I don't know any cover songs. What's wrong with me??

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Neil Folkard, Sep 19, 2021.

  1. Neil Folkard

    Neil Folkard

    Nov 24, 2016
    Am I a freak? An idiot?? On the wrong path??? Eating too many carrots??? All four?!?!

    The thing is, that I took up bass playing fairly late...after being a hobby guitarist on and off for decades. One day, somebody needed a bass player in their band, and asked if I'd like to give it a try. It's been a love affair with the instrument every since.

    I also love composing; writing songs is a blast. I now find myself in four original bands(!), that are in various states of activity, and I have so many original songs running around in my head, and that I need to learn/stay sharp with, that there is just no time for studying other bassists styles or learning covers. Nothing against those who know tons of covers, and make money and have fun doing so.

    I'm just hoping this isn't stunting my learning curve on the instrument, but it's just too much fun for me to create music. Anybody else take this kind of path?
  2. Gorn

    Gorn Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    How you wanna engage in your hobby is up to you.
  3. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    I agree with Gorn, but I do think that learning other people's music does add to your musical vocabulary, and can improve songwriting as well as bass playing.
  4. Bass Man Dan

    Bass Man Dan Endorsing Artist: Ned Flanders' Bass-a-Reeno

    Oct 20, 2017
    If you're in 4 original bands, you don't need to know covers. If you're happy and all of your bandmates are happy with your contributions, then all is well.
    gzarruk, QweziRider, mb94952 and 10 others like this.
  5. jd56hawk

    jd56hawk Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    You don't have to play good bass lines by the Beatles, Stones, Cream, the Who, Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper, Bowie, the New York Dolls, Ramones, etc, with your band to be able to enjoy learning them and playing them in your leisure time.
    If you've been playing for some time, you're capable of playing something like "Closer To Home" and others, right?
    Believe me, it can only make you a better bass player.
    Other than that, are the bands you're in still going to be playing next year or the year after that?
    The thing is, no one knows.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2021
  6. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Regardless of the kind of music you play, there are others who know more than you.
  7. john_g


    Sep 14, 2007
    I didnt either up to when I joined my first cover band in my mid 30s. Before that I was in original bands. Now I know well over 100+ songs...not that this matters. There are times I want to quit the cover band circuit and start writing again.
    BeyondFiredUp and Neil Folkard like this.
  8. Neil Folkard

    Neil Folkard

    Nov 24, 2016
    It's true, it is a hobby. Having said that, I take it quite seriously and practice hard. One of the bands is a prog/fusion band and the others certainly aren't 'root note will do' type music either, haha. I'm not a great bassist by any means, but my bands seem happy with my playing, so at least there is that, lol.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2021
  9. Neil Folkard

    Neil Folkard

    Nov 24, 2016
    I definitely do believe you. The problem is with so many songs to try and get tight at, there isn't much bass playing leisure time to be had!
    jd56hawk likes this.
  10. RichterScale


    Feb 21, 2021
    While playing guitar, did you learn or play along with music you liked?
    Surely you at least listened to the radio or have some type of music collection that you listen to now and then(?)
  11. Neil Folkard

    Neil Folkard

    Nov 24, 2016
    Yes, I did. Being a prog head, I was playing stuff like ELP (The Sage), King Crimson (Peace), Tool (Vicarious), Yes (the acoustic part of The Ancient) and things like that. I've always been a very avid and intense music listener, so I certainly hear and am influenced by a ton of stuff, both new and old.
  12. jd56hawk

    jd56hawk Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    Well, better than letting your bass collect dust.
    Regardless, here's one you can learn in just a few minutes...only one note, but it's all about feeling that note.

    (Just in case you ever meet someone who says, "Man, you kidding me...you don't even know one cover tune?")
  13. I don’t know why not learning cover and only playing your own compositions would thwart your development as a bassist. Two things that it may thwart, one is you ability to get gigs or gigs that pay a nice chunk of change until your music is considered commercially acceptable. The general public tends to prefer music they know as opposed to new concepts.

    The other is the brain is really funny. It can only spit out what it takes in. A close study of of other writers and bassists can give you musical tool you don’t currently have. Learning the parts from other artists is a form of close study.

    BTW, with regard to your original music. Are you publishing your work? Do you have a written business agreement with your co-contributors. If the answer is no to either of those two questions you need to get with the program. Protecting your intellectual property rights is extremely important and if you are pretty good at compositions, it could be worth millions of dollars on the top end, and a lot of surface noise at the lower end.

    Best wishes.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2021
  14. RichterScale


    Feb 21, 2021
    There ya go. You already have a background/foundation in playing another stringed instrument and a background of learning other's music.
    If you were a 16 yr old kid, I'd suggest learning covers. But you're beyond that.
    Just keep writing and playing while the juices are flowing.
  15. Neil Folkard

    Neil Folkard

    Nov 24, 2016
    Haha. Nice. Actually last week, my prog/fusion band suddenly burst into Rock and Roll by Zep for some bizarre reason. I did a pretty good job of playing it on the fly, so it is possible, I suppose!

    I do take some friendly umbrage at the seeming implication that playing originals is only just better than letting my bass(es) collect dust. I feel it's a great use of them. One of my favourite gigs ever was on a Tuesday night at a small club. There may have only been twenty people there, but they wanted an actual encore! From music that we created! This made me quite happy.
  16. Clark Westfield

    Clark Westfield Floyd Pepper is my mentor!

    Jan 30, 2012
    Central Jersey
    I actually left an original band and now play in a cover band.

    Learning other bands material has certainly helped me become a better player.

    Now I see arpeggios and scales being used,.

    The I say to myself, “ that’s what McCartney used in this song or that’s what Flea used for that run”

    My theory is reinforced and makes me more creative using and /or steeling someone else’s lines.

    Then I tweak them, and allows me explore during a song.

    Everybody is different, but the more you play, the better you become.

    Play everything!
    Runnerman and Neil Folkard like this.
  17. Neil Folkard

    Neil Folkard

    Nov 24, 2016
    Interesting. In my heart, I know that you are right and it would help. I can't see myself quitting one of my bands at the moment though, to free up extra time.
  18. jd56hawk

    jd56hawk Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    Sorry, I wasn't implying that playing original music was only a little better than letting a bass collect dust, I think it’s much better...especially if you're creating the bass lines.
    I play many rock songs from bands I like at home, but my band only plays originals...a long night of rehearsal might see us break into a classic or two, but that's rare.
    We're all about original music!
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2021
  19. Gustopher

    Gustopher Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2018
    I’ll trade you my vast cover song knowledge for the ability to write anything worth listening to. I have the creativity of a carrot, lol.
  20. ElectroVibe


    Mar 2, 2013
    I envy that kind of creativity.
    Neil Folkard likes this.
  21. bass12

    bass12 Turn up the Eagles - the neighbours are listening Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Learn a twelve bar blues box pattern. Cool, now you’ve just learned a few hundred covers and can get on with being creative. :D

    Now, if you want to learn covers but find that you can’t due to an underdeveloped ear then that’s a different matter and you might want to work on some ear training. Otherwise, I wouldn’t worry too much about it.
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