1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Talent and Taste

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by mlowe, Apr 10, 2005.

  1. I've noticed that some good threads here have been closed due to the bagging of bass players. Fair enough too I think.

    Love to play 70's funk and disco but don't listen to it all that much.

    The bass player in heavy metal bands tends to cop it a lot. I personaly don't like playing heavy metal type music because it just isn't what I want to play.

    But, I listen to heaps of heavy metal music, love and respect it. The bass player is playing what fits the song. It is a band not a solo after all.

    Robert Trujillo isn't always playing 50 million notes either but I think he's holding back.

    If you take a good listen to U2 I find the bass to be very muddy and not very inspirational as a player. But I really like U2's music as a whole. I don't know of the bass player that well but my bet is he's a good player. Just playing what fits again.

    Duff from Guns and Roses was another target. Again he's doing his job perfectly and the band in whole kicks butt.

    The bass player out of motorhead was asked who he likes as a bass player and he said flea and Paul Mc Cartney. When asked why, he said that he liked Paul Mc Cartney for what he didn't play. Meaning he didn't over do it. Dynamics. Just like Gary Willis who really does this well.

    So I think bass playing is not about complex chops sounding better by default. Some of the cooooolest bass riffs I think are the really simple ones. Flea comes out with some very simple but awesome sounding grooves.

    Marcus Miller can play incredibly fast and very cool, but when you listen to him playing he's not always over busy. He sounds cool slow or fast, complex or simple.

    Ther is a drummer here in Melbourne named Virgil Donati. He is one of the most absolutly gifted musicians walking the face of this earth. He does things you wouldn't believe possible if you didn't see it with your own eyes. I'm talking extreme. Dave Weckle, Lenny White, Omar Hakim, Dennis Chambers and many other would remind me of him.

    He had a fusion band called Loose Change. They absolotly rocked. But, here in Australia, they had a small following due to the taste factor. Virgil probably made more of a living by tutoring and drum clinics arounfd the world than his music.

    He played for a band called southern sons. It was almost painful to see him there. The music was very commercial simple but he could have played with his butt crack and toes and in a coma.

    My friend asked him once at a charity do why he was doing this and he replied, "Dude I still got to eat". Again this is not about knocking Southern sons, but his playing ability would not be noticed.

    I think it's good not to confuse talent with taste. Sometimes less is more. :)
  2. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    A very good player around here once told me-
    "Music is a funny business...the more you hone your craft/skill, the more you learn, the more you're able to play, etc...the LESS money you will make.
    Can you imagine paying LESS to a Doctor who was up on his craft/skill? Would you want to pay MORE to a Doctor who was not up on his craft/skill"?

    So, yeah...sometimes "Less = More(money)".
  3. I was talking about this with my wife and with various friends not too long ago. I think one of the best examples of this is Al Caldwell. if you check out his solo stuff or hang around him at NAMM, he will blow your mind, but what he is actually required to play on stage with Vanessa Williams is all about taste and restraint. he takes that 11 string midi beast and coaxes tone like you would not believe from it, but he doesn't rip at all!

    the gigs that pay me the best are the ones where I'm sitting in the pocket and holding a groove, not busting chops and soloing all night. does that mean I'm giving up my solo shows and fusion projects? not by a long shot. but I am looking for a straight gig that will allow me to play them!


    from the lows,

  4. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I agree to the extreme that less is more 95% of the time. I've lost many many auditions over the years due to cats who could slap a mile a minute, riff a mile a minute and and who had really really good gear! I would sorta torture myself and go see the band afterwards and my(and others) observations were that the bassist neither locked in and grooved, played wrong notes, too many notes where not needed, was too loud, lended zero vocal support, etc etc etc. Most of those bands didn't last long or quickly changed bassists! Simple advice.........play simply!
  5. and be able to lock with any drummer. combine these two things with a positive, professional attitude and good ears and you will have more work athn you can handle!

  6. Al Caldwell

    Al Caldwell

    Mar 18, 2003
    St.Louis , Mo
    Being in a band means being part of the band. Being part of the collective whole makes people cry or it makes them shake that ass!
    Now that's POWER!!!!!! Al
  7. AMEN!!!!!!
  8. xonebass


    Feb 17, 2005
    Orange, CA
    Yeah good point; Al is real laid back when he's doing his stuff with Vanessa but anyone who knows talent knows he's good (not to mention the rest of the band). Kinda hard to describe really but I think you know what I mean.

    It also makes me laugh when I realize that the reason I get gigs for prog or jazz stuff (places where bassists often think they need to overplay) is usually cause I'm the only guy that shows up not trying to overplay everything.

    In my metal band we call it the "Peartnoy" effect from drummers coming in thinking that they are Neil Peart and Mike Portnoy all rolled into one. :eyebrow: Yes we are playing Rush and DT like material but you still need to play something resembling a beat. :p
  9. Something most people dont understand, is to play was works with the song and inject your style into it. If playing 10,000,000 notes will work for it, fine do it. If only a droneing F is the only thing that fits, use that. With that being said, I somewhat overplay, but I try to keep it in context to the song.
  10. Al is definitely The Man!
  11. To me every thing you guys say make a whole lot of sense. Also, as I'm in the land musical ignorance here. If it's not top 40 we don't get to experience it. And I mean any of it. Now I can lookup Al's music for example and import the cd. Most of my CD's are either mainstream Sting or Simple minds, but then the other half is imports that cost $40 each here!

    Trust me, the $40 imports are the ones I have to hunt out and cherish.

    Started of with one Marcus Miller, "sun don't lie" (first cd to wear out! :smug: then ended up with Lenny White and Petite Blonde and before I knew it, it was all about checking out who plays all the session on the top 40 stuff. Man this fusion stuff is fantastic. I never listened to it before. Never took much notice of jazz or funk or motown. Now it's my most prized discs.

    Wow, those guys in the background making it all happen are in fact the killer musicians not just fill ins.

    More people eat McDonalds but real food is found elsewhere!

    If you guys can name other session players such as Al that make their own stuff I'd be happy to hear about them. There is so much good stuff out there but it's so hard to find here.

    Half the problem isn't that they play obscure music, it's that they don't get any visable exposure here at all.

    Now places like cdnow exist I can buy them no problem.

  12. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    David Dyson. Michael Manson. Kim Stone. Jimmy Haslip. Jimmy Earl. Tom Kennedy. Dude, there are so many!
  13. mike sancho

    mike sancho SANCH

    Feb 10, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    I just think about Rocco and how he plays with TOP. Our job as bassists in bands is to have great time and outline the tune harmonically. If we get hired as sidemen our job is to play what works for each tune. Rocco isn't known as a soloist but he absolutely cooks on everything he plays. Adam Nitti is touring with Steven Curtis Chapman right now and rocking his socks off but he's not soloing once during the show. He's just holding it down having fun doing it. In most cases it's about doing what we're called upon to do. Those that do it are busy bass boys and girls and those that don't, word gets around, and they simply don't get a lot of calls. Rocco's always tasty IMO and he plays his booty off and, as Al stated, get's that butt shakin.

  14. That's a good start. I've heard of Haslip but not the others, so your post is very educational. Thanks..... :)

  15. Again, there's more names here I've never heard of. Just the issolation from these players. I'm making notes, because one thing leads to another and it looks like my music collection may meet some new friends.

    Cheers. :)
  16. Lorenzini


    Dec 31, 2004
    Los Angeles
    I think one of the distinctions you have to make is in the TYPE of music you are playing.

    Realize that pop/rock and top 40 in general are going to be easier and less fruitfull as a musician unless you really like playing that stuff. In my experience, those who think pop/rock and top 40 is the best kind of music are playing it to be on a stage or get rich, not necessarily for its musical value.

    But it is true that less CAN be more. The most money I've ever made in my young career was playing top 40. I hated it.
  17. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I'm an amatuer bassist so getting paid is not an issue for me. Still, I don't know any profession where you only get to do the things that are most interesting all the time. As a history professor, I have to teah classes sometimes that I don't really like, and I have other responsibilities that are not high on my list of favorites. The bottom line is that i love teaching and I am happy with my profession. I would imagine being a professional bassist is the same. You may not like every gig equally, but you have to be grateful to be playing for living, you have to approach each job with respect if you want to be the best.
  18. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Hmmm....interesting. I think, the bottom line is, musicians need to make a living too. Sure, they have chops galore and can play jazz fusion with best of them but that stuff, unfortunately, doesn't pay the bills (most of the time). The general public doesn't dig (nor understands) 'wanking' with the exception of an occasional guitar solo! Take Nathan East as an example. The dude has a massive resume and has virtuoso chops but is making a mint playing (and enjoying) pop music! Nothing wrong with pop music! I'm sure Marcus doesn't make half as much money touring as he does producing and doing soundtracks! Admittedly, he's huge in Japan! They eat him up over there!
  19. Lorenzini


    Dec 31, 2004
    Los Angeles
    Good points. Guess it depends on if you need money or not and if you can make a living playing your favorite music. If not, you gotta do the top 40 gig... Which is still much more rewarding than working a 9-5