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#2984678 - 04/11/19 10:51 AM Transition from Guitar to Bass
DocPate Offline
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Registered: 01/11/16
Posts: 958
Loc: Virginia
Earleg's (George) thread the other place, on Carol Kaye made me think about transitioning from guitar to bass.

How many of us made a transition from guitar to bass? Did you find it easy?

I learned to play the old upright bass a little. I wish they had electric basses back then.

I just never got good on the new bass instruments. Then they started adding strings. I'm lost


Read more: http://guitarplayersforum.boards.net/thread/782/guitar-transitioning-bass#ixzz5koIuU1f5

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#2984684 - 04/11/19 11:09 AM Re: Transition from Guitar to Bass [Re: DocPate]
d / halfnote Offline
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Registered: 03/20/01
Posts: 7635
Loc: no longer lexington, Kenfunky,...
Done both.
To me they're the same except that in some contexts bass is generally cast in a more definitely supportive role, although mutual instrumental efforts should generally be supportive & in many situations bass can be---even should be---a lead instrument.


As far as their physical requirements, on electric instruments modern gear can compensate for many of what once seemed unavoidably difficult physical effort.

The URB is a diff beast in many ways, both in effort to play as well as the accuracy of fingering.

There's also stuff like this








Or even this idea


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#2984702 - 04/11/19 12:23 PM Re: Transition from Guitar to Bass [Re: d / halfnote]
Fred_C Offline
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Registered: 06/12/10
Posts: 2164
Loc: PA
During the years I taught in a studio the bass teacher's studio was directly across from mine. One night he offered me the opportunity to play his beautiful, custom-made 5 string bass. It was a gorgeous instrument and I was able to lay down a few lines based on the minor pentatonic scale. It was easy and kind of fun. However, the guitar is my instrument and I think I would miss the melodic capabilities of the instrument.

That being said, if you want to fool around with the bass, go ahead and buy yourself a decent quality (so your progress is not hindered by a low quality, cheap instrument) and have at it.

Let us know how you like it.

Good luck and enjoy.
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#2984703 - 04/11/19 12:29 PM Re: Transition from Guitar to Bass [Re: d / halfnote]
DocPate Offline
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Registered: 01/11/16
Posts: 958
Loc: Virginia
Originally Posted By: d / halfnote

The URB is a diff beast in many ways, both in effort to play as well as the accuracy of fingering.


True! It's all in the positioning of the thumb as your anchor and muscle memory with the stretches

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#2984716 - 04/11/19 01:29 PM Re: Transition from Guitar to Bass [Re: Fred_C]
d / halfnote Offline
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Registered: 03/20/01
Posts: 7635
Loc: no longer lexington, Kenfunky,...
Originally Posted By: Fred_C
However, the guitar is my instrument and I think I would miss the melodic capabilities of the instrument.

There are of course many ways to do similar effects on bass as gtr, both melodically & harmonically.
The main things to be aware of are the need to keep lower freqs further apart than higher freqs, either by octave spacing or by using less dense voicings...but that goes for the gtr range somewhat as well, eh ?

Originally Posted By: Fred_C
buy yourself a decent quality (so your progress is not hindered by a low quality, cheap instrument) and have at it.


Another reason for my regular suggestion that an instrument is best tested in one's hands but I'd also point out that w/modern manufacturing techniques the primary diff between lower & higher price gtrs is the electronics rather than the basic neck/frets structure.
If the instrument plays in tune you can learn fine on it.
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#2984758 - 04/11/19 06:16 PM Re: Transition from Guitar to Bass [Re: d / halfnote]
desertbluesman Offline
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Registered: 05/22/07
Posts: 4973
Loc: Near Phoenix Az
Never tried it, but I did use a MIDI keyboard and bass samples to record some bass lines on a tune or two. I would not dare to try it live on a 4 string bass let alone a 5 string bass or 6 string bass.
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#2984791 - 04/12/19 06:48 AM Re: Transition from Guitar to Bass [Re: desertbluesman]
Larryz Offline
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Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 11970
Loc: Northern California
I can play bass and keyboard, but I choose not to. I like the guitar too much and I wish to spend more of my time learning the instrument I like best. I still have a keyboard but I also sold one and also sold my Fender Jazz bass to a friend in Norway. I'm not sure how it will work with your arthritis Doc, but give it a try! It may be that the bigger strings and fret spacing might be less stress on the fingers? I can't say as I don't have my bass anymore...


As far as the transition question, the 4 string bass is the same as the bottom 4 strings on the guitar. So, you already know a lot more starting out, than a non-guitar player. The intervals, scales, notes, layout, etc. are all the same. You will miss being able to play chords. However, I'm guessing good bass players learn chord structures and can hit many of the same notes in the right places adding 7ths, minor 1 b3 5, b5s, major 1 3 5, etc. I have played with some very professional bass players and they can keep up with any song I can play even though there are many chord changes and even though they never played the song before.


You do need a very good sense of timing, especially when there is no drummer. You can set the feel and the vibe with walking bass lines, and just add a ton of cool bottom end to any tune. I love playing with good bass players and most of them prefer the bass over guitar even though they can play pretty good on guitar as well. It's a great instrument to fall in love with. With your knowledge, you'll be playing bass in no time! cool


Edited by Larryz (04/12/19 06:49 AM)
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#2984812 - 04/12/19 09:50 AM Re: Transition from Guitar to Bass [Re: Larryz]
Danzilla Offline
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Registered: 01/09/04
Posts: 5576
Loc: Baltimore, MD
I started out playing guitar, and was big into The Who. I realized that Entwistle's parts were what I was gravitating to the most (much as I love Pete Townsend). Thus started my love of playing bass. Move onto the turn of the century, and I got my first 5-string bass. I still have a couple of 4 strings, but prefer the 5 for range, positioning, etc.

Not to sound snobby, but the mindset that "if you can play guitar, you can play bass" is only partially true. Most times, you will sound like a guitar player who's trying to play bass. I guess it's a matter of how much you put into it.

I still enjoy playing guitar (last band I played lead), but if given a choice, I find bass is where I have my personality. Of course, when I'm playing bass, I hear in my head what I would want to play along side that if I was playing guitar; and vice-versa. It's good to have options!



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#2984924 - 04/13/19 08:34 AM Re: Transition from Guitar to Bass [Re: Danzilla]
picker Offline
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Registered: 06/13/04
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I started out on guitar, but after about two years, heard a guy I thought I'd never be as good as, so I took up bass. 6 weeks later, I saw my guitar in the corner, and decided I didn't have to choose between one or the other.
That was a good thing, because I haven't been able to choose between them. I still play and love both.
In answer to you question, I didn't have any trouble transitioning between them in terms of playing the bass. I did notice however, that there is a big difference between the two in terms of attitude towards playing. Seldom is a bassist called to be more than supportive while playing in a group. Find that bass drum and a way to lock in with it, and you are on the right path.
Have fun!
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