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What are the hallmarks that make a GREAT musician?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by behindthenotes, Sep 5, 2008.

  1. behindthenotes


    Jun 10, 2008
    Musician documentary website
    Hi Guys

    We have posted this on our Forum this week but would be keen to hear your thoughts. The recent post regarding Sting's ability to Polarize people seems to be around the same question.

    What are the hallmarks that make a GREAT musician?

    Ask anybody who they would consider to be a great musician and there is usually some form of debate due to anything from someone thinking that "their" musicain can out chop fest the other, or "How could you possibly call someone that plays metal a GREAT musician - that's why they play metal" - the list goes on...and probably will continue to do so long after this thread.

    We were keen to find out from you guys, regardless of stylistic differences what hallmarks you think make a GREAT musician ?

    See you online
  2. sarcastro83


    Jul 27, 2007
    Toronto, ON
    Soul. Nuff said. You've got to believe in what you're doing.
  3. I think the question is so open ended as to be almost impossible to answer. There might be different levels of great musicians.

    A great musician as in musical ability, as in he/she can read music, knows theory inside out, can hold down a groove plus shred if need be? Or a great musician in that he/she is completely dedicated to music and does it for the love of it and not for fame and fortune? Or a great musician as in they can get along with anyone, can pretty much fake their way competantly through anything from jazz to country to metal and people love playing beside them? Or a great musician as in someone who is so famous that they have influenced countless other players' styles and abilities?

    Who knows....maybe in someone's eyes I am a great musician. But I can read music only minimally, only know a bit of theory, can't play jazz, love playing metal and get bored playing pretty much anything softer than classic rock. Yet I still get my fair share of compliments from people who tell me I have a style. And no I do not consider myself a great musician

    So before I answer the question personally I need to know the qualifiers. :)
  4. Frank Tuesday

    Frank Tuesday

    Jul 11, 2008
    Austin, TX
    I think it is as simple as the ability and discipline to play the "right" thing. Of course what is "right" is wholly dependent upon the style of music you're playing, the people and other instruments you are playing with and that whatever you do play should enhance the song or piece of music.
  5. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Only one: they make great music.
  6. God given talent.
  7. CraigG


    Mar 14, 2006
    Mechanicsburg, PA
    God given talent, positive attitude, level-headedness (by no means an all-inclusive list, but a good foundation).
  8. EddieG


    Jan 19, 2005
    Being able to listen.
  9. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I agree, great musicians are as diverse as any other set of humans. So are nice, some are jerks, some are dedicated, so are loafers.
  10. ajb


    Mar 20, 2005
    Now this is what I think truly separates the men from the boys.
  11. I believe it starts when they're conceived. They've got to have it at birth and then find it at an early age, harness and develop it, and learn everything they can while their minds or open and pure. As they learn and grow, they'll learn much faster, since it's already in them at birth, and develop faster than the average music student. They'll show signs of this talent when they're young and as long as their parents encourage and help them in with their talent, they should be on their way to a successful life in music, but it really starts early IMO.
  12. Commreman

    Commreman Faith, Family, Fitness, and Frets Supporting Member

    Feb 12, 2005
    New Jersey
    + a bazillion!!
  13. fenderhutz

    fenderhutz Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2007
    Harpers Ferry WV
    Having a mind for business or a manager that does for you.

    Being a basement bassist won't get you recognized.
  14. magickbass

    magickbass Guest

    May 24, 2008
    God given talent, the desire to hone that talent into something more, desire to do so, and creativity to continually make something new.
  15. Mike Shevlin

    Mike Shevlin

    Feb 16, 2005
    Las Vegas
    When they always sound like them. I was passing by a band in Las Vegas thinking that the bass player sounded exactly like Nathan East - it was Nathan East.
  16. One of the hallmarks that makes a great musician is the ability to work in a team context. It's not enough to have extensive musical knowledge, or complete mastery of your instruments. There are millions of great bedroom musicians out there with those traits. But you've got to be able to play and get along with your bandmates, and all be on the same page. After all, would you pay good money to see Paul alone, without John, George, or Ringo, or Geddy without Alex or Neil? I think not! I can hear guys as good as they are all the time at my local Guitar Center, and for free to boot! Teamwork is so important, it's what made all the great bands great!
  17. I dont think you have to be a master or have excellent technique.

    To me the hallmark of a great musician is one that can gel with other musicians under different circumstances and maintain self control.

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