Does playing bass affect (improve/hurt) your regular guitar playing?

Discussion in 'The BASS Place' started by ladave, Oct 2, 2019.

  1. ladave

    ladave Tele-Holic

    Age:
    56
    Posts:
    760
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2017
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Hello all,

    I built my first bass 6 months ago, never played bass before. I am only average on the guitar and I thought that maybe playing bass would allow me to play with some other people more easily.

    It was pretty cool at first and I remember thinking, "why didn't I do this years ago". But then I seemed to lose interest and miss the regular guitar.

    Now I'm looking at this gear I don't use and think I should sell it. It's listed and I have some potential buyers, but I keep going back and forth in my head whether I will be making a mistake.

    Reasons to sell:

    Taking up space in a small room.
    $1,500 I could put towards something else.
    Distracts me from improving on regular guitar which I prefer over bass.
    I don't like having things I don't use (minimalism).

    Reasons not to sell:

    Giving up opportunity to jam with others one day (honestly don't see this happening due to lack of free time, and maybe age).
    I don't actually need the money.
    If it improves skills on the 6 string? Not sure...

    I welcome any thoughts from you all who may have contemplated such matters. Thanks in advance!

    Feeling a bit wishy washy because I can't seem to decide on my own if I should keep it or not.
     
    Rob77 likes this.
  2. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Age:
    62
    Posts:
    71,713
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Location:
    Austin, Tx
    When I started playing bass, I had trouble with right hand fatigue.
    I still don’t like to play both on a 4 hour gig.
    One or the other please.
    As my bass playing improved (hopefully), my right hand hassles disappeared.
    Guitar and bass are really different animals.
    I try not to play bass like a guitar player.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2019
  3. WireLine

    WireLine Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    1,440
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2003
    Location:
    Midland TX
    I gig with either quite regularly, and although the scales and theory are the same, timing is completely different (at least in country and cowjazz)...

    Becoming proficient with both instruments helps with the other, at least it did me
     
  4. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    3,067
    Joined:
    May 21, 2006
    Location:
    Space
    I don't know how playing bass would help (except perhaps with strength/endurance) or hurt (if you get injured) the physical aspect of your guitar playing, but it will absolutely make you more cognizant of the song/piece as a whole (rather than just your guitar parts), and so improve your accompaniment/general playing with other musicians and your writing. Though I suppose the same goes for learning any other instrument your guitar may appear alongside.
     
  5. 57fenderstrat

    57fenderstrat Tele-Holic

    Age:
    28
    Posts:
    502
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2019
    Location:
    Binghamton NY
    Bass is fun and it gives you more opportunities to play with people because it is easier to find guitar players than bass players. It is also good to have if you like making recordings for yourself or with other people. I don’t know if the technique does anything positive or negative for the guitar playing however, playing and understanding any musical instrument is helpful for the overall understanding of music. Thinking about the bass part and understanding where the notes are coming from is helpful for all things and will inspire your guitar playing.

    Compared to guitar Bass can seem alittle less rewarding to the ear though if your only playing by yourself however, the longer you play the more interesting you can make it by playing cool arpeggios and chord tones. In some ways it can become more fun than guitar once you get going

    If you do sell it nothing will stop you from building another one in the future if you decide you want to get back to it.

    It’s tough to say what is best to do but good luck !
     
    Jim W and ladave like this.
  6. Preacher

    Preacher Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,478
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2007
    Location:
    Big D
    Let me add me two cents...

    I started playing bass first, because I thought it would be easier than guitar (four strings versus six?). I had dabbled in guitar and played trumpet and tuba in high school so music theory was at least initially implanted in my brain.

    I will agree that the bass and the guitar are two different animals and you can't play them the same. I find that most rhythm players are better suited to play bass than lead guitarist as well.
    My suggestion is this. If you want to gig, get really good on bass and you can find people to play with. If you want to play at home and write music, keep both guitars and use them to write music at home.

    And at 55 you are still pretty young to join a band. There are a lot of people our age looking to form up as we find ourselves with empty nests and some extra resources.
     
    TequilaCaster and ladave like this.
  7. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,120
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2003
    Location:
    Santa Barbara, California
    Playing with others always makes you better at playing with others, no matter what instrument (or even vocals) you are playing.

    Playing bass should improve your sense of rhythm and timing as well as your ability to lock in with the drummer.

    Whenever I've been playing bass for awhile, when I pick up a guitar it feels puny and weak in my hands. I feel like a brute
    that can man-handle it with ease. The feeling fades quickly, though. As an analogy, if you've ever gone backpacking with
    a heavy pack, when you first take it off after having walked a few miles you feel like you could leap tall buildings in a single
    bound.
     
    kbold, TequilaCaster and ladave like this.
  8. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    23,081
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2012
    Location:
    Montana
    Started playing bass because my wife does and she has a bevy of basses sitting around. I suck at timing and the bass is a timekeeper of sorts. Once I started doing some looping, I would lay a bass track down first and then go from there, forcing improvement of my timing. Now, that I am in recording mode, it is indispensable.

    I am all for minimalism, but keep the bass and eliminate the TV and microwave.:D
     
    TequilaCaster likes this.
  9. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,848
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2018
    Location:
    WV
    Improves. Greatly. Without a doubt.

    EDIT: on the keep or sell issue. I tend to play bass with others, but noodle more on guitar when I'm by myself. I'm sure "real" bass players would frown at this. The problem for me being that I don't really enjoy woodshedding on bass as much as I do guitar. But the reality is that most bass playing in bands is easy peasy. it doesn't hurt much too much to go a while between bass sessions. Other than fatigue, I don't lose chops so much as just forgetting material. :D

    If you don't need to sell the bass stuff and have room for it, keep it a little longer. It's just really nice to have available when playing with others.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2019
    spellcaster and ladave like this.
  10. kafka

    kafka Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,328
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2013
    Location:
    Potomac, MD
    Everyone needs a bass. Bass is a totally different way of thinking. It's just not the mechanics and the pitch. It's a completely different part. I don't see how it could do anything but help.
     
    rand z, 57fenderstrat and ladave like this.
  11. Lies&Distortion

    Lies&Distortion Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,057
    Joined:
    May 27, 2014
    Location:
    SE Michigan
    Keep it. You don't need the money. It won't hurt your guitar playing.

    You built it. Can you sell it for profit and buy a smaller bass rig?
     
    ladave likes this.
  12. Vibrolux59

    Vibrolux59 Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    373
    Joined:
    May 30, 2019
    Location:
    PNW
    The more you know the more you know, all musicianship contributes to better musicianship. Even drumming.
     
    Guitarteach and ladave like this.
  13. ladave

    ladave Tele-Holic

    Age:
    56
    Posts:
    760
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2017
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Thanks guys, great answers!

    I think I will hang on to the rig for now...took down my craigslist ad.

    Yeah I didn't actually list the bass itself yet because I built it and I am happy with the way it came out. Unfortunately being a partscaster the resale is probably half what I put into it.

    I was going to start by selling the head and cabinet which I bought used and can get what I paid...about a grand.

    Here's a pic of my bass (pickup covers are both black now).
     

    Attached Files:

    SecretSquirrel, Mike SS and screefer like this.
  14. straightlbues

    straightlbues TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    39
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2006
    I think it helps. You could sell your $1,500 rig and get a $400 rig like I have. It is perfectly playable, and I have a lot of fun playing bass. You can get a $200 bass and set it up well and you would probably be just as happy.
     
  15. Tomm Williams

    Tomm Williams Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,174
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2016
    Location:
    USA
    I just started playing bass in a band after spending the last 15 years playing lead in a Classic Rock band. The learning curve has been pretty short getting to the point of being able to do basic things and it's quite frankly a lot of fun. I feel like a lot of pressure has been taken off me.
    Now I'm sure getting really proficient at it is another matter but things seem to be going well to this point. Does it improve my guitar playing? I doubt it but I'm now seeing the songs in a broader sense and that's a good thing.
     
    ladave likes this.
  16. joeford

    joeford Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,968
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2013
    Location:
    st. louis, illinois
    i haven't played bass in a band for nearly a decade... but i still have a bass. they're great song writing tools... and a fun extension of your regular 6 string vocabulary.

    if you're trying to simplify, you can play bass through your guitar amps and lose the bass amps. my Princeton gets the occasional assault of a p-bass :oops:
     
    ladave likes this.
  17. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    56
    Posts:
    6,788
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2014
    Location:
    Sacramento, California
    Me playing the bass has definitely improved my guitar playing.
     
    57fenderstrat and ladave like this.
  18. Marquee Moon

    Marquee Moon Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    551
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2018
    Location:
    New Jersey
    helps your grip strength for sure.
     
    ladave and rangercaster like this.
  19. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,704
    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    portland, or
    Your sense of groove should improve... And you will build some nice calluses ...
     
    ladave likes this.
  20. joe_cpwe

    joe_cpwe Tele-Holic

    Age:
    50
    Posts:
    629
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2017
    Location:
    WI, USA
    Playing bass only hurts your ability to get girls.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.