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Bow, Pluck or Plug In

When our radio in the bedroom played a theme from an old show this morning, I was attracted by the rich low tones that emanated, and that I identified as being produced by a bass violin. A bass violin–what an instrument that is, and one that used to be played in our churches. I can’t remember, though, when I’ve seen such an instrument in a modern church service. Often, in those long-ago church gatherings the bass was played, not with a bow, but with the plucking of the strings–a pizzacato technique.

I asked Jerry about it.

“You used to play the bass, didn’t you?”

“Yes, I did…never owned one…and I don’t believe I was very good at it, but I did play.”

“Not with a bow, huh?”

“No, just plucked the strings.”

“Wonder why we don’t see those in churches anymore?” I persisted.

“Probably because of electronics.”

That discussion aroused in my mind the issue of whether or not electronic instruments are superior to acoustic ones. Is an electric bass better than those big bubbas that used to stand prominently on the platform? Smaller and more convenient, that’s for sure, but are the tones as full and husky?

And what about these?

Keyboard–Can an electric piano touch a grand acoustic instrument?

Guitar–Is an electric guitar superior to an excellent Martin or Gibson acoustic guitar? (probably showing my age by mentioning Martin and Gibson. Do they even make them today? Is there a much superior acoustic guitar?)

Drums–Had to come back and add these. Almost forgot the choice of electronic drums .

Have you ever listened to the rich low tones of a bowed acoustic bass violin? Have you admired the elegance of the instrument itself? Take a listen here. Excellent music…then tell me your opinion of acoustic versus electronic instruments.