Bass grooving (despite hearing loss)

“The thing about the bass is that it’s felt. I can feel it booming!”

By Jon Liebman
Week of August 3, 2020

Since launching For Bass Players Only back in 2009, I’ve interviewed close to 700 bass players. While every interview offers unique insights into playing bass and learning bass, every once in a while I get an interview that truly moves me. This week’s interview with Joe Dashiell marks one of those instances.

Joe grew up in Oregon and, like most teens in the ‘60s and ‘70s, was into the rock music of the day. He formed a garage band with some buddies and, as the bass player, found himself influenced by Jack Bruce and John Paul Jones. Joe never made a career of music, but just enjoyed playing.

Selling his Fender Precision upon entering college, Joe didn’t pick up a bass again until he was well into his 50s. Now he plays all the time and just loves it. 

What makes the story so special is that Joe is stone deaf.

Joe started losing his hearing in his late 30s. Now he can hear only with the aid of two cochlear implants. “When I got my first cochlear implant,” Joe says, “the very first thing I heard, music, listening to it in the car, was the bass line.”

The feeling was incredibly exciting to Joe. “As a bass player, I really enjoyed that!” he continues. “That was so amazing to me that some of the very first sounds I heard were the bass. And I was able to recognize the song. It was a Beatles song, so I knew it. That was pretty cool.”

Since becoming a member of For Bass Players Only, Joe has been able to find so more joy and fulfillment in the ability to learn bass and play music. He’s especially fond of the Scales & Theory and Blues courses inside the membership. “I get a lot out of it,” he says. “I still have a long way to go with the information that you provide, but it has really made a huge difference to me and my ability to play.”

How wonderful is it that, at least in at least come instances, music can be enjoyed and appreciated by the deaf and the hard of hearing community. And as for the bass, the vibrations make our instrument among the most prominent!

“The thing about the bass is that it’s felt,” says Joe. “I could feel it booming. I’m really thankful that I can hear music and play it while I’m listening to it. That’s really good!”

Way to go, Joe. Keep on groovin’!

How about you? Have a thought on the subject? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think. In the meantime, you can check out my interview with Joe here.

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