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Why do most "non-musicians" have no clue what a bass is?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Albino_Ryno, Oct 1, 2000.

  1. Albino_Ryno

    Albino_Ryno Guest

    Sep 17, 2000
    Knoxville TN
    It disturbs me that none of my friends had even the slightest clue at to what a bass was until I started playing. When I ask anybody to name their favorite guitar players they can sit there and at name off at least 7-10 players but when I ask who their favorite bass players are they sit there for a minute and then finally remember Flea. Why does the general public seem to pay attention to guitar players more than bass players. Example - On almost any music awards the guitar player and the lead singer will present awards or make appearances. Rarely the bass player will make an appearance. I don't really think people realize how important a bass player is. A few weeks ago when Creed's bass player left the band I heard a radio announcer talking about it and he made the comment "How hard can it be to find a new bass player?" and it made me really pissed off. I just want anybody's general opinion about why the bass isn't as widely recognized as the guitar.
  2. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone. Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    Most non-musicians think a bass player is a guitar player. How many times have you heard, "What kind of guitar is that?", or, "Why are your strings so big?" (I hear it all the time).

    Most people don't know that Sting is a bass player, and he's a frontman/solo-artist.

    Once, I almost glued a picture of Rodney Dangerfield on one of my basses with the caption, "No Respect" (My girlfriend talked me out of it) :D .
  3. Last year one of my friends signed in my yearbook:
    "Hey ad, you're pretty good at playing...what is it you play again?"
    Doesn't bother me too much though. Some day soon (I hope) they'll realize that half the thumping in their Korean rap & other such music is, in fact, a bass... :D
  4. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    Well Ive never had anyone say to me they didnt know what the bass was, but I can definatly relate to where you are comming from. My brother who is a guitarest/pianest etc etc. always tells me that bass is that subdued instrament in the background. In a sense he's right, I think alotta people dont know about it because the singer and guitars are a more upfront type of instrament. What I mean is ya always see the singer and the guitar does solos and stuff like that. We bassests just chug along pumping out the lows and keeping a good solid rythm going. I dont mind it so much because they all know that if you take out the bass the song doesnt sound solid and its us bass players and you drummers out there (who even get noticed more than us) that make people wanna get off there bar stools and dance
  5. Erlendur Már

    Erlendur Már

    May 24, 2000
    I know a LOT of people who just think bass is a guitar with four strings...exept when they see someone slapping..then they remember a guy here (in my school) who is a great slapper, and they know he´s a bassist and they start talking about him and the "thumb thing"...
  6. Deynn

    Deynn Moderator Emeritus

    Aug 9, 2000
    My goodness...Is THAT what we are reduced to now? Not even "musicians"....just..."slappers".:rolleyes: I guess I will never be known as a bass player then...'cause I wouldn't think of slapping my bass. :)
  7. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Funny, maybe it's a cultural thing, but I play mostly jazz and funk (to a largely black audience) and *everyone* knows the bass is the bass. It seems that most of them know that the bass is the key to the funk, too.

    I guess it's all about how you grew up.

    Jon Packard
  8. reveille_509


    Aug 17, 2000
    why does anyone care what non musicians think as far as im concerned they can go to hell.
  9. Deynn

    Deynn Moderator Emeritus

    Aug 9, 2000
    Hmmm....my mother is a "non-musician". I'll pass your message on to her. ;)
  10. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    To the above comment unless your Victor someone non-musicians pay your wages or if you are a weekend warrior come to your gigs if you beg enough. I feel the same sometimes but non muso's are a neccesary evil.

    Yes we play a guitar in the same way that our acoustic cousins get told "thats a very big violin". :D

    With the original comment about vocalists and guitarists
    they normally write the music in the Rock/Indie/Alternative stylee. Sting has been mentioned, Mark King of Level 42 was another, Lemmie of Motorhead, the late Phil Lynott (sp)are/were frontmen/singers/songwriters.

    As a sideproject I am trying to start up a band with me as the guitarist/drummer for the demo, like Dave Grohl without the talent :) its hard to get people out of the "you will be playing BASS right?" mentality. I take solace in the fact that its me that disrupts peoples nervous systems and stop hearts. :)If it aint doing that it aint bass.

  11. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    You got in the way Deynn :)are you going for the fastest 1000? :D
  12. Deynn

    Deynn Moderator Emeritus

    Aug 9, 2000
    Nah...not really. This is all they allow me to do...until I get off my medication. :D:D
  13. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    I know where you all are coming from. But what aggravates me more than non-musicians is guitar players who think they know how to play bass. Even they think the bass is just a guitar with four strings. There are also the guitar players who think bass is just for slapping, so they pick up my bass and try to do what they've seen real bass players do. I try really hard not to laugh but its hard not to.
  14. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Deynn :D got to shut down for the night the wife tried to getin the bath whilst our youngest was using the bath for the goldfish whilst changing the water ! Whats frightening is that I have to play diplomat :D
  15. Albino_Ryno

    Albino_Ryno Guest

    Sep 17, 2000
    Knoxville TN
    Recently I jammed with my strugglin' pal David who can only play thrash metal at extremely high volumes so any hopes of actually hearing my bass were out the window. I suggested we switch instruments for a second, he agreed and we switched. His first reply was DAMN these strings are big! Then he proceeded to try and play my bass with a teardrop pick all the while I'm trying to tame his out of controll distortion box so I might could make out some notes. Afterward he made the comment that playing bass must be really easy since I don't have to play chords or solos or do anything hard. I wonder sometimes how people get so stupid?

  16. There are a lot of people that know i'm in nearly every band at school (hey its not my fault there is only 2 bass players and the other sold his bass).

    Thing is, people say "What do you play"
    I say "bass"
    does anyone get this expression? it goes along these lines....

    Their eyes go wide slightly, and they go "ooohhhh" and then the silence. Any conversation sorta dies in the arse after that. Is it just me?? (don't answer so hastily! :D) or has other people experienced it?

    Or then you speak to people in other bands and they ask the same question. I tell them bass, and they reply with "yeah no-one can play like our bass player". Ohh I'm sorry, is that a challenge?? hehehehehe

  17. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    "Why do most "non-musicians" have no clue what a bass is?"

    probably the same reason why most bass players ask me "why 7 strings? or 8?" :rolleyes: :D
  18. gmstudio99


    Mar 11, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    How many of you could easily identify the difference between a soprano, alto, tenor, or baritone sax? Or between and E flat clarinet or a B flat clarinet?

    How about the difference between a euphonium and a baritone horn?

    Or marimba and xylophone?

    Many musicians can't make those distictions, so non-musicians don't stand a chance. Nor do they care. And, yes, those non-musicians are the ones that are paying your bills when they buy your discs and come to your shows...so telling them to "go to hell" is probably not a very wise business move.

  19. Paul A

    Paul A

    Dec 13, 1999
    Hertfordshire U.K!
    Easiest way to make someone realise what bass is:
    1. Stand them about 2 feet away from your amp
    2. Turn volume up to 11
    3. Hit open e - HARD
    That usually does the trick (well with 400 watts anyway!)
  20. I have a friend who refers to my bass as 'noise pollution'. Today in economics she said to me "I don't really like your guitar. It's so...like...deep, you know? I don't like those kinds of sounds. They're so...sad, you know?"
    I replied with "Well, it's deep because it's a BASS guitar. And it can sound happy too..."
    "Happy? On that thing? Yeah right!"

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