I'm basically looking for a lot of inspiration here. I first picked up bass when I was 14 (I'm 24 now) and I played it for about 3-4 years. Then I made the switch to guitar because of the amazing melodies I would hear from guitarists/shredders like Alexi Laiho. And frankly, I fell in love with guitar. I got really into analyzing technique and would be one of the people that sits there practicing to a metronome for a couple hours everyday. However, I have lost the ability to hold a pick (grip issue with my thumb) and so I am going back to bass now because that doesn't require a pick to play (and yes, I already have a classical guitar, but that's for another style of playing).

In NO WAY am I implying that bass is an inferior instrument, not at all. But just for me, it's hard to accept that I can't get that same crunch and same FEEL of so much melodic playing on bass like I did from guitar. HOWEVER, I have bought myself a 6 string bass. So I'm definitely going to be incorporating a lot of melody into my playing. And what excites me is the extended range I have on this beast. I'm excited to learn tapping and slapping as well. I am definitely getting a lot of inspiration from players like Les Claypool right now.

I just really, really want to find that same passion and drive I had for playing guitar, but I want to apply it to bass now. I want to be EXCITED to practice everyday and feel accomplished after every practice session.

So please, help me out here.

1. Tell me WHY you switched from guitar to bass.

2. Tell my what you FEEL differently when you play bass rather than when you play guitar.

3. What drives you to keep playing bass? Why are you passionate about it?

4. Tell me the benefits and advantages you see in playing bass over guitar.

Thank you guys!
first off ive been playing guitar for 8 years, i picked up bass 3 years ago. I play acoustic when i play guitar, but bass for me plugged in has so much feel. The grooves you can make just carry songs. I feel that i can apply more to a song with bass then guitar.I switched over because everyband i was in we never had a bass player, could never find anyone with the drive that we had so we became a full on three piece rock/funk/alt. band. The benefits of bass is it teaches you timing i find. Ive grown to love bass more than guitar just for the reason of it sounds bad ass. i get more feel out of a bass, you can feel it move you.

im just starting to get into bass after playing guitar for about 5-6 years. its just something about the feel of it and i dont really understand why i love the sound of them so much. and a good bassist brings a lot to a band. geddy lee from rush, hunter burgan from afi, and emma anzai from the sick puppies are some of my favorites that i can think of at the moment. guess they always give me some sort of inspiration to keep on playing. and for an advantage to playing bass, youre kinda unique. most people dont really want to go out and get good at bass, they always go straight for guitar instead
I haven't really switched from guitar to bass, but I play and write bass parts frequently because of the solo stuff I do. I agree 100% that there is some sort of magic to playing bass, especially a fretless. What I'll often do is build out a drum groove with Superior Drummer, and then work out bass parts over that, which will end up dictating what I do with the guitar. And I've also found myself giving the bass parts more technical and melodic bits with less technical (but interesting from a harmonic standpoint) guitar aspects.

EDIT: One of the reasons I find that I end up going to writing bass parts before guitar parts is because often I'll come up with a rhythmic idea first, and bass tends to lend it's self to that better than guitar.
Last edited by hildesaw at Aug 12, 2011,
Your story is quite similar to mine, since I also took up bass when I was 14, played it for about 4 years, then took guitar and now I'm 24. Now, to answer your 4 proposed questions:

1. I switched because I wanted to experiment a little, so I bought a cheap electric guitar with a cheap amp. One day I realized I spent more time playing and practicing guitar than bass. Also that I was better at creating melodies with the guitar. Seriously, I find it harder to be a good bass player than a good guitar player.

2. I feel different because ... I find it harder, that's it. I really enjoy bass, but I cannot achieve as much as I would love to.

3. I still play bass because ... I like it. Also, sometime while composing a song or recording a home demo I like to add a bass. Also it's good to be able to play more than one instrument and bea ble to read music in two different keys.

4. The benefits of bass over guitar ... hard to tell, tehy are just different. Both are good. Although there are way more guitar players than bass players, which means it's also harder and more appreciated to find a good bass player.
Beau, oui, comme Bowie
I did the other way around, from bass to guitar. the main reason being guitars are smaller and easier to play while sitting down. After years of playing guitar I started playing bass again, and found that all my skills from guitar had transferred to bass, along with all the skills I already had from bass. I just had to relearn the songs (which has always been really quick for me, I can nail a song in two minutes if I've got sheet music)

I love playing bass, and I'm a lot better at it than guitar now, but I've got to say guitar still really holds my heart (when sitting down at least)
1978 Peavey T-40 -> Ampeg Micro-VR - > Ampeg SVT210AV + Ampeg SVT-15E
1. Tell me WHY you switched from guitar to bass.
I never really "Switched"
I just learned guitar as well.

2. Tell my what you FEEL differently when you play bass rather than when you play guitar.
I feel more open in a way since I am more proficient at it.

3. What drives you to keep playing bass? Why are you passionate about it?
Theres too many guitarists. I want to use my talents to inspire others to pick up the bass rather than the guitar.

4. Tell me the benefits and advantages you see in playing bass over guitar.
Theres less pressure on you if you have stagefright ect.
But mostly bassists are just more in demand. I get offered to join another band like every month. That doest happen as often with gutiarists.
And finally I find that you can kinda go anywhere. You can hold down the bassline, play a solo or even do some chordal comping(especailly with your 6). Just listen to SMV to know what I mean.
Quote by Moonshield17
1. Tell me WHY you switched from guitar to bass.

2. Tell my what you FEEL differently when you play bass rather than when you play guitar.

3. What drives you to keep playing bass? Why are you passionate about it?

4. Tell me the benefits and advantages you see in playing bass over guitar.

Thank you guys!

1. Originally I was a guitarist, got a bass just to record stuff... But eventually I became mainly a bassist, possibly due to my only working band so far having me as the bassist.

2. Bass is obviously much easier to play fingerstyle, and I find that fingerstyle limits you much less in what you can do, like incorporating short tapping bits easily into your playing, or even playing out some arpeggios.

3. It's a very versatile instrument, the electric bass, and other bass range instruments like the upright bass are used in pretty much every genre of music. You can treat it as strictly a rhythm instrument as much as you can use it as a solo instrument.

4. See 2. Though the guitar, obviously, is a much more melodic instrument though, that's the only disadvantage I could find.
Professional lurker since 2009.
Quote by Moonshield17

1. Tell me WHY you switched from guitar to bass.

2. Tell my what you FEEL differently when you play bass rather than when you play guitar.

3. What drives you to keep playing bass? Why are you passionate about it?

4. Tell me the benefits and advantages you see in playing bass over guitar.

Thank you guys!

1. I'd only been learning guitar for a few years, mostly teaching my self and playing simple power cord stuff. A friend in uni needed money but wouldn't just take some off me so as a compromise I brought her bass which she never used. In the style of music I love playing bass wasn't all that much different to playing the guitar and frankly it was much easier to get in to bands.

2. I kept up guitar playing but mostly it's acoustic but over the last 6 or so years I've been in a few bands and it's always been playing bass and it's hard to really talk about them being different because I'm doing fundamentally different things. Since I don't even own an electric guitar at the moment it's hard to judge but... I guess the main difference is in how you interact with the drums, when you get locked in with a drummer playing bass it's a whole different feeling then when you are playing guitar as you are both adding to and building off each other in a way the other guitars simply can't. The bass and drums are very much the heart of the song in the kind of punky stuff I tend to play and even if it's not complex a lot of the time it's part of the punch. Bass can also lead a song but I don't play like that so I can't speak to it.

3. until the last few months it's been much more about the bands and the people that playing bass has lead me to. To put it simply I moved to a town to live with a guy who I used to play in a band 'cus he needed a house mate and he'd wrangled me a better job at the place he worked. It also just happened to be the city that the singer in my band lived in, she'd not been with us long but I'd been out and met a lot of her friends. I quickly became a part of the group and when my house mate had to move back to the city we'd both come from I found a place and stayed here. It's been the best time of my life and I have a whole new group of friends because of it. I've also met endless awesome people and bands and done things and played stages that I could have only dreamed of a few years ago.

Yet the last few months something clicked, I've never been one to sit down and learn stuff but I have been pushing my self both with how I play, what I play and how I act on stage. The actual playing I've suddenly found my self able to come up with ideas and play things I wouldn't have been able to 6 months ago. This I think is in part due to this band being my longest running one so I'm constantly playing in a way I've not before. Which has lead to me playing even more and starting to dive a little in to theory.

I guess it can all be summed up by a gig about a month ago, it was a fantatic little punk festival a friend had put on and after we'd played a lot of people who'd not seen us for a while or at all yet who views I respect kept telling me how good we where and how they didn't know I was such a good bass player. I sat down and had a talk with a much better player than me from another band and I was talking about how I'd never really felt like a bass player... really... and he told me to stop being stupid and that I differently was a bass player and I actually believed him.

I still don't think I'm a very good bass player but I do now see my self as one and having finally really realised that and realised how much I do love playing it I'm going to spend time and effort into getting better at it... a lot of the stuff I learn I doubt I'll ever use in bands but I want to learn it for the sake of finding out what I can do with the thing.

4. I've already really stated it, mostly it's about bands and your ability to get in to them. There is as much depth to playing bass as there is guitar it's just different and if you can get in to enjoying that then you'll have a better pick of bands with just as much to do in them.

But a lot of this stuff depends on the style you want to play. In a lot of styles of music the bass is the star and the lead and the guitars take a back seat to it while it shines but that's not for me... the bass I play is there to back up the guitars, which is not to say you can't do fun and complex stuff but it has to work and it has to be there with the drums laying the foundations that the rest of the song is built on.

I then aim to rock out and throw my self around far more than the guitarist... which I do, partly in the hopes they'll up there game to match me and also to remind me that I'm actually there... but mostly 'cus it's damn fun!
Quote by Moonshield17
1. Tell me WHY you switched from guitar to bass.

2. Tell my what you FEEL differently when you play bass rather than when you play guitar.

3. What drives you to keep playing bass? Why are you passionate about it?

4. Tell me the benefits and advantages you see in playing bass over guitar.

Thank you guys!

1) bottom end man. When I was a guitarist (played for 6 years) I could never find a deep rich fat tone I liked, that is until I picked up a bass.

2) I feel that I can groove more freely with a bass then with a guitar, I feel like I have more room to move around in a song.

3) Honestly, it's the release I get from a nice fat bass line. Not to mention how versatile the instrument is.

4) well the versatility for one (again) on my P bass I can go from smooth rich tones to a metal growl without ever touching a single effect pedal, You can't do that with a guitar.

One of the best advantages to playing the bass, is that while the guitarist is getting a bunch of sweaty guys banging their heads, YOU as a bassist get all the ladies dancing and shaking their stuff.
Quote by FatalGear41
In the end, the only question is: what bass would Jesus play?

I think he's a Fender Jazz guy.
Its a cool story why I switched to bass, I was working nights at a 24hour drive thru subway and one of the night managers was a guitarist/bassist but mainly a singer and he had been playing bass with a band and singing while they looked for a full time bassist. When I started working there I was playing guitar and he asked if I'd ever played bass I said no but it had been the first that I wanted ended up with a guitar for Christmas instead. So he said I was in if I came to practice and I could figure it out fast enough. I just fell in love with it.

Bass just feels better I've always been more of a groove person when I listen to music and bass just kind of jumps at me when I listen to music and it just feels right when I'm playing. I'm not thinking about the next note coming up or the next verse I just get lost in it.

I played guitar for about 5 or 6 years off and on and just never thought of myself as good. I kind of kept with it because I loved music but a lot of it was to say I "played guitar" but when I started playing bass all the feelings of struggling to be good or the torment of practicing scales and modes just seemed to disappear and it just became about having fun and just jamming! I love that feeling I smile at all times when I play the bass I never felt that with the guitar it was more frustrating than anything I could never find MY sound I was always trying to copy this persons or that persons sound. With bass I don't chase sounds when I learn a song I'll make it sound good to me and that's it. I feel in control of the sound I make and the music I make and its just a great feeling.

The benefits that I see in bass are amazing it's still so undeveloped, there have been great bass players in the past but you don't ever hear bass players saying that everything has already been done. I felt bound by the guitar like every move had to be planned and organized but on the bass I just let the fingers fly and listen to what they do and usually it takes no time at all to create a killer bass line that I can grow off of and create song out of. I'm not very good at coming up with bass lines to guitar parts but leave me a lone with a bass and an amp and I'll spit you out some killer grooves!
Wow, some really interesting answers here.

that's awesome that bass makes you feel that free. I can kind of relate to you on the strict guitar practice and all...like you gotta be perfect with your technique, scales and modes and what not. but tbh, i'm pretty much practicing the same way with bass. i have that kind of urge to be the best possible at the instrument. i was never really one of those "jam" people. i enjoy practicing to a metronome even, as long as i see progress. cuz at the end of the day, that makes me feel accomplished, like i'm coming closer and closer to the level of playing i want to be at.

Yes, i really encourage you to sit down and spend more "quality" time with the instrument. even if you wont use complex techniques such as tapping in your band's music, i feel that it will still enrich you and not to mention, make your playing better. and who knows...maybe the more stuff you learn on bass, the more you will have the urge to let bass shine thru in your band.

And yeah one of the things that excites me about 6 string bass is that it is a rather undeveloped instrument. Also, like you guys all said, bass players are less common than guitar players, so there's something special even in that.
I played guitar for about 7 or 8 years. I always hated fretted complex chords, and single notes, on guitar, don't quite fill in the sound when making music. I like the idea of solos and whatnot, but I always admired the thundering low end a bass could deliver, especially with some distortion. It just made sense to me. I have some guitarist friends who started a few years after I did, and they seemed to excel at it faster than I could. It didn't feel like my instrument.

A few years ago, I finally decided to switch from Guitar to Bass. I traded my instrument and amplifier for a Bass Guitar and Amp. I got ripped off (financially), but it was the best decision I have ever made. I seem to excel much faster at Bass than I do guitar and I can write music on a Bass better than I could a guitar. Sometimes I miss the sound of a guitar when mean chords are played through distortion, but my Bass keeps my mind off of it well enough.
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