I'm in a band right now thats just getting started. Somehow we ended up with two bass players... We also have two guitarists, a vocalist, and a drummer. For some songs I intend to play keys, even a little guitar, but definitely not all the time.

Could having two bass players work?

I'm a more experienced player and was thinking that maybe he could play simpler, maybe lower stuff in a steady rhythm while I could take a more lead role by playing more complex higher. Or perhaps just have separate parts?

Please give me some input. Thanks!
its har to find bass players.i say dont b gredy annd donate one of yors to anotherband cause i bet theres a band near u dieing for one and you have two!2 is pretty useless
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you could have one do a moving rhythm (eighth notes or whatever) and another harmonize/copy the guitar part. ive never tried it, but its an idea
I like your idea of having one play a simple lower riff and having the other play higher more complex riffs. I think that could work.

Or you could have both play the same riff but then have a "bass solo duel" which could be pretty tight.

Thats just my opinion though.
Yes it can.

It works pretty good for BassInvaders and they have 3 bassists.

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I've written a few pieces for 2 basses; a 5-string keeping pace with the rhythm and a 6-string leading higher melodies and harmonies.

I approach it the same as you would writing for two guitars, sometimes I just prefer the timbre of a bass.

So yeah, I think it would work for you.
Haha. Thanks for the input guys!

I checked out Bassinvaders too, that was pretty cool.
For the song Nobody Loves Me and Neither Do I by Them Crooked Vultures, when playing it live, they have two bass players, which makes it extra heavy. John Paul Johns plays a slide bass in this song, while the other guy plays a normal bass. I dunno what you're going for but I'd say that this is a bit of a novelty, and wouldn't work all the time. Maybe you should donate him/her to someone else.
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I've gone down this road. Let me tell you this now, 2 bass players can work, but if you can avoid it from the start, I'd recommend it. My current band has 2 bass players, and though it's difficult, we've made it work (not without an abundance of muddy noise early on, and a lot of drama).

One of our most common tricks are having the bass players play octaves during lighter parts of songs, such as choruses, some verses, and going to the same lower octave for a quick heavier part (we do this in one of our song's chorus and then post-choruses for example). We have a few songs with multiple basslines, but if they're both busy, split them. A lot. 2 octaves average is my recommend minimum. Bass solos are fun to have, especially harmonized and a bit like that makes it worth it.

Another good trick is if a song would have a part where the guitars drop out for a second to have bass play shortly (usually about 2 measures or less, sometimes a couple notes) harmonize them in 5ths or octaves for a very heavy and cool sound, Having one bassist slide up the next while another climbs a scale is also a good fill bit.

To get a good sound, you're going to need to EQ them well and differently. We have our low (though they both play low, he generally plays lower and stays low) bass player with boosted bass, scooped low mids, boosted high mids, and an average highs. As well as high tone on his bass. He plays hard fingerstyle because it gives him an almost clacky picked bass tone, but he prefers fingers. Our "High" bass plays mostly with a pick, and plays with low bass, medium mids, and high highs, the goal was a smoother sound to be more of a melody that didn't move around as much as our low bassist (he loves to 'shred' it up Rancid-style). It's still picked though, so it's not as smooth as I like, but he plays better that way. We also have 2 guitarists, distorted, but because of all the instruments our gain is lower than a normal punk/hard rock band. Otherwise we get a "wall of sound" and that is in a bad way.

Also, like Mutmoo mentioned, The Ned's are a great band with 2 bass players (the only one I know of to get big). I'm actually listening to them right now, we plan on covering Happy.

Feel free to check out my band if you want, but our recordings are live session 3 track recordings, 1 for the singer, 1 for the backup vocals, and 1 for every instrument in the room. So the quality is pretty bad. We were also less "tight" as a band when we recorded those.

Hope I helped, it was hell making something with 2 bass players without much info.
have an open dont go into the writing proccess with any writing conventions.. dont limit youself to a genre or anything that will sell

be like JF
What kind of music do you guys play, or plan on playing? Everyone here has had good advice, especially morrock, pay attention to what he said. Something that hasn't been mentioned is different effects. One could use a bit of distortion or overdrive and the other could be clean or have some smooth chorus effects on it. Going really out there, experimenting with flangers, phasers, auto-wahs, and synth pedals could give you a unique tone. Go crazy experimenting, just make sure that the bass won't get lost in the guitar mix if you use distortion/overdrive.
Alright, I will definitely take that all into account, thanks Morrock.

Our band is kindve a mash up of Alternative, hard rock, punk, ska, and metal. We're rather eclectic but the stuff we've been writing is turning out pretty good.
Well a unique set up for a unique sound i guess. If it seems like its working out and your music has been turning out good then keep it up. Hope everything works out.
if you can get a third bass, you could do this:

Clickable ^
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Our drummer told me we had 3 bassists for almost a year, I just noticed 1.

Seriously, you can make it work, you just need to try out different things. Some good suggestions already have been made.
Last edited by chokmool at Dec 6, 2009,