Importance of playing another instrument besides bass?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Tbeers, Apr 10, 2005.

  1. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    I've been doing a lot of reading about some of the most famous bass players, and there is an interesting pattern: a lot of them played another instrument at first, and did not begin playing bass until their teens. Here are a few examples:

    - Ray Brown began on piano
    - NHOP began on piano
    - Scott LaFaro played saxophone until he was 16 or 17
    - Dave Holland started on ukulele (at least that's what I've read) and did not begin bass until age 13
    - Ron Carter began as a cellist, and later switched to bass

    It's an odd pattern.... Perhaps the fact that they began on more melodic instruments helped them become better bassists. I know that sometimes I wish I played saxophone (or trumpet, etc.) too -- it might be easier for me to play more melodic solos, rather than just outlining the changes.

    Has anyone else here ever thought it weird, though, that so few of the the great jazz bassists began during childhood?
  2. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    Ability to play a chording instrument is oh so useful. Mine's guitar but I'd rather it were piano.
  3. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Yeah, come to think of it, after I started taking piano lessons four years ago, my understanding of bass music skyrocketed (especially in jazz). But I'm not sure if Dave Holland's ukulele experience could have done much for him.

    And Jason, funny you should mention the "tallest kid" thing. Back in fourth grade, that was me, and I haven't stopped playing bass since. Lol, I always say that I chose the right instrument for the wrong reason.
  4. John Sprague

    John Sprague Sam Shen's US Distributor

    Mar 10, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Sales Manager, CSC Products Inc.
    I think everyone should play drums at one time or another, just to appreciate that we aren't quite as dumb as we look. :bag:
  5. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    LOL John...yeah, I play a few different instruments myself and it's helped me immensely, even if I never mastered any of them. I also think the inverse is true...people who play melody and percussion instruments should be made to play bass, and that way they might understand that filling up 16 bars with whack-off licks isn't the best way to play a solo.