#1
Hello all.
I've been playing regular(?) guitar for around four years now, and I have been trying to keep up in theory by taking music classes in school.
Up until this point, I have been taking the keyboard/piano class, but for gr 11 I wasn't allowed back into the course (got a 90% last semester, so I'm not sure why).

In order to keep learning theory, I transferred into instrumental music/band, and decided my best bet was to play bass. I figured with the guitar background I would at least have some idea of what I'm doing. So, what are the main differences/things to know for bass guitar?

TLDR:
Starting up bass in school, have guitar background. What do I need to know?

Abridged:
How does bass?
#2
Well music theory itself is universal, it doesn't change from instrument to instrument.

The thing you'll have to learn with bass is 1) technique, and 2) your role as a bass player (which can differ depending on the setting).

Your previous guitar experience and previous experience with music theory will indeed help you. Some advice I'd like to give though, is that you need to treat the bass as a separate beast from guitar. Many guitarists pick up the bass and treat it as a big guitar with 4 (or more) strings. Not so, it is a completely different instrument (that happens to be constructed in a similar manner), and should be treated as such.

EDIT: almost forgot, welcome to the wonderful world of bass!
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Last edited by Tostitos at Jun 24, 2010,
#3
Well, you know how guitar has 6 strings? Bass only has four. And they're fatter.

Seriously though, there's not much to say. You're gonna have to get used to the significantly different technique that goes into bass, but that will pretty much just come with practice.

One thing to bear in mind as a new bassist: You are now a rhythm instrument. Not to say you can't do leads or rippin' bass solos, but bass is a groovy instrument. You treat it as a groovy instrument, it'll treat you well.

I'll leave you this (may not be the best example, but Pino is a groove master): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_zRDchkDXg.

Good luck, hope you come to love the instrument.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#4
Thanks for the help, and advice on string count.

The main thing is the change in role I think. That and getting used to changing in playing styles (fingers vs pick, grooves vs leads). What kind of cool techniques do bassists get? Guitar does cool sweeping, and I've tried tapping on my friends bass which wasn't too bad. I've heard of pops/stings/somethings. What are they?
#5
You are a member of the rhythm section. And no, playing rhythm guitar does not count for brownie points. Keeping locked in the rhythm is not important as a bassist; its essential. And as others have eluded, you serve the song and lay down the foundation.

And pop and slap is a technique on bass, made famous by the original slap monster, Larry Graham.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipjTvRe7-Zg&feature=related

and check out Louis Johnson..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuDYiWuZSFw&feature=related
#6
Now you're the unsung hero known as the rhythm player. The soul of the song lies in the rhythm, but bass players rarely get credit from anyone other than other bass players.
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#7
Quote by DontPushMongo
Thanks for the help, and advice on string count.

The main thing is the change in role I think. That and getting used to changing in playing styles (fingers vs pick, grooves vs leads). What kind of cool techniques do bassists get? Guitar does cool sweeping, and I've tried tapping on my friends bass which wasn't too bad. I've heard of pops/stings/somethings. What are they?


As has been said, slap and pop. Learn how to do it, and you'll be able to make most guitardists shut the f*** up when they start the usual "but bass is easy" nonsense you'll become frequently subjected to. Not all guitarists are like that of course, but there's an annoyingly high portion of them that are.

That being said, the first thing you want to focus on is your normal technique. Slap and pop is cool as a sort of "flashy" thing to learn, but it's almost never used exclusively, but rather to compliment fingerstyle playing. Being a guitarist, you'll have picking down really quickly, you only need to adapt your technique slightly. For fingerstyle though, you might find it takes a while for it to become natural. This is the first thing I'd work on.