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Bass player mental health?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by settedollar, Sep 20, 2017.

  1. settedollar


    Sep 8, 2008
    Sooooo, odd question from a troll who never really posts: I've played guitar longer than bass (please no hate), but I've since discovered that I'm totally a natural at bass and often like playing it more. I can't hit my guitar hard enough to work out my aggression, after all. :)

    HOWEVER, all bass player jokes aside, let's be honest: few people go to gigs to see any bass player, except maybe if your Victor Wooten calibre. Honestly, it's messing with my mental health. If I let myself think about it too much, I think of myself as just being the "extra guy" that nobody pays much attention to or cares about. Couple that with chronic pain issues that worse on bass than guitar, I think often about stopping the whole bass thing. Of course, over 75% of my gigs are on bass, so it's a Catch-22.

    Anybody else have similar issues? How do you get over it? Should I go all Stuart Smalley & tell myself "I'm good enough, I'm slappy enough, and goshdarnit, people like me."
    Cyberbob likes this.
  2. saltydude


    Aug 15, 2011
    boston CANADA
    I think bass is never been more popular. When I perform I see lots of smiles and eyes on me. Plus I "try" to look into what I'm doing. I enjoy looking/ being animated. If you stand there like a statue you're not going to get much attention.
  3. twinjet

    twinjet GE90-equipped Moderator Staff Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    I, too, started playing bass for popularity. Thought the ladies would come to me in droves. Boy, was I ever wrong.
  4. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    We get no love.
    We could be naked and on fire and no one would notice.
  5. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    To be honest, I question the mental health of people that go to see Victor Wooten play bass.
  6. Frank Tuesday

    Frank Tuesday

    Jul 11, 2008
    Austin, TX
    If a band has a great singer or guitarist, people say, "That singer/guitarist was great.". If the band has a great drummer and bassist, people will say, "What a great band."

    If you're playing/making music for the adulation of strangers, go back to guitar.
  7. biguglyman


    Jul 27, 2017
    Rochester, NY
  8. Is this one of those joke posts that I just haven't caught onto yet? For the sake of your mental health, I'm sure 4 out of 5 doctors (and me) would DEFINITELY advise you to PLEASE go back to playing guitar and forget about bass playing.

    I've obviously got some undiagnosed neuroses that I never gave a rat's a** about being noticed, I only cared about being in good bands and wanted good crowds so we could keep working. How have they not come for me with the straight-jacket yet?
    twinjet, Plantbrain, Cyberbob and 3 others like this.
  9. Fxpmusic


    Jul 5, 2013
    Id recommend yoga and meditation to let go of the ego. I believe this applies to all instruments in a band setting but more so for bass an drums, if you ain't working for the song and the overall team, you ain't doing it right.
    Dave Neal, Cyberbob, Sylus and 8 others like this.
  10. LOL this thread. People joke about the guitar player's ego all the time, but it's funny to see someone come on here and throw it down in plain view. At least you're being honest about it.

    Bass is for musicians. It's not for people who want to be the attention seekers. You could always try singing; most bassists who get lots of attention do so because they are also singers.

    But the real problem is ego. The best musicians are confident and can let their egos go so they can just focus on being good performers and good band mates. Appreciate any praise you or your band get, but don't get upset jonesing for it. That's where you can actually run into what you are calling "mental health" issues. Just be cool and think like a team member instead of a front man. Even famous bass players known for flashy playing must be, first and foremost, good band mates.
  11. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    All sots of people have all sorts of issues...
    gebass6 and dbbltime like this.
  12. bobba66


    May 18, 2006
    Arlington, Texas
    Get over it.:woot:
    Blackjac97 likes this.
  13. Ant Illington

    Ant Illington I'm Anthony but I'm only illin' Banned

    You should find a qualified therapist to work out those self-esteem issues that make you want to play an instrument based on what other people think about the instrument. You might also want to get better at guitar so you can get more gigs on the instrument that seems to hurt you less, both mentally and physically. However, since you're a "natural" on bass, it seems like a waste to give it up. It may be worth it to pursue bass full-time to share your gifts with the world. We look forward too soon seeing you on the cover of Bass Player magazine.
    JeffC23 and Skybone like this.
  14. I like being in the background. I don't need the praise. What's sad is I can't find anyone to play with.
    tlc1976, twinjet and gebass6 like this.
  15. Learn to sing and play bass. Solved.

    @settedollar -
    How old are you now?
    How old were you when you started guitar?
  16. otp57


    Oct 10, 2016
    I play BASS and I like it.
    You know BASS and drums make the band.
    Cyberbob likes this.
  17. Oddly

    Oddly Unofficial TalkBass Cartographer! Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    Firstly, my respect to @settedollar for his bravery (or possibly stupidity:)) in coming out and exposing himself like this.

    I think this response speaks for most here ... it certainly does for me.

  18. The reason I got into bass, was because I wanted to learn as many instruments as I can (I am still doing this today). I already played guitar, and enjoyed playing it, so I branched out to similar instruments (Bass, Ukulele, etc.). I got a second hand one for about £40 that got me by until I formed a band.

    I formed a band with me and my friends, and when it came to forming a band, everyone knew that we all played guitars, and I could see that my friends looked worried when the question of who's doing what came up. I was the only one who could play bass, but my friends didn't know that. Actually, my friends thought I would be the Lead guitar player because I had the most experience, but I'm not interested in Lead guitar.

    As soon as the question was asked, I immediately said I would be the bass player. I became the bass player in my band for two reasons. Reason one, neither of them had a bass, and I knew they weren't interested in learning it, meaning they wouldn't get into it and they would have to buy one, and I wouldn't like forcing someone to do something they don't wanna do. Reason two, I knew that if they picked up the bass, they would get it wrong. The now lead guitar player has played my bass, but he has the view that it's a lesser instrument. If you view it as that because of the lack of strings, then forget it. When I learnt bass, I realised straight away that it wasn't gonna be easy. With bass, I had to learn how to "groove" when playing. I had to deal with the longer scale neck, finger picking, slap and pop, etc. And SINGING and playing bass, hardest thing I had to learn. Nightmare. The bass seems to go on its own path sometimes in a song.

    A lot of guitar players I've seen who learn bass based on what they did on guitar, they are very stiff when it comes to playing, lack the groove, just sounds as basic as possible.

    I've never felt lesser for being a bass player. I just see myself as a musician. I don't get made fun of by my bandmates or anything, we always have fun, plus I'm the one who knows how to set all the gear up, so I'm more respected in the band anyway. I'm all for banter and jokes, but if your band mates or your friends are generally bringing you down and seeing you as their lesser for being a bass player, then you need to find yourself a better band to be in. You don't need that in your life. You're all fundamental parts in the band.

    I knew a band that was full of ego-maniacs. The lead singer was a diva, and all of them had anger issues. Anyway, they kept looking for a bass player to do gigs, they went through 3 in a year because of all the arguments, and because of that, they haven't been able to progress as a band. They've been looking for a bass player for about 6 months now, so their band is on hiatus. Don't feel like your less, bassists are needed just as much as everyone else, bands usually sound crap without one.

    If you wanna be more noticed in the band, become a singer or be more noticeable by moving about on stage, or even add some complex bass lines to get attention. I wouldn't worry about it though, plus bassist seem to be more popular nowadays it seems. Don't know why, maybe it's because us bassists are the good looking members of the band...:laugh:.
    Cyberbob, jhb138 and maxmaroon like this.
  19. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    People listen to the guitar, but they dance to the bass.
  20. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    If you need adoring fans so badly that your mood and sense of self-worth suffers when all you're doing is making music, then yes, you have a mental health issue.

    Have you ever been to a Victor Wooten concert? He puts on an outstanding show. I've been twice, with my wife, who is not a bassist. The first time she went along to humor me. The second time she was excited to hear that he was in our area again because she had so much fun the first time, and the second concert did not disappoint. I'd strongly recommend it. It's not two straight hours of rapid slappity soloing. He's a consummate musician and entertainer.
    twinjet, Cyberbob, Wavy and 6 others like this.

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