Are there any known bassists out there that don't read music at all?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Boafamily, Sep 18, 2002.

  1. Boafamily


    Jun 6, 2002
    I'm curious are there any bassist out there that flat out can't or don't read any music, but just play strictly by ear or heart so to speak?

  2. Boafamily


    Jun 6, 2002
    Got any examples by chance?

  3. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    I doubt Fieldy does.
  4. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    Stuart Zender
    I was told, probably erroneously, that Rocco didn't read either.
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Paul McCartney is probably the most famous one who says this - there was a documentary about his "classical" music, where he explained how he worked and he mentioned how the famous film composer Lionel Bart (Oliver etc.)also didn't read or write music.
  6. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Billy Sheehan. Pino Palladino.

  7. Your probably right in saying that,.......well for his current band,but apparently he studied alot of theory before joining korn,then he didn't need theory.
  8. veniceking


    Aug 17, 2002
    i heard on a much music RHCP special that flea knows little to no theory on bass and can only read treble clef...very suprising for a guy whose one the worlds most recognized and talented bassists
  9. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Les Claypool CAN read, but I highly doubt that Primus (or any other Claypool project) had much to do with sheet music. He was toatlly playing from the heart.
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    In recent interviews he has mentioned how he's studying Jazz theory more and taken up Double Bass.

    I don't think the fact of anybody in the pop/rock world being unable to read is suprising at all. It's all about putting on a good show and you can't jump about and do things if you have your head buried in sheet music.

    Most big-name bands have weeks or months of rehearsal time available and will learn all the material - they would never want to be restricted to reading at a live gig.

    So, the thing is that if you don't practice this skill you lose it - very simple. I use to be able to sight read when I left school/college, but after about 10 years playing in rock/pop bands and not seeing a single sheet of A4 music, I quickly lost the skill.

    Whereas if you are playing in an orchestra, Jazz big band or for Broadway-type shows, then reading will be second-nature.
  11. Is the heart really the appropriate organ here? Perhaps the spleen... :)
  12. Boafamily


    Jun 6, 2002

    I believe you have stated it very clearly that it all depends on the goal and setting of what you need and why.

    To simple create music one must have the desire or drive to say something and then look inside to find that voice. :p

    Through constant cultivation via, practicing and becoming one with your instrument, you can set the stage so to speak and prayerfully others will here and enjoy what it is you have to say...

    Thanks guys I appreciate all your input and dialog!

  13. oldirtymoney

    oldirtymoney Banned

    Jul 16, 2002
    california, carslbad
    flea (rhcp) dirk lance (incubus)
  14. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    I read an article a while back that said Geddy Lee learned the notes on his fretboard well into his career. Go figure

  15. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Duck Dunn
    Rocco Prestia
  16. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Ellis Hall and Stevie Wonder.

    Hey, Stevie plays just about every instrument, actually.

    And Gary Willis has said on his site that he can read music, just not very well.
  17. rickreyn

    rickreyn Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2000
    Lutz, Florida
    When Willis says he can read music, but not very well, that means he is still light years from the majority of us, since he played in a top flight jazz band in college.

    I do not read bass clef, but have read treble as a woodwind player. The problem is this. If I devoted the months to learning to read, and then had to deal with more than one or two sharps or flats, my brain would not be able to process it fast enough, and I would quickly switch to autopilot (ear).

    I like chord symbols and charts better. Road maps if you will. Still, if I knew theory I would be able to take complex chords and know what other notes would fit.

    I am very thankful I can play well by ear. It's too late in life to learn too many new tricks.
  18. I'm a famous bass player that doesn't read music.

    What????? you haven't heard of me?

    nick patterson?

    still no?

    Oh well!