switch-hitting gtr & bass?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by nojj, Dec 13, 2013.


  1. nojj

    nojj Guest

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    May 20, 2013
    Had a conversation with the guitar player in my band.
    (Contrary to popular belief, they CAN sometimes carry on simple conversations)
    He thought it might be an interesting idea to add some variety by switching off instruments.
    (He finally heard some cuts of me on guitar with another band)

    I can probably figure out his pedal board and can bring my guitar. (Strat in dropD)
    He'd need a 4 string tuned standard, or with a hipshot.
    (I usually use a 6er with this band)

    Anybody have some practical (or not so practical) experience in this area?
    Tips or suggestions?

    I think it could be fun.
  2. sharkbait130

    sharkbait130

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    Feb 17, 2013
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    hagerstown md
    I've played in a couple bands in the last few years where the guitar player and I switched off for a few songs. Both were mainly cover bands but in both cases , they heard me do a few originals on guitar and wanted to put them in the act. In a couple cases , the guitar players just didn't want to learn the guitar parts ( they weren't too difficult but they definatly were not simple parts either) and in a couple cases , they tried and just couldn't pull it off. We usually tried to put about 4 to 6 songs together in this configuration just to keep the switch off time down to a minimum. It worked out pretty good too because I had written them with only an acoustic part in mind and had never really put any bass lines of my own to them. Both guys came up with some pretty good bass lines. It went over pretty well at the shows too.
  3. mellowinman

    mellowinman Not a Clique Member Supporting Member

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    It all depends on whether or not your guitar player can play bass.

    In our band, Krystal and I could be playing guitar, bass or keyboard at any time. Or none of the above. It's fun.

    Neither of us plays lead guitar, and our lead guitar player is NOT allowed to play bass.

    He plays "guitar bass" instead of "bass guitar."
  4. nojj

    nojj Guest

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    May 20, 2013
    Yup, exactly.
    I know he has played *some* bass in the past, and he's unafraid to try anything.
    Be a matter of selecting material that he can pull off.

    Myself, I have a steady gig as a lead player in addition to regular bass duties in other bands.
    Working to narrow the gap in technical proficiency between my bass chops (main instrument)
    and guitar chops (secondary)

    Suppose we can schedule a couple rehearsals and see what happens.
    I can even bequeath him a bass to practice with at home.
  5. sm49341

    sm49341

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    May 12, 2013
    I play guitar on 6 to8 songs. Our keyboardist plays bass. I think what's key is have your own guitar and amp and pedal setup . Our singers sometimes say something to the crowd about it, but I think that is sophomoric.
  6. bkbirge

    bkbirge Supporting Member

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    I've been in a couple bands that have done this. Lots of fun with the right group of people. One band we would all take turns on all the instruments. Some of us couldn't play some of the other instruments at all but we made it work. It's great for writing and finding a band voice. You really appreciate the other people's thinking as well as what they do on their main instrument. You probably have to have an open minded approach to the idea for it to work though.
  7. Kmonk

    Kmonk

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    I was in a band years ago where the drummer made a huge fuss about people switching instruments so we didn't do it.

    In my current band, I play a 12 string acoustic guitar on some songs, electric guitar on a couple and keys on 2. One of our guitar players can also play bass, keys, sax, harmonica, flute and fiddle. Our keyboard player can play sax, flute and guitar.
  8. Flyingfrets

    Flyingfrets

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    I've been playing guitar since 1974 & bass since '77. I'd always been either lead guitar or the only guitar in every band I played in with 2 exceptions, a power trio '98-'99 & my current cover gig since 2010.

    Both of our guitar players are equally adept at rythmn or lead & we recently added a multi-instrumentalist so there's no need for me to step into the guitarist's shoes. Not sure how I feel about that since I've noticed that as my bass skills expanded, my guitar chops have withered. Only time I play guitar anymore is with my son. He thinks I still rock (aint kids great! :D), but frankly, I suck compared to 10 years ago. Ah well, c'est la vie...
  9. deathsdj

    deathsdj Supporting Member

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    This one time at rehearsal my guitar player and I traded just to mess around. He kinda freaked out when I immediately played his signature lead the first time I ever picked up a guitar. I had only seen him play it 50 million times so I don't know why he was so surprised. He didn't want to do that anymore.
  10. basslifter

    basslifter

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    Cincinnati, OH
    I admit I have a little guitar envy and have a couple I have no business owning. My guitar player buddy is open to switching and has in the past. We also have done a couple of unplugged tunes with both of us on guitar. I suck at guitar though, but Im afraid my bass abilities will suffer if I siphon away practice time for a secondary instrument.
  11. nojj

    nojj Guest

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    May 20, 2013
    Fortunately my gtr player is pretty cool about stuff.
    We trade licks regularly with myself on a sixer.
    Had other guitarists get totally freaked out when I do that.

    I'm responsible for the PA in that band,
    might not be room in my truck for anything sizable gtr-amp-wise.
    Still, IMO it would be something cool to try.

    In the band I hire to, I'm just the bass player.
    With these guys, I'm THE bass player. KWIM?
  12. spade2you

    spade2you

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    Jan 11, 2007
    Location:
    somewhere in middle America
    I think it's an overhyped myth that guitar makes you weaker on bass and that bass makes you weak on guitar. Many of the techniques and theory will transfer over.

    I practice a lot of fingerstyle acoustic and bass. Much of the techniques work well together.
  13. tothemax

    tothemax Supporting Member

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    It's no big deal, the last band I played in my regular spot was on the bass. I originally learned guitar playing bluegrass and developed my own style going to R&R. The band really liked the way I played "Gimmie 3 steps" both rhythm and lead breaks and I played acoustic for Margaritaville. Both of them have simple bass lines so it was no big to switch for few songs. I liked my own guitar and amp so I had them on stage, where I just handed the bass to the guitar player.

    To the previous post, I became a much better guitar player after switching bass... someone once told me that the best bass players are frustrated lead guitar players - I'm still floored every time I listen to Jack Bruce's bass lines in Let it rain.
  14. nojj

    nojj Guest

    Joined:
    May 20, 2013
    I've found that not practicing either/or instrument can make you weaker.......
    I like to pick up a guitar and a bass at least once a day,
    and put in weekly time on others,
    (like slide gtr, fretless, or practicing different techniques.)
    If I spend too much time on guitar (like say every day for a week)
    and haven't picked up a bass in the interim, it's a struggle at first,
    like being out of practice or not warmed up.
    YMMV and all that

    The only thing that screwed me up at first (as a pattern player)
    was the tuning differences between a sixer bass and a guitar. Especially when playing lead.
  15. Flyingfrets

    Flyingfrets

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Yes, they do. But I find that the mindset, feel & approach to being a bass player is significantly different (perhaps this explains a lot of those know-it-all "guitar gods" we've all crossed paths with who suck on bass - though you can't tell them that).

    It's not the bass playing itself that has diminished my guitar skills. It's the lack of practice on one in favor of focusing on the bass skills.

    In a perfect world, I'd have time to keep both sharp, but that's just not reality...for me anyway.
  16. David Hayes

    David Hayes Guest

    I play better guitar than a lot of the guitarists I play with. None that I know of have much in the way of real bass skills, though some think they do.
  17. nojj

    nojj Guest

    Joined:
    May 20, 2013
    Yep.
    Fortunately we bassists are shy and humble types,
    who wouldn't stoop to ragging on guitarists......:D

    I get a lot of comments along the lines of "how do you keep your bends so on pitch?"
    My stock answer, "One word, man: Fretless"
  18. spade2you

    spade2you

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    Jan 11, 2007
    Location:
    somewhere in middle America
    I think the stereotype lives on because it's usually true. I've auditioned for plenty of bands where a guitarist who can barely tune or play his own instrument and insists on telling me how it's done.
  19. nojj

    nojj Guest

    Joined:
    May 20, 2013
    Oh Yeah

    Wow, seriously, that's an A chord? Whoda thought?
    That's great, somehow I missed that one in the course of the past 45 years.
    Mind showing it to me again?

    Can I have your autography Howie, yer so professional............
  20. David Hayes

    David Hayes Guest

    I wasn't trying to slag on guitarists really. I have had the pleasure of working with some of the best the world has to offer ( in my opinion). It's just that there are so many of them and so many of them wind up thinking they are better than they really are. I suppose there are a lot of bass players who fit this bill too. Maybe I am one. More or less my experience has been that more guitar players think they can easily switch to bass than bass players who think they can easily switch to guitar. I don't know. No offense to guitarists meant.

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