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To Believe In The Bass

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by SlapPopBass, Feb 17, 2014.

  1. Hello TBers,

    It's been a while since I last posted on TB, but today I wanted to bring up what I feel is a rather interesting topic: Believing in the bass.

    Allow me to elaborate; I spent last night sitting through Michael Manring's clinic for BP Live 2013. After demonstrating his super virtuoso chops, he sat down, and started by saying he "believes in the bass". What this means is that he has basically had utter and complete trust and faith in his instrument, and that playing bass meant the world to him.

    Before I continue and start threading toes by straying into religious/faith/belief territory, I shall offer my 2 cents on the topic. That being, if a person devotes constant time, affection, energy and attention to his bass, can a bass really start to sound better over time? Perhaps, and I'm bordering on a very loose theory here, that said bass has somehow absorbed the energy it was given, and in time be able to project back this energy in the form of beautiful music? Of course, as many people say, its in the player, not the bass, but perhaps can this be a contributing issue (albeit a small one) to how some old basses that were played extensively throughout their time sound better than their counterparts that were not played as much?

    I read stories of people who've had the chance to actually play Jaco's fabled Bass of Doom claim it's nothing short of extraordinary and how its sound triumphs over older vintage J-basses. Perhaps Jaco's "energy" somehow transferred into the bass, and projected this energy as sweet, angelic tone?

    A friend of mine told me this principles applies to even religious statues. When these religious statues are first made, they are sculptures, but over time, as more people worship and pray and devote time and energy to these statues, the statue itself seems to take on a certain presence and energy, at least that's what many come to believe.

    If this principle can apply to these statues, can it not also apply to bass? Small food for thought, perhaps? :D
  2. BassChuck


    Nov 15, 2005
    It is a pretty loose theory. I think anytime a person dedicates time, energy and emotion to an object their perception of that object will change to the positive. I think that our minds are capable of molding reality to our needs and desires.

    Finding something to bring into your life in a positive way is a great thing. The time I've spent on bass has given me many good things in return. But I've also learned that overthinking anything will not lead to a positive situation. Life is too short to get into all that stuff. Relax and know there are parts (many) of life we will never truly understand. Enjoy the moments before you. Be present for you life. Play bass with beauty.
  3. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    I'm not sure I understand what Mr Manring means by "believing in the bass". I can understand believing in yourself and the fact that if you put in the hard work and time, that you will be become adept on your instrument. Does a carpenter "believe" in his saw, or an artist painter in his brush ?

    As far as people's reaction to playing Jaco's old bass. Would they have had the same reaction if they had not known who it belonged to ? I doubt it.

    Devoting constant time, affection, energy and attention to your bass.....I would call that....practicing/woodshedding. ;)
  4. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    If that's all ya got, we're gonna starve. A bass is nothing more than an assemblage of man-made parts. The mojo is in the player, not the instrument.
  5. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    It's a topic that shows up in one of the chapters of Victor Wooten's "The Music Lesson."
    He gives (to me anyway) the impression that he believes it - at least to some extent.

    So my question is - What would you do or not do differently if it were true?
  6. Slade N

    Slade N sunn #91 AZ Bands #?

    May 28, 2005
    i believe the more a instrument gets played the better it sounds, provided its not abused.
  7. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    If Victor Wooton believes this, then he is quite entitled to.

    As far as your question is concerned.....I dont know. Because I dont know what "believing in your bass" means.

    Perhaps someone could elaborate ? :confused:
  8. cbrophy


    Nov 11, 2009
    Central MA.
    I guarantee that if I picked up Jaco's Bass of Doom, it would sound just as Sh#%&y as if I were playing my own!
  9. theretheyare

    theretheyare Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2010
    Brooklyn, NY
    I take it he believes in music and that his bass is the tool he puts 100% trust in to get him there.
  10. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    And vice versa.
  11. bass12

    bass12 And Grace, too Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    I don't believe in the bass. Now what? :)
  12. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Thats as good an explanation as any. However, I would have thought that this was a given.

    Where is the big revelation ? :confused:
  13. Bodhi


    Jan 21, 2014
    Have you ever noticed when you wash your car it seems to run and drive better?

    I have noticed the more attention I give my bass the better it plays.

    Is it just in the mind or is it positive energy in the cosmos?

    If what you believe makes you a better player, keep believing it.
  14. Jefff


    Aug 14, 2013
    "Believe in the bass" sounds a little too new agey to me. For me it is said to make it seem all mystical and stuff.

    I belive in myself, my daughter, the woman I love, and a few good friends.

    The bass is never gonna come and get me when I run out of gas
  15. Coeball


    Aug 25, 2007
    Bath Uk
    I think he meant far more than that, he not only loves playing bass but believes it can have a powerful voice as a solo instrument. In other words, bass should not be only be viewed as a ensemble instrument, or a fad, or a gimick as many people like to think.

    In addtion, Michael seemed to be saying that there are many unique an interesting things bass can do which other instruments are not capable of, and he seemed to be implying that these qualities are under appreciated in the world of music.

    Michael's beautiful playing is a great example of how to set something free of preconcieved categories and limits, and thus take music to places it has never been before.
  16. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    No harm in believing something will make you a better player. Whether it is true or not is a different matter.

    Your "washing the car" example is a good one. You may believe that the car runs better after a wash, but your ears will tell you that the rattle from the engine is still there.

    Guess I'm just a "bass atheist". :bag: ;)
  17. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    That's all true and I doubt there are many here who would argue with it. But what you are talking about is the role of the bass, not the bass itself.

    Perhaps the wording of the thread title is misleading ?
  18. Watching guys like Michael Manring and Victor Wooten will definitely have you pondering deeper thoughts about the bass.
  19. ZenG


    Dec 13, 2013
    Near the fridge
    You mean like the bass player becoming "one" with his instrument.......as if it's an extension of himself?

    Not too many people can do that.......

    This Jaco idolatry has got to stop..........way way overblown...

    I never liked the sound he got out of his bass personally......

    I often thought if bass guitars could be classed as male and female ,his would have been a female bass that was experiencing it's time of the month......as far as the sound goes....
  20. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    While having a well-made and well-played instrument is a great advantage, I think it's all down to the player being in touch with his own skills, and then letting go with self-consciousness. Y'know, the concept of any great musician that has themselves sorted out can pick up a Squier Affinity, Teisco, or whatever, and coax something worthwhile out of it. And it's not a matter of virtuosity. Sure basic chops and rudiments are a starting point, but once you get past the mechanics of playing any instrument, you have to start "letting go", stop over(and under)thinking, and have trust in your own developing ability to get in some 'zone' with your playing. And if you do it right, you will never stop 'developing'. Haven't you had nights when you just 'went elsewhere', not even thinking about what you were doing, even if you were just comping on a groove? I was at a blues jam, sitting in with a friend's band at the end of their regular set. I was unexpectantly thrown the bone of a couple of choruses of a solo, and I just started climbing, without any forethought of what I was playing. After it was all over, I was astounded by myself as to how well it came off. Sorta zen, I suppose, "here's your solo", and I just went there. So it's just a matter of believing in yourself, without reflecting on it for too long, if at all. Some might call it 'confidence', but for me there's too much ego involved in that. Some view luck as "preparation meets opportunity", perhaps, but that's a wee bit cynical for me. I recently watched the Isle Of Wight festival movie, and it struck me how two players(sorry, they're guitarists)of two different skill sets both went into the 'zone'. Hendrix, of course; was he ever really thinking about what he was playing? Granted, at this point in his career, he was struggling with the newer material(the "Cry Of Love" stuff), I think it was becoming obvious to him that a trio could just not do it justice, and that was frustrating him. But when he was soloing, he was not on this planet. By contrast, Paul Kossoff, of Free, had a limited skill set, but he had that vibrato, and he poured so much emotion into the fewer notes that he did play, so they just sang. It takes a lot of belief in yourself to let those few notes explain your feelings, but he was in the zone, as well. Granted the function of the bass is different, but we can subtly manipulate the feel of a tune as masters of the groove, letting it glide along, or pumping it up with excitement just by choice of notes. But you still have to let go, let your fingers disengage from you brain. And that takes a sort of belief, in yourself, in a spirit, a vibe, whatever. The instrument is just a tool, a conduit.