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Learn some guitar or focus intensely on bass?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Sgroh87, Oct 31, 2013.

  1. Sgroh87


    Dec 4, 2012
    DFW, Texas
    I'm 25 years old and I started playing guitar last december and switched to bass six months ago. I love playing bass and holding down the low end, and I'd really like to become good enough to play out with groups. I know that I'm starting a little late to look towards music as a career, but I don't think it has to be to have fun and earn a little bit on the side. I might also like to teach; I went to school for education so I have some

    The thing is, every once in a while I get the urge to play some high register melodic or chordal parts, and even with a six string bass I still feel like I should be spending my time down low. I strung my backup bass with piccolo strings just for fun, but the scale length makes chording difficult. A few days ago a guitar teacher friend of mine told me that if I'm looking to gig, bass playing is where its at, but if I want to teach I should also have some solid guitar skills. I'm thinking about picking up guitar again on the side, but I don't want to "fall behind" on the bass.

    As someone starting off a little later in life, do you think that I should spend some more time really focusing on the bass, or would it be okay (or even beneficial) to work on some guitar at the same time? I know that there's no real end goal for bass or guitar playing, but I fear that spending time on one to the detriment of the other will make it harder to reach my goal of competency playing in groups.
  2. Play guitar, play mandolin, play trombone, keyboards. Get a pedal steel, then you'll really learn some chord structure.

    "Focus" as broadly as you like, play whatever cranks your tractor. It will help, not hurt. Besides, this is supposed to be fun...
  3. Ronbassman


    Jun 1, 2011
    Play both. I don't see why it would hurt one or the other.
  4. Federighi


    Jun 19, 2011
    Burlingame, CA
    +1 on that. Keys is the most standard approach.
  5. JSpradBass


    Mar 3, 2013
    Columbus, OH
    Play both.
  6. kreider204


    Nov 29, 2008
    Given your stated goals, I don't think it could hurt to do both. Mostly, just do what's fun.
  7. rfslick


    Dec 31, 2008
    Benicia, CA. USA
    Having played bass since the 60's, I play electric and acoustic guitar when by myself. A little acoustic with my bands, and mostly bass in the bands. Anything you can do will make everything easier!
    Also learn to sing! A singing bass player can work anywhere.
    If you own a sound system, you're boss!
  8. LordDog


    Jun 25, 2013
    Norwich UK
    Hi, 25 is not late to be starting anything in life; you will have plenty of time to learn what you need to know about bass & guitar.

    Looking at the timescale, you took up guitar in December and Bass in April? If it were me, I would concentrate on the bass to start with, because your teacher friend is right about getting more gigs (lots of singers and guitarists; not so many bass players and drummers is the general way of things); this needn't mean that you shouldn't pick up a guitar at all though.

    I just started on bass, and I'm 49, but have played guitar for many years, so at the moment I play bass 80% of the time and guitar 20%. Also, don't forget that there are a lot of similarities between the two in terms of theory etc, so no time spent learning is wasted time either way. :D
  9. IMO it will be a matter of how much time each will take. I think you should not take on two new instruments at the same time.

    However any new string instrument will augment the others. I've had at one time or the other, banjo, acoustic rhythm, electric lead and of course bass. I tried fiddle and found that one would take years to master and I did not not want to devote that amount of time to it, so I gave it to a friend.

    Boils down to how much time do you have for each instrument.
  10. two fingers

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

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Great answer.
  11. I agree with everything LordDog said. There's no reason to neglect guitar if you want to learn it along with bass, unless you're really strapped for time or money and you need to sacrifice something. In that case, I'd say go with bass because of the musical law of supply and demand; guitarists are a lot more plentiful!
  12. ReiPsaeg


    Dec 1, 2012
    Rochester, NY
    I don't think you need to worry about sacrificing bass guitar over guitar. A lot of the basic technique is fairly similar, just over a different scale length. And it will help you to create bass lines if you have a good knowledge of chords.

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