What do musicians who aren’t bass players consider a good bass player

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by dave hope, Sep 17, 2021.

  1. dave hope

    dave hope

    Dec 16, 2016
    I have enjoyed reading the many posts that are made on TB. Yet there is one question I have not seen, that I feel would be very beneficial. And that is: what do the guitar, drums, keyboard and singers consider a good bass player is?

    Since most of our lessons and articles are bass players, telling other bass players what being a good bass player in a band is. It seems it would it be beneficial to hear from our non-bass playing band mates, what they consider a good bass player is?

    So when a drummer & singer says they have a great bass player in their band. What do they mean by that? I always tried to play bass parts that were for the bands greater good. Being the greatest bass player was never my goal, because I knew that wasn’t going to be a reality. But! There was no reason I couldn’t be in a remarkable band.
    That attitude worked out for me. So it just might work for you.
    God bless ya’ll, Dave
    stratovani, tri2bob, Matt R and 29 others like this.
  2. Dan_reeves


    Jun 14, 2013
    I think you are right on - playing a part for the song/bands greater good. Genre appropriate. Good time and feel - know when to add and when to hold back. That’s a little more nebulous and requires band feedback. Good attitude and team player.
  3. WillyW

    WillyW l’art pour l’art, fonction de baise

    Dec 10, 2019
    I am Root!
  4. LBS-bass


    Nov 22, 2017
    I don't think non-bass players know how to describe what they like, but they know it when they hear it. What they actually hear when they think it's good probably falls along the lines of locking in, playing appropriate roots and arpeggios, and maybe most importantly playing the notes correctly from start to finish with thought to how the notes end and blend into one another. Playing the full note length correctly with proper muting and attention to motion from one note to the next is something you won't hear that many beginners paying much attention to.
  5. ShadowGroover


    Aug 16, 2020
    A beautiful one, like in Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love."

    Last edited: Sep 17, 2021
    Steve23, Fuzzbass, DJ Bebop and 6 others like this.
  6. A good bass player isn’t noticed or remembered and blends seamlessly into the crowd after the show. :)
  7. RattleSnack


    Sep 22, 2011
    I have noticed it's mostly about tone and time. If you can also slap, you're crossing "good" into "amazing" teritory.
  8. Feel, groove, timing, when "not" to play, cooperative with other band members, absolute passion for music/bass.
  9. Fitting in. Musically and personally.
  10. Jazzkuma


    Sep 12, 2008
    Depending on the style of music and your vocabulary. “Can you swing” is what some ppl want. And its hard to really pinpoint what that means in scientific terms aside from the music simply feeling good as a whole.
    red_rhino likes this.
  11. Mark 63

    Mark 63 Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2012
  12. mkr1


    Jul 27, 2020
    Boston MA USA
    As a guitarist who now plays a little bass to expand my perspectives, I have always appreciated bassists who know the song, their instrument, and their rig (how it's going to cut through in the particular room and stage.) Building on dan reeves' comment above, knowing when to add and hold back but also "what" to add - whether it's replacing a note to create a different or inverted chord, or adding more complex patterns licks later in a song to build intensity. Love hearing bassists who invite the drummer to "converse" during long vamps.
  13. ChickWithaRic


    Feb 19, 2021
    As a bass player, I have no idea what the answer to this could possibly be.
  14. Londo Molari

    Londo Molari

    Jan 1, 2014
    2 blocks east of Mars
    Decendant from the Clovis culture. "Emitting that wonderful bass effect since 1970".
    Tony Levin.
    Zbudah, dave hope, DJ Bebop and 7 others like this.
  15. mattj1stc

    mattj1stc Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2009
    Dallas, TX USA
    Definitely a subjective answer that depends upon the band. Some band members just want someone who shows up plays roots on the beat, says little and takes the direction of others. Alternatively, there are others who want someone who plays more than roots, contributes creatively, and has opinions. There are also some others who really want to work with a lead bassist. For me, I tend to prefer playing with people whose expectations are in the second column - I don't want to just "shut up and play bass" nor do I want to be the band leader/main driving force.
    BBassBassington, dave hope and Gothic like this.
  16. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I do church gigs, and I focus on a couple of things:

    1) If the band sounds good, I've done my job well. I'm not there to stick out or be appreciated for my chops - If people say the band sounded great (or you can see them out there moving to the groove), that's good enough for me.

    2) The singers should feel like they're on solid ground. We put a lot of the foundation (root notes and timing) that they use to work off of in place - the more comfortable they are singing their hearts out, the better I've done my job. This includes following them - if they add a verse that we didn't know was going to happen, or go into the bridge 2 bars early, my job is to make it seem (as much as possible) like all that was planned.
  17. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    People I play with consider me to be good. I don't really think that, but what I bring to a band is:
    1. Preparedness. I know my parts.
    2. I'm where I'm needed in any given song. Mostly out of the way, grooving with the drummer, but will step into the spotlight just a little sometimes when there is room.
    3. Backing vocals. Again, I don't think my voice is very good, but bands seems to like my ability to contribute with backing vocals as much as I can.
    4. Reliable. If I say I'm going to do something/be somewhere, I do it/go there. Always early.
    5. Team player. I'll do what needs to get done whether it be help with loading crap or working out how to end a song or bridge a mashup.
    6. Strong lines. I like to make things my own within reason and will craft lines that keep the groove but add a little spice to a song. It tends to go over well. If the original line works for me as it is, then I learn that.

    Essentially - nobody in the band has to worry about the bass stuff being handled. I know this sounds mostly like how to be a good bandmate, and maybe that's what it's about: enough talent to get 'er done and enough humility to get along with people.
  18. Considering that this guy refers to bass as a 'rhythm' instrument I'm not surprised he was asked to take a hike.

    What do other musicians like in a bassist? Reliable, high quality gear, team player attitude with chops sufficient to play the music the band wants to play. Nothing more and nothing less.
    dave hope, RocknRay and bignc like this.
  19. kentiki


    May 14, 2008
    Groove Doctor likes this.
  20. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member


    exactly the same as "the guitar, drums, keyboard and singers...."
    RocknRay likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Oct 28, 2021

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