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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Good bass players seem difficult to find

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

  1. Preacher

    Preacher Friend of Leo's

    Apr 17, 2007
    Big D
    I hate to agree with those that say a bass player who plays guitar is a bad thing as I do both. But I am naturally a bassist. I hear that rhythm first, and the melody second and find myself more on the beat than on the melody.
    I once was trying to tell a friend about a song and told him it went like this and proceeded to sing the bass line and drum rhythm for him. He gave me a weird look but got it.

    Bass has always felt more natural to me.
  2. ricardo1912

    ricardo1912 Tele-Afflicted

    Jul 26, 2011
    Kent, UK
    I sympathise. Our established and rather good bass player took early retirement from work and moved to Spain. He was the kind of solid player you somehow didn't notice much but he left a big gap when he moved on.
    We've had a younger bassist for a couple of months. Nice lad but he just doesn't seem to really connect with the songs or play with the same laid back authority. He has experience so it's more about playing style.
    8barlouie likes this.
  3. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
    I became a bass player about 20 years ago.
    A friend of mine, Dan E. owned a blues club in Prince George, BC.
    I could get a bass gig for the asking, if I had a night off (from guitar playing).
    He also very generously let me be the (solo) opening act/PA victim for his touring acts.
    I learned how to be the bass player I wanted to be largely thanks to Dan.
    I keep it simple, follow the changes, and lock with the drummer.
    I ain’t no hero, but I get the job done!
    Oh, and thanks again, Dan!
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018
    8barlouie and JustABluesGuy like this.
  4. teleforumnoob

    teleforumnoob Friend of Leo's

    May 25, 2010
    North Alabama
    I was a mediocre guitarist first. Then I got thrown on upright in a bluegrass band 20+ yrs ago. I went on to playing in other genres on both upright and slab. I still play guitar but bass gets me gigs. You gotta play for the song, whatever it is.
    Some drummers are easier to lock with than others, btw.
  5. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    May 21, 2006
    I read an interview with a guitarist (who first played bass, as a kid), and he said his dad basically put the bass in is hands and said "Play a note every time the drummer hits the bass drum".

    It doesn't always have to be that way, but it's a good place to start.
    8barlouie likes this.
  6. Preacher

    Preacher Friend of Leo's

    Apr 17, 2007
    Big D
    I have been thinking of relocating to the land down under recently. In true bass player fashion I can bring my bass (do you have a bass amp I can borrow or maybe I can just play through the PA) and a couple of changes of clothes (T shirts and jeans). I would have to quit my job here and live with you if that is OK till I can find a job at one of the local malls and someone else to live with? Are you game?
  7. Preacher

    Preacher Friend of Leo's

    Apr 17, 2007
    Big D
    I played a worship set with some new musicians (filling in on bass for a friend) and played with a drummer I had never played with. I had a hard time staying with his kick.
    it was not pow, pow, pow, pow on a rhythmic beat but almost a pow, pow, pow, , , , pow, pow, , , pow, ,,, pow, pow, pow, pow. It almost drove me crazy on one song. He was doing some fancy stick work on the snare and the toms and the bass drum did not get the interest it deserved. I try at that point to "fill" the sound with my bass rhythm but it was not as easy to lock on that song as it was on the others that had an easier drum beat.
  8. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 3, 2015
    Winchester, VA
    Most available "bass players" are frustrated guitar players. Not the same thing as a bass player.
    brbadg, Flakey and screefer like this.
  9. jwp333

    jwp333 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Jul 17, 2013
    Richmond, VA
    “Stay out of the way of the snare.” The art of playing bass is always interesting to me.
  10. ElJay370

    ElJay370 Tele-Meister

    Apr 3, 2018
    Los Angeles, CA
    Finding people who play a bass is fairly easy. Finding a bass player is the difficult part. My first instrument was the bass, simply because I lacked the dexterity to play the guitar. I grew to love it though, and basically learned how to play by listening to Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Aerosmith, Pink Floyd, AC/DC, etc....bands where timing, rhythm and filling the appropriate space were more important than how many notes you could fit in before "1" came back around.

    Bass players don't get the respect they deserve or any of the glory that singers, guitar players, or even drummers do. The only time anyone notices the bass player is if he/she stops playing, so the tendency to over play so that they can grab a little bit of the spotlight that everyone else in the band enjoys is very common.

    The above list of screening questions is excellent.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018
    voodoostation and black_doug like this.
  11. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 25, 2016
    Ah! Not many drummer problems in a bluegrass band.
    teleforumnoob likes this.
  12. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

    One of the things I like about bluegrass!
  13. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
    I’m still looking for a thing I like about bluegrass.
    The singing is the deal-breaker, for me.
  14. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

    I'm all about high and lonesome.
  15. Flakey

    Flakey Friend of Leo's

    Bass is my first instrument. I've been playing bass for 40 years in all different styles of music and different caliber of musicians. I've been playing guitar for 30 years also in a variety of different band settings. I think the OP might be talking about a musician's musical maturity; playing what is appropriate to the song ("good musician" ) vs. ability; the individual musician's technical ability to play the instrument ("good bass player").
    JustABluesGuy likes this.
  16. pbenn

    pbenn Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 6, 2007
    Another screening test. Assign James Brown version of "Night Train" in Ab.
    When candidate demos, does he play the guitar part on the intro or the simpler bass box? Without the contrasting parts, song loses dimension.
  17. Oldgitplayer

    Oldgitplayer Tele-Holic

    Nov 24, 2009
    Brit in Australia
    So we had one of the bass players back today with the understanding that he had spent the past week learning and practicing 6 songs. He's retired and has plenty of time. He proved to be a sloppy player and couldn't even get the phrasing right on those simple riffs in 'Have you ever seen the rain'.

    Afterwards we concluded that if we classified the band as an 8 out of 10, then he was a 5.
    We've got someone else coming next week. Is it too much to expect that a bass guitarist should at least be better than me at playing bass?
  18. ponce

    ponce Tele-Holic

    Dec 21, 2011
    I am always amazed at the bass lines in reggae music, good reggae like Marley, Black Uhuru, Israel Vibration, Misty in roots, Burning Spear, Alpha Blondy... There's some very tasty bass playing where an unplayed note is almost as important as the played one.
    lil scotty, Telecasterless and basher like this.
  19. Les H

    Les H Tele-Meister

    Jun 2, 2018
    [QUOTE="Oldgitplayer, post: 8475282, member: 39123" Is it too much to expect that a bass guitarist should at least be better than me at playing bass?[/QUOTE]

    Kinda depends on how good your pool of local musicians is. Where I live about everyone in the band drives upward of 60 minutes to a practice location. That's not 60 minutes of city commuting across town, that's flat out on the highway going 65-70 mph, so there is a lot of distance between us but even all of us being that far spread out there isn't any better musicians between us. We're basically it. All the decent players are in a band somewhere.

    If the guy has a good attitude and some enthusiasm I'd continue working with him and do my best to help him along. You all will know at about the same time if it's going to work or not.

    I'm not a bass player so to speak but I own a bass and amp as well as a drum set. For as fun as they are to play I cannot for the life of me enjoy them enough to want to practice them 2-3 hours a day like I could with my guitar. So I don't expect those who play those instruments to practice like I would with my guitar. Their instruments don't become fun until you have someone else to play along with in my opinion so I've never had great expectations for a bass player or drummer to totally understand the direction of the songs prior to us all playing them together.
    ponce and cloink50 like this.
  20. Mr Mxyzptlk

    Mr Mxyzptlk Tele-Meister

    Jun 13, 2012
    New York, NY
    Your post reminded me of one of my pet peeves about cover bands: bass players who, when playing "Play That Funky Music," play the intro guitar part rather than the actual bass part!
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