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  1. #1

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    How would you describe the difference in trying to build a career as a guitarist versus a bassist?

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  3. #2

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    You'll get more gigs as a bassist if you know your stuff.

  4. #3

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    What Thump said. Good bass player guy I used to know always had gigs with multiple bands. Had more gig offers than he could take. Guitarists don't get that so much.

  5. #4

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    I guess I'd want to know what you meant by "career," but if you're simply talking "gigs," then the other guys have it right: you'll get more on bass.

    Reminder: bass and guitar are different animals. Just because one can be a guitar player, does not mean one can be a bass player!

  6. #5

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    Gigs are bricks; careers are buildings.

  7. #6

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    I know some folks, myself included, who work playing both.

    I can see drawbacks to this if you are heavily focused on one, but to be proficient in both, imo, is totally possible.

  8. #7

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    If you're talking electric bass, there is no reason whatsoever that one cannot do both equally as well. My career has included both, at times in equal measure. Bass playing makes one a better musician: your time improves (or no repeat gigs), and your understanding of song structure clarifies. Eventually, I went to 7-string guitar and now play bass and guitar simultaneously.

    Upright bass is quite a different story.

  9. #8

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    Sight reading bass players are usually turning down work, they're so busy. Non-reading bassists, not so much.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    Sight reading bass players are usually turning down work, they're so busy. Non-reading bassists, not so much.

    I got my first bass last year, and after a month of playing, I was hired (for money!) to play a high school musical -- ("Music Man") because I could read!

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz View Post
    Bass playing makes one a better musician: your time improves (or no repeat gigs), and your understanding of song structure clarifies.
    Agree. And BTW, the same can be said about old fashioned 4-to-the-bar big band rhythm playing. If a rhythm guitarist doesn't have good time, he'll wreck the whole rhythmic pulse and his first gig will also be his last. It will also teach a guitarist to blend in with instead of being heard over the rhythm section. The shell chords (or even less than that) used here is a great way to get a good voice leading and concentrate on the structure of the song.
    "But if they all play like me, then who am I?" (Lester Young)

  12. #11

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    Band gigs pay so little.
    If you can play solo guitar gigs you may do better financially (and teach). Bass is never asked to perform solo for high paying events.
    Piano, harp, and guitar have that market $$$ to themselves. Weddings, private parties, corporate events, hotels, restaurants, etc. And no drama from bandmates!

  13. #12

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    "Career" and "gigs" is a secondary notion. Keep your eyes on the true prize!

    If you don't love playing the bass, don't play the bass. Period. It's not a box on a list which you are required to check. You're better-off working a day gig than you are playing bass and thinking the whole time, "Dagnab, I wish I was playing guitar."

    Personally, every time I pick up my double-bass I bust a shit-eating grin and say, "Dagnab! Tonight, I get to play the bass!" Maybe that's you too!
    "Don't worry about that. Everybody talks about finding your voice. Do your homework and your voice will find you." - Branford Marsalis

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop View Post
    Band gigs pay so little.
    If you can play solo guitar gigs you may do better financially (and teach). Bass is never asked to perform solo for high paying events.
    Piano, harp, and guitar have that market $$$ to themselves. Weddings, private parties, corporate events, hotels, restaurants, etc. And no drama from bandmates!
    True. But most good soloists also like playing with a great bassist. You have good opportunities from duo up to big band.

    Individual mileage may vary.