Where are the Bass Players?

A forum devoted to the discussion of playing bass with the blues.

Where are the Bass Players?

Postby thinelinebob » Sun Apr 03, 2005 6:16 pm

Just curious, where do the blues bass players hang out? Is there a forum that I just haven't found? Most of the bass forums I have found are rock, metal, jazz, country, gospel, a little bluegrass once in a while, but not much in the blues. This forum would be a great place to lure in some players of the low end. I know there are a lot of guitar players on this forum, so you all know at least one bass player. Right?;)
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RE: Where are the Bass Players?

Postby ricochet » Sun Apr 03, 2005 9:26 pm

Yep! But they don't talk on the Web.

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RE: Where are the Bass Players?

Postby jeffl » Sun Apr 03, 2005 9:56 pm

Alotta the guys on this forum don't even play with bass players, although many do. We use a string bass player with my Wednesday jam group, all acoustic, and that's a great sound.
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RE: Where are the Bass Players?

Postby beckerbass » Mon Apr 04, 2005 11:36 am

I find a lot of good bass player info and discussion at talkbass.com. Pretty much all genre of music is represented.
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RE: Where are the Bass Players?

Postby david » Mon Apr 04, 2005 12:06 pm

I know some bass players--all far from where I live--and have tried to talk them into coming onto this forum. Seems none of them come because there aren't any other bass players here.

Seems there is a critical mass that must be reached before the conversation can have enough juice to sustain itself.
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RE: Where are the Bass Players?

Postby bosco » Mon Apr 04, 2005 12:57 pm

Just curious, where do the blues bass players hang out? Is there a forum that I just haven't found? Most of the bass forums I have found are rock, metal, jazz, country, gospel, a little bluegrass once in a while, but not much in the blues...

I think you just answered your own question Bob, as to why they don't hang out here. Seems like bass players originate from every genre of music except blues. I don't know any that call themselves "blues" players, they're all converts. Ours is a country rock/ Nascar cowboy that is addicted to golf...Now there's an anomaly!

Every drummer or bass player we've ever known had to be stripped down and rebuilt, void of all the fancy and cluttered playing that seems to ruin a blues groove. Simplicity rules.

I figure that playing blues bass is boring and uneventful to them and discussing it rates right up there with watching paint dry. Pity. I hope I'm wrong but I reckon otherwise.

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RE: Where are the Bass Players?

Postby old mojo » Mon Apr 04, 2005 1:53 pm

>I figure that playing blues bass is boring and uneventful to
>them and discussing it rates right up there with watching
>paint dry. Pity. I hope I'm wrong but I reckon otherwise.

Not at all boring to me, especially when it swings and the bassline walks. Blues presents just as much of an opportunity for expression on bass as any other genre. True, it's low-key, and blues is a highly structured format, but if you feel it, and more importantly, have the ability to make the audience feel it, it's a gas.
It can also be quite a challenge. Precise rythym is essential, as is intimate but wordless communication with the drummer, and lines like quick double-note shuffles call for excellent dexterity (read: lots of practice).
The best blues bassists don't mind not being noticed, except in the context of the band bein' tight as a stripper's g-string. It's a supporting role with the primary objective of makin' the lead players and vocalists sound awesome by providing a rock-solid background for them. Kinda like bein' the perfect wave for the hot-dog surfer.
It's not the place for frustrated, second-rate, starved-for-attention guitar players who would really rather be playin' lead, but there's mojo aplenty at the bottom end of the blues!
Forgive them for not talkin' about it much. They say it all with them big fat strings.

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RE: Where are the Bass Players?

Postby thinelinebob » Mon Apr 04, 2005 8:16 pm

I guess I'm one of those guilty bass players. Played in just about every kinda band there it except classical. I seem to enjoy a good blues groove & a drummer that know what groove is all about the most. I do play guitar a little, but not enough to hurt my bass playing. I'm no pro but I've been playing for a long, long time. Seen a lot of bars & bands come & go. I'm old but I ain't dead yet.
I was just trying to stir up some interest in blues bass playing. Kinda like what you other bass players use to perform. Strings, basses, amps, you know all that kinda stuff. Bass players you like to listen to, other than yourself. Maybe we can get some interest going here. Keep it down low. Bob
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RE: Where are the Bass Players?

Postby cas » Mon Apr 04, 2005 9:52 pm

I would play bass more...my guitar teacher thinks it helps with timing and the bass is what he started with...but, since my elbow started hurting me about 5 months ago I've a hard time playing it. Just too hurtful most of the time though I love it!


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RE: Where are the Bass Players?

Postby jeffl » Mon Apr 04, 2005 10:11 pm

..been hoistin' too many beers, CAS, or didja come by that sore elbow foolishly?
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RE: Where are the Bass Players?

Postby cas » Tue Apr 05, 2005 2:21 am

Well Bubba I guess I could give you a really exciting answer like I was wrasslin' a big ole bear, but truth be told I didn't do nothin'. Unfortunately, it appears to be the guitar playing that does it..I've tried every position to ease it and have alleviated it somewhat, but it does stick around and I have some good days and bad ones.
Some days I just want to cry 'cause I don't feel like playing more than 20 minutes or so. Oh well.

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RE: Where are the Bass Players?

Postby breakfastime » Thu Apr 07, 2005 8:51 am

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Apr-07-05 AT 04:54 AM (EST)]"Every drummer or bass player we've ever known had to be stripped down and rebuilt, void of all the fancy and cluttered playing that seems to ruin a blues groove. Simplicity rules."

Well, NOW I know what to get if I ever decide to have a tattoo!

So true! I love playing blues bass, honestly. It really seems to me that if I've played the bass for a while-a couple of songs or a couple of hours-I enjoy playing guitar that much more once I make the switch.

I get to "cut loose" suddenly.

They are different instruments (duh) but more importantly, they have different ROLES in the music. A lot of guitar players just don't GET the bass-I started out drumming before picking up the bass, all the while drooling over the guitars at the music store where I was taking drum lessons...

I can play some pretty spiffy stuff on the bass(like be-bop sax solos), but wouldn't DARE inject that stuff into a blues, or Motown, or C&W song. It would be dumb. I'm not interested in "crossing musical boundaries" or "stretching the limits" or "showing what I can do"- my main interest in any musical situation is serving the music.

No wonder I'm always broke...
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RE: Where are the Bass Players?

Postby ricochet » Thu Apr 07, 2005 1:37 pm

"Because you can doesn't mean you should" isn't a bad motto. Supposedly Bob Brozman's got that on a guitar.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."
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RE: Where are the Bass Players?

Postby savage » Tue Apr 12, 2005 1:28 am

my younger brother just got a bass recently and I have begun teachin myself a few things on it. Bass is really fun to learn. Especially after playing guitar, its a smooth, simple, and focussed connotation of melody. So far I am really enjoying it. I think its a good instrument to learn especially after guitar because you feel the music completely in your head while playing the base (or in this case, bass) of the music. Sometimes taking another aspect on what you know helps you appreciate what youve learned (as does it also help to build upon what you know).
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RE: Where are the Bass Players?

Postby doctor cdog » Fri Jun 03, 2005 5:55 pm

I hope you don't mind me throwing some stuff at you all. I think it has to do with a lack of appreciation, by bassists, of the role of the bass in music.

When I first started playing, I had made a decision to buy an instrument, and was all set to get a guitar when a close friend of mine, who is a drummer, told me to get a bass instead, because guitarists are a dime a dozen. Since then, I would have to agree with his assessment, and I mean no offense to you six stringers out there. There are a huge number of guitarists, or at least people that play guitar. Many of the ones that I have run into will tell me that they also play bass. This is the first part of the problem. When you listen to these guys with a bass, they either just plunk along grudgingly, sounding decent if not happy, anxious for their chance to play guitar, or they try to play a four string lead guitar, sounding annoying as hell and making me want to break something. These guys aren't bass players, they are guitar players who are missing two strings. Few people have the heart to tell these guys and gals that while they can indeed play a great many notes, they make the music sound like crap.

Even for those that are bass players and bass players only, there is perhaps some string envy going on. You see a lot of "look at me" playing out there. Perhaps this is because of the fusion influence I have seen mentioned in other posts. There are some technically amazing players out there, but just because you can crank out 64th notes up and down the neck doesn't mean it is going to sound good.

Fundamentally, the bass has two roles-- harmony AND rhythm. I think many bass players forget the rhythm part of things when they try to get creative. When I was taking lessons, the first thing my teacher did was give me a pair of drumsticks and tell me to play along with the drummer. There are a great number of songs out there where you hear the bassist playing merrily along in the background, leaving all of the rhythmic work to the drummer. If you listen to some of the blues classics (one of my favorites is Cross Eyed Cat by Muddy Waters), or some live albums by classic rock trios (e.g. Cream) you hear some great playing and some interesting improvisation, but the groove is never lost.

Playing rhythm doesn't have to be musically boring. If you listen to Charles Mingus and his drummer Dannie Richmond, you hear some amazing musical exchanges, again without losing the groove.

I'll shut up now. The last thing I will say is that if you are a bass player, and you are feeling envious that the guitar player is getting all the attention, remember that you control the harmony. If you are playing with your drummer, you can play whatever chord changes you want, and it is the guitarist that sounds like he screwed up. Record a jam session if you don't believe me :)
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