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How many of you also play bass?


gfred611

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Just curious how many of you switch hit on bass as well. I'm thinking about picking it up again out of necessity. The bands I've been working with seem to always need help with finding and keeping good bass players.
"Sometimes it's easier to buy gear than to practice..."
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I also play bass. I've got a nicely worn 1974 Precision. I actually consider myself more of a Ric guy on bass but have never been able to afford one. :(

 

My bass-playing is suffering of late (not that I was ever that great) as I have not been playing it much at all. The main reason I bought one was to play on my own demos and to fill in with friends' bands on occasion.

Mudcat's music on Soundclick

 

"Work hard. Rock hard. Eat hard. Sleep hard. Grow big. Wear glasses if you need 'em."-The Webb Wilder Credo-

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I don't play bass in any band setting, but I do play bass all the time for my studio recording purposes.

Of the two that I have, one is a late 70's Ibanez Blazer bass (a Fender Precision-style)...and the other is a newer Epi Thunderbird bass.

The Blazer is usually strung with flatwounds for that fat 70's style of bass.

 

I would like to also get a short-scale one of these days.

I've been dreaming about finding an old Guild short-scale bass. The bass player in one of my old bands use to play one, and I loved that bass guitar. It had an SG-style of cut in a dark chocolate mahogany color. :cool:

miroslav - miroslavmusic.com

 

"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."

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Right here. Bass and guitar--that's me.

Whichever one I'm playing... it sounds like I should be playing the other.

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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One of the groups I play with right now; I play bass for them. I have a 91 P-Bass, older J-Style bass, Stingray 5. In many ways to me, a guitar is a guitar. I approach the bass that way. It's bigger scale, lower pitched but the approach in many ways is the same. :)

"Life Is Just A Game And They're Many Ways To Play...All You Do Is Choose." SC 1976

 

Fantom, XP 80, DX7 IIFD w/"E", Ensoniq ESQ 1, Roland Alpha Juno 2, Roland S 10, Korg Triton LE with EXB, GEM RP2

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I'm with Erik and Neil....I like playing Bass, but it sound like I'm playing a big fat guitar!! :)

 

Oh, don't get me wrong--I get all the "bassist" stuff right. I play in the pocket, make good note choices and all that... it's just that I'm generally a mess no matter what instrument I play.

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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The bands I've been working with seem to always need help with finding and keeping good bass players.

 

Ain't that the truth! It has crossed my mind to take it up when we had trouble finding bass players, but I just love guitars and have too much invested. Now is not the time for me to have to acquire a bunch of new stuff to be a bass player. I have owned a bass, but never played it with others nor did I ever own a bass amp. Just had it for recording.

 

Good question.

Ross

 

www.deeppocketband.com

www.epitunes.com/Artists/Deep-Pocket

 

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Switching from guitar to bass...I just try to think a bit more like a bass player.

I make sure the bass is hanging down by my kneecaps....I bob my head...and sometimes putting a baseball cap on backward also helps. ;) :grin:

 

Kidding aside...

I usually just try NOT to be too slick and play a lot of notes/runs like I might do with a guitar.

I keep it simple until I get in the groove, and then I'll work little phrases in here and there, always listening to the back-beat instead of just riffing away.

miroslav - miroslavmusic.com

 

"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."

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Yeah I'll play bass on a recording when a real bassist isn't around, but I prefer to leave it to a specialist. I haven't given it enough time and attention to be good beyond having the technical ability to play parts.

 

My main secret weapon lately when recording myself on bass is using a brand spanking new set of Blue Steel medium gauge strings. Those make me sound a million times better.

Just a pinch between the geek and chum

 

 

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I used to do fill in gigs on bass for a buddy's band and it turned into a fairly regular thing, so instead of using his crummy rig I got a Fender Precision Lyte ( really nice neck and tone w/active electronics) with a huge, loud Peavey Amp. I don't play runs like alot of other guitar players do, I try to play off the kick of the drummer.

 

I haven't touched it in awhile, may actually look to get rid of them or at least the amp.

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I have a beautiful old Fender Precision that my dad gave me, and I do pick it up once in a while, and have bought instructional videos and written material. I never played it in a band, though, and would LOVE to! Even a few months of onstage experience would turn me into a real bass player... not saying a great one, but someone who can handle the job, at least in pop music!
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The better question would probably be, "How many of you guitar players don't over-play bass?" I don't know too many guitar players who do NOT claim to be bassists. But in the studio, few have the crisp tempo that seperates a good bassist from the pack, and most guitarists tend to play 'lead' bass rather than supply a good rhythm foundation for the band.

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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I've been playing mainly bass these last 3 years but have been playing guitar since 1959.

 

I feel pretty comfortable with bass now.

 

As for what Bill says above, that's generally true, but then if you are in a 'power trio' sometimes you need a bit of fill, or should that be 'frill'?

 

G.

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the World will know Peace": Jimi Hendrix

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=738517&content=music

The Geoff - blame Caevan!!!

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The better question would probably be, "How many of you guitar players don't over-play bass?" I don't know too many guitar players who do NOT claim to be bassists. But in the studio, few have the crisp tempo that seperates a good bassist from the pack, and most guitarists tend to play 'lead' bass rather than supply a good rhythm foundation for the band.

 

Yes...focusing on the beat instead of riffing is what's most often needed.

And for basic Pop/Rock bass, it's sometimes surprising how relatively "simple" the bass lines need to be.

Less notes in the right places and within the right groove...goes a long way! :thu:

miroslav - miroslavmusic.com

 

"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."

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I played bass in all my high school bands in the 60's, then sold it as soon as I left for college & haven't played bass since. A couple years ago I picked up the Rogue Höfner copy just to have around, & although I haven't gigged or recorded with it, it is a lot of fun, & definitely a conversation piece. Every bass player who comes into my studio has to play it. Pretty ridiculously good axe for under $200.

 

Scott Fraser

Scott Fraser
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The better question would probably be, "How many of you guitar players don't over-play bass?" I don't know too many guitar players who do NOT claim to be bassists. But in the studio, few have the crisp tempo that seperates a good bassist from the pack, and most guitarists tend to play 'lead' bass rather than supply a good rhythm foundation for the band.

 

Yes...focusing on the beat instead of riffing is what's most often needed.

And for basic Pop/Rock bass, it's sometimes surprising how relatively "simple" the bass lines need to be.

Less notes in the right places and within the right groove...goes a long way! :thu:

 

The big think to remember is that you are part of the rhythm section. You need to mesh with the drums.

 

I started out playing guitar in my own band and, at the same time, playing bass when my Dad and his friends jammed. So I learned both instruments at the same time. After the first two years on the road, I switched over to bass and was the bass player, seven days a week, 365 days a year for over five years. When I came off the road, I became a full time teacher, teaching both guitar and bass.

 

For me, they are two entirely different instruments. A bass is not a guitar. You can play it like a guitar, but it never sounds right. In order for a guitar player to play bass, they must really distinguish the differences between the two instruments and acknowledge the fact that it is a different instrument.

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...But in the studio, few (guitarists who play bass)have the crisp tempo that seperates a good bassist from the pack

 

This is the problem I'm currently having with my bass playing. My rustiness on the instrument makes it difficult to lock in with the groove. I end up just being sloppy. :(

 

 

... and most guitarists tend to play 'lead' bass rather than supply a good rhythm foundation for the band.

 

We had the exact opposite problem with a bassist we brought in for a Chris Isaak/rock-a-billy type project I played guitar on several years ago. We brought in this guy who kept trying to jazz things up. The artist & producer kept trying to get him to simplify things. He ended up saying, "But that will sound like something you would hear on a Chuck Berry record or something!?!"

 

The artist & producer responded with "EXACTLY!" The poor cat couldn't pull it off. I ended up doubling on bass. Knocked it out in one take! ;):)

Mudcat's music on Soundclick

 

"Work hard. Rock hard. Eat hard. Sleep hard. Grow big. Wear glasses if you need 'em."-The Webb Wilder Credo-

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Yes, they're really two different instruments, even though they look similar.

 

You have to be in the right head-space in order to really do a conventional rock bassist's job. It requires a good deal of physical stamina as well as an understanding of the subtle differences you can make with minimal changes in note choices, groove and feel. It's not all hammering root 8th notes, ya know? But, then again, sometimes it is.

 

Personally, I love being able to switch up. As a guitarist, I can actually show a bassist what I have in mind for something and be understood, and, as a bassist, I have a whole lot to say about the way the material ultimately feels.

 

Being able to truly play bass in a functioning band means understanding some really important aspects of the nature of the instrument in most rock music. Bassists are the pulse, the heart of the music.

 

As a general rule, guitarists tend to think the sun rises and sets on fancy chords and solos, but bassists really "drive the bus" in bands. The singer can stop singing, and it's ok. The guitar can lay back, and it's ok. The drums can stop, and even that's ok... but when the bass stops... everyone looks around and says, "What the hell just happened?" The groove disappears.

 

A good bassist can make an average drummer sound amazing. This is not the same case when the tables are reversed.

 

 

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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For me, they are two entirely different instruments. A bass is not a guitar. You can play it like a guitar, but it never sounds right. In order for a guitar player to play bass, they must really distinguish the differences between the two instruments and acknowledge the fact that it is a different instrument.

 

That's why my bass playing sounds like a guitar player trying to imitate a bass player. Although I will pick up the bass and play on our home recordings and such, I will never claim to be a bass player!

Reverbnation stuff

More Reverbnation stuff

I feel happy! I feel happy!

 

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I'm the other side of the coin, if you will: a bassist that also plays guitar. (If you want to get technical about it I learned guitar at age 9 and then bass two years later. So I'm a "convert", too, although I've specialized in bass in the decades since.)

 

I think Big Red 67's post said best what a lot of you have said, that playing either instrument in an ensemble setting helps your overall musicianship. Not only do you gain a lot of respect for those that can expertly play every little nuance, you find ways to make the whole band sound better than the sum of its parts.

 

Craig said, "The big thin[g] to remember is that you are part of the rhythm section. You need to mesh with the drums." Now, I know he was trying to bring up the difference between guitar-think and bass-think, and I'm sure he knows what I'm going to say, but I'll voice it anyway: bass is the glue between the drums and the rest of the band. In other words, bass has to interact on some level -- at least in terms of harmony -- with the rest of the band while at the same time meshing with the drums. (I'll even play off the vocal/melody at times if it fits the song.)

 

GeoffB brings up a good point that in a trio setting the bass is given a little more freedom in order to fill up more sonic space. Heck, you can even have a bass 'n' drums duo like Clatter and not even miss the guitar! :eek::D

 

If you've never tried, playing bass in a jazz ensemble is quite intoxicating. It's a whole different world than (the overly simplistic view of) hammering out eighth note roots for rock/pop. And it's perfectly acceptable in jazz for the bassist to have more than one solo a night. :freak: The jazz trio is the closest thing to bass as classic rock is to lead guitar.

 

You can also play solo bass, just like solo guitar or the perhaps more common solo piano. One example most people have probably come across is the lounge act pianist that plays instrumental arrangements of everything from jazz standards to The Beatles. On bass it helps if you have more than four strings: an extended range bass (ERB).

 

So at the end of the day you realize that you can pretty much play any role on any instrument, but because few instruments are pitched lower than bass it is only natural that bass instruments serve the bass role in an ensemble.

 

Interestingly, guitar scale length is similar to a baritone instrument (e.g. mandocello), yet I think most consider it to be a tenor. One of the "fallacies" of modern string orchestras is that they lack a true tenor instrument; cello is baritone and viola is alto. So the tenor voice is sometimes carried by the violas and sometimes by the cellos. Next to chording I think part of the guitar's popularity is its ability to extend down into the baritone range and up into the alto. (And of course the variety of tones/sounds once electronics are added to the mix.) This is part of the reason why two guitars can coexist in a rock band, besides the more obvious splitting of roles into "lead" and "rhythm".

 

Point being that bass guitar extends up into the baritone (a standard 4-string only has 8 chromatic pitches below a cello), and ERB firmly tackles tenor and beyond.

 

Ok, one last point to make. And I don't mean to criticize. A lot of guitarists will try to nail a particular recorded guitar sound, e.g. Jimmy's telecaster, Jimi's strat, or Eric's LP. Yet when it comes to playing bass it's perfectly acceptable to play every song with a pick :freak: , even ones that were recorded fingerstyle. This is the "guitarist playing bass" dead give-away. Of course if you're playing a style such as metal, where bass is predominantly played with a pick, then no harm done. But it's a bit jarring to hear a great like Motown's Jamerson played with flat picking.

 

That said, I invite everyone here to play bass, even if it means playing with a pick. It's worth it just to get that "whole picture" moment of how and why ensemble music works (and doesn't work).

 

[Next week Mr. Iverson and a few of the rest of us will take you on a journey of discovery with the mandolin. ;) ]

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...That said, I invite everyone here to play bass, even if it means playing with a pick...

 

You mean like Macca? :D

 

My favorite bass tones involve a Ric 4001, a set of flatwound strings and a pick. It is amazing the variety of sounds McCartney was able to get with this combination.

Mudcat's music on Soundclick

 

"Work hard. Rock hard. Eat hard. Sleep hard. Grow big. Wear glasses if you need 'em."-The Webb Wilder Credo-

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