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Alembic Club » Owning an Alembic » Fun Stories » Archive through April 27, 2005 » Bass for deaf ears « Previous Next »

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Username: richbass939

Post Number: 94
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 6:58 pm:   Edit Post

My sister-in-law, Joyce, is 50 years old and deaf. About a dozen years ago she slowly lost half of the hearing in one ear. The other ear was fine. One day she woke up to discover that overnight (literally) she had lost all of her hearing in both ears. She has not heard a single natural sound since. A year later she received a coclear implant. She was so disappointed because all she heard with it was beeps and buzzes. She was hoping it would be somewhat like natural hearing but it doesn't work that way, I guess. She has learned to interpret the sounds and can understand most people's speech pretty well.
She always loved listening to music. Now it is just noise to her. By the way, she is the only person I know who knew what an Alembic is when I got mine. She has always loved the bass.
Over the Christmas holidays she and I were talking about music. I said that one of the first things that attracted me to the bass was that I could feel it all over. It isn't just something that you experience with your ears. You feel it thump your entire body. She said that's one of the things she loved about bass.
I said that sometime she should come over and we'll put on some music she might remember. I'll turn my bass up really loud and play along.
She absolutely loved it. I had the lyrics for a few of the songs. She read along and I played simple lines so that she could really feel the rhythm.
We have a plan. She will borrow some CDs from her sister who has probably a thousand or more. She will pick some songs and print the lyrics from the internet. We'll get together and play them.
It was the first time in over a decade that she has enjoyed music. It was sad for her because she realized how much she misses it. But now we have found a way that she can enjoy it again.
Joyce is in a good position to do this. She had her hearing for a long time. She hasn't been deaf for so long that she just can't remember music.
I feel stupid that I didn't think of it before. If any of you knows someone who is deaf and are close enough to him or her to propose this kind of thing, give it a shot. You just might reopen that world.

(Message edited by richbass939 on January 15, 2005)
Username: serialnumber12

Post Number: 24
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 8:22 pm:   Edit Post

A folded cabinet just might do some rythmic justice also!,,,,but make sure you glue down all of your fine china!.but a very inspiring story indeed!!!
Advanced Member
Username: the_mule

Post Number: 395
Registered: 1-2004
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 5:29 am:   Edit Post

Very nice story Rich, really something I've never realised before, but on the other hand I've always found the sound of the bass the most primal, natural and instinctive way of musical expression, along with percussion. It's the heart and soul of music IMHO. Also a little eye-opener (or should that be ear-opener) for all of us to appreciate good health in general, and especially our hearing being music lovers and Alembic enthousiasts. Thank you for that!

Senior Member
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 1220
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 5:42 am:   Edit Post

As Wilfred said, a very nice story!
Advanced Member
Username: rogertvr

Post Number: 291
Registered: 1-2003
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 7:12 am:   Edit Post

I used to know a bass player who was born deaf. He learnt to play bass (a 4001 it was) because he could feel it. As time went on, he became very proficient and played in a working band in his late teens. As he got beyond 20, his hearing actually started to work (it got to normal hearing eventually) and he was amazed at how that Rick sounded!
Advanced Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 261
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 7:29 am:   Edit Post


Very touching. Brings to mind the image of Beethoven at the piano with his head pressed against the top. With all the bad news from around the world we are bombarded with every day, it's very refreshing to read a feel-good story about people going out of their way to be thoughtful and do good things for other people. You rock.

Bill, tgo
Senior Member
Username: palembic

Post Number: 1879
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 8:16 am:   Edit Post

It also reminds me the fact that unborn children become very at ease in a womans lap when hearing bass. I was told that they can actually feel/hear the sound very well.
But Brother Paul the fake one (the artist formerly known as Dino) can testify about that!
Oh ...and Brother Mikey too I guess.
The sounds of a bowed upright is best.
Well me sentimental

Paul the bad one
Username: richbass939

Post Number: 95
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 11:33 am:   Edit Post

It's great to hear all your stories.
Roger, it is inspiring to hear the one about the deaf bass player. I can't imagine what it must take to convince yourself that you can go against the preconceived notions, figure out your own way to do something, and achieve something like that.
After we were finished Joyce said something like "I really need to start doing some of the things that will get me back into my life."
Thanks, Bill tgo. I think you're giving me too much credit, though. I like being around people who love music. I like playing with/for people who love music. Seeing Joyce swaying back and forth to the rhythm, eyes closed, with a smile on her face makes up for all those bar gigs where people didn't even know we were up there after three songs.
Username: valvil

Post Number: 628
Registered: 7-2002
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 1:56 pm:   Edit Post

Hello Rich,

I enjoyed your story. It made me think immediately of a movie made years ago with William Hurt and Marilee Matlin (who won an Oscar for her performance); it's called "Children Of A Lesser God"; it's based on a true story. Hurt played a music teacher who worked with hearing impaired folks.
I thought it was a very inspiring movie for anyone with hearing problems and a love of music.
If you have not seen it already, I think you and your sister would enjoy it and maybe even get a few ideas on how to improve her experience.

Username: jimbobv

Post Number: 24
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 3:06 pm:   Edit Post

In the 90's at RFK Stadium in DC the Dead usually had a deaf zone fenced off directly in line with the stage subwoofers, about 20 yards back or so. Large diameter baloons or those inflated exercise balls were present in these zones especially - you could feel the bass and kickdrums vibrate by touching and holding on to the baloons.

(Message edited by jimbobv on January 14, 2005)
Intermediate Member
Username: dgcarbu

Post Number: 149
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 8:09 pm:   Edit Post

Touching story Rich.

Username: richbass939

Post Number: 98
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Saturday, January 15, 2005 - 10:14 am:   Edit Post

Serialnumber12, you brought up an interesting point, which is if Joyce had a stereo with a speaker system that really honks she could start doing this on her own too. Turn the bass up, treble and mids down, CDs and lyric sheets (concert DVDs with closed caption would be even better) and she's in business. Any suggestions on speakers, such as make, model, and cost. She could buy whatever she needs although I'm sure she doesn't want to invest a fortune in it.
Username: willride3

Post Number: 6
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Saturday, March 26, 2005 - 5:34 am:   Edit Post

Hello richbass. did you get my response to your question? I'm new to this page and don't know how to work everything yet. I need to learn how to send pic's too. a freind has a digital camera I can use, is that what you can use? I don't have a scanner. Tom
Intermediate Member
Username: richbass939

Post Number: 196
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Saturday, March 26, 2005 - 8:37 am:   Edit Post

No, I didn't see a response on your "Intro" thread. I checked my E-mail and there was nothing there either.
As far as pictures go, I am definitely not the expert. I got a few to post before but recently my computer will not do it. However, I believe it is generally not difficult to load digital pictures onto a post. Any digital camera should work. I believe you have to set it on a smaller picture size. I know there are picture-posting instructions somewhere on the club. They tell you the maximum file size that can be posted. I'm not sure where they are but they may be at the bottom of the "Showcase" section.
I switched from AOL to MSN and text posts work more smoothly. Dave Houck has kindly taken pictures I e-mailed to him and posted them for me. With MSN seeming to work better for me I'm going to try it again for myself and see what happens. Hopefully, I will soon get some pictures of Joyce (whom I started this thread about) enjoying some loud, body-jarring bass and post them here.

(Message edited by richbass939 on March 26, 2005)
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 1551
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Saturday, March 26, 2005 - 8:39 am:   Edit Post

Tom; if you need help with pictures, let me know.

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