"It's not a bass GUITAR, it's a bass!" and other comments that make your brain hurt.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Aaron Saunders, Jul 16, 2005.

  1. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Alright guys, I know we've been through this before, but I've noticed a huge surge of people parading around TalkBass with such proclamations as "my guitarist said my playing was too busy, so I quit the jerks," "I can do crazy improv stuff that'll make your jaw drop," (not NTB this time -- HE was fun) and the ever so classic, "it's an electric bass, not a bass guitar" followed, I'm sure, by a wankful slap riff.

    More than ever, I'm seeing a lot of general bass snobbery and people slapping themselves on the back for playing the bass -- that we're always clearly misunderstood and that if only the shackles of doing classic rock covers were removed, we could start doing crazy solos, or that if a guitarist or singer tells us to turn down/play simpler/not wank all over the song, they don't know what they're talking about, because they're just a singer and don't understand the intricate nuances of our instrument or the advances Jaco/Wooten/Clarke/Flea/etc. have made for it.

    You know, I'm going to take a really wild shot in the dark and say that maybe -- just maybe -- your guitarist MIGHT have a point. Maybe playing syncopated 16ths isn't the right thing for a ballad, or maybe your arpeggiated tritone substitutions don't really fit into "Shook Me All Night Long."

    I'm not saying we need to play simple, pump out 8th note roots, or that chopsy bass playing has no place. Believe me, I indulge quite frequently in chopsy playing with my electrics (don't have the chops on DB...yet ;)) and quite actively dream of creating solo bass works that would make the most gratuitous wanker blush -- and quite often do my best to do just that.

    I'm just saying...you know what? It IS a bass guitar. Don't get so bloody offended when people refer to it as such, because that's what it is. Furthermore, if your guitarist says "Dude, quit wanking all over our song," don't just blow it off -- think about what he's saying. He might actually have a great point. And maybe -- just maybe -- your amp really is too loud.
  2. Iruleonbass


    May 29, 2005
    New York
    Today my brother goes...Hey is your bass a P bass or a J bass. ( I own an ibanez artcore ) and so I go its neither, and he goes well it has to be one of them. and i tell him no it doesn't. And Than he asks, ok what do you use it for than. And so I say playing bass? and he says no no no, what kind of music do you use it for, and I say it would sound good for jazz and whatnot, and he goes, than it has to be a jazz bass....

    Keep in mind, he plays drums too, so he's not a moron when it comes to instruments...but my god, I wanted to throw up.
  3. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    So talk to him. Tell him the difference. Show him a picture of a J and a P. It's not THAT much effort, I've done it numerous times.
  4. TheNerdBass


    Jun 30, 2005
    Detroit, MI
    I've had to draw the different pickup options for my mom...
  5. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    My parents stay out of it, and my brothers are only aware of the differences in my instruments because they're pretty obvious (hard to mistake a Spector 5er for a Stingray).

    I have, however, taught them to correctly identify the difference between a guitar and a bass, and that I play bass. They can be taught!
  6. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    I try not to be a snoot.

    In my eyes I'm not good enough for it, and I don't play music that weedles, wanks or noodles. I'm happy calling it a bass, bass guitar, electric bass guitar or any derivation therein.

    I also don't slap, tap, down-tune...chords and arpeggios, yes, but only in context.
  7. I just hate it when people say stuff like "Did you get a new guitar?" or "I didn't know you played guitar" or "check out my new guitar" etc, when referring to a bass guitar/electric bass. It just creates confusion.

    Most of the general public doesn't even know what a bass is.
  8. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    I pity people for their ignorance, I don't hate them for it.

    If'n yer nice and informative about it, maybe you'll set them off on the proper path.
  9. sargebaker

    sargebaker Commercial User

    May 2, 2004
    Montreal QC CA
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    I don't like it when people talk about all the contributions and adcancements Flea has made to bass playing ;) :D :bag:
  10. Iruleonbass


    May 29, 2005
    New York
    It may seem like I was acting like a was a pro to my brother, but we were both laughing the whole time I was making fun of him. And I was holding a P-bass at the time of his question. My other brothers. Of course, he never plays it so In a few weeks when he forgets he owns it, I'll call it mine. :smug: (that was a joke people)
  11. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    ;) :D A lot of that paragraph (or huge run-on sentence, depending on how you look at it) was dripping with sarcasm.
  12. Cerb


    Sep 27, 2004
    I must say; you pulled off the sentence for a paragraph thing very well, and without it being a run-on :).
  13. DanGouge


    May 25, 2000
    I try (with varying degrees of success) to check my ego before I plug in. In a band setting it will often get you a lot of respect from the drummer and/or the guitarist, and that respect can in turn lead to more gigs. Resisting the urge to noodle excessively will (if you're honest with yourself) probably also make the song sound better.
  14. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    You should see my english essays...

    Dan: Cool. This is a great example of the playing and attitude I hold in great respect
  15. I'm certainly lucky in that most of my friends know what a bass is- most play instruments of some kind, guitar, bass, keys, drums, voilin, or vocals...

    Family pisses me off- "Did you get a new guitar?", or " so and so (Me) is learning guitar, he can sernade us at the next family get togehter".
    I often shrug off that remark with a yeah if you want a 4/ 5piece band in your back yard... I play Bass!

    It's true though- I do think too many bassists jack off during songs. You go to the big music stores in the City... Slappopslap is about all you hear! Store owners look disapointed when I finger my way through a few scales, a couple of chords- play a little melody or line I have been working on- and then say I'll take that cabinet. :cool:

    Why play a song's worth of 16th's if a few 1/4 notes is all it needs?

    Sorry if I'm missing the point of the post... Rant over! :bassist:
  16. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Above all, I'm sick of a lot of bassists complaining about how they play "electric bass" and not bass guitar. Hell, I've had people call my bass a guitar, plain and simple, we all have. Who cares? Call it an electric violin, I don't care. And to restate, it IS a bass guitar because it's a guitar... in the bass range. NOT an Upright made electric.
  17. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    I don't care if it's bass, electric bass, or bass guitar.
    But what I don't like is to be called "Basser" (in German) instead of "Bassist".

  18. Ok.

    Then what's a 6 string EADGBE short scale guitar, then? A "guitar", right? Of course it is.

    The whole "electric bass" thing goes back to the instrument's creation and was the original term for it. Using it, rather than "bass guitar", helps to emphasize the fact that our function is as part of a rhythm section, just like the upright bass. The term "Bass guitar" was invented some time in the 1960s, probably to latch on to the increasing popularity of the electric guitar and rock music.
  19. burntgorilla


    Jan 24, 2005
    My parents call my bass a guitar, I couldn't care less, neither of us are going to better, more well adjusted people if they call it a bass, are we?

    I have noticed that bassists seem to have an inferiority complex going on though, as if the music world owes them something.
  20. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    Whatever the original term was, it's indisputable that it's a member of the guitar family. The comparison with "upright bass" doesn't work. You're missing the fact that there is technically speaking no such instrument as a "bass." "Bass" is a term for register or range, or function. "Bass" is not the corrrect name for the upright; it's shorthand. The "upright bass" is actually a bass viol, or the bass member of the viol family. Just as the bass guitar is the bass member of the guitar family. This is why you also have bass trombone, bass flute, bass saxophone, and bass clarinet.

    And think about it: why would an ABG be a guitar, and an electric bass not? Case in point: I have three 6 string basses from Jon Shuker. Two are solidbodies, one is an ABG. They're strung the same and tuned the same; I hold them the same, and play them the same. They even have necks carved to the same dimensions. Would you argue that the acoustic is a bass guitar and the solids aren't bass guitars? If so, on what basis? You might as well argue that a Martin is a guitar but a Strat isn't.

    And if an ABG isn't a guitar, what is it? Remember, there is no "bass" family. There are only families of instruments that have bass members.