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Will bassists soon no longer be needed?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by SlapPopBass, Jul 12, 2013.

  1. Many up and coming bands in this day and time are getting away with not having a bass players, and the demand for gigging bassists seems to be in decline with all the different effects,midis and synths people can pull off to get the bass sound. Some people don't even have that, they just have a rhythm guitarist.

    I can't count the number of times I've seen the people at my school give a disgusted face every time they see me lugging my bass, or the numerous times I've heard people say, "your "instrument" just goes "don don don" loudly, its not even musical or nice sounding, what's the point of you playing it?"

    I'm worried, personally, as a person who is barely starting on his journey on the low end (2 years) that soon me playing bass will just be sidelined by all the keyboard and rhythm guitar players and be labelled as "sideshow" or "extra" or "party trick" gimmick. In my entire school (total of 1200+ students) there are roughly 8-10 different bands. NONE of them have a bassist. Just a keyboard or two guitars. I know that school bands rarely are for real, but it got me thinking, if people feel that they can make a band now without a bass player, will we (the low end riders) soon encounter a time where modern music will no longer need actual bass players? Will we just be permanently labelled as instruments of the 70s-90s rock and music scene? A long forgotten era with no place in modern society's taste for music?
  2. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    you go to the wrong HS!;)

    seriously though,... you're just paranoid. lay off the K2, kid.:bag:
  3. ncapone


    Nov 17, 2010
    As long as rock and roll exists, there will always be room for bassists. Forget about high school kids; they rarely know what they're doing. Just rock on!
  4. jonnybass1


    Dec 9, 2011
    Brampton, On
    Actually it seems like bands try to find bassists but there are not enough of us to go around so they have to do without a bass player. As I was told early on in my bass "career" that a decent bass player will always have work. Just because more people prefer to play guitar so therefore guitarists are a dime a dozen
  5. Arranger


    Mar 9, 2003
    There are not enough bass players and that's why they're trying to get away without them through trickery.

    Join one of the bands and show them what it's all about.
  6. ProgRocker


    Mar 25, 2011
    Such claims "this will replace that" are always being made. I'm 40 years old, and as often as I've heard the claim made, not once has it ever been correct or true. We're not going anywhere.
  7. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg , Conquest Sound
    One of the most ignorant statements I've ever read.

    There will always be a need for bassists.
  8. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Relax, Junior. It's just adolescent angst. And you don't exactly have a great deal of life experience yet. The bass isn't going anywhere... :smug:

    IMO, bassists need to start thinking more in terms of "Bass - the musical function", and less in terms of "Bass - the musical instrument". Whenever there has been music, nearly right from the beginning, there has been bass - whether it be the figured bass of classical orchestral music during the Baroque period, or the tuba of a John Phillips Sousa march - or the synth bass of a Gary Numan tech/pop piece. Bass is a fundamental element of music - and likely will always be so.

    That said, electric bass guitar is still a very fluid & functional instrument - scarcely even 60 years old! It still has a long, productive life ahead of it... :smug:

  9. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    I like 5, 8, 10, and 12 string basses
    Hmmm ... I remember back in the 60s a certain Record label didn't want to sign the Beatles because they thought "guitar bands" were just a fad ...

    I only know of 2 famous bands without a bass player ... The Doors and White stripes ...
  10. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Yeah calm down. I'm not trying to put you down but high school kids have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. Stuff comes out your/their mouths before it has even been thought through. What do they know about the legacy of bass? (answer: zero)

    You'll be fine as long as you build chops that can actually be used in making music. Don't spend all of your time working on slappity poppity tappity stuff. That stuff is impressive for about ten seconds in most cases. (Note, I did not tell the kid not to learn those things. I specifically said don't spend ALL of your time on them. Calm down slappity tappity guys.)

    And, Ric5, a lot of the Doors stuff had bass on it.

    Rock on kid!
  11. chicago_mike


    Oct 9, 2007
    Chicago - LA - Rome - Dallas
    Endorsing Artist : Genz Benz
    Kid, actually, to a point, you are correct.

    we aren't really "needed". Our job is subtle. and replaceable with machines. Lets be honest with each other for a moment. You ask, the future of bass, in a bass players forum...you want to ask this very same question...everywhere else really. because we will never obsolete ourselves...if you think about it.

    So...what do YOU do? Learn bass, have fun. Learn piano, learn drums, learn guitar, learn songwriting, hit writing. Learn business law.

    I have seen many many gigs go from full bands to a frontman and band in a box. Literally.

    In the end, have fun, play, get a good career that will make you money so you can buy that vintage Fender and never have to sell it because you really couldn't afford it.
  12. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    I disagree. Heartily. :eyebrow:

  13. morgansterne

    morgansterne Geek U.S.A.

    Oct 25, 2011
    Cleveland Ohio
    even those bands without a bass player end up bringing them in. Doors had Doug Lubahn (if i recall correctly) in the studio. Keane (one of my favorite bands) went without a bass player live for years (used backing tracks I think) but now they have a bass guitarist who tours with them. White stripes are no more.

    But I think all bass players should learn some keyboard playing as well. then you'll have to bring more stuff to the gig, but you'll have a gig!
  14. LarryCrabtree


    Sep 19, 2011
    Let me think for a minute. This years Rock and Roll hall of fame class one name sticks out. Rush. For a while they let the synths and such take a big role, but as time went on Geddy and the boys realized that they needed that low sound more and more. IMO they are still a viable band with a lot of music to say left in them. I don't hear their bass going anywhere soon.
  15. Jive T

    Jive T

    Jul 4, 2013
    Outside of stuff like EDM, or other predominately synth forms of music, the bass will remain needed. Even in synth based music all the way from the 80's to now, there are some bands that use bass players. OMD and Infernal come to mind.
  16. This isn't entirely accurate. In the history of music, the implementation of bass is relatively recent. For most of the Baroque period, only organs could be the deep rhytmic support we identify in music as bass, and they were not that common. In the recently realized tonal system, most instruments playing root notes would not have any presence we would recognize as bass. The widespread implementation of bass and recognizable basslines that move opposite of the tune didn't come until about 1800 with the creation of the instruments that would become the double bass and a half century later with the invention of the tuba.

    Interesting history of the bass in music can be found in this documentary:

  17. ShoeManiac

    ShoeManiac Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2006
    New Jersey
    There have been plenty of acts in recent years that have chosen to forego a bass player in their lineups. Hell, a drummer I played with for some time just joined a new act that has no bass player! But I've also seen other acts that have no guitarist, drummer or other instrumentalist. In other cases, some bands have only a few members and none of them are bass players. But they have bass on their records. The permutations and varying situations are myriad.

    It boils down to the sonic vision of the band/artist. What kind of sound do they want to create? What we've come to learn about pop & rock music is that the product we create is about a combination of several elements: songwriting, musicianship, instrumental sound/mix, visual presentation & showmanship. The instrumental lineup of an act contributes to that as well as the sonics of your music.

    Your best bet? Study music, and not just bass. Being an overall, well rounded musician will do nothing but help you. It can give you a greater understanding of how bass functions in an ensemble. And it gives you more options.

    As for bass? Don't worry. It's probably not going anywhere. Why? Just listen to what music legends like Quincy Jones and Keith Richards have said. That is, that without the electric bass, modern popular music would not have come to be where it is now. You would not have had the Rhythm & Blues music that eventually morphed into Rock & Roll.
  18. powmetalbassist

    powmetalbassist Supporting Member

    Wasn't there a similar fear of bassists dying off in the 80's with the advent of the synthesizer...look how that turned out. Bassists are needed to fill in the empty space left by guitarists. Take away the bass and you just get twang, even so, alot of bands without bassist downtune and one six string guitarist is relegated to the same notes a bassist would play on a guitar. it's not going anywhere, it's just being modified for current trends.
  19. "Current trends" is the operative phrase here. Trends come and go, and so will the bassless band trend.