Most useful second intrument for a 4 string bassist?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by jenderfazz, Apr 17, 2004.

  1. 5+ string bass

    7 vote(s)
  2. Fretless bass

    5 vote(s)
  3. Guitar or other non-bass stringed instruments

    11 vote(s)
  1. Of these choices, which would most help a primarily 4 string bassist like me improve my skill, theory, and musical understanding? Remember that 4 string fretted bass is still my #1 priority.
  2. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000

    The reason being: it's both a harmony and melody instrument. It really helps clear up the bridge between the two.
  3. Davehenning


    Aug 9, 2001
    Los Angeles

    it provides a great visual reference to "see" harmony.
  4. Believe me, I know that piano is the best one! But of the choices above, which would you suggest?

    I probably should get a keyboard anyways...
  5. mr e

    mr e

    Nov 17, 2003
    first piano, then drums
  6. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    Piano is the master of all instruments. Seemed to work great for all the orchestral composers.
  7. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Out of those three, guitar is the best one. It's a tool for songwriting you can take with you and still can practice basslines on the lower four strings.
  8. Jonki

    Jonki I will not slap my Bee!

    Oct 14, 2003
    Arendal, Norway
  9. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX

    All right, all right, another vote for keys. Of the choices you offered I would go with guitar, too. It helps to be able to look at the guitarists hands and recognize the chord, because often the distortion/other effects will hide things enough that you can play along with what it SOUNDS like and get wrong notes and dissonant junk. Been there.

    Strangely I started bass on four string fretted, but my main bass is now a four string fretless. But I played guitar first. So with that in mind... Learn keys.
  10. The Chapman Stick ... or the Piano.
  11. Jerry Ziarko

    Jerry Ziarko Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    I would have to say drums. Practicing the interaction between the two is very important, IMHO. I think the reverse is also true. I have worked with drummers who have dabbled with the bass and they look at this interraction form a totaly different point of view. Many players look at their bass playing from a melody approach, some from a rhythm view, yet others a combination of the two. Although I look at both, I must admit I myself look at rhythm first and formost. I played drums until the age of fouteen so maybe that is where I formed my bias.
  12. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I vote keyboard(even though I sold both I had).
    I still have my guitar...even haven't changed the strings since 1976.

    Regarding drums-
    IMO, you don't have to own a real kit to reap the benefits. FME, a drum machine + some good drum books is the ticket. IMO, learning drums with the 4-limb independence thing & all that...? Trust me, I would love to be able to pull that stuff off in the REAL world; I'm lucky if I can coax the machine into doing that!

    That said, as a bassist, it is important to 'think like a drummer'...FME, it just makes life so much easier. So, knowing how beats are constructed, knowing what cross-rhythms' are about, knowing how to bend time(i.e. 'playing across the barline' or playing with bi-metrics, etc) helps your cause as a bassist-musician. FME, this aided when playing with or against the drummer. A drum machine is always there when you need it, doesn't get pissed when you keep looping a certain beat, either!

    A REAL set of bongos also helps- an aid for actually learning, hearing, & feeling the above examples.
    Also helps in the slap/pop technique.
  13. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    If not keys, then something percussion-wise. A good set of bongos or whatever other variety of hand-drums would be cool. They not only excercise your rhythm and timing, but you might find you really like the sound and it could completely open new musical horizons. Put in some other ones like a good djembe and some congas, and have a drum set of entirely skin-head (or synthetic skin, depending on how you feel about that stuff) hand-drums, which, when played correctly, sounds exceedingly cool.

    Out of those choices, I'd have to say either guitar. I have both a guitar and a fretless (I acquired the fretless after guitar, 'cause my brother already had a guitar). The fretless is starting to become my main instrument, but whenever I go to guitar and back to bass, I feel like I understand each instrument a bit better. Plus, there's almost always a good chance that somewhere near where you hang out, someone will have an acoustic that you can jam on. Fretless has the dramatic difference in sound for that, but not feel. You can use some of the same things, but most chances are, there'll be a longer period of adjusting to more than just intonation.
  14. Fretless (to improve stringed instrument expressiveness)

    Piano or other keyboard instrument (to learn more about polyphonic playing)

    Bongos / congas / djembe (to build sense of rhythm and groove)

    :cool: :)
  15. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    Keys or guitar (or drums.) Expand your horizons and "hear the other side(s)"... plus it's just nice to play something else for a change. And for a one-man-band such as myself it's kinda indispensible. ;)

    I can't play wind instruments to save my life though.
  16. country_boy


    Apr 13, 2004
    Houghton, MI
    Tuba! Seriously, tuba serves the same rhythmic and harmonic functions in a band as bass. Having to breath rhythms gives you a deeper understanding of time and phrase (more subcontious), also an appreciation for dynamics. I know that they are kind of huge, heavy, expensive etc., so it might not be too pracitcal, but it is really fun. I am biased because I've been playing tuba for the last 10 years, but for me the tuba to bass transistion was very natural and the more formal concert band background gives me a different perspective than players without it.
    just my two cents
  17. hieronymous


    Nov 28, 2002
    Northern CA
    Personally, picking up a cheap mandolin opened up new worlds for me. It was the first time I had ever played an instrument tuned in fifths. I've been playing bass and guitar for a long time (over 20 years) and I think that the mandolin helped me break out of some old patterns.

    But I have a feeling that piano or drums would make more sense first!