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What to do with our bass player?

Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by Waynel, May 25, 2016.

  1. Iron Broadsword

    Iron Broadsword Tele-Meister

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    ^ Depends on the music style, man. Imagine playing that kinda thing in this:

    It'd lose all the punch and power. In that first vid you posted there is still a lot of seperation between the bass and guitar. When the bassist is playing higher, so does the guitarist.
     
  2. unbridled

    unbridled Tele-Holic

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    You say you've been gigging for 40 years with him. Is it possible he has shoulder or elbow issues that prevent him from playing lower on the neck. Another factor could be boredom and maybe he's just doing things differently.

    My suggestion is to learn a new song with him and suggest he fill the pocket with lows. Option two is to take the hit yourself and say your hearing is going and that, not only are you having issues hearing yourself, but also are having problems hearing him.

    Or, simply tell him you're missing his old playing style and that he's too good of a bassist to have his bass lines get muddied by your playing.

    When will else fails, tell the truth.
     
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  3. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    Well, in 2016 people expect a much deeper, more authoritative low end in music than they did 40 years ago. The PA system that powered Woodstock by most accounts was likely only a 3,500-watt system, meaning that there was almost no bottom end in the live sound because in order to project to 250,000 people (that was all they had planned for) with 3,500 watts most of the sound would have to be mids, upper mids and highs since bass is what would require most of the electrical energy.
     
  4. unbridled

    unbridled Tele-Holic

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    I want to add that if it IS shoulder, back, or wrist problems causing it, there are several good short-scale basses available. I love my Ibanez MikroBass, and they are under $200.

    Also, it sounds like you don't have a soundman. Maybe consider hiring one for a night so HE (or her) can be the bad guy (or gal).

    Besides my suggestions, I like Iron Broadsword's approach too.

    Edit to add: as has been mentioned, his playing might be just fine and maybe the issue can be addressed with simple EQ ing. Also, I assume you and the other guitarist are using standard tuning and not dropped tuning...
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2016
  5. GigsbyBoyUK

    GigsbyBoyUK Friend of Leo's

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    The unwritten rule in our band is that any of us can suggest anything to the others. So I will often say to the bass player or drummer 'can you try this for me, just so we can hear how it sounds'. Usually, we all then agree whether the change sounds better or worse.

    It's an approach that works because we are not TELLING each other how to play. We are simply ASKING each other to try somehting different, just in case it sounds better.
     
  6. Asmith

    Asmith Friend of Leo's

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    You said what amp you're playing through (~ish) but not what guitar but one thing I could probably suggest which would avoid confrontation would be to try adjusting other parts of your eq. I think increasing your highs would help you cut through more than anything else, sometimes a midrangy tone just sits there in the middle of a mix not really doing a lot other than existing.
     
  7. jsnwhite619

    jsnwhite619 Friend of Leo's

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    I've never played in a band that cared about feelings.....haha. Democracy at its best. If everyone else feels the same, why should you suffer? Everybody has a choice...do it right or don't do it at all. However, pointing it out is usually easier than fixing it. Mainly because, if you could fix it, it wouldn't have been a problem to begin with.
     
  8. sjruvolo

    sjruvolo Tele-Meister

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    Not many musicians can say that they have been playing together for that many years. IMO, you should ask of him what you think would improve the sound. You should also ask if there is something that he feels should be changed by any other band members playing style to keep things fresh. In this manner no one should feel as if there are being unfairly criticized.
     
  9. maxvintage

    maxvintage Poster Extraordinaire

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    Possibly the problem is you? Your sound is too dark?

    I mean it's possible. Maybe he's annoyed that you are stomping all over his frequencies.

    I'm mostly a bass player and my general approach is to sound as little like a guitar as possible, but lots of guys make it work in that range. If it's a rock band with two guitars there's only four notes he's likely to play below the fifth fret on the e string.

    Could also be that he can't hear himself on the low notes, likely because of a new problem, like he's thnking I'm bass player I need to turn up the bass. But nobody hears the 41 HZ fundamental on a low e, it's all 88 hz, the low e on your guitar. So if you spend a lot of time there you are possibly muddling his hearing.

    It's not for nothing that keef takes the low e off his guitar. "It just gets in the bass players way", he says.
     
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  10. boredguy6060

    boredguy6060 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I like a good bass player , the better he is, the better I am.
    Same with keyboards. Most keyboard guys are formally trained, and know their stuff.
    I just have never had a problem with the bass guys fret board position.
    As long as the bass guitar and bass drum are tight, I'm fine.
     
  11. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    You mean they had electricity back then?
     
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  12. Picko

    Picko TDPRI Member

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    Any developments, OP?
     
  13. Mr Scallywag

    Mr Scallywag Tele-Holic

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    I've never known a bass player get this much attention before.
     
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  14. SolidSteak

    SolidSteak Friend of Leo's

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    When I used to play bass with a couple of guys who used Marshall stacks, I couldn't hear myself at all unless I turned up the middle frequencies because my amp just wasn't loud enough to keep up. Later I played with a small trio using the same amplifier (guitarist used a tele and a Peavey Delta Blues) and I absolutely LOVED being able to thump away in the lower frequencies. Even turned the tone knob all the way down on my P bass sometimes.
     
  15. cousinpaul

    cousinpaul Friend of Leo's

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    Get him on a 5 string.
     
  16. Steve Holt

    Steve Holt Friend of Leo's

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    Maybe I've been doing it wrong, but I've been trying to teach my bass students to stay away from the open strings Not to treat them like they don't exist, but not to rely on them. I have one who will play an open D anytime there's a D on the page, regardless of the octave (Same applies for E, A, and G of course). It's been a tough habit to break.
     
  17. HoodieMcFoodie

    HoodieMcFoodie Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Whack him over the knuckles with a 12" ruler when ever he plays between 5th & 7th fret.
     
  18. bricksnbeatles

    bricksnbeatles Tele-Afflicted

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    Is he using an amp or a DI box?
     
  19. Cobrav

    Cobrav TDPRI Member

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    There have been a lot of good possibilities mentioned here. Does he, perhaps, play a long neck bass? I would like to suggest that perhaps after 40 years of playing he is tired of constantly moving his hand around to hit all the notes. This, of course, is more pronounced below the 5th fret. If he says this is a factor, suggest a short scale bass. It works for me even though my hands are bigger than Donald Trump's.
     
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  20. Downsman

    Downsman Tele-Meister

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    Just wondering if the OP spoke to the bass player and how that worked out?

    I started playing bass fairly recently and just joined a new band doing 60s Garage tunes. Had to learn 7 songs for the first session. Only one song had one note below the 5th fret on the E string. So played that one in 1st position, 4 between the 5-7th frets, and 2 between the 10th and 12th. Those were the places that to my mind made the most sense for reaching the notes I needed. I've been going by the rule that whoever first came up with the bass line probably wasn't flying all over the neck, but sticking as close to one area as possible simply because they'd be less likely to make mistakes that way.

    After the session everyone complimented me on my bass tone. There were two guitars, one playing through a Marshall, and we didn't clash at all. The bass was very clearly in its own space. Now I know different genres will have different kinds of bass lines, but to my mind the problem isn't necessarily where the OP's bassist is playing, but what bass, amp, and EQ settings he's using. In my case I'm playing a short scale Jaguar bass. I have the P pickup all the way up, the J all the way down, the tone mostly rolled off, and I put some foam under the strings near the bridge to try and capture that Garage sound. There's more than enough thump going on even when I'm on the G string at the 7th fret for one of them.

    I can't help feeling that suggesting to a bass player that he's lazy playing around the 5-7 frets, and asking him to relearn all his parts by moving to first position instead risks resentment, anger, hurt feelings or all of those, when a bassist should be able to play there. It could well just be an issue of adjusting some settings.
     
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