Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Posts 1 to 13 of 13
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    I've taken up playing electric jazz bass. I'm wondering about some of the musical benefits (vs. more gigs/financial benefits) some of you have experienced from learning bass, and how it might be effecting your guitar playing.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    I have played Bass in the past, got into some bands because I could play Bass, did some gigs. What it did for my guitar playing is it helped me stretch out my fingers more on a smaller scale guitar. Helped with finger style picking.

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    Disciplined me to sync perfectly with the drums and to respect chord tones (especially the basic triads).
    -----------------------------------

    "The instrument keeps me humble. Sometimes I pick it up and it seems to say, "No, you can't play today." I keep at it anyway, though." Jim Hall

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    Who knows! It's incalculable really. But if you take up electric bass and learn some walking on it and play through changes, it will do you only a lot of good as a guitar player and overall musician. And yes, more possible gigs and income.

    One thing I remember though, and it's about upright bass, one guitar player told me this wisdom- if people find out you can play upright you can kiss your guitar career goodbye. It was half joke I suppose.

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    I switched to upright from guitar about 5 years ago, I still play guitar but almost never on gigs anymore. I enjoy playing bass in a jazz band much more. The biggest advantage I think I've gotten from playing bass is that I hear basslines way clearer. There is something about playing an instrument, for me, that allows me to hear that instrument more accurately in any context. Like, if you play guitar, you can kinda hear joe pass sorta guitar voicings fairly easily, but I don't think most non-guitarists have such an easy time.

    Bass is kinda the same way, it can be hard to hear low pitches really clearly, but playing the instrument, you have a clearer idea of what they're playing. also the harmonic "rules" for bass and approach tones are different, bassists use all sorts of passing tones and such that might not occur to you to use as a guitarist.

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    One kinda hack for electric bass: play with one finger on the right hand, and only use first, second and fourth fingers of left hand. These two things will get you a lot closer to "classic" jazz bass sounds, because they somewhat reduce the choices available to you, and, this is how most upright players play.

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    To play bass successfully you really have to understand how the rhythmic aspects of various music styles work, so this alone is invaluable for your guitar playing. Groove, sound and note impact, etc. It's a win win situation, but I've found two drawbacks. First, it's easy to get passionate about it and hurt your hands coming from guitar. Second, it's generally a more needed instrument in bands, so before you know it you might be playing more bass than guitar gigs for better or worse..

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    I played a gig last night with no bassist, using my Godin 7-string backing a singer with a drummer and sax player. I played upright bass many years ago, switched to electric fretless eventually, and that experience made last night's show go pretty well, a nice, full sound with harmonies and voice-leading over a reasonably fat-sounding bass line. All sorts of material, from swing standards to bossas and tangos and pop-tunes, even a few Elvis/Tom Jones rockers. Left 90% of the solos to the sax, but it was really fun to meet the challenge. Highly recommend bass as a double for guitarists.

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by pcsanwald View Post
    One kinda hack for electric bass: play with one finger on the right hand, and only use first, second and fourth fingers of left hand. These two things will get you a lot closer to "classic" jazz bass sounds, because they somewhat reduce the choices available to you, and, this is how most upright players play.
    I did not know this. Do they use one finger when walking moderate tempos and alternate at higher tempos?

    I’ve been practicing with rest stroke and alternating in the right hand.

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by srlank View Post
    I did not know this. Do they use one finger when walking moderate tempos and alternate at higher tempos?

    I’ve been practicing with rest stroke and alternating in the right hand.
    Some bassists alternate, but many do not. Peter Washington plays with one finger (actually he "stacks" his fingers in the manner of Paul Chambers, also a one finger cat), and doesn't ever alternate, and I caught the Bill Charlap Trio at the vanguard last week and they played a couple tunes well in excess of 300bpm.

    I've been working a bit on fast tempos lately and I can definitely walk lines ~330bpm or so, which is about as fast as most people want to play things. James Jamerson, the greatest electric bassist ever, played some pretty intricate stuff with one finger. The analogy on guitar is downstrokes, many players play primarily downstrokes, Charlie Christian did this, obviously Wes, George Benson (who sounds great with his thumb) and even Mike Moreno uses way more downstrokes than strict alternation.

    It is a bit counterintuitive, but these kinds of limitations seem to have some benefits.

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    Hi Sharon!
    I started working on bass a few years ago, too -- it's fun, I actually get paid gigs (everyone needs a bassist, not everyone needs guitar! -- and I can read bass clef, so I've done several musicals), and it helps me work on my time/groove!! I use a "medium scale" bass, which is 32" scale, rather than the more standard 34", which is a lot nicer on my guitar-player hands!

    Marc

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    I have three basses, a fretless bass guitar, an acoustic bass guitar, and the very cheap and very wonderful Danelectro Dead On 58 Longhorn - as good as the name suggests! I tried fingerstyle, but it's not great for my classical playing, so, like the great Steve Swallow, I now use a plectrum. I also use black tape wound strings from Rotosound, which are wonderful.

    Benefits? They really help you think through changes, which you do constantly.

    I also edited a Mel Bay book of 19th-century studies by Bottesini arranged for bass guitar, and 21st-century studies by Gilbert Isbin, which, naturally, no bass player can live without!

    Musical Benefits of Learning Bass-30676m-jpg

  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    I've played bass for ages and been privileged to play with some great players. The only real downside is that I get more gigs on bass (upright, these days) than on guitar. Other than that, it has really been a positive, "ear-opening" experience.

    1. Every note you play on bass is essential to the rest of the band (that is often not the case on guitar).

    2. A guitar player might say "don't worry, I'll hear it", but also has the luxury of hanging back for a few bars (or choruses) until he/she figures it out. On bass, you have to commit, right from the downbeat.

    3. When playing with a piano player, a guitar player might declare victory if he can avoid clashing. On bass, you need to do more than that, and get much closer to what the piano player is doing.

    4. Even playing familiar standards, you find that no 2 piano players play exactly the same changes, voicings, turnarounds etc., so that every tune has some educational value.

    5. You become much more conscious of the form of the tune, and will learn a lot more tunes a lot faster on bass.

    6. If you play with other guitar players, you will become very conscious of how much they "overcomp", and fill up the harmonic and rhythmic space unnecessarily. It will (or should) affect your playing.

    7. You will become much more conscious of metronomic time and "time feel". On guitar, you are going with it, but on bass you are setting it (for better or worse).
    Last edited by unknownguitarplayer; 11-27-2019 at 05:34 AM.