Author Topic: I need some advice regarding bass guitar.  (Read 2090 times)

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Cannibal Bob

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I need some advice regarding bass guitar.
« on: September 25, 2009, 07:35:33 am »
Hi guys, sorry to post this here, I know it's not exactly the topic of the site, but this is the only musical forum I'm a member of.

A bit about myself; I used to play guitar, if you could call that slow instrument torture 'playing', a couple of years ago, and later on I joined this site to get some help with it. In the end I decided that the guitar wasn't for me, I just didn't enjoy playing and practising felt like a frustrating chore. In the end I gave up.

While I was learning the guitar I noticed my teacher had a bass. I wanted to give it a try but was always too shy to ask. When I finally accepted that I wasn't going to play guitar anymore I eventually decided to find a bass teacher and give it a try, and I'm glad I did. I've been playing now since the beginning of this year and I'm loving it. I think I've found something I can feel passionate about.

But I have doubts. That's why I wanted to ask you guys some questions.

1. Is there any real need for a bass guitarist? I know that no instrument is 100% needed, but it seems to me that in most songs the bass is barely audible, and the song wouldn't be any different if it was taken out. Is the bass just kept around in modern music because it's traditional and no one's questioned it, or does it do something useful.

2. I've heard that the bass provides the link between the melody and rhythm sections, but what does that mean? What would happen if the bass wasn't used?

3. I'm very much a rock fan, but I've read that the bass plays a more significant role in other forms of music like reggae and funk. This may sounds strange, but does anyone know of any songs/bands that a rock fan could get into that demonstrate this role?

4. I can't help but notice that the bass player isn't too respected among the general populous, not that that really bothers me, but do professional musicians actually respect bass players, or are they seen as a bit of a joke there too?

Sorry for the long and whiny post, and any help would be much appreciated.

Offline gareth51

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Re: I need some advice regarding bass guitar.
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2009, 09:06:45 am »
I am not a bassist, but I will try to answer a couple of your questions.

1. Is there any real need for a bass guitarist? I know that no instrument is 100% needed, but it seems to me that in most songs the bass is barely audible, and the song wouldn't be any different if it was taken out. Is the bass just kept around in modern music because it's traditional and no one's questioned it, or does it do something useful.

I think you need something at the bottom end whether it is played on bass, bass pedals, keyboards etc.  If it wasn't there, I am sure you would miss it.  The next time you play a song, try fiddling with the EQ to remove the bass to see what I mean.


3. I'm very much a rock fan, but I've read that the bass plays a more significant role in other forms of music like reggae and funk. This may sounds strange, but does anyone know of any songs/bands that a rock fan could get into that demonstrate this role?

You may be right.  In many rock songs, the bass part is quite simple, but there are exceptions, like Under Pressure by Queen & Bowie.  It just wouldn't be the same without that bass riff.  I am just listening to Vertigo by U2 on the radio right now - the bass drives the song along.  I am sure other people can come up with other examples where the bass is important.  As for other other genres, I am a big Level 42/Mark King fan.  Here is an example

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKI8pFqWm0s
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Offline JC

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Re: I need some advice regarding bass guitar.
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2009, 10:35:11 am »

I think the bass has a very important role to fill, for the beat , and as a contributor to the sound as a whole.
I mean, for instance, try to think away the bass from this! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njwerVaLByk

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Offline TB-AV

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Re: I need some advice regarding bass guitar.
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2009, 02:12:46 pm »
You need a better monitoring system ( the method by which you listen ). The fact that you can't hear it doesn't mean it's not there. Many people, especially younger people are accustomed to listening to really poor sound reproduction and think it is normal. It is far far from normal and nothing similar to what the original artists intended for you to hear. A laptop playing an Mp3 is not music reproduction. It is a bastardized subset of the original. Go find someone that has a high end reproduction system and you will hear what is really there and you will likely be shocked and amazed. I'm talking audiophile or recording studio grade setup.

Your other thoughts/questions are the opposite of what I experience. Except maybe that Reggae thing. The bass is very much outstanding there but Reggae is in it's own world anyway.

Paul McCartney
Jaco Pastorious
Flea
Roger Waters
Carol Kaye - Ultra famous and respected
Dusty Hill - What happens when you take him out of ZZ?
James Jamerson - Legendary
Geddy Lee - Rock
Noel Redding - Rock
John Entwhistle - Rock
Bill Wyman - Rock
Cris Squire - Rock

The list is endless
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Cannibal Bob

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Re: I need some advice regarding bass guitar.
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2009, 04:05:34 pm »
Thanks for the replies everyone.

I am not a bassist, but I will try to answer a couple of your questions.

Actually I mostly wanted to hear the opinions of non-bass players; I've heard the opinions of bass players, now I'd like a third party opinion. So thanks.

I think you need something at the bottom end whether it is played on bass, bass pedals, keyboards etc.  If it wasn't there, I am sure you would miss it.  The next time you play a song, try fiddling with the EQ to remove the bass to see what I mean.

I would, but I don't quite have the equipment for that. Thanks anyway.

You may be right.  In many rock songs, the bass part is quite simple, but there are exceptions, like Under Pressure by Queen & Bowie.  It just wouldn't be the same without that bass riff.  I am just listening to Vertigo by U2 on the radio right now - the bass drives the song along.  I am sure other people can come up with other examples where the bass is important.  As for other other genres, I am a big Level 42/Mark King fan.  Here is an example

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKI8pFqWm0s

Awesome video, and a great display of a bass blending beautifully with the mix which is something I love to hear. The first song that made me like that sort of thing was Californication by RHCP. Thanks gareth51.




I think the bass has a very important role to fill, for the beat , and as a contributor to the sound as a whole.
I mean, for instance, try to think away the bass from this! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njwerVaLByk



Thanks JC, it's good to know it has it's place in music. I really need to listen to some more ZZ Top too; I've only heard a few of their songs but I've liked them all.



You need a better monitoring system ( the method by which you listen ). The fact that you can't hear it doesn't mean it's not there. Many people, especially younger people are accustomed to listening to really poor sound reproduction and think it is normal. It is far far from normal and nothing similar to what the original artists intended for you to hear. A laptop playing an Mp3 is not music reproduction. It is a bastardized subset of the original. Go find someone that has a high end reproduction system and you will hear what is really there and you will likely be shocked and amazed. I'm talking audiophile or recording studio grade setup.

Funny you should mention that; I was reading an article today which said the same thing. My teacher is also a producer, and while there he often plays the song he's teaching me through his funky sound system.

I was listening to it one day and I thought I could hear the bass so much clearer than normal. I was thinking that all that playing was making me more sensitive to the different sounds, but when I went home and played it through my laptop the bass was just gone. I assumed he had software that enhanced the bass, but after reading what you just wrote it seems he just has a better sound system than me.

Your other thoughts/questions are the opposite of what I experience.

Do you mind if I ask what you mean specifically? It's cool if you don't feel like answering though, I understand.

Except maybe that Reggae thing. The bass is very much outstanding there but Reggae is in it's own world anyway.

To be honest my knowledge of Reggae is about on par with my knowledge of string theory; I just read that thing about bass being more important in Reggae on Wikipedia.

Paul McCartney
Jaco Pastorious
Flea
Roger Waters
Carol Kaye - Ultra famous and respected
Dusty Hill - What happens when you take him out of ZZ?
James Jamerson - Legendary
Geddy Lee - Rock
Noel Redding - Rock
John Entwhistle - Rock
Bill Wyman - Rock
Cris Squire - Rock

The list is endless


Thanks, I'll look into those names. I already know about Flea, not only is he the bass player for one of my favourite bands and probably the biggest influence for me on how I would like to play, but he was born in Australia, much like our old friend Justin I believe.

Thanks TB-AV, I think I can start to feel really good again about playing bass. Thanks again to all who have posted here, and any others who choose to post in this thread. ;D
« Last Edit: September 25, 2009, 04:13:05 pm by Cannibal Bob »

Offline TB-AV

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Re: I need some advice regarding bass guitar.
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2009, 05:52:04 pm »
"Do you mind if I ask what you mean specifically? It's cool if you don't feel like answering though, I understand."

I mean I find the bass players to be highly regarded and the tones they play to be very important to the overall musical experience.

Very very important. ... and really good bass players are very very very important....  and playing bass is nothing like playing a guitar.

The bass has an unusual and important role. It adds that thump that one finds similar to the drums while at the same time it is melodic. It bonds the rhythm and harmony being played around it while ( when done well ) never steps on nor interferes with either.

If you are just starting to learn music, I would not start with Reggae. Again, it is a world unto itself. Google Aston "Family Man" Barrett for the Reggae bass. He's the man.



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Offline theguitarreviews

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Re: I need some advice regarding bass guitar.
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2019, 08:00:36 pm »
I have been searching for such tips about bass guitars. I have been reading all the comments by the community. Thanks for helping everyone.

 

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