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Author Topic:  Why are bass players getting a free ride?
Bill Terry


From:
Bastrop, TX
Post Posted 19 Dec 2016 10:47 am     Reply with quote

Well, there are bass players and then there a guys like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIRch4GLJ6k

How 'bout that guitar player!!? Oh, wait..
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Donny Hinson


From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post Posted 20 Dec 2016 8:44 am     Reply with quote

"Why are bass players getting a free ride?"

Well, probably because nobody hears them constantly gripe about their "tone"...and you also never hear them complaining about cabinet drop, offsets, JI vs. ET, or what kind of strings, picks, bars, or cables to use.

In short, seems like we're endlessly hunting for paradise, and they've found it!

Laughing Laughing Laughing
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Storm Rosson


From:
Silver City, NM. USA
Post Posted 20 Dec 2016 8:50 am     Reply with quote

Not quite Donny, we still gripe and whine esp on stage with a steel player who can't quite play in tune. lol... Razz
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Herb Steiner


From:
Spicewood TX 78669
Post Posted 20 Dec 2016 9:02 am     Reply with quote

Storm Rosson wrote:
Not quite Donny, we still gripe and whine esp on stage with a steel player who can't quite play in tune. lol... Razz


I refer back to my mention of "intonation" in a previous post. Laughing

Of course, we all remember the one about the steel player that was so out of tune, the bass player noticed.
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Charlie McDonald


From:
out of the blue
Post Posted 20 Dec 2016 9:54 am     Reply with quote

Donny Hinson wrote:
In short, seems like we're endlessly hunting for paradise, and they've found it!

It takes everybody but a bass player so long to get that.
It's all about the bass, the one note. Bliss.
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Skip Edwards


From:
LA,CA
Post Posted 20 Dec 2016 10:11 am     Reply with quote

I'm with Donny & Charlie on this... sometimes I think they're (bass players) the smart ones.
Remember, if you ever need to call the Bass Police, just dial 1-5-1...
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Jack Hargraves


From:
Missouri, USA
Post Posted 20 Dec 2016 1:43 pm     Reply with quote

It has been my experience over the years that of course, Bass and drums have to go hand in hand. Either one can ruin the whole band. I've been fortunate to have played with some very good bassists AND Drummers over the years, but when either one is too loud or just plain bad, it makes for a long night.
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Storm Rosson


From:
Silver City, NM. USA
Post Posted 20 Dec 2016 4:49 pm     Reply with quote

Herb Steiner wrote:
Storm Rosson wrote:
Not quite Donny, we still gripe and whine esp on stage with a steel player who can't quite play in tune. lol... Razz


I refer back to my mention of "intonation" in a previous post. Laughing

Of course, we all remember the one about the steel player that was so out of tune, the bass player noticed.
AHA good one Herb, I think that deserves a touche' (albeit tongue in cheek)..with the the big fat strings comes big fat power one should use it well lol...Stormy
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Mike Perlowin


From:
Los Angeles CA
Post Posted 20 Dec 2016 5:27 pm     Reply with quote

Sorry to hijack the thread, but if you want to hear some truly great bass playing, check out this video of the finale of the Sargent Pepper movie.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adqEXhYkKH0

The movie is a silly children's flick, but the music is wonderful.
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Jim Kennedy


From:
Brentwood California, USA
Post Posted 22 Dec 2016 9:09 am     Reply with quote

I have had the opportunity to play with some fantastic bass players, good solid players, and hacks. The one thing I expect is that the bass player be part of the rythm section. get in the pocket, hook up with the drummer. Other instruments, steel, fiddle, guitar, harmonica really can't stand without that. I've worked with fantastic players who have more knowledge and skill in their little finger then I will ever have, and they didn't get this. I've worked with hacks who struggled but at least know what the job is. Bass has to be a team player. Unless he has zero talent, the team player gets a pass.
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b0b


From:
Northern California
Post Posted 22 Dec 2016 9:49 am     Re: Why are bass players getting a free ride? Reply with quote

Brooks Montgomery wrote:
Most bass players, my experience is, they come in, lay down the foundation, and are kind of invisible, unless they f-up. Then they are grouped in with loud drummers.

I discovered that when I did my first gig on bass a few years back. As a steel player, I'm used to getting a lot of compliments between sets. People notice the steel and they like it. When I play bass, I get no feedback at all from the customers. They don't even seem to know I'm in the band.

If you play bass well, you are invisible. Free pass.
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Herb Steiner


From:
Spicewood TX 78669
Post Posted 22 Dec 2016 9:50 am     Reply with quote

Along Jim Kennedy's line of thought, I'm reminded of a dear pal of mine who just passed away last week. He had a doctorate in music, was quite proficient on several instruments, and taught composition and other topics at the University of Texas.

And, bless his heart, did not have the musical temperament to play bass in a country or blues band. One of the worst country bass players I've ever played with. He couldn't wrap his mind around the fact the bass needed to play the root tone on the first beat of the measure and the 5th tone generally on the third beat of the measure. Not hard and fast rules, but in those genre situations, that's what is called for. He completely ignored what the bass drum was doing, and likewise the left hand of the piano.

The way a Johnny Bush or Ray Price country shuffle "breathes," at least here in Texas, is that the bass drum plays on 1 and 3, the snare on 2 and 4. The bass plays triadic 4/4 walking lines throughout, and the left hand of the piano follows the bass line closely while the right hand punches upbeat chords on 2 and 4. The rhythm guitar eschews bass notes but strums chords on each beat with up-down strokes ("brang-uh brang-uh brang-uh brang-uh").

Unless the entire rhythm section is on the same page, it may still fill the dance floor but won't have that "open, yet tight" feel. Bass drum on every beat locks in the rhythm with an inexperienced bass/piano, but it's best (IMHO) as described above.

Incidentally, this was explained to me in no uncertain terms during my years with Bush and also by legendary record producer Tommy Hill, who knew something about recording country shuffles. Smile
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Son, we live in a world with walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with steel guitars. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg?
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Storm Rosson


From:
Silver City, NM. USA
Post Posted 22 Dec 2016 10:59 am     Reply with quote

Totally agree Herb, it's hard to find a drummer and bass that both know where that pocket is instinctively. It's hard to beat Ray Price and the Cherokee Cowboys ,they were /are IMO the guys you must listen to if u hope to ever pull it off. The guys on Cyndi Laupers Detour album got it way close...Stormy Smile
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Skip Edwards


From:
LA,CA
Post Posted 22 Dec 2016 11:03 am     Reply with quote

Exactly, Herb. As a piano player who's played on a passel of shuffles, I totally get it. It's no small pleasure of mine to get that mind-meld between the bass player and my left hand... I love when it happens.

As far as the rhythm gtr, I can tell if they haven't played with alot of piano players, because they tend to go right for the upbeats...which can make a perfectly good shuffle go ska if we both do it. IMHO a sort of half-time rhythm gtr pattern ("brang brang-uh brang brang-uh") gets it done better, while the piano does the upbeats.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it...
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Mike Schwartzman


From:
Maryland, USA
Post Posted 22 Dec 2016 2:18 pm     Reply with quote

I've been a bass player at least twice as long as a PSG player. I'm not a jazz guy, but most other genres...country, roots rock, some rock covers, Zydeco blues, old school soul etc.
Fender 4 string (usually a Precision Bass), old school amps, pocket player, lots of mostly bar, restaurant and club gigs.

Only 2 compliments in lots of years, usually from band leaders or bandmates:

1. "Thanks for keeping us together on that one"
2. (My favorite): "Man...you are really solid!"

Thanks for a little love for the "pocket guys". For a little while there I was inspired to get me one of those coffee table basses with a lot more than 4 strings, and dial in some real ugly mids, and start playing "lead bass" in a seriously inappropriate fashion...just to keep the thread going.


Laughing
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Skip Edwards


From:
LA,CA
Post Posted 22 Dec 2016 2:57 pm     Reply with quote

"Coffee table bass"
Now, that's funny. Here's to ya Mike. Glad to hear you got over it...
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Storm Rosson


From:
Silver City, NM. USA
Post Posted 22 Dec 2016 3:06 pm     Reply with quote

Sounds like my bio Mike,best compliment I can remember was from the engineer at Mach I studio in Central City,KY. Steve somebody, he also worked for RCA Nashville,he said I was the first bassist he'd heard in 4 yrs engineering that could play a real 4/4 shuffle.I felt cool as hel* all the way back to Lubbock.lol.. Winking
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 8 Mar 2017 1:46 pm     Reply with quote

Paul McCartney was a great singer, writer, bass player, and...he was "the cute one". Take any of those away from him and you don't have The Beatles. Take the great bass player away and you don't don't have a band.

Find a great bass player and become friends, somehow anyhow. It may not be your own free pass for keeping the gig when times are tough, but it does tip the odds.
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Darrell Birtcher


From:
Phoenix, Arizona
Post Posted 8 Mar 2017 3:46 pm     Reply with quote

Skip, your description of the mind-meld between bass and keyboard player's left hand is perfect. I'm not a perfect mind reader, but having the opportunity to play bass behind you was awesome.

I have literally gone and slapped the left hand of keyboard players to get them to lay off the bass notes when they had no clue of what you described and whose left hands were all over the place.

The greatest compliment I ever got as a bassist was from another popular steel show key man whom we all know and dearly love. After our first song together he stood up, turned around, shook my hand, and said, "Where have you been all my life?" I was on cloud ten the rest of the set! He definitely "gets" it.
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Charlie McDonald


From:
out of the blue
Post Posted 9 Mar 2017 6:57 am     Reply with quote

Fred Treece wrote:
Find a great bass player and become friends

Good luck with that. Just kidding.
A bass player doesn't get a pass without a friendly drummer.

The soundman at Cains showed me from the booth that when the band is tight, you can pull back the bass or pull back on the kick drum
and the sound in the hall (at least at Cains) doesn't really change. If the drummer isn't your friend, you, the bass player, will stand out.
No pass.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 9 Mar 2017 10:53 am     Reply with quote

Charlie McDonald wrote:

The soundman at Cains showed me from the booth that when the band is tight, you can pull back the bass or pull back on the kick drum
and the sound in the hall (at least at Cains) doesn't really change.

When the band is tight, everyone is contributing to the groove, including players who aren't playing anything. What you are describing could just be a bad mix though, with the kick drum and bass guitar clogged up in the same frequencies or panned into the same location of the stereo field. Free pass for the sound guy?
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Charlie McDonald


From:
out of the blue
Post Posted 9 Mar 2017 11:56 am     Reply with quote

Free pass for the hall.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 9 Mar 2017 12:58 pm     Reply with quote

Charlie McDonald wrote:
Free pass for the hall.
Laughing Laughing Laughing
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Karl Paulsen


From:
Chicago
Post Posted 9 Mar 2017 4:23 pm     Reply with quote

As a near-lifelong bassist, it was quite entertaining to read some of the comments here.

I definitely resonate with the idea that in most ensembles when the bassist does his job right, most folks will not notice him at all. It's when the bassist is bad that everything sounds off. The invisibility "problem" is compounded if you're not a singing bassist in which case you're practically non-existant as far as the audience is concerned.

Though I didn't start steel until 5 years afterwards, I discovered the PSG during my 4 years playing bass in a country band (had never played or listened to country before). In that band I was definitely the background player, but I did find that even when playing root-five (as most of the music required) a mohawk and tight jeans can go a long way toward getting you some attention...
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Ellis Miller


From:
Cortez, Colorado, USA
Post Posted 18 Mar 2017 6:22 am     Reply with quote

I am a huge fan of good bass players. I love playing when the bass player is the best musician in the band.
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