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Would I be better just concentrating on bass?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Evil Undead, Nov 27, 2010.

  1. Evil Undead

    Evil Undead

    Oct 31, 2009
    I'm a relatively new bass player (around 18 months) and also play guitar. I'm not terrible on either, but also not terribly good haha!

    I'm wondering whether in continuing to play guitar I'm limiting my progress on bass? Maybe it's taking too much of my attention away and I would perhaps be better focusing on the one instrument?

    My first choice would be bass, as even though I've played guitar for longer, I've definitely been more enthusiastic about music as a whole since playing bass - got myself in to a band, learning about the instrument, effects etc.

    So, any thoughts on what to do?

    *Mods - I apologise if this is in the wrong section but I chose the one that seemed the most appropriate! Please feel free to move if necessary :)*
  2. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    I started on guitar in 1977 and took up bass in 1980; I feel as though developing my understanding of how the chords connected on guitar led to a better approach to composing bass lines, so keep at both if you can.

    The two instruments really are quite different despite the obvious physical similarities. I would recommend this approach: spend some time developing a connected chord approach on guitar and then use the connections you've developed as the foundation for developing your bass playing. Here's a simple example -

    the chord progression D7 GMAJ Amin Emin. Instead of just strumming these chords on guitar, connect them with walking lines (chords in upper case, single notes in lower case):

    D7 c b a GMAJ f# g b Amin b a g Emin (all chords in first position and connecting notes on the a or low e string)

    There are many other ways you could conect these chords, and as you start to mess around with them you'll gain an understanding of how the bass could be used whether a guitar/piano is playing the chords or not. Note that in my example, all of the chords and notes are in the key of GMAJ (i.e., they are diatonic to GMAJ). Try other connecting notes all from the key of GMAJ, then try others where you add some chromatic lines that include notes outside of the key of GMAJ like:

    D7 c b bflat GMAJ g f# g# Amin g f# f Emin.
  3. Evil Undead

    Evil Undead

    Oct 31, 2009
    I understand where you're coming from there. Although I'm not very good with the ol' theory side of things, I have been trying to learn more since starting with bass.

    This stuff you said here confuses the bejesus out of me at the moment hehe!

    My problem I think is that guitar has never really interested me that much... I only really played it because I wanted to play an instrument of some kind at that was what was available to me at the grand old age of 7 :)

    My fascination with bass surpasses anything I ever had on guitar, so much so now that I only really play it once every couple of months, and that's just recording a few power chords over a cool bass line that I've written
  4. I too play both. Rhythm guitar in one Country band and 4 string bass in another Country band. If you are learning both you will have to schedule time for both.

    My rhythm guitar is on auto pilot and has been for many years. In fact the only practising I do is when we add a new song to our list. I'll run over the Christmas stuff just to brush off the rust, but, like I said my rhythm guitar is on auto pilot. Now my bass is new - just over a year. All my practice time is with the bass. Well I should say both are out on stands and I do pick up the rhythm guitar and strum some stuff while watching TV, but, that's not practising.

    I do not think one hurts the other in fact just the opposite, they both build on each other. How if you are stealing time from one that is another story, but, if you are comfortable with your skill level on the 6 string - you will not forget it - IF you are still gigging with it the rust comes from non-use.

    Of course IMHO.
  5. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    I wouldn't think so. I believe having started on guitar made me both a better bassist, and a more well-rounded musician - even after I made the big switch.

    Now, more than 30 years after I essentially dropped the guitar in favor of the bass guitar, I'm in process of resuming guitar once again. And I'm looking forward to big things happening for me musically as a result... :cool:

  6. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Song Surgeon slow downer. https://tinyurl.com/y5dcuqjg
    Alternatively, learning chords on a keyboard is also a great help. Doesn't have to be an expensive keyboard.

    Knowing some theory on how to construct chords, their notes, circle of fifths,etc. is always useful. So when you see a Cm7#9 chord on a chart it won't be a big deal.
  7. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    FYI, there is no Cm7(#9). The #9 (in this case, D#) is the same as the b3, which is already part of the Cmin7 chord: C Eb G Bb.

    I don't mean to sound like a dink, but music theory is confusing enough when notated correctly.

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