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Guitar for a bass player?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by el murdoque, Feb 27, 2014.

  1. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    I figured that my bassplay can actually improve if i picked up playing guitar. My technique on the bass is sufficient for what i do now and i feel that i need more theoretical knowledge, especially chords. For me, it's a lot faster and easier to achieve this with a new instrument.
    But i'm totally undecided on what kind of guitar to pick - electric, semiacoustic, concert or western .. right now, i'm leaning towards nylon strings because these guitars seem to have a wider neck and might make it easier for me to change. But i'm sure there are a few guys here that had more than a decade of playing bass prior to picking up guitar that can share their experiences ?
  2. TrickPanda


    Feb 2, 2014
    I don't think that it makes a lot of difference, your fingers soon work out what they need to do. So try a few and go for what feels right.
  3. oysteivi

    oysteivi Supporting Member

    Aug 10, 2013
    Trondheim, Norway
    I'd pick electric, so I could rock out with some heavy effects when I'm bored with practicing.
  4. Mosfed


    Apr 21, 2013
    Mont Blanc
    Partner - CCP Pedals
    I would not go for a nylon string classical. I would either go with a simple acoustic (if you want some lovely Martin copies at amazing prices check out Sigma) or with a simple electric - like a Mexi-made Fender tele or strat.

    For me - there is no question that playing guitar helps my bass playing.
  5. Martin89


    Nov 8, 2010
    Glendale, AZ
    Unofficial Endorser: Ibanez, D'Addario, Zoom
    Most acoustics tend to have a little more depth to the neck profile which can make things easier(doesn't feel so much like you're holding a toothpick) and Les Pauls also have a nice thick neck if you go the electric route. Acoustic is nice because it doesn't require purchasing amps etc. and the fixed bridge and angled headstock makes for pretty stable tuning and nice sustain similar to bass features(note same features on a Les Paul). If you go with an electric I would still look for a fixed bridge(SG, Telecaster, most semi-hollows, etc) because tremolo's can be pretty frustrating if you're just starting out. Learning guitar will definitely help and I wish you the best, it's a lot of fun!
  6. sinbad7


    Dec 17, 2010
    I started on bass and then picked up guitar also just for fun. I don't think it will really help with bass a whole lot because you play them very differently. It might help your speed a bit but that's probably it. On the other hand, I usually write songs for my band on guitar and then go back and write my bass line, and when my guitarist writes a song, I tend to learn it on guitar then write and learn my bass line. So I don't think it'll help your playing much at all, but you might find it help in other ways. That being said, I would definitely go with a nice electric guitar.
  7. ljholland


    Oct 19, 2013
    I'm a 30+ year guitar player that's learning bass. I would pick a guitar based on what you might actually get to play with others. The reason I say this is that the guitar will likely become a closet queen as you won't have a lot of motivation to learn to play without something to push you. For me, learning to play bass has a practical application as I can sometimes fill in at the open mic night. Thus, I have a good motivation (not looking stupid in public!!).

    With regard to nylon strings specifically, a nylon is very much a solo player instrument best suited for home use as it lacks projection unless amplified.

    I don't think that neck width would be a factor in this decision. I have almost 20 guitars and they're all different.....as is my bass. Once you pick up an axe, your hands adapt. I might avoid some of the very narrow necked guitars like Ernie Balls or Rickenbachers....they're tight for even a guitarist.

    I'd just suggest getting the guitar you think you'll like to play because of the style. If your influences are Strat players...go for any used MIM strat. A Classic Vibe tele is a fine guitar that can cover all styles of music. If Les Pauls or 335s do it, most of the second tier Epiphones are nice (the first tier Chinese models are hit or miss). I usually steer players to PRS's SE line of guitars as they are probably the best bang for the buck in terms of quality and sound.

    And by the way....bass playing has certainly helped my guitar playing. I think my timing is a bit better...but I think more time playing any instrument is always helpful.
  8. wild4oldcars


    Jan 22, 2012
    Garner, NC
    Playing guitar didn't help my bass playing. It did, however, help me to fit in a context with my bass playing, and help me understand a song better. Also, it's a million times easier writing basslines to guitar parts than the other way around. Much easier for comprehensive songwriting.
  9. pklima


    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    If you want to learn another instrument that will help you both hear and visualize theory, the best answer by far is "piano".

    But if a guitar is what you want and you're not planning to use it to play live with a band, then nylon-string classical is a good option. More room between the strings and you don't need to use a pick.
  10. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    I agree that playing guitar can help one to become a better bassist - just as playing bass can help one to become a better guitarist. But in terms of the particular style of guitar you choose, it's strictly a matter of the styles/genres of music you prefer to play.

    For your primary purposes, i.e. learning applied harmony & chordal theory, any guitar will suffice. The important thing is the number of strings and tuning of the strings, relative to the fretboard.

  11. Ronbassman


    Jun 1, 2011
    Get a Stratocaster.
  12. higain617


    Sep 12, 2013
    Those 2014 Gibson SGJ's are great for $499. The one I tried screamed right off the shelf.
  13. I dislike electrics for songwriting.......

    Actually the only reason I ever liked electrics was because I could go Carlos Santana on my self when the need arose.

    and generally speaking the necks/frets tend to be "faster".

    I personally have big hands and have try out a lot of guitars until I find one I'm comfortable with and is a joy to play.

    I don't care what anybody says...when you have sausage fingers there are some chords that are not going to be on your play list......unless you find a suitable guitar.

    Oddly enough , the more I play bass, the more I want to keep a guitar around to side-noodle.

    I have a 6 string acoustic.....(steel strings) which I got ages ago for a sweet deal where I got it for almost peanuts.

    It's a nice guitar but I simply don't like playing it that much.
    The frets and neck are too cramped for me.

    I will be going the nylon classical route in awhile...with the right mics,amp and pedals you can make it sound like anything you want...as other posters have pointed out in threads..

    Personally I find that when you jump between instruments
    that are not similar you have to go through an "adaptation" phase all over again....

    I tend to go back and forth from bass to keyboard....fingers are always having to re-adapt.
  14. I'm picking up a cheap acoustic so I can familiarize myself with those cool jazz chords I'm playing underneath.
  15. gretzke


    Feb 7, 2014
  16. bass geetarist

    bass geetarist

    Jul 29, 2013
    Lots of good advice above, but I generally agree with MysticMichael in that you should choose the type of guitar that suits your preference in style of music. This will make it more fun and maybe even practical one day.

    I was a bass player first, but played classical guitar off and on for a long time and, more recently, electric guitar. The string spacing and fingerstyle on the classical was easiest for me to adapt to, but if you're doing this to learn something new, then you don't necessarily need to go with the easiest option.
  17. BboogieXVII


    Feb 4, 2013
    It sort of depends on what styles you are likely to concentrate on. I used to have an Ibanez hollow body that I really enjoyed, used a line 6 amp and got a good range of sounds from that setup.
  18. Bocete

    Bocete My E string is 36 1/4" long Supporting Member

    Sep 30, 2006
    I followed the same train of thought recently and bought a 30" scale 7 string. Still felt like a toy.
  19. I have an archtop 7 and it's about the size of my Rob Allen basses.
  20. if your going to start playing guitar you'll soon get one of everything. If I had it over i would only buy a quality guitar. If you have the money a nice martin steel acoustic with pickup, then a nice amercian standard strat or tele. You can plug these into your bass rig and buy a guitar amp later. If you like gibson go an SG as you can play up high easirer. All my guitars have low action and are easy to play.