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How Did You Start To Get Into The Bass Guitar?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by aquablue, Apr 26, 2005.

  1. aquablue


    Apr 12, 2005
    Miami, Florida
    My story. I have always been involved in music ever since middle school. For me music was just a fun thing to do and I never really took it seriously. Nonetheless I progressed into the advanced bands in school and I did well with my instrument (trumpet). I also played some electric guitar.

    After school I would ride around my neighborhood on my dirt bike and play street football with nearby friends. A group of my friends had a garage band going and I would always be there listening- a groupie. The garage band played everyday and as the years passed they got better and better. Everybody in the band (neighborhood kids) would say that playing music was a bad habit. Thus the name of the band was established- Bad Habit (hard rock). They would play all original stuff and I really enjoyed their music very much. Later on (as we all got older) Bad Habit aquired a new member: A bass guitarist.

    This guy was a bit older and you could tell he knew how to lay down a groove. The band sounded even better because of him and (in time) the other musicians in the band matured musically because of that bass player. A year or so after he joined the band he left it because of unknown reasons. It was a downer but I saw it as a chance to be in the band. To me the bass was a guitar without the high B and E strings. So I told the members if I could play the bass untill they found a real bassist. They all agreed and I strapped on a very heavy (I thought) and awkward instrument.

    Instead of playing a bass line I would repeat the guitar riffs, playing only the root the chords, and I thought it sound great. Weeks later the drummer, fed up with my playing, told me to listen to the bass drum and play sixteen notes (only). I did as he said and found it boring yet it did improve the sound of the songs. I then began to listen to bass players in my metal music (Iron Maiden, Ozzy, and others) and I loved what they were doing- the heavy, driving lines. Slowly my mentally shifted from playing the bass as a guitarist to a bass player. I got a real kick out of it and so I practiced like an animal. I got better real fast and the band saw no need for another bass player.

    The farthest Bad Habit reached was recording at Criteria Studios in Miami, Florida. There is more if you are curious.

    Tell about how you got into the bass guitar.
  2. I listened to "longview" by green day back when I was about 12 and wanted a basses ever since. I only got one when I was in Gr 10 after I got to play one for the first time at a friend's place. That was it I had to have one. So I got one...that's it really. Not really dramatic. Oh wait I got it, it changed my life and I've been cured of AIDS and cancer.....over the top? Yeah well.....
  3. I started playing bass back in Junior High, Grade 7, when the bass player in our jazz band moved. At the time I was being prepared for being a drummer. My band teacher took me aside, and explained that while I could continue with my drumming, he would like me to consider playing bass, as I had much longer fingers than the other guy who was also learning drums.

    The way he explained it was very nice, and I, like everyone else, was interested in guitars, so I said sure. I had originally been a trombone player, so reading bass clef wasn't a problem for me, and my lessons were great.

    So, here we are 12 years later, and I've played it all, including orchestral material in my University Orchestra. Wow, to think I might have been a drummer! (Actually I still play drums, and am damn good if I say so myself! :) )
  4. JazzBassvb


    Aug 5, 2003
    Well, my story was kinda by accident.

    Being of Mexican decent, the music around the house was always of the old Mexican Boleros from the '40-'60s. Also included were Ranchettas, Huapangos (heavy beat which I really love) and such.

    If I remember right, my dad had just died within a year or so (puts it around 8th grade) and I was on this big kick with music that featured the GuitarrĂ³n (6 string acoustic bass guitar tuned A D G C E A played by plucking two strings an octave apart). I was talking to my friend who was a drummer at the time, and he said that our middle school band director had one.

    So I go and talk to our director and he comes out with this much smaller instrument, an electric bass guitar.

    He told me I could take it home over summer break and to bring it back when I went back to school. I played with it for a little bit, but not very much.

    Fastforward to the end of my freshman year of high school (roughly a year later) and while in band, my director says we can try out for the Jazz band for the following year. I was playing trumpet at the time, but did not stand out and figured I didn't have a chance of making it. He did say if anyone played bass guitar, to please let him know. I talked to him and told him I had fiddled with it, but didn't know very much. He said if I was committed to learning, he'd buy a new bass for the school and that I could take it home over the summer and practice.

    So took it home (Lyon by Washburn Pbass) and spent all summer learning what I could on the instrument and learning to read bass clef. While I was learning bass, there was a need for another tuba player and since I was learning bass guitar, I volunteered to learn that as well. That turned out to be one of the best decisions I could have made.

    My sophmore year of school was pretty awesome as the bass guitarist in Jazz band. I had learned to slap a little over the summer and throughout the school year up to that time and I showcased it playing "Slam" by David Sanborn, written by Marcus Miller. We played it much quicker than the recorded version, but I slapped my way through it. We played that at a festival that year and one of the judges said on the comment tape about my slapping: "Now that's what I'm talking about" :D :D That summer, I bought my 5 string Ibanez and the rest is history.

    I won the Jazz band player of the year type award those 3 years I played and I even won a full scholarship to the Colorado University Jazz band camp the summer before my senior year. (I always joked that they felt bad for me since I stunk so bad and that I needed all the help I could get to get better) :eyebrow: :rolleyes: ;) I even wrote my first solo piece at that camp during the lunch breaks.

    Two buddies and I formed a little trio (Drums, Guitar and Bass) and played in the talent show our senior year. We did two Joe Sample and the Soul Committee covers "Mystery Child" and "Viva De Funk" (nice basslines). Had strobe and black lights for effects and we had a ball. Had the crowd going and raving. We won first place!

    All of that lead to me being voted "Most Musically Inclined" male by my peers my senior year. Neat little honor.

    Just last night, I was going over my senior yearbook and just about all my friends commented about my playing and how they enjoyed watching me have fun. What a neat thing to be able to do; not only to bring yourself some measure of joy and happiness, but to also affect others in a good way and bring them up as well.

    Sorry for the long winded post, but it was nice reliving that.

  5. dbaser


    Jan 22, 2005
    Mobile, AL
    Well... I started off playing drums in high school. We had the typical "garage band" going and I became quite good. I guess I just had the natural ability and I could really get a nice groove going. The problem was that the more complex and/or syncopated I played, the less the bass player was able to lock. Sure, we could do the Police or the Cars and such but anything out of the ordinary just confused him. We recorded some of the stuff I was playing so the bass player could practice but it just wasn't happening. One day at practice I popped in the stretched out cassette and decided to pick up this dude's bass. Low and behold, I could actually play that thing. Sure I picked it up before and knew the fretboard from just watching but man it just felt right. So, we switched instruments and after a year, the former bass playing drummer found his funk. My brother, an accomplished classical pianist, still asks me to this day to sit down at his bands drumset and jam a bit. I just walk over, smack the cymbal and pick up the bass. Long live the low end! :)
  6. Geddy


  7. i heard smoke on the water on a berger king commercial, and i really like the sound of roger glover's rick, and so i told my dad (a guitar player) that i wanted to take up bass...me said he had one in his closet, so i went and got it and started playing, and i haven't really put it down since...only to shower.

    thats kind of a boring story.
  8. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I was twelve. My Dad pastored a small church. There was a split in the church which resulted in half of the members leaving, and all of the musicians were in that half.

    Our assistant pastor was a decent piano player, and could also play guitar, bass, drums, and organ.

    My sister, myself, and the assistant pastor's two stepchildren decided to learn to play instruments, to replace the departed musicians.

    I chose drums, because my older brother was a drummer, and I idolized him. The assistant pastor's stepson chose bass.

    After a couple of months, we decided to learn each others instrument.

    Bobby was not a very good drummer. But I took instantly to the bass.

    Over the next couple of years, Bobby missed a lot of church, and I would play bass when he wasn't there.

    When I was fifteen, a preacher insulted my drumming from the pulpit, in front of 150 people. My confidence was shattered, and I could no longer keep a decent beat. It has taken me over 20 years for my drumming to recover from that, and I am still not as good as I was at fifteen.

    I switched permanently to bass after that. It was the right decision.:cool:

    Today, I can play bass, drums, rhythm guitar, and a little piano and keyboards.

    But bass is where I am at my best.
  9. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    The guy that played bass on all those early Elvis Costello tunes.
  10. Rockgurl


    Dec 17, 2004
    CT, USA
    I had been playing guitar and singing in bands for years and then a friend called me and said she had a friend that really needed someone to sit in on bass for three shows. I hadn't played bass and I didn't own one but I'd been playing instruments for a while and was pretty sure I could find my way round a bass just for three shows. This guy called and said he had a bass I could borrow and gave me the tape of the songs. I learned the set in three days and love playing those shows so much that I ended up staying in the band for two years and I still own the bass! That was 10 years ago and I'm a hell of a better bass player than I was then but I still haven't lost the enthusiasm. I still play guitar too, and I'm grateful that someone opened up the chance avenue that led me to play bass because it's really made my life what it is. I still believe in never turning down an opportunity because you never know where it will take you.
  11. AB53211


    Apr 15, 2004
    my parents said drums were too loud so I learned bass. I hate playing guitar
  12. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I was 13. Maybe 14. I can't remember. Either way, I decided I wanted to get into music. I got a guitar for Christmas, and played it for about 5/6 months. Then one day, a little lightbulb came on in my head, and I realized I needed to play bass or drums. Drums were expensive. Bass it was.

    Didn't hear any bassists, never payed attention to them, nothing of the sort. Just an epiphany. So, I worked that summer, and got an Ibanez GSR200, and have been borderline insane since.

    Well, more noticabley borderline insane.
  13. Petary791


    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    Everyone was playing guitar so I was like, "Screw that i'm playing bass."

    Best choice i've ever made.
  14. I've always wanted to play something. I have all this music in my head. I've noodled around with the chello, trumpet, guitar and banjo. They either didn't hold my interest, or life circumstances got in the way.
    One day my friend's sister came back from a "Weird Al" concert and I guess she was standing close to the stacks. She confessed to me that the bass shook her in such a way as to make her well.....um.... lets call it "excited". That was it for me! The other great thing about the bass is that almost every style of music needs one and there are just too many guitar players anyway!
  15. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    I was in a band as the second guitarist and we had no bassist. Since I was the less talented guitar player I opted to switch to bass. Turns out I am much better and happier playing bass than guitar.

    Watching Cliff Em All was what really pushed me over the edge.
  16. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    that helped.

    another accident. i wanted to play guitar. dad roomed with a cat who played guitar but had played bass in a band. he and the other two guitarists drew straws to see who would have to play bass and he lost. dad bought his bass and gave it to me.
  17. I'm. . . . . . . . . not sure. :meh:

    I think I woke up one morning. . . . . . and I was a bass player. Seriously, it was probably the necessity of my church needing someone to play the bass. I had played the guitar for a while and used to say,

    "If you can play the guitar, you can play the bass." :bag:

    Okay, I know that to be false now, but I enjoyed the bass MUCH more than the guitar. . . . or the keyboard [was in this barbaric garage band and they made me play keyboards (I was very susceptable to suggestion back then, even bought a keyboard)] so I stuck with the bass, lo these many years.
  18. jokke_v


    Aug 15, 2003
    Bergen, Norway
    Here we go... ...and remember that I hate this..

    I wanted to join a band. Bass player spot was the only one open. I took that spot without ever having touched a bass before.

    Fast forward three years, and I'm still in the same band. A whole different player, and lovin' the bass. :D
  19. form52


    Mar 17, 2005
    When I was 12 in JR. High myself and some friends were trying to figure out what we were going to do with these new 'Electives" classes that seemed so cool. A class And a hobby? SWEET!

    I think we decided that joining orchestra and playing bass would just be cool because it was the biggest intrument in the school, therefore.. instant cool.

    I think I'm the only one who kept playing it after the first year.

    When I was 14 my mom bought me my first electric. It was a 4 string Ibanez, don't remember what model though. Wish I still had it. I found out later that it is a very sought after bass and they stopped making it a few years after I got mine. I looked it up a couple years ago and IF you could find one people wanted $2000+ for it. odd for something that was originaly a $500 bass.

    I unfortunately dropped the double bass when I was 15. joined a band and just didn't have the need for the double any longer...
    If only I knew then what I know now.

    I may get back into it soon. Just have to find a cheap one that I can try out for a while and see if it's something I really want to do.
  20. It's been a while with this topic...

    15 y.o., lived in San Bernadino. My friend Jeff's band "Quest" was to play school talent show. Their bass player didn't have a high enough GPA, so he wasn't allowed to participate. Jeff asks me.

    I say yes, but I don't have a bass. he says he rented one for that day...as his bass player wouldn't let me use his. Now, I had never played bass before...at the time it was all guitar.

    So the talent show is the next day. Jeff hands me a tape of an original song to learn, and a hastily drawn cheat sheet. a boom box recording. low on bass, so I winged it on my guitar that night.

    Now, I also had never performed live before. So it was a trifecta of firsts.

    1st time playing the song with the band, first time performing ever, and first time ever picking up a bass guitar. In fact, I played that green hondo P copy thru my 25 watt Roland guitar amp. Legs shaking. Brain racing. Back turned to the crowd half the time.... then the end. then the applause.

    I've been hooked ever since. The bass made more of a connection with me in that 10 minute span than the guitar had in the 3 years prior. Immediately more satisfying.

    Good stuff.

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