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Musician or Bass Player?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Pumpkin, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. Musician

    72 vote(s)
  2. Bass Player

    72 vote(s)
  3. Both

    216 vote(s)
  4. Carrots

    43 vote(s)
  1. Pumpkin


    May 19, 2016
    Washington, DC
    How many of you think of yourselves as musicians, and how many think of yourselves as bass players? As I work on different things (mainly theory and comp) I find myself asking this question fairly frequently and now I want to know what my fellow TB'ers think about the issue. Do you see a difference? Do you rememember a moment in your playing career when you crossed a threshold between one and the other? How would you define the difference, if you think there is one?
  2. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    One term is more specific than the other. All bass players are musicians but not all musicians are bass players. All chihuahuas are dogs but...and so on.
  3. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    I was a musician (played piano and trombone) long before I picked up the bass. I'm a musician who specializes in bass.
  4. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    I play a bunch of different instruments, so I'm a musician.
    I'm good at bass. So I'm a bass player.
  5. Pumpkin


    May 19, 2016
    Washington, DC
    I've always felt the opposite. I've seen guys play bass who don't have a musical bone in their body. I've always aimed to use my bass in a way that I would call musical, but can't say that I've always succeeded. How would you define a musician?
    LowRenzo, oerk, superdick2112 and 4 others like this.
  6. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    I couldn't disagree more. There are bass owners, bass players, and musicians who play the bass.
    BK bassist, Commreman, jwr and 17 others like this.
  7. Chicory Blue

    Chicory Blue

    Oct 9, 2016
    Set me up alone with a bass guitar and a looper, and I will make you something beautiful.

    Put me in a band as the bassist and I will make a mess.

    Am I a musician? Undeniably.
    Am I a bass player? Ehhh...

  8. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2011
    I consider myself a musician first, but I think I can honestly call myself a bass player. I mean, I play bass, and have only been fired once, and those guys were idiots.
  9. JJR58

    JJR58 Dirty Birds Supporting Member

    I'm a musician who plays bass.
  10. I play bass, but I'll probably never be a musician. I don't have the ears for it.
    I've read (right on here even) that any musician should be able to hear when an instrument is out of tune, and I can't.
    I also can't tune by ear, even to a relative pitch.

    I'm not ashamed to wear a t-shirt out in public with a bass headstock on it though:

    I need to get a new one though, because right now both of my basses are 2+2 headstocks, and I prefer that.
  11. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    If you play a musical instrument then you're a musician. It's a category.
    OEW3, Joedog, smogg and 2 others like this.
  12. Chicory Blue

    Chicory Blue

    Oct 9, 2016
    I wonder if they make 3+1 shirts...

  13. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    Yes, the bar for calling someone a musician is very low. We are then free to add out own subjective descriptors ranging from piss-poor to virtuoso.

    I consider myself a muscian whose weapon of choice happens to be bass, unless I'm playing something else (which usually puts me in the piss poor category). ;)
  14. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    I couldn't vote. Didn't see 'hack' as a selection
  15. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Here's food for thought:

    Who are your favorite musical artists? Do they play bass?
  16. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Well, that's the thing -the semantics of English allow different people to mean totally different things by "musician." For some, that implies a person with a deep vocation in music, whose identity is defined by their capacity to make music (a very high bar, by which few bass players are true musicians). For others, it just means anyone who picks up an instrument and plays a note (a very low bar, by which all bass players are a subset of the category "musician" by definition).

    I think what the OP is really asking, though, is how we see the role of the bass in our musical lives - do we think of ourselves fundamentally making music and the choice of bass as an instrument to do it on is incidental, or do we have a special relationship with the bass guitar and that's the lens that we look at the rest of music through?

    Myself, I'm somewhere in between. I used to play saxophone in school, took some rounds of piano lessons, took up mandolin for singing around a campfire, play some guitar in church and when writing songs, etc. So I guess that makes me a "musician" in that I don't exclusively play bass. But I dropped sax in 10th grade to focus on drama club and never really thought of myself as a "musician" in the vocation sense banging out campfire songs on mandolin. It was bass that really made music "home" for me, got me into bands and performing in front of audiences and all that.
  17. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I definitely play bass. Most of the time, it's musical. Hopefully, while playing in public, it's close to 100%.
    FF Petro and Michael Schreiber like this.
  18. 5544


    Dec 1, 2015
    If I consider myself either of those things, then I will lose the will and drive to push myself and use the energy to look down upon beginners driving them away from the instrument all together.

    My vote is for broccoli.
  19. ahc


    Jul 31, 2009
    No. Virginia
    Genus and Species.
    Tom Bomb, hermetic, Joedog and 4 others like this.
  20. twinjet

    twinjet What does God need with a starship?

    Sep 23, 2008
    You underestimate your abilities -- your other thread proves you absolutely capable of keeping it together.
    Oddly likes this.