Keanu Reeves: A Bass Odyssey – From Hollywood to Bass Guitars

Devotees of Keanu Reeves are aware that he is not only a Hollywood icon but also a devoted bass guitar enthusiast and an integral part of the recently rejuvenated alternative rock trio Dogstar. Similar to his fellow actors like Jason Momoa, Ryan Gosling, and Johnny Depp, and indeed many other Hollywood stars who dabble in bass playing, the Matrix legend possesses an enthusiasm for all things related to the bass and can frequently be spotted wielding his Fender Precision Bass.

Keanu Reeves Bass
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In this vein, Fender has partnered with none other than John Wick himself for the latest installment of its Daydream YouTube series, where Reeves recounts his musical journey from an aspiring bassist to a member of Dogstar. In their discussion, Reeves, who channeled his passion for the bass in the movie “Bill & Ted Face the Music,” delves into the story of acquiring his first four-string instrument. This guitar was purchased following a visit to the Guitar Center in Hollywood.

Initially, the purchase may seem like a standard transaction for a first-time buyer, but the story takes an unexpected twist. Why, you ask? Reeves didn’t buy it inside Guitar Center; instead, he acquired his instrument through what he humorously calls a “bass drug deal” in the parking lot.

“I was asked about my first bass,” Keanu Reeves explains in the video. “I’ve been trying to remember, but I think it was around 1986. I went to Hollywood Guitar Center to get a bass guitar. I ended up… I don’t recall, but a guy was there selling a bass. He was with a friend, not at the store; it was more like a parking lot sale. It was like a ‘bass drug deal.'”

When questioned why he didn’t just go into Guitar Center to choose from a selection of bass guitars, Reeves replied that he did go inside, but none of the basses he tried resonated with him.
“I did go inside the store,” he confirmed, “but the one I bought spoke to me. I played it, it felt good in my hands, and I was just like, ‘Okay!'”

In an earlier interview with Allison Hagendorf this year, Reeves disclosed that he purchased a white Ibanez. As he tells Fender, his bass journey took off from that point. “I think I bought a music theory bass book the next week,” he continued. “The only thing was that I didn’t have anyone to play with.”

Regarding his approach to shaping his bass-playing career, Reeves acknowledges that he “didn’t learn many songs,” something he now regrets.

“I didn’t listen to songs and try to figure them out,” he confessed. “Kids, I regret that. If you’re picking up an instrument, exploring what others have done before is cool. But I wasn’t doing that so that I would play. I had no theory, and I couldn’t play the blues.”