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Bassists or guitarist playing bass?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by darwin-bass, Jul 11, 2020.


  1. darwin-bass

    darwin-bass Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2013
    Salem OR
    What are the tell-tale signs that the person playing bass is really a guitar player not a bassist?
     
  2. usually the way they hold the bass and pick.
     
    Aqualung60, Viggo51, ERIC31 and 3 others like this.
  3. J_Bass

    J_Bass

    Feb 7, 2008
    Porto, Portugal
    From examples I've seen personally, very bad or lack of muting and weak and undefined attack on the notes.
     
  4. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Masks, people, masks!
    Song Surgeon slow downer.
    IME, they don't play notes that lead into chord changes and/or they play too much on the beat.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2020
  5. micguy

    micguy

    May 17, 2011
    They play things that stick out and say "listen to me", rather than things that support the music.
     
  6. Here's another guy who wouldn't follow the "rules", & thank goodness for that:

    upload_2020-7-11_18-21-5.png

    That's Peter Hook of Joy Division, imagine a world where everyone played by the rules, that would be a boring old place, now wouldn't it?

    Today I've been playing Goth songs where the bass is the lead, & I love it!
     
  7. The muting is usually the telltale sign for me. Either they don’t mute at all or they mute so heavily that every note is staccato.
     
    40Hz and J_Bass like this.
  8. J_Bass

    J_Bass

    Feb 7, 2008
    Porto, Portugal
    Yes, for me too.

    It's essential and mandatory to a bass player to have a very good/excellent muting technique, in my opinion. And usually a guitarist has no idea how to do it correctly.
     
  9. crankypants

    crankypants

    Aug 12, 2019
    They play a lot of fills.
     
    leftybass54, BassAssHat and Malcolm35 like this.
  10. Thibby

    Thibby Supporting Member

    May 2, 2015
    New Orleans
    Personally, I find that the difference between a bassist and a guitarist playing bass lies in how they approach the groove. Every guitarist that I've seen pick up a bass tends to overplay wildly and isn't able to lock in with the drummer, leading to just a mush of sound instead of a band playing coherently. They can't seem to lay back and just support the whole song, doesn't mean they're bad musicians though, it's just not their home field.

    Obvious exceptions to those who paved new roads in the bass world and forged their own unique identity, I'm talking IME with previous and current guitarists.
     
  11. Maybe it's their ability to play fluid melodies? Their ease with a pick? Their facility with chords? :D
     
    MJB1961, BassAssHat, StayLow and 12 others like this.
  12. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Lots of people switch instruments, especially when younger. I think if someone can play bass convincingly, they're a bassist. Everybody's a beginner until they aren't.

    They might also be a guitarist, or an electric bassist. They might play enjoy playing melodically, but that might mean they started on guitar, cello, or even upright bass.
     
    dfloresjr, mmar, StayLow and 4 others like this.
  13. Bajo Clarkko

    Bajo Clarkko

    Aug 9, 2015
    Most guitarists playing bass are unaware of how much you can articulate your tone by just WHERE you pluck the string. They usually pluck the string in the same exact place, all the time.

    When I play a P Bass, there are (for me anyway) four or five different places I can pluck the string to acquire a different tone: directly over the pickup, one or two places in front of the pickup, and two areas behind the pickup.

    YMMV
     
  14. Ögon

    Ögon

    Jan 15, 2020
    Netherlands
    Well, i have started on guitar when i was 12 and have been playing bass for 5 years now.

    What i noticed with myself and other 'converts' from guitarists to bassists:

    - bad plucking technique (pulling up or plucking instead of pushing down the string)
    - Too many notes, bad fills or playing the wrong note lenghts.. like playing 8s instead of 4s or hole notes.
    - Bad muting
    - Not locking in well with the kick and snare,
    - Bad knowledge of music theory
    - No sense of other band members
    - Bad band communication skills
    - Over estimating your own bass-playing skills just because you are good a guitar player..
    - Bad knowledge of the position of the bass in a certain band context

    If you are a guitarist wanting to learn bass, you should learn the opposite of this list. :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2020
  15. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, aelurophile Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    Too much noodlin not enough groovin
     
  16. Ellery

    Ellery

    Mar 25, 2015
    Did I wander to the Sigmund Freud forum? Get over yourselves. There are enough different styles, preferences, and people, that a short list of shallow observations will not arm you with the savvy to read someone's personal history.
     
    bochini, MJB1961, HolmeBass and 14 others like this.
  17. red_rhino

    red_rhino Person. Woman. Man. Camera. TB. Gold Supporting Member

    All of the above.

    That said, I often find that a guitar player's unorthodox approach to playing bass can lead to some unexpected inspiration. I've learned some cool things from watching guitar players play bass.
     
    MJB1961, BassAssHat, Andre678 and 4 others like this.
  18. red_rhino

    red_rhino Person. Woman. Man. Camera. TB. Gold Supporting Member

    Sorry, that would be the "How do you feel about that way your mother plays bass?" thread.

    (Edit: Now that I think about it, I wonder if that recurring dream of my mother breast feeding me while playing the bass is just a dream or a repressed memory? This would explain a few things. ;))
     
    tuckerllc, Thibby, HolmeBass and 10 others like this.
  19. Ögon

    Ögon

    Jan 15, 2020
    Netherlands
    Yes... Totally true. I think if you convert from guitar to bass, you might have the advantage to be less worried about rules or more creatively freely minded.. But learning the 'correct' 'bass playing rules' is also key.
     
    leftybass54 likes this.

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