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  #1  
Old 05-11-2018, 01:52 PM
rmoretti49 rmoretti49 is offline
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Default Wondering about the values and drawbacks of trying to learn bass guitar.

From time to time I muse about trying to learn bass guitar. I don't know why, since I don't gig anywhere, and mostly confine my playing to my home. I've been playing regular guitar for over 50 years, and still have a lot to learn there. But somehow the idea of playing a short-scale acoustic bass seems like an appealing addition.

For those of you who took up playing bass after you had already been playing guitar, are there any drawbacks? Is it likely to affect my playing of standard guitar. I guess I'm kind of hoping that adding the bass will actually contribute positively to my playing of standard guitar.

What has been your experience?
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Old 05-11-2018, 02:10 PM
D-utim D-utim is offline
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Started with the bass, then guitar. Going the other way round shouldn't matter.
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Old 05-11-2018, 02:28 PM
jman60 jman60 is offline
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Drawbacks, I don't believe so. If anything it will help
you learn scales. I guess one drawback if you will is that
you won't spend as much time on your main guitar.
Other than that it's not a bad thing at all.

I did play bass after I started on guitar many years ago,
mainly out of need and I really liked it. Got in a few bands
as a bass player.

Good luck!!
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Old 05-11-2018, 02:38 PM
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Not sure about acoustic bass, but I picked up an electric bass long after I started playing guitar, mostly for multi-track recording purposes. I had played bass before, in a jazz band in school, so it wasn't totally foreign. I still play occasionally, and I think it helps me in a general musical sense, an awareness of what a bass line might sound like accompanying a guitar-oriented song. I'm not sure I see any drawbacks, other than it's more money and more time. And you might break a nail if you play bass with fingers (I use a thick flat pick) and you are a fingerstyle guitar player.
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Old 05-11-2018, 03:03 PM
Mycroft Mycroft is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmoretti49 View Post
From time to time I muse about trying to learn bass guitar.
It kind of goes without saying that your wife will evict you so that she can take up with a musician...

(I've wanted a bass for eons. Which is guess speaks for the Baritone fetish...)
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Old 05-11-2018, 03:05 PM
zombywoof zombywoof is offline
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Back in my first band we had three guitars players. We flipped a coin, I lost and ended up running out and buying a used Hagstrom I bass. I no longer play but I bought my daughter a bass last X'mas. She loves the thing. If anything it has made her a better guitar and uke player. In turn, I think she inspired me because I went out and bought an old Kay upright bass.
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Old 05-11-2018, 03:17 PM
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I used to have an electric bass in the house. I would put on some drum loops and groove along for a while. How can that not help your time? I think it's a great idea
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Old 05-11-2018, 03:23 PM
pieterh pieterh is offline
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I love playing bass though I started on guitar first! Go for it, it is great fun and although bass demands different techniques it isnít a great leap from guitar to bass. You may even find (as I did) that long scale suits you fine.
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Old 05-11-2018, 03:31 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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The world needs more bass players, especially GOOD bass players. RM, the biggest danger youíll face is that youíll play bass like a guitar player slumming on bass, not approaching it as the separate and distinct musical instrument that it is.

But that just takes thinking about what youíre doing, and listening to what makes an effective bass line in the playing of fine players on recordings. Itís a learn as you go kind of deal, so just be aware that thereís a difference and take it from there.


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Old 05-11-2018, 03:33 PM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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I sure enjoy playing bass, so I'd endorse the idea on enjoyment reason's alone. It's a very expressive instrument in it's own register. Just like guitar, the way you strike and stop the strings can bring out all kinds of sounds.

As practical matter, playing bass unaccompanied is not the reason for my enjoyment, but it's the secret sauce to making all kinds of ensembles work. The sound of bass and acoustic guitar together sounds particularly wonderful to me. Of course you can't play both instruments simultaneously, so to get that combination you'll be playing with someone else or doing the overdub thing while recording.

While I know some enjoy flat top acoustic bass guitars, I've never been drawn to them. A short-scale electric bass (30 inch scale, not short by guitar standards) does require some adjustment, but it may be easier than going with a traditional 34 inch scale electric bass. As to really short-scale basses, I play both the Kala U-Bass and the older Ashbory model, which are shorter than guitar scale and are acoustic basses of a kind (piezo elements in the bridge). An inexpensive electric bass is a more flexible instrument in my use/opinion, though I love what those extra small basses can do.

For playing with someone else you need a bass amp or a PA system, though at lower volumes and bass played carefully you can make do with guitar amps. For recording you need nothing other than a modern interface box. A great many basses are recorded direct in the studio even by the pros, and most DAWs have helpful presets for bass plugged into a recording interface direct.

With a full bodied acoustic bass guitar in theory you don't need an amp, but in practice you may as the volume just isn't there for many (most?) situations.
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Old 05-11-2018, 04:30 PM
KarenB KarenB is offline
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I dabble in bass. I find it really enjoyable playing bass with other people. And it helps me with hearing and paying attention to bass lines on the guitar. I feel, the more instruments I play the merrier!
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Old 05-11-2018, 04:48 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pieterh View Post
I love playing bass though I started on guitar first! Go for it, it is great fun and although bass demands different techniques it isnít a great leap from guitar to bass. You may even find (as I did) that long scale suits you fine.
To this I wanted to add that itís much easier to get a good bass tone from a bass with a 34 inch scale than it is from a short scale instrument. Iíve been told that it has something to do with physics - whether thatís the case, I couldnít tell you. All I know is that I spent a couple of hours at a well-equipped local music store, playing one short scale bass after another, but couldnít find a good-sounding one. It didnít seem to be a function of the price points of the instruments, either - the more expensive short scale basses didnít sound any better than the cheap ones.

I finally gave up and bought an inexpensive long scale bass that still sounded quite a bit better than even the most expensive short scale bass. I had thought, like you, that a short scale bass would be better for me, but as Pieter mentioned, the long scale proved to be much easier to get used to than I had expected.

The one exception to the general rule about the tonal underachievement of short scale basses that I have encountered is the Hofner Beatle bass made famous by Paul McCartney. A friend of mine has an original from the 1960ís, and itís a magnificent-sounding instrument.

But thatís the exception that proves the rule about short scale basses, at least in my experience.

Hope that makes sense.


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  #13  
Old 05-11-2018, 05:09 PM
Bill Yellow Bill Yellow is offline
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I play acoustic guitar and electric bass and find the two very different with very little technical overlap.

In between the two is this thing called an electric guitar. A thing I have never managed to get a satisfactory note out of.
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Old 05-11-2018, 05:15 PM
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Johnny K Johnny K is offline
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I cant think of any. I am learning bass and drums right now. I want to be my own band. I am not taking formal bass lessons, but I am taking drum lessons.
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Old 05-11-2018, 05:25 PM
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Erithon Erithon is offline
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I started on the double bass and still play it, as well as bass guitar. I definitely think of my self as a bass player first, although I spend more time practicing acoustic guitar these days... Solo bass guitar is a thing, but it doesn't really get me excited. I love playing bass as part of an ensemble and I'll nearly always opt for bass if I'm performing with others. But I prefer to play acoustic guitar when I'm the only one with an instrument (open mic or just at home).

As others have noted, other than the time away from guitar it won't hurt and in fact will expand your musical awareness and sensibilities. Bass is a wonderful instrument, but it does have a certain reputation because I think there are a lot of people who never bother to properly learn the instrument or its role in a band.
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