Monday, January 17, 2011


First off, I keep neglecting to post that I am on the verge of starting yet another tour. I've already put up a new page about my tour dates. You'll see there's still some missing info. This will be filled in when I get it.

For now, a brief list of where I'll be is as follows:

• February 9, 2011 (Wed) 10 PM Akron, OH: Zero Defex at The Matinee 812 W. Market St. Akron, OH
• February 15, 2011 (Tues) 7 PM 7:00 pm Lawrence, KS: Kansas Zen Center 423 New York St, Lawrence, KS 66044
• February 17, 2011 (Thu) 7:30 PM Kansas City, MO: Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 W. 47th St., Kansas City, MO 64112
• February 20, 2011 (Sun) Cedar Rapids, IA: Cedar Rapids Zen Center 1618 Bever Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, IA
• February 22, 2011 (Tue) 6:30 PM St Louis, MO: Seki’s Japanese Restaurant 6335 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, MO
• February 26, 2011 (Sat) St Louis, MO: Missouri Zen Center, 220 Spring Ave., Webster Groves, MO 63119

• March 5, 2011 (Sat) Cocoa, FL
• March 15-20, 2011 Saskatoon, SK, Canada
• March 25, 2011 (Fri) 12-2 pm Stony Brook University: SBU Campus Book Store Basement of Melville Library 100 Nicolls Road Setauket-East Setauket, NY 11733
• March 26, 2011 (Sat) 9:30 AM - 2:30 PM Sony Brook University: Stony Brook Buddhism Study Group Meditation Workshop

• April 22-24, 2011 (Fri-Sun) Nashville, TN
• April 29-May 1, 2011 (Fri-Sun) Atlanta, GA

The book tour site has links to all of the webpages for these places (where I could find them). So go there for further information.

Secondly, for those who have been asking, I have just heard from the publishers that Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way: Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamakakarika by Gudo Nishijima and Brad Warner will be available in March. Amazon still lists it both as coming out on January first and as being unavailable. Hopefully they'll soon re-list it as available for pre-order.

Thirdly, I stupidly fell in love with and subsequently bought a bass. It's a lovely 1975 Fender Precision, apparently once owned by someone who abused the poor thing horribly. There are scratches that look like knife marks, as well as what appear to be burn marks in the finish. This bass has been through Heck! But it played so beautifully and sounded precisely the way I've always dreamed a bass guitar should sound, so I bought it even though I really cannot afford it. (FYI, it was not even close to as expensive as an instrument of this vintage ought to have been)

This means I need to sell the two basses I already own. Nobody really needs three bass guitars anyway. I thought that before I put them on Craig's List or eBay for just anyone to purchase I'd offer them up here and see what happens.

One is the 1974 Fender Musicmaster seen in this photo at the Matinee in Akron, Ohio in 2007. This is the gig that was written about in the book Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate: A Trip Through Death, Sex, Divorce, and Spiritual Celebrity in Search of the True Dharma. Imagine! You could actually own the bass I played in the gig from the book! What a thrill! (I'm geeky enough that if I were a fan of someone, this kind of thing would be really cool to me. So I'm not making fun at all here.)

It has some minor issues with the jack. It cuts out sometimes and you have to jiggle the plug to get the sound back. This is a very small problem that would take a couple minutes with a soldering iron to fix. Unfortunately I don't have a soldering iron. Otherwise the bass is amazing. There are a couple little dings in the finish. But all that stuff you've heard about short scale basses sounding less awesome than long scale basses is a lie! This thing sounds incredible. I used it on all tracks on the Zero Defex CD. You can listen to the MP3 samples of the tracks there to hear what it sounds like.

I paid about $700 for this back when I had a decent job. You can find Musicmasters for less than that and you can find them for more than that. I'd like to get at least what I paid for it. It's an American-made vintage instrument.

The other is my Ibanez Rickenbacker copy, which can also be seen in this video. It is not a Rickenbacker, but an incredible simulation. The only significant difference is that the neck is bolted on. It doesn't go through the body like a real Rick. It is probably also not made out of the same type of wood that Rickenbacker used. But I do not know for sure.

In the 1970s Ibanez produced a lot of very high quality copies of US-made guitars and basses. They had a lot of trouble over these when the US companies sued them for violating their intellectual property rights by copying their designs. Rickenbacker was especially vigorous in pursuing those cases. Thus, while Ibanez and other Japanese companies' copies of Fenders and Gibsons are still easy to find, you will not find very many Rickenbacker copies anymore. In fact, this is the only Ibanez Rick copy I have ever seen or even heard of. It is one of only two copies I have ever seen of a Rickenbacker bass.

The Ibanez is probably worth at least $1000 to a collector. I didn't pay that much for it because the guy who was selling it just didn't want it anymore. I got real lucky on this one. An actual Rickenbacker 4001 bass will set you back three or four grand and will not look or sound significantly different from this (if you ask me, at least).

E-mail me at if you are interested. We'll talk. I'm really sad to see these go, so you'll have to be nice to me.


OsamaVanHalen said...


anon #108 said...

So your beat-up '75 precision sounds "precisely the way I've always dreamed a bass guitar should sound"? Shame we can't hear it :/ Looks v nice though.

...Reminds of my first bass - also a yellow maple-neck precision, but made in '65 with a (Telecaster) slab body...and no neck pick-up, of course...and a tortoise-shell pickguard. After I'd sold it for peanuts I found out it was one of a batch of only 35; Fender had just been taken over by CBS and were using up some old Tele bodies...or something. Very rare indeed. John Entwistle hunted most of them down. My Mum told me never to sell it. weighed a ton.

Shame that lovely bass of yours will be wasted on that awful noise you and your kooky friends call "music". I dunno. Kids these days...

Nevertheless and whatever - smashing prog-punk riffing, Bradley! Impressed ;)

anon #108 said...

..Er...Made in '66 - June as I recall, for those taking notes.

john e mumbles said...

Bass players... Never break a string. Probably the most durable instrument in a rock band...and useful as a club if need be for those pesky stage divers..

I've owned a few basses in my time, I'm not a geek or anything so can't talk about comparisons, but the black Fender Jazz I had for awhile in the 1980's with the red/black tortoise-shell pickguard was very sweet indeed.

anon #108 said...

Bass players... Never break a string.

The only time I ever broke a string (that I recall) was in the middle of playing roots and fifths piano e dolce in "You're my Best Friend" (not this one - THIS one) with that Irish country/showband I mentioned a while back. Go figure.

OsamaVanHalen said...

I played guitar constantly from when I was 9 until my early 20's. I was in bands all through high school and for a couple of years after. I eventually played less and less, so I sold my 2 guitars and amp when I sold my house in 2006. Sometimes I would dream about playing guitar but I always preferred electric which isn't really practical in my current apartment. I bought a very nice Ibanez AEB-10ENT acoustic/electric bass in March 2009 after I dreamed about playing an electric bass. It sounds great without an amp, almost like an upright, and it's not too loud for the neighbors. Mostly I play along with Bob Marley CD's or just muck about. Now when I dream about playing, it's always a bass, although sometimes it's still an electric one.

I have one dogmatic comment about playing bass: REAL bass players don't use a pick.

Brad Warner said...

John Entwistle and Paul McCartney played with a pick (Entwistle did both, McCartney was pretty constant with the pick). Also Carole Kaye played with a pick on a lot of the sessions she did for Phil Spector.

Gene Simmons plays with a pick. But whenever you see him miming to a pre-recorded track on TV in the 70s he played with fingers. Check this hilarious example.

Arguably Gene is not a "real" bass player. But some of his lines are impressive (see Goin' Blind).

Man, I tried playing the Zero Defex stuff with fingers and I just gave up.

anon #108 said...

REAL bass players don't use a pick.


...Ah. Brad's dealt with it. Phew.

anon #108 said...

Thanks for the Kiss link, Brad. Now THAT'S what I call...... hold on, someone at the door.


OsamaVanHalen said...

I stand by my dogma.

REAL bass players don't use a pick.

John Entwistle only REALLY played bass when he plucked with his fingers, sometimes 3 of them!

Think of it like this: fucking someone with a dildo is not really fucking. It's just foreplay (or after-play, or intermission-play). And don't try to argue that using a pick is analogous to wearing a condom. The proper analogy to wearing a condom would be playing bass while wearing a rubber glove.

Additionally, REAL bass players don't pluck with their thumb like Brian Wilson.

This is EXACTLY like the Zen dogma of sitting positions (which is the reason that I made that comment in the first place). You might THINK that you're playing bass, but you really aren't.

john e mumbles said...

About the string thing: OK I shoulda said Seldom do bass players break a string, in my experience. ..

I played a gig last night in another (bigger) city with a friend who has toured with M. Ward for several years now and plays bass and guitar with M.'s side project She & Him (w/ actress Zoey Dechanel -did I spell that right?).

I'd had trouble at rehearsals all week with my acoustic guitar (an old, wonderful Fender), when I changed strings, the nut's grooves in two places seemed to be cut too deep, so the B and D strings were ringing and/or sounding like a sitar (!)...

My point is, I temporarily jerry-rigged it with some tin-foil and super glue, but a 6-string guitar player is always breaking strings or fucking around with something string-wise..

Mysterion said...
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Chirping Monkey said...

well... eBay & Ibanez

with the Bush economic depression and all...

merciless said...

The new bass won't help you. You need to find a musician willing to donate his head for a transplant. Malcolm?

Mysterion said...
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Anonymous said...

Brad, Watch this cool strobe if you want to pretend you're on acid playing bass in the Filmore while Jimmy Hendrix jams.

Mysterion said...
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Anonymous said...

Hey mysterion.. Jimmy Page can't read music.

But it is touching how protective you are of Brad. We all love him to death you know, so you can relax. But I think you might love him a little more. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

OsamaVanHalen said...

Mysterion said...
"i wonder how many followers of your blog can sit down at a keyboard and sight read sheet music..."

Bass is a special teaching outside the scriptures. It is transmitted directly from finger to string.

Soulagent79 said...

I recently bought a Beatle Bass copy by Le Marquis N.Y., and yes, I think you CAN of course play bass with a pick.
I also don't think you have to know how to play slap bass to be a good player. Slapping is sooo eighties!

anonymous A said...

Canada's radio watchdog is defending a controversial decision to ban the uncut version of Dire Strait's 1985 hit Money for Nothing. Despite many complaints – including criticism from a member of the band – officials are not backing down, insisting the song's offensive lyrics make it unsuitable for broadcast.

Although it has become a rock'n'roll anthem, Money for Nothing contains three instances of the anti-gay slur "faggot". Last week, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) reviewed the song after receiving a complaint from a listener in Newfoundland. Its lyrics were found to be "unacceptable", contravening the human rights clauses of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' code of ethics. It has been banned from radio stations nationwide.

Isn't the song poking fun at the pinheads that use the word?

Mysterion said...

Jimmy Page was born in Heston, England in 1944. At 12, his parents bought him an acoustical guitar which he began to play several hours each week. During the first year, Jimmy learned to play the guitar from twice weekly visits to a teacher in Kingston. Thereafter, he picked up lessons wherever he could with talented locals - the list being spotty at best. While still in school, Page learned bits from guitarists Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton.

It is a myth that he was totally self-taught. as in this wiki

Page is 4 years older than I am - he is 67. Although he looked young, by the time the Yardbirds broke up, he had logged his first decade of professional experience.[098

Mysterion said...
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Lead singer said...

Bass players are the retarded guys who can't play chords on the guitar but can pick out single notes. They are the butt of all the jokes and the ones the rest of the band picks on. Bass guitars suck.

anon #108 said...

I doubt Brad or anyone else would be interested in my head, merciless. Synapses and neurons are degenerating daily, I fear. @11.37am I wrote of my old Precision "no neck pickup, of course". I meant 'no bridge pickup, of course,' of course (for unusually, Brad's has one, you know).

Hey Chas - ME! I can proper sight-read/write. Not at the piano, though, it's true. Not my instrument (deprived childhood). Piano-playing, by ear and/or from the dots, is a skill many regular folks used to have; sing-songs round the piano in the parlour n so forth. But no longer... Of course, some (not all) of the dullest, least musical musicians I've ever met were pretty good readers, too. Got a gig for me?

...May we never forget masterful, soulful Rick Danko of The Band and the brilliantly inventive Phil Lesh of the (whatever you think of them) Grateful Dead. Both were pickers equally adept with fingers (like ME! Best way).

Can we do Flatwounds versus Roundwounds now :D ?

john e mumbles said...

I kin red/rite musick, 2. an play the pianer.

fair-to-MIDI said...

When the new home of the National Museum of American Jewish History opens this fall in Philadelphia... [it will] display a special piano that was once used by Irving Berlin, the composer of such immortal songs as "God Bless America" and "White Christmas."

It's a well-known fact that Berlin... couldn't read or write music. The self-taught musician used a special... transposing piano that allowed him to play in multiple keys without learning the requisite musical technique. (“The key of C,” Berlin once said, “is for people who study music.”) source

Mysterion said...


my other musings on J. Page didn't stick so I posted them - and a stream of consciousness about what it was like to foot soldier audio/video in the 70s - over at my blog.

BTW, I can read and write sheet music - but not at a clavier.

Mysterion said...

in the day, I played an Espana 12 String like THIS

and, I am embarrassed to say I got talked into MC'ing a *&$#(*&$%* local 1974 bluegrass festival that was friggin' recorded on videotape doing both strummin' and finger pickin'. the *%(&^$&^% program was re-played on the local access cable TV a few times before I produced enough ransom money to buy and destroy the 3/4" Videotape.

p.s. if you want to convert 3/4" videotape to DVD, you need a BVU-950 and a TBC-2B or BVX-30 time-base corrector.

Mysterion said...
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Mysterion said...
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Mysterion said...
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Anonymous said...

you can buy a lot of film stock for $30,000.

Anonymous said...

Why did only a portion of my comment get posted? This is what it should have said:
Mysterion, why pay so much for digital when for a 3rd of the price you can get the real thing?

you can buy a lot of fil stock for $30,000.

Anonymous said...

Now I'm getting pissed off

Anonymous said...

Paleo Diet is the best way to eat, you veggie cultists.

OsamaVanHalen said...

I think the problem is that most people whose first musical instrument was a guitar see every other stringed instrument as a guitar.
If the only tool that you have is a hammer then every problem looks like a nail.
Yes, there is more than one way to skin a cat but if you try using a hammer then the result will be a useless mess.

Moving on to the ukulele.
The correct way to strum a ukulele is with the INDEX finger in an up-and-down motion.
Strumming a ukulele with a pick, plectrum or your thumb is incorrect.
When plucking individual notes on a ukulele it is acceptable to use the thumb, index finger, middle finger and ring finger, preferably alternating between 2 or more fingers.

Yes, I play a little ukulele.
("How little is it?")
It's a soprano.

jason said...

The first question I always ask ukelele players is, "can you play tip toe through the tulips?"

OsamaVanHalen said...

jason said...
The first question I always ask ukelele players is, "can you play tip toe through the tulips?"

No. I prefer the classics such as My Little Grass Shack, Hawaiian Bells and Lovely Hula Hands. When I feel like getting wild I rock out on Five Foot Two.


Anonymous said...

Sarah Palin just announced that she refuses to "Sit down & Shut Up." I guess she won't be taking up zazen anytime soon.

Blake said...

Oooops! It's 7:30 at the Kansas Zen Center, not 7:00! Not that it really matters that much.


Jules said...

Saying real bass players don't use a pick is like saying real violin players never pluck the strings. It's another tool in the kit. You want a smooth sound, use your fingers. Picks have a more percussive sound. What kind of music are you playing? What kind of sound are you trying to get? Use the right tool for the job at hand. People who want to be versatile bass players should learn to play well with just fingers, but I think everyone here should be able to agree it's not healthy to get too dogmatic about things.

For your entertainment -- my favorite bass player, Victor Wooten:

And if you ever play slap, I guarantee you will start breaking some strings. :-)

Picker said...

If you ever play slap you should be slapped. That technique was tired before Sinefeld went off the air.

OsamaVanHalen said...

Jules said...
Saying real bass players don't use a pick is like saying real violin players never pluck the strings.

Fine. If you want to be considered a REAL bass player, but you don't want to play with your fingers, you can use a bow. But be advised that a bow works best on a double bass (also known as a string bass, upright bass, bass violin or contrabass).

Jules said...

Nose Picker said... If you ever play slap you should be slapped. That technique was tired before Sinefeld went off the air.

With that attitude, I'm surprised you're old enough to remember Seinfeld.

Mysterion said...
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Pricker said...

Looks like Old Jules is slap-happy! Bet he loves Stanley Jordan.

Brad Warner said...

I play just all right with fingers. I ought to work at it. My rhythm is all over the place when I get rid of the pick. Although I can do that octave thing like in Rollercoaster of Love with just fingers. Somehow that's easier for me than simply using fingertips to pluck the strings.

Anonymous said...

wow,no comments about the tour,only the bass..i see where the focus is on here.

Soulagent79 said...

I agree with Brad about losing the rhythm when you're playing with your fingers. When I'm recording I always play with a pick, cos everything needs to be perfect. I only play with my fingers when I'm jamming with friends (it looks much cooler! ;-))

Mysterion said...
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Anonymous said...

aw.. what a cute little black pomeranian.

Anonymous said...

The Killing Song

Some prefer the story
And some prefer the facts
Some prefer the law-book
And some the bloody axe

Some folks purr like kittens
And some folks howl like dogs
And some folks hum a happy tune
While slaughtering the hogs

Some folks love the morning
And some the afternoon
And some think blood looks prettiest
Lit by the Harvest Moon

Some men love the asshole
Some men love the cunt
Some men want the beast to squeal
Some want to hear it grunt

Go to the happy clappy
Sing a joyful psalm
Then head home to dinner –
Grits and greens and ham

Cutting, chewing, swallowing –
That's the only sound
When everybody from your house
Is buried in your ground

And blood can soak the Bible
Staining every page
You can shout out words of love
And whisper words of rage

For some prefer the story
And some prefer the facts
And some will choose the bloody book
And some the bloody axe

Barry Graham

Harry said...

... pleasant little ditty.

anon #108 said...

It's taken me a while Mysti, but I just checked out the Jimmy Page (plus) collection on your blog.


The English are essentially a phlegmatic lot.

Dogen Sangha LA said...

Harcore Zen Pdcast

Dogen Sangha Los Angeles posted a new episode of the Hardcore Zen Podcast, "No Time To Kill."

Brad's commentary on Kodo Sawaki's commentary on Shodoka by Yoka Daishi.

A-Bob said...

Thanks DSLA gang.. Much appreciated.

CATCHA : supright : I kid you not

Musicman fretless said...

Thanks Mysterion - makes me wonder when Jimmy Page made the switch from his Telecaster to the Les Paul. However you can see why he dropped Keith Relf in favour of Robert Plant - I mean Relf was good at the R&B stuff, but he couldn't keep up on those heavy riffs. Unfortunately you can't hear the bass on either track...

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

Haven't checked in awhile. But here are my 2 cents on recent postings...

AA - a cult that only sees low success rates:
Sadly, according to AA's own internal records, the success rate is less than 5 % in the first year, and 80% of the people drop out before that time.

By my own personal account, I can tell you antidepressants nearly destroyed my life. And that was with close advisory from my family Dr.

As for bass playing...Just watch the late great Phil Lynott PLUCK the hell out of the four strings while singing at the same time.

Buddhism? said...

Come to England, please.

Anonymous said...

Nice censorship work done, Braad. You again deleted new comments today.

You probably lied about not knowing about e-sanga being down.

And you lied here:

Brad Warner said...

Anonymous said: "The censorship on this blog starts to irritate me. Comments are deleted too often.

"It reminds me of Buddhist censorship on (in)famous Buddhist forum e-sanga. Sadly, it finally ceased to exist because of hackers attacks."

I think this comment must be intended for someone else's blog. I do not delete any comments except for the occasional obvious spam. And I haven't even done that for almost a year. The comments you see deleted are deleted by the commenters themselves.

7:29 AM

I noticed, you delete uncomfortable comments fairly often.

anon #108 said...

Perhaps you've missed the occasional comments made by me, Ran, john e mumbles, Mysterion and others to the effect that we all have posted comments which have appeared and then disappeared without trace.

It's my firm, unshakeable belief that Brad has bugger-all to do with it. Here's why:

If I save my comment before posting and keep reposting it, it will eventually get posted though it sometimes takes 10 or more attempts. This leads me to the conclusion that there's some bug/glitch/hitch on this site, or more generally with google/blogger (it has happened elsewhere too).

That, the fact that even Brad's fanboys' comments have suffered this fate; the fact that much anti-Brad stuff does get published (including yours) and the fact that Brad has denied routinely deleting comments (yes, that carries some weight with me) renders your theory...daft.

You are, of course, King of your Universe and therefore perfectly free to believe whatever you want.

anon #108 said...

My last comment - apologies for the absence of a "Hi" - was addressed to Anon @12.08pm.

Anonymous said...

"This leads me to the conclusion that there's some bug/glitch/hitch on this site, or more generally with google/blogger (it has happened elsewhere too)."

You might be right. Some strange things happen to comments on this blog (some disappear, some appear again). And now I suspect it might be because of 'blogger' software and not of Brad's interventions.

Fil Losofo said...

Fender! a wise choice.

Lisa Mann said...

When someone says "Real bass players don't use picks" I immediately know that they are a green, non-working musician.

Jackson played the famous bass line to "For the Love of Money" with a pick. Squire played the famous line in Yes' "Roundabout" with a pick. Paul McCartney used a pick on most of the Beatles records, and Carol Kaye- one of the most recorded bass players in history- used and still uses a pick. Paul McCartney, Chris Squire, Carol Kaye and Anthony Jackson are indeed REAL bass players.

I am also a "real" bass player, have been professionally for 20+ years, and I use a pick when it is called for.

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