If you played another instrument and then started playing bass are you still approaching music from the view of your first instrument or are you at the point that you feel like you have that bass players view point?
I’m hoping that as there was a significant number of years between my guitar playing and picking up a bass I am thinking like a bass player
Thanks Mac, I have days where I feel like I am but for the most part I feel like I’m playing along with the song as opposed to listening for that lock step with the drum. I practice with a drum machine and feel comfortable but the minute there is a guitar I’m find myself just playing along with the guitar.
Dang, busted… ok, ok, I’ll admit it… I’m a melody player at heart.
Oh I still struggle with the locking in thing and recently I’ve really been trying very hard to do just that.
I’m hoping that I’ll get one of those “eureka “ moments whilst I’m practicing one day
hahaha…sorry to dime you out
Yes. I still think in terms of keyboards when it comes to scales, etc.
That said, i was all about basslines back then too
I came to bass first through guitar music - punk and metal.
I heard melodies and guitars and wanted to hear them on my instrument.
The first thing I bought after my first electric bass was a distortion pedal.
The first bass player I got way into was Jaco Pastorius… he played fast and he played melodies.
In the bands I was in, I doubled the guitar riffs.
I don’t remember ever learning a bass line as a groove or digging into the bass-groove players. I had ears for the melody.
I became someone who played the bass really well, without knowing what a bass player’s job was. I shredded noodle-y bass lines and improvised bass lines over chord changes to cover tunes instead of learning the record version.
It was a time of glorious freedom, and painful ignorance (in retrospect): I was always composing and making music in original projects (good!) but I was always treating my role in other projects and bands as though I was the composer/creator (very bad).
I didn’t start thinking like a bass player until I started playing and learning like a bass player. Meaning - digging into bass lines and bass players that played simple, played repetitive, played deep grooves, played in styles and genres that I didn’t listen to or see live… got into the deep history and lore of the bass.
The catalyst for all of that was other musicians and people. The people who didn’t let me slide by with lots of notes and noodle-parts. People who called me out in a session and asked for something more simple, who suggested listening, who constantly came at me to simplify and solidify my parts.
Thinking Like A Bass Player is still hard for me! I’m always working on it.
I think I can switch now from a guitarist or a bassist point of view. it took me some times (years) and the B2B course hase been decisive for that.
(I’m not saying I’m good at any of those points of view )
I really struggle with even the simplest of reggae tunes because the bass seems so detached from the guitar line
I’m hearing you @Tokyo_Rat.
Timing in general is something I really have to practice and more so if I’m trying an unfamiliar song.
I’m not too sure it matters. I mean I don’t think Entwistle and Chris Squire did, and that worked out OK.
I use to play percussion in a drumline so when I came to B2B all the rhythm work and timing was absolute cake. My brain melted on the diatonic scales and nashville numbers even tho now I know them. In a drumline the bass drum players strike the drum in a similar motion as slap bass so it was not hard to adjust that. I wish I learned marimba and the scale work might of come easier.
I came to bass from violin so found guitar and chord terminology a bit bewildering at first. Plus tuning your ear into a bassline on a track when you’re used to playing melodies takes a bit of practice.
Saying that I’m lovin bass and find myself drawn to interesting basslines (e.g. Cream, Steely Dan)… playing them well is a different matter though
I used to play drums and saxophone before I picked up the bass, and it certainly influences the way I approach the bass. I find myself wanting to incorporate small rhythmic embellishments when constructing bass lines and also write rather “melodic” bass lines… both of these could be deemed “unnecessary” or “extravagant” if one purely subscribes to the notion that the bass should support the music. I think I want it to be more than “just” that… and so, perhaps, I am not (yet) thinking like a bass player!?!
You’re thinking like a lead bass player. Nothing wrong with that!
This seems to be my problem when listening to songs to pick out the bass parts. I could swear I’m hearing them play more notes than I think they actually are. Or maybe they are. I honestly can’t tell.
Depending a bit on what type of music you are listening to, I would say chances are they are playing more notes than you think - it is all those ghost notes! I find them often enormously helpful to keep a groove steady, but, so far, I also find them still very hard to master from a technical point of view!
I just ran in to this the other day. It seems to happen when the bass is playing a similar pattern as the rhythm guitar strumming over it; as the guitarist adds some syncopated strumming in it can sound like the bass is playing extra notes.
In fact a cover my friend and I are working on now has this happening at the moment. Here’s the bass in the mix:
The isolated bass is actually simple; syncopated, but simple:
I hear what sounds like two extra bass notes in the mix.
Also, man these strings are bright. The chorus isn’t helping there, nor is the amp sim, but still.
Don’t get me started on ghost notes. It seems to be my eternal struggle!