Guitarist disguised as a bassist?

Discussion in 'Bass Guitar Discussion' started by fortyfourcaliber, Jun 6, 2012.

  1. fortyfourcaliber

    fortyfourcaliber SS.org Regular

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    What's up guys? I have alot of time on my hands right now I figured I'd type some shit out...

    So there's this band I used to play guitar a little over a year ago until I decided to go solo for awhile. They now have a new guitarist are playing shows. I saw them play the other day and they totally called me out in the middle of the set saying I should be their bassist. I've never really given much thought for picking up a bass, but now that it's on the table, I think it'd be badass to add bass to my repertoire. Plus, those guys are my best friends and it looks like fun.

    So I have a few questions before I bust out my credit card:

    1.) Is the transition from guitar to bass hard? I mean, I can surely "fake it" but I wouldn't want to look like a retard on stage. They are playing a show soon and I don't want them to find someone else. But I really want to use my fingers instead of a pick - how long is that gonna take me to learn???

    2.) I do my finger exercises on an acoustic guitar because of the higher tension and thicker strings and then jam/experiment on my electric. Sort of a medicine ball -> basketball effect. Do you think bass -> guitar would do the same thing for me?

    3.) For you metalheads - When guitars play a tremolo picking part - does the bass follow with 32nd notes too? Or do you play 16th notes? I can't imagine using my two plucking fingers at 32nd note speeds...

    4.) For recording - can I just plug a bass straight into the direct input of my interface and call it a day? Or do I need to find some sort of bass amp simulator VST to get a good sound? I am too broke to be spending money on a good bass amp right now...

    5.) Am I over-analyzing everything?

    6.) Do you regret coming to this thread?

    Any input or advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks guys.
     
  2. Stealthdjentstic

    Stealthdjentstic Banned

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  3. skeels

    skeels ..to pay the beels

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    First off- number 5. Yes.

    Second - number 6. No.

    Lastly - number 7. Is there a number 7? Yes. Go for it.
     
  4. Chiba666

    Chiba666 SS.org Regular

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    Do it, sounds like youve got nothing to loose.

    I left one band as a guitarist and joined another on bass, it was good fun. Took abit of getting used to at first but after that it was all good. I played with a pick so followig the trem pciking lines wasnt to hard.
     
  5. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    Do it! I switched to bass for a few years (but kept up with guitar - just didn't play it in the band I was in) because I couldn't find any bassists, but guitarists were a dime a dozen. It takes a little time to learn to use your fingers, but than means more than just 2! You can pick with two fingers right off the bat. Tremolo picking with fingers takes a lot of practice, but you can always bust out a pick if you need to. Personally playing bass finger style is a blast. I hate using a pick.
    But get a bass to start practicing on. There is just no way you could learn the songs on a guitar and then expect to grab a bass at the show and play. You need completely different muscle memory. But you can get it fast. And I think you will LOVE playing the bass. Locking in a groove with the drummer can be a totally cool and different experience for someone who's used to playing guitar!
     
  6. prashanthan

    prashanthan SS.org Regular

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    Definitely give bass a try, it's a whole different beast to playing guitar that necessitates a different mental approach. I started out with guitar just like everyone else but honestly, I find bass a whole lot more fun so it's what I do more now.

    Playing with (2) fingers really doesn't take long to learn. If you sit down and practice for an hour or two you'll get the hang of it. For 32nd notes though, I personally use 3 fingers (index middle ring).
     
  7. TankJon666

    TankJon666 SS.org Regular

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    The transition isn't hard. You'll need to adjust to the scale difference and the pressure required to fret. You may find your hand aches a bit to start with.

    I play both but studied bass at college. I found that playing bass actually opened me up to a whole load of new music and playing styles that you can take and apply to playing guitar.

    One thing I notice about guitars who fill in on bass is that they approach playing the bass the same way they play guitar and kinda miss the point of the bass. I.e. copying the guitar parts note for note and forgetting about listening to what the drummer is doing.
     
  8. wrongnote85

    wrongnote85 SS.org Regular

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    what kind of music is this?
     
  9. iohann

    iohann SS.org Regular

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    Go for it. I'm a guitarist but I've played bass in a few bands. Just practice fingerstyle a couple hours a day and you'll be fine in a week or two. And since you already have a background in guitar, you're probably already above and beyond most bassists (not to be a dick to any bassists who only play bass)
     
  10. troyguitar

    troyguitar SS.org Regular

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    I'd just play with a pick if you have a show soon. Building up the strength in your fingers to play a whole show will take time. I don't play bass much and get big blisters on my right hand fingertips if I play for more than about half an hour with fingers :lol:
     
  11. cGoEcYk

    cGoEcYk SS.org Regular

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    It can take a long time to really develop your right hand. I've been working on advancing my RH techniques specifically for at least the last 10+ years (about as long as I've been playing in prog/tech metal bands). The further you get into it, the more detail you'll realize. It's not just speed it's also the tone you get, how you control the accents/mutes/attacks, how certain approaches affect your endurance. All of these details get more complicated/difficult for a finger style player if you use tunings lower than standard where string tension quickly becomes an issue.

    If metal is your genre, 3 fingers is recommended. Practice any RH finger pattern you can think of, practice them in reverse too. I incorporate my thumb on super fast tremolo stuff (T-R-M-I or variants).

    Other thought- If you are playing metal you probably need a real rig and getting set up with something suitable can cost a little. One of the worst things that can happen is going through all the trouble of being a bassist and getting flat out buried in the mix (happens to most beginners) between thundrous kick and guitarists who are too loud and don't know how to EQ. If the band can actually hear you, you can have a little bit more of a say in the writing and all that (and a louder rig allows you to use a lighter touch if you want to, instead of straining to play loud and risking developing CTS... happened to me at one point). If you get into bass, you can learn about EQ but having presence in a metal mix is an uphill battle. Mids are your friend, low mids are your "bass."

    What is the guitarist(s) using in this gig?
     
  12. Ryan-ZenGtr-

    Ryan-ZenGtr- SS.org Regular

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    I was having a similar conversation over here;

    http://www.sevenstring.org/forum/ba...bass-any-tips-regarding-playing-position.html

    Basically, you need really good equipment (amp, cab, bass guitar not so much), hook up with your drummer and spend some time analysing his kick drum patterns - that's the most important part. If he plays the same thing everytime (which he should) then you will sound tight as a *insert fashionable simile here*.

    If fingerstyle is a major time investment give it up for now and use a pick. I was pretty accomplished with finger style for metal but it requires maintenance. For a long time I was determined to play metal only fingerstyle and without detuning my bass when the guitarist detuned ( 6 string bass - 6 string guitar lowest tuning C). In the end the sonic difference wasn't worth the effort and I went with a pick and detuning. It wasn't as much fun or concentration intensive but freed me up to run around the stage more. :rofl:
     
  13. Hankey

    Hankey SS.org Regular

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    A couple of years ago one of my best friends asked me to play bass in his band when their bass player suddenly left them two week prior to the recording of their demo. I said yes, bought a bass, learned the songs and was recording the demo a couple of days later. I've been playing bass ever since.

    So, yes, you're over analyzing this. If you're a decent guitar player, you won't have much trouble picking up bass. Just start using a pick (ignore the stuck-up elitist bass players who consider this a "sin") and move on from there...
     
  14. JStraitiff

    JStraitiff Melodic Mamma Jamma

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    In some ways a bass is just a guitar and others not.

    You can easily transfer everything you know from guitar to bass and you probably already know 100x more than most bassists. I swear half the bassists i know cant play in key. You can also record a bass the same way you record guitar. If you use amps you'll need a bass amp, if you use vst's youll need a bass amp vst.

    Conversely you will need to think a little differently about the whole thing. Your job now is to be the glue to hold everything together. Everywhere there is empty space you need to fill it. Finger style or picking is a minor detail. If you need to play with a pick the first few shows while you're learning finger style then so be it.
     
  15. Divinehippie

    Divinehippie ESaD ;)

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    it seems like there is alot of downing on bass players...:squint:

    anyways man i started out on guitar but found it wasnt for me at the time (very young didnt want to learn chords, no attention span/desire to practice) but then i picked up a bass and damn! i love playing bass, i love making those smooth ass bass lines that get them bootie poppin. i mean i did eventually learn how to play guitar but i am and will always be a bass player first. try it out man, and if you find for some reason you dont like it well then get rid of the gear and that's that lol.:shred:
     
  16. klinic

    klinic SS.org Regular

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    You can play bass like a guitarist or like a bassist. If time is an issue, play like a guitarist. It IS a sin. Then learn to be a bassist AND a guitarist. Bass is so much freakin' fun. I think bass is more fun then guitar, but I love playing guitar more, it's weird.

    A good bass player is a completely different beast to a guitarist, but there's no reason you can't be both! Both instruments will improve because of it! Alex Webster is your go to guy for metal, analyse his technique. Once you start having fun though... Victor Wooten and Les Claypool should be looked at.
     
  17. guy in latvia

    guy in latvia SS.org Regular

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    Note, it is not wrong to play with a pick! It has a very different sound than playing with fingers. Much more attack, tighter sound, less lows and more highs, while with fingers you get a much more mellow and smooth sound. Not necessarily all metal bassists are handicapped sinners who can't use fingers, sometimes sonically speaking it is preferable to use a pick! Same thing with fretless, sounds awesome, but isn't always right for the music, in context.
     
  18. Rotten Deadite

    Rotten Deadite doesn't know wtf

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    I am, without exaggeration, the living embodiment of the dumbass guitarist cliche. But I'm trying to break out of it.

    Recently I tried learning how to actually play bass like a bass, instead of like a guitar with less strings, and I started learning a few (probably obvious to everyone else) lessons:

    1. Don't beat your bass up. There's a huge range of volume levels that a bass can produce and it's really easy to accidentally whack your bass the wrong way and get a huge, boomy, awful note out of it. So be careful with your picking technique.
    2. Generally you only want one note coming out of your bass at a time. So often that means no chords, no strings ringing out, and very clean, technical playing. You've got less strings to deal with, so it might seem easier, but those big fucking gauge strings are hard to stop from vibrating sometimes, so be careful.
    3. I guess I can sum up the previous two points by saying: play carefully. If a bass player for another band is standing in the background and concentrating really hard on his instrument, there's a reason for that. Not every bass player can headbang and jump around and stuff and when they do, their playing often suffers for it unless they've got their technique down.
    4. Good bass tone is a fucking mystery to me, so I try to get close to what other bass players sound like. Don't re-invent the wheel. Don't worry too much about getting an original, distinctive sound. Just fake it until you make it.
    5. Play what the guitarists are playing, but only play when the drums are playing. You can often end up in some really tough situations when the guitars are playing slowly but the drums are playing quickly, so you'll have to keep up with the drums and play basically a completely new line, unique to the guitar line. And sometimes, the best thing to do is to not play at all.
    6. Nothing is sillier than self-indulgent bass melody fills. Until you get a feel for how to do this tastefully, just get in the pocket and stay there.

    Also again: I'm a dumbass guitarist, so any of the above stuff could be total bullshit. I'm always happy to be corrected :D
     
  19. Konfyouzd

    Konfyouzd Dread-I Master Contributor

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    Guitar - bass transition isn't hard. That's not to say the learning curve is nonexistent; it's simply not a steep one. They're set up almost exactly the same in the way you hold and tune them. The difference is in how they feel and what role they play in a given context which is something you either get used to or don't. :shrug:
     
  20. jl-austin

    jl-austin SS.org Regular

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    I know what you are saying. Most any guitarist can play a bass, however most aren't bassist. The transition to playing bass is super easy. Even though the bass is a more physically demanding instrument to play. It is not hard to grasp the basics of how to play a song on a bass. However, coming up with stuff, and playing like a real bassist is super hard for me.

    You don't have to be perfect, if you enjoy the music you make, and the band is happy, don't worries about it!!!!

    Oh and I play with a rubber pick, best of both worlds. :)
     

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