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Has playing bass helped you also become a better guitarist?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by MakoMan, Jun 5, 2014.

  1. MakoMan


    Oct 17, 2011
    Ottawa, Canada
    I ask this question because lately I find myself longing to go back and play a bit of guitar. First of all I am one who freely admits I started playing bass because I was a pretty mediocre guitarist (and I am being kind LOL!). Bass was a revelation for me, and while I am still not John Entwistle, it has allowed me to go further with an instrument than I ever could before.
    Lately I have found an urge to start playing guitar again. And despite not having played a guitar since I switched to bass 2-1/2 years ago I find I can pick up a guitar and play it better than I ever could when I did play regularly. For one thing I have much better timing and sense of rhythm. And secondly, I find myself naturally fingerpicking, which I never did when I played guitar. I still remember all the chords and most of the patterns. but everything just seems cleaner and more natural now than my previous ham-fisted guitar playing. I still kinda suck, but I suck less...
    I have no urge to switch back from bass, but it is nice to pick up a guitar to play around the campfire now and then. Also plan to occasionally switch from bass to 12 string for a couple of songs for the acoustic duo I play in. It should give us a little more versatility on our playlist.
    Anyway, I was curious as to whether others have found that learning to play the bass has also led them back to guitar.
  2. I never played guitar. Fell in love with bass and that's all I played. Mostly classic rock and blues with a bit of other things in the mix. Guitar didn't call to me. Thinking of taking it up now at the ripe old age of 56!
    Sartori likes this.
  3. :woot: A better lover maybe. A better guitarist? Not so much.
  4. spanndrew


    Oct 14, 2013
    Atlanta, Ga
    It did for me.
  5. Geri O

    Geri O Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    Never looked twice at a guitar...

    I'm a bassist, as well as keyboards, drum, and all the brass instruments.

    But I never had any interest in guitar. Which is a good thing, because I couldn't play it if I wanted to. I just don't get it.
  6. I would say no. Just the other day, I had a chance to noodle around on an acoustic guitar for the first time in years. It was the most awkward thing. No desire to go back whatsoever.

    One thing I can say, though, is being a former (as in way way back) guitarist did help me develop my bass-playing skills fairly quickly since I took up the bass a couple of years ago at the age of 55.
  7. Smooth_bass88

    Smooth_bass88 Groove it Supporting Member

    Does playing football make you a better baseball player?
    Dug2 likes this.
  8. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    I have been playing guitar for pretty much as long as I have played bass, both are essential to the other, IMO.
    zenrad likes this.
  9. MakoMan


    Oct 17, 2011
    Ottawa, Canada
    You'd have to ask Deion Sanders...
    raventepes and StuartV like this.
  10. ddnidd1

    ddnidd1 Supporting Member

    Any time you have a better understanding of another instrument, particularly another instrument in the type of band you play in, the better you can work With that player and understand what works and what doesn't between the two instruments.

    Hint: You have to play together and complement one another.
  11. Smooth_bass88

    Smooth_bass88 Groove it Supporting Member

    Or Bo Jackson...
    raventepes likes this.
  12. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    Very interesting statement and one I'm finding to be true.
    MVE likes this.
  13. bluesdogblues


    Nov 13, 2007
    (Learning to) play guitar helps me play bass better.
    Same case with me learning other musical instruments than guitar/bass.

    Oh come on,...guitar and bass are very close,... is not like football and baseball.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2014
  14. maxiegrant

    maxiegrant Bassist in Transition

    Nov 26, 2007
    Sellersburg, IN
    I never quit playing guitar though I don't much these days, I have a Bass VI so I can guitar whenever I want.

    However, I couldn't say which was more crucial to the other. I compose with a guitar sometimes, and flesh out things I compose with bass on a guitar. I also sing and play keyboard and have played upright bass. They're all just variations on each other to me.
  15. Bass and guitar have way more in common then football and baseball. On a 4 string bass you have the same 4 strings a guitar does just at a different scale lenght.

    I played bass first, 3 years into it I picked up guitar. I enjoy playing guitar, I play guitar about as much as bass now but I never have played guitar in a band and never think I will play guitar better then bass.
    bluesdogblues likes this.
  16. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    I dabbled briefly with guitar before taking up bass but it was never my thing. Playing bass has instead gotten me more interested in playing the drums.
  17. I'm not a guitarist at all ... I'm a saxophonist and I find that my sax solos have improved a lot since I've been practicing bass. Perhaps it is the particular style of bass I've been studying - the Tumbao used over Cuban and Salsa type music. I notice that now my sax solos seem more focused and more interesting - and more locked into what the rhythm section is doing.
  18. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    I think there is benefit to playing other instruments other than bass if it helps expand your understanding of how all the pieces for together. In other words a guitarist might possibly appreciate groove and pocket more if he/she had time in on bass. This philosophy is implemented by some employers who make sure employees spend time in other departments/positions so they have a greater sense of the whole. Can't go wrong with that, it reduces the tendency to individuate.
  19. Helaskold

    Helaskold 100% Mediocre

    Jul 22, 2012
    Austin, TX
    I've noticed that it did. I generally have to get my bearings with a pick every time I play guitar but my coordination seems cleaner. Not that I really bother picking up a guitar very often.
  20. Space Pickle

    Space Pickle

    Apr 15, 2013

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