I wonder if Bass is for me?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Mykel, Apr 7, 2004.

  1. Mykel


    Apr 7, 2004
    Hi there. I guess I'll start from the beginning. I started playing Classical acoustic guitar about a year ago. After I took some initial lessons, I went on my own for a bit and worked on chords and tab... I'm not too well versed at reading music yet but I'm slowly picking it up.

    Anyway, I find myself at a cross-roads. I've decided that I want to switch to an electric instrument, I'm really tired of the slow, fat-neck of the typical Classical guitar... and I want some more complex sound :). In a year of playing though, some of my chord changes come slow, and it's no easy task for me. I guess I was wondering if I'd be a good candidate for Bass? I don't know much about Bass guitar. So here are some questions, I know everybody here is "Pro-Bass", but I'm a newbie just the same.

    1. Which is easier to learn for a relative beginner like myself?

    2. I understand Bass guitars come with 4, 5 and even 6 strings... which would be best for typical alternative rock/punk rock songs that I typically play?

    3. Can I get by with just reading tab?

    Above all, any help you can lend me is good. I basically need an "introduction" which I haven't been able to find online, if anybody has any helpful links, those would be appreciated too.

    Thanks a lot,
  2. ill try to answer to the best of my abilty.....

    1.I consider its how far you want to go with your instrument and how hard you make it, if you think somethings easier, it might be or it might not be. i dont consider guitar harder nor easier than bass.

    2.Well basses come in a lot more that just 4,5 and 6, but i would start out with a 4 and advance from there.

    3.Yes you can, but you should know some musical things.
  3. tim99

    tim99 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    Welcome. I used to play guitar. I took lots of Jazz Guitar lessons, learned lots of chords, scales, modes. It never took. I got a bass, and right away started learning songs and playing with people. It is fun.

    The instrument that is easy for you to learn is the one God made you to play. I firmly believe this. Guitar was not as much fun for me as the bass. For others it is the other way.

    When you go out of the house, what are people doing that you want to do? When you go to a concert, who do you watch? I believe that we are attracted to what we are gifted to do.

    You do not need to learn to read music, learn scales, or learn chords to copy what other people have already played. You could spend lots of time downloading tab, and playing cd's over and over, and learning songs by ear and by tab. Sorry, but the good players are working on learning song number 1145, they are not tabbing song number 1144 they learned yesterday, so tab basically sucks. You can use it as a guide, but you gotta use your ears.

    Then, someday, you may want more. You may want to play with a group that plays original songs. You may want to write. If you had kept learning chords and theory and learned to read music, and play a little piano, you would be ready. But, you didn't. So, you start then to continue learning that stuff. But that is ok. Because you will want to.
  4. tim99

    tim99 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    So, for clasic rock and blues you only need a 4 string, cause that is what they had. For more modern heavy rock, you need to be able to play lower than the low E on the typical four string bass. Those dang guitar players like to play low, so we gots to follow. Do not be confused. Do not look at bass players on tv in modern heavy bands and think that they are playing typical four string basses. They could be tuning their low string to D. They could be playing four strings that are the same as the lower four strings of a 5 string bass. They have 12 basses, and they are playing THEIR music, and they have an employee to change basses and strings, so they can do that. But, if you want to play a classic rock song and then a modern rock song with out changing basses and without changing tuning...get a 5 string.
  5. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    Welcome to TB! I'm going to move this to Misc - Basses is for discussion of Basses, not Bass. (Got that? ;) )
  6. michaelsanford

    michaelsanford Guest

    Apr 4, 2004
    1. If I can do it... :rolleyes:

    2. Check out the first photo posted here by john_turner, lots more than 6 strings. I'd say however than 4 strings will do 'ya. The reason for having lots of strings is to allow you to move to a broader spectrum of notes, most alternative and punk music I know doesn't tend to need 8 strings :p

    3. Can you get by just reading tabs ? Well that depends on what you want to do with your bass. If you just want to play it to yourself in your house then sure tabs will be fine. If, on the other hand, you want to play in a band or write your own basslines, you'll want to have at least a rudimentary understanding of music theory (so you can write a bass line in the same key as the lead guitar, for example). There are tonnes of great books out there covering all skill levels.

    Here are a few I've had on my shelves at one time or another:
    • How to play bass guitar (Arnie Berle)
    • 101 Bass tips (Gary Willis)
    • Fingerboard harmony (Gary Willis)
    and lots of music books from my favourite artists (in sheet and tab form) as well as a few books on general music theory.
  7. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    1. Depends. Playing bassic bass, you don't have to syncronise all your fingers, as you do when changing chords on a guitar. OTOH, once you start thinking deeper than root only, it gets at least as complicated as guitar.

    2. They do, indeed. And 3, and 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. Most rockers ususally use three strings, EAD, and carry the G for looks. Some use more strings, and they tend to go for 5 or more. You like really low notes? Take 5, BEADG. You like highs? Take 5, EADGC. You like both? Take 6, BEADGC. Or perhaps 4 is enough for you? (Ask 1 question, get tons back :D )

    3. Depends. You can actually get by without reading tabs, I did for years. Still do, but with some ability to read notation, I can get by a lot quicker. Notation shows not only where to put my fingers, but also for how long, in what mood and whatever. Thus, I can (in theory, I'm not that good yet) play along with any tune in any setting with a good result - even if I never heard the tune before! Tabs...well, knowing tabs may help in some situations, but not much.
    You need to be able to play by ear, and fake. You will benefit emencely from notation reading. Tab may help, occationally. But you should know this already, having played real guitar for a year.

    And, finally: normal classic guitar necks are all much nicer to play than almost all electric guitars, and most bass guitars as well. :ninja:
  8. Zirc


    May 13, 2001
    Los Angeles
    If you like the instrument and the way it sounds, go for it.

    The number of strings depends on what type of player you are I think. Personally I want to sell my 5 string, it never gets any use. I'm a big improvisational midrange player, so my E string hardly gets any play (unless I'm playing a hardcore breakdown :p). If you're a low booming bassy play, might want a five string. I just personally think it goes with how you like to play.

    Learn keys. That's definitely more important than tab. Once you know keys you can pretty much do anything. (well theory wise, you still need to practice technique)
  9. Mykel


    Apr 7, 2004
    Well everyone, thanks for all the information and tips. I will consider all of this when I decide to buy my new instrument, which ever it finally ends up being. I've never played a Bass myself so I'll try it and see how it goes.