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Can practicing 2 instruments at once hurt?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by baddarryl, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. baddarryl

    baddarryl Supporting Member

    Oct 26, 2008
    Cape Fear!
    Hi all. I am in constant improvement on bass. I have come a long way with still a long way to go. I also want to start studying guitar. I have noodled with it for years, but never enough to get good. I want to learn to play lead. I am currently taking lessons on bass. If I self study guitar can it hurt my bass playing? Other than the obvious robbing Peter to pay Paul timewise is there anything negative that come from this? Thanks
  2. Malcolm35


    Aug 7, 2018
    IMO the two hitch hike on each other so one will not hurt the other. Only problem I see, is as you have mentioned, the time allowed for each.

    If your bass is at the point you can play with others you are not going to forget what you have already learned. So spend some time on the 6 string electric guitar but, keep in mind that one is robbing time from the other.

    Pick one as your primary instrument then enjoy noodling on the other.

    Good luck.
    bholder, vindibona1 and MonetBass like this.
  3. nnnnnn


    Oct 27, 2018
    That's how I threw out my shoulder.
  4. baddarryl

    baddarryl Supporting Member

    Oct 26, 2008
    Cape Fear!
    That is my plan. Funny I have the technique and skills/dexterity I am just not familiar with the neck enough and that B string trips me up!
  5. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
  6. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    there are no rules: each player will have different experiences. if you 'know what you're doing' with your time/technique(s) = you'll be fine! good luck! :thumbsup:
  7. Malcolm35


    Aug 7, 2018
    IMO the B string is for the low ledger notes, if you are not playing from standard notation it's there if you need it.
  8. walking Bass

    walking Bass Supporting Member

    May 24, 2005
    Northern California
    The more the better, I play both and wished I'd added keyboard when I was young. Then there harmonica, bongos...
    baddarryl likes this.
  9. There's a local guy, Terence Hansen who used to play two guitars - simultaneously!

    Looks like he's had a custom two-neck guitar made here. Check him out playing 'Superstition':

    buldog5151bass likes this.
  10. It’s the study of music we aspire to. Any knowledge gained is helpful. Learn as much as you can: piano, voice, theory, history, composition, arranging...
  11. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I totally agree. I know how to play a few different instruments, and some I used to actually be good at, and I don't regret any of it for even a second.
    bholder, SactoBass, DanAleks and 4 others like this.
  12. groooooove

    groooooove Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    not at all! they help each other.

    college music students have to develop piano proficiency regardless of their primary instrument. for many reasons, but one being that it helps.

    My best students are highly proficient almost always in a 2nd instrument. it's usually piano, but i don't think what it is matters as much as that you play something else that will inform your first instrument.
    Altitude and Alivefor5 like this.
  13. I played piano and guitar before bass and I still play them both, although my skills have waned from inattention. It's definitely a good idea - guitar augments bass nicely, and piano is an excellent way to understand and visualize music. I often visualize a keyboard in my head when I am thinking about theory.
    SactoBass likes this.
  14. DoctorZee

    DoctorZee Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2018
    New York / New Jersey
    John Lennon (and probably countless other songwriters) used to switch between writing on piano or guitar to help spark new creative ideas. I’d say it worked okay for him.

    Side note: I picked up an electric guitar today at GC for the first time in years. It felt like a dinky toy. I played guitar for the better part of a decade before learning bass; it’s crazy that it feels so foreign now.
    baddarryl and Artman like this.
  15. Jehos

    Jehos Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    DFW, TX
    Speaking from experience, don't try to play the flute and the drums at the same time. You're gonna have a bad time.
    SactoBass and knumbskull like this.
  16. Tommy V

    Tommy V Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2019
    sounds like a scene from Crossroads.. where Eugene is told he can't serve two masters.. luckily, Eugene followed his passion.
  17. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    In the long run, playing two instruments will probably broaden your horizons and deepen your knowledge of music.

    In the short run you may find there is some confusion over which note you are playing because the bass and guitar are somewhat similar. I play a six string bass and noodle a bit on guitar and this causes me some problems, especially on the high E and B strings. But there is an advantage here as well, as IMHO the different tuning of the guitar will free you from relying so much on using instinctual finger patterns. You will probably find you have some new ideas and are more free to express them on bass after you start developing some facility on guitar.
    SactoBass likes this.
  18. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    Getting into guitar enough to explore all of the chord forms will definitely help you understand how bass lines work under chord patterns. Not that you can't do that just studying bass, but adding guitar will force the issue. It is very helpful in a band situation to be able to watch and understand what the guitarist is doing.
    el murdoque and SactoBass like this.
  19. fingerguy

    fingerguy Banned

    Aug 2, 2016
    I found my guitar playing improved after playing the bass so IMHO there is nothing negative to study one or more instruments at a time.
    SactoBass likes this.
  20. arbiterusa


    Sep 24, 2015
    San Diego, CA
    No and no. Frankly, if your brain can handle it, I think being able to play multiple instruments does nothing but help you be a better musician. If you have any talent for it, it makes you a FAR better songwriter and arranger.

    My instrument learning went as such: five years on violin, then bass, six months later started drums, 4 years after that keys, 4 years after keys, guitar. I still play them all, but bass is my favorite and the only thing I put my energies towards gigging regularly.

    Here's some more for your plate: learn to sing.
    SactoBass likes this.

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