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Describe the IDEAL BASS PLAYER:
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jastund
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2nd April 2012
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Describe the IDEAL BASS PLAYER:

Hey everyone!

My students need to know what it is that producers, musicians, and even engineers look for in a good bass player.

Therefore, I've put together this short survey!

Bass Survey

If opening the survey is not your cup of butter, tell me some qualities here that you look for in great session, live, all-round great bass players!

ie: Has a pocket like James Jamerson, uses Fender P-basses and J-basses, doesn't play too much, creative, doubles on upright...etc...

Cheers!
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2nd April 2012
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Trillian.

I kid.

As much as I want an "in-the-pocket" player, in this town their's really on root-note and wanna-be funk players.
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3rd April 2012
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Gotta be these guys.....



I urge you bass guys to hear this informative interview. I have been playing 25 years and learned so much from it!



As for those who are mortals (like most of us) an ideal bass player:
- Doesn't play it like a guitar (most of the time).
- Has knowledge of equipment.
- Has his/her own style, but can play good covers as well.
- Is not a failed guitarist, but has set out to play bass from the start.
- Is not a guitarist who plays bass as a secondary instrument (like me: I can pretend to play bass, but am NOT a bass player)
- Has their own technique
- Contributes to musical process in the band.
- Can play sessions.
- Can use fingers and pick.
I'm sure I've left somethings out.
LOVE all this bass talk in this forum all of a sudden!
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3rd April 2012
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bass players do have souls
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3rd April 2012
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in an old Bass Player Magazine interview, bassist David Hofstra was asked "What qualities do you possess that keeps producers calling you for session work?"

Hofstra responded "I show up on time."
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3rd April 2012
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For me I prefer a bassist who really understands the importance of the roll of bass. There are plenty of players that play bass by themselves when they're alone AND with people... if ya know what I mean. Play to the song, if it's whole notes then rock those whole notes. Understand space!! Also understand the various ways to get different tones out of your instrument either with pics, mutes, foam, etc..

I like bassists that have personality. They can add their own thing, but not from lack of preparation. I don't like wall flowers or players that have no musical personality. Players that understand the infinite nuances in feel are important. An 8th note isn't just an 8th note. Also bassists that understand the full scope of the arrangement (song structure) are very valuable... thinking of how the last chorus may be different and adjusting dynamics.
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4th April 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by litepipe View Post
For me I prefer a bassist who really understands the importance of the roll of bass. There are plenty of players that play bass by themselves when they're alone AND with people... if ya know what I mean. Play to the song, if it's whole notes then rock those whole notes. Understand space!! Also understand the various ways to get different tones out of your instrument either with pics, mutes, foam, etc..

I like bassists that have personality. They can add their own thing, but not from lack of preparation. I don't like wall flowers or players that have no musical personality. Players that understand the infinite nuances in feel are important. An 8th note isn't just an 8th note. Also bassists that understand the full scope of the arrangement (song structure) are very valuable... thinking of how the last chorus may be different and adjusting dynamics.
Excellent post. Couldn't have said it better myself!
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4th April 2012
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This is our bass player, the bass player that we want to work with anytime from now, forever.

1. Good rhythmic sense.
2. Get along well with rhythm guitar.
3. Get along well with drum beats.
3. Don't want to be the center of attraction of the band, but still supporting the band.
We're rock band, bass won't sound so loud but when we turn off the bass amp, there's BIG different.
4. If possible perfect pitch.
5. If possible can play rhythmic melody with frequency that human brain like to hear.
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4th April 2012
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Here's a question- where did the term 'pocket' come from what does it exactly imply?

I always assumed it meant sitting in the groove and working with the drummer well.

I played bass in bands for years, but never really came across the term per se (though, mainly playing in indie/rock bands, maybe it doesn't mean as much there?).
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5th April 2012
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36-26-36 ...blond and in her mid twenties
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For me, Ideal Bassist...
-locks with the kick
-no idle ringing notes
-doesn't approach music as a competitive sport
-knows how to use the B string
-knows when to tastefully use the 3rd or 5th
-doesn't secretly want to be a guitar player
-knows a lot of good dirty jokes
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5th April 2012
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Has a van.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oli P View Post
36-26-36 ...blond and in her mid twenties
Talking Heads back in the 70's LOL
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Every time you smack the strings against the pickups I kill you once again in my mind

edit: OK OK, I should be more than just comical... as true as that is.
This is for "optimal, on call, need a bass player to get this done well"

1- Can play loud distorted rock with a pick OR fingertip massage a supercompressed smooth jazz line
2- Understands how different basses sound, not just feel. Like, knows when a P-bass is more apropo vs. a Singray.
3- I repeat, don't smack the god damn pickups or I'm forced to kill again.
4- Doesn't give the engineer or producer "WTF" looks if they suggest a different technique. Like "try this take plucking closer to the neck".
5- NEVER says, "That's just the way I play, dude"
6- Favors thicker strings. No light gauge E strings tuned down to D OK?
7- Can keep a "on the and of 4" syncopated line up all day without losing it, or blaming the drummer. A "pushed" salsa...
8- "In the Pocket"
9- Doesn't "go off" AT ALL unless directed to do so. Busy and flubby basslines make me want to eat babies. (out of season)
10- Doesn't get offended. Period.
jastund
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7th April 2012
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Wow great replies everyone! Big thanks! Also, the form I posted too, lots of great responses there too! Woo hoo! I agree showing up on time is huge!!!
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Quote:
Every time you smack the strings against the pickups I kill you once again in my mind
So you're a huge fan of Korn?
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7th April 2012
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Maintaining consistant dynamics while playing. Asfaras the song goes. Sure, alil softer on the quiet parts and louder on the louder parts. Not the other way around. And know where the 'one' is.
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Good taste, and the ability to employ it.
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9th April 2012
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Years ago, I had a privilege to play with one of the best bassist (and musicians in general) that I, personally, have met and/or heard. At the time, I primarily played guitar; however, I wanted to develop as a musician, so I asked for bass lessons. The only thing he told me was: "Imagine the bass as a foundation for the house. It's sturdy and steady; it's just there. Sometimes you don't even acknowledge it, but it's there... Once you have the foundation, you decorate."
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Right note at the right time
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Plays the part I wrote.
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10th April 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sport11rocks View Post
Plays the part I wrote.
Hahaha
Adds to the part I wrote or better yet can write his own bass line.
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Good dynamic control, good understanding of harmony, plays ever so slightly behind the drummer
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Heres a short clip of Kim Deal talking about bass players: Kim Deal on "real" bass players - YouTube

Basically summing up what I think, a bassist who doesnt have to show off technical skill in every track, a bassist who doesnt mind being in the background when required.
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One with excellent feel for counterpoint.
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Plays less notes and sounds better.
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I love "groove" and "pocket" players. The guys who have serious chops but are much more concerned with playing for the song. I'm looking for the guy who could play circles around the song, but doesn't have anything to prove.

Pino Palladino comes to mind.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Input View Post
Heres a short clip of Kim Deal talking about bass players: Kim Deal on "real" bass players - YouTube

Basically summing up what I think, a bassist who doesnt have to show off technical skill in every track, a bassist who doesnt mind being in the background when required.
LOVE The Pixies. Very important band. Reminds me of the next decade's Talking Heads.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Creeper View Post
One with excellent feel for counterpoint.
You must be a big John Carpenter's The Thing fan.
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