Buy a bass?

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Nuno
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Buy a bass?

Post by Nuno » July 31st, 2008, 11:13 am

Hi all,

I was collaborating in a song last weekend and it did I put my attention on the bass line and drums while I played my part. I can not explain it but it did I put my attention in the bass line of all the songs I heard now. It is as if I was listening all the songs as the first time again. Amazing. I always liked the bass in the songs and sometimes I listened but now it is completely different.

I'm seriously considering to buy an electric bass guitar. I have to start from the beginning again because I don't know anything about basses. I was reading the most recent post in this forum and it seems that some of your started with the same doubts that I have now. Some have been answered, mainly about the practicing, recommended starter basses, etc.

One of my thoughts is that I'm happy with the way I'm learning and progressing on guitar and I don't know if a new instrument could take so much time to my 'guitar time'. Perhaps it would be good to wait a couple of years more or perhaps it could be limited to one day per week or some minutes per day as David and DemoEtc said in an old post. (BTW, does anybody know anything of DemoEtc? I didn't read him this year. I hope he is well.)

Also I have some problems with the space at home. I live in a small flat and I don't know if there is enough room for a new instrument (I'm sure there is no room for the amp so I'd play it through the computer or unplugged). Another thought is if I could use the guitar rather than a real bass. Obviously the feeling will not be the same but perhaps the theory... Initially I'm not interested on complex or specific bass related techniques as slapping.

Meanwhile, I ordered the David's book on Monday so I'll receive tomorrow or the next week. If I finally don't buy a bass, a book is always a book and a David's book is much more than a book!

Any advice? Any comment?

Thank you very much in advance and my apologies for the long post.

Nuno

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Re: Buy a bass?

Post by Musenfreund » July 31st, 2008, 1:49 pm

I occasionally stand in on bass in my band, when the bass player plays keyboards or is focusing on vocals. I found learning bass also benefitted my guitar playing. I think you'd find it interesting and illuminating to get a bass to have around to work on bass playing. Just play at low volume through your guitar amp and you'll be fine. But learning a bit on the bass will give you more insight into the music you're learning and into your principal instrument, the guitar. And you'll be a more versatile player in a band.
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Re: Buy a bass?

Post by Vic Lewis VL » July 31st, 2008, 2:22 pm

Playing bass is beneficial to one's guitar playing in a few ways....

1 - It'll give you a deeper insight into the music. Because you're playing single notes rather than chords, you'll need to know where those notes are on the fretboard, and as they're in the same place as the guitar fretboard, it'll help you with that as well.

2 - It'll help with timing. Because the bass player, along with the drummer, is the "engine room" of the band and helps to keep the beat.

3 - It'll build up your hand strength, and, because the frets are farther apart than on a guitar, it'll improve your reach and increase your stretch.

4 - it'll give you break from guitar on those occasions when you're frustrated.

5 - if you're recording your own music, it'll give your songs more depth and add an extra layer.

6 - it's pretty easy to get started - all you need, at first, are to know where the root notes are, and maybe the fifths. It's pretty easy to find a few fills after that, and play more melodically.

7 - it's an extra string (sorry, forgot the bad pun alert!) to your bow - when you're jamming with friends, it's good to take turns on the bass.

8 - it's fun! Well I always enjoy playing bass, anyway - it's a different beast to the 6-string, but just as much pleasure can be got out of playing bass.

9 - You KNOW you want one, so go out and get one!

:D :D :D

Vic
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Re: Buy a bass?

Post by Nuno » August 1st, 2008, 3:12 am

Vic Lewis VL wrote:9 - You KNOW you want one, so go out and get one!
:lol:

Thank you guys for the replies!

Really I am not thinking on play in a band or with others now but it could be a good point too. I didn't keep in mind.

Mainly I thought on the bass, at least initially, as a complement to the guitar, thus, your other advices are very good to me. Perhaps in the future the terms will be inverted and the bass could be the main instrument.

Some years ago I started to play piano from the classical and formal point of view. My teacher recommended to study both hands independently at the beginning in order to determine the best fingering and so (it is a general recommendation). I remember I liked very much, even more than the right hand melody, the left hand sounds. It is harmony but sometimes it is also a very nice melody.

I've read that, for example, you practice with the radio stations or using your players in shuffle mode and simply play over the song. But do you use a "structured" criterion? For example, on periodicity, music styles, specific exercises or bass techniques, etc.

One of the most attractive things to me it is the possibility to play some jazz or jazz-like tunes or arrangements with bass. I like very much the jazz but I am not able to do it with guitar now (as much some 9th chord progressions). Perhaps the bass could be the key to new music styles.

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Re: Buy a bass?

Post by Alan Green » August 1st, 2008, 3:18 am

I bought a Yamaha bass earlier this year and it's great to have around. No longer do I need to phone my son and try and fit his schedule and mine together so he can do a 100 mile round trip to put down a bass line on a song of mine and vice versa.

Plus, you can just pick up a bass, chuck it over your shoulder and thwack away at a new riff and have fun.


A :-)
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Re: Buy a bass?

Post by Vic Lewis VL » August 1st, 2008, 5:42 am

Nuno wrote:I've read that, for example, you practice with the radio stations or using your players in shuffle mode and simply play over the song. But do you use a "structured" criterion? For example, on periodicity, music styles, specific exercises or bass techniques, etc.
To be honest, I never thought much about organising a specific routine for practising bass. Guitar's my main instrument; I practise chords, scales, riffs, slide guitar, and I practise on electric and acoustic. I practise songs of mine, and about 30 or so songs I've pretty much got down perfectly, or at least as well as I can play them. On top of that, I'm always writing new songs, or trying to, as well as trying to work out chords and solos etc for my latest songs.

So the bass didn't get much of a look in - it was a case of having a few spare minutes, pick the bass up, play along with some songs. Or add a bassline to some of the aforementioned songs I'm working on.

That'll probably change, though, when I get a new bass - which will probably be early next year. I've got a copy of David's book, and it'd be a shame to let it gather dust, wouldn't it! So this time around, I will set aside some time for structured practise....not sure exactly how structured yet, but I think it'll probably involve picking the book up and turning to page 1, and see how it goes from there!

:D :D :D

Vic
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Re: Buy a bass?

Post by jwmartin » August 1st, 2008, 7:02 am

Adding to Vic's list...

10. In my search to put an actual band together, I have discovered that guitarists and drummers are a dime a dozen, but bass and vocals are hard to find. Looking on craigslist, just about every ad looked like mine (2 guitarists and a drummer seeking bass and vocals). I'm wanting to pick up bass, but just can't buy one at the moment.

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Re: Buy a bass?

Post by Vic Lewis VL » August 1st, 2008, 7:45 am

jwmartin wrote:Adding to Vic's list...

10. In my search to put an actual band together, I have discovered that guitarists and drummers are a dime a dozen, but bass and vocals are hard to find. Looking on craigslist, just about every ad looked like mine (2 guitarists and a drummer seeking bass and vocals). I'm wanting to pick up bass, but just can't buy one at the moment.
I always found it very difficult to play bass and sing at the same time - I'm not too bad singing and playing rhythm, but when I'm playing bass, my voice tends to follow the bass line instead of the actual melody! If you listen to bass players who are also lead singers - Phil Lynott and Jack Bruce spring to mind - you'll notice their basslines are generally a lot less complex in live performances than they are in the studio, where it's easy to overdub!

It's not too hard to play bass; it's not too hard to sing; but personally, I find it very difficult to put the two together.

:D :D :D

Vic
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Re: Buy a bass?

Post by jwmartin » August 1st, 2008, 8:10 am

I'm sure it is hard to sing and play bass at the same time. I didn't mind if the "bass and vocals" came in two separate packages. :)

Geddy Lee of Rush is the exception to the "less complex basslines live" rule. He plays complex basslines, sings and is often hitting pedals with his feet to trigger keyboard parts or switches from bass to keys and back again while singing. My theory is that he and Neil Peart both have 2 brains.

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Re: Buy a bass?

Post by PoppaDuck » August 1st, 2008, 9:44 am

Buy the bass - not only for the great list that Vic put together, but for the reason that you keep thinking about it - so do it.

I started on guitar too, and found that picking up the bass helped immensely in both theory and technique (and improved my guitar playing too).

Plus an added benefit is that when my wife picks up her guitar, we don't have to worry about dueling guitars, I can switch to bass and things go smoothly.

Do it - you won't regret it in the long run...

-PD

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Re: Buy a bass?

Post by Nuno » August 1st, 2008, 1:08 pm

I doubt because when I bought an acoustic last year, I tried to maintain a structured practice in both, electric and acoustic, and I think it was not a good decision.

I followed two instruction books, Blues You Can Use for electric and a book on fingerpicking for the acoustic. I dedicated more or less the same time to each instrument. I didn't have enough background so I needed a lot of time for each lesson and I perceived that I didn't progressing correctly. Then, I left the fingerpicking and focused on the electric and I improved a lot. The time for each lesson was reduced considerably. But probably the those months with fingerpicking also improved the electric although I didn't perceived in this way.

Recently I returned to the acoustic and fingerpicking with another book and I need much less time to prepare each study, basically because I guess I improved something and also because the new book motivates me more than the old one.

Everybody agree that the bass helps to the guitar playing. I had that feeling but you confirmed it. I am worried if the bass could produce interferences in the learning. I don't know, perhaps, as Vic said, I could use it in spare time.

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Re: Buy a bass?

Post by Vic Lewis VL » August 1st, 2008, 3:02 pm

Nuno wrote:I am worried if the bass could produce interferences in the learning.
I always treated the bass as a completely different instrument to guitar, in much the same way as I approach keyboards. There are similarities, but there are differences, too. A couple of the main ones...you're not concentrating on chords, you pluck the strings differently, you fret the bass differently....etc.

The only way it'll interfere with your guitar playing is if bass playing eats into the time set aside for guitar practise....but I don't actually have much of a life outside playing guitar (sniff!) so I just made extra time for the bass.

:D :D :D

Vic
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Re: Buy a bass?

Post by Nuno » August 2nd, 2008, 2:57 pm

Well, after analyzing the pros and pros of buying a bass and considering all your comments, I have decided to buy a bass! :note1:

Now it is time for shopping, reading reviews and catalogues and playing as many basses as I can. It seems Yamaha and Ibanez are two good brands for entry level basses (and also guitars, the Yamaha Pacifica 112 is a nice guitar). Perhaps G&L could be another brand to consider.

I was reading and there are also single coils and humbuckers... and split coils, and active and passive basses, four, five and six strings... It will be funny to learn about it.

Any recommendation on brands and models? Now I play blues and rock but perhaps it could be an opportunity for playing new styles. I also like the reggae and funky and I'd love to play jazz.

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Re: Buy a bass?

Post by Steinar Gregertsen » August 2nd, 2008, 3:34 pm

Nuno wrote: Any recommendation on brands and models? Now I play blues and rock but perhaps it could be an opportunity for playing new styles. I also like the reggae and funky and I'd love to play jazz.
I'd say get a Precision style bass,- a good Precision bass is warm, focused, and always seem to get the job done regardless of style. Especially at home in the styles you mention though...
My only bass is a fretless Fender Jazz Bass, but if I should decide to get a fretted bass in addition, I wouldn't hesitate to get a Precision. No frills, one passive pickup and two pots, the rest is in your fingers..... 8)
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Re: Buy a bass?

Post by Vic Lewis VL » August 2nd, 2008, 5:23 pm

Wow, that's a first.....*Vic makes entry in diary......Aug 3rd, 20008, Steinar wanders out of slide forum.....*

Nuno, Steinar's pretty well up on all things musical (I was only joking, up above!) and if he says a Precision-style bass would suit your style, I'd say he won't be far off - he's covered so many genres in his musical career he's bound to have picked up a good deal of knowledge about what sounds good where, and not just on bottleneck or lap steel.

I'd check out the Squier web-site, see if there's a reasonably priced Fender Precision bass copy - you don't want to be forking out fistloads of Euros on a bass when you may or may not want to keep up with it. If you haven't got big hands, you might want to try a shortscale bass....I know of a couple of people with small hands on this forum who bought bass guitars, found the stretches too much, and traded in for a shortscale. Margaret was one - she hasn't been around for a while, so it's not going to be easy to ask her, unless you e-mail her....but I think, if I recall correctly, she found the shortscale bass a heck of a lot easier to play.

As always, try before you buy - and make sure you're not just spending hard-earned money on something that's going to sit in a corner and gather dust.

Best of luck.....

:D :D :D

Vic
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