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Y'know, I'm pretty sure I'm not a bassist.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Brendan, Apr 12, 2005.

  1. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I'm more and more thinking I'm not a bassist. Not in the sense that I belong on a different instrument, or anything, but in that I'm not so much a bass player like many of you are.

    I really don't see bass as the paintbrush, as the tool. I sort of see it as the medium. I don't look at a bass and see a paintbrush or an extension of myself, I see the canvas, I see a raw lump of clay.

    I'm a tinkerer who makes noise. I keep seeing basses, and seeing how I would do it, or what I would do with it. Like, there's a thread going about converting a 4 string neck to a 5 string. It's generally a bad idea, but I saw it, and was like "Imagine what you could do as a pick player. All sorts of neat double picking and sweep picking. Get a wide 5 string neck, then group say, 4 strings together really close like that, so your hand wouldn't throw fits on a ultra narrow neck..."

    I rarely think in terms of music as I do in terms of the bass itself. In terms of the instrument, the nature of the instrument. I see basses, and don't think music (well, yes, but bear with me), I see how I could tinker with it, how I could wire it up, or what effects chain or amp combination I could put it through. It's like a lump of clay to me, something to mold, to modify and tinker with. Experimentation and sonic exploration seems to drive me more than playing music really does. I play bass and see where I can take the instrument, the sound, not what artful music I could make.

    On little more than a whim, I sold some gear and am bi-amping into a guitar rig for distortion now, and instead of seeing the musicality of it, I'm seeing where I could take the rig and the sound.

    And, y'know, I was talking with TBers Jay (who said "You've got far too many ideas floating around up there," sparking this thread) and Wrong Robot about this, and it certainly seemed to explain my incessant trading of gear, my desire to branch out and basically try every instrument out there, and then tweak with the instrument. And, having come to this, it just seemed to fit me. "I'm not really a bassist, as a noise tinkerer." (I'd like to work my way up to noise smith, but that'd take some time).

    For me, the art is in the mechanical exploration, not so much the music. Music plays a big part in it, of course, but it's not as driving. It's second place.

    I'm sure to expound, explain, and clarify on all this, but this is just out of the gate statements...

    Thanks for listening to me rant and rave like a lunatic. It's just sort of a musical revelation to me, and I'd like to share it, and see how it strikes y'all.

    [Christ that's longer than I thought...]
    {cleared up a tricky sentence or two.)
  2. Broach_insound


    Jan 25, 2005
    New York
    I understand completely what your saying , as much as I love to play and create music with the bass sometimes its just all about "What amp should I buy next" , "Ooh what effects should I get next" , "Shall I switch to a tourtoise shell pickguard" Sometimes it just becomes about all the little nicknacks and add ons I can get for my bass and what I can do with it. But I like that aspect of the bass just aswell as simply playing and creating music.........If thats even what your trying to say mybee I misinturpreted what you where trying to say...but..yea , well thats how I feel anyway
  3. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Makes sense to me.
  4. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    I thought you wanted to be a drummer. ;)
  5. That's cool, music needs a few people like you. Maybe you will invent something really cool one day and change sound as we know it. Follow your bliss.
  6. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    Funny you mention it B, cos I was thinking I wasn't sure whether you were a bassist either! :D ;)
  7. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA


    :D :ninja:

    Do what ya gotta do, man.
  8. Minger


    Mar 15, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    Man, take up modding and selling basses or something of that nature. I mean, its cool that you think differently I guess; and if you got into building you could become one helluva luthier...maybe.
  9. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    I can identify with you. I spend an inordinate amount of time tinkering around with my own gear (I think my instruments, past and present, all got pretty tired of me opening them up and rearranging their guts all the time!), or trying different approaches to signal processing and recording techniques, or what have you. I don't know if I'm just a perfectionist, or a mad tweaker, or a little of both!
  10. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Actually makes a lot of sense to me, as one who has resigned himself as someone who will never be truly fluent in the "language" of music. I enjoy the bass, enjoy playing music, and have been fairly successful in staying as busy as I want with gigs, etc., yet I don't put myself in the same company as some peers who I regard as "fluent" musicians. I have the experience, technique and skills to cover a pop/rock gig *better* than a lot of guys who are clearly better musicians than I. I also have a small bag of musical tricks at my disposal that give me a limited, yet unique and creative musical voice. That said, and at the risk of setting myself up for contempt from TBers who despise this kind of thinking, I sorta see myself as a decent bassist, but a lousy musician. There's a certain peace and freedom to acknowledging what you're good at and what you're not... and not letting your ego rationalize your weaknesses.

    So... my experience may be a lot different than yours, Brendan, but I certainly think I understand where you're coming from.
  11. doing a few laps with the bong yesterday brendan?? :D next time, exhale.

    sheesh, all you need is some Doritos and some stoner chicks wearin 70's zeppelin concert shirts... i think we got a movie...
  12. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Yeah, I think we're more on the same page than you think; I completely understand where you're coming from, and see myself quite a bit in your situation.

    Rev: "Are you doing drugs?" "Every day, just like you told me." "Huh, I wonder what the problem is."

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