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#1
So, we've been jamming for a half a year now. We've played one gig and recorded a demo on this cool compilation album for free. The thing is we consist of two guitars drums and vocals.

To me the current situation seems to be ok, but I guess it would help the drummer to keep up with the rythm and stuff.

But the real waking call have been the recording and the gig. The mixers have gone like "wtf??" when we've told we don't have a bassist. In the studio the producer told us to get someone to play bass on the track so I played the bass track. And onstage the main mixer went to take a coffee break when he heard

So do we need a bass player to be taken seriously? My musician relative said that some of the best rock records have been made without bass and it would work great if we shared the roles good. And I feel it's working quite ok.

I also jam with another group which does have a bass player so I know what it would bring.

At the moment we've decided to try and jam with a bassist at the next jams.

We play alternative punk rock stuff influenced by Dinosaur Jr., Pavement, Nirvana and quite everything from classic 60's rock to hc.

So what's you're take on the issue?
Cheers from Funland
#2
haha!
bassist is one of the most IMPORTANT member of the band!!
a band can stand alone with one guitarist, drummer and bassist.. e.g. greenday..
#4
As a bass player of course I say you need one. Not just because I play though more because of the fullness one will bring. If you are the stylye of Nirvana you need one bad. Even if he (or she) only plays simple lines they will still be effective. It will help in about every aspect of your band.
#5
The only way you can get away without bass is if you play metal and scoop the mids like crazy and tape a quarter to the bass drums. Metallica did that once and completely drowned out the bass. Doesn't sound as good but it works.
#6
Dude. Can't play Dino Jr. without a bass. Who do you think holds the song together when J zones out into his epic solos?
#7
You don't NEED a bass player, just as you don't NEED a saxophone or violin or piano player. Sure it's RECOMENDED, but that's all it is. If you can pull it off then go for it. And I say this as a bassist.
#9
It should sound better but if you think you sound good and things work as they are then you don't have to get one.
#10
No band needs a bassist but I think it would add a lot to your sound. It fill up your sound and make you guys musically richer. A great bass player is great addition to a band. I highly advise getting one or at least getting a keyboardist to fill in the low end.
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#11
Quote by Froggy McHop
You don't NEED a bass player, just as you don't NEED a saxophone or violin or piano player. Sure it's RECOMENDED, but that's all it is. If you can pull it off then go for it. And I say this as a bassist.


Bass instruments are different because they make the music sound fuller, they have more importance than the higher end instruments. But I agree, you don't NEED a bass player. A bass is just as important to a band as seat belts are to a car. You don't NEED seat belts to drive the vehicle but you're much better off with them.
#12
You don't need bass like you don't need a guitar, or vocals, or drums, or a keyboard or any other instrument. The White Stripes seem just fine without bass.

You've got to take a different approach to your music though. Without bass you're missing one major force that drives the rhythm, not to mention the bottom end of your sound. To compensate for that you can do a lot of different things.

I was actually in a band for a while that only had 2 guitars drums and vocals and here's what we did.

First, make sure the kick drum is loud, and clearly audible, that's going to be the real driving force behind your songs and it'll be the key in keeping the beat.

Next, the guitars have to sound very different. One guitar should be EQ'd with tons of bass and mids and cut treble, with more treble and less bass and mids. If you can get your hands on a couple 10 Band EQs it's even better, we put +5 bass, +4 lower mid 0 upper mid and -2 treble one one, and did the exact opposite to the other guitar. That kind of thing depends on your setup though, you'd have to fine tune it to clear up muddiness and harshness of course.

Not only do you need different sounds, but you should be playing different things too. The lower guitar should play mostly power chord type stuff, with some funky kind of riffs that a bass player might play. You've really got to be driving the rhythm with this guitar. Then upper guitar can do whatever else, full chords, chord based vamps/fills lead work or whatever.
#13
Get a bassist, i know it's not TOTALLY useful but depending on your style of music it will add another dimension on the songs depending on the quality of bassist that you get. Certain bands i have listened to, and my own to extent, have songs that with a bassist that sound pretty good but without them sound empty and without a soild bass to run the song off.
#14
Quote by pwrmax
Bass instruments are different because they make the music sound fuller, they have more importance than the higher end instruments. But I agree, you don't NEED a bass player. A bass is just as important to a band as seat belts are to a car. You don't NEED seat belts to drive the vehicle but you're much better off with them.


That's a nice analogy other than the fact that not having a bass player isn't life threatening.
#15
Quote by chll
haha!
bassist is one of the most IMPORTANT member of the band!!
a band can stand alone with one guitarist, drummer and bassist.. e.g. greenday..


Every instrument of a band is equivalently important for success, none really over the other, listen to some music with a missing instrument, it doesn't sound right mann
#16
Quote by Froggy McHop
That's a nice analogy other than the fact that not having a bass player isn't life threatening.


Unless someone holds a gun to your head and says he'll kill you if the bassist in your band doesn't play [random song with hard bassline] in the next five minutes.

In that case it is.
#17

Next, the guitars have to sound very different. One guitar should be EQ'd with tons of bass and mids and cut treble, with more treble and less bass and mids. If you can get your hands on a couple 10 Band EQs it's even better, we put +5 bass, +4 lower mid 0 upper mid and -2 treble one one, and did the exact opposite to the other guitar. That kind of thing depends on your setup though, you'd have to fine tune it to clear up muddiness and harshness of course.


So, pretty much turn on of them into a bass? :P Joking, joking, but it's an indication that you're trying to still get some low end.

I'd say it's...doable, but there's a reason the people were so suprised (And probably didn't think very much of you). Bass is probably as important as the drums, IMO. If you don't think so, find a good bassist and jam with them and a drummer sometime. It makes such a difference to the overall body of the sound, and can add an extra dimension to the music.

If your concept of a bassline follows the guitar exactly an octave down, it's easy to see why you might not value it as much as you might. But a good bassist will make a big boost to your sound.

Personally, I can only think of two rock bands which didn't have a bass (White Stripes and The Doors), and the Doors used keyboards to put that bassline. Not saying it's not possible or that it might be bad...but I'd really suggest it.
#18
you dont need it
but i have to say that a bass player would really improve band
a band withouth bass just doesnt sound good to me, the bass adds fullnes to the sound
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#19
Meh, taht's just stupid IMO. Listening to a band with guitars, drums and vocals gotta be the most boring experience. it will sound thin and boring without a bassline under it. Not to mention the bass is ussually what holds everything together, and an intresting bassline under the guitars is way more intresting than any solo a guitar can put out.
Last edited by Strati at May 18, 2008,
#20
^I'm sensing a biased opinion. And the whole 'it WILLZZ soUNd bORIng Lolz!!!!' is completely subjective. The classic example of the White Stripes springs to mind, as does the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the Black Keys.
#22
Yeah I did say that it was subjective.

EDIT: tbh

EDIT2: and the white stripes are anything but thin live. its raw frickin' energy being blasted at the crowd.
Last edited by Froggy McHop at May 18, 2008,
#23
Quote by chll
haha!
bassist is one of the most IMPORTANT member of the band!!
a band can stand alone with one guitarist, drummer and bassist.. e.g. greenday..

It can also stand alone with two guitarists and a drummer.... eg The Presidents (of the United States of America)
Actualy they play a 'basitar' and 'guitbass,' which are regular, six-string guitars modified to use two strings (for bass) or three strings (for guitar).

Other bands that don't or didn't have a bassist include The Doors and The White Stripes, but take a look at Motorhead, Lemmy plays chords on a bass guitar that is so trebely (he actualy turns all the bass right off, and turns everything else up to maximum on his 4 Marshall 'Superbass' amps) that he might as well be playing a bassy sounding rhythm guitar.

With todays guitar effects, it's quite easy to have one guitar covering all the bass parts, so if both guitars have the same effects, you could take it in turns to do the bass parts.
Alternatively, one guitarist could be playing bass pedals.
Whichever way you chose to do it, you don't neccesarily need a bass player in a band and to find ways around not having a bass player shows original thinking and can even help to get you noticed.
It's worth remembering that we've only had bass guitars since 1951 when Leo Fender invented them. Before then, with loud drums, amplified guitar and brass sections (and also before PA amplification and stage mixing technology was perfected) the bass, which was normaly played on a stand up 'double' bass at the time was usualy lost in the mix anyway. Many bands made up for that by having the piano player play all the root bass notes with his left had while accenting high parts with his right. Hence the 'boogiewoogie' or honkytonk' style of 50s piano players that can be heard so well at the beginning of Little Richard's 'Good Golly Miss Molly.'
Last edited by SlackerBabbath at May 19, 2008,
#24
Pfft, If you were tru metal, you'd punch a guy in the teeth, pull off his ears for the sake of it, then get your drummer to sing the bass

Nah, bass is really importaint, i think it really ties rhythm and lead sections together... just my opinion
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#25
If you're playing rock, you probably should. It might sound like a hassle at the moment, but the end result is totally worth it. You will rock that much harder. It's hard to imagine some bands without bass. Rage, Muse for example.

It's just going to add this whole extra dimension to your sound that you can't really conceive of now, without a bassist : )
#28
a keyboard is about the only way to try and replace a bass in a rock type band. zeppelin did that on stage with JPJ but he switched between keys and bass, depending on the song. i'd say get a bassist, even if its just to simply follow rhythm guitar.
#29
Quote by SlackerBabbath
It's worth remembering that we've only had bass guitars since 1951 when Leo Fender invented them. Before then, with loud drums, amplified guitar and brass sections (and also before PA amplification and stage mixing technology was perfected) the bass, which was normaly played on a stand up 'double' bass at the time was usualy lost in the mix anyway. Many bands made up for that by having the piano player play all the root bass notes with his left had while accenting high parts with his right. Hence the 'boogiewoogie' or honkytonk' style of 50s piano players that can be heard so well at the beginning of Little Richard's 'Good Golly Miss Molly.'


nah, the standup was very pronounced in jazz. electric bass, yes but that came around about the same time as electric guitar. music that used bass still had the full sound. if bass wasnt an important voice, then yeah, it kinda fell to the wayside, but as it is in todays music that isnt bass oriented.
#30
Quote by chris024
nah, the standup was very pronounced in jazz. electric bass, yes but that came around about the same time as electric guitar. music that used bass still had the full sound. if bass wasnt an important voice, then yeah, it kinda fell to the wayside, but as it is in todays music that isnt bass oriented.

The electric guitar was invented in the 1930s, the electric bass, or, 'bass guitar' was invented in 1951, 20 years later.
The standup or 'double bass' is generally the quietest instrument in a jazz band, and because of this many players of the 1920s and 1930s used the slap style, slapping and pulling the strings so that they make a rhythmic "slap" sound against the fingerboard. The slap style cuts through the sound of a band better than simply plucking the strings, so jazz musicians actualy developed a style of playing to get around the quietness of the standup bass.
But I was talking about early rock 'n' roll bands, (or 'rhythm and blues' as it was called until 1951) in the late 40s and early 50s that were made up of young kids who were yet to master their instrument to the same degree as their jazz playing counterparts. In much the same way as punk rock in the 70s was mainly bands full of inexperienced kids.
Quiet bass in young rock 'n' roll type bands was a real problem until the electric bass guitar came along, unless you could afford an electric stand up bass and the steel piano strings to make the pickup work.
But it was actualy this problem of a quiet, unamplified bass, plus the difficulty of transporting big bulky instrument like a double bass that encouraged Leo Fender to invent the electric 'bass guitar' in the first place.
Last edited by SlackerBabbath at Jul 16, 2008,
#31
ah ok, im not that fluent with old jazz and r-n-b, the bit i know i think i hear the bass as a main instrument, but i listened to it for the bass, and ideas for bass lines so my view is a bit biased
#32
Quote by chris024
ah ok, im not that fluent with old jazz and r-n-b, the bit i know i think i hear the bass as a main instrument, but i listened to it for the bass, and ideas for bass lines so my view is a bit biased

S'okay bud. History is kind of a hobby of mine, and as a musician that started out on bass, well let's just say I've looked into how we arrive at modern music and the role of the bass throughout it
.
Just a quick addition to what I wrote above.
Rock 'n' roll was actualy a mixture of blues and country or 'black music' and 'white music' as it was called back then in the days of segregation. That's why rock 'n' roll was so controversial in it's early days, because it saw white kids and black kids joining together to make a new sound and it would eventualy be instumental (if you'll pardon the pun) in helping to end segregation as it changed people's political opinions of segregation. White kids wanted to frequent black clubs where they could hear the music they wanted to listen to, and a knock on effect of this would be the first era of teenage rebelion against their parents.

New outlandish fashions like the teddy boy outfits would spring up as a way of identifying with one another, whereas previously, young men used to dress exactly like their fathers. This would go on to result in teenagers coming up with more and more individual fashions as their chosen music genres split into new and exiting forms and sub-cultures like rockers, with their biker jackets, jeans and t-shirts and mods with their clean cut suits and punks who borrowed fashion from all over the place and added studs, chains, zips and safety pins... oh and hair dye and anything that would make your hair stand up, from soap to super glue.

As many young r 'n' r bands took basic blues chords, speeded them up and added electric bass, we ended up with the classic rock 'n' roll sound of the mid 50s which would go on the evolve into rock, then metal, then punk, then more aggressive metal, but other early r 'n' r bands simplified their setup, using a minimum kit (sometimes just a bass and a snare) an acoustic or semi acoustic guitar and a standup bass, which some kids had developed the style of actualy hitting the strings with a piece of metal or wood to get more volume out of. This was called 'rockabilly' and leaned more towards the country side of rock 'n' roll. It would eventualy be crossed again with folk music and people would make their own instuments like the bathtub or packing crate bass, which was simply an old metal bathtub or a wooden box with a long broom handle on top of it and a single piece of string stretched from the top of the handle to the box. It was played by, again, hitting the string with a piece of wood or metal and the pitch was altered by pulling on the broom handle.
This style was called 'skiffle'.

But let's not forget about jazz, which would eventualy be combined with blues and rock to make funk. Electric bass would be used for this but the jazz style of slapping the strings would remain and become popular throughout many styles of music.
Take all the styles and their offshoots from above, which all originated from just blues, country and jazz, and mix them up in any way you like and you will eventualy come to practicaly any form of modern music.
Last edited by SlackerBabbath at Jul 16, 2008,
#33
dont wana go too off topic from original thread but good info. ive been working backwards you could say in my music history, digging deeper into the root of what i listen to you could say. jazz being where im at now. but anyways, cheers
#34
I'm going to give it to you flat and simple.

Just blatant and unadulterated advice.

An nerve-exploding shock into you're cerebellum itself.

A purple and oozy slab of my own brain.

Wisdom that will hang with you for the rest of your life.

And, a majestic proverb to remain king among all other sayings ever.

"You need a bassist"
#35
My band played with a band that didnt have a bassist, now as a bassist myself, Ive trained my ears to pick out the low end and stuff, so the difference was more prominent to me, but many many people lost interest in the bassless bands music, becuase it was so very thin, add distorted guitars in a not so great venue and you just get a messy sound that no-one wants to hear...bass adds depth to your sound, helps add tone to what your drummers doing,allows guiatrists to take solos whilst keeping the song driven, and is capable of doing some badass things by itself, such as slap, and people also seem to get impressed when you strum more than one string at once on a bass, particualy when doing so finger style.

Plus we are damn cool people in general,lmao

Quote by the humanity
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#36
Quote by chll
haha!
bassist is one of the most IMPORTANT member of the band!!
a band can stand alone with one guitarist, drummer and bassist.. e.g. greenday..

They did until Nimrod. Then they got Jason White and Jason Freese
#37
I would say get a bass player, at least for a short time. Just jam with him, and if you like what he brings, keep him in the band. I don't really think it could hurt your sound really, but instead add something to it.

And sure, some great rock bands didn't have bassists, but a lot of great bands did.
Saint Louis Blues
#38
Doesn't White Stripes use bass in alot of there songs though??
I know they do in some.

Anyways, I was always told that bass and drums were the basic foundation of a band.
Atleast, for a band we're talking about.

As a bassist, I'm always keeping my ear open for bass. I can't help it.
I pay more attention to bass than I do guitars, I even have bass enhancing headphones.
It's not that I'm biased or anything, I just love bass.

I wouldn't say it's a necessity, however, if you can find a sweet bassist
that you guys think is really cool, then invite the person into the band.
It'll add a whole other level to your band, and I know everyone says this
but it's true man. Atleast have bass for recording.
#39
Quote by chll
haha!
bassist is one of the most IMPORTANT member of the band!!
a band can stand alone with one guitarist, drummer and bassist.. e.g. greenday..


No it isn't


the Band as a whole is the most important thing in a band.


High = Drums
Middle = Guitar
Bass = Bassist or keyboardist
Last edited by Graveworm at Jul 17, 2008,
#40
I agree. Im sure there's a bass part on "seven nation army" by the Whitestripes
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