Becoming a bassist

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by ciarian, Dec 16, 2013.

  1. ciarian


    Dec 16, 2013

    This has probably been posted many times but i just want view on my take on this.

    Ive been playing guitar for 6 years now but late year a friend asked me to join his band as a bassist. Not knowing anything about bass ,apart from having played one to fill in on a few tracks i did at school for exam pieces, i joined that band and began studing bass players, techniques and sounds etc etc. I was encouraged to do this by a leader at the youth group i was going to at the time who had also become a very good bass player. He told me that theres always a lack of good bass players since everyone wants to be a guitarist and that bass would help expand my opportunities for a carer in music. Taking on board what i had learnt i continued to play bass in this band until it broke up in july of this year (i was still playing guitar though out this time).

    Now ive heard all saying like "bassists are failed/frustrated guitarists" and stuff like that but im not a frustrated guitarist i just enjoy playing guitar and ill always love it and continue to buy guitars even if i become a fully fledged bassist. Also i wouldn't say im a failed guitarist either, in fact ive been told im a pretty good guitarist. its just that i enjoy rhythm in music too and the fact that the bass is felt in the audience and i love iron maiden and how steve harris has contributed to there songs interms or arrangement etc.

    Again i have been offered to be the bassist of a already established band by a member who had saw my play bass in my last band and im debating weather to go that way again.

    Ide just like to see other peoples opinions on my situation :)
  2. Gaolee

    Gaolee It's all about the polyester

    Go for it. Bass is the root of everything. The guitarists and singers get the spotlight, but bass makes the audience jump and twitch. Without bass, they are not much.
  3. WashburnAB95


    Nov 18, 2013
    I play for Bass for or church events. I am often a better guitar player than who I am playing with. However there is always a need for bassists. I play guitar to amuse myself... I play bass as a form of service for others.
  4. heynorm


    Oct 21, 2010
    Omaha, NE
    My nephew played lead guitar and fronted his touring band, then an opportunity came up to play bass with a major label band, recording and touring. He loves bass and has not abandoned guitar, either.
  5. bass geetarist

    bass geetarist

    Jul 29, 2013
    Do it! Just face it, playing bass is better than playing guitar ;) it just is....

    I started playing bass first and only picked up guitar later on. Learning something new can only improve your music abilities, and I found that playing bass helped me develop a strong left hand that's good for leads and barring on guitar.
  6. heynorm


    Oct 21, 2010
    Omaha, NE
    'Cos the chicks dig it.

  7. Bass Fund

    Bass Fund Banned

    Nov 30, 2013
    Guitarists that switch to bass start off with big advantages. The chord knowledge you have will come through in your melody, on the bass. You already know the map, so improvising will also be easier.

    Don't think of it as a guitar, though. You have to hold back and reserve with the bass imo, unless you're taking a solo.

    Dynamics are big with the bass, too. Most of the time, you can't approach those dynamics as you would on a guitar. It's a lot easier to make a bass sound out of place.
  8. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Don't let the "failed guitarist" thing haunt you. You're becoming a multi-instrumentalist. That's a good thing. Certainly you'll be further ahead than someone with no musical background, or someone coming to bass from clarinet or something. Bass has a neck and pickups, strings and frets, and you know how all that works. Everything is bigger and heavier, of course - the physicality, and therefore the technique, of playing, is different. Don't assume that you can just do on bass what you did on guitar and it will work perfectly.

    The main difference is of sensibility. I think of a band as a body. The drummers set up the bones, bassists put muscle on the bones to make them move. Guitarists and singers and keys players add the skin and eyes and hair and all the stuff that the audience notices most. When you switch from guitar to bass, instead of focusing on how to make a stunning flourish of hair, focus on how to give the song that supple movement - the groove. Doesn't mean you have to sit back and be a pocket player only - there are great "lead bassists" - but we all worship the groove down here at the low end.
  9. My grandfather was classically trained in violin and played his whole life at a very high level. He was a proficient multi-instrumentalist. He taught multiple symphonic instruments privately, ranging from strings to woodwinds and percussion.

    For fun, he played in a major city's symphony orchestra, whenever he was in the vicinity (living a few hours away he was not actually a member, but would sit in at will). What instrument did he play?

    He played first chair, second violins.

    Why second violins? He was fond of saying, "Any *#& idiot can play melody."

    When I play fretless, I think cello. Other times while playing fretless I think of bowing the DB. Sometimes while playing fretted I think upright. Other times I think of a contrapuntal line on the left hand of the clavichord or harpsichord. Many times one single note is best and over-playing is a negative temptation. Often, in a band depending on what instruments are present, the bass is the easiest instrument to play physically, but the hardest to play tastefully.

    4 samples for you to consider. Headphones please and listen hard like you've never heard them before:

  10. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    I picked up guitarplaying to get better at playing bass because many guitarists would pick up a bass and start playing things i could not play as a full time bassist.
    I realized they were simply dismembering the chords they knew from the guitar and have an arsenal of notes at their disposal other than playing roots only. I've never played guitar in a band, only for myself and on the occasional session and i probably never will, because bass is my preferred instrument.
  11. Bassman1971


    Nov 4, 2013
    IMO take all the gigs with other people that you can. It will make you a great musician fast, not only at improv., but also as a live musician. If you ever need inspiration look to Victor Wooten, Michael Manring, Marcus Miller, Divinity Roxx, ect. There are tons of inspiration out there. Good luck
  12. Itzayana


    Aug 15, 2012
    Oakland Ca
    If someone is a failed and frustrated guitarist then they will be a failed and frustrated bassist..
    That said, if you really want to be a bassist, then my suggestion is to start by "really listening" to what bass players do and work toward understanding the instruments roll in music.
    How it interacts with percussion while "supporting" the melody and how it outlines and frames chordal structures.
    To be a bass player young grasshopper, one must understand and embrace the "Zen of the Bass".
  13. Lemoore-on


    May 11, 2008
    Not only study Bass players but study their interaction with the drummer. Its all about the groove:bassist: Your part in a band is way different than the GP's. You and the drummer hooking up and taking the rest of the band & the crowd on a ride is what its all about!

    Yeah, and the "frustrated guitar player" thing is BS. I have never played nor wanted to play guitar...........