Good bass players seem difficult to find

Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by Oldgitplayer, Jul 9, 2018.

  1. Oldgitplayer

    Oldgitplayer Tele-Holic

    Nov 24, 2009
    Brit in Australia
    So a bass player is part of the rhythm section - not so?

    Our bass player left us 2 weeks ago which is a good thing. He was a melody player and didn't listen to the drummer's right foot. We talked about it and showed him stuff, got him to listen to original tracks that we were covering, but he still ran with embellishment rather than getting in the pocket. Even something simple like CCR - 'Have you ever seen the rain'. It has stand-out bass riffs in it which only stand out if the rest stays with doom-de-doom in the pocket. No - he needed to overplay the whole number.

    So we auditioned 2 prospective players and both seemed to have a similar mindset. We've given one of them a week to learn 5 of our numbers from the original recording and he's coming back for a follow-up audition tomorrow. Here's hoping.....

    Are we just having bad luck, or are a lot of bass players melody makers?
    Our singer and lead guitarist are in charge of melody. I just want the bass, the drummer and rhythm guitar (myself) to be a solid groove machine.

    You hear my frustration........
  2. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

    Aug 11, 2010
    On Location
    I blame this guy.

    ponce likes this.
  3. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Nov 14, 2013
    create a screening quiz:

    were you a guitar player? bzzt
    Jaco headband? bzzt
    can't resist slapping? bzzt
    can't dance? bzzt
    play quarter notes legato? bzzt
    who are your bass heroes?
    how long can you go without looking at your mobile phone?

    bonus points for playing an upright
    Ben-Zion, Teddyjack, PhredE and 5 others like this.
  4. Dr Improbable

    Dr Improbable Tele-Meister

    Aug 14, 2015
    Like Jazz-Fusion? bzzt
    Wildcard_35 and nojazzhere like this.
  5. ComeAndTakeIt

    ComeAndTakeIt TDPRI Member

    Sep 5, 2016
    Fort Worth, TX
    You're better off grabbing some rando off the street and teaching him how to play bass.

    Bass players find those habits hard to break. Belive me, i was a bass overplayer for years.
    TokyoPortrait likes this.
  6. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Nov 14, 2013
    I played mostly whole notes on a bossa nova once

    it nearly drove me insane

    but the guitarist was right -- it worked like a frickin charm
    PhredE and nojazzhere like this.
  7. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
    They are very, very hard to find.
    I lost my friend, "brother" and bass player of 35 years to a drunk driver almost three years ago.
    Guys who play like him don't exist anymore.
    He served the song, never overplayed, sang great harmony and wrote smart tunes.
    He's been irreplaceable.
    dan1952, Ben-Zion, Teddyjack and 7 others like this.
  8. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's

    Mar 16, 2003
    Arlington, VA
    I’m a good bass player. It’s easy to misunderstand bass playing. It’s as easy/hard as anything else. Stay out of the way of the snare
  9. Oldgitplayer

    Oldgitplayer Tele-Holic

    Nov 24, 2009
    Brit in Australia
    I've thought of taking over the role as I play basic bass and have the gear, but I do the principal backing harmonies and would find it hard to do both. I can play rhythm and sing because I started 55 years ago.
    I dunno about singing with bass.

    But it might be easier to find a rhythm guitarist who sings harmonies than find a bass player who understands the kick drum.
    JustABluesGuy and dan1952 like this.
  10. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 25, 2016
    When I moved here I couldn’t find a bass player or a drummer. Then one day I was out fishing and found a drummer. I taught him to play bass.
  11. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

    I never thought about playing Bass until I was thrown into the deep end.... first with the school band I've been running for 7 yrs... the other guy was a guitar player, so it was left to me to work with the new Bass kids.... I figured I'll have to learn the parts on all these new pop songs we play.... and did a few shows with them without messing up the beat..... whew..
    another friend had a band , or part thereof, I put some new pickups into his Strat and took it over to their practice for a listen to how the guitar sounded....and to see if he was happy with them..

    Where's your Bass player today? I asked .....
    He's left..
    Oh, I've got a bass at home I've messed around with..
    Well go and get it.. you're in the band....:eek:

    and so I am.... and finding out I'm more useful in a band as a Bass player than as a guitarist.... I get to drive...:twisted:

    Having played drums as a kid, getting back into the engine room was like coming home..... the drummer and I kicked it off from day one and talk the same language..... we have fun and sometimes forget the guitarist/singer has finished and if we're locked into a good groove..we keep going, at practice... or just all stop at the exact same time in a jam, then look at each other as if to say, how did we all decide to stop there....:D
    Marln864 likes this.
  12. pickinpete

    pickinpete Tele-Meister

    Apr 16, 2006
    Lawrenceburg, TN
    Im a good bass player....there is an emphasis nowdays on being a flashy a youtube search on bass lessons..alot of what comes back is "how to solo"!
    dan1952, JustABluesGuy and PhredE like this.
  13. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Tele-Meister

    Feb 2, 2018
    St. Louis
    I have been playing bass for 40 years. It's hard for me to judge how hard it is to find a bass player because I are one. :)

    To me finding a good singer is hardest and a good drummer is second hardest.

    That said I have always had my pick of bands and have spent more time in more than one band at a time then I wanted so...
    JustABluesGuy likes this.
  14. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Fort Collins, CO
    I was a bass owner and then became the bass player in a band. Man, did my rhythm improve! That was the best education I could have to make me a better guitar player. The downside was that we had a drummer and a percussionist and the percussionist had better time then the drummer. Which one do you lock in with? I went with the percussionist and made the drummer look bad so he'd have to go practice more. If your drummer is ever afraid of a metronome, fire him.
  15. Les H

    Les H Tele-Meister

    Jun 2, 2018
    I have an old high school friend who has played bass with me for 16 years now and he was originally I guitarist I convinced to play bass but he was reluctant at first but the band didn't have room for 3 guitarists.

    I had to play for about 7 years without him as he was dealing with 5 brain tumor surgeries and lost both of his parents within 2 years and he really hit bottom, not with alcohol or drugs but just trying to deal with life.

    I had 2 bassists in that time that I just didn't bond with them musically, both nice guys and I considered them friends but they just weren't locking with the drummer. Songs were almost chaotic at times but we stuck with them because they were good, drama free guys.

    My old friend got on his feet again about 2 years ago after not touching a bass since 2009 but it was like riding a bike and it was almost like we never skipped a beat. When you find one that works there ain't nothing better. I can't hardly stand to play without him.
    Floyd Eye, RodeoTex, refin and 2 others like this.
  16. black_doug

    black_doug Tele-Afflicted

    I learned guitar first and bass second. A basic instruction book got me off to a good start.

    I stay on the 1 and 5 most of the time with a run from 5 down to 1 when no one's singing, as a lead in to the beginning of a verse or chorus. Does that make me a good player? . . . IDK.

    CCR's music is a point of reference for me.
    Ever Wire likes this.
  17. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 3, 2017
    Foat Wuth, Texas
    Your mention of a metronome reminded me of a story....a friend (who is a GREAT guitarist) was playing in a three piece band. After a couple weeks, he confided that they didn't sound very good to him, and asked me to come to a gig and see what I thought was wrong. It took half a song to figure it out.....the drummer was just ALL OVER THE PLACE....and the bass player wasn't good enough to keep him in line. I later explained this to my buddy. He said they'd figure it out. Their solution? They got a metronome for the drummer to follow. (it had a little flashing light) The next time I saw them, the drummer was so focused on watching the blinking light, he wasn't watching for cues or signals. It was a mess, and my friend eventually quit trying to make a silk purse out of a turd.
  18. adamnewtonguitar

    adamnewtonguitar TDPRI Member

    Sep 27, 2016
    Good is relative here, as it is anywhere else. Jaco was AMAZING, but wouldn't be the guy for a CCR cover band. Likewise, a guy who keeps it in the pocket and bounces from the 1 to the 5 wouldn't fit in a fusion band. There's room for all of these bassists out there... the REAL problem is finding one that's "good" for your band.
  19. paparoof

    paparoof Tele-Holic

    Dec 22, 2013
    I'm a good bass player. There's obviously a joy to playing tasty licks, but there's also a lot of joy to be found in just settling into the pocket and enjoying the song and the overall groove. Then when the time comes where it's actually appropriate to toss in a tasty lick, it has far greater impact.

    That said, I still ADORE Ronnie's bass track on Maggie May - for me it's what really makes the song special. But hoo-boy. Talk about being "all over the place"....
  20. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Fort Collins, CO
    One thing I discovered being a bass player was that you control the dancers. You make a little change and the dancers move differently. I had a lot of fun with that.
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