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"Why don't you play a normal guitar?" -.-

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by djole94hns, Jan 29, 2014.

  1. Hello there,
    Everytime I practice, my sister always complains: "Why didn't you get a normal guitar? It is at least nice to hear it. I don't understand what that bass guitar does anyway." Same goes from my uncle, my mother and pretty much everyone else in my family, and it is extremely frustrating. I also have terribly low self-esteem (I have OCD) so their comments hurt my will to play. I feel bad about it because I really like bass, and I am getting very good at it. I also play in a band, and I am lucky our guitarist/singer is not the stereotype, because he actually knows the role of the bass guitar. I just want to practice bass without those stupid comments. Any suggestions? I already tried explaining what a bass does, with no avail... Also, they keep asking me to play songs on bass, just like someone would on a guitar. They just don't get it... -.-
  2. antonspon


    Mar 27, 2013
    Sounds like they're deliberately riling you! Maybe what you play isn't the issue, but THAT you play - they may criticise you anyway! Then again, maybe they are just ignorant about instruments and music as you suggest - I've also had some asking me to play them a song: in my case I play them a Bach piece for cello, but that's just me!:) It shuts up those who were taking the mickey, and impresses the rest...
  3. Heh, just yesterday I got the idea to learn Pink Panther as a joke of sorts, and today I played it as part of my practice. The first thing my mother said was: "You have learned the first song now?! You have been playing for months!". Because, you know, basslines do not count I guess.
  4. Jaco Taco

    Jaco Taco

    Jul 30, 2012
    You gotta do what you want to do in life, what makes you happy, and if your family doesn't like that or accept that, then that's their problem and limitation, not yours.
  5. sparkyfender2


    Nov 25, 2013
    I always practice alone.

    You are right; very few people besides another bass player desire to hear a bass thumping along solo. It is not a "song" to them.
  6. Oddly

    Oddly Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.

    I know it's not the same as hearing that lovely big boomy sound we all clearly love here, but you might find them helpful - I surely do.

    I know that won't address the issue of them not 'getting' bass, but that's their problem, not yours.
  7. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    +1 to headphones. Practice privately, if you can.

    And if you HAVE to pacify them by playing a melody - go ahead and learn a couple more. Of, if your family can actually be reasoned with, make them listen to a piece of music where you can point out all the different parts the instruments are playing. Make them see that the music would suck if no one played a harmony or a counterpoint.
  8. it sounds like they dont know much about music. My guess is their musical tastes are somewhat questionable? I get lots of hate from family members and some friends about listening to the Grateful Dead (do they ever sing? how stoned are they? how can you listen to this?) so I can relate somewhat. Frankly, if they dont get it, more power to ya. And if they know about your condition, tell them to check themselves and realize what they say effects you. Good luck
  9. therhodeo


    Feb 28, 2011
    Owasso OK
    And you're accusing others of having questionable taste? :p
  10. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    There are lots of great melodic bass players.
    And BTW - some of the best basslines are countermelodies, so it's a nice skill to practice.

    To get you started, check out Michael Manring, Stanley Clarke, and Mark Egan.

    Just because you can play some melodies doesn't mean you'll turn into a 'lead bass' soloist. But - when it's your turn to solo, there are worse things to play than a riff on the melody...
  11. whitespikebass

    whitespikebass Boy Orbision

    Feb 19, 2013
    Austin, TX
    Man, if I could only give one piece of advice to artistically inclined young people with emotional / mental issues. IT WILL PASS! Before you know it, you will be out on your own. And you will be able to choose your company. It isn't your fault your family is disrespectful, not supportive, and basically ignorant about music. Those are their failings, not yours.

    Trust me, I'm 32 and had to endure a lot of BS too. It gets better. Just know that it is they who are wrong, not you. ANd if you dream of going pro in any form, bass is such a great choice. There are always slots for good bass players.

    When they ask you to play a song, just say no. Or play the song along with a recording so maybe they will see the role. I understand wanting your family's approval, even if they are jerks. Even at my age, I long for my family's approval. I just know I will never get it. So, I got married and had a kid and have my own life. My wife not only understands my musical role, but is proud of it and supportive. Bottom line is, being under their roof, while it seems like forever bc its all you've known, it's a very temporary part of life. You'll spend the majority of your life on your own terms.

    Get thru it. I feel for ya. Love to tortured artists everywhere!
  12. karl_em_all


    Jul 11, 2013
    Dimension X
    When i bought my first bass I was 16. It was a brand new Peavey Fury that ran me $380 (my own money). When I brought it home my father said it looked nice and asked me how much I paid for it. He flipped. Couldn't believe that I would waste all that money on it. That was 20 years ago and I've been playing ever since. He's starting to come around. hahaha.

    Some people just don't get it. I wouldn't sweat about it if I were you.
  13. I got the same thing from my wife until I cranked "Message in a bottle" on the cd player and played along to it. She finally got it. Maybe your folks will too!?!
  14. madrob


    Aug 22, 2006
    Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Just tell your mother, sister and uncle to shove it.
  15. therhodeo


    Feb 28, 2011
    Owasso OK
    I come from a musical family and they still ask me stupid questions like that. I play 5 different instruments and no matter which one I play all I get is "don't you know the whole song?" It doesn't help if you do actually play the whole song and show them how repetitive most stuff is. I would suggest learning now in your life how to find your self value outside of other peoples acceptance or approval of you. You'll be alot happier along the way if you do.
  16. Milk


    Sep 16, 2013
    Montreal, Canada
    All my mom knew about bass when i started was that it was what Paul Mccartney played (she was a huge beatles fan in her teens). She still couldn't have told you the part he played though. I did get that question from her at the time "why bass?". Well the short of it really was that my brother had picked up guitar recently and i wasnt gonna be outdone since i'd always been the more musical one. I'd also just go into The Cure then and i was really into the bass and it made me realise it could drive a song. I remember an aunt asking me what that long guitar was.... Or people asking me to play them a song.....I always refused knowing that if i did play them even a bassline of a famous song they'd probably be baffled. They basically just thought of it as a guitar...like i could strum it around a campfire and we could all sing kumbaya...

    It is true that the average person cannot recognize bass in a song. In fact some have never paid enough attention to instruments to realise that in every band there was a longer guitar with four strings playing low notes.... Even musically inclined people struggle with bass. I mean my gf is a music lover, with good tastes, but I still remember playing the "name that bassline" game playing songs she knows, even love, but that didn't necessarily have a super recognizable bassline and she was unable to name a lot of the songs.

    Most people do not respond to bass especially in a solo context. They're used to higher sound, more easily recognizable, hummable melodies.

    It's like that. You can't let that stop you though. Personally it's driven me to write basslines that i think people would notice and recognize.
  17. Milk


    Sep 16, 2013
    Montreal, Canada

    Yeah definitely if people hear you play bass in the context of a song they are more bound to get it. Bass outside of a song context just seems alien and strange to most people...
  18. Jeff K

    Jeff K Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2005
    Memphis, TN
    I basically taught myself to play by playing along with CD's (albums). Maybe if they hear you playing with other instruments like that they'll have a better understanding of how the bass complements the other instruments. Then when nobody else is around, practice your scales and other solo stuff.

    Too bad they're not supportive, but it is what it is. Did you ever simply tell them, "I ENJOY playing the bass. It's a beautiful instrument. Not everybody wants to play guitar, drums, saxophone, or whatever." Might not do any good, but at least your point of view will be out there. Then just try to develop thicker skin to their comments, and enjoy yourself...
  19. shwashwa


    Aug 30, 2003
    agree, play along with a recording for them, but also, learn more melodies, nothing wrong with it. it will make you a better musician. and +1 to the Bach stuff. probably some of the best melodies in existance
  20. PluckyThump

    PluckyThump Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2008
    The Hammer
    Learn the bass lines to some of the music that your family likes. Play along with the recordings and turn down the bass control on the stereo when you do. When they are paying attention, stop playing so they can hear the song without bass, then start playing again. If they hear how crappy the music sounds without bass they will get it.