Tips for guitarist taking up bass

Discussion in 'The BASS Place' started by Colo Springs E, Apr 9, 2016.

  1. J Hog

    J Hog Tele-Holic

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    Play what YOU would like a bass player to play playing with YOU!!!
     
  2. Tele Ted

    Tele Ted Tele-Holic

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    Good info
     
  3. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Well then you'd be giving good bass playing advice!

    I was giving bad bass playing advice because our Mr Springs used key phrases like:
    "mancave player", and "non gigging" and "having fun jamming along with some tunes" (in his request for learning bass playing suggestions)

    So I went for the fun stuff!

    Learning to be a solid practical bass player takes a good amount of hard work, and with no apologies to the truly solid bass players out there I cannot stand playing root/ fifth/ root/ fifth/ root/ fifth.
    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
    I'd rather jump out of an airplane...
    Hire me to play bass in a CW band they'd shoot me before I got fired!

    I do like playing drums though, and the comment about thinking of the bass as drums with melodic ability is cool, I actually brought a lot of what I learned on drums to my guitar playing, maybe even more than to my bass playing.

    I think the first thing I learned on bass was Dazed and Confused- and then I speeded it up and moved it around and had a blast.
     
  4. w3stie

    w3stie Poster Extraordinaire

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    Who said anything about including the fifth?

    ;)
     
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  5. srinivassa

    srinivassa Tele-Meister

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    Yeah, I have to +1 some of the things said. You should always have a handle on what the drummer is doing, and you can go a long long way by just hitting the root notes right with the kick. Walking up the chords or 1/4/5 walking is a great way to learn to add notes and leading tones. If you already listen to the bass in popular songs, you will pick up quick how to play those walking and leading tones. Playing the bass is actually more fun, I think! You can really lay down the beat for the song and just groove on it. There's no pressure like playing guitar. If you feel pressure as a bass player, you are going to mess up the song. The guitarist and singer are relying on you to tell them where the beat and the root chords are. Rock solid ftw. If you are going to reach for more in bass playing, I would say look at John Paul Jones. He was a virtuoso when called for, but he always stayed rock solid, a role player, he always did what was best for the team, but he could show off when it was called for.
     
  6. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Find a few guys who play together who need a bass player and step up.... they'll need you as much as you'll need them....especially if you gel with the drummer...

    once you check out the chord patterns to find some basic majors to use for each song you soon find that you know how the bassline goes for those songs you've heard hundreds of times....

    even though, as a guitarist, you've listened to different aspects of a song.. that bassline is stuck in your head too, you just need the right notes/patterns to use to unlock them...

    I modded a local guys guitar for him, turned it into a HH, went over to their sunday practice to hear how it sounded, and to see if he liked them.... found they had lost their bass player.... I stupidly said, Oh I've got a bass at home I hardly use..... well, go home and get it and plug in with us..... gulp..... so I did....jumped into the deep end....

    By the end of that first session reading the chords off the guitarists song book I was confident I could hold up the Bass for them, no worries.... it was magic.. hey! I know how this song is supposed to go, the pace, the double ups, the holds/pauses.... it all seemed to come easy... most I could sing along with, too...
    . I've been jamming with them for a year or so now learning all their set list... and working on originals where I have to make up the basslines by ear listening to the guitarists new musings.......the drummer always compliments my playing as our playing tightens up , says he listens to my counting for changes, etc........ the guitarist and I can talk chord progressions/substitutes/keys and play off eachother as well leaving eachother space in the mix....

    I've also been coaching the bass players in my primary school band.. even before I knew how to play,, I had to learn the basslines to be able to show them and play at practice if the kid was away.... fortunately they pick things up fast if they're keen ...

    I was a reluctant, somewhat nervous bass player a while back.... now I'm part of a trio on bass having fun with more to offer than playing guitar with them........ we had a good tight session today where we all talked about it afterwards saying how good we sounded today....

    It was a good move, stepping straight into a going concern and learning on the fly playing catch up.....:)
     
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  7. Unionjack515

    Unionjack515 Tele-Holic

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    Don't fret...no pun intended. You already know up to 33% more than most bass players by virtue of your instrument having two more strings. Just you stay away from the 6-string bassists.
     
  8. Old Bill

    Old Bill Tele-Holic

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    For what little I play bass, I find my EH NanoPog does the job well enough.
     
  9. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

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    There's some really amazing advice here, especially for a guitar oriented forum. My $.02 as a bass player of 20+ years-

    -When listening to music (anywhere- in the car, at home, in a restaurant, doctor's office, anywhere), try and pick out what the bass is doing. That'll be a fascinating and illuminating experience with music you know well, but have never really concentrated on the bass before. Zeppelin is an excellent example- JPJ is a MONSTER player, but he's not a ball hog like John Entwistle (not a slam, I LOVE The Who, just two totally different styles of playing). JPJ is melodic but still holds down the rhythm with Bonham, it was really educational to me to dissect Zeppelin tunes from a bass player's perspective. Same goes for McCartney.

    -Put down the pick. I'm not saying you should never play with one, but you should learn to play without it. It's a whole different sound.

    -Play less. Once you figure out how to play busy lines, it'll be tempting to do it all the time. Don't, you'll sound like a hack.

    -Use the tone knob. A lot of guitar players put the knobs on 10 and leave 'em there. Try rolling back the tone on your bass.
     
  10. '64 Tele

    '64 Tele Tele-Holic

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    Get a Fender P-Bass type bass, learn to play with your fingers and also a pick.
     
  11. kennl

    kennl Tele-Afflicted

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    When learning the bass part to a song, listen to THE GROOVE. You can get all the notes right, but if it's not in the pocket with the drummer, the rest of the band will struggle.
     
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  12. Frank'n'censed

    Frank'n'censed Doctor of Teleocity

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    Generally speaking, find the pocket...
     
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  13. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Poster Extraordinaire

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    And Ron Wood played bass for the Jeff Beck Group (Truth, Beck-Ola). Definitely not your classic 'match-the-drummer's-kick-foot' type of 'bassist-that's-not-trying-to-sound-like-a-guitar-player' approach. Still cool though, with bass tone that's nasty in a lovely way. I always enjoyed Woody as a bassist, but his approach was far from the classic recipe. I believe Ronnie played a P-Bass with a pick.

    Your question is of course hypothetical, but I'd speculate that "Sympathy..." would be a very different sounding track with Wyman on bass. My opinion is that (generally) bass shapes the vibe and feel of a track/arrangement more than any other single element.

    In my previous post I mentioned the aspect of stamina at my early gigs as a bassist. At the very first gig, "Sympathy...", toward the end of the set, was the first tune where I had to default to the pick. I had been fine playing fingerstyle at rehearsals, but with the pace of the live show, the drummer was beating me half to death. I do love the bass track on that song. Likely a P-Bass with flats and a pick, but not sure.

    Wyman favored short scale instruments. Keith was always after him to play Fenders, which is probably why Bill eventually got the Mustang. Bill mostly played with a hard pick and his sound was quite distinctive. He added some dampening with the thumb, and in this way the sound of the plectrum's attack was diminished. He played some wacky stuff on "Emotional Rescue".
     
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  14. ac15

    ac15 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    One other thing. Learn as many great bass lines that you can from records, YouTube, books or whatever.

    But then, make sure you know the actual chords and key of the song so that you can understand theoretically why certain lines work, when passing tones are applied, when walk-ups work best etc.
     
  15. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity

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    For me, Bass and Guitar were a case of Parallel Development.
    We were constantly trading instruments.

    Sped a few dollars, have it set-up by somebody who knows what they are doing.
    I think it will solve some problems and make it much more gratifying to play.
     
  16. Jhengsman

    Jhengsman Tele-Holic

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    Generally speaking a bass set up with flats is going towards the sound heard from electric bassist from the early 50s introduction until the mid 70s when round wound strings started to be introduced and being able to slap and pop was how a bassist showed off his skills. The clangy mid ranged cutting sound that buyers wanted saw the rounds become the dominate string by the middle 80s as flats were used by roots music aficionados.

    To the fingertip flats feel smooth and silky compared to the edges of rounds as you slide. Rounds will also be the victim of more finger squeak. And while you change round wounds about as often as you do guitar strings flats users have been known never to change a set of strings and trade used strings when trying different brands in search of their tone.

    As for the type of flats do you want brighter that are more likely to meet modern genres of music with the advantage of flats then something like Daddario chromes probably the best for just trying out flats. Or do you only want a sound closer to Funk Brother Jamerson of 1963 without worrying about other sounds?
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2016
  17. bigben55

    bigben55 Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks^. I can't see myself wanting to slap or pop or play funk bass. If there's a benchmark as to what I'd aspire to be as a bass player, it'd be Tommy Shannon's work with SRV. I have a friend who at 50 decided to take up the drums. He bought a nice Yamaha electric drum set so he can practice without the volume and play along with stuff via headphones. He's been progressing, bought a drum amp/monitor/PA and we've jammed for fun. While having played guitar 27 years, I'm new to bass. Would like me and him to form a solid rhythm section.

    Anyhow, playing with a pick feels right to me. I do hear that finger noise from time to time. I just want to be competent as a blues/blues rock bassist. So, should I try flatwounds?
     
  18. jefrs

    jefrs Doctor of Teleocity

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    NB - forget about playing guitar.

    This is important because most guitar player will try to play a bass like a guitar. I mean, it's got strings and fret right? And it's tuned the same so you know where all the notes are. Wrong!

    Otoh most bass player haven't got a clue what chords are. Seriously, a good bass player may know where all the notes are but hasn't a clue about chord structure. Ok, so more than a few guitar players don't neither. This can make following a bass player difficult for example he's playing a bass pattern but the chord sequence he's given us doesn't actually fit because they should be 7ths (etc) and it's in a minor key anyway. So you mug it with 9ths. ;)

    Bass - don't try to get complicated.
     
  19. jefrs

    jefrs Doctor of Teleocity

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    This is probably why Wyman left. I've always felt the Stones were light on their bass line. Compare their earliest to their later stuff. Ronnie Wood is probably a better bassist than Keef (bass with Jeff Beck group, Truth/Beckola). But Keef does do all the arranging ...
     
  20. teleforumnoob

    teleforumnoob Friend of Leo's

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    I started on bass when some buddies of mine had a bluegrass band and said you wanna be in the band, here, and shoved an old upright in my hands. I was in my 20s, and had been playing at guitar since high school.
    Played root/five for years, it's amazing what you can do with just that simple style. Later on I went to rock bass guitar, and it took a while to break out of the root five.
    Right now I have a Guild a Starfire w flats and my fav thing to do is put on some Dead, grab my pick and get my Phil on.

    And to answer an op question the frets are further apart. Guitars are usually 24.75 inch to 25.5" scale. Most electric basses are 34". My Starfire Is 30", and I prefer the shorter scale esp for the busier stuff.

    Oh, and I live and die by the chord structure.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2016
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