spyGoldRushWhile I was hibernating during the cold winter months, a call came in for me from The Chief. “It is imperative that you search the city of Sacramento for the best selection of bass guitars, and for astounding customer service,” he barked, rousing me from a bleary-eyed cat nap. I came to attention rather rapidly, though. Spying is what I live for, and I was a mere hour-and-a-half drive away in my secret lair at the time. I jumped to my feet and started making plans.
Soon, I was inside my vehicle, heading north toward California’s capital city. The drive was uneventful; giant hills stretched on and on outside my windshield as I headed north. I passed signs for strip malls and giant stores, gas stations and, at one point, the Yolo Fruit Stand. Finally, I saw a couple of buildings clustered on the horizon to my right after passing what looked like a river. Was this the Sacramento River? I thought of the old pioneers of Sacramento back in the Wild West as I exited the freeway and headed to my first destination.

The downtown buildings of Sacramento still have that old-town appeal with brick facades, especially in one tiny tourist section called Old Sacramento. There, visitors to the city can enjoy saltwater taffy and cotton candy, get a tattoo, or grab something to eat or drink, walking down authentic cobblestone streets that are sometimes trafficked with horse-drawn carriages. Museums abound, complete with Sacramento history from newspaper clippings to full-sized replicas of what a kitchen would look like back in the day, a testament to how many hours people spent canning and preparing food. Modern conveniences are much appreciated after learning how hard the early pioneers of this area worked.

Sacramento grew out of easy access to the river nearby, in a time when a lot of California was much different…a wilder time. It’s hard to imagine now, driving through the tame, flat suburbs stretching on and on down the horizon, that this was once a gambling, drinking, rollicking town full of adventure. The adventure I seek now is as simple as visiting four different retail stores to suss out which one has the best selection of basses in the mid-range ballpark.

Kline Music
2200 Sutterville Rd.
Sacramento, CA 95822
The first stop on my list was Kline Music. As I headed toward the section of town where the building was, I passed a giant park full of lush greenery that begged to be walked in. I spotted dozens of young college students strolling around with books in hand—all of them clustered in pairs and groups—smiling, talking and laughing. As it turns out, Sacramento City College is directly across the street from Kline Music. I parked in the spacious lot behind the smallish, warehouse-type building and walked in the front door.

As I walked in the front entrance, I noticed a number of clerks behind a counter to my right, smiling and talking with customers. I headed into the box-like warehouse/room space, which was subdivided into different sections for sheet music, guitars, basses and amps, and easily found the section in which the basses were hanging high and low on the wall directly to the (continue reading)

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