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6 String guitarists dictating the bass lines..do they get it?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by gkella, Nov 16, 2018.

  1. I am in the midst of starting up a band.
    Having issues with my guitarist.
    He is very rigid and demands I play very simple bass lines.
    To the point, I am getting very frustrated.
    If I try to add some colour by playing walk up notes to the root, he has a fit.
    He demands I just pound the root note.
    We are all in our 50’s and 60’s and this is more of a hobby band, with hopes Of playing play local pubs, picnics, etc when get enough songs together.
    I discussed this with my bass teacher and his opinion was..
    If you are paying me,
    I will play it the way you wish.
    If not, then, I will play it the way I think it should be.
    He also commented that this attitude is common with guitar players.
    My thoughts are...
    I am bored pounding the root note, it’s not challenging me.
    I want the chance to add some colour.
    I am not trying play over everyone and be the star.
    Any thoughts..
  2. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Examples? You may just be overplaying. Covers? Originals? You may be playing bad notes during your walking sections. It would bug me to hear bad notes. Record some rehearsals and post them.
    crguti, Fuzzbass, IamGroot and 4 others like this.
  3. Ekulati

    Ekulati Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2016
    Richmond, VA
    Depends on the genre. Some music, you just have to mostly play roots. But most music can handle a few scale runs, walk ups as you say. Maybe find a different band that plays more complex music?
    Quantized Harmonic and Jhengsman like this.
  4. Overplaying...I am hardly playing.
    I am not playing the wrong notes.
    And that is not his complaint.
    Songs include..
    Brass In Pocket..
    Ho Hey
    Peaceful Easy Feeling

    We are not talking Intrucate arrangements here.
  5. oldrocker


    Feb 13, 2005
    Long Island, NY
    I'MO life is too short to play with people like this. I would suggest to find other people to play with.

    Good luck.
  6. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    If you are playing covers, you play the lines on the record. Sounds like your guitarist is an egotic, is clueless, or a combination there of.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2018
    barrenelly, JohnN, eriky4003 and 10 others like this.
  7. I am playing the lines on the record.
    He demands very sparse drumming and bass.
    I am thinking about quitting but..
    I live in a relatively small town so I am afraid it will be difficult
    to find another band to play with.
    Being relatively new to the bass (18 months), It is still a positive situation for my growth.
  8. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Sorry, had to correct a typo. Sounds like he wants to be the star. How easy will it be to replace you? I wouldn't do it.
  9. If you are following the original bass lines, you are not overplaying, and I think you are entitled to say those words to him.

    He's the guitarist, and many guitarists have valid opinions and contributions to make about the bass lines. However, he is not the bass player and he's not a band leader paying you a salary. It does sound like he's demanding more control than is reasonable.

    You can be flexible but firm in this case. The firmness is that playing original bass lines is NOT overplaying. You can be flexible in approaching future music, but you can make your own decisions about what gets played. You may find that sometimes he's right, and sometimes he's not.

    If your guitarist won't budge in terms of accepting the original music, then I suggest you bow out before you get frustrated. There are people who just won't let loose of control.

    My bottom line is simple: I'm the bass player, and you're not. I'm always open to good ideas, but the final decision is mine.
  10. I like your bottom line.
  11. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    I refuse to play with anyone or any member of a band who handicaps my playing. I play simple and tasteful and am known a solid player who supports the band. If you are playing the roots and trying to simply accent the chords and are being shut down my advice is to tell this guitar player to pound salt.

    A few years ago I had a short stint with an originals band who pulled this. We had several shows and even did some recording and I heard nothing but praise for my playing. Then one day both guitarist tells me and the drummer to back down and play simple lines.
    I felt it was because we really cooked together and our playing was overshadowing them. I told them I was out and the drummer followed as well. I have no time for controlling band members...none.
    barrenelly, JohnN, lfmn16 and 21 others like this.
  12. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    He needs to stay in his lane. I know those songs, they are not difficult songs but they have a few minor flourishes/turnarounds. If he's telling you not to play those, he's diminishing the music as it was written and stealing your joy. I wouldn't put up with either of those things, much less both of them.
  13. Exactly what is happening......
  14. craigie


    Nov 11, 2015
    Ho Hey: that is a very simple song. PEF: again pretty simple and laid back but some interesting stuff during the solo. You say he demands more simplicity than the record. Play it just like the record and then you can try lay back the record and say that’s exactly what I played. People expect to hear that.
  15. DavC

    DavC Supporting Member

    May 17, 2005
    Tallmadge , Ohio
    just tell 6 Stringer , this is not how this works ..! Bass is my job , i'll take care of it ... which does not / will not require your opinion , thank you ..

    unless ... said 6 Stringer is the song writer , producer ,... and paying for every cent of my time ... then if 6er can afford it , i'll happily play whatever 6er wants to the best of my ability .!
  16. Turbo Sparky

    Turbo Sparky Supporting Member

    May 14, 2018
    South Eastern U.S.
    If "you" are playing it straight, play it as the original was recorded.
    If you are "covering" it, IMO it's subject to a bit of interpretation/variation.
    Remember, The Pretenders started out as "punk," for example therefore it's open season. The guitarist will get over it.
    Didn't Kenny Rodgers write a song about holding and folding, walking and running?
    Don't clutter, just color.
    Good luck!
    skier 913, Steve-D and dBChad like this.
  17. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    Sounds like the guitarist needs replacing.
  18. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    Yeah, but the verse on that pretenders song has a double-time flourish on every fourth beat. So if the guitarist is saying that's overplaying, he's just plain wrong.
  19. GroovyBaby

    GroovyBaby G&L Fanboy Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2007
    Huntingdon, PA
    Some people have control issues. Be honest with him and yourself. If you are being paid by him and you’re okay with it then fine. If you aren’t fine with it, regardless of the pay, then just make it clear that while you are open to feedback, you will ultimately play what feels good to you. I play as a hobby. If it ain’t fun I’m out.
  20. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I'm of two minds on this thread. I would definitely see it as a frustrating thing to be constantly told to play roots and nothing else. But I also think this "Don't tell me what to do" attitude so many posters have is very unrealistic, and in many cases a career-killer, considering that none of us operate in a vacuum. If your bandmates can't make suggestions when something's not working right because you are the Supreme Master Of The Low End, then it's going to be a weaker band for it, and your reputation in the community is going to take a hit since most musical communities are small and others talk. I know quite a few brilliant dudes who can't get work because they're so difficult to work with. That said, there's a way to do it, and you also need to know when something may not be 100% to your liking but it works so you back off. This guitar player doesn't seem to get that.

    Anyway, I would take a stand just because life's too short to deal with being so hamstrung by the guitarist in a band that isn't making you a living. I would be polite about it at first, but I would definitely stand my ground.

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