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Being a

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by mijarra, Jan 20, 2001.


  1. mijarra

    mijarra

    Jan 20, 2001
    Hello, I am new to this forum and I am hoping it will help me in my quest. I guess I have been playing bass for about 4 years, but I have been playing guitar for 17 years. I have been in a few bands as a bassist and I guess I am decent, or so people tell me anyway. I never really read anything about playing bass when I first started. I already knew a lot of music theory from playing guitar, so I just picked up the bass and went with it. I recently decided to somewhat re-commit myself and I started doing some online research. After this, I pretty much found out that I know absolutely NOTHING about being a "real" bassist. I have basically been playing the bass like a guitar. I guess what I mean is, after 17 years as a lead guitarist it's relatively easy to me to be a satisfactory bassist, but to be a really good bassist is another matter entirely. So now I have this whole new world in front of me and I don't know where to start. I don't know what to learn first or what is most important. Anyway, has anyone else made this guitar-bass transition and/or does anyone have any advice? Any experienced bassists have suggestions as to what they would do in my situation? Also, I have been reading about guys like Stu Hamm and Jaco Pastorius but I have never heard them. Can anyone suggest a few CDs that are worth exploring? I'm sure I will have a lot more dumb questions to follow. :)
     
  2. rllefebv

    rllefebv

    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    Hey mijarra! Welcome to Talkbass...I can't really speak to the issue of playing bass after playing guitar as I've never played guitar. But, for Jaco albums, two that really capture his playing are his self-titled debut, 'Jaco Pastorius' and Weather Report's 'Heavy Weather'...Both excellent albums!

    -robert
     
  3. furtim

    furtim

    Dec 12, 1999
    Boston, MA, USA
    I'll have to toss Weather Report's 8:30 onto that two-CD list. Actually, if you want just an intruction to Jaco, you might want to pick up the compilation album "This is Jazz #40: Weather Report - The Jaco Years". That CD has most of the really good Jaco performances with Weather Report. "Jaco Pastorius" is an absolute must get, though. BUY IT!

    By the way, what kind of music do you play? There aren't really any hints in your profile. Jaco might not be your cup of tea if you don't like jazz-fusion (but, seriously... it's tough to NOT like Jaco, no matter what styles you prefer).
     
  4. rllefebv

    rllefebv

    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    8:30...is that the live CD with 'Black Market Side' on it?? I haven't been able to find that since an ex trashed my vinyl collection. When I hear that, my mind wanders to a special place!

    BTW furtim, your new fretless is very nice!

    -robert
     
  5. furtim

    furtim

    Dec 12, 1999
    Boston, MA, USA
    That's the one, rll. I love the CD so much. Too bad you lost the vinyl, 'cause I think they had to cut a song to put it on CD.

    And thanks for the comment about my fretless. ;)
     
  6. mijarra

    mijarra

    Jan 20, 2001
    Thanks everyone for your advice on Jaco...I will definately check him out.

    furtim...I'm really into almost any kind of music as far as the bass goes, from metal to jazz to big band. That's one of the things that I really love about the instrument is that it makes me interested in music I probably would never have thought much about otherwise. As a guitarist and just listening in general, I am mostly drawn to metal / hard rock and the whole shred scene. But it seems that jazz is where it's at for most good bassists.
     
  7. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    I switched from guitar to bass after playing guitar for around 15 years also. I was concerned at the time with sounding like a guitarist trying to play bass. I was also scared of Geddy Lee - I was a big early Rush fan, and didn't want to sound like another Geddy rip off (some people said I sounded like him). I started really applying and practicing the less is more idea and it helped me to evolve as a bassist. I also tried to listen a lot to great bassist that I wasn't that familiar with, and who's style was a lot different from what I was used to and able to play. Flea became my biggest influence - as I could play next to nothing that he played when I started out on bass. I've lately been learning a handful of Motown tunes, as Jamerson is lots different from my current style. "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" is a priceless book and CD set.

    Another thing I started doing a couple of years ago that really changed me, was practicing with a metronome. I always had good timing and the idea of using a metronome seemed totally lame and useless, but it changed my playing dramatically. It helped me to start playing and thinking more in grooves and beats. It also seems to have programmed me where I feel my fingers move on automatic pilot (kind of hard to explain) but I can lock with a drummer way better than I did when I started out. I've been asked several times if I'd been playing with certain drummers for years, when it was just my first or second gig with them.

    I could go on and on - last note. About 2 years into playing I realized I was always a bassist at heart. I never, ever felt nearly as passionate about the guitar as I do about the bass.
     
  8. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    You asked about Stu Hamm. Three of his solo albums are: Radio Free Albemuth, The Urge, and Outward Bound. He has two instruction videos also. I am most familiar with "The Urge" and feel it is an excellent showcase for his virtuosity.

    You might want to check out some other prominent bassists also, Victor Wooten, John Pattitucci, Nathan East, Oteil Burbridge, Anthony Jackson, Marcus Miller...oh heavens...there are too many to mention, but that is a great start. Knowing the style odf music you prefer would help with suggestions. Maybe we are missing the boat suggesting Jaco. Maybe we should be suggesting Flea and Les Claypool, Geddy Lee and Geezer Butler, Steve Harris and Cliff Burton instead.


    jason oldsted
     
  9. furtim

    furtim

    Dec 12, 1999
    Boston, MA, USA
    Jason: You can't make a mistake by suggesting Jaco. You just can't!

    mjarra: As far as metal and the like goes, you might want to check out Rage Against the Machine. In my opinion, TimmyC is one of the better bass players in the genre, even if all that means is that he plays a little more than straight eigth notes and beyond the root and the fifth. ;) And on the smoother side of funk, check out Stanley Clarke. He's got some really solid grooves going with a hint of that slap action and stuff. Real funky, but still real tasteful. :)

    And whatever you do, stay the Hell away from Fieldy! Even if you like Korn, trying to play like Fieldy is gonna get you exactly nowhere.
     
  10. All the above comments are completely relevant. I would just add a comment. Jaco is wonderful to listen to, I'm a huge fan, but not a good bet as a role model. You will get axed from a blues, country, top40, or classic covers band in 5 minutes if you play like that. To learn the function of the bass in any of those situations, take a track off something you think you will play live, eg, a Beatles song. Play the track over and over until you can sing the bass line, and work out how to play it on the bass. Play with the track until you sound exactly like the record. Then move on to another. This is a far more valid method of learning than trying to learn "Portrait of Tracy"! Of course, if you are not concerned with gigging in a band of the abovementioned variety, and you want to be more "off the wall" like Mick Karn, or you want to be a bass soloist like Michael Manring, then by all means learn from the soloists.
    BTW, I CAN play Portrait of Tracy, but in 19 years of gigging in all styles, including jazz, I have never once been asked for it.
     
  11. mijarra

    mijarra

    Jan 20, 2001
    Marty...I think that's pretty good advice, in fact something I have been thinking about. I am not sure what type of bassist I will eventually become, but I know that the "role" of bassist in band is more important that playing super impressive pieces. I think I am mostly interested in Jaco and others in order to explore the potential of the instrument. I can name a dozen great solo guitarists off the top of my head but the only great solo-ish bassist I can think of is Les Claypool, so I kinda want to see what's out there.

    BTW, I bought my first Jaco CD tonight, which I am going to post on shortly. I am listening to it right now.