Sergeant Natalie Washington, a 12-year bass player for the 133d Army National Guard Band, recently shared a story with Fender about her trusty Fender Custom Shop Limited Edition NOS 1964 Jazz Bass.
“Every time I play ‘God Bless the USA’ or the Armed Services songs, I get a lump in my throat as I see aged veterans stand and salute,” she noted. “At the height of the conflict overseas, my unit was sent all over Washington to boost the community spirt; something no other unit could accomplish. That’s the power of music. Every mark on my bass has a story, and I put it there. The scrapes on the backside of my bass by the strap button lines up perfectly with the ribbons I wear when in my dress blues uniform. The dent by the control plate came from jumping off of the stage to catch a main speaker from falling on my buddy when he lost his grip during setup. There’s a small gouge in the headstock I recently got from snapping just a little too crisply to attention when the Major walked in to our rehearsal.
“When you connect with an instrument, it goes well beyond the sound you can make with it. It’s about the memories that have been created. The countless hours of practice, frustrations, triumphs and possibilities. It’s about keeping musical traditions alive and exposing old sounds to new generations.”
Natalie is also doing her part in exposing a new career path to female musicians.
“I’m one of just a handful of female military bassists, and there is so much joy I get from seeing young and teenaged girls come up to me after a show, eyes full of wonder at seeing a female in a rock group,” she said.
Thanks Natalie for your service, and example you are setting for others!