1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Am I an "incompetent" bass player?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Broke, Mar 13, 2019.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Broke


    Sep 9, 2015
    I saw on another thread that a bass player who plays "root notes" is incompetent. I've been playing 3 years in 2 bands and I play root notes because that's what I know how to do. I'm kind of down about this right now and don't know what I can do to become competent.
  2. bass40hz

    bass40hz Cigar smoker, scotch drinker, American Patriot Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Sussex County, NJ
    no endorsements yet...Are you listening Spector, DR, GK, Line6?
    Can you do what you as the bass player you are is supposed to do...and do it well. Bingo...you are competent, congratulations.
    All types, styles of bassists out here, pocket players, soloists, leads, melodics, slappers, etc and many hybrids...just because you do what you do doesn't make you any less than.
    Rock on.
    Penphoe, JohnN, marmil and 80 others like this.
  3. stubborne

    stubborne Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2009
    Rock Hill, SC
    You smile when you play? People around you smile? Booties get shook when you play? Keep your perspective man, the rest is just noise!
    Ironbar, JohnN, marmil and 40 others like this.
  4. ProfFrink


    Jan 16, 2015
    Throw in a fifth once in while..? :wacky:
  5. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    I'm sorry someone in a different discussion thread hurt your feelings. Can you share the link so we have context for the conversation?

    Are you talking about songs you wrote yourself, or cover songs? For your own original songs, nothing wrong with playing root notes, if that's what sounds best. It's your song!

    For cover songs, are you saying that, instead of actually learning the real bass line, you are making up your own bass line instead? If so, I don't think that's a sign of "incompetence." But in the long run, it is good to train up your skill to learn the bass lines correctly. :)
  6. Goatrope


    Nov 18, 2011
    Sarasota Florida
    We are probably all “incompetent” in some context.

    The trick is to figure out the context in which you are a star, then shine on!
  7. I would say something different - if you never play root notes, THAT's when you're doing something wrong. You're the bass player, man! Hold it down. Add other notes when you hear them in your head.
    Alan Scharrer, JohnN, Donzer and 18 others like this.
  8. bass12

    bass12 Say "Ahhh"... Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Playing root notes doesn't make you incompetent (it's our job as bass players to play lots of roots). Playing only root notes because you can't play anything else makes you very limited. The way to become less limited is to practice. That's pretty much it.
  9. Broke


    Sep 9, 2015

    Original Thread; How can I hear my bass over the keyboard?

    This is the quoted part that bummed me:

    We play original music and a few covers. I'll give you a little background. I was 44 years old when I started to learn to play. It was a lifelong dream to play bass and I'm doing it. But the quote didn't hurt my feelings. I'm bummed that I think now I may be "incompetent" because I can't create cool and fantastic bass lines. Hell I still have some trouble with the right notes.
    Alan Scharrer and Mcr Red like this.
  10. Broke


    Sep 9, 2015
    See the fact that I don't know what this means tells me I have a lot to learn.
    1bassleft, Jhenry, Mcr Red and 6 others like this.
  11. Goatrope


    Nov 18, 2011
    Sarasota Florida
    “Comparison is the thief of joy”, someone wisely stated.

    If what you’re doing is working, stick with it. If you want to expand your abilities, do it for yourself, at your pace, on your terms.
  12. Broke


    Sep 9, 2015
    It took me 44 years to start playing. I don't know how much time there is left for me to do this and have fun. So I want to know how to do it the right way if I'm doing it wrong. Because I honestly don't know if what I'm doing is wrong or not.


    Mar 29, 2006
    Or a 3-4-4#-5 walk up on the offbeat..
    Does that clear it up?
    NoSlapForYou likes this.
  14. Broke


    Sep 9, 2015
    Sorry but that's a totally foreign language to me. I don't understand it at all. I'm being serious. I know the term walk up though.
  15. Broke


    Sep 9, 2015
    I can post of clip of our band playing though if anyone smarter than me can critique, etc.
  16. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    If you're in two bands and they're working ... you're competent enough for the job you have. Just go play ...
  17. You will receive all kinds of information on the Webb. Some good and some bad.

    Yes, there is more to a bass line than just roots. However, it really depends on what style of music you play as to what notes are needed in a bass line. For example; Praise music can have 6 different chords per verse and they come quickly, so roots is about all the time you have room for. With Pop, Rock, etc. the root-five with an eight thrown in will normally get you by.

    Spend some time here; How to get started? I have several posts in this string that deal with dirt simple theory and how it can be used. This site will give you enough "theory" to get you started. Theory is the language we use to talk to each other about music. Kinda need to know some of the language to get by.

    OP... I took up music when I retired at 65, I'm now 84. Take it one step at a time, enough to satisfy your hunger, but, not so much that it makes you sick and you throw up your hands.

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
  18. TerenceE

    TerenceE Supporting Member

    Dec 6, 2015
    Practice practice practise. If you have the time and $$$ get a good teacher. And it’s never too late to learn. I didn’t touch and instrument until I was 35. You can’t be incompetent. You play in a band. If you sucked you wouldn’t be playing. You obvs have the feel and decent meter
    barrenelly and BillMason like this.
  19. Broke


    Sep 9, 2015
    It's a bit more complicated than that. I joined a "club" where people were taught as a collective group to play different instruments. IE someone wanted to learn guitar, someone wanted to learn to drum, someone bass. So we were formed into groups and taught by 1 instructor. And then when we were deemed worthy we were put on stage. I was part of a group that broke off after we had "earned our wings" to go do our own thing as a real band. Actually both of the bands were formed this way.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
  20. Your incompetent when the guys turn around and give you fish eyes. If they are still asking you back, your OK. Sure learn, just have fun while learning.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page