Bass Playin' - Not sounding like a guitarist playing a Bass - Jemsite
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-21-2001, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 165
Bass Playin' - Not sounding like a guitarist playing a Bass

I don't know how much response I'll get on such a guitar dominated site, but you guys know everything around here

I'm interested in developing my bass technique quite a bit and getting a decent bass rig. *

I play 7 strings most of the time so I think I'm going to get a 5 string bass. *Nothing fancy. *Just a good sounding, good playing bass. *Any recommendations? *It will be used mostly for recording heavy rock but I would also like it to be versitile enough to cover most styles.

From what I hear, the Tech 21 Bass driver is the way to go for direct recording?

Can anyone offer advice on reading/video material to get me pointed in the direction of not sounding like a guitarist playing a bass?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-21-2001, 11:27 PM
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 91
Bass Playin'

I'm a 7 string player who is now seriously dabbling in bass (might get a whole rig) and I will tell you ibanez soundgears feel and sound great. sr 605 or 885 are just awesome. My bass player uses a 5 string fernandes and I HATE the cheap feel and crappy pups. He also uses the sansamp bass driver (same as tech 21 right?) and I hate that more. My drummer says the tone sounds like he's dragging his bass on the ground, just really crappy) Others might disagree.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-23-2001, 02:15 AM
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 284
Bass Playin'

i really like carvins basses, very well made and solid feeling as well as great tone --- and you gotta check out a hartke rig if you want a kickass amp
--shawn
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-23-2001, 11:31 AM
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 19
Bass Playin'

As an Ibanez-playing bassist, I'll try and give my opinion to the numerous questions you've posed;

"Not sounding like a guitarist playing bass" - IMHO, that's much more of a mental challenge than a physical one. *You're on the right track when you've identified the first major problem of sounding like a bassist (i.e. overplaying.) *A few can get away with it (Myung, Sheehan,) most can't. *Here's a few tips off the top of my head...
  • Try playing a simple eighth note line with a metronome or simple programmed groove and lock into the beat. *Vary that by playing the same line ahead of or behind the beat while leaving the metronome on. *Get *a feel for how your ryhthmic playing will affect the groove. *
  • Listen to the drummer... and not the fills, double kick, or odd-time signatures he/she plays. * *Try to focus on the kick/snare/high-hat triad. *Watch how your changes affect the groove (i.e. playing with the kick vs. the snare, etc.
All these aren't so much physical demands (although they do involve the aspect of physically playing your instrument,) but mental routines that will help you get into the mindset of a bassist.

As for instructional material, try this link for a list of some "beginner" material. *I'd personally go with a book/cd combp - the audio examples are extremely helpful as opposed to just the printed word. *

On the subject of gear, I'm going to disagree with mmr7, and recommend brands other than Ibanez. *IMHO, the quality and selection of their basses have fallen in the last few years, and your money would be better spend elsewhere (This coming from someone who ownes 2 Soundgear series basses - it pains me to see what's happened to a company that once made me very happy ). *You didn't give any indication about price range, but I'd take a look at the mid-level ($400-$600) MIM Fender and Yamaha five-strings. *Very nice "bang for the buck." *Shawn also brings up Carvin as a good quality company, but unless you live in Southern California, you can't try one before ordering. *

As for amplication, Hartke is nice if you like the "hi-fi/metallic" tone their aluminium drivers tend to produce. (Good equipement, just not my bag. :biggrin *There's a lot of gear out there, but as a starting point I've suggest SWR's "Workingman's Series" *Nice tone at a fairly resonable price.

Good luck with your new transition, and feel free to email me if you have any questions. :thumbsup:

~Ian
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-23-2001, 12:13 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Cincinnati, OH USA
Posts: 1,357
Bass Playin'

I spent a couple years of my guitar-playing career as a bassist, and have a few gear recos:

My starter rig was a Yamaha 5 string with a Hartke Kickback 10. I actually bought it to use only for recording, but got into a band shortly thereafter. Yamaha makes really nice basses for the money. Mine didn't have active pickups, but shortly after I bought it they redesigned the product line and put active pickups into most of their midrange gear. The Hartke was about the only amp on the market with a 10" speaker that could deal with the low B without completely crapping out. I tried tons of mid-range bass amps before I ended up with the Hartke. It sounded great, but was just a little underpowered to cut through enough at band practice.

When I started gigging out with the bass, I traded the Yamaha in on a Peavey Cirrus V, which I still have today. Very nice bass, but not exactly inexpensive. I also traded the Hartke in on a Carvin 600-some watt bass combo. The combination was just about enough to shake any house to the ground. The Carvin amps have tons of EQ & preamp options built in--they are very flexible and ridiculously powerful for the money.

When I got out of the bass playing business, I sold off the Carvin bass amp in favor of one of Carvin's all in one (acoustic/bass/PA) amps. It doesn't sound quite as good for bass work, but I'm not playing it out anywhere so I get much more utility out of this amp than any other amp. It sounds really great for acoustic guitar and pretty good as a general PA/keyboard amp.

As far as not sounding like a guitar player... I recommend finding a couple bass players who have the style you'd like to have, and really immerse yourself in their work. Crank your EQ's in favor of the low-end and really listen to what they're playing. Me, I was going for sort of a Flea meets Geddy Lee vibe, so I spent a lot of time driving around listening to Rush & Chili Peppers CD's so I could learn how to groove.

Another big thing... I never realized how much "control" the bass player has over the feel of the song. Granted, you can have a pretty drastic effect by altering the rhythm of what you're playing (e.g., playing a driving bass part really pushes the song along vs. playing a really laid back bass part), but you can have a tremendous effect on the overall tonality of the song, too. The guitar player I was playing with at the time played some very sparse, funky parts, which gave me a lot of room to explore. At first I was really hung up on theory and making sure I was playing things in the right key. With time, I learned to focus more on feel and groove than theory. It didn't really matter what key the guitar player thought he was playing in, because I had a bigger effect on determining the overall key based on what I played.

I say go for it! I had a lot of fun playing bass for a while, and I certainly learned a lot and improved my ability to groove.

--B
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-24-2001, 04:27 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 363
Bass Playin'

Hmm, I've never touched a bass myself, but i know two bassists very well . One of them plays with me in my current band, and the other is going to play with me in an instrumental band in the future [yep, I like his style so I already 'booked' him up and he said yes] ,


Anyway, the guy that already plays with me is actually a violinist. He plays bass, in his own words, "just for fun" . He never practices at home or focuses on any tehnique. He just gets by. That, my man, is what makes him sound like a violinist playing a bass. So your trick is to INVOLVE yourself and really LEARN the instrument.

Now as for your gear questions, it's time for the other bass player. He's into Stuart Hamm, Jaco and that stuff. He plays some Iron Maiden too since he passed his Harris phase. Currently his dream rig consists of Gallien Krueger amps and a P.bass. *He also mentioned another very high end bass with the neck composed of 4 different pieces of wood to eliminate expansion/contaction problems...but i totally forgot the damn name!!

He currently plays a Samick bass with Dimarzio p/ups and a crappy Samick amp.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-24-2001, 05:40 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 450
Bass Playin'

I would have to recommend a Carvin or Ibanez Soundgear bass. They will be reasonably priced and good quality. And for an amp I would look into Carvin amps. My friend is buying one soon and they are really nice.
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