Bassist Answers Google’s Top Bass VS Guitar Questions

Can guitarists play bass? Which one should you play? Here’s the lowdown on 10 of Google’s top bass vs. guitar questions.

0:00 All Your Bass
0:13 Is bass the same as guitar?
0:46 Is bass easier than guitar?
1:42 Should I learn guitar or bass first?
2:27 Can guitarists play bass?
3:12 Can a guitar be used as a bass?
3:52 Do bassists use chords like guitarists?
4:23 Do bassists use capos like guitarists?
4:42 Why is it harder to hear bass than guitar?
5:43 Should I play bass or guitar?

If you’re doing the Beginner to Badass course, this lesson would fit… anywhere, because you don’t have to play anything!

Why Is Bass Harder to Hear than Guitar?

I think this is one of the most interesting questions from this video, because there are a lot of factors. This one is pretty cool:

Because the (average) range of the guitar better matches the (average) range of the human voice, it’s easier for us to tune into it. Our ears are very evolutionarily motivated to be able to hear each other. :slight_smile:

Other than that, of course, I blame iPhone speakers and Lars Ulrich. :stuck_out_tongue:

Recognizable Bass Lines Playlist

If you didn’t already catch this one (I put it out with my 20 Tips video), here’s that Spotify playlist with easy-to-hear bass lines to help you with your listening:


:rofl: About Lars Ulrich. Poor Newstead. Of course some speculated it was because Cliff had died and it was sort of intentionally a tribute to him, but Lars being mean to Jason is just funnier (and not hard to believe).


I’m waiting on the Country Roads cover

Alternative theory for …And Justice for all, per Newsted

“Being in Flotsam, I did not know about playing the bass part yet, I just knew about playing bass really fast like guitar, basically everybody playing the same thing like a sonic wall. So it ended up with everything being in the same frequency – my bass and James’ guitar battling for the same frequency. If I had known then what I know now, it would have been different. …”


He said that with Lars peaking at him around a corner making throat cutting gestures silently! Lol


:rofl: :joy: :rofl:


Hmm, interesting, haven’t heard that quote. But that’s true of a lot of bass parts in the genre, including other Metallica albums/eras - bass doubling rhythm guitar is definitely a tool in the toolkit.

Plus I dunno, his bass lines seem pretty solid, the ones we can actually hear now thanks to the master tracks!


It’s tough, I just like Burton and Trujillo more. Newstead is a solid bassist, just relatively bland. I’d say King Nothing is probably his line with the most character.


Bass doubling rhythm guitar puts me in mind of AC/.DC. How many times did Malcolm mute a note in a chord leaving it for Cliff to play, just giving it more punch. They were so so good at it.

…And Justice for All gets a bad rep, I’ve always loved the album.


It’s a good album. For me it was more the 8-10 minute songs! Like, ok we get it! But Blackened, Harvester of Sorrow and of course One are just excellent songs!


Great video Josh. I guess for me, I was always curious about the bass, but never knew much about it. Started watching your channel, and then I started taking liking to the instrument. And, then the course…“Yeah, I think I can do this,” and I plunked down the $249.

This all happened about 3 months after I bought a sweet HH MIM Fender Telecaster in Surf Green. That thing has been sitting in it’s gig bag in the corner ever since…


“Who do you tend to watch the most at a concert?”

Wait, bassists play live? Hard to tell most of the time because they are usually playing in the dark half-obstructed by the drum kit. :stuck_out_tongue:


Since taking the course, I always look for the bassist. And, there’s always something interesting to look at. What kind of a bass does he have? Can I hear him? Is he prominent? What is his left hand technique? How is he holding the bass? How does the bass fit in this piece. What can I learn?

And, oh yeah…do I like it!


All good stuff to do. I do as well. Just joking that sometimes they are hidden away in the corner. I find it ironic because I think the bassist and the singer have the most impact on a song. You don’t really see a singer tucked away in the back of the room though. I don’t mind though really. I’m happy to go into a groove in the shadows.


That’s what I seem to notice as well, camera ignoring the bassist or the bassist hiding somewhere next to the drummer making fun of the others :sweat_smile:

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Yeah, that seems to be the norm for a lot of bands. Obviously not if you are Sting, or Flea, or Joe Dart, etc.

Interestingly, ask a random person to name 3 guitarists and most will manage. Ask them to name 3 bassists and they will struggle. :slight_smile:

I don’t know though. I kind of like being out of the spotlight. It’s probably one of the things that attracts me to the bass to be honest.


The camera ignoring the bassist irritates me no end because I usually really want to watch their fretting hand :slight_smile:


maybe they just need bigger egos…


I’ve said this before, but being drawn to bass as an instrument is interesting to me. Drums are loud and you get to hit stuff, guitar is flashy and you see lots of people just singing and playing, and obviously if you are the singer you are front and center. The Bass holds a groove, it’s musically very significant, but it’s almost never flashy or front and center, and when it is people think it is “weird” (look at Primus). So if you are drawn to bass, there is a very musical mind there…it’s an interesting instrument to be drawn to.


so true, the bassist is always tagged the ‘weirdo’.
I started on bass (last year at 53) for four reasons…

  1. I play sax, and needed an inexpesive (comared to sax) musical hobby that did not involve my mouth when it gets tired.
  2. I thought it would be a great help to timing and rhythm for sax playing.
  3. As a GIANT KISS fan growing up (SHe was the first song I learned on bass front to back btw), then a HUGE Tower of Power fan, bass always stuck with me and was fascinated by Rocco’s technique (and Gene’s general nonsensical debochery).
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So much this.