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Woodlediedoo
Registered User
Join date: Jan 2010
112 IQ
#1
Hey,

My name is Roan and I'm starting a band with my friends. We've got a:
- Drummer
- Two guitarist
- Singer
- Synthersizer (me)

I have some questions regarding to the band. We're very new to this, we haven't played in a band before. My main question is: Is a bassist really needed? We're all friends and we don't have anyone who can play bass. We're starting with music like green day, maybe black sabbath, some easy songs. We're hoping to progress and then play some harder songs, like muse. Is it really necassary to have a bassist? Can two guitars cover it up or won't it sound good? I can play bass on my synthersizer too, is that an option or doesn't it sound the same?

Also, I know this is a guitar forum but I couldn't find any keyboard/synth forums with a large audience ;D So I hope someone maybe knows: When you play in a band as a synth, how do you know what to play? I know it's a very stupid question, but guitars can just look up tabs and stuff and drummer too, but how does that goes with a synth? Can you look up the chords anywhere on a site like this?

Thanks in advance!
-Roan
Sumlover41
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#2
Is a synthersizer really needed?
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aaciseric
Ug's Confused Brummie
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#4
Quote by Sumlover41
Is a synthersizer really needed?


Yeah, doesn't really seem like your in a position to call other people unneccessary really TS (not that you did, i'm just saying). And yes, a full rhythm section is essential. More important than having two guitarists. Frankly it's more important than having one.

As for your second question, it'll be very helpful for you if you learn to read stave, because most keyboard music is written that way.
Carl6661
UG Freak
Join date: Oct 2007
2,096 IQ
#5
I say just make one of the guitarists do bass. It's not like any of those bands you listed NEED a second guitar, Green Day have a second guitarist but they were going years before he joined.

EDIT - jfreyvogel and aaciseric both hit the nail on the head there.
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Last edited by Carl6661 at Jan 11, 2010,
stratd00d
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#6
Quote by Carl6661
I say just make one of the guitarists do bass. It's not like any of those bands you listed NEED a second guitar, Green Day have a second guitarist but they were going years before he joined.

I agree with that. You definitely need a bassist. A second guitarist and a synth are absolutely unnecessary at the point you're at. Actually, you'll sound better the less people there are in the band since you're just starting out. It's hard at first to get everyone playing together.
Vezdehod
UG Newbie
Join date: Jan 2010
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#7
There are a lot of things that can impact your overall sound. The size of the venue, the walls, etc. Since you have two guitars and are going to be playing rock, you can try turning up the bass settings on your amps a little bit, but that will definitely not be a substitute for a bassist. It would probably sound better with a bassist.

As to your question about keyboards, I don't think that there's a site devoted to just keyboards. Of course, 911tabs has some keyboard tabs, but overall they're shit. Just Google whatever song you're going to be doing and just play along with the chords.
Peaceful Rocker
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#8
Quote by Sumlover41
Is a synthersizer really needed?



I think bass is very important, yes you need it. You don't need two guitarists
scrambler_66
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#9
Since there's no set of rules (it's called music theory, not music law) I can't say "Yes, you have to have a bassist," but I will advise you that it will sound better, especially if you're doing covers of bands that have a bass player. Now to completely contradict myself, The Doors did not have a bass player, their keyboard player played the bass part, and they turned out pretty well. So in conclusion, it depends on the type of music you play and the sound you are out to get.

As far as what to play with a synth, knowing standard notation is a great help. Also, you could read guitar tab and convert that over to a keyboard, or play the same chords as the guitar. I'm not a synth player, but that's what makes sense to me.
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jfreyvogel
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#10
If you really don't know what to play on your keys start with this:

If your playing a supporting rhythm then take the rhythm guitarists chords and play the first chord of each phrase. then try harmonizing chords. Then try adding accents over either of those. This will hold you over till you get a better idea of what youre doing.

If your playing a leading section then loop the guitarists rhythm and find all the notes that are in consonance. From here you know which notes you can use and you can figure out what chords and scales will work. Also the notes that arent in consonance you know are dissonance notes. Pick the ones that coincide with the genre of music you are playing and use these to step through between consonance notes or chords.
QuantumMechanix
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#11
The Doors didn't have a bassist and they did fine.

That being said, YES a bassist is extremely important and unless you can really cover the bass parts with your synth (I'm guessing no), then you better find a bassist or get one of your bandmates to play bass. Between your 2 guitarists, you, and singer, I'm sure someone would be willing to take it up
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DaddyTwoFoot
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#12
Quote by scrambler_66
Since there's no set of rules (it's called music theory, not music law) I can't say "Yes, you have to have a bassist," but I will advise you that it will sound better, especially if you're doing covers of bands that have a bass player. Now to completely contradict myself, The Doors did not have a bass player, their keyboard player played the bass part, and they turned out pretty well. So in conclusion, it depends on the type of music you play and the sound you are out to get.

As far as what to play with a synth, knowing standard notation is a great help. Also, you could read guitar tab and convert that over to a keyboard, or play the same chords as the guitar. I'm not a synth player, but that's what makes sense to me.

What does theory even have to do with discussion?

Also, theory is kind of "laws." It's just laws on how to describe musical concepts, not write music.

TS, get a bassist.
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DoomsdayArsenal
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#13
Quote by Sumlover41
Is a synthersizer really needed?





...

Nothing is "needed."

Definitely not two guitars; have one of them switch to bass.

Bass is pretty important to rock music.
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ep1kz
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#14
your only option is to fill the low end with your synth, honestly
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BladeSlinger
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#15
Quote by ep1kz
your only option is to fill the low end with your synth, honestly

Pretty much. You'll have to adapt each bass part to synth and really hover over the bass side unless you can play some simple melodies along with the bass part.

The Doors didn't have a live bassist but they had a studio one. It isn't needed but then again, sounding 'good' is purely subjective.
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SilentHeaven109
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#16
Quote by QuantumMechanix
The Doors didn't have a bassist and they did fine.


I really don't like it when people constantly bring up one example like this to try and prove a point. There's a reason that only them and a few others have succeeded without bass players. Besides, The Doors played simple rock and roll, if you're playing punk or metal you will need the low end power, trust me.

TS, you should really get one of the guitarists to play bass. In situations like this, your guitarists may feel as if they are being "demoted" to bass playing, that's a personal issue you may have to deal with yourself, I don't know what your guitarists are like

I find a bassist essential simply because my old band had a few practices when the bass player couldn't make it, we sounded tragic and were begging for him to come back quickly
iwannabesedated
Out There
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#17
For the kind of music you play, yes a bassist is needed.

If you wanted to play maybe techno, or industrial, or something like that, synthesizer is just fine.
MPica
Registered User
Join date: Nov 2009
290 IQ
#18
Let me try and understand this...
You say you want to play stuff like Muse, but you don't wan't a bassist...?
There are so many things wrong with that logic. Go and actually listen to some Muse. Hear all that awesomeness? It's the bassist...
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QuantumMechanix
UG isn't that helpful
Join date: Aug 2007
2,577 IQ
#19
Quote by SilentHeaven109
I really don't like it when people constantly bring up one example like this to try and prove a point. There's a reason that only them and a few others have succeeded without bass players. Besides, The Doors played simple rock and roll, if you're playing punk or metal you will need the low end power, trust me.

Read the rest of my post. I agree with you
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dullsilver_mike
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#20
Quote by MPica
Let me try and understand this...
You say you want to play stuff like Muse, but you don't wan't a bassist...?
There are so many things wrong with that logic. Go and actually listen to some Muse. Hear all that awesomeness? It's the bassist...


Even his greenday reference, I don't really know anything they've done in the last 7 or 8 years, but I remember a lot of the early hits had really prominent, important basslines--very atypical for their genre.

TS cold just play all that on the synth, but it sure misses out on a big part of the songs' feel that way.
smb
Join date: Feb 2005
2,006 IQ
#22
Why don't you take up the bass?

Bass frequencies are pretty much essential, sure there are odd examples of bass free bands but they are generally shit. Synth bass is alright, but it's not the same as having a real bass player. And you definitely won't sound like Black Sabbath, Green Day or Muse without real bass.
Heylo12
Cant think cleverly now
Join date: Feb 2009
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#23
Playing it with the keys just isnt the same... unless you get a fancy one ment for bass (ala ray manzarek... doors). Bass is essential to the sound. I agree with other people here... theres 2 guitarists, a singer, and a a keyboard player that could all play bass. I would recomend you... its not that hard to do some really cool bass bits for that kind of music, and theres not allot of keyboard in punk anyway. Or one of the guitar players or singer... whatever
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shotdownNflames
Registered User
Join date: Jan 2010
43 IQ
#25
Turn the treble up on your stereo and the bass down. If you like that sound then you dont need a bass player. If you think that sounds like crap like most people do, then you need a bass player.
Fiire
UG's only Flying Strat
Join date: Jul 2009
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#26
seeing how you underrate bassists, either

change one guitar to bass
change synth for bass
make the singer play simple bass lines (or like Sting)
get a bassist and be a massive 6 guy band
BladeSlinger
nerd
Join date: Jan 2007
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#27
Find a bassist. A 6 piece could have so much potential.
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stewart32
Registered User
Join date: Jan 2009
13 IQ
#28
Haha as if you said that, do not think you are ready for a band if you are asking. Without bass the band will sound empty and you will not sound good live.

Either get the keyboard player on the job or one of the guitarists.
stewart32
Registered User
Join date: Jan 2009
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#29
Oh, also to play green day you really do need a bass player, a lot of green day songs are bass driven.
its_alive
What Would Jimi Do?
Join date: May 2007
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#30
My band started out with two guitars and no bass. We thought we'd be well off, but the sound was always lacking something. After a few decent months we finally picked up a good bassist, and our sound has definitely improved.

I wouldn't say its necessary, but if you could get one, I highly recommend it.
Wiegraf
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#31
Quote by its_alive
My band started out with two guitars and no bass. We thought we'd be well off, but the sound was always lacking something. After a few decent months we finally picked up a good bassist, and our sound has definitely improved.

I wouldn't say its necessary, but if you could get one, I highly recommend it.


The same thing happened to me when I first started playing music. Two of my friends were pretty good guitar players, and one of them had a neighbor that was a drummer. Their jams sounded good, but not "complete". I figured that bass would be easy to pick up and tried, and even with my pretty bad (at the time, I hope) bass playing it sounded better.

Also, if someone in the band ends up switching to bass, I hope that they don't feel like they're being demoted to bass duty. There's a ton of great bass players out there. It's not "only bass". Look at Flea, or Chris from Muse. Both of them have pretty cool bass lines that really carry the song. (Also yeah, you can't play Muse covers without a bass.)

Though, you probably could try using a whammy pedal like Jack White from the White Stripes. It'd sound like this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psbs_8kkWqg#t=0m27s Not bad, but not half as good as a real bass, I think.
Guitarfreak777
Registered User
Join date: Feb 2007
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#32
Quote by Woodlediedoo
Hey,

My name is Roan and I'm starting a band with my friends. We've got a:
- Drummer
- Two guitarist
- Singer
- Synthersizer (me)

I have some questions regarding to the band. We're very new to this, we haven't played in a band before. My main question is: Is a bassist really needed? We're all friends and we don't have anyone who can play bass. We're starting with music like green day, maybe black sabbath, some easy songs. We're hoping to progress and then play some harder songs, like muse. Is it really necassary to have a bassist? Can two guitars cover it up or won't it sound good? I can play bass on my synthersizer too, is that an option or doesn't it sound the same?

Also, I know this is a guitar forum but I couldn't find any keyboard/synth forums with a large audience ;D So I hope someone maybe knows: When you play in a band as a synth, how do you know what to play? I know it's a very stupid question, but guitars can just look up tabs and stuff and drummer too, but how does that goes with a synth? Can you look up the chords anywhere on a site like this?

Thanks in advance!
-Roan


Get a bassist. The bassist's of Green Day and Muse are the backbone of those bands.
Woodlediedoo
Registered User
Join date: Jan 2010
112 IQ
#33
Thanks alot for all the quick replies!
To clear things up, I didn't say I don't think a bass is needed, It's just because we don't have anyone who can play Bass so our hope was two guitars can cover it up. But from your replies I can see a bassist is really necessary ^^
And I know a Synth is less important then a bassist in a rock band, but I started the band with my friends so it would be kinda stupid to leave me out. :p

Anyways, thanks alot for the quick replies, I have another question: If you're a guitar player does it mean you can play bass also? Or is it a total different instrument? Because maybe one of the guitarist want to play Bass, does he need lessons or something, or is he able (because he plays guitar) to play bass quite good? I'm sorry for my lack of knowledge, I'm really new to this ;D

I appreciate all the help!
-Roan
Phil Starr
Tab Contributor
Join date: Oct 2007
1,128 IQ
#34
Bass players (that's me by the way) do two things within the band; we define the chord changes and we set the rhythm. At least that is the way it works with most bands.

Bassists talk about playing in the hole, they tend to be the only band members who listen to all the others and the trick for a bassist is to fill in the gaps (musically) that the rest of the band leave with the result that everything holds together better.

Obviously you can use any instrument to define the chord changes and the drummer can take responsibility for both rhythm and tempo but this will change the way the rest of you play and you will sound different.

There is a long history of bands using keyboards to fill in the bass and Keane, for example played live without a bass for a while though there is some bass on their recordings. A lot of shnth and techno bands do the same thing.

Don't worry about it, just get together and play. Once you have a few songs you know well you can experiment with using keys to provide bass if you feel you need it or the guitarists can each have a go. Playing bass is about temperament as much as skill, it is about supporting and nurturing rather than grabbing the limelight and it suits some people.

Be honest about your sound, if you think you need a bass then you do but remember lots of innovation in music comes about when a bunch of musicians make the best of what they have and the Doors are a great example of this.
zhilla
Registered User
Join date: Nov 2008
344 IQ
#35
So you've never been in a band before and you just got together? In that case you don't need anything except to have fun - a bassist would help as the bass helps hold the whole band together, but if you don't have one and your guitarists would both rather play guitar then I say just cover the bass line on your synth.

If you guys really gel and you decide you want to gig at a later date, then look into getting a bass player if you think you might need one. For now, if there isn't a bass player readily available that you want to jam with then don't let it stop you.

Edit: If you can play guitar reasonably well you can generally fudge your way through on bass - at least with a pick, and using tabs. Thats not the same as being able to play bass decently though. A decent bass player understands his instrument and how it fits into the band - thats the bit most guitar players are likely to struggle with imo.
Last edited by zhilla at Jan 12, 2010,
aaciseric
Ug's Confused Brummie
Join date: May 2006
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#36
Quote by Woodlediedoo
Thanks alot for all the quick replies!
To clear things up, I didn't say I don't think a bass is needed, It's just because we don't have anyone who can play Bass so our hope was two guitars can cover it up. But from your replies I can see a bassist is really necessary ^^
And I know a Synth is less important then a bassist in a rock band, but I started the band with my friends so it would be kinda stupid to leave me out. :p

Anyways, thanks alot for the quick replies, I have another question: If you're a guitar player does it mean you can play bass also? Or is it a total different instrument? Because maybe one of the guitarist want to play Bass, does he need lessons or something, or is he able (because he plays guitar) to play bass quite good? I'm sorry for my lack of knowledge, I'm really new to this ;D

I appreciate all the help!
-Roan


There are certain elements that will help, like the basic knowledge of how you play a string instrument, but essentially he will have to start from scratch again as bass serves a completely different purpose and the general switch from 6 to 4/5 much thicker strings will be a jump. He shouldn't neccessarily need lessons if he didn't take them for guitar, he could just get a bass guitar, an amp and then start off by learning covers and then move onto theory, which is the way I did and I know how to play my instrument successfully. Though everybody is different. Just tell him to try it out and see how it goes.
SilentHeaven109
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Join date: Oct 2008
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#37
Quote by Woodlediedoo
Anyways, thanks alot for the quick replies, I have another question: If you're a guitar player does it mean you can play bass also? Or is it a total different instrument? Because maybe one of the guitarist want to play Bass, does he need lessons or something, or is he able (because he plays guitar) to play bass quite good? I'm sorry for my lack of knowledge, I'm really new to this ;D


Just because someone can play guitar, it doesn't mean they will instantly be a great bassist, it will still take some practice. However, it will be much easier for a guitarist to start playing bass than anyone else, as the instruments are so similar their guitar skills will tranfer to a degree, but they won't be amazing at first.

And to QuantumMechanix, I wasn't having a pop at you or anything, it's just that whenever someone asks whether bass is necessary, someone always brings up The Doors, regardless of context, little pet peeve of mine
Woodlediedoo
Registered User
Join date: Jan 2010
112 IQ
#38
Thanks again for all the replies, we decided to just come toghetter first, play and jam toghetter, and when we're progressing maybe get a bass player. One of the guitarists has a 7 string guitar so he could play in Drop A. I love it how you guys know so much about music and are willing to help other people :3

Anyways, my final final question, do you guys know an easy song to begin with? Like really easy, but not something as Smoke on the water or something ;D We want to start with an easy song but that's still easy to play. I hope this isn't a stupid question, becuase I can imagine it has been asked alot. Would "Word Up" by Korn (originally from Cameo) be to hard? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1q-k-uN73Gk) Appreciate all the help!
Sicus
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#39
Quote by Woodlediedoo
Thanks again for all the replies, we decided to just come toghetter first, play and jam toghetter, and when we're progressing maybe get a bass player. One of the guitarists has a 7 string guitar so he could play in Drop A. I love it how you guys know so much about music and are willing to help other people :3

Anyways, my final final question, do you guys know an easy song to begin with? Like really easy, but not something as Smoke on the water or something ;D We want to start with an easy song but that's still easy to play. I hope this isn't a stupid question, becuase I can imagine it has been asked alot. Would "Word Up" by Korn (originally from Cameo) be to hard? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1q-k-uN73Gk) Appreciate all the help!


Try it out, would sound shit without bass tho. If not there's a suggestions thread.
SilentHeaven109
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#40
Quote by Woodlediedoo
Thanks again for all the replies, we decided to just come toghetter first, play and jam toghetter, and when we're progressing maybe get a bass player. One of the guitarists has a 7 string guitar so he could play in Drop A. I love it how you guys know so much about music and are willing to help other people :3

Anyways, my final final question, do you guys know an easy song to begin with? Like really easy, but not something as Smoke on the water or something ;D We want to start with an easy song but that's still easy to play. I hope this isn't a stupid question, becuase I can imagine it has been asked alot. Would "Word Up" by Korn (originally from Cameo) be to hard? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1q-k-uN73Gk) Appreciate all the help!


First of all, I wouldn't use lower tunings as a substitute for a bass player, it will probably sound awful unless you are all in the same tuning. If neither of your guitarists want to play bass, which would really be the best option, just play without one for a while and get one later when you start to play shows.

As far as song choices go, Word Up would be fine skill wise, but Korn is a very bass driven band, so it may not sound great, but go for it if you like it, it's probably best to pick songs together that you like rather than asking for advice on it.
Find some bands that you all like and pick songs by them, you'll have much more fun playing stuff you love than you would playing stuff just because it's easy.
Last edited by SilentHeaven109 at Jan 12, 2010,