Bass Discrimination: It's Real


#1

Holy cows, folks.
So - the ways in which Bass Discrimination affects all of us are vast, and so very, very real. Name the bass player in any band: go! People can’t. Bass Discrimination.
Name the instrument that is making all the music you love groove and jam, and have so much momentum and soul and melody - Go! people can’t. Bass Discrimination.
I’ve taught in a high school before, and the students would argue against even LEARNING the bass clef. Bass Dis. Crim. In. A. Tion.

We all know this - it’s nothing new… But I had to start this thread when I saw the video that @chk1st posted in the “Favorite Bass Lines” thread… -

The bass player is the ONLY one (aside from the lead singer, granted) who has some vibe and charisma here, and has the most interesting musical part. Guess who’s the ONLY guy who doesn’t get his own camera?
Wait until 2:40 when the lead-singer camera guy finally figures out that there is only one person in the band who seems like he cares about singing his back-up lines - we finally get a bass player shot.
Finally.
Only guy without his own camera.
Doesn’t get a shot until the end of the video.
Working his ass off the entire time.
BASS.
DISCRIMINATION.

Daaaaaaamnnnn. What a world, folks. What a world.


#2

Bass discrimination is real, but I think Bass players are the workers of the musical unit. We know we get the butts to move. We don’t need the camera time. We know our worth. :crazy_face:


#3

Just to be very clear - I have no hang ups whatsoever about the role of we bassists. I just love the idea of Bass Discrimination, and - with tongue firmly in cheek - I have made this thread. Take it all with a light-hearted, ain’t-it-funny attitude, and I’ll have hit my target.
Sure, it’s real.
Sure, it doesn’t matter. It’s just fun to poke at every once in a while. Like a little brother.


#4

Yeah, it’s funny to notice that with camera work. I wish I could think of where I saw this, but I swear one some video it was time for a bass solo and the video jumped to a close-up on the guitar player… like “ooh a solo is happening, camera 1 on guitar! wait, what?”

On the upside… less fans mobbing you after the show when all you want to do is drink water and lay down and take shoes off.


#5

My tongue was firmly in my cheek too. :wink:


#6

Ha. Shoulda known. That’s the trouble with forums for me… sarcasm is such a dainty and delicate thing sometimes.


#7

Sometimes Ill pull up live footage of a song to try and verify if a tab I am studying is accurate or if the original writer of the bassline is using the same fretboard position as the tab writer and…they never show the freakin bassist! Only way they get any love is if they are in a 3 piece and sometimes not even then. Lets march with basses slung over our backs and shut down the next Alt J concert! (Those upstarts dont even think they NEED a bass player! Theyre still pretty good but thats besides the point!) Oh wait…maybe after lunch. Im hungry.


#8

Yes.
Exactly, and yes.


#9

Ha! Love your post!
To be fair, bass players allowed this themselves by humbly taking a comfortable spot at the back of the stage in many bands :slight_smile: I am glad to see this changing though - Parquet Courts’ bassist, for example, stands in front and in the middle, between two guitarists, and this makes their concerts really effective.
I didn’t really watch that video in its entirety before posting - it’s the only live video that I could find for this song. Watched this now and yes, it’s so badly made. Even when they show the bass player, the strings and hands are not even in the frame! Bass discrimination!
Compare with this video from KEXP. The first song is bass-heavy and they give proper respects to the bass player. KEXP is good with this.


#10

Could be worse. Could be a drummer.


#11

That’s one of the very first things about bass playing I learned. If you’re having trouble, fire the drummer. If the mix is off, fire the drummer. If you’re having a bad day, fire the drummer!


#12

Suck it up Buttercup. Don’t play if you don’t like it!


#13

I went to see Offspring and 311 last night. The bass player for Offspring got on the big screen once. :frowning_face: The bass player for 311 was on the big screen ALL THE TIME! Man, he rocked it too. :smiley:


#14

Haha!!! I love it. That dude from 311 was an icon of lead bass playing - in the league of Flea and Les. They dropped off the map a bit - cool to hear they’re still out and rocking.


#15

I’ve worked on TV/Video production, and I think the main reason why bass players aren’t that featured in the videos (unless being Flea, “leading” the tune, a solo, or a tune where bass is really prominent in the mix) is because most people couldn’t correlate what the bass player is doing with what they’re actually listening.

Most people can’t discern the bass notes from the mix, that’s why bass players don’t get that much in camera, as the watcher will “get lost” in the storytelling continuity.

In fact, you’ll notice on gigs being shoot, bass players are usually at one end of the stage, cameras usually placed either at their end, or the opposite, so that they don’t “block” the shots of singer or lead guitars, etc.

As Mr Hetfield would say… Sad but True :wink:


#16

That totally makes sense. I wonder what the average person thinks the bass player is there doing - maybe just the guitar player’s groupie? Someone who couldn’t afford the extra two strings? :stuck_out_tongue:


#17

SUCH a good point. It’s the same if folks are just listening too… I’ll have the hardest time getting students to hear bass parts as well…


#18

Well, being a bass player is a thankless job. But the bass player is most often the coolest one in the band! I agree that most people can’t pick out the bass, that’s why it’s so crazy to me that the bass is all that I can hear!


#19

I think this has to do also with the fact that we cannot physically pinpoint where low frequencies sounds come from (we can with higher frequencies in the audible spectrum). As we grow and get used to it, I think we stop trying to discern low frequency sounds altogether, unless you get formal training for that.

For me a (good) Bass player is the “core”, and the one bridging drums towards guitars, keyboards, singer… regular people may not know, but musicians or engineers do know for sure.

In fact as I went to more gigs, I started focusing more and more on the bass rig/setup as was one of the typical areas that can cause you trouble on stage as a tech.


#20

Here’s one compliments of JP Allen at Harmonica.com it tells you what it’s really all about :grin: [It’s All About That Bass]