Guitarists who are good bass players...

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Rob W, Dec 18, 2000.

  1. I'm wondering what you all think of certain players who were essentially guitar players turned full time or part time bass players.

    My initial idea for this thread came from watching the Genesis concert video, "Live: The Way We Walk". While listening to the video :), I started noticing just how decent Daryl Stuermer was as a bass player. I mean his carreer was built as a top rate guitarist and has also done some great guitar work with Phil Collins and Tony Banks on their solo projects, but his live bass playing abilities with Genesis are really quite respectable. I listen to him play on that stuff and think to myself there are a lot weaker "bass players" out there who are given much more respect for whatever reason. I think maybe guys like Stuermer are often overlooked because they are known more as guitar players. It doesn't mean that he doesn't play some tasty parts (and no, he doesn't just play exactly what Mike Rutherford did in the studio versions).

    In fact there are all kinds of guitarists turned bass players (or part time bass players) that have done some great work : Noel Redding, Ian Anderson, Steve Howe, Paul McCartney, etc...

    So why does it seem that guys who were known originally as guitar players aren't often given as much respect as people who are only known for playing bass?

  2. ron wood from the stones did a pretty good job with jeff beck in the seventies
  3. I just think that many guitar players who convert, totally or partly, are often taken as guitar players, not bass players... and they often don´t deserve more respect than they do.

    but I don´t think Paul McCartney needs more respect... ;)
  4. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Joe Osborn & Carol Kaye?
    Denny Laine with Wings...
    Hamish Stuart w/ AWB & McCartney.

    Whenever I hear/see a guitarist playing bass, I'm checking out their "philosophy". That is, are they merely playing "guitaristic" lines on a bass or are they playing "music" & interacting within the rhythm section.

    ...whaddaya think? Over the years, have more guitarists or more upright players picked up the electric bass as their ax of choice?
  5. I'm not sure. I started on guitar then added bass (I wouldn't say I necessarily "switched" to bass, although I suppose I consider myself more of a bass player than a guitarist). After that I picked up the double bass and became classically trained - now that's mostly what I do. I think my situation may be more of a likely scenario these days than in the earlier days of the electric bass.

    Let's see, Carol Kaye, Joe Osborn, Paul McCartney, Gene Simmons, Mike Rutherford, Geddy Lee, Greg Lake, etc, are all converted guitar players.

    On the other side, you have guys like James Jamerson who started on double bass. I actually can't think of any others offhand, but I know they're were probably lots. Does anybody else know of some other double bass players that converted largely to electric?

    It's starting to seem to me that there's probably a huge number of electric bass players that are now legends who were originally guitar players. Having said that, my original thought behind this thread was to discuss somewhat established guitar players who made good on bass.
  6. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Largely electric, now-
    Steve Swallow played URB prior to the electric bass; Bob Cranshaw also played URB before picking up the electric.

    ...historically, & you know this, the Fender bass was viewed as a bastard instrument by the establishment. No seriuos URB player would touch one. Too, the mere design was more accomodating for guitarists(the Fender was held & "played" like a guitar).

    I started on electric bass in '72; a year later, I picked up the guitar...4 years later, I made a 1/2-assed stab at the upright(translation: I bought one!). :)
  7. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Other guitarists who have played some good bass:

    Pete Townshend (check out the Thunderclap Newman album)
    Keith Richards
    Jerome Harris
    Steve Winwood
    Stephen Stills
    Hamish Stuart and Alan Gorrie of AWB (they took turns swapping off on lead and bass)
    Ed King
    Buddy Guy

    Some who who may have only done it once but ended up on a famous record:

    Lonnie Mack (Doors' "Roadhouse Blues")
    Shuggie Otis (Zappa's "Peaches En Regalia")

    How about a saxophone player who also plays killer bass?

    Wilton Felder
    Andrew White III
  8. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Charlie Hunter is a very good, tasteful bass player. All the more amazing that he can play guitar at the same time.

    Mark King also happens to be a great guitarist and drummer.

    Brian Bromberg and John Patitucci spend a lot of time in treble clef; do they count?

    Mike Rutherford is actually a converted bassist; he had to take over guitar duties when the excellent Steve Hackett left the band.
  9. I'm not quite sure where Mike fits in. He's one guy who has truly stradled the fence over the years. He actually was a guitarist as a school boy and even in the early Genesis years he probably played just about as much guitar as bass - partially with the aid of Taurus bass pedals and partly due to the fact that they would often go off for long quiet stretches with no bass, just lots of 12 string guitars. I sometimes wonder if that's part of the reason Hackett left - Rutherford was playing a lot of the main guitar parts anyway while Hackett was relegated to the "weird noises" department, which is actually what I kind of liked about him. :)

    In the later days of Genesis, the album credits would usually read "Michael Rutherford - Guitars" which technicaly included bass, but that always kind of bugged me that he didn't credit bass separately. Maybe it was to contrast the early album credits which listed absolutely every sound on the record!

    Anyway, Mike Rutherford is certainly one of the best guitarist/bassists around - although I secretly admit to myself that Daryl Stuermer is probably a litle better (but he's not the composer Rutherford is).
  10. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Steumer has played Fusioneer Jean Luc Ponty, right? Somehow, I don't see/hear Rutherford being able to pull that off...
  11. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
    Jack Bruce played Double bass before switching to electric. He also plays guitar, cello,harmonica and piano, but obviously best known for his electric bass playing.
  12. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    As I read in an interview with a guitarist one time(Doh! Can't remember who!) 'Woodie should have stayed with bass. He was a better bassplayer than he is a guitarist.'

    Which reminds me of one of my favorite jokes! :)

    What do you call a rock band without a lead guitarist?

  13. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Lenny Kravitz is a pretty good bass player also. How about the Spinal Tap song "Big Bottom" where they all play bass?
  14. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...some other cats that started on URB & switched(primarily)to the gadget bass-
    1)Alphonso Johnson
    2)Paul Jackson
    3)John B. Williams
  15. louloomis


    Dec 28, 2004
    FYI....Mike Rutherford was originally a guitarist, not a bassist. He assumed the bass duties during the inception of Genesis, but continued to write on the guitar and play live and record with 12 string guitar as the guitar was his original instrument.

    Later, when Hackett left, he just did more guitar playing, especially 6 string guitar playing.

    During the early days of Genesis, I think Gabriel may have even been the drummer or something like that - I forget. I do know the roles had not yet been shaken out.

    Same thing goes for McCartney and the Beatles - bassist out of necessity.

  16. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    Speaking of McCartney he has this guitar/bass player in his current band that plays both very well, he assumes bass when Paul plays piano or guitar, and plays guitar when Paul plays bass but I don't know his name, can someone help me out?
  17. karrot-x

    karrot-x Banned

    Feb 21, 2004
    Omicron Persei 8
    Someone that I have recently started to enjoy. Ben Kenney, ex The Roots guitarist now turned into the new bassist for Incubus. He has amazing chops, great musical abilities and just that 'yeah, he looks like a bassist' vibe.

    ....not to mention he uses the Boogie

  18. louloomis


    Dec 28, 2004
    He used to (and probably still does) have a guy in the band called "Wix" which I think was derived from his last name ("Wickens", I think - but don't hold me to it). Sorry I can't help more....

  19. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    Wow! No Prince?
    Also, Randy Hope Taylor (Incognito - bass and Jeff Beck - guitar)
    Stu Zender (he started on guitar and played guitar on Omar last album)
  20. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Woodchuck, you took the words out of my mouth! Prince is at the the top of my list of guitarists who are great bassists. Since r&b, funk is my foundation, Prince is at the top of my list, even ahead of Paul Mccartney. I would also add Ray Parker jr., Phil Upchurch, and George Johnson as guitarists who are quite handy on bass. I would also add Larry Graham as a bassist, who is pretty good on guitar!