Guitarist Gone Bassist: Did you become a REAL bassist?

CRBMoA

Member
Messages
3,761
No disrespect directed at guitar players, either.

I have subbed on guitar occasionally. I am serviceable, but far from good.

The guitar players in my current band are awesome, and we all agree that we cannot do the other guy's job justice.
 

ZeyerGTR

Member
Messages
3,939
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.
True, but good guitars players also listen to the whole band... same for good singers, good drummers, good trumpet players, good keyboard players... Probably more of a prerequisite for bass, though.

There's a good line in Victor Wooten's "Groove Workshop" DVD about using one ear for yourself, and one ear for the band. True for all instruments.

I've always considered a bassist's job to exist exactly halfway between the drummer and a a rhythm guitar.
Yup. To quote Victor Wooten again, "it's the bridge between the rhythm and the harmony."
 

ldizzle

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,424
I'm a guitarist. I'm also a bassist. I'm also a violinist. They're all different instruments to be approached accordingly.

I have a blast playing bass though- it's not boring with a good drummer. A symbiotic relationship even. Bass is certainly a crux of a good band.
 

metropolis_4

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,917
I'd been playing guitar for a good 15 years before I ever touched a bass, but bass really came naturally to me. Personally, I feel I have a good ear for bass parts, and being a drummer longer than I've been a guitar player I understand the role of the instrument and the importance of locking in tight with the drummer. The technique came very naturally to me as well. I just clicked and I absolutely love playing it! In some ways I like it better than guitar (depending on the style of music).
 

bgood

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
951
Got a nice compliment once on this. I've been 90% 6 string for 30 years but I have 40 on bass which I rarely play anymore except for once in a while to record. Once at my local open mic, where I've only been known as a guitar player, I filled in for the house bassist on a break. More than a couple of really good guitar players who I had known for years came up after and said wow I could have filled in for him on that but not like you. You play like a real bass player. LOL. It's a different approach and a different instrument. Groove...../. etc.

very learnable but forget what you know about playing guitar except for where the notes are. Oh and listen to the damn drummer. I love playing bass but my chops are pretty out of shape these days.
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
34,055
I'm a guitarist. I'm also a bassist. I'm also a violinist. They're all different instruments to be approached accordingly.

I have a blast playing bass though- it's not boring with a good drummer. A symbiotic relationship even. Bass is certainly a crux of a good band.
Play the right parts at the right time with the right tone and you will sound fine.
Doing covers? Play the right notes. There are more proper notes to play than some of you seem to think. You have to practice to get there.
 

Frank Prince

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,624
I'm working on it.

I find that I tend to be able to zero in and listen to bass parts as easily as guitar parts if I concentrate. I really love the groove and feel of all the amazing bass players out there like Verdine White, Nathan East, James Jamerson, etc., etc. so I want my bass playing to sound like that and not a poor man's version of a guitar player trying to solo on 4 huge strings.

Bass does not come quite as naturally as guitar right now just because I still tend to zero in on guitar parts. If I listen closely to how a bass part locks into the drums I can get it, though.

The main difficulties for me are technical, holding down the strings properly, picking the bigger strings with the fingers, and all that.
 

FFTT

Member
Messages
28,352
Learn to play bass singing or at least talk-speaking the lyrics and you'll soon learn how just one adventurous grace note in the wrong place will fight the vocal.
I started on bass and always stuck to holding down the lows to drive the band.
A bit of flash as appropriate, but meat and potatoes locked with the kick, choosing the lower note rather than the higher one most of the time.

If you want to play Mids, buy a baritone guitar.
 

Dickey

Senior Member
Messages
1,844
Most of the bass "players" in this town are bass owners, & have zero idea what " In the pocket" means.
When I do a bass gig, I play BASS...not lead.
 

c_mac

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,184
Seven years ago I was bandless and ran across a country band looking for a bass player. I figured why not give it a try. I went out of my way to put down the pick and learn every song on the set list note for note from the record. That is the problem most converts have. They don't take the time to actually learn from other bass players. It's no different than learning the guitar, find guys better than you and figure out how they do it.
 

Ephi82

Member
Messages
2,575
McCartney was a guitarist who picked up the bass.

Interesting that he created a distinctly new approach to bass in rock n roll. No one else was doing what he did in the mid 60s.

Did this come from being a guitarist first?

(Could be but more due to being an incredible musician)
 

FFTT

Member
Messages
28,352
McCartney is not only naturally uber talented, but also benefitted greatly from working with excellent
engineers and producers from a young age.

Structuring the bass part around the lead vocals takes study, perfect timing and note choices and experience.
 

Pablomago

Member
Messages
6,199
I switched to bass to play in an original World Fusion Band. I forgot everything I knew about guitar and shifted to bass mode. I had a great drummer from another band come up to me once and tell me that I was his favorite bass player. I played simple and held the groove. I played melodic lines when they were called for and good riffs for other parts. I just laid down the foundation and let the other musicians have the spotlight. It was a great way to get my time solid and when I came back to guitar I had a better appreciation for the role of bass in a band. And it was a lot of fun. You realize that you're in control of the dancers.
 

IPLAYLOUD

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,053
After playing locally for many years on guitar, I recently grabbed some Bass gigs.
I try to THINK like a Ball Player and play what I would want played behind me if I was on guitar.
6 gigs I never would have gotten otherwise, and I'm having lots of fun!

NOW...I have had several Bass Players make comments:
"You're on Bass? Why didn't he call ME??."
(Gee...thanks for that.)
"10,000 Bass Players on Long Island off that might".
(My reply was "I know the personell, the songs, and their arrangements. I'll play it right as opposed to the 10,000 who would walk in and wing it."}
"You gonna play it like a Guitar, eh?'
(No, I use my fingers, listen to the Drummer's feet, and keep it simple".)
"Tell them I'll play their next gig if they want")
(Oh, so I should give up a gig so YOU, a "real" Bass Player" should get it?}

I have consciously been watching/listening to Bass in the past year so I can play as though I "get it", not playing Rhythm Guitar on a 4 string.
 






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