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Trip Wamsley being awesome back in '96

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by Darren Michaels, Jul 4, 2013.

  1. Here's a video of Trip Wamsley playing a solo tune at a festival in 1996. He was using d tuners. When was this guy not fantastic?

    luisnovelo likes this.


    Aug 13, 2003
    Sulphur LA
    Thanks for posting that.
  3. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    this is great - I first heard Trip about 3 years after this, when still in his 'Mini-Manthing' phase... he did it exceptionally well...

    One wonders what would've happened if enough people had looked at Michael's approach as something to adopt and develop rather than to steer clear of for fear of sounding too much like him... I'm very glad Trip started there, cos a) he made some great music using that approach, and b) he wouldn't be doing what he's doing now (which is even more awesome) without that part of his journey...

    ...there's a fine line between being influential and being lionised to the point where everyone avoids ever sounding like you. I'd love to have some kind of handle on what the causes are for falling either way...

  4. Yeah, it boggles me, too, that some folks are quick with comparisons these days, and many times it's meant as a criticism of the not-so constructive variety. Seems like a silliness that is a side effect of Youtube. It's too easy to track an artist's inspiration or heroes. Doubly true for bass, since we've only got just over a half century's worth of bassists to relate to as a player. Many of those players are still active, too.

    It's a natural thing for the next generation of voices to shout from the shoulders of the giants who came before. This rings true not only in the music and art realm, but in human knowledge as a whole. Imagine if young mathematicians scrapped the theorems from previous generations in fear of their own work being considered derivative. We'd just be spinning wheels as a species.

    Of course, this silliness may be part of what pushed Trip to evolve into such a beast of a musician. Maybe that's natural, too.

    Or maybe when it comes to solo bass, we shouldn't ever look to other bassists for validation. :)
  5. I think a part of it is that for most bassists, it's easier to criticize than actually master the instrument. Solo bass is scary that way
  6. Right on. Plus there's no canon. Some folks don't know what's good unless others tell them it's good. Solo bass has an uphill climb ahead. I'm glad we have some heavies like Lawson, Manring, and Wamsley blazing solid trails.
  7. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    You're a heavy, Darren!


    Aug 13, 2003
    Sulphur LA
    Wow. I just found this while cleaning out a spam account. First, Darren thanks for posting this. Second. The journey: I could type a novella (perhaps I SHOULD someday) about the shattering effect Manring's music had on me. I look at the gray hair now and think of the times we weren't gray at all. And then I'm grateful for the shattering effect you fellas have had on me as well. As a musician and most important, a human being. It's an old cliche' but thanks for the music and most importantly thank(s)ful for our paths crossing. Carry on, gentlemen.
  9. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    I've been talking about this a bit recently with friends in various contexts. I remember when I first started out playing solo, in the late 90s, I put together a bit on my website (which eventually became its own site) called the Solo Bass Network - the idea being to link together the tiny amount of solo bass work out there.

    I listed pretty much everyone that was actually performing/recording as a solo bassist that I could find online, and it ran to something like 80 or 90 bassists... No doubt I missed a lot, but even if that was a quarter of the number that were active, it's a statistically insignificant number (but who between them were making some VERY significant music!)

    Fast forward into the youtube age, and any such list could easily run to tens of thousands...

    What's interesting is that there hasn't really been a commensurate rise in 'finished' work. Lots of youtube videos of people working things out, demoing gear, dressing up their unwillingness to call it complete as a tuitional video or whatever... There are some fairly well known players who as far as I can tell have never put up a finished recording of anything. So there's been an explosion of experimentation, but a lot of it is stalling before the bassists are willing to frame it as art... The 'putting videos of yourself on youtube playing the exact bass part along with a record' is the one that surprises me most. Practicing as a performance art. Weirdly often referred to as a 'bass cover'. I don't think it's 'wrong', I'm just surprised that it gets any views except when you can see how someone is playing a line that people want to learn themselves...

    I think an awful lot of this is best explained via two insights that Darren highlights - the incredibly short history of the instrument (60 years and change) and the even shorter history of solo electric bass (from Colin Hodgkinson onwards, I guess) - there's still the sense that anyone making music as a solo bassist for its own sake rather than as a demo thing for other bassists is transgressing the role we're 'supposed' to play. I find it SO weird that those kind of conversations still take place 'bass isn't meant to be a solo instrument'... I got a LOT of that when I started out, but when I took a few years out from playing to audiences of bassists, from 2006, I found a far more receptive audience in more general audiences, who found the novelty of solo bass intriguing, but weren't about to stick around if the music didn't engage them too...

    So I'm really grateful to the people who were doing it long before me - Michael, Victor Wooten, Trip, Jonas Hellborg, Colin H, Jennifer Moore etc. for putting up with the nonsense from naysayers and for the amazing music they made along the way!

    tshawbass likes this.
  10. jsbarber


    Jun 7, 2005
    San Diego
    a more recent Tripp video. Too cool!

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