What is versatility and how do you achieve it!

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by bassbrother666, Dec 7, 2014.

  1. bassbrother666

    bassbrother666 Guest

    Feb 13, 2013
    So i want to be a better bass player (as all of us want), and in my long journey to do so, i am now focusing on being a more versatile bass player, i pretty much play jazz, rock and metal,but as far as im concerned, one bassist should be able to go for a rock jam session to a jazz rehearsal, a funk recording and a reggae session, being in all the metal, orchestra and what else of music styles so......
    How can one achieve it?
  2. Shanannigan


    Feb 25, 2011
    I don't think it's something that you can achieve. Like anything in music it's an endless endeavor. As long as you keep an open mind, an open ear, and a willingness to learn new ideas no matter how uncomfortable they are, than you'll always slowly be building up your versatility.
  3. To be versatile you have to be able to play in many different styles. How do you achieve that? Learn how to play in many different styles.

    I know of no shortcuts. Sorry.
    markjsmithbass and Jhengsman like this.
  4. BassyBill

    BassyBill Still here Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Think of music as being like conversation. If you're articulate, you can speak fluently about a wide variety of topics. That involves having a useful vocabulary, facility with the language and the adaptability to change your style to suit the context or audience. As Malcolm said, there aren't really any shortcuts, but thinking about your playing along these lines might suggest some areas for you to look into.
  5. One Drop

    One Drop

    Oct 10, 2004
    Swiss Alps
    Start by listening closely to those genres. Until you've internalized the beats, accents, and styles and become familiar with at least some of the canon you will making your job that much harder.
    mambo4 likes this.
  6. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    In my experience , most genres are deeper than they at first appear.
    It's pretty easy to come up with something "jazz-ish" or "salsa-ish" etc and fool an uneducated audience
    but musicians(and possibly audiences) deeply experienced in those genres will not be fooled.

    one thing that is critical is realizing the for most genres, it is the rhythm section as a whole that determines the style.
    you can't play against what others are doing if you don't know what they are doing.
    so don't just learn what the bass does: learn typical drum, percussion, piano and rhythm guitar parts too.
    Whousedtoplay likes this.
  7. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody

    Sep 9, 2007
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Endorsing Artist: Eventide, GHS Strings, G&L Guitars, NS Design, Tsunami Cables
    As mambo4 said above, most genres are deeper than they at first appear. Do NOT walk into any gig in a genre you haven't played out in and think that "Well, since _______ is much like _______, I'll be fine." You won't, and you'll fall on your face. There used to be a cocky kid in the area that played a LOT of jazz and figured that the blues would be easy for him. It wasn't, and he learned some very humbling lessons in public on the bandstand.

    Not that I have any firsthand experience with that, of course. :)

    I actually have a "name" around town for walking into new and unusual gigs (past endeavors include kirtan, steel pan band, bell choir, etc..) and nailing the feel. I think a lot of that comes from:

    -Respect the genre (unlike the "kid" in the above example)
    -Take cues from your fellow musicians. They may have only played for 3 years to this point, but if this is in their wheelhouse, they're the expert. Not you.
    -Have an idea of what the genre entails. You mentioned classical music; you have you read music, and read it REALLY well.
    -Realize that the end goal is about making music together that moves the audience
    -Keep your mind and ears open
    -Be easy to work with. No seriously, be really easy to work with.
  8. AndrewFord

    AndrewFord Guest

    Aug 11, 2012
    Los Angeles area
    Endorsing Artist: Line 6, TC Electronics, Yamaha, Elixir Strings
  9. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Inactive

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    Listen, listen, listen...
    JimK likes this.
  10. +1 to this ^........then
    practice practice practice..... then listen some more.. then practice some more.