There’s something beautiful about the bass playing community that you just don’t find in the rest of the music world. The sense of camaraderie and willingness to help others out is a hallmark of true bassists, and Janek Gwizdala has once again proven this point by launching We Need Strings, a site dedicated to getting bass strings into the hands of those who need them most.
The focus of the campaign is to gain used-yet-usable bass strings from charitable bassists and send them to musicians who don’t have access or means to get strings. Gwizdala teamed up with The Dillinger Escape Plan’s Liam Wilson to kick off the project by shipping two months’ worth of their used strings to musicians in Cuba.
“[Liam] changes [the strings] every night on the road, and I change them every three days regardless, so they actually have some life left in them,” Gwizdala shared. “Especially for cats like the musicians in Cuba who are in desperate need of this kind of thing.”
In that spirit, he built the new website to grow the network of bassists in need of strings with those who can give. While the project is starting with its focus on helping Cuban musicians in need, there are plans to expand to spreading the goodwill around the world.
“Cuba might be the first on the list, but it’s by no means going to be the only place the strings end up,” said Gwizdala. “There are plenty of places in the world with passionate aspiring musicians who need help. And the bigger the network of donors I can build, the more people we’re going to be able to help worldwide. I don’t see why we can’t be helping out underprivileged kids and musicians here in the US as well. It’ll take some time to build up and make the right connections, but we need to start helping people now, and learn as we go. This also won’t be exclusive to bass guitar strings… I already hit up my good buddy James Valentine who plays guitar in Maroon 5, and he’s having his tech save all the strings from now on so we can help guitar players, too. And I want to make connections in the classical world too. Wood and luthiers aren’t in short supply in Cuba, so they actually have instruments for the orchestra. But fabricating strings for the instruments is impossible. So basically, anything helps!”
Currently, the strings are being distributed through a network of musical contacts between California and Havana, Cuba, as well as a music school in Cuba. Anyone interested in donating their used strings to the effort, or anyone who needs strings or knows where to send them, can visit WeNeedStrings.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.