Bass Guitar. why does noone want to play?

Discussion in 'Art & Culture' started by Captain_Crunch, Jul 2, 2002.

  1. Captain_Crunch Club Ninja Valued Senior Member

    i'm proud to say that i play bass guitar. it is a dying art-form. Now a days everyone wants to play guitar. why? because it is cool?
    the bass is the foundations to any band. Does anyone out there play bass or am i the only one?
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  3. Tyler Registered Senior Member

    I can play, but I choose guitar. Why? I enjoy playing lead. I use to play drums and I sucked because all I wanted to do was lead the song. Guitar allows me to do that in awsome ways. I'm not great at bass, so I was never too good at leading a song by bass. Also; Leo Kottke, Jimmy Hendrix, CCR......
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  5. fadingCaptain are you a robot? Valued Senior Member

    Some people can naturally play bass, some guitar. Go with what you are good at. My bro can play bass, I can play guitar. Of course, we both can play either instrument....but he is a much better bass player & I am better at guitar. I think it has something to do with rhythm vs. melody. He is also a good have to be able to keep time to play bass.

    Everyone wants to play guitar because you can sing a song & play an acoustic all by your lonesome and it sounds good. Nobody else is needed.
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  7. Captain_Crunch Club Ninja Valued Senior Member

    i agree with you here.
    this means there are a shortage of bassists and drummers so if i get really good it means i'll not find it difficult to get into a band.

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  8. fadingCaptain are you a robot? Valued Senior Member

    Absolutely. My band is looking for a bassist or a drummer!
  9. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Every good boy deserves fudge

    Actually, there's something about musical roots there. Certes, the guitar has become more glamorous than the bass guitar, but something to consider:

    • Rock and roll does not require a tremendous amount of talent or skill to equal glamour. Example: say what you want about Nirvana, but considering their drummer, for instance, is one of the best in the game (Dave Grohl) and that Herbie Hancock has covered Cobain's "All Apologies" on his album New Standards should help the point. Look at Nirvana, and look at the flood of often-talentless imitators that rushed to their garages to bang out three chords after hearing "Teen Spirit".

    • Bearing that in mind, what does this say about the bassist, whose job sometimes seems easier?

    However, truly good bands always have a rock-solid rhythm section; the passing of John Entwistle gives us a moment to consider that. In the wave of platitudes rising in the wake of his death, many people I know said, "Who?" and I said, "Well?" People don't like to play the bass because they don't think of it as glamorous. When VH-1 noted that he "may be" the "best bassist in rock history", everyone I know chuckled, but there was a scary number of people who were really confused.

    For instance, Pink Floyd. Even those of us who adore albums like Dark Side and such know that Roger Waters was never a particularly great bassist, but as we see him building his musical repertoire over the years, we see him (A) getting that much better, and (B) making the bass that much more relevant to the growing complexity of the sound. When I heard Roger play Money on the In The Flesh Tour (I do recommend the CD) I looked at a bassist friend of mine and said, "That sounds wrong." He laughed and said, "That's because for the first time in your life you're hearing the song played in time." Schaffner's Saucerful of Secrets points out somewhere (no page citation at this time) that Roger Waters was always ahead of the beat, and Nick Mason was always behind the beat; Richard Wright had no beat, and David Gilmour was the only real musician in the group. I am,in fact, listening to Money at the moment, from the Lp, and there is a lack of precision that does, in fact, contribute to Pink Floyd's musical attractiveness.

    But really, really good bassists are usually bassists of necessity. That is, most of the bassists I know are classically-trained 'cello players, and all are relatively good with other instruments. A couple of them are performing all instruments on their own albums. It's really hard to be a good bassist, and I think what happens in the rock world is that young players don't like the idea of standing there counting out 4/4. Look how many people were impressed by Les Claypool. How many of the spastic bassists that I've seen come since can keep time? Dexterity is one thing, but timekeeping is more important when you're a bassist. The exception to this seems to be Rob Wynia, of Floater, who, during the shows supporting Glyph, would frequently open songs with improvised bass tantrums, some of which put Claypool to shame. Rob can also keep time like a demon if he needs. But Rob has also learned to pull the bass away from the rhythm-keeping (though it does still serve that function) and make it a melodic contributor.

    Very often, in bands of legitimate talent, the bassist is the best and most diverse musician of the bunch. When you are a young bassist just grabbing your instrument to bang out 4/4 in your garage, it doesn't seem like an attractive prospect compared to other things you could be doing in the band. But no truly good band can rise without a truly good bassist, and even if that's all you ever learn to do, well, your band can't make it without you.

    Which shows a certain distress among musicians. At an all-ages concert in Seattle last year, when Floater played Milk of Heaven, the reaction among the youngsters was different. At restricted shows, people usually hollered in approval at the first tones of the song, but the kids were reduced to silence. It was awe. They'd never heard and known they were hearing what Dave was doing before, which was simply using an e-bow on an electric guitar. Standing directly in front of me was a trio of punks who had bragged to girls before the show about being in a band. One turned to the other with this astounded look on his face and said, "What the hell is that?" His bandmate replied "E-bow." The amazed boy turned and said, "Do you know where to get one?" Later discussions revealed that hte amazed boy was the band's bassist. His world had changed. Having watched a good bassist live, from fifteen feet away (as opposed to a functional bassist at an arena show from hundreds of feet away), he suddenly understood that his life was not dull and boring and a curse of counting 4/4 for the rest of his life. The young bassist even said to his band, "We can do this." One of his mates said, "Right, with three people and some fuzzboxes." The bassist just stopped, right in front of me, gently begged my pardon--for he was about to make a point--and turned around to face the front of the club we were exiting. He just held out his hand in a sweeping gesture that I greatly appreciate seeing in youth. He reminded his bandmate: What did we just see and hear? The bassist suddenly understood that life was not merely keeping time while the drummer plays the insane man and the guitarist prances around like a queen.

    Jack Blades, of Night Ranger, once told Circus magazine (anyone remember Circus?) that he was originally a guitarist, but in his school there were probably 100 guitarists in 100 bands, and not a single bass player. He took up bass, got himself a gig, and spent the rest of his life keeping bad time; the last I heard of him, he penned a song for Tommy Shaw's (former Styx guitarist) 1998 album 7 Deadly Zens. The song was a throwback of about ten or twelve years at that point. Blades, a practical but lesser-skilled (comparatively) bassist, spent his life keeping drudgery time.

    Listen to the bass lines in radio-popular rock and roll. They're mostly bland, dimensionless, and intended to be more cool than to have a musical purpose.

    But things are changing; the rise of Les Claypool (Primus), and the undeniable force of Ben Shepard (Soundgarden), among others, showed that Jason Newstead (Metallica) was not the highest aspiration of bassists.

    Mudhoney, Soundgarden, Floater, Nirvana ... we've been blessed in Seattle with good bassists. What young or new bass player really wants to do the line from AiC's Man in the Box? On the other hand, what new or young bass player is capable of playing the bass line from Stevie Wonder's Superstition?

    As more and more truly good bass players rise to the forefront (especially in the coming decline of major labels and their fad bands) means that there will most likely be a greater number of aspiring young bassists, which will also result in more good bass players rising from that flock.

    And one of the positive things is that anyone can pick out their own list of good bassists. You'll note I've invoked no less than five bands from the Pacific Northwest; these are the most immediate examples to mind.

    When we stop to think about truly good bassists, they are, in fact, out there. We just don't see or hear them as often as we would like because the bulk of music broadcast to the masses is talentless and shallow.

    How many absolutely awesome bassists got lost in the progressive soul movement that eventually resulted in disco and the rise of hip-hop? We tend, when drawing the line of "black music" to think in terms of inane 808 kickdrums and overriding bass tones, but the rhythmic heritage of that "black music" (I'm not a fan of the term) includes some stellar bassists who I don't ever hear about in the domestic music press. That is, I need Mojo or Q magazine before I can read about Sly & the Family Stone and other such bands with any reliability or regularity. Check in with the Motown and Decca bassists; there are some gems buried there.

    Incidentally, if you need an argument to show the damage of pop culture, bassists are a great example. As a young metalhead growing up in the 80s, Led Zeppelin was the best thing to grace the earth, and that was the paramount of rock and roll. Think, for instance, of the band Godsmack. Any band treating a similarly-established distinct sound in such a sycophantic, imitative manner used to be condemned. (How many people remember Kingdom Come, ridiculed in fame because they sounded like Zep rip-offs, or Havana Black who never really broke despite decent songs because people thought they sounded like Bad Company?) Many of the rock bassists playing today came from that environment, and it is only in the age of digital information exchange that musicians are able to break en masse the bonds of localization. I have to admit that when I started reading Mojo, I laughed at it. Over time, though, the prejudices toward certain music forms which invoked that laughter has disappeared. The point has been made, so to speak.

    I'm listening to Radiohead's OK Computer for bass lines now. Young and new bassists, I would assert, have much, much more information available to them.

    Myself, I know a few instruments. I played trumpet for a number of years in school bands, which killed my enthusiasm for performing music. A tragedy, that. In the meantime, I know a handful of disparate, overused guitar chords, and can play some basic bass lines (including, given a moment to gather myself, Boston's "Long Time"), but since the "band" that lives in the house is more interested in playing a certain form of pop that doesn't quite interest me, I never do spend any time with them. I haven't gotten the hang of a drum kit, yet. Walking and chewing gum.

    In the meantime, Carol Kaye discusses Brian Wilson and other topics. Enjoy.


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  10. NightFall Lazy Hedonist Valued Senior Member

    ive always wanted to learn bass.. i had a few lessons from a friend of mine.... but i never had enough money to buy one of my own.... i begged and begged my parents for a bass for christmas.. they bought me an acoustic. and a really lousy one at that. i dont think they even understood the difference.

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  11. Captain_Crunch Club Ninja Valued Senior Member

    i've only been playing bass for about a month, i know this guy who has been playing for a year and everyone that ive talked to says i'm better than him already. Although i have always been good at keeping beat. Its not the most exciting instrument out there and probally guitar would be much more 'fun' but i love bass (thats all that matters

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    ) and the benefits of playing bass will arive once i try to make into a band. I havnt tryed any other instruments.
    When people see the bass guitar they are like: "wheres the other 2 strings?" and stand there in amasement "that aint a guitar", little do they know it plays a big part in maintaining rythm and sound of all those bands out there. They act as if they have never seen one or indeed heard one ever before. (they probally havnt i dont know)
    Its really hard to find drummers too.
  12. goofyfish Analog By Birth, Digital By Design Valued Senior Member

    Who Are The Greats?

    John Entwistle (The Who), Les Claypoole (Primus), Jeff Berlin,
    John Taylor (Duran Duran), Cliff Burton (Metallica)... who else?
  13. You Killed Jesus 14/88 Registered Senior Member

    Dan Lilker (Brutal Truth/Nuclear Assault/SOD), Tony Choy (Atheist/Cynic/Pestilence, plus a bunch of other bands), Roger Patterson (Atheist as well)

    Great bassists there. Yup.
  14. Tyler Registered Senior Member

    Entwistle's my fav. The Who were just great musicians. Daltry had an awsome voice, Thownsend was one of the best guitarists, Moon was a wild drummer and Entwistle was an extremely talented bassist.

    Anyway, Captian you might want to try your hand at something like Cello. I played for a while and it's an excellent, excellent instrument if you know how to play it.
  15. fadingCaptain are you a robot? Valued Senior Member

    the greatest?

    i'd have to say paul mc. listen to the bass in 'something'! incredible. of course, he took after carol kay who was also great. theres a song called 'turn down day' by an old band called cyrkle that has the coolest bass lines.
  16. ratbat Hippie of Darkness Registered Senior Member

    Re: Who Are The Greats?

    Stanley Clarke & That guy from Man-O-War ( I forget his name. )
  17. Captain_Crunch Club Ninja Valued Senior Member

    you mean those big things that look like violins but bigger?

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    i dont know if i could afford one of those, i'm out of pocket from buying my bass at the moment. Ibanez GSR200. i love ma bass.

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  18. BloodSuckingGerbile Master of Puppets Registered Senior Member

    Cliff Burton RULEZ!!!

    Cliff Burton is definitely the greatest bass player the world has ever known... too bad he's dead. He had a music degree, you know.

    I play guitar but when I tried to play Burtons' Pulling Teeth bass solo at school I got it pretty good.
    It's a great solo. Learn to play it, all the bass players out there!

    P.S. Did you hear that John Entwistle died?

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    The world is loosing bass players!!!

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  19. eli81k Registered Member

    Matt Freeman

    No one mentioned Matt Freeman (of Opp Ivy and then Rancid). A lot of people snub him because he commits the sin of playing with a pick. If you've never bothered to get around to it, the Rancid song Detroit is a good standard of Freeman's playing.

    And also the Pixies' Kim Deal does more with less than most bassists I can think of. How many times has the bassline from Gigantic been stuck in my head? And everyone knows the bassline to the song Cannonball from her side project the Breeders.

    I too, referencing past posts, started playing bass because every I knew played guitar. It was an easy way to make sure I was always in a band, and my services were appreciated. However, the longer I play, the more I like it.

    Bass and drums, the rhythm section, is where it is at. Guitars are just ambient noise, and if you don't believe me, listen to how great Q And Not U are.
  20. wet1 Wanderer Registered Senior Member

    It is harder to play a bass without accompanyment. It is far easier to play a six string without the same.

    For whatever reason, the bass never appealed to me. Give me the six or twelve and I am a happy camper.
  21. RDT2 Registered Senior Member

    I once played bass in a band - and wish I'd kept it up. This from 'Guitarist' magazine:

    Letter to editor: 'My mate Steve is an ace guitarist and I'm shite. What should I do?'

    Reply from editor: 'Buy a bass guitar and a 'Beatles' songbook - you'll never be out of work.'


  22. blocalsteve Registered Senior Member

    True, but I did see the female bass player who plays with Paul Weller do a solo spot once, singing to her own bass guitar accompaniment. Somehow less was more on that occasion.
  23. ralph nader Banned Banned

    i agree. the bass provides the rumble in the back. in addition to that, it is good for accenting the drums.

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