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2 Bass Guitars In Band

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by iissmart, Feb 17, 2005.

  1. My friends and I are starting a band, and we thought it would be cool to have 2 bass guitars (actually, bass is the only thing I can play, so I guess we're forced to play with 2). One will be a 4 string, while I will be playing on a 5 string bass.

    Some other members of the band don't think it will work out too well. I don't have my bass yet, so I can't play-test it, but we used some software to emulate the sound, and it doesn't sound good...

    Do you think there is any way to have it sound awesome? The band will be playing mainly rock/metal, with some softer piano parts sometimes (like Avenged Sevenfold)
  2. There was a discussion about this not to long ago...do a search in the forums and you might find a lot of good ideas. One suggestion would be to tune one of the basses higher and one lower, so the frequencies don't get all muffled between the two amps.
  3. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
    In the late 80's I was in a band that had 2 bassist. I played lead bass and my buddy played backbone. It was really fun, we used to get tons of people to shows for that reason alone. The sound guys never had fun though.
  4. It's kind of hard to search the forum when I type "two bass guitars" and "two bass" gets excluded from the search.

    I never actually heard how it sounds, but the singer and the 4-string bassist of our forming band said that the two basses kind of 'clashed' when played together. He said he tried playing chords on his bass and it didn't sound right.
  5. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
    trial and error.
  6. Sorry the search didn't work.

    Like I said, try tuning the basses differently. I think the idea of one bass playing "lead" and the other playing "rhythm" could be good as well. You will probably have to experiment a lot, and play with the EQs on your amps to make sure the bass isn't cancelling itself out, or muffling each other.
  7. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    As long as you play Spinal Tap's "Big Bottom" you'll be alright... :D
  8. Im in band right now with two basses and we sound pretty awsome. The key? One bass a 5 string and 4 string tuned adgc. Wacking heaps of treble and mids with some wah on the adgc bass and that bass plays high notes and whatnot, and the 5er plays the low notes on the e and B strings. Our version of for whom th bell tolls rocks!
  9. Against Will

    Against Will Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2003
    Big Sound Central
    Black Eyes has two (on some songs, three) basses, but they're more experimental than you probably want to be. What they did was similar to what's been mentioned, one bass was the lower 'dub' bass, the other was higher up. They played competing groove lines that sounded really cool.

    The Dirtbombs also have 2 bassists, one fills the in the usual bass function, the other is a short-scale 'fuzz' bass with lots of high-end distortion that basically acts the same as a rhytm guitar.

    There are a few other bands that had 2 bassists, I forget them at the moment though.
  10. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    I've done lots of stuff with two basses. The trick is, to ensure that they "complement" each other, and don't "interfere". Two bass players in the "mud" range (200 Hz) will definitely make a tune unpleasant and confusing. At the moment (or rather, "shortly", as soon as I get out of the hospital), I'm working with another bass player on a double tracked slap thing. I'm doing the "bottom" part, and he's doing the "top" part. So far, our "prototype" recordings have turned out to be very interesting, thick and textured, yet not overwhelming. There's a lot of opportunity in the double-bass space, IMO. :)
  11. I've done this before, me and some buddies, guitarist and drummer, really wanted this girl to join our band, she was hot and could sing fairly well. Downside, this joker who she was dating had to be in band as well, and he played bass....barely. So, in order to get her in, we had to work it out. It actually ended up being pretty good, i had my carvin bb75p 5 string with a high-C setup, and he played root mostly, leaving me to solo, it was almost like I was playing lead guitar :) We actually worked things out fairly well, and to be honest, i just had to eq a bit different to emphasize mids and treb, while the other guy basically just did simple, 5th fret or lower bass oriented patterns. The downside to this setup is the restrictions on where to play, good side is one of you will have a chance to be a star! Just kidding, seriously though, you have to work out what parts each of you is going to be responsible for and stick with it, otherwise you'll get mud. Also, for an excellent example of two bass dynamic, check out Bass Extremes with Victor Wooten and Steve Bailey. The way they make it work is A. They are both better than most of us will ever be B. Steve is playing fretless Sixer or upright C. Victor is playing fretted 4 string. Their good cd's , check em out.
  12. Have one bass amp's EQ's treble whacked up, have the other really deep. Perhaps even use octave pedals.
  13. hieronymous


    Nov 28, 2002
    Northern CA
    I think you should go for it. You should tape your rehearsals and listen to them, both as a band and on your own. However, you're going to have to be honest with yourselves too. But give it a chance - I hate it when ideas get shot down before they're even tried...

    BTW, Magma had two bassists on the album ATTAHK - ÜRGON and GORGO on earth bass and air bass respectively!
  14. Hatman


    Feb 11, 2004
    Shropshire UK
    Ned's Atomic Dustbin had two bass players and they were, IMO, fantastic. You can find some of their tracks on Yahoo launch and can probably get some from soulseek or Kazaa.
  15. It's amazing it took more than 12 hours for someone to mention Ned's Atomic Dustbin!

    Check them out- they were cool.
  16. I saw a James Brown concert on TV a while back, he had two bass players as well, sounded great.
    One off the bassists played the basic groove using all low notes, while the other one played some slap 'n pop or fills.
    Both bassists had to keep it fairly simple, but togheter they made a complicated and very funky groove. Great stuff !
  17. Awesome, thanks for the replies.

    I'll tell the other band members what you guys said and hopefully they'll try it out :bassist:
  18. iamthebassman


    Feb 24, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    The Cure at times have 2 bass players, sometimes 3. 4-string and 2 BassVIs.
    Beach Boys records often had an upright, a Fender 4-string, and a Dano 6-string bass. Often all playing the same part.
    Check out "Nuggets II", it has several cuts which feature two bassists.
  19. Thee


    Feb 11, 2004
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    I saw wooten with his brothers, and some tunes his bass tech came on and played bass too.

    Back in the day, Beck's touring band would have two basses on some songs, that's even when he was playing more "straight up" rock than now/mid-late 90s. Cool shiat.
  20. sabb0


    Feb 24, 2002