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Help on "Not Getting Recognition Syndrome"

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by amusicalperson, Jan 16, 2014.

  1. As we all know, being the bass player gets you little to no recognition or respect despite being arguably the most important member of the band. No bragging meant, but I would consider myself one of the better bassist in my region. All the other bassist I meet are root noters and give you a look of deer in the headlights if you say, "Let's Jam a 12 Bar Blues in B" Even being one of the better bassist in my area (no bragging intended, really) I have absolutely zero recognition and kore often get made fun of, "You don't need to know that it's an Am7, you're a bassist." So I was curious, how do you guys deal with it? I'm not trying to say I want to be Victor Wooten where I am the constant star, in fact, I want to complete opposite, just to lay in back and groove. I guess I just want a little respect and recognition, is that too much to ask for?
  2. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    most people dont even know the difference between a bass guitar and guitar so unless you are taking solos or leads you wont get a ton of attention.
  3. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Switch instruments?
  4. newbold


    Sep 21, 2008
    Unless you're part of the songwriting process, arranging the songs, coordinating promotion and booking, or otherwise being recognizably useful in the essential aspects of an ensemble, getting recognition is overrated and arguably unwarranted.

    True importance is easily recognizable by other musicians. If you're doing your job musically and setting the tempo and push, keeping room for everybody to play nicely, and fill the music out to let a guitar player do his/her thing with confidence then you'll be recognized through and through.

    "I'm not here to save the world; I'm just here to help the neighborhood!" -Rick Danko-

    I'm not trying to be too much of a child of contraire here but I really hate being given 'solo' passages just because I 'get' blues jams. and communication.
  5. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    I've never had to deal with it because I make sure that I play with musicians who understand the role of the bass player. Seems like you are playing for the wrong reasons. I couldn't care less whether or not I get attention as long as people enjoy the band, I know that I am doing my job. Maybe I have a different outlook because I played ice hockey for 40 years and was captain of several teams. I have always looked at playing an instrument as being part of a musical team. To borrow and old sports cliché, "There is no I in team".

    If you want recognition, become a solo artist.
  6. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    If the other musicians around don't respect you (and I'll take you at your word that you are a fairly good bassist), then there are two options:

    1. Write some compositions. Frame up a chord structure and compose (or improvise, as needed) basslines to create the framework of a full composition. Take it to the band and try to get it worked into a full group composition.

    2. Find other people to play with. However, #1 is going to be a strong driver toward gaining more respect as a musician. Show you deserve it (even if you already do) by providing a strong composition that people want to play. Oh, while it's OK to suggest how you hear the guitar parts, etc. in your head, encourage your band members to create their own parts. In this way, you are treating people how you would like to be treated.
  7. Carl_D

    Carl_D Guest

    Find some better educated musicians to work with ?
  8. Desirsar


    Mar 1, 2013
    "If I'm not playing a note in that chord, it's not that chord anymore."
  9. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    One name: Paul S. Denman.

    Make a name for yourself based on your personality, grooves and stage presence. Who cares if you know and understand all the terminology and theory?
    Be humble and let your playing speak for you like Mr. Denman does.
  10. It seems I was wrong. Sorry for wasting you guys' time. Thanks for the words.
  11. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    It's not that you're wrong. Just a bit of an attitude adjustment. Just play bass. Enjoy your role.
  12. macmanlou

    macmanlou Don't push it. Just let it fall. Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2007
    Washington, DC Area
    Can you sing? Would Rick Danko, Jack Bruce or Sting get as much respect from the General Public if they didn't?

    Very few people even know what instrument Victor Wooten plays.

    An ounce of self-respect is worth a ton of accolades. Rest assured knowing you've done, what you do, so well.
  13. newbold


    Sep 21, 2008
    Nothing of the like! It's always important to voice your concerns. It's clear that you're not feeling things right by your love and it took me a long time to reconcile my strengths to my station so I wasn't overextending myself and making all of this too hard on my head. I'd thought I'd have had the same issues in the past and it took finding more players and friends to work and play with to have more pieces to put together.

    Don't be afraid to really smash it up. Some of the most beautiful works of art are made from pieces of broken glass and pottery.

    Neat though that there's already a theme of 'write, play a few different instruments, and sing' and some more love for Rick Danko and others with their own recognizable styles.

    I hope you're smilin' by now, or at least really soon.
  14. pfox14


    Dec 22, 2013
    Be more like Paul McCartney and you'll get plenty of recognition.
  15. t77mackie


    Jun 13, 2012
    Wormtown, MA
    Why are the New England Patriots always consistently good year after year? Yes, Tom Brady gets a ton of recognition, however, he and the team have been brilliantly coached to be 'ego-less'. What matters the most to them is that at the end of the day they put a check in the 'win' column.

    So long as people are enjoying your band and your music, who really cares about personal player recognition? What matters is getting good gigs, having great shows, sounding great as a band and selling merch. Period. Do all that and the rest will come naturally in time.
  16. Stewie26

    Stewie26 Supporting Member

    This. Most seasoned musicians understand that it is the bass and drums that creates the canvas that they can paint on.
  17. soulman969


    Oct 6, 2011

    Will you just shut up and play! You're just the bass player you know. :mad:


    Your Lead Guitarist :cool:


    Here's what I'd tell 'em. When the lead player stops playing the band knows it but when I stop playing the whole room knows it. :p
  18. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    If you can't be satisfied without being "that guy", you have two choices, take up guitar and/or singing, of go the Bootsy route and become such an outrageous visual presence everyone will notice you. Just keep in mind the Bootsy route won't gain you recognition for your bass playing from the general public. They will remember you for your flashy outfits and stage antics, only other bass players will notice (and acknowledge) you prowess as a bass player.

    Being a technically adept bass player who understands the role of the bass in a group situation and fills that role tastefully and artistically will get you mass respect from other bass players, but you could die trying to get into the back door of a club one night and no one but your fellow bass players will even notice.

    Bass, while important, is a support instrument, and in American culture support is generic. It is nothing more than the invisible platform on which the "stars" stand. You can use it for way more than that, but who cares other than other bass players who recognize the technical complexity of your efforts, but are also the one's who realize you are overplaying in an effort to be noticed.

    I saw a band recently with a bass player who possessed truly MONSTER chops, but he was so busy trying to stand out he contributed nothing to the cohesiveness of the group and was in fact a distraction rather than a contributor to the quality of the music being performed.

    Since we are using sports metaphors, the ball handlers on a football team get the recognition, but only because the non ball handlers make it possible. No matter how good the ball handlers are, they are worthless without the blockers, but the blockers never get any recognition for their efforts other than a passing remark from the color commentator.

    If you want to be the star, find another way to do it. Even if you become the greatest songwriter of all time, you will only be recognized for your bass skill by other bass players. You must be the focus if you want to be "that guy".
  19. lfmn16


    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Who do you want recognition from, the audience or other musicians?
  20. BassChuck


    Nov 15, 2005
    OK.... random thoughts:
    1.) Who the &**% (including you) should care if you're the best bass player in your corner? Are you as good as you can be? Surely you haven't challenged your talent and art to it's fullest.
    2.) Try taking a Zen approach to your musical situation.
    3.) Move to another area that has more music, better music. Try New Orleans, its not that far. Nashville, Chicago, New York. Somewhere I'm sure there is a challenge for you.
    4.) WWYD. What would Yoda do?
    5.) Examine why you are doing music in the first place. Where were you 5 years ago with it? Where will you be In 5 years? 10 years?
    6.) Music is an art. It will serve you as such, and you should serve it. But know that if its love you need, you definitely are in the wrong place.
    7.) It's a lovely world. Take time to enjoy it. Use your bass.