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How do you explain what a bass is to someone?

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by vibhas_2310, Jan 23, 2014.

  1. Hi,

    So I've been playing bass for a while now and I love it!

    I was thinking about this...how do I explain to someone who has no idea about music what a bass is.

    I guess the guitar is engrained in everyone's mind and the drums are obvious and there's a percussion instrument in pretty much every culture.

    I've tried explaining that the bass is just like a guitar except it exists in the realm of lower frequencies...blah...blah...blah

    Any really simple way to explain what a bass is to someone who doesn't know anything about music or musical instruments?

    Would love to hear your thoughts...
  2. BBox Bass

    BBox Bass Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2011
    NW Pennsylvania
    If they're really clueless, I don't think there's much you can say that will make them get it. This past Saturday, I was accosted by a very drunk woman after a show. She carried on and on about how great we were. When I finally got free and ran to the bathroom, I heard her move on to the guitarist. She said to him "And what's your name? And the drummer's name? And the singer's name? And...the other woman's name?" I at least thought she would refer to me as "the other guitarist". Nope, I am now The Other Woman!
  3. remainthesame


    Sep 24, 2008
    If they don't know, I'm not going to bother explaining it.
  4. jdwhitak


    Mar 20, 2012
    Greenwood, IN
    it's a guitar on steroids :)
  5. Gaolee

    Gaolee Outta my way! I'm caffeinated! Supporting Member

    One is a really big violin. The other is a guitar that got through puberty. That's all people who need the explanation need to know.
  6. AaronVonRock


    Feb 22, 2013
    It's a bigger, deeper sounding guitar. Pretty simple, actually.
  7. erigod23


    Mar 19, 2007
    Fredericton, NB
    The glue between the drums and the guitar.
  8. Hamlet7768

    Hamlet7768 Here to chew gum and rock. Still have gum.

    Jun 5, 2011
    +1 Was going to say this. David Ellefson explained it this way.
  9. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Like a guitar only without the self esteem issues.
  10. DagoMaino


    Feb 1, 2013
    It's similar to a tree... that's all.
  11. I do not try to explain. If one is capable of understanding, they likely do already- if not, my bass is still a bass.
  12. ChopperDave

    ChopperDave Hai-ohhhhhhh!

    Nov 14, 2012
    Boston, MA
    "Yeah, sure, I mean, it's like a guitar, I guess. It has strings and all that, but the notes they make are much lower. Some players just play along with what the guitarist is playing but lower, others treat it like a melodic or a lead instrument, and some use it just to groove on, like [hums familiar Motown bass line]. It's both a melody and a rhythm instrument, that's what makes is spec--oh, you want to go talk to the singer now ... okay ..." [skulks away and orders another Canadian Club]
  13. 2cooltoolz

    2cooltoolz Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2009
    Lake Conroe, TX
    A fellow TBer once said:

  14. Gundecker


    Mar 29, 2013
    Quote the lines from Sly and The Family Stone song;dance to the music.
    When you say " add some bottom..." Yeah that's the bass! If they don't know the song well...
  15. Goatee220

    Goatee220 Bassist/Photographer/Goalie Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2009
    Spring City, PA
    I quote the Chili Peppers: "If you have to ask, you'll never know."
  16. Atshen


    Mar 13, 2003
    Grim Cold Québec
    "It's a big guitar with only four strings for those who can't play regular guitar." :bawl:
  17. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    I'm the guy doing the boom boom in the back that makes you wanna dance.
  18. jimmybc91


    Oct 8, 2013
    Los Angeles
    Just ask them what they dance to. =]
  19. jimmybc91


    Oct 8, 2013
    Los Angeles
    +1 haha beat me to it! :bassist:
  20. 10cc


    Oct 28, 2013
    You can just simply say its a kind of guitar that's easier to play