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I'm hoping to pick up my first bass this weekend. I've only played bass a few times before, and I don't really know what I'm doing. I've kind of found my own style that involves a lot of roots, 5th, and hendrixy rhythm fills.

Lucky one of the best bass players I have ever seen, is a good friend of mine. He'll give me lessons for beer.

Any pointers for a guitarist trying to learn to play with two strings missing.?
 

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Well, there are a lot of styles of playing, even the physical 'pick or strings' has many variations.

One thing I learned is that, depending on the song, I can 'attack' it more like a guitar player - I tend to do this on fast hard rockers, or stuff where the bass line was done essentially as following the guitar part - or a more 'bass player providing foundation' approach. Listen to 'What Is And What Should Never Be' by Led Zeppelin for an example - I don't think the bass plays the same as the guitar twice in the whole song, it's brilliant. Interstate Love Song by Stone Temple Pilots is another interesting line to learn, but of course there are a million examples.
 

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Get a five string, then there will only be one string missing....

...and wherever possible, try to avoid using a pick.

John
thegrumpyoldman
 

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Pick is a legitimate choice, why would you say that grumpy?

Also, you know a 5er has a low B, not a higher G? Like playing a 7 string guitar.
 

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Pick is a legitimate choice, why would you say that grumpy?

Also, you know a 5er has a low B, not a higher G? Like playing a 7 string guitar.
True on both counts, Kent, but if someone puts down the guitar and starts to learn bass with a pick, chances are they won't end up playing without one...no use wading in from the shallow end, right?

And, while a five string from fret 5 to the nut sees the fifth string extend the bass range lower, from fret 5 up, it provides more flexibility in note/string selection. To each their own, but I personally preferred that to my four stringers.

John
thegrumpyoldman
 
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Do not try to play it like it's a guitar. As a guitarist, you may not notice that you are doing it. Approach it for what it is - a different instrument. While you take lessons, pick a couple songs you love the bass line too and perfect them.
 

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If you wish to effectively play bass and not suffer from blisters and pain in your picking hand, I strongly suggest playing with a Pick.

Also practice soloing as often as you can on your own as if you were playing guitar. The key to a great baseline is to make sure it has melody.

The worlds greatest bass lines of all time were likely written by the great composer Bach. In removing his bass parts from any musical piece, the first thing you notice is how melodic his bass lines are. As the reference above. to what is and what should never be from led Zepplin, Melody rules
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
If you wish to effectively play bass and not suffer from blisters and pain in your picking hand, I strongly suggest playing with a Pick.

Also practice soloing as often as you can on your own as if you were playing guitar. The key to a great baseline is to make sure it has melody.

The worlds greatest bass lines of all time were likely written by the great composer Bach. In removing his bass parts from any musical piece, the first thing you notice is how melodic his bass lines are. As the reference above. to what is and what should never be from led Zepplin, Melody rules
No kidding about the fingers. My right index developed a callouse after playing bass twice for a couple hours each time. I'm probably going to string my bass with flats too. Easier on the fingers, and a nice vintage tone
 

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No kidding about the fingers. My right index developed a callouse after playing bass twice for a couple hours each time. I'm probably going to string my bass with flats too. Easier on the fingers, and a nice vintage tone
I find flats too... well, flat sounding lol... check out something like D'Addario's Half-Rounds. Easier on the fingers but a slightly more lively tone than flats.

And as previously stated, really pay attention to the drummer and try to avoid duplicating what the guitar is doing. JPJ is an awesome example of great bass playing. Sting and McCartney too.
 

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flats with livelier tone = Chromes. I have them on multiple basses, and in fact play hard rock on one of them. They're fairly high tension, but that's the same for most flats. I've used the .105's, the .100's, and just put a set of the .95's on my old P Bass based on online recommendations. No discernible loss of tone, and much easier to play. They say the .95's are more even tension across the strings, that's not something I really notice as a ham handed pick player :)
 

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Leaving the arthritis in my left hand aside, I would love to play bass. I often seem to 'get' it more than I do guitar. When listening to music I can easily pick our the basss, even if it is something complicated and it just makes sense to me. But when playing bass by itself it makes no sense as I simply cannot relate it to the song outside the context of the other instruments. Take Ramblin' Man for example. That is a song I have listened to thousands of times and could sing in my sleep, but when I listen to Oakley's isolated bass track it makes no sense without the rest of the instruments to provide context. It just doesn't seem like the song without the other instruments.




Same goes for this - without the context of the other instruments it doesn't seem like the song to me:


 

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Pick is a legitimate choice, why would you say that grumpy?
It is, but bass is better fingerstyle because you get a mellower sound and more tonal control at your fingertips as it were (I say this as a bass player who currently plays with a pick, but that's because I play in a 3 pc punkish band and 2/3rds of the songs involve me playing dirty chords as a surrogate rythmn guitard at least for part of the song.... when I was in a poppier/dancier band I played fingerstyle).
 

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I find flats too... well, flat sounding lol... check out something like D'Addario's Half-Rounds. Easier on the fingers but a slightly more lively tone than flats.


And as previously stated, really pay attention to the drummer and try to avoid duplicating what the guitar is doing. JPJ is an awesome example of great bass playing. Sting and McCartney too.

I switched to flats on both of my basses, tone is still great. Dig a bit with your fingertips and they chime out nice, albeit not as ringy as the rounds.

As a guitar player, I found my groove by emulating Sting. As noted by others, the bass is a different animal but finding the groove is a sweet experience.

Sent from my SM-G386W
 

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I have flat-wounds on my fretless, and tried them a couple of times on some of my fretted basses, but just found they 'fit' better sans frets. Either way, I never found their tone to be 'flat'.

Regarding callouses - if you jump right in and play nothing but bass, you will most likely get painful (and messy) blisters first, then eventually callouses, on your right hand fingertips. If you ease your way in, playing for an hour every other evening at home, then the fingertips might have enough time to build up the callouses and avoid the blisters. Has worked for me in the past...I did the "I'm all in!" routine once and suffered for it, then when I had the opportunity again to move from guitar to bass, I did the ease-into-it method and all was fine.

My experience...yours may differ, of course.

Damn, I'm gonna have to dig out one of my basses now....

John
thegrumpyoldman
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I switched to flats on both of my basses, tone is still great. Dig a bit with your fingertips and they chime out nice, albeit not as ringy as the rounds.

As a guitar player, I found my groove by emulating Sting. As noted by others, the bass is a different animal but finding the groove is a sweet experience.

Sent from my SM-G386W
As much as I don't really dig the Police, I will have to look into his bass playing. I am planning on buying a single coil P bass anyways.
 
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