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Port Fairy Folk Festival - a bassy ramble


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My wife and I went to the Port Fairy Folk Festival for the 5th time last weekend. Being a bass molester I watched carefully what proper bassists were playing and doing. One thing that stood out was that there seemed to be more double basses and less electric basses this year compared to earlier festivals. Even the almost rock bands had URBs.


One player intrigued me - he was Abdoul Wahab Berthe, with 'Habib Koité & Bamada' from Mali, west Africa. He played a left handed 5 string bass (brand unknown to me) strung as a right hand bass but played left handed, ie it was upside down, and played it like a finger style guitar. I mean like a bluegrass player - fast and melodic. Very interesting to watch and hear.


This prompts the question - how would this effect the playing technically? Is there stuff that he could not do? Is there any good reason to have the lowest string nearest the thumb on the plucking hand?


Likewise the rhythm git played a right hander strung as a lefty but played as a lefty. The xylophone player had the low end on the right hand side. Seems like they approached these western instruments with no preconceived ideas about the 'correct' way to play them. This band was truly wonderful, worth catching if they appear anywhere near you.


Danny Thompson, playing bass for Eric Bidd, had what looked like a sawn off double bass - kind of truncated just below the bridge.


All in all a great long weekend, and I only put on half a pound from eating festival food.




Epi EB-3

G-K Backline 600

2 x Eden EX112


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