Bassplaying ruins listening music in general!

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by Niels Keijzer, Jan 18, 2001.

  1. Niels Keijzer

    Niels Keijzer Guest

    Nov 27, 2000
    Before I started playing, I can remember that I enjoyed listening to music in a different way then I do now.

    To me it seems, playing bass makes it impossible to me to listen to recordings as a whole...when I'm listening to music, I'm always picking out basslines while listening, or concentrating on drums, or this, or that.
    It's terribly hard for me to listen to the complete picture.

    I can conclude that my best listening experiences, and the best songs or bands that I've ever heard, were in the period were I wasn't playing bass yet.
    I wonder if this was coincidential.

    Any thoughts from you guys on this?
  2. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    My listening "ability" increased exponentially when I began my quest as a musician. My attempt at being a musician made me a searcher(I believe).
    MAYBE...MAYBE, very early on, I concentrated on what the bassist was up to & judged a tune's merit on how "cool" a part was being laid down.
    FWIW, learning a rhythm section instrument really increased my awareness of what was happening from the ground floor on up.
    Granted, there's times I'm critical...if I hear something I think is BS, I'll say it, though, I usually attempt to find something good in "most" things. ;)

    ...not sure how long you've been at this-
    Maybe you should think about yourself as a MUSICIAN who happens to play the bass(?).
  3. I went through the same thing as well. When I first got into music, it was for the pure joy of the music in general. I didn't understand rythms, modes, key changes, syncopations ect. I just knew it made me feel good.

    When I took up the guitar and then the bass and started to study music, I found that I didn't listen to music as much as I analyzed it. Instead of listening to a good song as a whole, I found myself dissecting each part and analyzing why, I felt, it did or didn't work. I lost some of that initial innocence.

    I have since consciously tried to be less judgemental about music and I have found that I "enjoy" music more because of it. I knew I will never get back to the point where I can listen a song and not know (nor care to know) why I like it. With that said, I also know that there is a lot about music that I couldn't appreciate if I wasn't a musician. :)
  4. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Niels - You may be going through a period I went through. I took some music courses in college. In the "deepest" class, (I was in way more than I should have been or cared to be), the other students were mostly studying to become conductuors and the texts were orchestral scores. The final exam was listening to music on headphones and dissecting the music, including listening to composers imitating other composers and picking out how we could tell they were imitations.

    Well, I'd been young, dumb and playing bass mainly by ear up till then. After that experience, I listened to music the same way a doctor can see your body. I "dissected" music because I had exposure to its "anatomy." As a result, I became very critical of music, was the music critic for the university newspaper, and actually enjoyed music LESS for a long time. But after a while, like the doctor/anatomy analogy, I learned it was better to see the beauty of the whole than examine each part. Since that epiphany, I enjoy many more kinds of music.

    As Brain Bromberg said, "I used to condemn many styles of music-everything but jazz and classical. Then I grew up."
  5. Niels Keijzer

    Niels Keijzer Guest

    Nov 27, 2000
    Thanks guys!

    I realize I should let it go a bit more often...I just came back from rehearsal, one of the five I have this week (four different musical projects/bands) and I have to acknowledge that this is too much for me...I love music and playing bass, and some of you may rehearse triple my amount, but to me, it feels like overexposure. I often get nervous when something doesn't feel completely natural.
    Well, by summer I'll have finished all this, plus my studies.
    Then, I'll think I'm gonna do other things...less things.

    Have you ever got to the point where people were telling you to "stop talk about bass, bass, bass..."?
    It happens way too often that people ask me if I like a band, and I'll reply: "yeah, cool bassplayer..."

    I'm going to listen to some music now.
  6. I have found that in the last few years, I have changed how I listen to music. My band does LOTS of improv, over a night we might play only 6 or 7 rehearsed tunes. The rest is spur-of the-musical-moment. I find when listening to new music that I am now trying to anticipate where the song is going next (not too much of a challenge on most stuff, sad to say).
    I think the more styles we encounter, the more we have to learn from, so I make it a point to listen to anything (almost) I can. Still can't do country or rap or much opera, but they don't need my money.
  7. you got to keep your mind open and not think of just the bass line, you have to listen to the influence of the bass line at diferent parts of the song.

    good examples would be some beatles songs, paul had a gift for making it sound like the band was playing a diferent groove when in fact it was just him, or say a AC/DC song where this is no bass until the choruses which just make them stronger. another great one is all right now by free, no bass until the chourus but by the end of the song the bass is the in your face instrument.

    good luck opening your mind
  8. Hey Niels,I have the same problem too.For once I would like to just enjoy a song and not analyze.You asked in another thread if I was going to either replace the same albums I lost or get a more ecclectic selection.I'll do both.I might as well enjoy music for a change and not criticize.Enjoyment,it's the first reason I love music and bass.They go together,they're a part of each other,as is everything in life.(Gee, what a pseudo philisophical dork I am).
  9. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    I've gotten in the habit (which is annoying to myself) of trying to guess where a song is going next. I can't just sit back and enjoy the music, I have to be actively guessing what is going to happen next. I irritate myself no end over this, because I wish I could just enjoy the music without having to guess and second guess.

    Also in the past if I liked a song, I liked it and so what. Now I feel guilty if I like, say an N'Sync song because I know all the music authorities criticize that style and dismiss it as "bubblegum pop" and I feel like I shouldn't like it if I want to consider myself to be a trained musician.

    jason oldsted
  10. Niels Keijzer

    Niels Keijzer Guest

    Nov 27, 2000
    Hey Jason, I'll have to admit that I tend to like some political incorrect songs as well...I should admit at a low voice that I do like some Korn songs. And I liked that bye bye song from N-Sync. But I shan't go any further.
    I like bubblegum pop from time to time...real artists also get sick from eating haute cuisine all day.

    And Willie, it's way better to be a pseudo philosophical dork, than just an ordinary dork, ain't that right? I can tell you that I even got a few albums because of educational value...stuff like Heavey Weather from Weather Report. I love some tunes, but I still feel ashamed when I hear that cheesy "Birdland" song. Innovative use of false harmonics and all, but a bad song. (in my humble blabla)
    And my mum can't even listen to saxophones, she'd rather have me play Slipknot in the living room than jazz. But then again, I don't like slipknot.
    If I were to lose all my records, then I would get new stuff, but I still would buy these albums:
    - Superunknown, Soundgarden.
    - Siamese Dream, Smashing Pumpkins.
    - Dirt, Alice in Chains.
    - Angel Dust, Faith no More.

    Just for nostalgia's sake...and because that last album made me want to play the bass.
  11. Niels,nice replacements.I would have those albums in my collection too.I hear what you're saying and I agree.It's kind of peculiar,I scrutinize the rhythm section when I "listen".You mentioned Faith No More,now that was a rhythm section.
  12. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    To Niels, "Angel Dust" is my very favorite Faith No MOre album. The song "Midlife Crises" was my personal anthem for a long time. Also, your mom likes Slipknot? WOW!! I bet she'd like Linkin Park.

    Anyway, returning to your original question, after playing bass quitar, I have noticed that movies are no longer the same. I find myself paying intense attention to the soundtrack. I sit figuring out how the movie would "feel" different witha different style of music or approach to the music. If the soundtrack does not please me or grates on me, it spoils the movie. It is almost as if the music is more important than the movie.

    jason oldsted
  13. brewer9


    Jul 5, 2000
    Yes you become more harsh on music when it has poor musicianship but you are also more able to enjoy good musicianship. The heights to which you can get into a song is much greater than before. I remember me and friend listening to Jimi Hendrix in the dark (yeah, OK we had enjoyed some cannibus), but its was awesome! then a woman came in and said "how can you listen to this ****?" We were floored! We looked at each other with pity that this girl couldn't appreciate such finessful guitar playing.
  14. Niels Keijzer

    Niels Keijzer Guest

    Nov 27, 2000
    To Brewer:
    I almost got the idea that you were smoking some grass while typing your's spelled Cannabis.

    Tapadabam - cymbal! -

    We definitely should open a thread with the title: You can enjoy music better while on drugs.
    Should be easy to anticipate most of the replies.
    I hope the girl had a good side as well.

    I love that song as's just basically pounding the e-string throughout the song. I've seen him play the song live on MTV, and he switched to pick back and forth during the song. I started playing bass after I heard him play.
    Do you also own King for a Day? Some great bassplaying on that, and every music style covered between punk and bossa nova.

    I had lots of movies spoilt by trying to think what they're trying to achieve by those different scenes, chooses of colour. I wish I could find my "Analyze" brain cells...I'd poke em out, but maybe not...don't want to damage any bass-cells. Er, sorry, this makes no sense.
  15. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    what ruined music-listening for me wasn't playing, but rather running a studio. after thousands of hours trying to pick out and analyze track after track, i can't even listen to the radio now days and not hear punchins, vocal pitch correction, sloppy bass playing, tempo inconsistencies (speed up or slow down) and other sloppiness.

    i have a very hard time listening to zeppelin's first 4 albums, for example :p. sorta sucks, i liked those songs.
  16. brewer9


    Jul 5, 2000
    Hey Niels, right on man! Thanks for the spelling fix too.
  17. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Just a quick answer to Niels. Yes, I have "King for a Day." I love the song about "This is the Best Party I have seen" or something similar. Absolutely love it.

    I saw Faith No More back in 92 or 93. Someone threw roses on the stage and Mike Patton ATE them, but continued to sing with the petals in his mouth! Wild. Patton just amazes me.

    jason oldsted
  18. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    To John Turner, that is so interesting how running a recording studio trained your ear so much you can hear every technical nuance in records. Just gotta ask. Which top singers today have pitch assistance on their recordings? Ricki Martin? Anthony Keidis? Brittney Spears? Mariah Carey?

    jason oldsted
  19. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    never listened to either of their songs on the radio either.

    here's a few - that new green day song - "i wanna be the minority..." (blah)(blah)(blah). that song has it all over the place.

    another is that song with the lyrics that go something like..."tell me why...i'm sleeping with my clothes on, i came in through the window last night, the car is in the front yard " (blah)(Blah)(blah) ack.

    then of course there is that "cowboy" song by kid rock, but at least there they are using it as an effect as opposed to trying to make him sound like a real singer.

    so much of the current crop of "grunge/alternative/college/new punk rock" bands use pitch correction heavily, seems somewhat hypocritical to me - i was under the impression that the dirtiness and rough edges were desirable. i guess some rough edges don't win grammys :rolleyes:

    don't get me wrong, pitch correction is fine - we even use it sparingly in places, and i'd rather listen to a properly corrected vocal than an "out" vocal, but when there are audible artifacts, it sounds to me like c3po singing (human-cyborg relations) :D. you know, sorta like seeing a beatiful model and then hearing her fart. sorta wrecks it, you know? :D
  20. Niels Keijzer

    Niels Keijzer Guest

    Nov 27, 2000
    Definitely no Mariah Carey of the most talented singers alive on earth as we speak (IMHsomething), she needs some serious pitch correction on her personality though.

    To John:
    I hate recording with a big "H"...let's make music instead!
    I'm going to record a song tonight. Fretless, I won't use those tools, I like it false and out of control.