what's with the anti-musician thing?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by willgroove2, Mar 11, 2005.

  1. willgroove2


    Aug 16, 2003
    chicago IL
    Endorsing Artist;Essential sound products,Dunlop, Ergo Instruments
    First i must say that i enjoy this website and these forums.as a pro bassist i have got a lot of info on new gear,player's,and music but i have detected a odd trend.there seems to be a bias against acomplished musicians and the music they make.they are either called "slick and soulless"or "wankers".there have been so many comments on different subjects that fall into the "i would rather just hear someone lay back and play a groove"catagory that i wonder if it's just become something to say.now i make my living playing bass in a wide varity of settings,and i am a avocate of what i call the ability to play"dumb bass"I.E. simple,solid foundational bass that grooves and/or swings.but i also think that one shouldn't limit themself's as far as what you can do or know on the bass.i read in the march '05 issue of bass player magazine a interview with a guy named nate newton from a band called converge who's first sentence say's"i don't have crazy chops,i don't read music and i don't shred" he goes on to say that those skill's are not neccessary for his band and their music, ok ,but to ME that's like saying "i don't know how to read english but i don't have to because i never go out of my neiborhood".to me strong chops and musical knowlege= great groove and strong pocket,what do you guy's think?
  2. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I think musicians need to start caring a little bit less about what others think and create the art that we want to create.
  3. Have you ever read a text that was just overly pretentious in the choice of words though. Ok, the guy has mastered the english language and a vocabulary that dwarfs mine but that doesn't make his writing an enjoyable read.
    I think that's what you picked up as "anti-musicianship". It's not that people here have a thing against chops but rather against people that are only interested in showing off their chops instead of making meaningful music.
    There is a degree of personal taste to this, of course, but in the end I would disagree with "strong chops and musical knowlege= great groove and strong pocket". Strong chops and musical knowledge are the tools which can lead to a great groove but this depends on the musician.

    Edit: Just noticed you're from Oak Park. I lived there up until last summer. Great place. Wish I would have known of you then, I was looking for a teacher in my area but never found anyone.
  4. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    As awed as I am by guys like Jaco Pastorius and John Entwistle. I relate closer to other solid players like Bruce Thomas (Elvis Costello) and those Motown and Stax & Volt guys.

    The studio musicians that have played on numerous hit records throughout the 60's and 70's are among my favorites because of their simple ability to make a good song great. And, I can play along with the tunes.
  5. I've been playing for an awfully long time and I'm a hack. I'm pretty happy with my abilities to do what I hear in my head. It is my opinion that the bassist's job in rock music is not to step on the song. More often than not, parts designed to showcase ability are not in service to the song. I don't think it would often be a good idea to tell someone not to improve themselves.

    I think the strongest case in point is Paul McCartney. The guy has written many of the greatest songs of the 20th century, he's composed dozens of brilliant bass lines, enjoyed popular success as no one else has- and he's done it without strong chops (or "mad skillz" as some would say it :D ) and a limited musical knowlege.
  6. metalguy2


    Dec 26, 2004
    I am not gonna lie that I am obssessed with my chops and musical knowledge. But the people who say "I just don't want bother with it" are just putting a huge limit on what they are able to play. And how they can think about certain things. Example! Paul McCartney could have blazing chops. And a vast amount of musical knowledge he picked up along the way of bein in the Beatles. It isn't needed to show off while trying to write a hit at all. He could just be satisfied keeping it to himself.

    My point is all those people who don't play "mad chops" in those 60's - 70's recordings.. They are just holding it back for the sake of the song. And are able to make those awesome sounding basslines because they practiced moving there finger so much.
  7. willgroove2


    Aug 16, 2003
    chicago IL
    Endorsing Artist;Essential sound products,Dunlop, Ergo Instruments
    sorry we didn't hook up i have a few students who live in oak park,your right i should of said strong chops and knowlege can=great groove ect.i have heard many guy's with amazing chop's who don't/won't groove at all.good responses guy's
  8. fatbassjazzer


    Feb 27, 2004
    I think that chops and musical knowledge are very important to grooving and being a well-rounded bass player. But in the case of the bassist for Converge, it isn't necessary. If you've heard their music you would know why that is. In his band, he doesn't groove or have any funky basslines.
  9. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    I think any great player should be well-rounded, but the things that really draw me to a artist are:

    1. Note choice/phrasing
    2. Tone
    3. Unique Style
    4. Playing that fits the song; solos should add to a song, not detract.

    I could care less if some Wooten-wannabe can double thump Donna Lee. Chops are not impressive. If you only make music to impress people with your insane chops, I don't want to hear it. Chops are tools and should be used as such. A great musician knows when use them and when to play simply.

    Listen to any truly great piece of music; you can hum the melody (both vocal and instrumental) right? That is a sign of a good song/melody to me. Something that is unique and sticks with you long after the recording stops.

    Try humming a "chops buster". Good luck not sounding like a scat solo.
  10. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    I think that the difference between someone who is truly gifted vs. someone who is all chops and no feel (wanker) comes down to one word: taste.

    It's one thing to play very fast with a bazillion notes. It's another to play strictly eighth notes and still groove. Some people can do both.

    Taste comes into play when you know what to play and when to play it and still pull it off without looking or sounding like a show-off. I like bass's fundamental role but I can also easily see it as a solo instrument as well. I don't think soloing on any instrument necessarily equtes to automatic wanker'ism. I think wank comes into play when it becomes more about math and/or speed for the sake of math and/or speed and less about expression and feel.
  11. Please Please Please come talk to my guitarist. He's good, but my God he lacks taste in the worst way. He thinks that soloing is everything and can never stay away from bending and going above the 16th fret on his high B and E. It's terrible.
  12. Tnavis


    Feb 25, 2003
    Minneapolis, MN
    I'm not sure when it started exactly, but at some point in the last fifty years, it was decided that if you possess technical skill and ability, you lack soul and emotion. If you play with soul and emotion, you lack technical ability.

    This is, of course, ridiculous. But those stereotypes are HUGE throughout music. For example, you're walking down the street. You see two flyers on a wall. One advertises a show by bluesman "Jurgen Bluntz", who holds a PhD in guitar performance from UNT. Next to that, a flyer for Smokin' Willy Fontain, the 17 year old blues sensation from Mississippi. Which seems like the better show?

    The thing is, it all varies on the individual musician. I've seen cats with years of training who couldn't groove their way out of a wet paper bag, and kids playing with all out heart and emotion who can't tune their basses. Believe it or not, groove can be learned. Technique can be learned.
  13. BassGod


    Jan 21, 2004
    That was a great post.

  14. willgroove2


    Aug 16, 2003
    chicago IL
    Endorsing Artist;Essential sound products,Dunlop, Ergo Instruments
    one of the thing's that made me start this was i played a last min sub gig with some guy's i never worked with before,the gig went well and we had a lot of fun. somewere during the gig the drummer and i were talking about people we knew in commen and when i said that i knew this keyboard player from college he said "you went to music school?" i said yes and he said "wow you don't sound stiff at all! most bass players i know who went to school can't groove at all"(this is on a blues gig by the way)
  15. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    +1. Well said.
  16. i think Tony Levin is a great example of having technical abilities and aswome groove. Why do people think that you can't have both?
  17. Coutts_is_god

    Coutts_is_god Guest

    Dec 29, 2003
    Windsor, Ont, Canada
    I just want to play. I want to write songs and be happy. I can't even get that. If its not my high school teacher making me feel like crap because I can't read note, other bassplayers looking down and laughing at my bass, the damn saxophone player saying they need to get ride of me. Having your parents yell at you because you want to buy a new guitar "WHY YOU PLAY BASS" I play music. You know its really hard to care less about what people think. When everyone is always in you face telling you that you suck

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    Hey Will,I thought this post was interesting since the subject is about Groove,I am the first to stress the importance and power of a good strong and moving Groove and on occassion I will discuss where the pyro tech playing comes in and when it's best appropiate.you were at my session with Bernard Purdie(drums)and Kudzai Kasambira(Guitar)and you saw and heard us create strong and powerfull and even suttle and to the point grooves on the spot,do I fit in the scheme of things with Grooving and my concept and Interpitation of Groove?and where would you say the Groove of my CD the Low C# Theory lies?

    from one Groover to another


    I know a bunch of Bass players asked me why didn't I do any solos on the Low C# Theory and for those who want the solos I am working with a new Trio project that is going to be overkill on Bass solo's:)
  19. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I think this can be a problem for people just out of school. My thinking goes something like this:

    Step 1: You know one way to do something, so you just do it.

    Step 2: You learn a multitude of ways to do something. Now you are never sure how you should do something in this exact circumstance.

    Step 3: You gain experience and internalize all the ways, so you do not have to think about it, you just do it.

    Many people just out of school are at step 2. They have learned, but don't have the experience to apply the knowledge properly. They are more stilted since they are trying to do the right thing every time, rather than just going with the groove.

    This happens for more than just music.
  20. bassjus


    Mar 30, 2004
    Great post. To me reading music and having a good foundation of theory is a MUST. Chops help out with getting what you are trying to say out there, but they are deifnantly not as important.