Is there or can there be a Virtuoso bass player?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by CaribooBass, May 4, 2021.

  1. Smooth_bass88

    Smooth_bass88 vaxx! Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2006
    North AMERICA, USA
    and I respectfully disagree with you. There was no actual measurement of 'electric bass virtuoso' in the mid 1960s. Simply put, his lines were incredible, and not the type of stuff anyone could play.
    zie likes this.
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    It's simply different goals for different people. You and I agree. But ai don't "fault" people who get more into the technical end if things.
  3. El_Charro


    Aug 11, 2020

    Thanks! \m/
  4. legalbass


    Jul 2, 2020
    Who could have possibly guessed this thread (meant to address a question nobody has ever actually disputed) would have eventually reached a point where people are arguing over their favorite celebrity bass players and making up their own definitions of a long and well-established word :) TalkBass gonna TalkBass
  5. dave hope

    dave hope

    Dec 16, 2016
    It’s much like any other field of music. Such as when someone is the featured guest, playing with the NY philharmonic. You are a virtuoso.
  6. Perhaps also that, virtuosity is confined to classical music and jazz is just nonsensical, applies too? Though most of the posts in this thread repeat the same jazz bassists names over and over.
    lfmn16 likes this.
  7. zie

    zie Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2014
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
  8. So here's where it falls down for me: it was the type of stuff that others could play. For example, I don't think that Bob Babbitt is any less of a player based upon his Motown recordings and yet his name isn't thrown about anywhere near as much as Jamerson. Likewise, if you look at the upright, Jamerson doesn't blow those players out of the water.

    Now, was his stuff really musical? Yes. Absolutely. But nobody stopped and was dumbstruck by what he was doing.

    Here's an example of someone playing the work of a virtuoso:

    Please watch the whole thing. The triple stops. The left hand pizzicatos. The 32nd note runs. The 9-tuplet runs.

    This is what a virtuoso looks like. Except one thing: she's playing someone else's work on a modern violin. Paganini played this using a violin that was not set up to modern standards. And he wrote the piece to demonstrate what he could do.

    Just because someone isn't virtuoso doesn't mean they aren't good. BB King wasn't a virtuoso, but he made great music. None of the Beatles were virtuosos. Not even Ringo.
    JonathanPDX likes this.
  9. Here's the thing: jazz is probably the most technical form of music to originate in the New World. Could you find a virtuoso playing rock? Sure...but those same people are likely to find normal rock so incredibly limiting that it's not going to suffice. Especially on bass.
  10. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member In Memoriam

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine

    Is Edgar Meyer a virtuoso because he can compose and play stuff like this; or, because he can bring this level of expertise to every genre he cares to play in?

    caveat: I don’t know if he writer this specific piece but he’s a prolific composer.

    yes, there are bass virtuosi, and have been for years and years and years.
  11. Jason Sypher

    Jason Sypher Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2001
    Brooklyn, NY
    I sympathize. The life of a virtuoso is not an easy one. Every day I just look at myself in the mirror and there it is again, greatness. Sigh.
    DrMole and Joshua like this.
  12. No, bass players all suck. Next question.
  13. mark roberts

    mark roberts Supporting Member

    Nov 13, 2004
    Lawrence, KS
    Nope. Not going to read every single reply here. The question speaks for itself. Replies can be personally preferential or broad based.

    Mine falls into the latter.

    There are SO MANY players of bass in the world. Each one fits in, hopefully, somewhere in this vast sound and visual-scape of music. Some are front-line incredible musical dominators, others earn their stripes by being in-the-pocket foundation contributors. Some can sing and play. Some have vocal contribution limitations. Some use fingers, some use plectrum, some use both.

    We need change. There is music different from what we are force-fed to play as “musicians”, rather than as artists.

    <sound of popcorn popping>
    Admiral Akbar likes this.
  14. Admiral Akbar

    Admiral Akbar

    Mar 12, 2013
    New York
    What is happening with Talkbass—

    first we get a thread where a bassist is talking about how bass is easier than guitar, now we get a thread if a bass virtuoso is even possible???

    why do bass players hate themselves so much?
    mark roberts likes this.
  15. MVE


    Aug 8, 2010
    Virtuoso: a person who excels in musical technique or execution

    Words have meanings and we list those meanings in the dictionary for a reason.

    I hate when people ask, “...what does it mean to be a... ?”
    Look it up!!!

    Anyway a “virtuoso” is someone who has really good technique. Thats it!

    Im sure plenty of TBers qualify as virtuosos. There is absolutely nothing in the definition about recognition, fame, accomplishment, storytelling or anything else.

    You don’t have to be Jaco or Victor to “qualify” as a virtuoso.
  16. non


    Aug 4, 2015
    for me a virtuoso is someone you can't tell where the person ends and the instrument begins.
  17. kerrycares

    kerrycares Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2006
    Howell, Michigan
  18. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    Not sure of his virtuoso status but, how about Carles Benavent? (Amazing concert, BTW)

  19. bass183


    Apr 22, 2014
    Bass players both electric and upright can be virtuosos. To me a virtuoso is one who has full command of their instrument and who can play anything they hear or read with mastery, expression, and lyricism. Some are extremely innovative as well as having mastery of their instrument and of music. Gary Karr, Ron Carter, NHOP, Jaco Pastorius, Victor Wooten, , Christian McBride, Paul Chambers, Ray Brown, John Pattituci, Miroslav Vitous, Giovanni Bottesini, James Jamerson, are all but a few examples of virtuosos.
  20. So Bobby McFerrin then?
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