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! :)

Bass first or guitar first?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Musiqa, Aug 12, 2012.

  1. Musiqa


    Aug 12, 2012
    Greetings from wherever you want me to be. Lol.

    New here; joined because i have one sole question that I've tried to ask people about (and tried to do a search for on here, so don't get mad if this is the umpteenth time it was asked.)

    Should I learn the guitar before the bass, or vice versa?

    My ultimate goal is the bass honestly, because i've always been and will be driven to it, but I figure it's not bad to also know guitar, especially because there a few songs I would like to play on the guitar. But the bass guitar is where my heart is.

    Now while it sounds easy to just say "well then just go for the bass", if it becomes easier to learn by first learning the guitar, than I'll put up with that. My question to you all is, is this true?

    Thanks for any input.
  2. geddeeee


    Jun 30, 2006
    Personally I would learn the bass first. If you learn the guitar first, you will end up thinking like a guitar player. IMO this is NOT good, as the bass is all about rhythm (groove) and timing.
    You can always learn guitar later if you need to. ALWAYS follow your heart.....
  3. PlungerModerno


    Apr 12, 2012
    Warning! this is a bass forum. You have just stated bass is where your affections and desires lie mainly.


    Yeah you can learn a few chords on the guitar in a day or two - you'll need to learn some theory regardless. Piano can help in that regard (easier visualization if you can't think in sound too well at the start).

    To get good on bass you'll learn a lot of the core stuff for guitar (esp. rhythm guitar).
    Learn guitar and you won't have some of the main parts of bass. Locking in and groove are the things a beginner needs to focus on as much as the notes and the fingering / plucking technique.

    Play bass :D :bassist: :bassist: :bassist:
  4. zortation


    Dec 26, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    Guitarists who switch to bass are usually crap at bass. Sure they have the chops but their time keeping is garbage. :)

    Start on bass.
  5. If bass is your ultimate goal, then go for that option.

    Only if they don't learn. I had to switch because they used to be very rare in my neck of the woods.
  6. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    Just go for the bass :) It's extremely importnant to follow your heart! The bass and the guitars have both different techniques, sounds and roles in a band. Go for bass first, then maybe if you still wanna learn guitar, go for it ;)
  7. PlungerModerno


    Apr 12, 2012
    Yes. If you are a musician - you can probably play anything, barring physical or hearing limitations. The person who can become a virtuoso on say a tenor sax - can definitely move to baritone! or lower.

    You can probably do at least 2 instruments really really well. Jaco played drums well. Rory Gallagher rocked on mandolin. There are some who can play dozens of instruments...
  8. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    Wanna play bass, start with bass. Wanna play guitar, start with guitar.
    Wanna play both, start with both.
    Life is so simple sometimes, why trying to complicate it?
  9. The only counter point to add is that if you understand chord shape, it's a lot easier to recognize where the guitar player in the group IS at any given moment. This can help you keep a groove and be on the same key at the same time. A novel idea.

    I wouldn't trade any of my guitar playing time and education for anything, even if I only wanted to ever play the bass forever more (that's my plan - to play bass and just tinkle on the guitar).

    Once you get some theory and understand finger placement and can recognize where a bass fits and doesn't, then bass is a lot easier I feel. From that point on, just tinkle and stick to the bass.

    There's never too much education - it's a fallacy that your brain can get too full.

    That's how I learned brain surgery - watch a surgeon and make the same moves he did.
  10. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    If bass is your ultimate goal, start with bass.

    Uh, yeah :rolleyes:
  11. Guitar and bass share about as many differences as similarities. Just study and practice each appropriately and you're good to go.

    Guitarists who grab the bass and try to treat it like a guitar aren't hard to spot. Hopefully they learn, but some don't.
  12. jwj1701


    Nov 17, 2011
    Lexington KY
    I've played bass as my first choice since college. Just yesterday took my first guitar lesson mostly to learn chords / structure. My instructor seemed to think it would be easier for me since I already had a better understanding of time. Just a thought.
  13. Hactar


    Sep 25, 2011
    Boulder, CO
    Well, you're on a bass forum.

    But seriously, I would have to say bass. However, that suggestion comes with a caveat.
    Ideally, you would begin to play bass. Once you have learned the basics, start guitar, and then practice both alternately.
  14. 4andnomore


    Nov 14, 2008
    Absolutely BASS FIRST - and maybe BASS ONLY.

    At first glance it's really easy to underestimate what it takes to be a GREAT bass player - it can literally take a life time. A lot of guitarists arrogantly think of the bass as some subset of guitar playing which it absolutely is not. They are two different things physically, mentally, and psychologically. I know a couple guitarist who i would call "okay at playing bass", but in my 30+ years playing guitarists generally make for really horrible bassists.

    Anyway, yeah: ROCK THAT BASS, AND PROUDLY!
  15. mattj1stc

    mattj1stc Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2009
    Dallas, TX USA
    Probably a lot of people here who are like me in that I only play bass. I started on bass and I'm happy on bass. I've played some guitar, but it always seems way too small and compressed to me - just not my thing.
  16. JonahTheAmazing


    Dec 19, 2010
    The bass guitar was made for guitarists to double their range (and amplification) through the knowledge of the guitar.. Not so much anymore, but on a bass forum, I think you know the answer.
  17. Baloney! Time keeping is independent of the instrument you play. If your timekeeping on bass is bad, then chances are your timekeeping on guitar is bad as well. I switched from guitar to bass back in 2007. I had to learn a new technique and I had to learn to play less notes, but I've always had good time, so my timekeeping going from guitar to bass never suffered.
  18. Musiqa


    Aug 12, 2012
    Lol thanks for the passionate replies. i also forgot to add that i (kinda) play keys and that i am not interested in learning chords with a guitar as i am picking. Sounds strange but i just don't care about chords on a guitar (on a piano however <3 <3 <3).

    i like the advice given though. Going with the bass. <---this sounds like something that would be on the homepage or something LOL
  19. A deficiency of many guitarists is that they often don't focus on metronome and/or pitch training. They get the idea that they're immune since they're lead instruments. However, not all are created equal. My guitarist is very well disciplined. He's smart enough to know when to when to give me instruction and when not to. ;)
  20. That's like skipping the bridge 'cause it's boring. I've know guitar players who were really good, do this sort of thing. It's frustrating, but like I say there's no such thing as too much musical education.

Share This Page