We love writing about stringed instruments and if you’re looking for more information about compact guitars that you can travel with, check our article on that. Also, make sure to read our guide on cheap acoustic guitars if you’re the type of person that likes to play anywhere but you don’t want to ruin your instrument and pay a lot to repair it.
It puts your ego into perspective
If you started with the guitar and you didn’t quite like it, you have more chances of becoming a great bass player. But there aren’t many bass players that have made a name for themselves. That may be because most people approach the instrument as if it were a guitar.
And a guitar player doesn’t care much for the overall sound of the band. What’s more important for the guitarists is to make their instrument heard. They blast their volume and leave no room for keyboards or other sounds, even covering the lead singer. But in the world of the bass, that’s a no-no, especially because this instrument has a lot of power.
A bass player is a more responsible person that has little space for noodling because of how loud the bass can get. The best bassists aren’t those that blast the volume, but those that focus on improving the whole sound of the band. By doing so, they show they care more for the quality of the music and less for their ego.
Spending time to improve your knowledge and enhancing the sound of your band makes you a better musician. It will help you put the music first and will make you a better person too.
You can choose whom to play with
Because most people don’t want to play the bass, you will have the opportunity to find a lot of bands that lack a bassist. And if you know how to play the bass and the guitar too, you’ll have even more to gain. If you went further than most players and studied the bass, you will earn more than you might believe.
Knowing how to play the bass will make you a better musician, and a better composer and arranger too. Although he didn’t like playing the bass initially, Paul McCartney of The Beatles revolutionized the role of the bassist and wrote some of the most iconic pieces of music.
You could say that he drew the short straw, as The Beatles had 3 guitarists and one of them had to take up the role of the bassist. Fortunately, his ego didn’t stop him from becoming one of the greatest artists in history.
The bass is one of the easiest instruments to start playing, and after a couple of lessons, you are ready for some gigs. Of course, you will need to learn a lot to become a great bassist, but you can play simple songs at first. There will be probably a lot of groups begging you to join them if you can keep a rhythm and pluck some strings.
And because there seem to be thousands of guitarists for every one bassist, you will have the possibility to work with whoever you choose. If you don’t like a group, don’t worry, you will probably find a better one rather fast. Bands need good bassists, and if you are one you’re lucky.
You learn to be a better composer
Some of the best producers, music composers, and arrangers started as bassists, and that’s no accident. They have strong knowledge of music and the expertise to back it up. Bass can give you the basics of that knowledge. When you put in the time to learn how the bass works in a musical composition, you are able to understand the crucial components of the arrangement.
This will help you acquire more and more knowledge and create more diverse music. Certain bands put a lot of focus on their production, and that is the case for Radiohead. They have harmonics that have remained constant across the years. Listening closely to their songs and examining their tunes, you will feel how crucial the bass lines are.
And if you want another story of a successful bass player that become a great composer, check the music of Roger Waters, who was Pink Floyd’s bassist from the beginning until they split up. He was also their co-lead vocalist and most importantly the conceptual leader. Albums like The Wall are legacy of how a bass player can influence the world of music.
Many of the people listening to music groups performing have little to no idea of the importance of the bass. Some of them don’t even hear it well. But the bass serves two crucial roles in a song – it provides the rhythmic and the harmonic foundation. A consistent rhythm is like the pulse of the band, and when it’s smooth, it’s delightful to listen to.
Play it because you love it
When watching a live concert you will often see the bass player having the most fun. Why is that the case? You could argue that the bassist has the easiest part to play and that allows the player to move more freely and engage with the audience more. But that’s not always the case.
Bassists love slapping the strings, hearing the low frequencies and making the instrument growl. Furthermore, when you go to a concert, you feel blasted by those low frequencies that come out of the giant subwoofer cabinets. They feel like they make your entire body tremble. That’s what bassists players must feel with every occasion, metaphorically at least.
And the bass doesn’t only sound good, it also looks amazing. Bass guitars will catch your eye and make you feel an instant attraction to them, no matter what instrument you’re playing. Furthermore, this instrument adds the depth that every song needs.
When you put your headphones on and start listening to a nice groovy song, chances are the bass line is the one that makes you enjoy it the most, although it may pass unnoticed.
It’s an easy instrument
Coming with only 4 strings, compared to electric or acoustic guitars, the bass can be easier to play for beginners. Although a very important role of every song, the bass is not something that most listeners are able to perceive, as it’s an instrument made to support the main tune. Providing tones that are an octave lower than that of the guitar, it’s an easy instrument to practice on especially if you’re already a guitarist.
Furthermore, tuning a bass is simpler, as each of its strings comes at the same interval apart. This is another reason why the bass is easier to play. Of course, when you start playing it more and you learn a couple of things on it you will see that it’s not such a simple instrument as it gives the impression at first.
Giving the lower tones and keeping the rhythm, the bass can be considered the heart and soul of a song. It is as such a great instrument for those players that like to focus on the rhythm more. The guitar usually plays the front role in a band, focusing on melody and it is the role of the bass player to keep everything in check when it comes to organizing the whole band.
When learning the bass you don’t need to start with complicated stuff like major scales, chords, or pentatonic scales. It’s a lot simpler to learn than a guitar as you don’t have all of that. Of course, you will want to start focusing on the rhythm and make sure you keep it. For that purpose, you can play with a metronome at first, if you feel you need some help.
Rather than learning complicated chords, you will just have to keep the tempo, and this can be done a lot faster if you have the talent. Furthermore, with the bass you won’t have to multitask that much, changing anything. You won’t need to constantly press on the pedals to change some setting. The bass as it is is great for anyone.
You can do so much with it
There are some artists that have shown that you don’t necessarily need to be a good player to succeed in music. It’s sometimes about your character, charisma, and the ability to bring people together or to inspire them. Kurt Cobain is an example of an artist who wasn’t phenomenal at playing the guitar, but he did have other great skills.
If you’re a person like that you can make a career by writing great songs, no matter the instrument you know best. On the other hand, there are guitarists like Jimi Hendrix who left their mark on the music world by being great at actually playing the instrument and pushing it to new heights.
What’s important to remember is that with the bass you have the opportunity to do both of these, as you can start learning really fast and become an expert in playing the instrument, but you can also learn how all the rhythm and all the others work and be an excellent composer. It truly is an instrument that helps you develop as a musician.
Of course, it’s easy to join a band as a bassist, as the requirements are usually pretty low. In some genres, if you’re playing the notes demanded of you, which should be pretty simple, you are doing a great job. There are other genres such as jazz or progressive rock where you need to know how to improvise, how to be one step ahead, and as such you have a lot to learn.
For some people, the guitar may be a bit easier to play physically. It’s a smaller instrument with tinner strings that are easier to press, and the frets are smaller. However, if you love the bass you will have a blast learning it. So what’s to remember? If you want to join a band as fast as possible, start playing the bass – it will get you further, faster. Other than that, go with what your heart says.
It’s a good choice for shy musicians
Thinking of musicians that left a mark on stage you always remember those that have a leading role in a certain band. Most of the time these are the guitarists that perform some awesome solos or the lead singers that entertain the crowd. Of course, there are some bass players on the list as well.
However, when you play the bass in a band you can have the role of the chill person that’s always there for the atmosphere, that enjoys the shows. Being at the forefront of everything the band does can be exciting, but that is not something that everybody wants. There are some people that don’t want to stand out that much, but they still like performing in front of audiences.
The bass is perfect for that kind of person. It allows you to stay relaxed, with few people paying attention to you, but it also gives you the opportunity to shine bright if you want to. What is interesting though is that most bass players are charismatic and when they do stand out the crowd loves them.
One advantage of not being the frontman is the fact that people don’t pay attention to you that much and if you’re a beginner and you miss a note, there will be fewer people that notice that. You can get away with bigger mistakes.
This is not an instrument made for a certain type of person. Even if you are a player that isn’t the best in terms of technique, you can still be an awesome bassist. If you are capable to play along on nearly any beat, this will allow your band members to play to the best of their abilities and this might give you the feeling of doing something excellent.
Being the bridge between the melody and rhythm, the bassline is the solid structure of a song. Having the freedom to alter this structure as you wish, from playing one note to playing 10 fast ones, is something that many players want. Almost anything works when playing the bass – you can be as wild and funky as possible.
If you are in the mood for smooth playing, you can do that, but if you want to slap the bass and put more volume and creativity into it, it’s another option. The bass is an instrument that gives you plenty of room for musical freedom.