I have been playing guitar for 25 years, and I have a friend that just got a bass for Christmas. He has played a little bit before, but got rid of his bass rig at one point, and has just started playing again. He keeps asking me for suggestions and help. I have been emailing him for the last several weeks, and this was my most recent reply to him. I would especially love suggestions from bass players. Here is my email:

You nailed it bro. There is a song by the Grateful Dead (one of my favorite bands), and the lyrics are "The music played the band". That is what happened last night. I have a very good friend who comes to watch us play all the time. He is an old hippy dude that just speaks absolute gold every time he opens his mouth. He says that sometimes people are just playing songs they learned, and other times certain players are a "servant of the muse". "Servant of the muse" has to be one of my favorite all time sayings in regard to music. We should all hope to be a servant. It is always about playing from your soul to make the music better. It is always about playing to make the band sound better, even if you have to lay back. I love to play lead guitar, but what I love more is playing rhythm guitar. I like to find places within the song to add to the overall sound, and it is not about playing as many notes or making as much sound as I can. It is about finding the place throughout the song that I can add emphasis. As a bass player, you will have to focus on holding the whole foundation with the drummer. You need to be one with the drummer. I have played with many bands over the last 25 years of playing, and if the bass player, or drummer, or both are not good, the band will suck. As a bass player, you are taking on a lot of the burden of how good the band is. It does not matter if you have a good singer or incredible guitar player, the bass and drums are everything to a band.

While I am thinking about bass tips, I want to make sure you are not going to play with a pick. Your fingers give the bass a distinct tone that is organic and beautiful and warm. People who play with picks are lazy in my opinion, and their overall bass tone is not very good. It thins out the sound, when the bass should be a big fat tone that you feel in your chest. You probably already know about the players I am going to mention, but I want you to punch their names into YouTube. Victor Wooten (my favorite), Stanley Clarke (one of the best to ever hold a bass), Louis Johnson of the Brothers Johnson (he invented the bass), Jaco Pastorius (the best that ever lived...read up on his life story as it is a tragic end to a mad genious). If you want to listen to a bass player that is the most "in the pocket" player that I can think of, listen to Tommy Shannon of Double Trouble/Stevie Ray fame. He laid it down solid for one of the best guitar players that ever lived. His interaction with Chris "Whipper" Layton is the defenition of what I am talking about when I mention bass and drums being the foundation of everything. I suppose that is enough homework for one night, but you better ****ing listen to them, even though you are just learning. They are the pinicle of what a bass guitar can do, and you should always be aware of what the potential of your instrument is. I will NEVER be anywhere near the level of Hendrix or SRV, but I need to strive to reach that level and always try to get better...they are the goal.

Above all, like we have discussed, make your playing about your soul. It does not matter how much technical ability you have, as long as it comes from the places deep inside of you. Music is religion. Music is communication. Think about how certain songs put you in a specific time and place. I can't think of anything else that does that so perfectly. I want to encourage you to become a desciple of those musicians you love. Steal from those guys, and it will work its way into your personal sound. The best thing you can do to become a better musician is to listen to EVERYTHING! There are people out there who have already figured things out and have done the footwork; you just need to take their cue...again, steal from them as much as possible.
Playing with a pick isn't always bad. I do like fingerpicking better on bass, but I think it'd be better for him to learn both.

And don't let him settle into the dull, lifeless eighth-note duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh streams that most bass players play. A good bassline/bassist contributes more, if not as much as, a second guitar.
Yup my music has lots of Soul, Especially my 3-powerchord-pop-songs.

Quote by MetalMessiah665
Dude, I think I would know, Trivium invented Thrash, Metallica are lucky they got as far as they did piggy-backing off of Trivium's signature style.