Guitarist Gone Bassist: Did you become a REAL bassist?

straightblues

Member
Messages
9,613
I bought a bass because I was tired of showing up at jams/open mics without a bass player. I found that I really enjoy playing bass. I think it is a hell of a lot of fun. I now seek out opportunities to play bass. I have never really thought if I sounded like a guitar player on bass or not. But now that you have brought it up, I will make sure I don't.
 

fooloso4

Member
Messages
64
I started playing upright a few years ago. Playing upright has had more of an influence on my bass guitar playing than playing guitar has.

If you want to sound like the kind of bassist you would like to be then figure out what they are doing and play that way. It is not only a matter of identifying the notes but the number and rhythm of notes in each measure or phrase. Try singing the bass part and muting the strings and playing along. Headphones will help with hearing the lines.

The role of the bassist differs somewhat with the style and instrumentation so generalized advice may be of limited help, but understanding the behavior of low frequencies is important. Try playing a few different short melodic phrases at different octaves on both bass and guitar. The lower the frequency and the closer together the notes the less distinct the notes become. A flashy lick on guitar becomes a muddled mess on bass.
 

ZeyerGTR

Member
Messages
3,915
I used to do a lot of gigs on bass, and I still play bass on all my recordings. I take it seriously, but I haven't put in nearly the time on bass as I have on guitar. I love it, but it's not my primary instrument. I (hopefully) have some kind of understanding of how bass fits into the song as a unique instrument, and an appreciation of the subtlties of the instrument. I'm certainly not a professional bassist, but I have put in more time than a guitarist casually dabbling. I'm not sure what constitutes being a "real" bassist, but I'm going to say yes anyways.
 

Crowder

Dang Twangler
Messages
19,072
ALSO, can SOMEONE PLEASE define for me (or all us) what playing bass like guitar is?
It's sort of like pornography...you'll know it when you hear it. But elements include trying to play too many notes, not being in the same pocket as the drummer, playing melodically, and a general lack of "solidity" or foundation.

I've always considered a bassist's job to exist exactly halfway between the drummer and a a rhythm guitar. If the drummer drops out, you should be able to easily imagine the drummer's part behind what the bassist is playing. If the rhythm guitar drops out, you should be able it infer the chord structure of the tune from what the bassist is playing. It's hard to do both of these things without overplaying. When you can, you're playing like a good bass player.
 

derekd

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
44,015
I've played a lot of gigs on bass--lock in with the kick, don't be too busy. Concentrate on the groove. Not that hard.

Boring though.

Other than for making money why switch from guitar?
I agree with the first part, not the last.

If by boring, you mean not playing enough notes and the like, I get that.

However, nothing like establishing a good groove. Playing bass makes me listen more and play rhythmically, thinking about subdivisions and accents.

Why switch is easy. Guitarists are a dime a dozen and decent, dependable bassists are uncommon. I like both. Why limit yourself to one instrument?
 

Gas-man

Unrepentant Massaganist
Messages
18,611
I agree with the first part, not the last.

If by boring, you mean not playing enough notes and the like, I get that.

However, nothing like establishing a good groove. Playing bass makes me listen more and play rhythmically, thinking about subdivisions and accents.

Why switch is easy. Guitarists are a dime a dozen and decent, dependable bassists are uncommon. I like both. Why limit yourself to one instrument?
It suggests to me that someone wasn't good enough on guitar when they switch to the easier instrument.
 

derekd

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
44,015
I'd say that is quite an assumption.

Are you then suggesting Stu Hamm, Billy Sheehan, Marcus Miller, John Patitucci et al, are simply failed guitarists if they, at one time, picked up the guitar for a while?
 

JPF

Member
Messages
8,771
Are Berry Oakley and John Entwhistle "real" bass players? They approached the bass as a lead instrument, and were magnificent.

I guess I'm not sure what you're really trying to say. If you're suggesting that guitarists moving over to bass tend to play in a somewhat "busy" style, I suspect you're right, and I'm guilty of this. Chris Squire might arguably be another "lead" bass player. And Jaco.....
 

Gas-man

Unrepentant Massaganist
Messages
18,611
I'd say that is quite an assumption.

Are you then suggesting Stu Hamm, Billy Sheehan, Marcus Miller, John Patitucci et al, are simply failed guitarists if they, at one time, picked up the guitar for a while?
Ho boy...

No, we're talking about gigging in cover bands here (at least I am).

Not talking about recording artists--that is a different discussion.

It IS easier to play bass in a cover band that it is guitar.

I've done both a lot.
 

M138

100% Fenriz Approved
Messages
4,017
I'd say that is quite an assumption.

Are you then suggesting Stu Hamm, Billy Sheehan, Marcus Miller, John Patitucci et al, are simply failed guitarists if they, at one time, picked up the guitar for a while?
That is exactly what he is saying.
 

Dogman

Member
Messages
61
As a kid I felt attracted to bass but got my first one only a few years after starting on guitar.
I mostly used it to add bass to my home recordings and also took some lessons. But as bass players (and capable, reliable ones even more so) are seemingly rare I also did the odd livegig or studio session here and there. While I still play guitar in a few bands I decided to get serious and joined a cover band as bassplayer a few years ago. Useful to have the kick in the butt to learn new tunes on a regular basis and hone the craft.
All the important stuff has been said in this thread: keep it simple, only get technical when appropriate, be sure to get the groove down and lock in with the drummer and you won´t sound like a converted guitarist.

What I find especially interesting is that - while everybody playing in the higher registers get´s away with a wrong note or chord here and there - when the bass hits a sour note EVERYBODY (including the audience) notices and the whole band suddenly sounds like s***. Groove-wise it´s similar - lose the pulse and the whole band is prone to fall apart. On the other hand you have it in your hands (literally) to keep everybody afloat it the drummer or rhythm-guitar player mess up. So concentration and focus seem crucial to me, while keeping your chops up (thankfully) isn´t as much a priority as it is for axemen.
 

M138

100% Fenriz Approved
Messages
4,017
Ho boy...

No, we're talking about gigging in cover bands here (at least I am).

Not talking about recording artists--that is a different discussion.

It IS easier to play bass in a cover band that it is guitar.

I've done both a lot.
Nice attempt at a save.
 

Analog Delay

I Judge Books By Covers
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,863
Yeah, I'm a guitarist that plays bass like a guitarist. Guilty as charged, no doubt. I play with a pick, not the fingers.

All that being said, at some jams I've had drummers tell me that they were able to get locked in with me on bass better than the guy that was actually the bass player.

So perhaps I'm better on bass than I give myself credit for...but probably not.
 

M138

100% Fenriz Approved
Messages
4,017
Yeah, I'm a guitarist that plays bass like a guitarist. Guilty as charged, no doubt. I play with a pick, not the fingers.

All that being said, at some jams I've had drummers tell me that they were able to get locked in with me on bass better than the guy that was actually the bass player.

So perhaps I'm better on bass than I give myself credit for...but probably not.
Maybe you were just an overall better musician with better instincts than the other fellow.
 

0018g

Member
Messages
1,901
I started studying the upright bass when I was 10. I've played in Symphonies, I'm a pretty good sight reader, Comfortable arco as well as pizz, and I know how to improvise and lock in with the drummer. To this day I'd rather play an upright than a Fender bass, but it's not usually practical. I used to get a fair number of pick up gigs on bass when there was a scene here, but never on guitar.

The bass has done more to influence my guitar playing than vice versa. I see it as a totally different instrument with some minor similarities.
 
Messages
7,848
I bought a bass because I was tired of showing up at jams/open mics without a bass player. I found that I really enjoy playing bass. I think it is a hell of a lot of fun. I now seek out opportunities to play bass. I have never really thought if I sounded like a guitar player on bass or not. But now that you have brought it up, I will make sure I don't.
This is how I began playing the bass - out of necessity because no one else was available. In fact I bought a '70's Musicmaster short scale bass because I wanted to make the transition easier since I knew I wouldn't play it that often. I don't see myself as an "accomplished" bass player buy I do think I'm pretty solid and not an over player. There's nothing worse than a frustrated guitar player taking up the bass.
 

oldtelefart

Member
Messages
4,659
You play bass from your hips and guitar from your head and hands.

If the above sentence makes no sense to you, you are a guitar player.
Absolutely right. Get yer ass dancing before yer fingers start plucking.
Guitar players tend to listen mainly to themselves. A good bass player listens to the whole band, to find the perfect spot for each bass note.
 




Trending Topics

Top