Rock and Roll Ergonomics, Part One: Bass, Guitar, and the Weight Problem

July 2, 2010

I remember my first bass rig. 1975. A sunburst Fender Precision copy and a small no-name transistor combo amp. Light weight, compact. I just threw it all into my Delta 88 Royale and drove. Easy. No muss, no fuss.  But as the years went by, and the bands got better, and I started to make a little money, my speaker cabinets got bigger and the amplifiers heavier, until I was finally hauling around an Aguilar DB750 head and a couple of “4 by 10” Eden cabinets.* (Did I forget to mention the compressor and rack?) The sound was awesome!  I could turn the master and gain knobs to 2 or 3 and push my band with clean tone and endless volume.  Yes, I was the “King of Bottom”.  But  my lower back started talking to me, and it was not with kindness. Rolling the cabinets to my car with a hand truck, I felt the pain as I anticipated the angled, awkward lift into the back seat. And then there was the head—750 watts and 43 pounds of compact tube power. I felt like one of those Olympic athletes doing the hammer throw just to get that thing into the car.  As part of a middle age rock band, something had to give. It was a stark, clear choice–my back or my equipment.

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