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Bassist or just mp3 players

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by utopia_imminent, Jul 29, 2005.

  1. utopia_imminent


    Jun 19, 2004
    Just to day, I just came back from a guitar shop. I saw a kid around say 15 to 16. He was slapping this bass. Sounded like flea's basslines. Then, i overheard him asking his friend how to do a pentatonic scale. I was like ***.

    Then, I walked to another guitar shop that was just beside. My friend who was with me was looking as drum stuff. Anyway, the same kid entered and tried out a 6-string. I walked closer to hear him. He really didn't know how to play th 6-string. He couldn't adapt and was missing notes.

    My friend said that he was good. But, to me i think that this kid memorized lines. So, I was thinking to myself. Why do other people prefer bassist who could provide the glitter and not the goods. I mean, why memorize the lines and play? Doesn't it make you no difference from an mp3 player? The song is in your memory and you just take it out of your memory and play. Is music all about memorization? I mean, i found it real fun to play with my band when we play anything that is spontaneuos(spelling error, i know). But, when we play things that we memorize, it becomes so mechanical and a drag.

    Any opinions on this issue?
  2. sgt.floyd


    Dec 5, 2004

    yeah, and what's the deal with all those classical musicians that just play what's written on the page? why not just play a cd?

  3. Unless there is a very significant line that is absolutely part of the song, I don't really study other people's lines.

    I get the charts, play the song with the band a few times, and just get my own bassline going.

    Not that I fully re-write the part to suit my style, but sorta.


    We play "Piece of My Heart" by Joplin. The bassline is fairly mundane on this one, roots etc.

    In our style, we funk it out - no slap, mind you, but groovy "don't fill in those spaces" kind of funk. Works a treat :D

    Then again:

    We play "Breaking the Girl" by RHCP

    On this one, you need to get those octaves w/fill correct to make the bassline bubble the way it does.

    I don't nail it note-for-note, but its a close enough blend of my style and Flea's. I could spend a couple of hours getting it completely right, but I don't think its necessary because we aren't the Chilli's anyway...
  4. And then there's "I'll Take You There" which is one of the most coolest basslines written in a pentatonic scale, you just wanna play it all day...
  5. Gonna show my age now!

    Whats with these kids these days?!?!?!

    When I first picked up the bass, it was natural to get a teacher and learn your scales and modes. Pentatonic? Pish - 1 hours work.

    Seriously, if you wanted to be a violinist, or pianist, or brass player, you would not get away with being an "ear" player - its absolutely essential that you read.

    We bassists (and guitarists, drummers) should realise that until you do your groundwork, you are not going to be the best you can.

    As Cam McIntyre says:

    Thats all.
  6. utopia_imminent


    Jun 19, 2004
    that kid wasn't a ear player but an "eye" player if you know what i mean.

    anyway, referring to the post above about classical musicians. i bet those guys figure out the music, enhance and stuff. but,

    these days, kids just play is of tabs. and, some of them don't know what note is the third fret on the a string. a guitarist once told me that there are altogether 14 notes in an octave counting the flats and sharps. when i asked why, he said there 7 tones and there are semitones in between eveyone of them. so, there are 14 notes altogether.

    i think that these guys play music and stuff to join a band and to look cool. what a way to impress a chick by memorizing tabs!

  7. ***??

    Although I believe that I am extremely well trained, and have studied my arse off with music, I would never become a teacher without the degree that I believe is essential.

    Tabs??? What is going on? I don't believe that musicians now don't need to be able to read music. How do tabs teach you rhythm, rests, inflection and attack??? How does tab teach you presto, gliss, legato or staccato?

    Or should we just listen and pretend we can play like Flea?

    Very disappointing IMHO
  8. pointbass

    pointbass Jersey to Georgia Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    I really shouldn't get started on this thread, because this is my absolute highest b*tch with the current newer generation of musicians, in particular bassists. The significant majority of the bass players I see that are under 30 can not read music, can not even read a chord chart, don't know the notes on the fingerboard ..... really, it's just disgusting :scowl:

    Ya know, just forget it ..... I'm so tired of talking about it I could scream ........ If I see one more teenage kid slapping the crap out of some Fender at a music store, that may be the last straw and I could be popping him in the head with the bass :eek: I was playing at a festival the other day and some late-teens dope comes up to me and wants to try out my FBB ..... I asked him to show me where the G# was anywhere on the neck, any position, he couldn't do it. Yeah, I'm gonna let that loser pound away on my basses :spit:

    Just because you can listen to a RHCP tune 50,000 times and memorize one of Flea's lines, that doesn't make you a bass player IMHO :rollno:

    :bag: ..... oops, guess I got carried away again .... :bag:

  9. + 1 bazillion! Shake my online hand, point.

    I will help you pop him in the head!
  10. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Yes, I have an opinion. Playing from memory is what we ALL do isn't it?

    We MEMORIZE the fingerboard, we MEMORIZE the scales, we MEMORIZE the chord arpeggios, we MEMORIZE chord progressions, we MEMORIZE melodies, etc.

    I'm sure most if not all of us have memorized entire basslines from songs we love. I was a huge Cream fan and "Badge" was the first song I learned to play start to finish on the bass. I can still play it FROM MEMORY. Maybe once a year I'll be on a gig and someone will suggest we play it.

    It's OK to be able to play Flea lines and not know what a pentatonic scale is. A good ear and good memory for songs is way more important than theory knowledge (although having it ALL is the best).
  11. brian,

    i understand what you are saying, and in some ways agree. its, after all, the way I play most often - memorized lines etc.

    but my analogy is this:

    if you were driving down the road, is it better to use your memory of what you thought might be the road rules,

    or is it better to know the rules of the road straight up?

    i know this is opening a worm of cans, but I still stick by my opinion that bassists should lead the way by knowing their craft better than they think they need to.
  12. totally off topic, but can you pm me the tab for this? I cant find it
  13. pointbass

    pointbass Jersey to Georgia Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works

    As Peter said, I too understand the memorizing concept, and it was cool that you concluded your last post by saying "although having it ALL is the best" :cool:

    But lacking the very basic training, how does an un-schooled, un-trained bass player ever work on an original song? What bass line are you parroting if there isn't a bass line to copy?

    I really feel that, at a minimum, every bass player should at least know scales and have the ability to at least work their way through the basic triad of any chord .......
  14. zac2944


    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    This topic has been touched on so many times here in different contexts, and I've always stayed out of it till now. My 2 cents:

    Let them learn songs from tab, let them memorize or play by ear. When it comes to landing a good paying gig, you have to know your stuff. If some younger bassists never makes it past learning Red Hot Chili Peppers tunes from tabs, I think that great. There's one less guy I have to compete with for my next gig. Players that don't know there stuff don't get good gigs, and don't get paid. They have fun with friends, jam, maybe even put a little band together that practices 3 times a week and gigs twice a year. I'm cool with that.
  15. Maybe not everyone wants to be able to know everything to play bass?... maybe some people just want to have fun in jamming out?... maybe.....
  16. zac2944


    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    My point exactly. And in addition, if you do know everything, and have worked hard to get there, someone's lack of interest in knowing everything shouldn't concern you.
  17. tkarter


    Jan 1, 2003
    The kid may have been playing from memory or anything else. I still thought I heard a will to get better and learn. If he wasn't trying to learn he wouldn't have asked how to play the pentatonic scale.

    I think you misunderstand a beginers enthusiasm. IMHO

  18. sgt.floyd


    Dec 5, 2004
    as a classical cellist I can tell you that making 'enhancements' to the music is just about the quickest way to a major chewing out from a conductor that I found. ;) In solo pieces, most of the time the cadenzas (solos- designated places for improv.) are even written with the implication that unless you can pull something better, you play that- and try beating Rastropovich's
    (sp?) chops. Oddly enough it was this rigidity that made me pick up a bass.

    you do indeed have to figure out a piece, and, only once you know all the notes, and can play it the same way every time, can you bring out the beauty through your own personal inflections (dynamics, expression within what's written) so in short, memorizing a piece of music is really the only way to fully internalize it...

    It would seem to me that your objection is that this kid picked up some Flea lines by ear, and doesn't know any theory?

    hell, i'd be hard pressed to believe anyone here didn't do something similar when they were just starting- mine was learning "what is and what should never be" off of Zeppelin 2... at least he's trying.
  19. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    I for one, will defend tabs. As an avid non tab kid, I don't think they're completely bad. They don't have rhythm defined... so what? Kids are using them to learn songs they already know. If it was a Beethoven Sonata, not so much... a Green Day tune? Why buy sheet for that. I was at an FYE and they had sheet music for Chevelle. C'mon. It had tab underneath, I suppose it was merely to define rhythm.

    Personally I think they all should figure it out by ear, but tabs teach kids songs/get them interested in learning. I learned the major scale day two of being a bassist, I didn't know why. I learned it... then never used it, I just played stuff and hope something good came out of it. Nobody told me why scales were important. But to a beginner, I could see them getting bored with it.

    My advice, try to tune out the Guitar Center kids. Sure they're playing out of time/loud as hell, but don't let them get to you. Laugh at them behind their backs, or to their faces... they deserve it.

  20. Yeah, gimme a day to do it.

    Now back to our the topic, already in progress...