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#1
"Alright, so we've all heard it before. You're jamming with your mates and all of a sudden, your bassist's girlfriend needs a tampon, so he has to run out of practice early and give her some aid. Then your second guitarist leaps in and says "Well, I'll do it. After all, if you can play guitar, you can play bass, right?"

Wrong.

"But Mr. PlasticMan, they're essentially the same instrument right? Just two strings less on the bass right? Huh?"

Nope. Sorry, and I'm sure any person who has tried both instruments will gather the same conclusion.

Here's Why:

I. "Picking" Technique

When I hold my smelly Squier guitar with this little plastic thing between my fingers, I can play as fast as I darn well want to, within reason. However, if I am handed a bass and some lunatic takes my pick to scrape the dirt from under his toenails, I can play as fast, and sound like, a retarded elephant. Yes, I am aware that bassists can use picks too, fine, but that will take me to the next point.

II. String Size

Heh, bet you saw that coming. Seems a bit obvious, but for the newbies, bass strings are a LOT thicker then your guitar strings. And believe me, no matter what you're using to produce a tone, it's going to feel a lot different then your guitar strings of which you've probably lowered the action and detuned to the point where there's more buzzing then a bunch of bee's around a case of beer.

III. Neck Size

In general, basses will have much wider necks then a guitar, streching your ickle teeny calloused fingers to the breaking point.

IV. Sound Engineering/Ear Training/EQ

The guitar, for the most part, occupies the middle/high frequency ranges. Assuming you've been playing/listening to the instrument for a fair amount of time, your ear is trained to those frequencies, those are the ones you're going to be hearing easier, and more adapted to shaping the way you want them. If you start futzing around with a bass, you aren't going to be used to the frequency. It might even be difficult for you (in an extreme case, or if you're in some form of a detuned metal band) to hear what notes you're playing, since the note is so much lower then you are used to. And the bass' eq settings are massively different from the guitar one you enjoy. You may be able to master the technicalities above this step, but you'll still have to learn some more tone shaping/engineer psychobabble (which is fun, but takes a while).

V. Position In The Band

For those of you mildly intelligent folk who are thinking "Yeah, yawn, forget the technical stuff, what's a REAL important point?", this one's for you. As a guitarist, you may not realize it, but you're a selfish, spoiled jerk. You're used to being the center of attention (except in some genre situations, but shut up, let me finish) in just about every song. You are the meat of the band *ego swell*. As a bassist, you're not going to be able to wank on your instrument and fart around, even for "just some of the time". Your job is to hold a steady grove, and to guide the other band members. Not play with your teeth and spell out your phone number in guitar tab for the girl in the front row. You have responsibility now. Yes, I am aware there are "bass solos" and "main bass riffs" and "bands the center around the bass". But for the majority of your typical musical journey, the above responsibility applies.

So next time you hear someone say that, throw this webpage at them, followed by the entire internet crashing on their face. You don't need to embarass yourself in front of your bandmates thinking you can do what you cannot. But by all means, sit down with a bass and work on it. You might learn something, instead of assuming something. And remember, that bassist will always return, covered in a red sticky substance. And he will want his bass back.

Notes:
-I am a guitarist.
-I do not hate bassists.
-I do not hate "detuned metal music".
-I am fourteen years old, stereotype my age, I dare you.
-In this article, I have made a large amount of generalizations and categorizations that should be taken with a grain of salt.
-In this article, I have subtley poked fun at a large amount of groups and subcultures who should not be offended.
-If you are in a noisecore band, none of the above applies to you.
-I might be clinically insane.

Yours,
R."


Waste of my time or no?
"We are what we pretend to be...so we must be careful what we pretend to be."
#3
Yes, this was a waste of time (Well, not really, but most people can figure all this out and none of it is that big a deal) because having learned to play guitar on a classical, none but the Frequency applies to me.

I guess I'm used to being the 'center of attention' but that's because I play solo stuff, not with a band. (At the moment.)

ALSO, you may not be a master at bass, but since the strings are tuned the same as your top 4, it will get the same sound basically, only deeper. You can play simple bass probably, and with a little practice, can get into excellent bass. You have an extreme advantage over anyone else, except other bass players (Including stand up bass.)

Note: This is about bass guitar, not stand up bass.

And no one will stereotype your age, there was no need to put it, you just want attention.
#4
You have alot of time on your hands don't you.
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#5
i play guitar and bass (guitar came first) i really dont see a difference except for my fingers hurt a ton more after playing
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#6
i started out playing bass, then i bought a guitar and sold my bass, and now you make me want to buy a bass again... damn you....
#8
Quote by Retribution
And no one will stereotype your age, there was no need to put it, you just want attention.

Bingo.
#9
Ok, so I'm taking the age part out cause apparently it means I want attention. Anything else?
"We are what we pretend to be...so we must be careful what we pretend to be."
#10
actually my friend plays guitar and because of that he borrowed a bass

when we were messin about he could play bass well

that was like the first time he played a bass
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#11
I get what you are saying. I've seen a lot of guitarists treat the bass as a novelty, or whatever. They just try and do lead lines on a bass, and usually trip up at it. I think this may just be reminding us to respect that other cleff, and embrace your brother


As for the age thing? Yea, act like one of the big boys, and you will be treated as such.

How old am I? Is it relevant or have anything to do with the quality of my posts? No sir.
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#12
Alright, well thanks for all who helped. I think I'll do a bit more revision and re-submit this (got denied before because I didn't put it here first, silly).
"We are what we pretend to be...so we must be careful what we pretend to be."
#13
Patronizing people isn't really helping I think? You seemed mad when you wrote this?
#14
Quote by FakePlasticMan
As a bassist, you're not going to be able to wank on your instrument and fart around, even for "just some of the time". Your job is to hold a steady grove, and to guide the other band members.


Only if you're a terrible bassist. Obviously you don't know nearly enough about bass to write any article containing the word "bass". Not even if it's about bass fishing. Just leave bass to the people who actually know how to do it and quit jerking off on some ridiculous attempt to disprove the majority of newbie gutiarists mindset. In my experience older players, who know what they are doing, respect all instruments equally, and diversely. Everyone who knows anything knows that bass isn't the same as guitar, we don't need you to tell us it.
#15
I feel that theres this like 'magical moment' of a musicians playing life, where they suddenly reasile the importance of other instruments. however, some could realise this within a few months, other stubborn players might go for years and years.

and bumper, there are quite a few older guitarists out there that look only to their instrument and regard everything else as 'crap'.
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#16
How come everyone who's 15 or younger just have to point out their age as soon as they write an article?
#17
Quote by IndieMetalhead
I feel that theres this like 'magical moment' of a musicians playing life, where they suddenly reasile the importance of other instruments. however, some could realise this within a few months, other stubborn players might go for years and years.


That's when guitarists become musicians
He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt.
He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice.


Remember: A prudent question is one half of wisdom.

Click.
#19
Well, I've stepped in for a bassist, I had no troubles..
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#20
and i think we've all already known, each instrument has its own importance..whatever your position in your band, you must know it...
#21
The first time I picked up a guitar I couldn't play a damn thing, even with the tab right there in front of me.

The first time I picked up a bass I could play lot's of simple stuff, and some more complicated songs. So... you're wrong.

Although your points are valid your title throws it off. The fact is you can play bass if you can play guitar, you just won't be as good as a regular bassist. It'#s not hard to make the transition at all if you're tyhe slightest bit musical.
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#22
bass can be fun too...you can show off and be the guy who gets noticed...take cliff burton for example.

besides that you're a 14 year old and i hate you.

but honestly the article seemed somewhat pointless, seeing as anyone who's ever met a bass player would know this.
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#23
Believe it or not, not every ****ing person hates the bass player. You want to talk about stereotypes? How about the unnoticed bassist, theres one for ya.

Ima bassist, and I enjoy chillin with my boi the drummer, laying down some phat beatz and letting my guitarist do some crazy lead ****. I dont care if people think I don't do anything, I know I do something and thats more than good enough for me.
#24
yeah. i'm a guitarist, but bass is cool. funk bass is just awesome.
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#25
kinda true but kinda untrue. most guitarists i know have been able to pick up the bass fairly easily but not be uber awesome at it straight away like they might be at guitar.
i don't know how to tab
#26
Quote by Dr. No
Well, I've stepped in for a bassist, I had no troubles..


Ditto. This is like all those guys who say "Acoustic's totally different from electric, man".

Basically, there are two possibilities regarding the perceived "huge" differences between various types of what, when you get down to it, are all guitars:

1) I am an extraordinary genius who was born to play guitar in all it's forms.
2) Everyone else isn't trying hard enough.

Which is more likely?
Feel free to ignore my ranting.

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Last edited by Strat_Monkey at Oct 6, 2006,
#27
It's easy to play a load of songs on bass when you're just starting out because bassists in modern day popular music usually just play root notes. It's the equivalent aof being able to play a powerchord riff and saying that you can play guitar. You CAN, just NOT WELL.

Now try playing some crazy ass technical shit on bass and then guitar. It's a lot harder on bass, by far, especially if you finger pick.
#28
I'm not sure if the above post was aimed at me, but my previous post needed calrifying anyway, so here goes: I didn't say I can play insanely on bass, I just said I can play. When I play bass I always play with my fingers, and I can slap/pop and do the thing I think is called "double thumping" (not sure - I'm self-taught so I don't know the names of every technique). I can also do basic melodic two hand tapping on bass. All of this is because I never found any huge differences between guitar and bass.

By the way, I have played bass in bands before and since I received no complaints from band members or audience members, I assume I did it well.
Feel free to ignore my ranting.

Member of the Self-Taught Club.

A recent study shows that 8% of teenagers listen to nothing but music with guitars in it. Put this in your sig if you're one of the 92% who isn't a close-minded moron.
#29
Quote by FakePlasticMan
I. "Picking" Technique

When I hold my smelly Squier guitar with this little plastic thing between my fingers, I can play as fast as I darn well want to, within reason. However, if I am handed a bass and some lunatic takes my pick to scrape the dirt from under his toenails, I can play as fast, and sound like, a retarded elephant. Yes, I am aware that bassists can use picks too, fine, but that will take me to the next point.

What exactly is your point here?

II. String Size

Heh, bet you saw that coming. Seems a bit obvious, but for the newbies, bass strings are a LOT thicker then your guitar strings. And believe me, no matter what you're using to produce a tone, it's going to feel a lot different then your guitar strings of which you've probably lowered the action and detuned to the point where there's more buzzing then a bunch of bee's around a case of beer.

Just because it *feels* different doesn't mean it's still not playable.

III. Neck Size

In general, basses will have much wider necks then a guitar, streching your ickle teeny calloused fingers to the breaking point.

Please. You act like guitar necks are the most a guitarist's hands can handle. I could easily play a guitar with a neck 150% wider than mine, so I don't see how that's a legitimate reason.

IV. Sound Engineering/Ear Training/EQ

The guitar, for the most part, occupies the middle/high frequency ranges. Assuming you've been playing/listening to the instrument for a fair amount of time, your ear is trained to those frequencies, those are the ones you're going to be hearing easier, and more adapted to shaping the way you want them. If you start futzing around with a bass, you aren't going to be used to the frequency. It might even be difficult for you (in an extreme case, or if you're in some form of a detuned metal band) to hear what notes you're playing, since the note is so much lower then you are used to. And the bass' eq settings are massively different from the guitar one you enjoy. You may be able to master the technicalities above this step, but you'll still have to learn some more tone shaping/engineer psychobabble (which is fun, but takes a while).

Just because you hear it differently (or not at all) doesn't mean you can't still play the instrument.

V. Position In The Band

For those of you mildly intelligent folk who are thinking "Yeah, yawn, forget the technical stuff, what's a REAL important point?", this one's for you. As a guitarist, you may not realize it, but you're a selfish, spoiled jerk. You're used to being the center of attention (except in some genre situations, but shut up, let me finish) in just about every song. You are the meat of the band *ego swell*. As a bassist, you're not going to be able to wank on your instrument and fart around, even for "just some of the time". Your job is to hold a steady grove, and to guide the other band members. Not play with your teeth and spell out your phone number in guitar tab for the girl in the front row. You have responsibility now. Yes, I am aware there are "bass solos" and "main bass riffs" and "bands the center around the bass". But for the majority of your typical musical journey, the above responsibility applies.

Completely irrelevant. How does this prove that a guitarist can't play bass?
Ta-da.
#31
I'd like to ask a question though... What the hell is the use of this article? Guitarists are selfish, spoiled jerks.

Ahahaha.

Go home.
He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt.
He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice.


Remember: A prudent question is one half of wisdom.

Click.
#32
REASON: Slap style bass. I don't care if u know classical guitar, that's not the same as bass. I played bass first, learned rock/metal guitar, and now am learning classical guitar. since i'm just as bad as any beginner at classical gtr, i don't think it helps bass playing. imo.
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#33
Quote by kanguuu
You have alot of time on your hands don't you.


agreed

Ok. Bass strings r thicker, so ur fingers will be a little more sore and you'll have to push a little harder. whaaaa

About the musical ear thing, An E is an E. A C is a C.

The picking thing- if u have a pick great, if u dont't oh, boo hoo. I lose my picks all the time and play with my fingers on GUITAR

The retarded elephant thing-that was very creative. I woner how much it took you to think that one up.

Ill be waiting to read your next thread about why you shouldnt plug guitars into bass amps.
#35
Well I don't want to sound selfish, but I (as a guitar player) have played a bass just for fun at a friend's party and it was better that some pure bassists that walk around there. The point is that both instruments are quite similar and you can transfer much of your skill to the other instrument.
I know that I wouldn't be able to play some slap-bass stuff (which I really like), but the rest worked quite well, from slow passages to shred-like things.
^ seconded.

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#36
The biggest problem I found with this article is that... well... you're an ass. I'm actually very sorry to say it, but it's true. I think what you want in an article (or for anything you want anybody to read and find it worth any value) is to relate to the reader, try to get on the same level as them. You did the exact opposite here. You're exemplifying stupid stereotypes, being a jerk for unknown reasons, and just generally failed to make much sense. In fact, I feel bad and disappointed after having read this. I'm a guitarist: therefore, I must be an egotistical jerk and also have no potential whatsoever to learn bass because it is so radically different from the guitar. I'm also curious to know what you think about a vice versa situation, in which a bassist wants to learn guitar. Would that be equally as unlikely to you?
The point is made clear that there are, in fact, differences between the guitar and the bass. But you failed to convince me of the sheer impossibility of me, a guitarist, ever learning bass; which I think that, for some reason, that's what you were going for in this article.
Sorry to be harsh, but I guess I'm just not enlightened, that's all.
#37
Quote by Retribution

And no one will stereotype your age, there was no need to put it, you just want attention.


And there was no need to say that either.
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#39
I say yay, to all your points sir.

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#40
Quote by Dr. No
Well, I've stepped in for a bassist, I had no troubles..

Us bassists might not agree. And Rankles, I dissagree with your entire post.

The biggest reason that I don't think guitarists can learn bass quickly, is that guitar is a LEAD instrument in rock music. The second a guitarist gets on a bass, he doesn't have that "supportive" thought process that us bassists have. All we are there to do is to pull everything together and give it a full, complete sound.

Now, Dr. No, even if the bassists hand taught you the riffs, you are not going to be playing them like a bass player. Bassists have to listen more to their tone and are always very picky about the sound they here comming out. The tone of the bass needs to be different for every style and genre so that it can fit right between the vocals, drums, and guitar. Right there in the pocket. That tone is really important in supporting the other instruments.

I can by no means play guitar, and I'm not saying you did a terrible job. I just wanted to point out these two things that many guitarists neglect or don't realize about being a bassist. People say bass is less difficult because they are able to learn the bassic technique quickly and get a decent sound back very quickly. But what they neglect to learn is that bass isn't about that. Its about having a good ear, and knowing to play what, how much (or little which seems to be the case most of the time), and where. There is a lot more going through a bassist's mind than you think.

And some guitarists say that they are decent since they can get a decent pick/fingerstyle tone, even though they can't slap. About 10% of all bassists slap. It is the most common steriotype. The noob bassists will tell you that you havn't "mastered the instrument" until you have explored every technique. However, the truth is that you havn't "mastered the instrument" until you develop that ear and that supportive state of mind.

Excellent article, by the way


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