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GreeneKing

If you could wind back the clock and....

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Probably not. My first instrument was the alto sax. I had to borrow one from the school as my folks couldn't afford one.  In answer to the OP I'd probably not choose the bass, which has never been my main instrument anyway.  I play much more fingerstyle acoustic these days

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If I could turn back time I would do more and do it all a lot better. I'd have bought my Precision when I did. It was the first time I had the cash so I couldn't have bought it any earlier.

Musical things I'd change. . . . . .  I was "good enough" with little effort and I rested on my laurels too much. Basically lazy! If I had a second time around I'd push myself, everyday, to become a better player. I wish I'd switched to 5 string basses at least 10 years earlier. I never took up double bass, that has always been a big mistake and I should have made the effort to get my vocals together. I sang in my band at school, but stopped when I started playing with much better players.

Sadly we can't turn the clock back. All we can do is make the right changes in our own lives now and tell others about what we have learned, so they can build on the experience of others.

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Good points Chris, and many apply to me as well, should have simply bought a Precision rather than trying to get that sound from other basses, and def should have practiced harder rather than being content to do ‘enough’.

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I love playing the bass. I've also played guitar at a pro level, and tinkered with various other instruments enough to lay down some tracks in a session, but wouldn't be accomplished enough to charge for playing them live. I will soon have a rehearsal drum kit, so will benefit from being able to try that a bit and get into the drummer's heads even better, but have no desire to become a drummer. Bass is my happy place, and I have no regrets musically.

If I could turn the clock back I'd have ditched going to church much earlier than at the end of my teens, and known far sooner that it's OK to be a human being with a little bit of all that entails. Less self-doubt and guilt, and a lot more shagging in my formative years would have been healthy. And fun.

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I started playing bass as a teenager because all my mates played guitar and i could be in a band really quickly because nobody else was playing one and it seemed a lot less complicated than having to learn all those chords and stuff.  Took to it immediately and I reckon I'm at a much better level playing bass than I would have got to had I focused on playing guitar instead.  Plus all the bands I've been in and stuff I've done because of playing the bass - if I'd picked up a guitar then I wouldn't have got into bands

I started properly playing guitar about ten years after that, and have played as many gigs on guitar as I have on bass (because the one band I've ever been in playing guitar was really busy - that improved my playing no end).  But I still see myself as a bass player who knows a bit of guitar, and while I can hold my own on the bass with some very good musicians, I'm nowhere near as good as them on guitar (one of my tests for guitarists who want to join a band is whether they can play the guitar better than I can - if not then they aren't good enough to be in my band, because I'm pretty average...this has offended some guitarists that I know quite badly). 

Basically I've found my niche and wouldn't swap it

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I'd have avoided taking up a musical instrument at all, truth be known. Playing bass has dominated my life, particularly in the past 15 years to the detriment of everything else. If I'm not playing bass, I'm looking at basses for sale, scanning the threads on Basschat, watching YouTube video after Youtube video of basses, amps and effects being demo'd / reviewed or driving to the other end of the country to pick up yet another 'bargain'. It's become an infatuation. It's not as though I'm a professional or even semi-professional. I'm a weekend warrior who plays in a three piece covers band. Is there a Bassaholics Anonymous?

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I would still have chosen bass but, having dabbled with synths and computers that might've got a look in.

 

I had many ideas of how synths and samplers could be used but I didn't have the funds at the time to invest in all the frighteningly expensive gear that I needed - back in the early days of midi and using CV as well....many of 'my ideas' have subsequently been done - I'm pretty sure I invented psy-trance in about 1983 (in my mind)......the money required for the gear was what kept me on bass - it probably still would if I went back in time now, unless I could take a stinky poo load of cash with me.

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i started with a guitar, but I just hated it. I would have picked up bass sooner, if I had had one. However I really regret not having played double bass (or ERB)

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6 hours ago, GreeneKing said:

If you could go back in time musically and, knowing what you do now would bass be your choice of instrument?

I was thinking that I am probably more naturally a drummer. It's not realistic now but looking back I'm probably better suited to being behind the kit.

 

 

 I wanted to be a drummer in my early/mid teens. My heroes were Buddy Rich and Phil Collins. Unfortunately my older brother, who had also wanted to play drums, had already tried and failed to get my parents to by him a drum kit, so I knew that wasn’t happening (my dad is a Jazz musician & obviously knew what he’d be letting himself in for).

Then I saw Thin Lizzy live on the tv and decided it had to be guitar, like Scotty and Brian. Again, my dad being a Jazz muso wouldn’t help me out financially with a guitar but said he would if I chose bass. That coincided with the backing out of the proposed bassist (he didn’t have a bass either) from the proposed band (a drum kit and acoustic guitar between us!), so I decided to go for bass. I’d decided to go for the black Kay P Bass in my mum’s catalogue (looked a bit like Phil Lynott’s), but my dad reckoned that if I got a better quality instrument I’d be more likely to stick with it, so put in the extra to get me a brand new Jetglo Rick 4001, my dream bass (being a huge Motörhead, Hawkwind, Purple and Rush fan). Unfortunately that bass was stolen in about ‘86 from the band van in Hendon; TC915, if anyone has it or knows where it is.

So being a bassist wasn’t even my 2nd choice!

One thing I will say is I’d have liked to have learned piano and spent more time on theory and learning to read music. Fortunately - or unfortunately - I had very good ears so picked things up easily, so never put in the work I should’ve.

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My flipping music teacher put me off anything with strings when I was about 9 or 10, I was tiny for my age and got nagged at for not being able to bow an adult sized cello 'correctly', bow was too flipping heavy, beach. Otherwise I'd wouldn't have waited til I was 61 to think feckit I'm going to do this. Always has a tendency towards bass, though I've always been good with recorder and tin whistle. So I've kind of settled for Bass (3 and counting) as my main instruments with an 8 string baritone uke when required.

Pachelbel must have really hated cellists.

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I just wish at age 14 I'd realised I was really bad at guitar and given up there and then. I picked up sax in my 20 s and never looked back. I started playing bass quite late because it was easier to get local gigs as a bass player than a sax player... also (despite what other people may say) the bass really is THE coolest instrument.

Common theme... I can only play instruments where you play one note at a time.

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3 minutes ago, Trueno said:

I can only play instruments where you play one note at a time.

Do you never play chords* on your bass?

 

 

By chords I mean notes on the D string and G string at the same time - 2 note 'chords'

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I think I'd have stuck with the recorder. I'd just about nailed Little Donkey when I inexplicably gave it up. I should have stuck with it. I could have been a virtuoso by now. 

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No change for me either. Always liked the bass so it seemed the right way to go for me. Still love playing bass.

Dave

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7 hours ago, GreeneKing said:

 

I was thinking that I am probably more naturally a drummer. It's not realistic now but looking back I'm probably better suited to being behind the kit.

 

Strangely, i WAS a drummer when i took music up in a serious fashion. I played guitar at school, but not very good at it.

I  could never get where i wanted to be as a drummer.  Even though i battled on to the early 2000's i was getting unhappy with my lack of progress, so i switched to bass and have never looked back. I found i was better on bass than i ever was on drums, and have now been on the bass for about  17/18 years.

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1 hour ago, Twigman said:

Do you never play chords* on your bass?

 

 

By chords I mean notes on the D string and G string at the same time - 2 note 'chords'

I once picked up a book "Bass Chords"... I thought... nah!

I also played fretless for a while... that's just asking for trouble.

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1 minute ago, Trueno said:

 

I also played fretless for a while... that's just asking for trouble.

Tell me about it!!!

I made a Warmoth PJ lined fretless a few years back.....it's been played probably for a total of about 10 minutes.

 

I'm clearly no Jaco

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6 hours ago, GreeneKing said:

Just wondering where in NE Essex you are Chezz. We're a similar age and I hail from NE Essex.

A few miles from Clacton-on-Sea - social hub of the Tendring Peninsula and the beating heart of the Essex Sunshine Coast (allegedly).

 

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Another Essex dog here. Born and raised, till i was 19.  Born Dagenham, but moved to a mile from Aveley at 2 1/2 years old, and stayed there till i moved on.  Secondary school at South Ockendon, which closed a year after i left.

Nothing to do with me, though. Honest

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I'd play bass, no question. It's in my DNA. I started out on drums (aged 😎 and have tried numerous other instruments since playing bass. Bass is where I am comfortable. 

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49 minutes ago, Chezz55 said:

A few miles from Clacton-on-Sea - social hub of the Tendring Peninsula and the beating heart of the Essex Sunshine Coast (allegedly).

 

I know it well. Been there many times over the years and my Mum spent her final years there. I've just discovered that an old mate (Eric Launder) lives there now. I was a Mersea Islander so not so far, as the crow flies. 

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I'd still be a bassist - it's the only instrument I'm good enough on to consider getting on a stage with.

That said, I've always been predominantly a writer/composer. I play guitar well enough to write with & to record, given an indefinite number of takes. If I could change anything, I'd never have stopped playing keyboards (drifted away in the early 90s) or drums, which I dabbled with when I shared a house with someone who had a kit. I'd also focus on learning some actual theory - I'm painfully aware that everything I know I just sort of picked up along the way.

Having those skills would add a lot to my writing & recording - I often feel musically stagnant and hampered by my limited vocabuary & ability, These days I lack both the motivation to resume playing other instruments, or the focus to study theory. That might change going forward but I doubt it.

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Although, and famously,  none of The Beatles had any formal musical training worth mentioning.

 

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I should have played piano, my mum was a recorded concert pianist and tried desperately to get me to take it up as a child...of course a 5 year old me knew far better and resisted all attempts to teach me, I was forced to learn the basics but nearly 50 years down the line I play and record all the keyboards for our band and I really wish I could play like my lad can (my mum taught him from the age of 3) I still love playing bass but with such an accomplished and free teacher on hand I could and should have achieved so much more......please promise you won't tell my mum I would never hear the last of it!  

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