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Which Instrument Do You Think Is Best To Learn Alongside Bass?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Dubadays, Oct 26, 2009.

  1. Dubadays


    Apr 4, 2009
    I hear a lot about people learning bass alongside other instruments, and I was just curious to see who else thinks they benefited from learning another instrument along with bass. I started playing bass when I was about 10, so I've been playing around 7 years. I've been taking drum lessons for about 9 years, which I think has helped my bass playing TREMENDOUSLY. Did you learn bass alongside another instrument, and do you think it helped you a lot?
  2. gkbass13

    gkbass13 Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2006
    drums or piano. rhythm is huge, which explains the drums. and the keyboard is esential to know for a really strong understanding of theory.

    the expression and phrasing in horn playing is cool stuff as well.
  3. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    Guitar, Keys and Drums..

    Just enough to know the theory of how the other guys think.

    I commonly will learn new material on keys and guitar first.. helps glue it together.
  4. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    I'm tempted to +1 drums because rhythm is so utterly important, slightly more so than any other element IME/O.

    But you get a lot from chordal and melodic studies as well. I get hired at least as much for following & reinforcing chord progressions and cueing off melodies as I do for my "time".

    So it's a tough call - definitely one of those YMMV things. :D
  5. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Piano or guitar. A better grasp of harmony is crucial.
  6. bobknowsbass


    Jul 27, 2009
    Monrovia, CA
    I think the key is to be a musician rather than just a bassist. A musician plays music with whatever is in front of them, or with no instrument at all.:)

    Piano is good, but I believe that learning anything from a recorder to a ukulele is like making a small deposit in your personal musical bank.

    I urge all my students to learn how to be at least adequate at as many instruments as they can. This opens you up your ears and makes you an asset to those that you play with.
  7. i have been getting a big urge to learn drums recently. i want to get an electric set to be quieter and smaller, but they cost way above what i can get.

    i wouldn't consider guitar since every time i hold one, everything about it feels wrong. tiny neck, tiny body, tiny string spacing, multiple strings to hold requiring a hundered or so hand positions, strumming multiple strings at a time, only sounds good with distortion in my mind. if i were to learn guitar, i would need it to be 7 or 8 string to have a larger neck and body, deeper sound fit for metal and similar to my bass, and i would learn enough to play rhythm. they do have some practice necks that i could learn chords and such on.
  8. BlueStatic


    Oct 16, 2009
    well it depends...

    if you want to advance in drums, go to drums

    if you want to learn more about theory, go piano.

    Piano is probably the best instrument to learn general music theory and chords because everything is much for visual. Also, with piano you learn both clefs which might be a benefit in the future if you plan on changing instruments or to just know more about music.
  9. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    Hillsdale, Portland
    Piano. Its percussive, like drums, and teaches you to integrate/separate the left and right hands.
  10. cynical-rabbit


    May 19, 2009

    'Nuff said.
  11. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    This IMO
  12. Ten Four One

    Ten Four One

    Dec 5, 2006
    Guitar is a given for any bass player. You should own & play guitar. Every bass player I know can play guitar - not so the other way around.

    Drums are a good option - it'll improve your sense of rhythm.

    Piano is good, if you're looking to compose, but it's not absolutely necessary for advancing in theory (but it certainly helps).

    Personally, I head towards the other end of the tonal spectrum - mandolin, violin, trumpet.
  13. tobie


    Nov 26, 2008
    I've found that the bass & pedal steel guitar (PSG) complement each other. Both 'just hang in there' progressing through chords, with licks / fills where appropriate - and in rare cases, a solo.

    I was never sure when to do what on the PSG but learning the bass lit up the light at the end of the tunnel for me.
  14. T-Funk


    Jul 2, 2005

    Most of the bassists I know play piano/keyboards, not guitar. I was no different until several years ago.

    However, after learning to play guitar, in my humble opinion, I believe it is the better secondary instrument for the bass player.

    Percussions and drums are nice, too, for developing solid timing.
  15. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Each instrument has different and valid reasons for you to learn them. Keyboards allow you to see a graphic display of each note. Guitar allows bass players to use what they already know about bass and put it in a more melodic and chordal context. Not that you can't get chordal or melodic on bass, but guitar lends itself to it a little easier. And drums will give you a better idea of the drummer/bassist dynamic, which I'm told is pretty important. I learned all of them and I'm glad I did. Unfortunately, I sucked at keyboards, but I can still play a decent guitar, and if I practiced 3 hours every day for a couple months solid I could probably get gigs on drums as well.
  16. Revvv


    Oct 31, 2007
  17. I can see where drums would be helpful, any rhythm section instrument actually - Keyboard, rhythm guitar, whatever.

    I also play keyboard (from fake books aka chord piano), banjo, rhythm guitar, clarinet and a mean harmonica. Ditto the above statement any instrument helps with the other instruments.
  18. soong


    May 10, 2007
    Nah man, Kazoo.
  19. guitar or piano is probably the best instrument to learn if you are a bassist. i learned to play some drums back in my hardcore/thrash days but back then i focused on speed instead of groove so it didn't help my bass playing that much. learning to play the guitar helps a lot, i often try to learn the guitar parts before i construct basslines for songs and i also use the guitar for song writing.
  20. + 1 on rhythm guitar like said abve. Had not thought of this before, but, all my baselines come from my rhythm guitar experience, aka, melody note and chord sharing some of the same notes, now flow into my baseline riffs (R-3-5-3 or R-3-7-3 etc) with ease.

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