January 6, 2013

Are you a bass player or a guitar player playing the bass?

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Written by: John Baucum

Bass guitar from Flicker 2nd attempt

Are you a bass player or a guitar player playing the bass?

I had taught bass for many years when I first started playing bass with our church band. I knew how to play the right notes: A, D, E.  I understood rhythmic groups: quarter, eights and sixteenth notes.  I even knew I should throw in an octave or a fifth but I wasn’t sure of the whole bass rhythm thing. 

 I started listening to the bass line of the songs we were playing.  After I memorized twenty or so songs I got the hang of what I was supposed to do.  The biggest compliment I got was from a great bass player.  He said, “You sound like a bass player and not a guitar player playing bass.”  That made my day. 

Often times, people think that playing the bass is just an easy version of playing the guitar.  It does have elements of that.  It has fewer strings and basic songs just hit the root note.  Those are probably the only things that are the same. 

At this point in time you need to ask yourself, “Are you a bass player or a guitar player playing the bass?”

 If a person travels down the simple path then they will become the multitude of people who sound like a guitar player playing bass.  A bass player focuses on the kick drum and the rhythm of the songs more then the melody.  They also focus on the tempo and locking in with the drummer.

 Guitar strums and Bass rhythms are very different.  When I teach a person how to play bass I concentrate on the tempo and what the drummer is doing.  So, when you play bass, think about the rhythm and not the strum the guitar player is doing.  Try to memorize several bass lines from songs you like.   

 Have fun and become a bass player and not just a guitar player who plays the bass. 


About the Author

John Baucum
Hello, my name is John Baucum. My goal is for students to have a fun time while they learn to play a musical instrument. I strive to give the students a musical education in addition to helping them reach the goals they have set for themselves. I have been teaching Electric, Acoustic and Bass Guitar for 30 years. I am the author of 60 Seconds Can Change Your Life and the owner of Valley Music Institute. The lessons are for beginners to advanced players. Great for all ages! I Specialize in fun, engaging lessons that challenge students to strive for excellence. I teach ALL styles: Rock, Blues, Jazz, Finger style, Solo Guitar, Bluegrass and more. I teach practical theory, ear training, and technique exercises to help students reach their musical goals. One method I use to instruct students has received great results. I first let students pick a song they like. I then teach them music theory, proper technique, improvising and ear training in conjunction with the song.

One Comment

  1. admin

    Thanks so much for the nice comment. The web site is really new as you can tell. There will be much more post and videos soon. Thanks, John

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