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Just starting out - what to listen to???

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by worganc, Sep 16, 2002.

  1. worganc


    Sep 16, 2002
    Ontario Canada
    I realize this is very subjective, but I need to ask. I just sold all my guitar gear and used the cash to buy bass gear. I played hard rock / metal guitar for 23 years, but always appreciated many different kinds of music. I would like to hear from people what tunes they feel define the bass. Any genre of music accepted. I want to get an idea of what bass players listen to.
  2. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Listen to everything your teacher tell you :)
  3. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    If you want to be a good bass player listen to other bass players.

    If you want to be a good musician listen to everything you can get your hands on.
  4. worganc


    Sep 16, 2002
    Ontario Canada
    OK, so if you were my teacher, what would you tell me to learn?
  5. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    To me, the perfect BASS player is Donald Duck Dunn. Buy the Blues Brothers soundtrack, and listen to "She Caught the Kady".
  6. There is so much stuff. If you want to groove, you can listen to old James Brown stuff, some Motown stuff with James Jamerson on bass. I would recommend Jamiroquai's first three albums with Stuart Zender on bass. There's Paul McCartney. There's Victor Wooten who plays with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. Marcus Miller. Of course, there's Jaco Pastorius.

    The list goes on.... We have such a diverse group here that listens to all kinds of music. It's hard to narrow down. But just like there are so many kinds of different guitar players, there are so many different kinds of bass players. It really depends on what kinds of genres you are willing to explore.
  7. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Funk is very good for bass playing, as the bass line (and bass sound and feel) is so central. Personally, I think you can't get better than Herbie Hancock's 70's albums for funk - Headhunters, Thrust, Manchild, Secrets, Sunlight... Jamiroquai are also great for funk bass playing. Also, for funky jazzy playing - possibly the best bass player ever - Jaco Pastorius, both his solo albums and the Weather Report ones he played on (Black Market, Heavy Weather for example). I would say heavy rock/metal is not so good for bass playing (I'm sure some of you disagree) because the bass line isn't so central. Having said which, there's some great rock bass playing on The Beatles' records, particularly Revolver, Sgt Pepper, White Album, Abbey Road, i.e. the later stuff.
  8. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    I'm listening to the following songs which I think have great grooving bass lines:

    Whatever Gets You Through the Night - John Lennon (Walls & Bridges album)

    Moondance & Brown Eyed Girl - Van Morrison

    Bouree - Jethro Tull

    Unbroken Chain, US Blues & Scarlet Begonias - Grateful Dead (From the Mars Hotel)

    Motown is great, get "Standing in the Shadows of Motown". This book is part biography about James Jamerson and part music instruction. I'm also reading up on James Brown funk / R&B.

    The Police (Sting) have some great rhythms. You might wanna give them a spin.
  9. worganc


    Sep 16, 2002
    Ontario Canada
    You guys are great! I love all of the suggestions so far. I think I'll need a part-time job to support my CD habit in the near future. I'm only surprised by the Beatles suggestion. I love the Beatles, so don't get me wrong, but I always felt they were relatively weak from the standpoint of bass and drums. I will listen again.

    Thanks again, and please keep the suggestions rolling in.

  10. TheListPunk

    TheListPunk Guest

    Feb 2, 2002
    Topeka, Kansas
    You are mistaken. After a closer look you will see that Sir Paul was a relatively good bassist. To me "Penny Lane" is a very good example.

  11. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Paul McCartney was a pretty good bassist I think. He didn't really do much that was particarly tricky to play but he had a unique sound (listen to Sgt Pepper, I really don't know how he made that bass sound) and came up with some really good, original bass lines IMHO.
  12. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Hey hey fellow Ontarian! :)

    Check out Les Claypool from Primus for some truly unique playing. His lines aren't necessarily the type you can cop in a cover band, but still inspiring.

    If you're into hard rock and metal, Geezer Butler and Steve Harris are probably two names you know already, but the new crop of bassists features some pretty impressive playing. Check out Steve DiGiorgio (Death/Control Denied), Vortex (Borknagar), Sean Malone (Cynic), Tony Choy (Pestilence/Atheist)...

    If you want to hear bass playing at its pyrotechnical finest, pick up a any Bela Fleck and the Flecktones or Victor Wooten CD.
  13. JohnL


    Sep 20, 2000
    Grayson, GA
    There are as many correct answers to your question as musical styles. I will offer up no opinion on what bassist to listen to, but here's a tip my mentor gave me long ago. Listen to styles you wouldn't normally listen to, dislike, despise, even hate. I have found that there are a ton of good ideas floating around out there in styles I may not like listening to, and I can sometimes learn a fresh approach to something I would have not thought of otherwise.

    (Puts "helpful" soapbox back under desk, pulls out "selfish list of guys I like" soapbox)

    Now then...

    -Motown stuff for your pocket education (Jamerson and Dunn exemplify the word "pocket")
    -Country (yes country!) for learning what not to play is as important to the song as forcing a blizzard-o-licks into a half measure.
    -Jazz for the coolness quotient (Jaco, Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller, etc)
    -Funk for, well, the funk of it (Bootsy, Larry Graham, Flea) OMG, did I just say Flea?
    -And just for pure over the top, Victor Wooten (run, don't walk to the nearest venue to see him!)

    IMO, it can be a little discouraging to listen to these guys (I can't even play their mistakes!), but you will get a wide variety of ideas from a wide variety of styles. What makes you a player is not knowing the licks, but when to use them (or not) to make the song better. Good luck!
  14. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    Listen to everything. Even stuff you hate.
  15. XavierG

    XavierG In Memoriam

    ....I can offer you a tip that I always give my students, that is, to listen to the music in your head. Figure it out.
  16. phatlizard


    Sep 21, 2002
    Regatta de Blanc - The Police

    esp.: Walking on the moon

    "Giant steps are what you take ... "


  17. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Yeah, Walking On The Moon is a great bass line, and that album some really good stuff on it. Didn't know Sting played fretless though...
  18. Listen to everything! the greatest musicians are also the greatest listeners. Miles Davis once said "dont play whats there, play whats not there" and I believe the same context could be used for listening.
  19. nivagues


    Jan 18, 2002

    Listen to everything.

    You'd be surprised how much material you actually listen to when you focus on the Bass and not the soloist/ band/group as a whole. I try and forget my leanings to any particualar style. Once you realise why you're listening you can switch on to anything from the simplest to the complicated...from any era.


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