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Who/What makes a better bassist?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Bardolphus, Apr 16, 2010.

  1. Bardolphus

    Bardolphus Put some stank on it... Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    Just looking for opinions on a topic I've thought about and discussed with other local musicians. For example, I learned to play the drums first. Having the rhythm from that and the understanding of what the drummer is doing, does that give one an advantage? My brother plays the drums in our band and we both grew up learning to play with gospel music so he and I may just have a similar style and familiarity with each other. I'm not saying it can't be something that is learned, but obviously there are some folks out there that just don't have "soul" or a good sense of rhythm. We've all seen them on youtube or at shows. They'll play every lick exactly right note-wise but there's something missing. It's just not quite right. Honestly, I run into more guitarists like that then what I thought I would. So, in your opinion, what sort of background (drums/percussion, guitar, piano, or maybe starting fresh with no prior experience, or something else) gives a person an advantage and why do you think so? Certainly not trying to start a heated debate but just curious as to the opinion of my fellow Tb'ers.
  2. Cannabass


    Jan 22, 2010
    the more musical knowledge and understanding the better. i dont think its really worth arguing over which is most beneficial, because each instrument brings its own unique approach to music, and so the insight gained is in the same way unique.

    the more perspectives you can see the musical situation from, the more well-rounded your understanding will be
  3. groooooove

    groooooove Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    being born with a musical gift is what it is regardless of what you play, or played.

    whats more of an impact is the music you listen to, rather than the instruments youve previously played. if you listen to junk, you'll produce junk.
  4. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    Time and groove is number one. Next would be knowledge of theory and note placement.

    Personally I feel that learning to engineer and mix helped my playing a lot, because it gave me a better perspective on what the bass should do relative to the rest of the band. Stopped me from overplaying so much. There are so many cool things you can do with just a few notes placed just right that move people so much more than playing a million notes per bar.
  5. Bardolphus

    Bardolphus Put some stank on it... Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    Agreed with all 3 so far. Again, I'm not looking for instigate an argument...just like to know what your opinions are as I'm just curious. I've always been a believer that you either have it or you don't. You can't force true talent. Not saying that lessons can't have their place and that there aren't great players who learned from taking lessons. Keep 'em comin'...
  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    i think you should learn a little about as many instruments as possible. i started out playing drums, then went onto horn instruments and guitar, then piano, then bass. of all of them, piano is by far the most beneficial for anyone, though drumming is a high #2 for bassists.
  7. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    I think that being in band or orchestra in grade school/high school is very beneficial in that not only are you exposed to music theory and performance but most importantly (IMHO) is that one learns to be aware of what each instrument within the ensemble is playing and your own interaction within the whole in real time.
  8. TortillaChip520


    Jun 3, 2008
    I'd say that playing bass has made it easy for me to pick up drums, for the reasons you mentioned, only inversely, since I play drums how I would play bass. It has helped me pick up guitar easy too, as it's a very similar instrument. And i've gotten way better at rock band ;)
  9. Greevus


    Apr 15, 2009
    sex, drugs, and lots and lots of gigs, recordings, and songs. drums, guitars, and other instruments help too. having a drummer and guitarist in my band who both play mulitiple instruments, sing, write, etc, makes it just easy to communicate. to me that's the key. we argue all the time about exactly what time sig something is, etc, but as long as we can iron it out and be tight it works. it makes us all feel as equals, no real frontman, etc. we aren't really trying to be commercial either, but we all take our playing and understanding of music seriously.
  10. crustychef


    Apr 4, 2009
    Seattle WA
    I started on cello, then saxophone for many many years, always dabbled in piano because my mother plays a bit and drums because of my brother and cousin. I would also have agree that piano is most all around beneficial. I taught me how to really visualized chord progressions and how to play with different voicings of a chord among many other things. Speaking of, I really should get a little keyboard again my old one crapped out years back I never replaced it. Cello is obvious. I learned to read bass clef first and the fingerings are the same as bass. Sax gave me dexterity on both of hands evenly which allows to sync them up with great ease. Little things like three finger technique, tapping, thumb and two finger technique (Gary Willis style) all came pretty easy. Drums allowed me to be able to speak drummer which is very beneficial when tying to learn original music. The one thing that none of them help you with all that much is slapping. I mean other than learning to feel grooves and time. Not really any direct skill set translation for slap.
    Any other Saxophone players have a similar learning curve as me?
    Oh, I might also mention I did go to college for jazz saxophone performance. I had to take all basic woodwind and brass classes too. Not mention all the theory, ear training and performance experience helps a ton too. All the improvised soloing I used to do has help me to create my own bass lines and to play melodically. I still phrase like sax player.
  11. nic salsus

    nic salsus

    Mar 16, 2010
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    had me going for a second :p
  13. Bardolphus

    Bardolphus Put some stank on it... Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    Thanks for all the replies fellas, that's what I was looking for. :bassist:
  14. Meddle


    Jul 27, 2009
    Playing Viola in string quartets as a child... Viola never plays the lead lines, but has to fit in like a glove and mirror/copy/invert the melody and is always working. Viola is the bassist of the classical world. Viola players might all be drunks and have alcohol and body odour issues, but they are few and far between!
  15. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    God given talent and the tenacity to practice and work hard at the craft....some professional instruction never hurt. This is the recipe for success at life, not just music.
  16. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    Interesting, I never heard that viola was the bass of the classical world. I always thought the double bass was the bass of the classical world. In a string quartet setting, the cello usually handles bass duties.... ?? You seem to hanging around an unsavory and hygienically challenged bunch of viola players.

    Learn something new every day ;)

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