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No bass player needed?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by JTGale, Feb 16, 2005.

  1. JTGale


    Oct 26, 2004
    Hummelstown, PA
    Allow me to rant for a few moments ...

    I work with three guys who are fairly respectable, stand-up fellas that are musically talented. One is a drummer. The other two are guitar players. Each brings to the table a different style of playing that seems to mesh well with the other two. They have been short-gigging around the area and response seems to be favorable. Now, they are hiring a keyboardist with an eye toward more extended gigs.

    Now for the crux of it all -- They know I play bass. They know that I am a mild-mannered guy who just loves to play, regardless of the style. They know that I could bring a lot to the table in many ways. They know that I have a broad musical background and am not too shabby of a player. But they just keep insisting that no one needs a bass player anymore, especially if they have a keyboard player to noodle the low end. Argh! :mad:

    Sure, they might just be trying to get my goat. But they keep insisting that it is the way of the future. They say that bass is dead, that it is no longer necessary. They have even gone so far as to find articles out in the ether that support their claims. They aren't trying to be butts, but they truly believe that they are on the fast-track to the future. What is a bassist to say to that? :(

    OK, I feel better. Sorry for the rant. I know that, no matter what the future of music holds, I will always and forever be a bass player. I guess I am just asking the choir to back me up when I say that we are here to stay. Although their bulbs may be bright, I am sure that I could show them how a bass player could darken up their bottom end. They might even find that they enjoy it!

    Cheers ... I think ... :meh:
  2. *Eddie Murphy voice on* C-I-L them.*Eddie Murphy voice off*

    Now I feel better.
  3. fastplant


    Sep 26, 2002
    No one needs a bassist anymore? This is news to me. Unless your keyboardist is amazing and can hold the groove while still playing keyboard parts, I don't see how this could work.
  4. DougP


    Sep 4, 2001
    tell them their drummer is obsolete. you dont see many bass machines in the stores do you?
  5. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Yeah...no one needs a bass player any more...

    But, I frequently go see jazz acts where there's a bass and piano, but no guitar! :spit:

    Why would you want to play with people who will end up having an incomplete sound and don't pay enough attention to detail to understand the importance of the bass? :confused:

    GSPLBASSDC Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2005
    Des Moines, IA

    You are obviously dealing with mental midgets here. While it's true that keyboardists can play the bottom end with some success, there is an "opportunity cost" associated with that. In this case, the keyboardist in no longer free to completely express himself on his instrument ' cause he's got to account for the lack of bass voice. If that's the case, then why don't they replace the drummer with an Alesis SR16??? Because of the human factor, that's why!!

    I don't know about the area you're in, but I'd bet that there are other bands that would give you the respect and opportunity that you deserve..and when you see that other band from the stage, you can think about my mantra......

    Living well is the best revenge

    'nuff said

  7. Alright. This is where my opinion comes in...

    You say that the guys feel bass is dead and not needed anymore? It's a little more complicated than that.

    Back when the upright was brought along into music, what was it used for? To bring down the low-end. Then through out the years it progressed into being used for a grooving tool, and then something to lock into the drums. While this is happening with the rise of big band, swing and Jazz, Leo Fender and co. are making the Electric bass in an effort to make the bass more accesable to guitarists.

    As this goes on, people are using the electric bass more and more, but as trhey start using it more and more, they ran into the same ol' problem. Lack of players.

    Now if we go later into the 1980s, you have a utopia of underground bands. Big Black, Black Flag, Sonic Youth and Beat Happening (The last two I shall use again...)

    While this is going on, you have lots of teenagers looking to form their own band to play Schizophrenia or I Spy. Because of the uprising of so many guitarist and drummers, they're left with no bass players. So what do they do? They know they have a tinny sound. Well, Tinny to YOU. What else do they do? Crank up the volume and the bass for thick guitar tone. It might not be a bass, but they don't have to worry about having it cover the bass, as they're trying be bass players themselves.

    Sonic Youth took the most interesting and coolest approach. Kim Gorden, who plays bass, actually gave it up for a couple of albums. Instead, she used a guitar with thick-gauge strings, strung in a couple of different tunings, and played chords. It wasn't a baritone, but it worked. Listen to "Becuz" and listen to how full the band sounds, even without a bass player.

    Now I'm not saying that we arn't need, far from that. I'm saying that just because bands don't use us doesn't mean it's the end of the world.
  8. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Uhm, well, though this band probably should have a bassist, especially if it's you, a friend, I am not against the no bassist band. They usually sound rather empty, but music is open for everyone to interpret it as they please. If they envision a bassless music, cool. But The White Stripes/Eagles of Death Metal sound rather... junky to me. Everything is too jumbled, nothing is connected.

    But then again, I often question why Meshuggah has a bassist. An 8 String guitar pretty much covers your lows. Keyboard bass, IMO, sounds awful 90% of the time. But then again, my ears are trained to listen to bass... to John Q. Listener it might sound alright, or better.

    But music, is some variation of an Aeroplane... so... deal with it.
  9. NV43345


    Apr 1, 2003
    Yeah some guys told me that 35 years ago when the Doors
    were big. It is BS. Those guys suck you dont wanna play with them anyway. A$$ ho's like that make me sick.Lets beat there
    asses and take there women. :cool:
  10. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Also, I don't consider bassless bands that huge of a trend. It seems to have a few people scared, but I can think of 3 mainstream bassless bands. White Stripes/Black Keys/Eagles of Death Metal... and their popularity is on the decline.

    But then again, lets think about all the mainstream rock bands that HAVE bassists...
  11. While bassless bands do have some people scared, I hated the white stripes... until I actually gave Elephant a spin on my friends CD player. And I liked it.

    Most of the time, my theory is that bass players hate bassless bands because it's just that. They don't have a bass. So what? It works for them. Why do you care how many instruments they have?
  12. Funkize you

    Funkize you Guest

    Nov 4, 2003
    Westminster Ca.
    The most common duet is DB and Piano.

    Actually, for most bassists its the other way around... Certain kinds of music dont really need anything other than root notes, and a talented guitarist may be capable of pulling it off. However, In a lot of other types of music, there are little to no need for guitar... Lots of jazz would do fine without guitar in it.

    Just remember... No matter how good you are, how well you can play, how great you can groove, A bass will never be held as high as a guitar in the minds of "Non-musicians".
  13. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    I like the Black Keys.

    Also, lets turn this around: Keyboard players... how often do you see them. I mean, there is a new rise of indie rockers using them... but generally keyboards are frowned upon.
  14. red-hot-bassist


    Sep 18, 2001
    man theres this trombone player in my orchestra. and tambourine guy was like 'hey! Keane dont have a trombone player and we gotta move with the times and gett our boring asses on this bandwagon now baby!!'

    so the trombone player quit and now plays in a better band with cooler people

  15. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I say stop trying to change those clowns' minds. Forgettabout 'em. They hold your talent and potential contribution to be worthless... best to shun them as they shun you. I see nothing wrong with any ensemble that chooses to not have bass (or any other instrument, for that matter)... but to insist that bass is somehow obsolete is just idiotic.
  16. Exedore


    Nov 15, 2002
    Pasadena, Ca, USA
  17. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Nothing to say.

    Bass guitar may indeed be on the way out, who knows? It's not going to happen next year I can guarantee you that :p but in a another deacde or two....

    Instruments do become obsolete and extinct, you know. I don't see too many gut-fret bass viols, theorbos (bass lute) or mandobasses around these days. Just 50 years ago upright players were convinced that the bass guitar was a toy, a fad. Today the bass guitar is used far more often than the upright bass.

    From the perspective of playing a lot of modern musical styles, yes, a keyboard player can easily replace the bassist. Hardly new, Jimmy Smith was doing it on Hammond organ fity years ago. I have seen touring rock bands on a shoestring budget opting to use keys over bass. I'm sure this is what your friends are thinking about.

    BTW, I just bought a new synth workstation last week and this thing has built in bass arpeggios (hundreds of them) that can play super funky bass lines better than I can...I just play the root and third and off it goes. Someone who really plays keys can do some jaw-dropping things with technology like this :bag:
  18. of course keyboard bass sucks, if you try to play it like an electric bass. if you know how to use it effectively, though, it can be just as good or better. take the Dismemberment Plan song "Life of Possibilities" for instance. tell me it would have been as good with a bass guitar.
  19. Against Will

    Against Will Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2003
    Big Sound Central
    Nobody needs drummers, drum machines are more accurate and you don't have to yell at them/coerce them into playing the line you want. You just hit buttons.

    Nobody needs guitarists, seriously, guitar solos? BOOOOOOOOORING. Just get a synth and midi trigger. Done and done.

    Analog instruments are on the way out.

    Some bassists are forming duos with just them and a drummer, or just them alone, some bands are getting two or three bassists back them up. So, if it's not a matter of obsolecence, it's a matter of structural unemployment (so to speak).

    I have nothing against bassless bands, some suck, some don't, but just because there are a lot of them around doens't mean that bass is on the way out. There a lot of bands that had drum machines in the 80's, yet drummers still manage to find work somehow.
  20. fraublugher


    Nov 19, 2004
    ottawa, ontario, canada
    music school retailer
    ok back on topic

    " with friends like that who needs maisholes , eh ? "