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Why Play Bass?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by bachlover, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. Read an OP's thread this a.m. saying he was new to bass & thought it might be a good way to learn a stringed instrument on his/her way to guitar. It got me thinking it might be interesting to hear why folks start and how that perception has changed over the years. I read in Sir Paul's bio that he picked it up because nobody else wanted to be stuck in the back where you couldn't "pull the birds." I started because I thought 4 strings would be as easy as falling out of a coconut tree & after watching Sir Paul & the rest of the boys knew that there were indeed birds to be had for musicians. Today, I don't know if it was always there & just needed to be brought out, or if it evolved over time, but I wouldn't want to play anything else and my realization of what a fine instrument it is in its own right has developed and continues to grow. Looking forward to reading others' motivation and evolution in their bass playing development.
  2. whitespikebass

    whitespikebass Boy Orbision

    Feb 19, 2013
    Austin, TX
    I started playing bass because I had an older brother who was already two years ahead of me playing guitar. I didn't want to compete and wanted to be good at something different in my own right. But I started playing guitar after playing bass for about a year or two. That makes me a bassist of 20 years and guitarist of 18 years. But I always stayed true to being a bassist. After doing both I found that I enjoyed playing bass more. I've always used guitar as a composition tool. Although I am playing more and more guitar as years pass, and now have two groups (one for bass, one for guitar). But I still consider myself a "bassist."
  3. iVanilla


    Dec 28, 2013
    It's as if there are different 'types of people', some 'born a bass' and some 'born a guitar', etc. But that's just how i see life. Anyway, I had always been into music but guitar never truly clicked for me. A bass is like... The silent mother of the band. You provide the support for your guitarists and vocalists, and keep the song on the ground without those two flying off every which way. That's why I stuck with my bass.
  4. wraub


    Apr 9, 2004
    ennui, az
    deviated prevert
    I play bass 'cuz it's more fun than guitar and easier to move than drums. Or a tuba.
    That's why.
  5. DeathFromBelow

    DeathFromBelow Never Forget. Banned

    Dec 23, 2010
    Horten, Norway
    I strongly believe that everyone should know their place in the world. Being a born loser, I had no choice.
  6. Jaco Taco

    Jaco Taco

    Jul 30, 2012
    I started on bass because I just loved the sound of it, the "lowness" of it, the "bigness" of it. Geddy Lee really turned me onto the bass guitar, this was back in the early 80's. I also saw that the bass didn't have a lot of great players, just some. With guitar, it felt like there were soooo many great guitarists and so much had been done on the instrument and the bass felt more like an unexplored frontier.

    I still feel that way about bass, that there's still a lot more unexplored ground on it than the electric guitar.
  7. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    Northern California
    I started on upright in middle school jazz band. By sophomore year I had friends that were starting bands and needed a bass player so they encouraged me to pick up an electric.

    I've worked at guitar and piano (and keyboard bass) and am fairly proficient but I'm a bass player through and through.
  8. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    I started on guitar and actually played in a band that had no bass player. One night in rehearsal, I started doing fills on the guitar. The other guitarist commented that every time I did a fill, it sounded like a bass line and suggested that I switch to bass. There was another guitarist friend of ours who was there and he agreed. The next day, I went to the music store and bought a bass and an amp. I still play guitar but bass has been my main instrument for over 35 years.
  9. pfox14


    Dec 22, 2013
    I actually started out playing the tuba. I was fortunate to have a really great music teacher in middle school and he suggested that I try the bass. Same low register and bass clef music notation, so I tried it. Boy, was I hooked. I guess I have a real fondness for everything in the low register. I am always listening to the bass line when I listen to music. I guess I was born with it.
  10. Thrash3r


    Aug 5, 2013
    Bass spoke to me even before I really took an interest in learning to play anything, it was always about low end, I've never had any interest in being a guitarist.
  11. Mike M.

    Mike M.

    Feb 14, 2010
    Once I really started paying attention to the individual instruments in a song, I found I was drawn to the bass parts. I have no idea why and I've never tried to figure out why. I just liked it.
  12. iVanilla


    Dec 28, 2013
  13. BawanaRik


    Mar 6, 2012
    New Jersey
    I like the feel of those notes. Getting hit in the chest with a high impact note is great fun.
  14. BCB50


    Dec 25, 2013
    Higden, Arkansas
    When I was a kid I wanted to play drums, but my dad wouldn't let me. He was in to classical music. when I was 11 he bought me a blankity blank violin and made me take lessons from a lady who was 2nd chair in the Seattle Symphony. His fatal mistake was going to Louisiana to visit family my cousin sent back a bluegrass tape. By that point my dad was ecstatic because my teacher decided I was ready to try out in the Tacoma Junior Youth Symphony. Just one little problem that bluegrass tape. A little listen to it and I figured out that I could play right along and so much for becoming a classical violinist.

    I moved down to Louisiana when I was 20. My uncle plays guitar and he asked me if I wanted to learn to play bass. In my mind I thought bass guitar was born from the double bass which is a giant violin. So I jumped on it. He showed me the basic L pattern with an off chord thrown in so I could play for him in church. That got old real quick. So I when and bought a Yamaha BB1600, Fender Bassman 60, Yorkville 45 watt bass head and Peavey cab with a 15 in it. All that in a 35ft lake model RV. So I would stop and pick up a 1/2 case of bear and a couple of fried corn dogs from the gas station on the way home from work, and I would get home and have dinner with Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Kentucky Headhunters, and a verity of country folks. I would listen and copy and then add.

    I like the low end heartbeat that I can add my own stuff to. I have a fiddle and a mandolin. I enjoy the mandolin at times, but I love bass. It fills that need to create a beat with a boom that I wanted to do when I was a kid.
  15. topo morto

    topo morto

    Mar 22, 2010
    It's easy and sounds good.
  16. BCB50


    Dec 25, 2013
    Higden, Arkansas

    Low end Junky Here.
  17. Sid Fang

    Sid Fang Reformed Fusion Player Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2008
    Bass is my fourth instrument, after sax, keys, and guitar, but one for which I always felt an affinity, particularly the 70's "progressive rock" styles I grew up with - Wetton, Squire, Ray Bennett of Flash. Back in college, when other people played air guitar on their pool cues at the bar, I'd play air bass.

    I like the physicality of the instrument. Once, years ago, I commented to our drummer, in jest, that if I didn't get to dance around and beat the sh*t out of a bass from time to time, I'd probably have to go out and kill someone.

    I found it oddly disconcerting when he replied "Yeah, I can tell".
  18. ZenG


    Dec 13, 2013
    Near the fridge
    I can't imagine all those decades of music and rock, jazz, etc etc. without the bass.

    When I grew up there were only two knobs that were ever used on the stereo:- volume and bass.

    The bass rules.

    Music without bass is like skiing without skiis.
  19. bstark


    Sep 8, 2012
    Seattle WA
    When I was in grade school, my best friend and I listened to Beatle records together and dreamed about starting a band playing electric guitars. He got an electric guitar and told me I had to play a different instrument. I was really impressed with the Hofner Beatle Bass that Paul McCartney played (and still plays), and I could see myself playing the electric bass. When my friend asked me my choice of instrument in our band, I quickly decided electric bass was going to be my instrument.

    When I got my first bass guitar, I learned five songs by ear on the very first day and told myself 'This is so easy for me to do'! That was 47 years ago and the rest is history.

    I played music last night and again tonight.

    This is what I do. I play bass.

  20. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Saxophone was my first instrument, and I think I had a drum set briefly before first trying bass in high school. Took some piano lessons too but it didn't take. At first I'll admit that guitar's six strings intimidated me a bit - now that I've learned a bit of guitar I realize how silly that was. But mostly, I just noticed bass lines in songs and thought they were cool.