ignorant peoples views on bass

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Cossiemon, Jul 21, 2002.

  1. Cossiemon


    Aug 20, 2001

    I had a conversation with a friend of mine the other night
    in the pub (he plays bass too) about how people don't seem
    to give you any credit at all for playing bass unless the
    lines you play are poppin-and-slappin-flea-like, and that
    really sucks. It gets under my skin more and more.

    I even heard one guy say "Oh bass? isn't that the really
    easy one, that no one really listens to." Okay, fair enough
    bass isn't as complex as guitar...but he hasn't a clue.
    I tried to explain that bass links the drums to the guitars,
    didn't seem to make an impact, so i just said that "Guitars
    aren't heavy, if you don't have a bass in there, you don't
    get the power and the 'heavy' sound" - that seemed to
    make some kind of impression.

    The band i'm in doesn't play funky stuff, i'm not really
    into that, i did go through a phase where i was really
    really into the chili peppers - i learned the bass lines
    for as many of their songs as i could - i'm just not into
    playing that stuff any more, i've always been a heavy metal
    /punk type. Even when we write our own songs, i can
    instantly get come up with a good line, that locks in tight
    with the drums.

    Before this becomes a rant, i'll cut to the quick:

    i feel that an awful lot of people don't give bass players
    the credit they deserve. Alot of the time its the non-guitar
    players (both the 6 and 4 string kinds) who make me feel
    like this.

    Anybody else ever get that feeling, or is it just me?
  2. it's a known issue.. nothing you can do about it.. live with it.. bla bla bla :)
  3. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Bass players and drummers are often demeaned by the general, non-music playing public because they have no clue about what it takes to play any musical instrument well.

    To say a bass is not a complex instrument oversimplifies the issue. It can be if all one does is play root notes. Or it can be very complex if one attempts to achieve the levels technique mastery achieved by Vic Wooten, Micheal Manring, Oteil Burbridge, and numerous others.

    Also it can be incredibly complex if one attempts to bring to bass playing the levels attained by such artists as Jaco Pastorious, Stanley Clarke, John Pattitucci, and orchestral players like Gary Karr have attained.

    You might also tell your buddy who belittles the bass that even if the instrument seems simple because it has only four strings, that it isn't just learning the fretboard that counts, it is the timing, feeling, technique and playing the right bassline for the song that matters. Practcially anyone can learn the fretboard, but they may never be able to come up with an effective bassline.

    Next time someone tells you to your face that the bass is a "simple" instrument, (Or drums, or harmonicas, or glockenspiels or timbales or ukeleles), remind them that in the hands of a master any instrument can seem complex or deceptively simple.

    One other thing, if they think playing a bass is simple and unimportant, ask them how they would change the bassline of any song in question, then defend why they feel their bassline is better for the song.
  4. stefen


    Jul 21, 2002
    Hye Cossiemoon, I totally agree Boplicity and I'll add a few things that can help you to get another view on your bassist condition!
    First, you have to overcome the following step: this as to do with your own self. Sure we all need to gain recognition but you first have to be in harmony with your position in your band. A bassist has never or rarely been in front of the scene. But if it is what you are looking for, then you must not be in contradiction with yourself and seek to be a bass hero and play flashy things. Because best bass lines are often falsely-easy and their impact is in people subconsciousness. I mean they love the song because of the alchimy that takes place between instruments and do not bother with the formidable minor E or else that you've done and you are so proud of!
    Anyway, just remember a thing to answer to people who consider bass as under-instrument:
    1) Satisfy your ego by playing a monstruous flashy stuff and ask him to play the same thing
    2) Tell him or her that most guitarists think that playing bass is too easy but when they try they realise that it is not the same instrument at all and has its own complexity, one of those being making a single note sound. Then just play one note with a maximum of felling
    3) Last but not least, always remember that bass is the bridge between rhythm and harmony and that it is a "ghost" instrument, a kind of life-belt for everyone and firstly for the singer. 99% of them refer to bass to know where they are in their singing and to place their own note. Finally if your not convinced with all those arguments, Make an attempt during a rehearsal or even a concert if you've got big courage! : in the middle of a song at a crucial and rising-tension moment, just merely stop playing and watch your band, their interrogating eyes, their lost brain, and watch the whole harmonious cohesion crash ;o)

    So, who said bass was useless? (Not me!)

    Keep Grooving!!!!!!!!!!

  5. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I totally disagree with the whole "bass players never get any recognition" thing. I always get compliments on my playing from musicians and non-musicians alike. Granted, I do get the "bass must be easier because it only has 4 strings" type of crap once in a while from one of my ignorant friends, but rarley a gig ever goes by that someone doesn't compliment me on my bass playing. I think you have to make yourself noticed when you play bass. If you are out there groovin your butt off, someone's going to notice.

    p.s. I don't slap, but hopefully that's going to change once I get a good head and cab that can reproduce slap well. :)
  6. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Last time I did a show, the opposite was true.

    There was this one dude in the audience shouting, "Bass! Oh, yeah bass!!"

    I thought it was such a trip. I think it was getting on my lead guitarists nerves too. :p

    I think that usually along with good music, a musician must entertain to get that recognician. When your singer is dancing, jumping, involving the audience... the audience is going to link up with him and it's going to make him better to them. All of the other musicians probably would work the same way.

    I bet more bassists kick back, play with their eyes closed, and look bored. That's how the stereotype is formed. If you are groovin' and diggin' the groove, let it show!!! I think this is true of any genre. ie: In Jazz I don't see much head banging, but damn, you can see in the bassists face when he is into his groove.
  7. :rolleyes: the old 'bass player recognition' thing

    next time someone questions the accomplishment of being a bass player, ask them to do this:

    1) hang this hunk of wood on your shoulder for 4 hrs. (ok, 10 min breaks ea. hr.)
    2) play about 4000 notes every hour (yes, this varies widely depending on the style, but you get the idea)
    3) make it groove, make it rock, make it swing, make it funk, make it bark, make it sound old, new, heavy, light, the list goes on……
    4) put up with 'lead singer's syndrome', 'lead guitarist's syndrome', 'drummer's syndrome', 'soundman's syndrome', ‘club owner’s syndrome’ and last, but not least, ‘really fekkin demanding drunk man / woman’ syndrome’ for hours, weeks, months and years on end.
    5) exercise a unique style of discipline and restraint that cannot be associated with any other instrument

    6) truly enjoy all of the above…. No, really, I’m serious

  8. DanGouge


    May 25, 2000
    Yeah people may never think of the bassist or the drummer, but you can take satisfaction in the fact that the lead guys wouldn't get half the compliments if we didn't make them look so good:D.
  9. stefen


    Jul 21, 2002
    Yeah, that's really true: " more bassists kick back, play with their eyes closed, and look bored. " And that exactly the point. The attitude makes the whole difference! If you play funk and you stand like an old statue, it won't do for sure!!

    As far as I'm concerned my band is composed of
    -a female singer (Bjorklike)
    -a male pianist (Herbielike)
    -a female drummer (goddesslike)
    -a bass player (wootenlike?)
    (a certain level of achievement lower of course)

    So you can notice that there is no guitar-hero and that we are just two standing up, so we need to make people crazy. Consequence: we move and groove! And I'm lucky because on the first plan with the singer! But I need to precise that people come and see each of us after the show to tell us that we all 4 have a great personnality and that it makes a kind of osmosis, bubble, or what you want and that we make people travel and dream and shiver and cry...

    That's precisely what I'm trying to say: just not only be yourself but force yourself if you're a bit shy to go towards your audience. You've got to share something really DEEP both with your BAND and the PEOPLE. Once you get that TRIANGLE, you get recognition.

    Hey Cossiemon, I know you've always been a heavy metal/punk type bass player so it must be quite hard to overcome your band's other members power but:

    Just get the TRIANGLE regardless of the style you play!

    Bye all of you!

    Stefen from PARIS
  10. Cossiemon


    Aug 20, 2001
    I'm not one for flashy, soloing bass lines. I prefer to keep with what the band needs...the lead guitarist does enough fret wanking for the nation.

    I'm not looking for recognition or attention from crowds - not an ego thing. It'd be nice, but i don't want that.

    I'm quite content to groove away, i think it was just that what was said got to me, and i'd heard it before from other people.

    Thanks for your views/opinions folks, much appreciated
  11. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    The only comment I need is the one I got from my band members once, after a rare occasion when I missed a rehearsal. They unanimously said it was difficult to play without the bass and that they had not been aware of how much it was missed when not there. :)
  12. Thats because good dummers and bassists are essential to great acts. Think of ONE great band that did not have a great drummer or bassist. It is so important. And being a good dummer or bassist means that the lay person should hardly realize you are there.

    Whatever - People are ignorant and there's little you can do about it ...

    Later -
  13. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    Same here. On the odd ocasion that I miss a rehearsal (once in two years) I have to let everybody know, well in advance, because they won't rehearse without me. We have practiced without the horns, piano even without the drummer but not without bass. It's nice that they feel that way but it puts pressure on me that no one else in the band has. Oh well
  14. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000

    I just had to be a smart-arse. :D

    Actually, there's not one really good musician in AcDc. They've had two singer's that sound like the smoke a carton a day, a rythm guitar player who plays nothing but power chords, a lead player who's never left the pentatonic scale, a bass player who never plays runs, and a drummer who never plays fills...............but on that note, I still LOVE AcDc. :)
  15. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    That's the worst kind of syndrome there. It also goes hand in hand with "Play some Lynrd Skynrd" and "Do you guys know Free Bird" Synrdome.
  16. lneal


    Apr 12, 2002
    Lee County, Alabama
    I have found that it doesn't matter what you say to these people, it isn't going to change their view. Let them think what they will, you can't control that. Here's the one I use that shuts them up quickly:

    Idiot: "Bass is easier to play 'cause it only has 4 strings."
    Me: "Yea, I'm only here because I look good!"

    That'll usually do it!
  17. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    We've had this discussion before, and having it here again won't help "educate" the public. With that said, if you really care about how much "credit" you don't get that you feel you "deserve", you're probably on the wrong instrument, not to mention in music for the wrong reasons.

    Don't worry about it!
  18. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I've said it before, I'll say it again:

    I - don't - care - what - other - people - think - about - bass. I ... ... ... don't ... ... ... care.
  19. Cossiemon, buddy, we play bass because we like the instrument, that's what matters. It's true that we get pinned with the easy instrument/booring uncool guy label but that's just something we have to deal with, all that matters is that we're doing something we enjoy.
  20. oh GOD i hate those requests!!!!!!

    or "keep on rockin in the free world" kill me please!!!!!!

    i really hate "georgia sattelites - keep yo hands to yo self"

    but it always packs the dance floor. i tend to pack my cheeks with barf because that song makes me want to WRETCH!!!!

    :rolleyes: "ok, one more time" (someone please bring me a very strong beverage to kill the pain....)