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Guitar players as bassists

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by ryco, Jul 30, 2005.

  1. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
    I've always liked the way guitar players play bass. They seem to have a really free approach as opposed to being foundation oriented. They tend to be more melodic and when they start breaking into little standard guitar licks.....I dunno - it just sounds cool.

    I don't play guitar at all except for your very basic "spider" chords. Y'know, the knucklebusters at the headstock. I've always played bass so my method has always been rooted in foundation stuff: good time, play (fairly) simple, solid note selection, etc. With guitarists it's like that stuff is all out the window.

    I wonder how much of it has to do with finger strength as well. 'Guitar bassists' just sound kinda sloppy like they have no finger muscles, yet they have a fluidity. I feel I sound like a 'guitar bassist' after I haven't played for a week. I used to take my bass everywhere. Now I don't take it on trips and vacations (well sometimes) and when I get back my playing is a little wobbly. It's fun to let the chops slide a little and build 'em back up.

    Some examples of the feel/sound I'm trying to describe:
    Ronnie Wood - early Jeff Beck stuff "Truth" & "Beckola"
    David Gilmore
    Jimi Hendrix - "Experienced", "Axis" & "Ladyland"

    I'm not saying this is a style I would try to emulate or a goal to achieve or anything. I like being a foundation player and I love the role bass plays in making music. Just something different to listen to for ideas. OK, I'm back to earth now.

    Opinions or other examples?

    PS > This is NOT about bass guitarists!
  2. oldfclefer

    oldfclefer low ended

    May 5, 2005
    Southern Ohio
    Guit@r!$t$ playing bass, inevitably sound like what they are: out of their element. There are cases where guit@r!$t$ actually take the time to learn the bass instrument, but for the most part, they not only can't find the pocket, they don't even look for it because they've never had to.
  3. Petary791


    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    I think guitarists are [normally] pretty bad bassists. They don't know what bass is all about and they trail off playing only above the 12th fret.

    That's just my opinion though.
  4. Being both a guitarist and bassist can improve your playing on both fronts, but a guitarist playing bass is a fish out of water.
  5. Tompskij


    Jul 23, 2005
    I go to music school and most of my classmates are guitarists. When they play bass they tend to play lots of stuff above the 12th fret and try to play as fast as they can...hehe. Sounds quite "sloppy". Sure, they can play melodies and stuff, but doesen't know how to groove. I like grooving around, playing some chords, put a little slap here and there, play a nice little melody....yeah :bassist:
  6. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    I like Joe Satriani's bass parts on his studio recordings. He's not trying to outdo Stu Hamm.

    Charlie Hunter comes up with some really cool basslines, but he's a mutant.
  7. Bro! It's all about the GROOVE! The POCKET! Whether you play amazing stuff above the 12th fret or not doesn't matter if you can't anchor the band. Most guitarist I know who play bass don't get it, IMHO.
  8. +1, especially for adding in "normal."

    A guitarist who actually learns bass and well, actually becomes a bassist, makes a good bassist. A good guitarist who doesn't become a bassist, may not play in the pocket, but they sure do one thing better than most of us: They play the root A LOT. :D
  9. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    I know what you mean, whenever my guitarist buddy picks up my bass, it sounds nice in a non-bass sort of way. Because, the bass is such a nice sounding instrument, so to hear someone who is a very competent soloist doing his thing on the bass, well, it's a nice sound. Sure, there's usually a lot of excess fret noise and string buzzing due to terrible technique, and when it comes to GROOVING he simply lacks something in that department. But just nice jazzy solos, it's fun to hear.
  10. yeah, my friend is amazing at guitar and he loves playing my bass (OMG LOW B STRING I HAVE TO HIT IT AS MUCH AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE SEE HOW HEAVY THIS CHARLIE PARKER SONG SOUNDS WITH A LOW B STRING!?)

    then he breaks into some yngwie in like the 22nd position and i'm like ok can i have my bass back?
  11. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    I'm going actually stand on the side of guitarists bassists are interesting. I feel that a lot of bassist feel threatened when a guitarist picks up their bass because they always get crap for how easy the bass is, etc. And a lot of them aren't rhythmically inclined, some of them are. Regardless, they usually take a somewhat melodic approach. I don't think they "suck," I do actually think it usually makes for some interesting bass playing. Look at Geezer from Sabbath, or even Geddy Lee from Rush.... guitarists. Geddy to me always sounds like a guitarist on bass... well, not always, but he's often more on top of the beat it seems.
  12. Tingly


    Jul 16, 2005
    Yonkers, NY
    This issue is certainly not a new one.

    In my opinion, there is no question that my guitar playing improves my bass playing, and vice versa.
  13. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    Ace Frehley, who is a very underrated guitar player IMO (at least pointing to his glory days with Kiss) recorded the bass tracks for his first solo album and also for some Kiss songs. Have you heard "Torpedo Girl" from "Unmasked"? After the drums kick off the song, the bass enters with a really funky riff that clearly isn't played by Gene Simmons. That's Ace. Check it out! I think he also recorded bass for "2000 man".

    Randy Rhoads also recorded some bass tracks in early Quiet Riot works.
  14. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    This is lovely, but not Technique related. Moved to Miscellaneous.
  15. Futurebass


    Jun 22, 2005
    Dave Gilmour played some great bass on the Syd Barrett solo albums and also on a lot of Floyd stuff. Keith Richards played bass on "Sympathy for the Devil" which is a hell of a bassline. Lou Reed erased the original bass parts on "Street Hassle" and replaced them with his bad playing. Hendrix was good sometimes on bass other times not so good.
  16. eldave777


    May 24, 2005
    I've almost always played both. I treat them as seperate instruments. I really threw myself into the bass and learned what not to do. I fully respect both instruments and love them both. If I had to make a decision which to quit playing I would quit guitar.
  17. bluemonk


    Dec 17, 2002
    What about McCartney? His guitar background is often referred to as the basis for his melodic approach to bass. Does his groove pocket suffer?
  18. I have a friend who started as a drummer, and he is excellent. About 20 years ago, he started playing guitar. He has a variety of different instruments squirreled away in his studio and a couple weeks ago he was playing bass for a gig with a pickup band. He did a great job. After the first set I told him I was really impressed and he told me that it was the first time he had played bass in public. IMO, it all depends on how you approach the instrument.
  19. Ethon


    Jan 25, 2003
    Akron, Ohio
    Gilmour. David Gilmour.
  20. daveonbass


    Apr 5, 2001
    Waupun, WI
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland, Hofner, Rotosound
    Keith Richards played bass on a lot of the Stones recordings, too...

    IMO, the local guys who switch over from guitar to bass are usually easy to spot. Play bass with a pick & overplay.

    I think there's something about the mental approach to the two instruments that is fundamentally different. If you wanna be the lead guitar player it's a whole 'nother ballgame than holding down the pocket. Now, our band has a kinda "dedicated" rhythm guitar player who's awesome - he locks in with the drummer & I very well to kinda be like the "third" honorary member of our rhythm section... But guitar players that are GOOD and happy to just play rhythm are few & far between. I have a feeling he wouldn't be a very good bass player, either.

    Not to say it can't be done, though. Just that in most cases the approach is different from a guitar player with a bass than a dedicated bass player. Which is probably the difference you're hearing that originally started this thread.