lean a double bass up anywhere, it will sooner or later fall over. If you lay it flat, someone will step on it.
8. Whereas guitars, drums etc are always expected to have trouble onstage, nobody ever thinks a bass will go wrong. The compensation is that if a bass does go wrong, no-one ever notices.
9.) Carrying a bass is the nearest the average man ever gets to knowing what it is like to be pregnant. The ultimate achievement is to have a woman offer you her seat on the tube.
10. Anyone who switches to bass guitar is a coward.
The Instant Sunshine Book 1980