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What do you play when your friends or relatives ask you to play?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by dustyshiv, May 26, 2020.

  1. Guys,

    Most of my family, relatives and friends rarely know what a bass does. For them notion of a guitar means strumming to songs as shown in the movies or playing guitar solos like rock stars. So when they see my bass in the house, ask me to play and I play a bass line, they just seem perplexed and question why its not sounding like a guitar?o_O

    After many instances like this, I am reluctant to even play when they ask. If you were popped that question, what would you generally play?

    Apologies if I posted in the incorrect sub forum.
    janesaid, Outshined91, Mili and 4 others like this.
  2. If I'm unaccompanied I'd play a couple of McCartney basslines, such as "Something" or "Oh! Darling."
  3. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    i'd give them a CD. or a flash drive/CDR with some tunes on it. or if they had to see me play it: i'd send them to a youtube channel/post. :D

    i'd also tell them that if they want to see me play it in-person, right now = "i'll have to charge you...how much you got?" :laugh:

    might be time to learn a few chords...and melodies...ones that seem 'to sing'. ;)

    good luck with your family! :thumbsup:
    BeRad, Tommy V, DrayMiles and 7 others like this.
  5. Boogiepop

    Boogiepop Refugee Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2019
    Bach. (Complete with mistakes.)

  6. Malcolm35


    Aug 7, 2018
    I play accompaniment bass. I'll play if you sing. What key do you want? That usually ends the conversation.
  7. jchrisk1


    Nov 15, 2009
    Northern MI
    Assuming they are not musicians, i play something they are familiar with. I play any iconic bassline I can think of from whatever genre/style they might recognize. I've found that non-musicians understand the bass the least. Example; I could play an awesome Jamerson line for my girlfriend, and she would say something like, "That was great. Now, could you play it on the bass so that I can hear that sounds?" Unless it's something very recognizable, they don't get it.
    dustyshiv, Mili, HolmeBass and 2 others like this.
  8. The bass line from Barney Miller gets the point across, I think.
    pcake, Florinda4, JackNasty and 22 others like this.
  9. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music.

    The bass from Larry Carlton's "Room 335" or Pat Metheney's "Jaco"
    Usually gets a blank stare.
    Outshined91, Mili, dkelley and 2 others like this.
  10. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    I generally say it's not a solo instrument. Play along with a song they know on the stereo.
  11. Inara

    Inara Fierce Fun Fretless Female Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2017
    Seattle, WA USA
    I have some solo bass pieces that I'll play, but I'll also try to explain to them that this isn't the instrument's usual role.
    Mr Cheese, dustyshiv, spvmhc and 2 others like this.
  12. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    Led Zepplin
    Phyzzbin, dustyshiv and JimB52 like this.
  13. " Straighten Out " by the Guess Who.....
    It's a nice walking line and kinda jazzy.....:cool:
    dustyshiv and jamro217 like this.
  14. Ross McLochness

    Ross McLochness Living Room Bassist Extraordinaire Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2013
    Eden Prairie, MN
    I play the main riff from Under Pressure as:
    a) it’s super simple
    b) everybody knows it
    c) most people don’t know the difference between a six string electric guitar and a four string bass

    .....or I just dust off Bouree by Jethro Tull.....;)
    pcake, Pdaddy1978, Jigmay and 7 others like this.
  15. Plectrum72

    Plectrum72 Supporting Member

    Billie Jean - Michael Jackson
    Play that Funky Music - Wild Cherry
    Brick House - Commodores
    Seven Nation Army - White Stripes

    All easily recognizable because they are the riffs that drive the song (even if they sound like bass but weren't originally played on bass).
    pcake, Jigmay, Thank You Leo and 13 others like this.
  16. foolforthecity

    foolforthecity Supporting Member

    This is low, even by Gene’s standards
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  17. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Mount Prospect, IL
    Classic Rock fans? Pink Floyd's "Money". Black Sabbath's "Iron Man", first few riffs of "NIB". Queen's "Under Pressure". Violent Femmes - "Blister in the Sun". Focus on very recognizable lines, don't play the busy stuff or anything that doesn't sound like the melody/main riff. Although you may like it all, you have to pander to what they like, then play it with authority. Just be confident in what you are doing and don't let their confusion stop you, in fact, ignore it!

    In the past, I froze when people wanted me to play something. Now I just play the most famous bass lines I can with a ton of confidence and just focus on entertaining them for the moment. If they recognize one of the lines I play, then I accomplished my goal. If they don't, don't worry about it. Life it too short. You can't please everyone.
  18. jmlee

    jmlee Catgut? Not funny. Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2005
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    I once almost ran down Ray Charles...
    Generally, with the relatives, I find myself playing dumb.
  19. IamGroot


    Jan 18, 2018
    My wife is a singer and super supportive of my musical hobby.

    A while back, I asked her to identify famous basslines that any TBer with a pulse would recognize.

    She got maybe one out of ten.

    From this sobering experience, I came to a conclusion I call the Bass and Drums Uncertainty Hypothesis.

    Simply put, most people and all guitarists can not hear the bass and drum parts independent of the rest of the music. They can feel when the bass and drums are in the music, and can definitely tell something is wrong when they are not present (hey, it's missing a guitar, isn't it?).

    Therefore the bass and drums are both living and dead at the same time.

    Which explains why the lead singers get all the chicks.
    pcake, Adjectives, Mk90 and 17 others like this.
  20. Depends on who asks:

    Super Freak/Can't Touch This

    Good Times/Rappers Delight

    Boris The Spider

    Or some incredibly easy slap/pop that looks impressive and difficult but isn't.
    Jigmay, Pazelaya93, dustyshiv and 5 others like this.

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