Sometime in High School I got the impression that if I wanted to play in a rock and roll band, playing bass guitar was the fastest, easiest route. I had no empirical evidence of this. The bass players I could name had genuine musical chops — Geddy Lee, John Entwhistle, even Michael Anthony from Van Halen. Anthony sure jumped around a lot, though. Maybe that's where the idea took hold.
A friend of mine generously took me on a tour of the city’s music shops, to give me a few tips and keep me from making a completely disastrous purchase. I loved walking into all these places, even the pawn shops. It felt like I was entering the pantheon of some exotic house of worship, where the elements gleamed and beckoned to be picked up and played. I lived in hope that I’d someday be worthy of just such an honor. My friend would take down a Les Paul, hook it up to a Peavey amp and coax all manner of incredible music from it. I, on the other hand, would reach for a cheap Ibanez knock-off, plug it in and ... well, even in 1981 when everybody and their gerbil could play the opening bass riff to “Turn Me Loose” or “My Sharona” I clearly marked myself as an infidel in the House of Music.
I bought the knock-off and farted around with it for a few months, but never got anywhere close to actual proficiency. I sold it a year later and gave up on my rock and roll dreams.
For the last 20 years I’ve owned and played a simple acoustic guitar. I’ll happily strum it at any bonfire; I even know a couple of scales. But I don’t know it nearly so well as to prompt me to buy anything so sweet as this stuff (same friend, BTW). Still, I love to look at it. These are the doors that grant the true disciple access to such terrific sounds. And for that I revere it.
Post-Script: since I'm talking bass guitarists, it behooves me to link to at least one interview with Lemmy from Motörhead. "Q: Is it true you tried to teach Sid Vicious how to play bass?" "A: Yeah. It was all uphill. And he still couldn’t play bass when he died, I mean, ****ing hell."