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Certain features of a GREAT bassist

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by patrickroberts, Mar 12, 2002.

  1. patrickroberts


    Aug 21, 2000
    Wales, UK
    There re a few features u can c in bassist 2 really recognice that he is awesome:

    1.) he uses a bass with more than four strings when he doesn't even need 2

    2.) he wears his bass nice and high on the body

    3.) He uses his fingers

    And finally....4.) He plays bloody good basslines
  2. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Can't agree with you on #'s 1 & 3, since you put this up for discussion, Patrick.

    - I know 4-stringers who say more with four than many multi-stringers, (and I'm not a 4-string zealot).

    - There are pick players who smoke, too. Using your fingers, play along with Chris Squire sometime, fr'instance........good luck and soak your fingers in ice afterwards to relieve the pain!

    Exposure to lots and lots of different music that they synthesize into something different,, a sense of where the "pocket" is, and a metronome-brain are about the only distinguishing characteristics I have found.
  3. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    I think I've heard great bass when I hear it, not see it. I can't tell a thing about a bassist by looking at them.
  4. bass_player_cd

    bass_player_cd terminated.

    Aug 21, 2000
    I dont agree with patty on any of those except the good bassline part. Its a matter of opinion of what suits you best when it comes to how high you position the bass and if you use finger or pick. And whats the deal with having 2 extra strings make you a better player??? So your saying if I made a 36 stringer with a fret board the length of my arm and only played the E string I would be a god at bass? I think your a little confused.
  5. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Great bassists have these characteristics:

    1. good tone
    2. good time
    3. good intonation
    4. good note choices

    That's really all that's required. Nothing else matters.
  6. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    I've heard this quote before, but I don't remember who it was.....but it sums up what I like in a bassist......" One foot in the groove and the other up the soloist butt" or something like that:)
    Aloha, Jerry
  7. JacoJr

    JacoJr Guest

    Mar 26, 2002
    Decatur GA.
    I think that you are wrong in alot of places. No bass player should ever need more than 4 strings. Jaco never used more than 4 strings, and he is the greatest electric bass player of all time. In order to be a great bass player, all you need is 4 strings, knowledge of chords inside and out, and an origianal idea. Learning to groove and walk should come with the territory.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    A good bassist complements the soloist without "over playing". You need good time, and a keen knowlege of chords and chord structure.

    I don't really agree with the statement "Jaco only needed 4", because, Jaco only had access to four strings. Look what Alain Caron can do with the 6. I believe if Jaco had the chance to play an extended range instrument, and had the option of playing larger, more complex chords, he would have been even more amazing. That is from a soloists point of view.

    I believe that you don't need more than a 4 string to complement soloists, and back up a band. This is the method I use. When I am playing an important role in a tune, and I have an important solo voice, I play with my 6. When I am playing covers, and backing up the band, I use a 4 string. This is all my point of view though.:)
  9. I can't believe you're going to the "jaco only needed 4 strings" arguement. Jaco might have only needed 4 strings, good for him. If Jaco had ever recorded with a 5, 6 or even 7 string, I think the jaco worshippers would have an entirely different opinion.

    Jaco only needs 4, fine. For what I do, I need a 4 and a 5. Simple as that.
  10. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    They play for the song, not their egos.

    Like Blisshead said, I also know a good bassist when I hear one.
  11. submelodic


    Feb 7, 2002
    Seattle, WA
    I think good players

    1 Have a strong sense of note placement relative to the beat
    2 Make interesting note choices
    3 Know how to use space in their playing

    I guess it all comes down to feel. It sounds so simple...
  12. b0nes83


    Dec 14, 2000
    I think a great bassplayer must know his or her theory. peace
  13. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    That is so not true that a bass player should'nt ever need more than 4 strings. A 5 string can do everything your 4 can and then some. And if your into chording/soloing a 6 string bass is pretty much a necessity. Jaco only needed 4 strings is such a bull**** statement. He chose to play a 4 string. And Im pretty sure, that'd he have ripped on a 5 or 6 string had he chose to play one.

    And as far as him being the greatest bass player of all time, that is purly your opinion, not a fact. There are too many truly great bass players out there to say that Jaco is the best. Of course thats just my opinion.
  14. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    I'm not Jaco. No one here is Jaco. Unless you want to be a JACO CLONE for the rest of your playing career, you shouldn't limit your thinking like that. If having more strings isn't your thing, fine, but not even trying out an extended-range instrument, simply because "Jaco didn't do it" is just closed-minded and elitist.

    Jaco died young, so does that mean all bassists should do that too? :rolleyes:
  15. I measure a great bassist by height... after that it's the size of their nose. :D

    Technical prowess, groove, nose length, these things are all great, but what really gets me are they players who do stuff and you don't even notice it's the bass until you've heard it a few times. Harmony and accompaniment... that's the shiznit. I also really have to agree that a good bassist knows how to compliment the soloist. You guys will laugh at me, but I really dig Michael Anthony (Van Halen) as a bassist. He plays with feeling.
  16. I like Mike Anthony's playing too.
    most of the time he's just holding the fort, being supportive, but when he does play an upfront bassline or fill, the note choices are usually pretty good- eg. "Pleasuredome", "Meanstreet", "Push comes to shove", "Man on a mission", "Inside", "beautiful girls" etc.

    back to the points;

    1.) he uses a bass with more than four strings when he doesn't even need 2

    2.) he wears his bass nice and high on the body

    3.) He uses his fingers

    consider Scott Thunes, bassist with Frank Zappa-
    played a P bass, wore it low, and usually played with a pick.
    yet, to quote Rickbass, play along with him- ..good luck and soak your fingers in ice afterwards to relieve the pain!

    other players who defy "rules" 1, 2 and 3= Simon Gallup (The Cure), JJ Burnel (The Stranglers).

    also there's Flea- fingerstyle player, yet plays a 4 usually, and wears it low.
    most people have a high opinion of his playing.

    Jaco never used more than 4 strings
    in a recent Bass Player edition there was a picture of Jaco playing an acoustic 5 string bass that had been custom made for him.
    also there was a pic on this forum of him playing a 5 string, Guild, I think.
    here's a thought- in an interview Jaco said he used his Jazz basses because "they sound good" and "they're real quick- you can play that fretless real fast"-
    maybe if he could have found a 5 or even 6 string (or more :eek: )bass that had the playability and tone he wanted he'd have used that instead....

    to me the number of strings a player uses is irrelevant.

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