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How many of you play the bass because you couldn't cut in on guitar?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Somebassguy, Nov 16, 2003.

  1. Somebassguy


    Nov 5, 2003
    Everett Wa
    I'm asking this question because there is a common misconception out there, particularly amongs guitarsts that bass players play bass because they are simply incopetant on guitar. I myself am equally competant on the guitar, and I used to to teach synthesizers in Jersey about 20 years ago. I chose bass as my main because that's my love. I look at bass as the heartbeat of the band. The silent leader!
  2. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Not the case here.(miscellaneous?)
  3. LoJoe


    Sep 5, 2002
    Concord, NC USA.
    I was quite competent on guitar, and still play solos/sing on guitar as needed at the church I play bass with a band in. My main reason for switching to bass was that there were always guitar players coming out of the woodwork but few decent bass players. Many guitar players think they can simply pick up a bass and play one. That's what I thought too. It's true that I did pick one up and become a root banger right off the bat, but that was just the beginning. All the nuances of creating a nice groove, playing a line that has no resemblance to the melody that everyone else is playing, yet still meshes and supports that melody, and just being the foundation that everyone builds on is great. It definitely takes some work to be good at it too. One of the bands I'm in has 3 guitar players all jockeying for attention when they play. There's only one of me down low though. I like that. I like it a lot.:bassist:
    Tennesseemick and Frozen J like this.
  4. Mud Flaps

    Mud Flaps

    Feb 3, 2003
    Norton, MA
    I am a bassist, I have always been a bassist, and I will always be a bassist. I was never, nor will I ever be a guitarist.

    Try this sometime:

    Walk down a crowded sidewalk. Ask everyone who passes, "do you play guitar?" Probably somewhere around 45% of them will answer, "yes". I decided to play bass because I loved music and every other person on Earth plays guitar, or claims to. There is no value to being a guitarist anymore. It's like having a baseball team with 30 pitchers and 2 people who can bat.

    Okay, there's the end of my "I hate guitarists" rant.

    P.S. Bass is just as difficult an instrument as guitar. Anyone who does not think so is ignorant, deranged, or diluded.
    OnederTone likes this.
  5. Hollow Man

    Hollow Man Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2003
    Springfield, VA
    I started out on guitar too, and still enjoy playing. After a few years of guitar, I just felt like I might enjoy the things that bass had to offer over the guitar. Since then, I've never regretted the decision to devote more time to learning bass, and stop focusing on the guitar. I prefer the technique in bass playing to that of guitar playing, and I also enjoy the way I can make the bass interact with music. Guitar's fun, but bass is for me. :)
  6. i did. My fingers are fat. However, i now wouldnt touch a guitar w/ a 10 foot pole, b/c i know the bass totally beats the doo doo out of it. The reason i picked up bass in the first place isnt the same as the reason i still play.
    At first it was because a friend of mine had one at church camp several summers back, and another dude was slapping on it. I thought slap was, easy, and thought bass was easy too. How couldnt it be, only 4 strings, and theres all that space... heh, i probly wouldnt have started if that guy hadnt made slapping look so easy. I now know its not.

    The only strings i play besides bass right now is ukulele. Ive actually been playing uke longer than bass, because its cheaper, and easier to play as long as you're only strumming chords. That mainly had to do w/ the fact that for a while, i havent had a bass. I just got my first one that i actually own a couple weeks ago. Price restraints suck when youre not old enough for a job, but hooray, now im 16.

    PS, i would recommend you all go out and buy a ukulele, theyre cool. Dont think of it as tiny tims instrument, but rather, think of it as the thing that got jimi, elvis, paul, john and george started. As well as weezers guitarist. LOL.
    Check out recordings from Herb Ohta, and Jake Shimabukuro. Theyre sooo awesome. And you can get a very playable and nice sounding uke for anywhere from 50 bucks on up to 3000. Oscar Schmidt OU-2, Risa UK-217, and THE FLEA ukuleles are all really good. So is the applause acoustic electric.

    Phew... ok, now im done promoting my other instrument. LOL
    Talk at you folks later.
  7. buzzsaww


    Nov 14, 2003
    Denvuh! Colorado
    I've been playing guitar for 15 years and that's the first time I've heard that. I always figured a bass player chose bass because that's what he wants to do. I've picked up bass out of necessity.

  8. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    I play bass because I wanted to be different. Everyone else played guitar... so I was like "F you guys." And got a bass.
    Gluvhand likes this.
  9. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    I suck at guitar but then again it's not my instrument.
    I'm pretty sure I would suck at french horn too.
    brokenstoned likes this.
  10. I play a little guitar and could probably become ok at it, but I like playing bass a lot more. I like keeping the beat, I was going to be a drummer but am not that coordinated. I think bass is the most fun to play and can be the most musical. Guitarists are kinda lucky because to some degree everyone works around them, they play the main riff, and everyone else fills it out and makes it a song. plus I don't have a big enough ego to be a guitarist :D
  11. SilverELEX


    Oct 28, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    I play bass because its all I ever wanted to play. It just sounds so damn good! So about a year ago I bought one, and have learned so much in this first year. Plus, it just seems like everyone plays guitar.

  12. fenbull


    Oct 31, 2003
    Akron ohio
    Yes...YEs i admit i am..Was a frustrated guitarist. i have small hands and thin fingers for being a big guy and thought that the guitar was the king. But in my early days i remember taking the b& e strings off my cheap guitars to try bass and feeling that it always was the guitar i was ment to play. I always find when listening to a song i tend to find the bass line and really lock into it. I never did that in guitar music and never will.I picked up a GSR200 a couple of years ago and got pretty good at bass...i then sold it to buy another guitar...i then knew what a mistake i made and missed the heck out of the bass.I now own a new MIM jazz and amp and am having the time of my life learning and playing.the bass is so much more enjoyable to play and the cool ways you can thump it, slap it, bang on it and get so many tones and feel blows playing guitar away.try playing that hard on a guitar and see how long it stays in tune and holds up!
  13. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Well, that was then, and this is now.

    Then, I'd already been playing keyboards since age 5. Piano and organ both. Pretty darn good too (scholarships, etc etc). About age 12, I started listening to the radio. KHJ here in LA, the Real Don Steele. Right around the time "Lady Madonna" came out. "Joy To The World" was a big hit right around then too. Wasn't long before I got into FM (KROQ, KMET, KNAC, etc). Wasn't long before classical keyboards bored me to tears and I wanted to pick up a guitar. Like several others here, my fingers were too big and too fat to fit nicely on a guitar. I liked Les Paul's 'cause they had the wider neck. But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get the chords to change smoothly like they do on the radio. My fingers kept bumping into each other.

    Then, my first year in college, I picked up a bass for the first time. I knew instantly that I was home. HEAVEN. I borrowed my buddy's bass for a couple of weeks to see if it was for real, and it was. Stanley Clarke's "School Days" had just come out, and I was playing all of it the very first week. Chords, leads, blazing solo runs, all that came completely natural. My fingers could move even faster than Stanley's. I was all over him with those machine gun triplets (probably the piano training came in handy right around then). The very first bass that I owned was a Dan Armstrong short scale fretless (the one with the Lucite body). I wore it completely out within two years. When I was done with it, the rosewood fingerboard was a complete basket case.

    That summer, I got to bass sit for a friend while he went off to Europe. That was the first time I played a "real" bass for any length of time. It was amazing, finger strength and stretchability developed quickly, and an electric seemed like a child's toy after that. My first long scale electric was a Guild B-301A, then a Kramer DMZ-4000, then an Ibanez Musician. Finally I got my very first Alembic Series I in late '78. And promptly broke my right hand in six places falling off a loft, directly onto the corner of a table. It took almost a year to heal. The doctor said I'd never play the bass again.

    Boy did I show him. Literally. I sat on the shore of Fox Lake in Illinois for an entire summer, and practiced with one finger, and then another finger, and eventually after six months or so I got to where I could use my thumb again. That's where I learned what the "pocket" is, and how to hold it. Pretty soon I was playing in a band, and my doctor came to see us. He was totally blown away watching me play a long scale Alembic and then switching over to a double. That was three days before we went on our first national tour.

    Never looked back. Now, today, I have a room full of basses, and a garage full of amps and cabs. Fretless, fretted, five strings, six, uprights, wierd ones like an Ashbory, some real collector's items too. 44 album credits, and a long list of co-authorships and collaborations. I'm currently in the studio cutting my first solo disc. It's scheduled for completion around the first of the year.

    There are two morals to this story. One is, don't listen to your doctor (just kidding). The other is, that "not cutting it" on guitar can be a blessing. You could say that my career as a bass player started because I "couldn't cut it on guitar". For a guy like me, whose hands are almost as big as Stanley's, the guitar seems like a universe in miniature. Nice to look at and listen to, but darn near impossible to play. I dabble in rhythm a little (finally learned how to play a bar chord), but only for demos, and to keep my friends happy at parties. Gimme an upright, and I'll have everyone in the room dancing within sixty seconds. Gimme a nice five string electric, and I'll put on a magic show at the same time I'm playing the bass.

    So that's my story... and thanks for asking! I'd like to add a word of encouragement for any new players, and for the young people in the audience. Just keep at it. Use whatever vehicles are at your disposal. Make sure you always have at least one bass, even when times are tough, and even if it's a cheap "beater bass", just to be able to keep playing and keep your fingers in shape. Pretty soon you'll be playing exactly what you're hearing in your head. Heck, if a guy like me can do it (with fat fingers and a broken hand and all), you can too!
    jetgraphics and gebass6 like this.
  14. SilverELEX


    Oct 28, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    I do the exact same thing, I sometimes brush everything off and just listen to the bass.
  15. SilverELEX


    Oct 28, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    Nice post Nonsqtr!
  16. I took up bass because my probation officer wanted me to take up an activity that would keep me off the streets.

    Seriously, I took up bass because (1) I play piano, and I wanted to become as good at reading bass clef as treble clef and (2) I wanted to play in a band ASAP, and it would take years longer to get good enough on keys or guitar to join a band (and not make a fool out of yourself).

    Then I got hooked on bass, and can't give it up.

    It's not a very ergodynamic instrument, though. You can mess up your wrists if you're not careful.
  17. I'd have to answer an honest, "Yes", to that question.

    That was about 35 years ago, though. I fancied the lead guitarist limelight thing but just couldn't do it. Frankly, I guess, I was pretty hopeless.

    So I switched to bass. As I remember, it didn't take me long to realise bass was what I liked doing best. I enjoyed the low-end thing. Still do....:D

  18. i just purchased a used strat to get more into guitar, so i dont know if ill "cut it" as a guitarist yet

    before you all outcast me you should know the bass is where i am at, i like it, it comes easy, etc etc.

    but i think i should learn a bit of guitar just so i know some more stuff about chords, and writing music and so when the drunk people (myself included) want a song on the acoustic i can give it to them

    and i figure if i want half a chance at making music a big part of my life i should learn at least one other instrument, since there are people out there that can play like 5 or 6.

  19. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    i was a pretty slammin guitar player, IMO, but I must admit - i knew i'd be slamminer on da bass, and i am.

    bass is undoubtedly was i was born to play.
  20. Newsboy129


    Nov 14, 2003
    I don't play guitar, never have, and probably never will. #1, there are too many guitarists out there. (That's been said a lot) I'm actually a saxophone player. I've played for over 5 years and play a lot of jazz. But my real love is rock, (all kinds). I picked up bass because I've always loved it. It's deep. I also think that many bands today put their bassists in the corner of the studio and just say "PLAY ALONG WITH THE GUITAR YOU INCOMPETENT MUSICIAN!!" Listen to a lot of "popular" bands. Half the time, you can barely hear the bass. It blends right in with the guitar line. You know you have a grasp on the concept of "BASS" when you can create a bassline that blends well with the song but doesn't run with the melody. That's what I love doing. To me, the chords are only building blocks. I don't want to be restricted to linearness (if that's even a word) that guitars are restricted to. Take the chords and build off of them. That's why I play bass. You get to do so much more with a bass than with a guitar if you've got even just the slightest sense of creativity.

    Rock on in Christ,