Discussion in 'Ask Mike Watt [Archived]' started by Damage_Control, Dec 2, 2006.

  1. Alright, I just had a simple question or two. For one thing, I wanted to know if you would consider a bass guitar easy. That is not the reason I long for one, but I do wonder because people talk of them like they are nothing.

    For two, I was wondering, I guess this is sort of a rhetorical question, but you should more than likely start with a 4-String, huh?

    And last but not least, I always wonder if it is too late to start. Look at all these success stories and the story goes: "I have been ____ing since I was 5, or 7." No one starts anything this late in life. (Haha, only 16, but still. Seems as if I should have started years ago to master it now.) Of course Mark Hoppus (Blink 182 and Plus 44) never toutched a guitar until his father bought him one when he was 15. But then again, he's no god among bassists either.

  2. I'm 16 and without gear if that helps.

    Consider yourself lucky living in the states.
  3. zazz


    Feb 27, 2004
    never too late...and 16 is probably the age that a lot of players start.

    and the bass is easier to get into than a guitar if you want to start playing in a band asap but thats not to say that you cant keep learning and improving your technique for as long as you stay with the bass.

    to play a bass well is down to practice and every band needs one...and i think these days bass players are acctually the focus of the band in many ways ...unlike the past when it was considered to be second to the gutarist.

    yeah go with 4 strings....maybe a cheap squire p bass....just in case its not for you.
  4. Neb Maro

    Neb Maro I don't think, but I still am.

    Oct 20, 2006
    So. Cali
    I didn't start learning until a few months ago, and I'm twenty-five. I think there is still a future though. I've seen a lot of pictures of old bass players and heard some clips. They still know their stuff.

    Are you in a hurry to master it? In a hurry to get out there and gig?

    Also, concerning fourstrings. They seem to be the most common. Most instructional books and videos that I have seen focus on them.
  5. I started when I was 16 good luck .:bassist:
  6. Im 16 and started a month ago, its allot of fun you should defiantly get into it. If your sure your going to stick with bass, I would get a MIM (made in mexico) fender, I got mine used for $250. The Jazz bass is more laid back and groovy while the precision is more in your face rock sound. Sorry, you might know all this stuff, just trying to help out a newb like myself!
  7. depends how dedicated you are, and if you're really playing for the love of it, or because it's something you want to do. I've been watching my buddy, grow up *knowing* he was going to be a physics major in school. He picked up a guitar one day (18) and started noodling around. Two years after that, he switched to the University of Michigan Jazz School (from the math program) and hasn't looked back.. He is a music kid, it's in his bones.

    I also have a drummer friend (more acquaintance really) that has been playing for over 9 years. He stopped progressing after about 3 of them.

    Just do it if you think you'll enjoy it, and stop if you don't. You'll find out quickly if it's for you or not.

  8. SaxBass

    SaxBass Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2003
    San Diego
    For what it's worth, I started about 5 years ago. I'm 57 now. Been playing sax for maybe 35 years, and decided to join the low end. I'm a decent musician, so it helped to have the music background, but learning a whole new way to use my hands to make sound was a physical challenge. I consider myself a good meat-n-potatoes bass player now (not a soloist, not a slapper) and really enjoy it. I echo a previous post- never too late to start. Practice, listen, and be patient. And I think I agree that starting on a 4-string is better. I started on 5 and have settled on 4. Still have one 5 but don't use it much. Once you have your familiarity with the geography of the fretboard, adding a string isn't that big a deal. Good luck!
  9. Smallmouth_Bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    It's never too late to start.

    As for the question of if bass is easy; I would say yes and no. Out of all the other "rock" instruments such as drums, guitar and keyboards, I would say it's the easiest to sound decent right away. But, every instrument has it's own challenges. You might not ever be required to play a blistering solo, but you'll be required to be solid. There are more sublties that go into bass playing that other musicians often overlook. It's all about getting the right feel and playing solid. Everything after that is just icing on the cake.

    Number of strings? Play what you think you want. If the music you will be playing will require you to cover notes lower than E on a regular basis, then there is no reason why you couldn't go striaght to a 5-string to start.

    Good luck!
  10. funbass


    Dec 16, 2006
    I started playing bass 2 months ago and Im 45 yrs old. I played a bit of guitar for years and I think the bass takes more strength and streching the pinky out. Mentally its easier for me and easier to read music. The bass is fun and I wish I would have started 30 years ago.
  11. Vegiehead


    Jan 23, 2006
    I started 12 months ago almost today... im 34 now and never played a string instument... i was a drummer about 20 years ago for a few years but didnt like it.

    I learnt the bass for the first 10 months from a guitarist and basicly self taught myself... now ive had 4 bass lessons from a great bass teacher and its just amazing how much better ive got in those couple of months.

    Never to old to learn.

  12. Zilla


    Dec 19, 2006
    Rob Wright of No Means No didn't start playing until he was 30, still touring 20 years later, and one of the most amazing bass players out there. he made me want to play bass.
    my step father didn't start playing fiddle until he was 30 something, he has travelled and has trophies from fiddling contests.
    its never too late to lean an instrument.
  13. And last but not least, I always wonder if it is too late to start. :meh:

    I started about six months ago, and i'm 52. I hope that the want is better than age. I'm not great at it, but i have improved alot. It opened up a new frontier for me. I'm the bassist for a band, and i'm 20 years older than the guitarist /singer. You never know what you can do untill you try! I'm now thinking of buying a 2nd bass! Good luck to you with whatever you choose to do, but IMO, you can't go wrong. SweetBabyJames :cool:
  14. Matt Call

    Matt Call Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    I've been playing since I was 11 or so. However, there were definitely a few years when I wasn't serious at all (I never practiced, just played with the band).

    However, I think that as you get older, you have a better sense of responsibility (or at least you should :D). More or less, I think you truly realize the investment you're making - resulting in more time spent practicing. This is, of course, speculation. I just see a lot of people that have been "playing" a long time... not "really playing." I guess it's all a matter of want/desire.

    I know what you're talking about though. I watched a lesson by Victor Wooten last night and was sick to my stomach. He said he'd been gigging since he was 5?! He also pointed out the fact that he learned Jaco's "Portrait of Tracy" when he was 8-10 in a single night.

    ...that bastard. :p
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