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thepurpleblob

Am I weird because I've never played guitar?

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As above. I've never picked up a guitar. Never played one. Never been interested. Went from a percussionist (the classical variety) to a bass player and never regretted it. 

The only significant downside is that guitarist show me chord shapes and the answer is, "you're wasting your time there mate". 

I was wondering how many other people here are bassists without the seemingly obligatory intermediate step of playing guitar? And how do you feel about it?

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Posted (edited)

I've never touched or played any other instrument than a bass. I recognise some guitar chords but I can't play guitar at all.

Hasn't ever caused me problems. I get into bands, I get to play gigs.

 

Edited by Marvin

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There's no harm in doing it back-to-front....I started on bass, and then took a more active interest in guitar a year or two later. Being able to "read" a rhythm guitarist's fretting hand has proven to be a boon at a lot of open mics, jams, and those nightmare scenarios where your clueless mate has asked you to play bass at his gig and starts playing songs he's never even shown you before.

But aside from those situations, it isn't strictly necessary. I think the guitar just naturally piqued my curiosity as I became a bit more confident with its larger brother.

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, EliasMooseblaster said:

There's no harm in doing it back-to-front....I started on bass, and then took a more active interest in guitar a year or two later. Being able to "read" a rhythm guitarist's fretting hand has proven to be a boon at a lot of open mics, jams, and those nightmare scenarios where your clueless mate has asked you to play bass at his gig and starts playing songs he's never even shown you before.

But aside from those situations, it isn't strictly necessary. I think the guitar just naturally piqued my curiosity as I became a bit more confident with its larger brother.

As above.

I started on bass and learned guitar afterwards.

I found it really interesting to hear the sound of the chords major and minor flowing together, and could hear the melody in my head.

It made creating basslines much easier once I learned the basics.

Edited by Hobbayne

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Similar to Elias... I started on bass but two years later got an acoustic guitar to help with song writing. 

I am often conflicted though, while an appreciation of other instruments will make me a better musician overall, I often think it's time that could be invested in being better at my main instrument, the bass.

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Posted (edited)

i have a 6 string acoustic and a 6 string electric

 

I can't play them

I couldn't even if my life depended on it - I only have them to experiment with melodies which I play as though I was playing a bass - ie 1 note at a time

I do get confused at intervals when we get to the B string (positions relative to the G string)

Edited by Twigman

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I think you've saved yourself a lot of pain. I first picked up a guitar nearly half a century ago and I'm still no better at it. I discovered I was much better playing one note at a time and picked up bass after a decades-long sojourn on sax. Some things just suit you more than others.

In my last band I used to catch the rhythm guitarist squinting at the notes I was playing... he squinted a lot as I usually played fretless.

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Posted (edited)

Just for the record, I don't have an issue with guitars or guitarists (no more than usual, anyway), I've just never aspired to playing one.  And I still don't.

I understand chords but if you make some weird shape with your fingers on a guitar neck it means bugger all to me :D

I was thinking. A lot of people assume that as a bass player you must also play guitar. A bit like they assume you are an alcoholic :biggrin:

Edited by thepurpleblob

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I have been playing bass on and off for nearly 30 years, but have only recently managed to get my head (and fingers!) around guitar. I am finding it beneficial but not essential. 

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I came to bass from playing piano. Started when I was 12 and never touched a guitar. I got an acoustic when I was around 18, but only started playing it properly in my late 20s. I can now knock out songs on the acoustic, but would not call myself a guitarist. I wouldn't say it's affected the way I play bass at all.

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^^ I reckon that's because piano gave you an understanding of chord structure,  which I didn't really get until I picked up guitar 

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I've been playing guitar almost as long as I've been playing bass. But I never put in the effort to get particularly good at it. It does help me follow guitarist when I don't know the song though, which is handy.

 

I much prefer bass.

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I have never played guitar.  My fingers just aren't long enough.  Only occasionally found it to be a problem, usually when a guitarist tries to show me chords at a jam.  I always reply, just tell me the  chords.  Interesting thing is that sometimes they don't know what they are called.

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 I’m with you, I’ve owned guitars but never with any great enthusiasm 

 

i sold them all recent cent to build a jazz bass. Go figure 

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1 hour ago, Twigman said:

i have a 6 string acoustic and a 6 string electric

 

I can't play them

I couldn't even if my life depended on it - I only have them to experiment with melodies which I play as though I was playing a bass - ie 1 note at a time

I do get confused at intervals when we get to the B string (positions relative to the G string)

Very similar here, I was given an acoustic but haven’t really touched it since I got an acoustic bass. It lives close to hand for those odd noodles you just need to do.

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Posted (edited)

Depends why you're doing it. For the average weekend warrior (and probably the odd regular player too) there's probably no real need - as long as you can play the most of the right notes in most of the right places you'll most likely be fine most of the time. Mostly....

For many years until my retirement I saw myself as a working professional. In that context, having some insight into what other members of the band were doing was something I found very useful. Not essential as such, just useful. For the record I can - or at least could - keep half decent time on a drum kit and play a keyboard rhythm backing (albeit at a fairly basic level). Oh, and my original training was guitar anyway; although I'd always tinkered with bass I didn't really get serious with it until I was some way along the road. I didn't see it as a step up or a step down (yeah yeah yeah...) or even a step sideways, more an additional skill I could bring to my gigging and teaching.

One of the issues that can arise with the 'never done it, never wanted to' outlook is that it can give rise to a kind of ghetto mentality. Again, it doesn't need to be a problem (not that I'm accusing anybody anyway), but just runs the risk of limiting your scope if you ever decide you want to branch out a bit.

Edited by leftybassman392

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Posted (edited)

I started learning acoustic guitar as a kid but never really got on with it and gave it up. Instead, I was fairly proficient on piano and bass trombone (having migrated from trumpet to ever larger and deeper brass instruments). These days I own nearly as many guitars as basses, but regard myself as strictly amateur. I play for my own enjoyment but wouldn't consider inflicting it on an audience

Edit: In fact I only discovered fairly recently that guitarists "cheat" - they don't hit the whole chord on the beat a lot of the time, but hit a few key notes while they are still forming the chord. Maybe that's why it can sometimes take a while to transition from a bass player mentality, where you have to hit the beat

Edited by Norris

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2 hours ago, thepurpleblob said:

As above. I've never picked up a guitar. Never played one. Never been interested. Went from a percussionist (the classical variety) to a bass player and never regretted it. 

The only significant downside is that guitarist show me chord shapes and the answer is, "you're wasting your time there mate". 

I was wondering how many other people here are bassists without the seemingly obligatory intermediate step of playing guitar? And how do you feel about it?

The more instruments I can play, the better I can understand their role when composing/writing songs.

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Played trumpet, piano, classical guitar and electric guitar before I picked up a bass. Sorry. O.o

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I went straight from violin to bass, which is probably why I found fretless felt more natural than fretted

I do play guitar (and mandolin & banjo), and a basic knowledge of chord structure certainly translates to bass, but I personally think bass probably has at least as much in common with percussion - playing "in the groove" / "in the pocket" / use of the space between notes, relates more to drumming

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Posted (edited)
38 minutes ago, Shaggy said:

I personally think bass probably has at least as much in common with percussion - playing "in the groove" / "in the pocket" / use of the space between notes, relates more to drumming.

Rhythm is very important regardless of what instrument you play, but I'd agree there is definitely a huge and very important percussive element to bass guitar, a fact some people seem to miss. I always think of electric bass guitar as the bridge between the drummer and the musicians. :D

Edited by discreet

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Can`t play guitar at all. I did try a couple of times but I reckon that there are 1 bass player to every 10 guitarists so I will always find some suckers who need me.

I also have a dodgy pinky finger (ooeeerrr) that snapped in two 20 years ago and have very little strength in my left hand so making chord shapes aint gonna happen.

Due to the injury, I mostly use just my first two fingers on my fretting hand. 

 

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33 minutes ago, discreet said:

Rhythm is very important regardless of what instrument you play, but I'd agree there is definitely a huge and very important percussive element to bass guitar, a fact some people seem to miss. I always think of electric bass guitar as the bridge between the drummer and the musicians. :D

Alex James called bass “musical glue”

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