Guitar turned Bass Player

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by PaulDouglas, Apr 28, 2012.

  1. PaulDouglas


    Jan 29, 2009
    Uxbridge, MA
    Geezer, Felix, McCartney, Noel it's not a bad thing to switch. Fact is, I am just as comfortable standing in on one as I am the other. I just have a heel of a lot more fun playing Bass which leads to my question: I incorporate a lot of Rhythm Guitar techniques into the Bass riffs. My band almost sounds like a 3-guitar attack only one is me. Is THIS a bad thing? We play Hard Blues and Southern Rock style so it's already riff oriented
  2. FrednBass


    Feb 24, 2012
    No. But some blues requires a very "bassy" kind of technique, so you gotta learn some bass-paterns for that.
  3. Picktastic


    Feb 29, 2012
    If it sounds good its not a bad thing! I recently stated bassing after playing guitar for decades and I am purposefully trying not to play like a guitar, I found using a pick I could play all kinds of cool stuff like a guitar but going fingerstyle makes me play it more like traditional bass
  4. PaulDouglas


    Jan 29, 2009
    Uxbridge, MA
    Thanx, Fred, I DO have my bass chops down; I can ALWAYS use more and run the scales and variations while doodling around the house. I was influenced by Felix Pappalardi (Mountain) from day one back in the late 60's-early 70's so I gravitate to that running riff style. Mel S from Grand Funk used many of the same ideas (common denominator is a Power-Trio band). The other issue is my drummer. He plays beats. He does not accent or transition well, so I find myself having to be his right foot. We have had sound guys not even mix the bass drum to much because of this.
    (He's good friends with my Lead and I can't dump him. My Lead is unbelievable player and an all around good guy so I don't want to upset that cart so much.....)

    And, yes Pick, It seems to me that the bottom line is "Are people coming through the door" and so far the answer is yes. So it must be sounding good. I play mostly finger style. I use thumbpick when the riffs get complicated or I need that "pop" when your mute with the palm and strike with the pick.
  5. Alrod


    Apr 7, 2012
    Some would argue that there is nothing worse than a guitarist who plays bass like it's a guitar player especially in the context of a blues band.

    I also play guitar, and had to train myself to play bass like a real bass player. A drummer and bass player are the foundation. Perhaps if your Drummer heard you in the pocket, he could learn to get better at the kick?
  6. Picktastic


    Feb 29, 2012
    I find that to be true. I'm playing in a blues band right now and being relatively new on the bass coming from a guitar background I have to keep resisting the urge to do too much. Kind of like "woah that rhythm is dope I'm gonna solo over it oh crap i forgot that rhythm was me!"
  7. PaulDouglas


    Jan 29, 2009
    Uxbridge, MA
    That's me.
  8. middy


    Mar 14, 2007
    I played guitar for 20 years before I took up the bass, and I was determined not to sound like a guitarist playing the bass, so I did this:

    1. Started over from fundamentals. I did the exercises and tutorials in books and online for beginning bass players. I played fingerstyle exclusively.

    2. Listened to bass lines. I started concentrating on how bass players construct bass lines when I listened to music. This was enlightening as to how great players like McCartney and Jamerson are.

    3. Learned the groove. Playing in a band, learned to "pump the thump." This was the hardest part for me. A more treble instrument hits the beat in a slightly different place in the pocket. At first, I thought my digital recorder was broken because my basslines sounded off when laying down a track over a drum machine! After many hours with a band and a real drummer I learned how it's done.

    The good part about having guitar experience is already knowing where the notes are on the fretboard and having a head start using a pick. Using a pick with a bass is a slightly different technique than with a guitar though, one that I still need to practice.
  9. Zoa


    Dec 28, 2009
    In general, I would think that having a bass player who plays like a rhythm guitarist would be a bad thing. It will certainly make your band less danceable, and might be contributing to your drummer's issues, especially in transitions. However, I can see some Southern rock where it wouldn't matter so much, and if its working for you, then no one has room to criticize.
  10. M.Mannix3


    Jun 12, 2010
    Geezer played with more of a rhythm guitar style but he made such a tight rhythm section with Bill Ward(the drummer if you didn't know) it didn't really matter because if Tony Iommi was soloing, he would fill the empty sonic space. Redding was part of a power trio, so he also needed to fill in sonic space. In your situation, you already have a rhythm guitarist so I think you might serve the band better if you listen to the drummer and try to help him out as best you can.

    But hey, if it sounds good, don't mess with it.

    Also, if you have trouble with getting lost in the mix, try flatwound strings (like D'Addario Chromes). They have a ton of mid and low-mid frequencies that seem to separate you from the guitars and put you closer to the drums. They should work well with country and blues, but If you are going to slap, they'll sound funny. IMHO flats sound great with a pick

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