Your favorite (or least favorite) bass myths?


#1

Bass myths.

Do they even really exist?:exploding_head:

Okay, well, yes. But are they true???

Let’s separate fact from fiction. Misconception from… conception. :baby: What’s your favorite bass myth to bust?

Or if you’re not sure if something is bass myth or bass truth, put it here and we’ll put our best detectives on the case. :female_detective: :male_detective:

My favorite bass myth to bust - “pick is better than fingers” or “fingers is better than pick”

REALITY: I’ve never heard any professional musicians debating about this. Pick and fingers are different techniques that yield different sounds and tendencies. Neither of them are right or wrong.

Even in genres where pick or fingers dominate, there are always bass players who go the other way and make it sound great. For example, when you think “metal bass,” you probably think “pick playing,” which is true… but it also isn’t! Steve Harris of Iron Maiden tears it up with his fingers.


Jeroen Paul Thesseling of Obscura plays fingerstyle FRETLESS and it sound great. (warning:weird growly vocals :stuck_out_tongue:)

Myth busted! Your turn!


#2

@JoshFossgreen Sounds like a great thread :sunglasses:

Agree completely with your “pick vs fingers” myth bust! :slight_smile: There is NO one single “best” way; you get different sound from different attack, etc. with both pick & fingers. I do think that you can get a little more “definition” with a pick in very fast basslines . . . Chris Squire is a classic example.

OK . . . MY bass myth is that the bass amp always belongs flat on the floor next to the drummer.

True or false?

All best, Joe


#3

Yeah, that’s one of the qualities of the pick for sure, not even just for fast playing, it makes the initial attack/transient of each note bigger, and also tends to brighten the tone since it’s plastic on metal instead of flesh on metal.

I’d say false, only because of the word “always.” I think in real-world gigging, bass amp location is usually a function of “where do we have room for it on stage” more than “what would sound best.” :stuck_out_tongue:

But also depends on if you’re actually using your amp to send bass to the audience, like in a smaller room, or if you’re in a bigger venue with bass in the PA, in which case your amp is just a stage monitor. Either way I try to get my amp as far back on stage as I can, usually, so I can actually hear it and not just feel a rumble on my knees. :slight_smile:


#4

“Bass is easier than guitar” zzzzz


#5

Ha . . . good one!

There’s only four strings to worry about instead of six :yum:

All best, Joe


#6

Ha.
If we’re talking about easiest/hardest to get started on… I think this myth holds true (as someone who has tried to teach beginners on both) - but as far as which one is harder to play at high levels… that’s just silly. Music is hard to play, period. Let’s all take a deep breath, and stop waving our instruments at each other.

I played with a violin player who pointed out that, according to science (or something like that), violin was rated ‘the most difficult instrument’. That is a really annoying thing to tell people.
Especially when one of those people is lugging around a giant upright violin.

My upright professor in college dismissed my electric playing by telling me “[the electric bass] is the easiest instrument in the world to play”… While incredibly demoralizing and not-at-all-helpful… (He really wanted me to practice the upright… he just used the wrong motivational tools…)
there is a kernal of truth to that: It has few strings, has frets, and our library of virtuoso pieces is not anything that the general public likes or wants to listen to… so changing perspective is an uphill battle.

So - despite people being dismissive and snobby about whatever other instrument they play - I still think that bass is easy to get started on.
It is easier to get started playing than guitar.
But, come on, world. Stop it already.

Any instrument that you want to play well, to be musical on, to become masterful with… they’re all difficult. Incredibly difficult.


#7

Haha! What about kazoo? Cowbell?


#8

Right??
It was clearly a rhetorical statement, and certainly not up for debate. It was a very ugly way to say - “hey, kid, you’ve got some chops on that there electric bass… but I really want you to focus on the challenges of the upright, and I think you need to put in more time, as it is a more demanding instrument…”
Those are the translation tools you need when your teacher can’t communicate well, and is prone to violent mood swings and heavy drinking.


#9

More cowbell !!


#10

Bass is easier to get started on but the initial grace period ends fairly soon unless you just become a root and fifth country music player. To become pretty good at bass requires all of the things that any instrument mastery requires. Modern playing, too, often blurs the line between guitar and bass playing. And there are clearly things that a bass guitar can do, if played expertly, that a guitar cannot do.


#11

Agreed.
And it reminds me of my favorite bass player joke:

A bass teacher has a new student.
In their first lesson, the teacher shows the new kid the names of the strings, how to hold your hands, and how to play a few notes.
End of lesson.

The next week, at the same time, the teacher is waiting for the student, but the student doesn’t show up.
Frustrated, the teacher finally calls the student.
“Hey, why’d you miss our lesson?”
“Oh, sorry. I couldn’t make it - I had a gig.”


#12

Hhahahaha. Good one.