pros and cons of guitarists who switch to bass, and people who start out on bass

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by bassoptimus, May 25, 2004.

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  1. hmm, i dont really have a stance on this, but i feel like i should. what would you guys say are the pros and cons about guitarists gone bassists? or people who start out on bass?
  2. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    everyone is an individual
    they're musicians either way :eyebrow:

    for the record I'm a bassist forced by lack of strings in grade school to start on sax (actually recorder before that), then switched to bass, then to guitar for lessons because of lack of bass instructors... more recently some piano added to the mix and an overwelming curiousity about the mandalin...

    I'm sorry, what was your point? :meh:
  3. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Yeah. Guitarrists who then go and play bass. My brother Pat plays bass (A DeArmond Pilot Pro 4) fantastic, but in a very guitar style. It works, but he doesn't really ever hear or play "counter" lines, his lines always follow the guitar.

    My brother Peter plays bass fantastically. He's also extremely brilliant on guitar, and has a lot of respect for the bass (as well as a really nice 5 string Yamaha bass).
  4. verbass


    Apr 26, 2004
    dayville ct
    I find that my students who have been seduced by the dark side don't understand that eventhough its similar bass is a different instrument that requires a different approach and mindset. You may blaze up and down the neck or crush the audience by doubling the guitar line but if you can't groove and show restraint you're just spinning your wheels.

    besides who told them that you use a pick ???????

    until later

    If the future is now ..........
    What was Yesterday? :bassist:
  5. Finger Blister

    Finger Blister

    Jul 8, 2003
    When you start out on Bass you learn the instrument more
    percussive. A drum with strings.

    When you start out on Guitar and switch to Bass, you have
    to immediately question the motive, besides playing the Bass
    as a four string guitar. Usually one is great on one
    instrument or the other.

    Personally, I have never heard of a great guitar player
    switching to bass and making it their primany instrument
    (unless the spotlight is taken by someone greater).

    Our guitar player started out on BASS and has an outstanding
    talent on 4 strings, the likes of which are stunning.
    He has toured with various famous name acts as a Bass Player
    and can pick it up at any time and absolutely 'knock 'em dead'
    with his amazing talent. The most complete mastery of the
    instrument I have ever seen.

    However, he taught himself guitar and plays quite well.
    Very Santana-esque.
    As a guitar player his very good, can play just about anything.

    What he doesn't have is the "Oh my God!" factor that he
    has with Bass.

    Why does he only play guitar now?
    The Glory factor.
    His Ego is more stroked as a above average guitar player then
    as an outstanding bass player with a unique talent.

    It's enough to break your heart.
  6. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    Macca & Larry Graham did okay.
  7. baba

    baba Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2002
    3rd stone from the sun
    In the words of my guitarist friend last weekend when we swapped instruments for a jam, "Wow, you really have to concentrate harder when playing bass, huh? This **** is hard!"

    I've been playing guitar for about 18 yrs and bass for 11+. I switched to bass because it was easier to get gigs/projects/bands. Having the guitar experience was a blessing and a curse initially. Scales, rhythm, song structure, etc, all translated well to bass. But, like most guitar players, I was trying to play guitar on bass. Over the years I SLOWLY shifted mindset and began filling the bassist's traditional role. I imagine this happens alot....the ex guitarist playing guitar on bass.
  8. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I agree somewhat...though it took me awhile to figure that out(I'm kinda slow).
    Guitarists' early advantage? They're playing chords AND solos; perhaps this gives them an 'ear' advantage early in the game.
    Bassists appear to listen to everything from the bottom up(paying more attention to detail).
    ...seems to be the case FME.

    Carol Kaye? Joe Osborne?
    (I guess whether they were 'great' on guitar is subjective).
  9. ironmaidenisgod


    May 20, 2004
    As an ex-guitarist,I can perhaps offer my experience:-
    PROS :-1.Understanding of fret-board.
    2.More melodic approach.For example,listen to THE SABBATH STONES.Such melodic lines in the pre-chorus parts as Geezer plays comes more naturally to us.
    3.Chords come more naturally to us.

    CONS :-1.Abscence of two strings may bug you at first.
    2.Movement might be difficult at first due to bigger frets.

    Now I'm better at bass.What is a guitar? :confused: Dunno.
  10. I did classical guitar for two-and-a-half years before seeing the light (actually, I had to start on classical, but always wanted to play bass). It does seem that a guitar player has an easier time making a song (chords and stuff), and when he crosses over he can't do it anymore. A bassist has to put in effort to learn how to create a good bass line instead of the mess-with-chords technique (or just play root notes, which is IMHO too easy).

    The biggest problem seems to be the mindset. You have to accept that you are an indispensable part of the band, but you won't get noticed or take the center stage.
  11. Chroma


    Mar 1, 2004
    I learned to play guitar first (played about 9 or 10 years) before I picked up the bass. Ironmaidenisgod is correct in the fact that I think it gives me a more melodic approach and helps that I already know the fretboard layout.

    But the thing I think that has helped me transition more than anything is the fact that I didn't pick up the bass thinking it was just a guitar with less strings. If I didn't have the respect for the instrument that I do I dont think I could have progressed enough to be playing the things I am, with the band I'm in.

    My longtime girlfriend asked me why I wanted to pick up learning bass since I already knew how to play guitar and I told her "I played guitar to get chicks, now I wanna play music."
  12. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    It shouldn't make a difference if the bassist/guitarists are willing to listen/learn.
  13. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    Once again proving your screen name wrong! ;) I think the point has been made.

    I'm closing this.

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