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Bassists Who Are Multi Instrumentalists...

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by plangentmusic, Oct 21, 2010.


  1. plangentmusic

    plangentmusic Banned

    Jun 30, 2010
    Manhattan
    ...but manily bassists.

    McCartney is the first to mind. And John Paul Jones. Who else?

    It seems that it's usually pianists or guitarists who can jump around to other instruments. And...some of you are not going to like this...I do believe it's because those instruments allow for more musical knowledge. That's not to say bassists are LESS knowledgable, but it is possible to play "decent" rock bass without knowing a lot of theory. It's the bottom of the musical pecking order and most guys who go beyond it, move away from it.

    Well, I refused to accept that. But instead of arguing, I went about learning. I already played drums and sang (did that before bass) but then I set out to play piano and then guitar and acoustic guitar. (And upright bass, harmonica, percussion and a little bad saxaphone). I think as a bassist it came naturally to me, yet I don't see a lot of other bassists who cross over.

    And no need to talk about groove. Of course, that's what we do and that's what seperates us from guitarists. But still...you know what I mean.

    Here's a little sample of some of my multi-instrumental playing. It's junky, fun 60's guitar instrumental stuff, but you'l get the idea.



    Anyone else? Anyone play several instruments but just choose the bass as their main ax because, well..it is the coolest instrument of all. ;)
     
  2. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    lost angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    Love Apache - Hank Marvin rocks.

    Started on guitar and piano at age 8 (stuck with guitar), also played some banjo. Didn't pick up a bass until age 27. Been primarily a bassist since.

    Canned drums, the rest me:

    http://nostatic.com/mp3/voodoo3.mp3
     
  3. Thunderthumbs73

    Thunderthumbs73

    May 5, 2008
    Sting. (acoustic/electric guitar, lute, saxophone, vocals, keys, electric and upright basses)
    Tom T-Bone Wolk. (guitar and accordion and who knows what else, besides these, and electric basses)

    Me. (acoustic/electric guitar, trumpet, french horn, vocals, keys, electric and upright basses, drums)

    I think other people move around to other instruments easier than bassists simply because "our" ability to move around to other instruments is always trumped by the need for bass and the inability or unwillingness for other individuals to meet that need. I don't think this has anything to do with knowledge of one group being greater than another, at all.
     
  4. Selta

    Selta

    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Oh, right. Everyone who really wants to learn music has to move "beyond" bass. Awesome. Guess I'll never learn music then. Also guess that all these guitarists that don't have a clue about theory or composition aren't really playing music, either!
     
  5. plangentmusic

    plangentmusic Banned

    Jun 30, 2010
    Manhattan

    Nice work bro.
     
  6. peledog

    peledog

    Jul 9, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    Wrong forum.
     
  7. i always thought it was the bassist that knew more about what was going on and the others are pushed forward because general public wants them there, not because they know whats going on.
     
  8. plangentmusic

    plangentmusic Banned

    Jun 30, 2010
    Manhattan
    No need to get defensive. I'm not saying it's essential, but it does open up one's knowledge of music, that's all. You can be a great drummer or singer and not know anything about music at all.

    And yes, there are bad guitarists.
     
  9. Selta

    Selta

    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    You can learn just as much on bass guitar as you can on a piano or guitar. Prove me wrong.
     
  10. plangentmusic

    plangentmusic Banned

    Jun 30, 2010
    Manhattan
    The bassist is often the guy who understands voice leading better than most others.
     
  11. plangentmusic

    plangentmusic Banned

    Jun 30, 2010
    Manhattan
    That depends on what you mean. You can't learn to play piano by just playing the bass.
     
  12. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    I also play tuba as my next most proficient "double," then guitar, the rest of brass, and keyboards of all types, from pianos to Farfisas to church organs. I've made $$ from gigs over the last 35 years from all the above. My classical music training helps me transition from instrument to instrument and genre to genre. I always go back to either bass guitar or tuba because I enjoy laying the foundation that makes the rest of the ensemble or group sound the best they can. My "mantra" is that if a person comes up after the gig and compliments the band, then I've probably done my job. But if they come up to me and tell me what a good bass player I am (other bass players excepted), then I probably f****d up the mix.
     
  13. Selta

    Selta

    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    This is what I was basing it off of. You state that other instruments "allow for more musical knowledge", which I say isn't true at all. The mechanics of playing a different instrument are not musical knowledge...
     
  14. plangentmusic

    plangentmusic Banned

    Jun 30, 2010
    Manhattan
    Well, that's true. It isn't a simple one way thing. Hell, a great harmonica player has more musical validity than a bad violinist!

    I think my original point is that playing other instruments helps one's bass playing, yet bassists seem to do it less. Sure, you can do Anthony Jackson or Jeff Berlin stuff on the bass, but that's a different thing from the bassists role 99.9% of the time.
     
  15. crazy_bassist

    crazy_bassist

    Dec 31, 2003
    Kind of true in terms of voicings and chords, but pianists will always be able to fully accompany one in all ranges (with treble/bass clef) whereas a bassist will always need that second instrument to get cover the voicings of the higher range. If a bass solos or plays a high 'C' then you lose the low end, and our chords in a low register with the B tend to get muddier and lose the highs, so we can never fully 'accompany' like a piano which can be much more musical in some settings, but that's just my opinion.

    Generally in a jazz setting or regee and funk to a degree, the bassist is the number one person that knows what's going on in terms of chords and voicings, and keeps everyone together, knows their theory inside and out and can drastically change the mood of a piece. In in everyday rock setting the bassist is proving to be just rock solid. There are some awesome rock players, and some that just stand there and rock solid 8th note grooves. Is that really the most musical thing in the band? I'll definitely say no, but without it the band sounds incomplete. We still fuse the drums together and the low-end chords with the guitar, it's just we don't always have the most exciting role which is why I think people move towards different instruments rather than really perfecting the bass: it's more work than they are willing to put in to be a great bass player when they are just covering top 40 song hits.

    I play drums much better than I play bass, but I play bass better than I play guitar, but I play uke better than guitar, so I can say I am a multi-instrumentalist. Don't ask me to sing more than back-up vocals though, and even those are sketchy. I second Sting as a multi-instrumentalist and Sir Paul! I will edit this if I think of anymore that are primarily 'bass'. I know Cone from Sum 41 also plays guitar as well as Duff McKagan (who calls himself a 'guitarist' but plays bass with most bands) but can't really think of anyone else. Didn't Dave Grohl lay down some bass at one point on an album even though he isn't primarly a bass player?
     
  16. bassvi

    bassvi

    Jul 12, 2005
    Iowa
    Jack Bruce- one of the ultimate multi-instrumentalists. Supremely talented. And one of my biggest heroes.

    Playing guitar and keyboards really helped my bass playing. I feel like I am a musician first and foremost, and bass just happens to be my main instrument. Learning other instruments can help your perspective, IMO. Learning keyboard can help you understand harmony and theory..In the word of Jack Bruce, Bach was the ultimate bass player....
     
  17. eddododo

    eddododo Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2010
    Euphonium/Tuba, at a really high level. Jaw fell apart, bass is now my bitchlover
     
  18. eddododo

    eddododo Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2010
    i will say, i just recently had a big epiphany about playing "down" the chord/scale/voicing

    we play so much ascending stuff through school and lessons and exersizes, i daresay most people are at best 60/40 ascending/descending

    solo OFF the root :)
     
  19. pjmuck

    pjmuck

    Feb 8, 2006
    New Joisey
    No love for Geddy Lee?

    Jaco was also a fantastic pianist and drummer.
     
  20. plangentmusic

    plangentmusic Banned

    Jun 30, 2010
    Manhattan

    Bach wrote the baddest ass basslines of all time!

    I actually like the way Elton John voices the bass.
     

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