Bass players: Why?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by skinvoyager, Jul 15, 2019.

  1. skinvoyager

    skinvoyager Member

    Aug 30, 2012
    Cincinnati, OH
    Let me make a disclaimer: this is a serious question. Silly answers are fine, but please no hate.

    I've often wondered what motivates a bass player to take up the instrument in the first place. As a child, I was always drawn to the 6-string because I just thought it was so damn cool. But I was also intrigued by the drums…they just looked like so much fun to play.

    As I grew into my teens, I had, as most of us did, a long list of guitar heroes. But I never had any interest in the bass. It just looked boring by comparison.

    And of course, the general public can rattle off the names of hundred of guitarists, but usually they only know a handful of bassists.

    Even keyboard players have the advantage of being able to play their instrument at home or on a solo gig, with or without vocals. Obviously the bass needs to part of an ensemble.

    So bassists, what is it that drew you to your instrument? I honestly think it's very unselfish to play the bass. It's such an important and foundational instrument, necessary for the groove and feel. I get it. I just want to know what made you choose it over other more "glamorous" choices.
    steam boat and Hawking like this.
  2. Gig Young

    Gig Young ¡Vote Twice On Nov. 4! Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2018
    James jamerson
    The dude from mister mister
    Larry Graham
    Mark King who was the thrust in level 42
    The person who originated the Disco octave bass runs!

    Of course, Carol Kaye

    Listen to her play on sloop John b.
    of course the vocalcs soar like a grand cathedral, but I've always felt that the bass is what really really brings this song to Life, Believe Me.

    It's true because it's my semi original cliche thought dagnabbit!
  3. skhan007

    skhan007 Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    I’ll bet Geddy Lee was a reason for a few million bassists.
  4. slayerbear17

    slayerbear17 Member

    Aug 13, 2010
    Cliff Burton was my hero, I wanted to play Bass just like him, my dad convinced me otherwise and go guitar.
  5. naveed211

    naveed211 Member

    Apr 10, 2010
    Madison, WI
    I started on guitar at around age 13. I got discouraged and started picking up bass instead for a couple years. Only because it had less strings and I was into simple punk at the time so it was all root notes basically.

    Rediscovered guitar around age 16 and stuck with that for the most part ever since except for some dabbling on recording projects here and there.
    jbviper4 likes this.
  6. s2y

    s2y Member

    Jan 3, 2012
    Caught somewhere in time
    I liked bassists like Tony Franklin and Billy Sheehan. I ended up switching to bass for many years because all of the good bassists were in 3-4 bands and the available ones left a lot to be desired.

    There are plenty of great bassists. Just need to listen very closely.
  7. shakey_slim

    shakey_slim Member

    Jan 31, 2012
    I fell in love with the pulse of the bass at an early age

    Anyone can solo, not many people can groove
    jm9239, rauchman, Kyle B and 60 others like this.
  8. Phil the Kill Bill V2 guy

    Phil the Kill Bill V2 guy Member

    Sep 11, 2018
    Bass is the link between rhythm guitar, keyboards, and drums.
    Everybody in the band gets a chance to shine from time to time.
    Perhaps the bass player the least of all.
    But when the drums and bass are groovin’ together, I bet that hot young female on the dance floor doesn’t care too much about the guitar parts.
  9. FLYING V 83

    FLYING V 83 Gibson Geezer Silver Supporting Member

    Mar 7, 2007
    NJ, land of perpetual roadwork
    Back in the 80s I did a couple of bass tracks on our original recordings, but have to say, I hated it.
    I have lots of respect for the guys that make it their instrument, just not my cup of tea.
    Jack Bruce, Greg Lake, John Entwistle, Felix Pappalardi, lots of great bassists.
  10. eldorado2001

    eldorado2001 Member

    Jun 14, 2008
    West of Sibley
    Mel Schacher was my earliest bass hero, one of the heaviest players around back when I was first getting interested in learning to play. His lines were just right for the GFRR power trio configuration. He was always in the pocket and played for the song. From that beginning my listening was always focused on the bass. And, I never quite had the dexterity or speed to be an interesting lead guitar player.
    brbadg, F12, beanbass and 4 others like this.
  11. leftygeetar

    leftygeetar Member

    Apr 20, 2017
    I got into bass playing because my friend was a much better guitarist than I was and when we formed a band I pulled a McCartney and took on the bass. I never loved it as much as guitar but I liked it a lot. Subscribed to Bass Player magazine and tried to learn how to lock in with a drummer. It's satisfying to make people want to dance or change a song's chord in a single note choice.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
    jm9239, candid_x, brbadg and 5 others like this.
  12. Kostas

    Kostas Member

    Aug 9, 2009
    Athens, GR
    Ι'm not a bass player but I love bass and I like it up on the mix just like guitars & drums. One of the reasons was PUNK but as I grew up and I got into JAZZ my addiction to bass become even stronger. Jazz guitar usually leaves me unimpressed but I can hear songs with double bass or Fender Jazz bass (Jaco bridge pickup tone) for days.

    Bass is very important in rock & jazz music, when I see bands without a bass I really don't get it. It's the link between guitar & drums.
  13. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

    Sep 10, 2007
    In a van down by the river
    I started because the first gigging band I was in was 3 guitarists and a drummer. The band owned a Hofner Steiny bass. The lead singer/guitarist and I swapped back and forth, depending on the tune.

    I've always gravitated toward groove-based music and the bass played well, will get those booties up and moving. Lots more work as a bassist, so that encouraged me, also. Then, there was a shortage of bass teachers in my part of KC when I lived there so I started getting students (just teaching guitar at the time) by default. Loved it all.

    Being a bass player makes me a better guitarist. I'm able to incorporate walking basslines easier on chord melody tunes, for one, and am more focused on time and the drummer than before.
  14. markjsmith

    markjsmith Member

    Feb 5, 2008
    Mission Viejo, Ca.
    I like reggae, the guitar is mostly pretty boring in reggae but the bass rules!!!!
    mbell75, GA20T, brbadg and 6 others like this.
  15. Yam the BOMB

    Yam the BOMB Silver Supporting Member

    Jan 10, 2017
    Southern Indiana
    I just went out and bought a bass about nine months ago simply because the guys that I get together with already had two guitar players. They kept trying to get me to come over and join them with my guitar but I felt like that was too much pressure since I’m not a good guitarist and they already had a whole lot of songs they had been practicing on.

    So one day I get the crazy idea just buy a bass and a little bass amp (like there is nothing to it.) so I head over there to join them and I had no idea what a bass player even does. And they didn’t either. So they just have me hitting the root note of the chords they’re playing in the songs and we all think it sounds fantastic.

    So then I go home and start searching on YouTube for the songs we were playing of how the bass is really supposed to be played. And of course it’s way more involved and 10 times as much fun and a whole lot to learn. But one by one I started learning the songs correctly. And I really like it a lot. I’m up to four basses now and two amps.

    I’m really enjoying the bass a whole lot. I love the sound of it and I also love that I focus on learning songs and play them with the originals rather than sit around doing riffs like I always did on guitar.

    When I was very young I played guitar for a short time and took lessons from a phenomenal guitar player and guitar teacher named Ron Pritchett. Ron was a phenomenal jazz and blues guitar player and I’ve told the stories before on other threads that he was also the teacher of Andy Timmons who was also a kid from my neighborhood. But what I never understood back then was when Ron played out with musicians he always played the bass instead of the guitar. And I ask him about that a few times because it never made sense to me he was so good on guitar. But he always told me that he loves the guitar but when he played out he enjoyed playing the bass more. I never understood it back in those days but I understand it much better now.

    Bass is a whole lot of fun. If you are even thinking about it, just do it. Go get one. I recommend getting the music man stingray. I love that bass.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
  16. Sacrifice

    Sacrifice Member

    Aug 4, 2017
    I am a bass player first. Have been since the late 80s. Guitar players wanted attention. Bass players wanted to make the girls dance. I found out too late that neither is strictly true, but bass and the groove was already in the blood.

    I blame Verdine White and Pino Palladino mostly. JPJ was also huge for me. Everyone else was all about Page/Plant, I just sat there thinking all the REALLY good stuff was underneath.
    Baxtercat, cratz2, Wyzard and 5 others like this.
  17. dazco

    dazco Member

    Jul 25, 2003
    I could cite many reasons i wanted to play guitar but had zero interest in bass, but i'll just cite one that by itself it all the reason i need.....i can play guitar solo, no band necassary. And before anyone says that you CAN play solo, sure u can. But would i want to? Not in the least to put it mildly. I can play solo electric and even more so play acoustic solo and accompany myself vocally or play instrumental fingerpicking tunes, etc. To ME bass is only worthwhile in a band setting. Thats great if you gig a lot, but i stopped gigging more then a decade ago aside from occasional jams and partys a few times a year, and had i been a bass player i'd be done with music now about 360 days a year. Instead i play at home a lot. As i said b4, thats only ONE reason but all i need. I could cite several more tho.
    Scary Uncle G. likes this.
  18. bigtone23

    bigtone23 Member

    Feb 18, 2013
    Denver CO
    Sometimes it's a happy accident.
    I started on guitar at 8, drums at 10. I lived in a small town and finding players was a trick. My good friend and guitarist was playing bass in a working, weekender country band. The current lead guitarist quit, my friend moved to lead and asked me to play bass. It was trial by fire, but after a couple years I really took to it. Now, I prefer the bass to guitar and it's nearly as fun as drums!
    Bass is often not as glamorous as guitar or drums, but if you are competent, you will never be out of a gig. I agree that bass isn't very fun in a solo context, but neither are drums to me.
    Washburnmemphis likes this.
  19. MrKite89

    MrKite89 Member

    Nov 15, 2014
    Milano, Italy
    As with The Beatles, someone has to play bass! ;)
  20. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

    Sep 10, 2007
    In a van down by the river
    Let me introduce you to Shaun Munday.

    mbell75, rauchman, Rbh32 and 23 others like this.

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