Bass input from gui****

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Adam Bomb, Jul 19, 2008.

  1. Adam Bomb

    Adam Bomb

    Mar 26, 2008
    Bezerkely, CA

    My guitarist has a strong opinion that, in a particular song, I play the E on my A string rather than my D. His reason is that he prefers the tone on that string, which I can understand. My reason for playing it on the D string is that my hand is in the proper/easiest place for all of the *other* notes I am playing in that song. (Like low notes on my E string.)

    The gui**** wrote this song, including the bass part (I am new to the band and learning their songs). I have assured him that when we gig and record the tone of my D-string E will be fine. So, we have covered all of the issues, but he still won't completely leave it alone. (Neither of us wants me to play this E on my E string.)

    So I am posting to reality check how much input it is customary for one player to have on another player's technique. Everyone needs to live with other people's boundaries, and I am comfortable getting fired from the band for playing my instrument my way. But I should also point out that I am a beginner on the bass.

    Again, that particular note, which is the core of the song, does sound a little bit fatter on the string he wants me to play it on.

    Don't they say that there's no money past the 5th fret?

    This is as much a question of etiquette as technique.


    --Bomb :bassist:
  2. Ran into the same issue, the gui**** was right. The higher note on the lower string sounded beefier.
  3. fretlessman71

    fretlessman71 Still beats havin' a job Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2005
    FoCo, NoCo
    You yourself pointed out that there's a sound difference between the two, your guitarist can hear the difference, and he wrote the song and the part... seems like an obvious answer to me. Shifting to find a better sounding note is the best reason to shift.
  4. fretlessman71

    fretlessman71 Still beats havin' a job Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2005
    FoCo, NoCo
    Oh yeah: If you're a beginner, and your guitarist wrote the song and has more experience than you do, is it really fair to call him a "gui****"? Seems like he has an idea what he's talking about. Just my $.02. :)
  5. i would play it where he wants it. then when you need something from him, musically or otherwise, he will be more apt to cooperate! that's just the little give and take of working in a band.
  6. Kraken


    Jun 19, 2001
    Aylesbury, England
    well this go two ways for me.

    firstly, it may be that he wrote the bass line, but you are the bass player in the band, and should be allowed/be deemed mature (or proffessional) enough to make a judgement based on your experience, ability and musical appreciation to decide if the difference in tone of what is essentially the same note will make that big a difference. (I appreciate you say you are still very much a beginner to the instrument)

    secondly, just for your own sake, it might be worth trying to learn to do it as it then opens up possibilities for yourself (for example you break your d string while playing the song)

    Stick with it.
  7. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass

    May 10, 2006
    I would play E on the string and fret where it makes the song sound best. The guitarist wrote the song with an idea of how it sounds. Seems appropriate to give him the benefit of the doubt where there's a difference of opinion. There are many cool tones past the 5th fret w/ some especially fat ones past the 12th fret on the E and A strings. The songwriter will appreciate it if you can demonstrate several options.
  8. Try both ways and see what sounds best...if you're picking then you'll notice a HUGE difference depending on what string you choose to play the note on, if you use your fingers then you wont so much notice a difference.

    Personally, I care to use the higher strings more often when I pick because it cuts through better and just sounds better in my opinion. But of course, do what you feel is right, and don't necessarily let the guitarist boss you around, you have a say too because it's a band after all =)
  9. Adam Bomb

    Adam Bomb

    Mar 26, 2008
    Bezerkely, CA
    Thank you all for the feedback. If his suggestion is in the normal/appropriate range of band conduct - and it appears that it is - then IMO there is nothing wrong with me learning two ways to play that song, and playing it the way that sounds fatter (and he prefers). I also like the idea I will build up a little capital for when I want him to do something.

    Thanks again, all.

    --Bomb :bassist:
  10. ga_edwards


    Sep 8, 2000
    UK, Essex
    I remember reading an interview not long ago with Billy Sheehan about his playing on Steve Vai's last studio album. Now we all now what a monster player Billy is, and he could teach us all a thing or two. But for a couple of tunes Steve insisted that Billy play some phrases a certain way, in particular parts of the neck with a particular fingering pattern to get the sound and feel Steve had envisioned.

    If Billy can do it to support the writers idea, so can the rest of us!
  11. MX21


    Sep 28, 2007
    Springdale, AR
    How about keeping your hand in the easier position and playing the open E string? Even better fatter tone.
  12. Adam Bomb - my .02:

    Try both ways with the guitarist and try to reach a consensus on what sounds better. If you do it his way just because he told you to, you may take yourself out of the song creation process. Check you ego at the door, come in with an open mind, try both ways and go with what sounds best.
  13. Somebody besides you is listening to the bass parts. That's a good sign I think!
  14. I know we hate to shift position, but sometimes it really does sound better on the thicker strings and makes it worth the trouble in shifting... Tommy Shannon played his basslines for SRV with a lot of shifting to stay mainly on the E and A strings... Mike Dirnt also plays a lot of his Green Day lines on the E and A strings.
  15. steve66


    Sep 17, 2005
    South Florida
    Let the control freak have his way.. :)

    Take your guitarists input as positive. I run into the same situation with the members of my band. I dish it out also. Communication is a good thing.
  16. I think if he wrote the bass part in such a specific way, it must mean he's really after a particular sound. And since he's the composer, I think your job as a musician is to serve the music the way the composer intended.
    It's really not that big of a deal but it is a valid point.
  17. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    It's hard to tell whether your guitarist is actually interested in the quality of the bass tone (not nearly enough of them are) or if he's a control freak or both.

    If he does care about the bass tone though, that's a good sign that he's a maturing songwriter/arranger and has some appreciation for your role in the band.

    Consider your situation both ways:

    a) Is it reasonable for him to suggest a change in my playing of a single note?

    b) Is one note that big of a deal that I take offense at his input?
  18. Sahm


    Dec 18, 2007
    Delaware, OH
    It's definitely within the realm of reasonable requests from bandmates. There is a difference in tone, and it's great that he even notices it. It's always good to experiment with shifting. Unless someone is requesting something that is causing you immense physical pain, I say go for it.
  19. Adam Bomb

    Adam Bomb

    Mar 26, 2008
    Bezerkely, CA
    Definitely both. And so in addition to working on the music I am managing our dynamic as bandmates. This guy needs watching, even if he has a point in this case about the fatter string.

    The string issue, by itself, isn't much. But, for example, there's also this little game we play where he asks me what song I want to play next and I pick one and then he says "Let's play (some other song)", and we play that. Soon I will call him on that, with a smile.

    He is making the switch from being the leader of a husband-and-wife studio project to the leader of a live band. And so he is going to have to process the loss of a tremendous amount of control, unless he fires his new rhythm section and puts his two kids on bass and drums. I don't want to make that process any harder than it has to be. I am a brick wall by nature and I am trying to spare him that. But we are just in a band together and I don't have a lot of tolerance for acting out. So thanks again all for the input! Big Daddy gets a pass on the string issue, LOL

    --Bomb :bassist:
  20. rascals


    Jun 12, 2008
    I have a spector bass ser#323 built in 1994at woodstock ny what model is it and what is it worth?
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