Write Now: Geddy Lee Releases Bass Book

Over the years the Canadian band Rush has influenced many musicians. I am one of them. The members, bassist Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson, and drummer Neil Peart, are incredible performers, but I don’t have to say it because it is a well-known fact. Although the band has stopped touring, its music is still popular and probably will continue to be popular. If you were lucky to see a concert, then you saw three virtuosos play note-for-note recreations of their records. That’s how they played, and their legion of fans expected no less.

Now Lee has released a new book, aptly titled, “Geddy Lee’s Big Beautiful Bass Book,” is just awesome. I would say that because I am biased. By listening to his basslines, I developed a certain dexterity on my bass. The book details his expansive bass guitar collection.

What is ironic is that Lee was not a collector. He is noted for first playing a black 1973 Rickenbacker 4001 bass, and then switching to a 1972 black Fender Jazz Bass. During the band’s career, he has played other guitars such as Wal basses and Steinberger basses. Lee said it was during the spring of 2012 that he started thinking of acquiring a vintage bass. And so the collection began.

“We had just started gearing up rehearsals for the Clockwork Angels Tour when I was approached by a music store with an offer of an instrument swap,” Lee wrote in the Introduction “Falling Down the Rabbit Hole.” “They were looking for one of my stage-used basses to beef up their own ‘hall of fame’ and tried to tempt me with a mid-1950s Fender Precision (Bass) in return. At first blush, I wasn’t interested. I wasn’t a collector (of instruments, at least) and would certainly never, ever part with any of my main instruments — certainly not the 1973 Rickenbacker 4001 or my current Number One, the 1972 Fender Jazz.

Still it sparked a series of discussions about vintage instruments with my trusted bass technician, John ‘Skully’ McIntosh, during which I not only discovered how passionate and knowledgeable he was on the subject, but also how little I actually knew about the history of the instrument I’d been associated with for more than 40 years.”

The book comes in two formats — an ebook and a hardcover. The ebook is $12.99 and the hardcover, depending on where it is purchased can fetch anywhere from $53 to $75. To build up my collection, I purchased the ebook. It has all of the pictures, but just in a digital format.

There are chapters on Fender, Gibson and Epiphone, Rickenbacker, Hofner, and Ampeg. In the chapter “My Favorite Headaches: Stage and Recording Gear, 1968-2018,” Lee details his stage and recording gear which is very interesting because what’s used in the recording studio is not what is always used on stage.

Besides writing about his basses, Lee also interviewed several other famous bassists including John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin, Adam Clayton of U2, Robert Trujillo of Metallica, Bill Wyman, formerly of The Rolling Stones, Les Claypool of Primus, Bob Daisley who has performed with Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Gary Moore, and Uriah Heep, and Jeff Tweedy, bassist for Wilco.

The book is published by Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers.

So any musician who is already an instrument collector or who is beginning a collection may want to purchase this book because it details how a very popular and respected musician went about building up his collection of basses. It also gives in-depth knowledge of different bass guitar companies.

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