Switching to Bass

Discussion in 'rec.music.guitar' started by NJD, Aug 28, 2003.

  1. NJD

    NJD Guest

    I've been thinking seriously about switching to bass from guitar. I do
    this because after 24 years of bass-player-based frustration, I've about
    had it. I'll just play the damned thing myself and search for a
    guitarist to take my place. That should be a lot easier. Also,
    there'll be a lot more opportunities for gigs.

    I realize that one can play both, but I find that I do better when I
    focus and would rather continue to concentrate on just one instrument.

    Anyone make the switch? Any comments on the decision?

    (If you can't lick 'em, join 'em.)

    --
    Nick
    http://www.cultv.com Fine arts & more
    http://www.ironia.net My last band
  2. NJD wrote:
    > I've been thinking seriously about switching to bass from guitar. I do
    > this because after 24 years of bass-player-based frustration, I've about
    > had it. I'll just play the damned thing myself and search for a
    > guitarist to take my place. That should be a lot easier. Also,
    > there'll be a lot more opportunities for gigs.
    >
    > I realize that one can play both, but I find that I do better when I
    > focus and would rather continue to concentrate on just one instrument.
    >
    > Anyone make the switch? Any comments on the decision?


    I've always played both both guitar and bass. I find that playing a
    fretless bass makes the difference in approach between the two more
    complete for me. I'm much better at bass, and I certainly find many more
    interesting playing opportunities as a bass player.

    I tend to devote whole years to working on one instrument or the other,
    and it's rare that my chops are up on both at the same time. I do play
    both with my group, but usually I just accept that the guitar part will
    be glorious hackdom. A couple of years ago I put some real effort into
    improving my guitar playing, and it helped a lot. But now I am
    concentrating hard on bass again. The bass years always feel better to
    me, which says it all.

    My situation is kind of the opposite of yours. I can't find a guitar
    player who can hang in our setting. People either overplay, or freak out
    at the demands of group improv, or would just rather do something more
    normal I guess. I'm way past worrying about it though, the duo format is
    a blast live.

    luck,

    .cE
  3. On Thu, 28 Aug 2003 19:58:59 GMT, NJD <njd@NIXSPAAMcultv.com> wrote:

    >I've been thinking seriously about switching to bass from guitar. I do
    >this because after 24 years of bass-player-based frustration, I've about
    >had it. I'll just play the damned thing myself and search for a
    >guitarist to take my place. That should be a lot easier. Also,
    >there'll be a lot more opportunities for gigs.
    >
    >I realize that one can play both, but I find that I do better when I
    >focus and would rather continue to concentrate on just one instrument.
    >
    >Anyone make the switch? Any comments on the decision?
    >
    >(If you can't lick 'em, join 'em.)


    I went t'other way, from bass to guitar, although I still play bass
    too. I'll put it this way: I play bass for blood, guitar for kicks.
    I can say that taking up guitar has made a much better bass man out of
    me, harmonically speaking. Keep foremost in your mind that the best
    role for bass is as part of the rhythm section and you'll be fine.
    Underplay, in other words. Less is more.

    Texas Pete
  4. Richard

    Richard Guest

    charliejane@gorge.net wrote...

    > My situation is kind of the opposite of yours. I can't find a guitar
    > player who can hang in our setting. People either overplay, or freak out
    > at the demands of group improv, or would just rather do something more
    > normal I guess. I'm way past worrying about it though, the duo format is
    > a blast live.


    Wish I lived in your 'hood. I never overplay--not possible--and I
    love group improv.

    --
    Gonna miss seeing you play, Pete Sampras.
  5. I saw this guy at a concert last year, Paul, whatsisname,
    and he did a passable job not only on bass and guitar,
    but also on piano and ukulele. Oh yeah, he used to be with the
    Eagles, no, I mean a band called Wings.

    ; )

    Steve E.

    NJD wrote:

    > I've been thinking seriously about switching to bass from guitar. I do
    > this because after 24 years of bass-player-based frustration, I've about
    > had it. I'll just play the damned thing myself and search for a
    > guitarist to take my place. That should be a lot easier. Also,
    > there'll be a lot more opportunities for gigs.
    >
    > I realize that one can play both, but I find that I do better when I
    > focus and would rather continue to concentrate on just one instrument.
    >
    > Anyone make the switch? Any comments on the decision?
    >
    > (If you can't lick 'em, join 'em.)
    >
    > --
    > Nick
    > http://www.cultv.com Fine arts & more
    > http://www.ironia.net My last band
  6. pH

    pH Guest

    On Thu, 28 Aug 2003 19:58:59 GMT, NJD <njd@NIXSPAAMcultv.com> wrote:

    >I've been thinking seriously about switching to bass from guitar. I do
    >this because after 24 years of bass-player-based frustration, I've about
    >had it. I'll just play the damned thing myself and search for a
    >guitarist to take my place. That should be a lot easier. Also,
    >there'll be a lot more opportunities for gigs.
    >
    >I realize that one can play both, but I find that I do better when I
    >focus and would rather continue to concentrate on just one instrument.
    >
    >Anyone make the switch? Any comments on the decision?


    Seems kinda drastic.

    One thing I found out (which, I "knew" anyway, but... the point
    was driven home): *playing* a bass, is a whole world apart from
    "being a bass player". (not presuming to tell you anything you
    don't already know.)

    Anyway, I'd suggest listening to a lot of... well, Chris Squire, for
    an example that's not extreme, but one which takes the bass to
    "extraordinarily interesting places".

    >(If you can't lick 'em, join 'em.)


    Well... maybe yer just not lickin' the right spot...? <g>

    Jeff

    http://www.jefftturner.com
  7. ryanm

    ryanm Guest

    "NJD" <njd@NIXSPAAMcultv.com> wrote in message
    news:MPG.19b82903fa8aa0b9989b3d@news.optonline.net...
    > I've been thinking seriously about switching to bass from guitar. I do
    > this because after 24 years of bass-player-based frustration, I've about
    > had it. I'll just play the damned thing myself and search for a
    > guitarist to take my place. That should be a lot easier. Also,
    > there'll be a lot more opportunities for gigs.
    >

    I don't mean to be negative, but I unfortunately find that a lot of bass
    players became bass players that way, and most of them aren't really bass
    players, they're guitar players playing bass. There's a huge difference,
    although it matters more for some styles of music than others. Guitar
    players, particularly good ones IME, tend to think in melodies and riffs,
    while bass players think more in transitional notes and more percussively. A
    good bass player is irreplaceable, and I know because I've had to replace
    one twice. The same one twice, actually, and it hurt to watch him go both
    times. On the other hand you may be a frustrated bass player playing guitar,
    and you might find the switch like going home. Never know.

    ryanm
  8. "Atlas" <c1sublux@hotmail.comNOSPAM> wrote in message
    news:58lukv89t2j54krctd7oggppvsjfl7euu6@4ax.com...
    > x-no-archive: yes
    >

    <snip>
    > If you are a great bass player, have a "get along with
    > everyone personality", and are reliable - you'll have more gigs than
    > you can possibly handle.
    >
    >
    >
    > Atlas
    > --

    <snip>
    Problem is, though, that you've just described the antithesis of most Bass
    players *I've* ever met....Heh. No disrespect to Texas Pete or Charlie
    intended...;+)
  9. Atlas

    Atlas Guest

    x-no-archive: yes

    On Fri, 29 Aug 2003 02:20:16 -0600, "ryanm"
    <ryanm@fatchicksinpartyhats.com> wrote:

    > I don't mean to be negative, but I unfortunately find that a lot of bass
    >players became bass players that way, and most of them aren't really bass
    >players, they're guitar players playing bass. There's a huge difference,
    >although it matters more for some styles of music than others. Guitar
    >players, particularly good ones IME, tend to think in melodies and riffs,
    >while bass players think more in transitional notes and more percussively. A
    >good bass player is irreplaceable, and I know because I've had to replace
    >one twice. The same one twice, actually, and it hurt to watch him go both
    >times. On the other hand you may be a frustrated bass player playing guitar,
    >and you might find the switch like going home. Never know.


    Great guitar players are a LOT more common than great bass
    players.

    If you are a great bass player, have a "get along with
    everyone personality", and are reliable - you'll have more gigs than
    you can possibly handle.



    Atlas
    --
    http://www.geocities.com/cbpdoc/DiscHerniation_Main.html
  10. NJD

    NJD Guest

  11. Richard

    Richard Guest

    njd@NIXSPAAMcultv.com wrote...
    > high@cidity.level says...
    > > Seems kinda drastic.

    >
    > Mid-life crisis.


    I hope I'm done with mine. It's been a hell of one crazy idea after
    another.

    --
    Gonna miss seeing you play, Pete Sampras.
  12. Les Cargill

    Les Cargill Guest

    NJD wrote:
    >
    > I've been thinking seriously about switching to bass from guitar. I do
    > this because after 24 years of bass-player-based frustration, I've about
    > had it. I'll just play the damned thing myself and search for a
    > guitarist to take my place. That should be a lot easier. Also,
    > there'll be a lot more opportunities for gigs.
    >
    > I realize that one can play both, but I find that I do better when I
    > focus and would rather continue to concentrate on just one instrument.
    >
    > Anyone make the switch? Any comments on the decision?
    >
    > (If you can't lick 'em, join 'em.)
    >
    > --
    > Nick
    > http://www.cultv.com Fine arts & more
    > http://www.ironia.net My last band


    How tolerant are you of drummer's pecadilloes in timing? You
    learn an awful lot about that playing bass.

    This being said, there's nothing more fun than playing really
    trashy roots stuff on bass.

    --
    Les Cargill
  13. NJD

    NJD Guest

    In article <MPG.19b95915dfeb0d1198980d@news.verizon.net>, rh310
    @hotmail.com says...
    > njd@NIXSPAAMcultv.com wrote...
    > > high@cidity.level says...
    > > > Seems kinda drastic.

    > >
    > > Mid-life crisis.

    >
    > I hope I'm done with mine. It's been a hell of one crazy idea after
    > another.


    Hmmm. That's reassuring. Glad I'm not the only one.

    --
    Nick
    http://www.cultv.com Fine arts & more
    http://www.ironia.net My last band
  14. pH

    pH Guest

    On Fri, 29 Aug 2003 17:31:18 GMT, NJD <njd@NIXSPAAMcultv.com> wrote:

    >In article <5betkvccla6jvne97cbsmqvkkq4tq8hjrc@4ax.com>,
    >high@cidity.level says...
    >> Seems kinda drastic.

    >
    >Mid-life crisis.


    <G> Hmmm... my brother-in-law's answer to that, was a classic
    Vette. Well hey, 'least it ain't sky-divin' :)

    Jeff

    http://www.jefftturner.com
  15. "Robert Barker" <rwbarker@spambegonecox.net> wrote in message
    news:G8I3b.48851$0u4.48220@news1.central.cox.net...
    >
    > "Atlas" <c1sublux@hotmail.comNOSPAM> wrote in message
    > news:58lukv89t2j54krctd7oggppvsjfl7euu6@4ax.com...
    > > x-no-archive: yes
    > >

    > <snip>
    > > If you are a great bass player, have a "get along with
    > > everyone personality", and are reliable - you'll have more

    gigs than
    > > you can possibly handle.
    > >
    > > Atlas
    > > --

    > <snip>
    > Problem is, though, that you've just described the antithesis

    of most Bass
    > players *I've* ever met....Heh. No disrespect to Texas Pete or

    Charlie
    > intended...;+)


    That's interesting; bass players used to have the reputation as
    being the stable, anchoring influence in the band. Most of my
    bass work was in the 70's, and though I was never great, I was
    competent, got along with everyone, was never late, never openly
    mocked the guitarists, etc. That seemed to be the norm for
    gigging bassists back then, since we lacked the narcissism of
    the 70's rock-god guitarists, and lacked the wire-head
    personality of drummers. Maybe things changed after Chris
    Squire opened the door to spotlight-time for bassists. I
    clearly recall the big move by bassists away from their P and
    Jazz basses and 2x15 cabs to Ricky's and cabs with 10's. Then
    came the slap-and-pop school of bass playing, and bass players
    got a taste of being out front.
  16. "David and/or Rena Covell" <covell@jps.net> wrote in message
    news:Y714b.2048$Lk5.123@newsread3.news.pas.earthlink.net...
    >
    > "Robert Barker" <rwbarker@spambegonecox.net> wrote in message
    > news:G8I3b.48851$0u4.48220@news1.central.cox.net...
    > >
    > > "Atlas" <c1sublux@hotmail.comNOSPAM> wrote in message
    > > news:58lukv89t2j54krctd7oggppvsjfl7euu6@4ax.com...
    > > > x-no-archive: yes
    > > >

    > > <snip>
    > > > If you are a great bass player, have a "get along with
    > > > everyone personality", and are reliable - you'll have more

    > gigs than
    > > > you can possibly handle.
    > > >
    > > > Atlas
    > > > --

    > > <snip>
    > > Problem is, though, that you've just described the antithesis

    > of most Bass
    > > players *I've* ever met....Heh. No disrespect to Texas Pete or

    > Charlie
    > > intended...;+)

    >
    > That's interesting; bass players used to have the reputation as
    > being the stable, anchoring influence in the band. Most of my
    > bass work was in the 70's, and though I was never great, I was
    > competent, got along with everyone, was never late, never openly
    > mocked the guitarists, etc. That seemed to be the norm for
    > gigging bassists back then, since we lacked the narcissism of
    > the 70's rock-god guitarists, and lacked the wire-head
    > personality of drummers. Maybe things changed after Chris
    > Squire opened the door to spotlight-time for bassists. I
    > clearly recall the big move by bassists away from their P and
    > Jazz basses and 2x15 cabs to Ricky's and cabs with 10's. Then
    > came the slap-and-pop school of bass playing, and bass players
    > got a taste of being out front.
    >

    The comment was sorta 'tongue-in-cheek', David. As we all (should) know by
    now, reliability, social skills, etc. are largely dependent on the
    individual(s). Except for Singers...they are the *worst*. Heh ;+)
  17. On Sat, 30 Aug 2003 12:54:16 GMT, "David and/or Rena Covell"
    <covell@jps.net> wrote:

    >...never openly
    >mocked the guitarists...


    Except for that it sounds like you were doin' everything right.

    Texas Pete
  18. NJD

    NJD Guest

    In article <Y714b.2048$Lk5.123@newsread3.news.pas.earthlink.net>,
    covell@jps.net says...
    > That's interesting; bass players used to have the reputation as
    > being the stable, anchoring influence in the band. Most of my
    > bass work was in the 70's, and though I was never great, I was
    > competent, got along with everyone, was never late, never openly
    > mocked the guitarists, etc. That seemed to be the norm for
    > gigging bassists back then, since we lacked the narcissism of
    > the 70's rock-god guitarists, and lacked the wire-head
    > personality of drummers. Maybe things changed after Chris
    > Squire opened the door to spotlight-time for bassists. I
    > clearly recall the big move by bassists away from their P and
    > Jazz basses and 2x15 cabs to Ricky's and cabs with 10's. Then
    > came the slap-and-pop school of bass playing, and bass players
    > got a taste of being out front.


    I think these days it mostly comes down to supply and demand. There
    just aren't enough good bass players to go around. So while, for me,
    it's been easy enough to find other guitarists and even drummers willing
    to try something experimental without pay, I've had far less luck with
    bassists.

    Typically they'll show up for a while because it is challenging and
    we're pretty good players, but eventually the burden of having to learn
    difficult songs that likely won't attract a large audience exceeds the
    fun of playing difficult tunes once learned. That's aggravated by the
    fact that they've got gigging and paying bands begging them to replace
    their last bassist.

    It's really not much of surprise that we've had so much trouble.

    Bass players have a lot in common with beautiful women. Song-writing
    guitarists are more like nerdy, pimply faced boys. You better have cash
    to spend!

    We did have one guy who showed up consistently and had we wanted to be a
    jam band, that *might* have worked out. The problem was we wanted to
    write tunes and he wasn't willing to learn anything that was too
    complicated to pick up in a few minutes.

    It occurs to me that I might never get the opportunity to play this kind
    of music. I wonder how often that happens. When I was at Berklee, I
    took private lessons from a guy who was a total monster. I couldn't
    believe he wasn't famous.

    But he used to complain constantly about not being able to find
    musicians. I note that he never did find them. What a shame.

    I'll bet that happens all the time.

    --
    Nick
  19. "Pete Kerezman" <petekerez@aol.com> wrote in message
    news:svb1lvg2ql89hu6rudg24rb9gcmq72erd2@4ax.com...
    > On Sat, 30 Aug 2003 12:54:16 GMT, "David and/or Rena Covell"
    > <covell@jps.net> wrote:
    >
    > >...never openly
    > >mocked the guitarists...

    >
    > Except for that it sounds like you were doin' everything right.
    >
    > Texas Pete

    And this is why, Pete Kerezman, that we spandex-wearing, big hair sporting,
    grimacing-with-every-note-like-its-killing-us guitar players think you're an
    AsShOle!! <BG> :+)
  20. "Robert Barker" <rwbarker@spambegonecox.net> wrote in message
    news:AA34b.53562$0u4.51338@news1.central.cox.net...
    > "Pete Kerezman" <petekerez@aol.com> wrote in message
    > news:svb1lvg2ql89hu6rudg24rb9gcmq72erd2@4ax.com...
    > > On Sat, 30 Aug 2003 12:54:16 GMT, "David and/or Rena Covell"
    > > <covell@jps.net> wrote:
    > >
    > > >...never openly
    > > >mocked the guitarists...

    > >
    > > Except for that it sounds like you were doin' everything

    right.
    > >
    > > Texas Pete

    > And this is why, Pete Kerezman, that we spandex-wearing, big

    hair sporting,
    > grimacing-with-every-note-like-its-killing-us guitar players

    think you're an
    > AsShOle!! <BG> :+)


    Heh! Maybe that's why I didn't mock the guitarists when I
    played bass: they did such a good job of self-mockery.
    In the 70's there wasn't much spandex, big hair, and grimacing
    on the local bar-band scene. It was more the lopsided
    shit-eating grin of a recent heroin fix, or the looks of
    frustration from being too wasted to pull off the
    wheedly-deedly Free Bird triplets thing. Few things are as
    amusing on stage as when the guitarist nods off during a song,
    staggers against his Marshall stack, and knocks the top cab and
    head to the floor. Les Pauls, cranked stacks, and china white
    make for interesting gigs. My ears still bleed. There was a
    good reason I kept the drummer between me and the guitarist.

    I wonder if the Ampeg SVT or the Acoustic 360 would have been
    designed if not for the need to compete with the ubiquitous Les
    Paul/100-watt Marshall/heroin combination of the 70's.

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