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Considering taking up bass

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by JustGeorge, Aug 15, 2005.

  1. JustGeorge


    Aug 15, 2005
    Hey there, everyone.

    I've been playing classical guitar for about eighteen months. I was going to order a custom guitar this month, but lately I've been thinking that I should at least try playing other music styles (and similar instruments) before making a considerable investment like that. So, I decided to postpone the order. Now, since I might be experimenting, I have been thinking about trying bass out, too. Could someone please direct me to some online bass material so that I know what I might be getting into? Also, two more questions:

    1) Are bass skill and guitar skill related? Will having guitar skill make playing bass easier? I'm also asking because, if I play both bass and classical guitar and they require completely different skills, I may not have the dedication to play both instruments as frequently as I feel I should.
    2) Is there a lot of material for bass, and is it possible to play bass alone, without any other instruments? I mean, I really enjoy hearing bass lines in songs, but is it at all possible to play or practice alone? I know that for what I currently play, there's a gigantic pool of available music, and every time I play something alone, it's a blast. I guess I'm just nervous about not being able to enjoy playing alone :meh:
    3) What would you do if you were me?

    Oh, and please, be gentle. I really know nothing about bass and the few articles I found online didn't really tell me what I want to know. Thanks in advance!
  2. I play both guitar and bass, and although I started playing guitar after the bass, i've found that they are mutually benificial to each other. Certainly playing classical guitar requires a great deal of right hand fingering technique, which will help a great deal on bass. Its not too much of an adjustment, just getting used to the thickness and response of the strings, and the larger stretches involved. Tuning is the same as the 4 lowest strings on the guitar, so learning scales, patterns etc shouldnt be an issue, you just have to move up the neck more. Listen to some Jaco Pastorius for an example of some technical and beautiful bass playing that may well appeal to your classical/jazz sensibilites.

    Oh and for an example of bass played solo, listen to portrait of tracy by Jaco. Its what i'm working on at the moment and its beautiful...
  3. JustGeorge


    Aug 15, 2005
    Thank you very much for your reply, I just ordered Jaco's "Word of Mouth" revisited from a local music store :) I'm also very glad you addressed the right-hand issue. That certainly scores a point for bass in my book as the thought of using a pick horrifies me.
  4. Good man! :D I may just add that to my signature...

    Not sure what your musical tastes are, but Stuart Zenders playing on Jamiroquai's first album inspired me to pick it up originally. Well worth a listen, as are any old James Brown records, some seriously funky bass to be heard there.
  5. 43% burnt

    43% burnt an actor who wants to run the whole show

    May 4, 2004
    Bridgeport, CT
    Hello, welcome to TB! This is probably the best online resource for anything bass related. You'll find a wealth of information and helpfull, knowledgeable people here.

    I'd say your in a great position to pick up the bass. I think your knowledge of classical guitar can only benefit you. As said befor the biggest adjustment will be in your fingers. Getting used to the thicker strings, and further stretches between frets.

    I think you'll be suprised just how versatile bass can be. I also think you'll find its a hell of alot of fun to play. I started playing bass because I thought it would be easier than playing guitar. I started getting more into guitar for awhile, and my bass didn't see too much action. But I never strayed too far. I've come back to it full-force. I love it, i had to experiment a little to find my intsrument...but I'm definitely a bass player.

    Playing both comes in handy for writing too. :) If I were you I'd try to pick up a decent used electric, and a practice amp- and start grooving. You can always sell it if you find it's not for you. Good luck! :bassist:
  6. The Nanny

    The Nanny

    Dec 23, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    There are lots of people who start at either bass or guitar and migrate to the other.

    I started bass, and also dabble in guitar. When I play guitar, my guitarist says "you play guitar like a bassist". I asked him what that meant...he said that I know the chords, have good speed etc, but unlike most guitarists I'm in synch too much with the drums...I'm still trying to lay down a groove!!

    The opposite is true. A bassist I used to jam with was a guitarist all his life. He knew the notes on the bass, had speed, great finger style, but I said to him one day "you play bass like a guitarist"...he was listening to the singing and guitarist too much, and driving his drummer batty...he was playing the MELODY of the song and not paying attention to the rhythm.

    If you are coming from classical guitar, you'll have the mechanics down in no time. You'll enjoy the bass for its own sake, but it may take a while...just be patient. Most importantly, however, is to try to switch your "guitarist" mentality to "bassist" mentality. (I'm totally generalizing here, but...) Typical guitarists words: fancy, freeflowing, melodic, dramatic, accentuate, singing, harmony. Typical words in a bassists vocab: groove, beat, rhythm, thump, drums, pocket, foundation, root, glue, stability, consistency, steadiness.

    Its a different mindset. Welcome!

    To answer your questions:

    1) Are bass skill and guitar skill related...mostly, yes.
    2) Is there a lot of ...definite yes to all of these, although you'll find a difference in sheer volume of stuff...bass sheet music is more sparse, for example...and when you walk into a music store, the knowledge in the bass section may be hit and miss...the bass community tends to be tighter knit though, and willing to share its resources (for example...a guitarist will take the secrets of 'his sound' to his grave...most bassists would publish it for all the world to see given the opportunity).
    3) What would you do if you were me...I think classical guitar and bass are more closely linked than standard guitar playing and bass, so I think you'll find it alot of fun
  7. I played classical guitar for around 4 years before I switched to bass (still play a little C G now, it's always something you can pick back up). I like both, but i love bass more because I feel more natural on it and feel like my music just flows more on the bass than on the guitar, but that's just personal preference. The stuff I learned then in my guitar days helped me tons with my bass skill, such as theory, notes, scales, chords, etc. In fact you'll be able to pick up bass so much faster than a regular beginner on bass because you at least know music bassics. As stated, it takes time getting used to the neck and larger strings, but it doesn't take long to feel "at home" on them (actually, now whenever i pick up a guitar i feel "squished" from playing on bass necks so often). And it's okay to play 2 or more instruments, in fact many of our fellow TBers play more than one. It actually expands your knowledge of music, because you learn the different roles of each and how they work together.
  8. JustGeorge


    Aug 15, 2005
    Once again, thanks, everyone, for all the helpful advice :) If I do make up my mind to try out bass, I'll probably get a used bass, like someone suggested, when I start at uni in september. Skimmed through Jamiroquai's "Emergency on Planet Earth" album (have a few of their CDs), too, HotTubesGroove, and paid attention to the bass. I couldn't believe I never paid attention to it before, sounds very nice :)

    Thanks again!
  9. You're welcome :)