Have Bassist other skills then a Guitar player?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by zack01, Nov 4, 2004.

  1. zack01


    Aug 3, 2002
    Mabye a stupid question......

    Is it harder for a guitar player to change to bass....then the other way?

    Are there any special skill you need to have to be a good bassplayer?
  2. zack01


    Aug 3, 2002
    I just read this thread "Perhaps they can play bass, but they are NOT bassists! "

    For me a bassplayer is a guy/girl who can play bass good...then if he is also is good on guitar..then he is both bassplayer and guitarplayer....
  3. Dynna


    Oct 23, 2004
    Here are a few things to ponder...

    Bass is an easy instrument to play. It is a terribly HARD instrument to play well. There are issues of time, taste, composition, simplicity, and solidity that simply do not exist in the guitar player's realm. The guitar player's function is TOTALLY different than the bass player's.

    To that end, I've always said that if you're part of a band that has a crappy guitar player(and the bassist and drummer are fine), then you have a band with a crappy guitar player. If you have a band with a crappy bass player(or drummer for that matter), then you just have a crappy BAND.

    I also think that it's far easier for a bass player to switch to guitar. He's already strong, can reach the chords, plus, if he's any good as a bassist, he already knows how to play what a song calls for. He may have to work on guitar soloing, but if he's started with developing his 'musical' senses as a bass player, then he's off to a good start as a guitar player.

    I'm an actual bassist who's played guitar for longer than bass, but my head is wired for bass.
  4. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    I think it is easier for a guitar player to learn bass (in a rock context) than the other way around. The average rock bass line is simple; no solos, root notes, etc.

    Bass is as hard you make it, same as guitar; except the immediate learning process is harder (chords, pick control, navigating the B string). The hardest thing to learn on both is good taste.
  5. andruca


    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    It happens that some times I stop playing bass for about a week and when I come back, I need some hours to recover the correct playing (I've played bass for 16 years now). This doesn't seem to happen with guitar. I've spent more than an year without even picking up a guitar and I still can play absolutely ok as soon as I pick one up (played guitar for two years prior to becoming a bassist) and I improve my playing even not practicing (ok, I exercise my bass skills everyday). Anyway, what I mean is that when I pick a guitar it is such an easy instrument to play for me.
  6. A bassist can play some guitar if they know simple pwoer chrods, and a guitarist can play simple bass. But once you get up to the faster, slap and pop stuff, I'd say bass becomes a lot harder.
  7. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    At the risk of being unpopular, I find bass a lot easier than guitar.

    I don't think like a guitarist any more after playing bass pretty much exclusively for the last few years. Every now and then I'll pick up one of my guitars and muck around with some jazz progressions but it sounds forced.

    Give a guitarist a bass for a couple of months and he will make a very passable bassist. I don't think it really works the other way around.
  8. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    Well, I am a bassist, fist and foremost. I also double on keys. However, put a guitar in my hands, and I feel completely stupid. I know about 4-5 chords, and absolutely no lead. I can't deal with the feeling that I'm playing on razor blades! And they're all crammed together so tightly. Gives me respect for guitarists and what they do, but I have some great guitar patches on my ES6, and when I fire them up, I can actually think like a guitarist. Just can't make the transition to the guitar from bass. I do play both bass and keyboards at the same time, though, and I've gotten pretty comfortable doing so. It's actually kinda the same as playing two hands on the keys, but you turn your left hand over and play the bass line on the bass instead of the keys. Not so hard, if you think of it that way... :D
  9. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    Oh, I've also heard bassists that have been taught by guitarists. They don't think like bass players; if they actually do a real bassline, it usually sounds mechanical and forced. If left to their own devices, the basslines that result usually sound like a counter-melody faux lead. In my experience, they also play "on top" of the beat, rather than on it, or "laid back" a hair behind it. Just my opinion, what do I know anyway...?
  10. Mark Gollihur

    Mark Gollihur Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 19, 2000
    Gloucester County, NJ
    Owner/President, Gollihur Music LLC
    I have varying opinions on this. It's hard not to wear your allegiance on your sleeve.

    Bass is like Othello (the game) - easy to learn, takes a lifetime to master.

    I feel that the correct instrument eventually finds you. Most of the guitarists I know SHOULD be guitarists, and I definitely should be a bassist. I think that bass players are, generally speaking, bigger picture thinkers, whereas guitarists are micromanagers.

    However, there's a lot more subtlety in bass playing than guitarists can generally give us credit for (because they don't understand it, since it's not part of their instrument's vocabulary). Whereas the guitarists I've known aspire to play solid technique with metronome-like precision, the bass player has options to play ahead of, dead-on, or behind the beat - all of which can have profound effects on the entire band (good AND bad). Also, not just what you play, but what you DON'T play, can be very influential in the feel, mood, etc. The impact of not just where a note begins, but where it ends, is a highly underrated and misunderstood concept. The bass player's note choices can drive the song's harmonic structure entirely, but in a very "in the back door, through the kitchen" sort of way.

    I think that all bassists are, by definition, control freaks. We have almost complete control over the song's groove, harmonic structure, feel, etc - and they guitarist and drummer have no idea. It's all about power. :smug:

    A talented and well-versed guitarist recently made a comment to my father (also a bassist, AH Bob Gollihur ;) ) which I'll repeat here - amazingly enough, a guitarist who gets it:

    "The easy thing about bass is that you only have to play one note. The hard thing about bass is, you only get one note."
  11. meh, im being taught by a guitarist. but i dont think that makes any difference. well, i guess since hes been playing since 20 years before i was born could have something to do with it :rolleyes:

    anywho, both bass and guitar have their own hard and easy concepts. i personally think bass takes a bit more finesse and concentration than guitar.

  12. To answer your second question being a solid bassists involves a entirely different mindset
    You must be a TEAM PLAYER regardless of what style is being played without that then the music environment around you will purely fail
  13. Mudfuzz


    Apr 3, 2004
    I really think this is true with all instruments [and things] not just bass; take Andres Segovia, he petty much invented classical guitar playing and as far as I know no one has surpassed him, or Hendrix. Plus I have had the misspleasure of hearing WAY too many bad guitarists:scowl:
  14. Special skill that most guitarists don't understand: rhythm.

    I handed my guitarist a bass about a month ago and told him to just play a simple I - V country type groove with our drummer while I sang. He thought he was doing it fine, but the drummer and I are both looking at each other like 'what he hell is he doing?' The timing and feel were totally off to both of us - not a lot, but enough - but the guitarist playing the instrument didn't notice a problem.

    I think bass is an incredibly easy instrument to pick up and learn the basics of. That's when it draws you in all of a sudden and you start to realize how complex it is.
  15. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    It really depends on what you're using it for. If you're going to do it absolutely solo, they're both incredibly hard to do so. If you've got vocals in there too, guitar suddenly drops down in difficulty. The problem is that guitars are soloist instruments, they can be played in ensembles, alone, or playing the melody overtop of the band. The bass was never really intended to do that, so you have to MAKE it a solo instrument with sheer effort, talent, and luck.

    Even so, playing in just a general rock setting requires a totally different skill set for guitar and bass. It's rare that you see someone who can double with a lot of effectiveness on both, and usually, it's 'cause they've been doing it since before you've been born.
  16. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    I'll have to agree with Gov there- the experience level has a lot to do with it. For someone who has just started playing an instrument, hearing a virtuoso makes one want to say "How is that possible?" Take the same virtuoso and have him play for someone with 25+ years of experience, he'll probably figure it out. Then he'll transcribe it, then he'll learn to play it on every other instrument he plays. This is not meant to be a knock on younger or newer players, it's just that when you've been around for a long time, things start to jell a whole lot easier. If you have a well-grounded foundation in music, including theory, you hear things through different ears. Some people "get it" quicker than others, as well. For a while after I started to play bass, I would constantly be "on top". After Vernon sat me down with a metronome and started and stopped it a few times, I saw what he meant. Now my time is vastly improved, and I have a whole different concept of "Time is NOT a magazine!"
  17. The Bass player has to have the "GROOVE" baby!!!

    Anymore Questions?
  18. Bad Brains

    Bad Brains Banned

    Jan 7, 2004
    Detroit, michigan
    They are both different instruments.

    If I have been playing guitar for as long as I have been playing bass, then I would be at the same level of guitar skills that I currently am with my bass skills.
  19. In my experience, guitarists don't groove like bassists and bassists don't lead like guitarists.

    That is to say, a guitarist playing bass often doesn't pay as much attention to the drumming and building a solid bond, even in straight 8th note rock. And they aren't to blame, because they essentially play guitar on bass, one note at a time.

    Bassists on guitar tend to be conservative in their playing, at least that's my case. I like chordy stuff that keeps rhythm, or sounds kind of weird. And when I solo, I solo like a bassist. I don't do many crazy things, just approach it as I do the bass. Bends, scale work, stuff like that. I don't really sound like a guitarist because I don't have the guitarist mentality. And neither does he on bass.

    All IME and IMO, by the way. I'm not a bad guitarist in terms of playing chords and stuff, but I'm not much on the lead side. And the guitarists I know can keep the bass down a little, but they don't have as much "taste" in my eyes, or many bassists' eyes. Different views really.
  20. Mudfuzz


    Apr 3, 2004
    Even though the self back patting is nice and all, I think this is getting silly. Yes bassist GROOVE, "THAT IS OUR JOB" how many of you can play guitar as well as you play bass but make it GROOVE more then a full time guitarist. So to say that a guitarist playing a bass isn’t as good as a “REAL” bassist is just lame, because you can say the same for most people playing a instrument that isn’t their main gig. What does any of it prove? I take pride in what I do , but I don’t fell the need to raze my self up so that I can look down on others. I think any good musician that understands their instrument, themselves and the roll they wish to play are pretty much equal.