Bass players: Why?

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

  1. thomas4th

    thomas4th Member

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    I’ve played guitar longer, but bass is where my heart lives. I love how perfectly bass sits between rhythm, melody, and harmony; the bass can tie an arrangement together while adding its own dimension or drive a whole song. I love the feel of the big strings more than tiny guitar strings. I love how physically immersive low frequencies are, especially when played loudly. I love how bass lines’ relative simplicity encourages me to zoom in on the nuances of phrasing and articulation. Bass is simply joyful to play.

    I also love synth bass - thick Moog bass, snotty 303 bass, alien FM bass - but that’s another thread. ;)
     
  2. Bryan T

    Bryan T guitar owner Silver Supporting Member

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    I started as a teenager, mainly for use while recording. I found that I loved playing bass in bands. You are a critical link between the rhythm and harmony. Too much fun.
     
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  3. sundog964

    sundog964 Supporting Member

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    Lots of good answers here.

    I haven't taken up the Bass Guitar, but played the Tuba in School and Dixieland Jazz bands. The bass part is a lot of fun. You can play around with the drummer, and nobody in the audience is any wiser. The guitarist and vocalist are probably writing threads about it, but hey all in good fun.

    The cool thing about Dixieland is that if you are a bit tired, you can just swap for the washboard and thimbles.

     
  4. smallbutmighty

    smallbutmighty Supporting Member

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    I think taking up bass as you main instrument is more about personality type than starting from a list of heroes and YouTube videos.

    The bassist in a band wields a lot opower over the direction of the music, yet draws little attention.

    When I'm writing a new song, creating and perform the bass line is my favorite part of the whole process. It's really when the song reveals itself for the first time.
     
  5. chrisjnyc

    chrisjnyc Supporting Member

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    Peter Hook!
     
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  6. John Mark Painter

    John Mark Painter Silver Supporting Member

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    I like Bass because I like the groove factor and I like LINES.
    Early on, I noticed the Contrapuntal stuff going on between the melody and bass lines combined with the rhythmic offset against guitar and supporting the drums.

    Fun stuff for me
     
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  7. MartinPiana

    MartinPiana Supporting Member

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    A bassist once described the psychology of a bassist thusly: They find validation in being needed in supportive role.

    I asked why the bassist in our band was such an ahole then, coming in all nice and supportive but then trying to dictate the repertoire and bring his lousy musician friends into the band. My friend said once they're needed in that supportive role, some resent being relegated to the second-class situation they find themselves in.
     
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  8. dmac in SC

    dmac in SC Silver Supporting Member

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    I'm guitarist but I have played bass with several bands over the years. The thing that gets overlooked about bass players is the endurance it takes to play a full scale bass for 2 and a half hours...hell, I wouldn't even attempt to do that with some of the logger necked five and six strings that are out now..they make my hand cramp up

    I have a short scale Gretsch that I use to lay down recording tracks..my old jazz bass stays in the case now.
     
  9. epauley

    epauley Member

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    Bass was my first and main instrument for several years. If played with style and creativity, it is as important and as exciting as any instrument. Along with the drums, it lays the foundation that complements the melody. As a bassist, opportunities were always plentiful and I never lacked for work. Playing bass made me a much better lead guitarist.
     
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  10. Codyyy

    Codyyy Member

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    I got started with bass as a teen as well. In fact I didn’t quite care for the arrogance behind the guitar. I hated solos and the preconceived notion that the bass was easier because it had less strings and bassists hit one note a minute. It worked out in my favor since my favorite bands had a lot of bass presence both on the album and on stage. I loved the feeling of the power behind a bass. Guitar doesn’t generate that, it generates sound in a different way. Bass is an earthquake instrument. I also felt that it is a lot more laid-back than guitar. Sure there are chords and scales on a bass but I can play what I want to keep the rhythm going.

    I haven’t played the bass in a long time unfortunately. I decided to focus on learning the guitar, and then perhaps fill both. Recently I took a lesson from a bassist in one of my favorite bands only to find out he was originally a guitarist. He took up the bass specifically for this band. I was blown away by how good his rhythm was on guitar. If I have the chance I’d do it again.
     
  11. NorCal_Val

    NorCal_Val Member

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    Knowing what I know now, I would’ve taken up bass in 1980, rather than guitar.
    I love ripping bass playing as much as I do killer guitar playing.
    Plus, I love busy bass players.
     
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  12. Dr.Picklebottom

    Dr.Picklebottom Member

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    no idea. i hate what busy bass players do to a song. everything ends up sounding like the red hot chili peppers, the equivalent of every meal being covered with ketchup and melted cheese. its like wow, thats crazy! how are they doing that! then literally 5 seconds later i cant stand it anymore and wish theyd stop bc its ruining the song.

    my favorite bass players arent audible, you just notice missing frequenicies ifthey stop playing. id never be content making that contribution to a song.

    even worse is listening to someone practicing bass. ugh, its awful.
     
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  13. eigentone

    eigentone Supporting Member

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    Seems a little odd that you would ask here. There is a Bass subforum after all.

    That out of the way… Because bass is awesome. It's a different kind of energy from guitar and drums and (frequently) a necessary part of an ensemble. Bass has a huge influence on groove and harmony. Hey guitarist - you think you are playing a G? I'll play an E on the bass and suddenly you are playing Em7. ;)

    There's a bassist in my city who could do a show with just bass and voice.

    How did I get into playing bass? I started by playing guitar. Then I got more serious about vocals, keys, bass, drums, recording… Bass is actually very fun and it can help you as a guitarist (or drummer.) You are asking a virtual roomful of guitarists after all. So that's how I got into it. I've done bass live and on record. The bass is my favorite instrument in many great tunes. It's as boring as you make it. And that doesn't mean you have to play a ton of notes or be super exciting. A master can say a lot with 5 notes and a great groove.
     
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  14. PB+J

    PB+J Member

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    Sigh. So many guys are "guitar owners," into it because they think it's cool, not because of music.

    I always heard the bass first. On Motown records. On the Allman brothers at the Fillmore? I was listening to the bass. On of the first albums I ever bought was the first Chicago album. I listened to the bass. I had a phase with progressive rock. I listened to the bass. Funk? Soul? All about the bass.

    Go ahead, yack on about the pentatonic blues licks. See if you can play that bass line



    I ALWAYS liked the bass. I liked where it sat between two worlds. I liked the way it articulated the harmonic structure or played countering lines. If you're the bass player and people are dancing? Pure joy right there.

    I play a lot of instruments. I'm a good guitar player. I play the drums. I'm teaching myself the flute. Bass is home base
     
  15. runningman

    runningman Member

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    Bass is similar to drums in that you can't fake it. You either feel it or you don't. guitar players can get away with squirrely time, but not bass players or drummers.

    The truth that many people don't want to admit is that most pop songs only really need vocals, bass and drums. That's the great thing about the bass. It's absolutely indispensable. And don't start in about the White Stripes, 'cause that's the exception which proves the rule.
     
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  16. ChipOnly

    ChipOnly Supporting Member

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    I was a bass player first. Had kind of a personality crisis in my late teens about leaving bass behind and playing more and more guitar. I still may be a better bass player than guitarist.

    As to what motivated me, I was just a kid. Like 11. Wanting to be different I think was a big part of it. Remember Skid Row? The bass player wore a chain between an ear piercing and a nose piercing. Part of my psychology was seriously like "I'll play what that dude plays."

    It wasn't long before I got into bass playing. Rush. James Brown. Once I heard Watt, Flea, Claypool, it was over. Bass player.

    I tell my bass students that bass isn't an instrument (well, of course it is), it's a role - meaning, a job you do in the band, a mindset. This is an important idea, it's not just a guitar an octave down.
     
  17. PB+J

    PB+J Member

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    Preach it brother
     
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  18. minimal fretwear

    minimal fretwear Supporting Member

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    I blame Geezer Butler and Steve Harris for bass appealing to me, as they are imprinted on my brain from my teenage years.

    I find bass is a lot of fun to play with a band. Maybe it is because I am not the greatest guitarist, but a lot of times I feel like I sort have too much of my attention wrapped up with what I am personally doing on guitar. When I am playing bass, I feel like I am much more aware what is going on with the other instruments, the crowd, etc. I just sort of have more bandwidth to pay attention.

    Of course one advantage of playing bass as well as guitar, is there is a lot more gear to buy! I've went so far as to own upright basses a couple of different times, but never have been in a band situation where I could really play one. I'd jump at the chance to do that.
     
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  19. PB+J

    PB+J Member

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    Also dumbass guitar players compare what the guitar does in this song to what the bass does




    Have fun chunking on 2 and 4!
     
  20. metropolis_4

    metropolis_4 Member

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    I used to think that way when I was a kid. I loved guitar, and bass seemed like it was just for the guys who weren't good enough to play guitar.

    But then I actually played bass for the first time, and I immediately got it.

    Now it's probably my favorite instrument to play. I was just immediately hooked by it. I love that it's rhythmic and melodic. I was a drummer first, and I really enjoyed getting back into that groove. Coming from drums, I understood the rhythm/groove aspect of it, and coming from guitar I understood the melodic aspect of it. It was like the perfect combination for me.

    When you play bass, you get to be a critical part of establishing the groove of the song, you also are a huge part of setting the energy and dynamic as well. There's nothing more fun than locking in with the drummer on a killer groove.

    You also get to think very melodically which I love. With guitar, the fun is often in finding cool chord voicings and movements in comping; with bass, the fun is finding cool ways to make your part harmonize and provide counter-point to other melodies that are happening. You also outline the progressions, and help "show" the rest of the band where the changes are, and where the progression is going. You are what ties everything together, and locks all the pieces in and makes them gel together.


    Something you'll notice is that often bass players are into different styles of music than guitar players. There's a reason bass players tend to gravitate towards music that has more groove to it. And there's also a reason why metal is often the punchline to jokes among bassists :)
     

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