Author Topic: Question for the bass players  (Read 3553 times)

Offline The Showstopper

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How can you tell if a bassist is really good??? I mean I know a lot of basslines can be quite tricky, but surely its a lot harder to differentiate a good one from a bad one; much harder than a lead guitarist for example.

Consensus opinion seems to be that Flea from RHCP seems to be the best (mainstream) bassist in the world. Why??? I have noticed his basslines seem to be more prominent in the songs, but that could be just the production and mixing more than anything.

And how does Duff rank? Is he just a solid bass player? Or is he one of the absolute best of the best?

Offline Armondikov

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I think good bass players aren't too different from good guitarists. But, I would say that a good bass player (in a writing and performance rather than technical sense) needs to get a good balance between just supporting the band and being a prominant member.

You cite, Flea, who is good because he plays his own lines that compliment the guitar yet stand out. In essence, the two parts just work together amazingly well. Although this is easier as there is no second guitar in RHCP and the fact that John Frusciante and Flea just gel together better than most pairs. Listining to their live instumentals makes that obvious.

Offline shredder

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I think that, in order for a bassist to be "good", they need to accent the rest of the band while making an obvious contribution to the music itself. It doesn't matter to me if they're "technical": if the bass can add a dimension to the song that gives that sound a more whole, complete feel, then they've done their job.

I like Duff's bass playing because in songs like SCOM he accents the guitars by playing his own part that fits in quite nicely. On the other hand, Nikki Sixx is another favorite of mine because of his heart-pounding tempo. Sometimes less is more. Sometimes not.

I guess I'm kind of an oddball.  :lol:

Offline taylarroxatbass

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Duff is A good bass player because he follows the guitar yet accents the bass with his own things like run downs and slide and such

Offline Captain Tophat

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it depends on the rest of the band I think, I play guitar, but if a bass player can make himself stand out without playing something different, than I think he's good. Like, some guys can play along with the song, but you don't really notice, like Michael Anthony of Van Halen, but someone like Flea, or Billy Sheehan (When he was with Steve Vai) or Tom Hamilton, those guys are the shit.

Offline N19

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i think it depends on the band ... i mean, look at Robert DeLeo of Stone Temple Pilots ... he was such a powerful bass player, that STP didnt even need a 2nd guitar player ... but his style is so varied as well ... he could rock out and lay it down, and do mellow stuff, and he was also quite good at playing it funky style ..

anyways, a good bass player, regardless of the style of music ... is someone who is very in-touch with the drummer.  because a drummer is the heartbeat of the band, and the bass player has gotta lay it down especially when the guitarist goes into a solo.

seriously, if you've never heard of him before ... got a hold of a live MP3 of STP performing 'Slivergun Superman' and you will know what im talking about ... if you need an MP3, just PM me

Offline Captain Tophat

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i think it depends on the band ... i mean, look at Robert DeLeo of Stone Temple Pilots ... he was such a powerful bass player, that STP didnt even need a 2nd guitar player ... but his style is so varied as well ... he could rock out and lay it down, and do mellow stuff, and he was also quite good at playing it funky style ..

anyways, a good bass player, regardless of the style of music ... is someone who is very in-touch with the drummer.  because a drummer is the heartbeat of the band, and the bass player has gotta lay it down especially when the guitarist goes into a solo.

seriously, if you've never heard of him before ... got a hold of a live MP3 of STP performing 'Slivergun Superman' and you will know what im talking about ... if you need an MP3, just PM me

that's true, but does the bass player not also need to be in touch with the guitarists? the guitarists have to also stay in rhythm in between solos and interludes and such, I see what you mean, but I think everyone in the band has to really be in touch with each other to sound decent

Offline The Showstopper

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Well that makes sense because Matt said he was laying down some stuff especially with Duff before the rest of the band came together to record demos and preproduction

Offline shredder

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i think it depends on the band ... i mean, look at Robert DeLeo of Stone Temple Pilots ... he was such a powerful bass player, that STP didnt even need a 2nd guitar player ... but his style is so varied as well ... he could rock out and lay it down, and do mellow stuff, and he was also quite good at playing it funky style ..

anyways, a good bass player, regardless of the style of music ... is someone who is very in-touch with the drummer.  because a drummer is the heartbeat of the band, and the bass player has gotta lay it down especially when the guitarist goes into a solo.

seriously, if you've never heard of him before ... got a hold of a live MP3 of STP performing 'Slivergun Superman' and you will know what im talking about ... if you need an MP3, just PM me

that's true, but does the bass player not also need to be in touch with the guitarists? the guitarists have to also stay in rhythm in between solos and interludes and such, I see what you mean, but I think everyone in the band has to really be in touch with each other to sound decent

It's true that everyone needs to stay in touch with one another during a song/whatever. I've experienced the worst of this part with the last band I was in.

It's altogether crucial that the bassist and drummer can stay together. It's up to the guitarists/singer to keep to what the bassist and drummer do, not the other way around..in that way, the guitarists have the hardest job because they have to listen more and play blistering solos at the same time, methinks.

I was just in a band where the guitarist made me and the drummer chase him around the tempo all the freakin time. It really got on my nerves fast.

Offline _

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And how does Duff rank? Is he just a solid bass player? Or is he one of the absolute best of the best?

though duff isn't technically great on bass, he is an awesome musician and can play drums and guitar aswell so he can think the way the other members of a band think in terms of music, which would make his basslines fit songs far better.

if you wanna go for technical bass playing check out marcus miller

Offline SilverWildCat

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My favorite bassist is Geddy Lee because he's technically awsome and his bass playing doesnt restrict him to the rhythm section of the band, its more like a lead bass.  He controls the direction of the song a lot and it basically is 2 lead instruments intertwining in the band.  Thats what i look for in a bassist.  Someone who can really throw down.

Offline Darkburst

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I'm not a bass player (i play guitar) but I frequently listen to just one instrument at a time after I'm familiar with a song. Duff is not playing anything too hard on any VR or G N R stuff, but he is playing what's right for the song. His playing isn't boring nor is it too showy. If the song needs something simple that's what he'll play. Other times he plays more aggresively with some cool bass fills in between verses and choruses. Someone mentioned Robert DeLeo from STP and Army of Anyone, he plays a lot of interesting parts. Check out John Paul Jones playing from Led Zeppelin, that guy also has lots of skills but knows exactly what a song needs. Flea is a bad-ass musician all around, as a child he was prodigy trumpet player. He's recognized as a great bass player so much because on some songs he plays very showy and technical. That being said, he also knows when to play more simple parts or more melodic parts for the RHCP ballads. He's a very talented and well rounded player.

Offline Will

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i'm still going to stick with CLIFF BURTON from metallica. :headbanger: may he rest in peace

Offline Just_Me

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Comparing someone like Duff to Flea is like comparing Slash to Joe Satriani.  You can argue that one is better than the other but the music they play is so diffrent that its hard to come up with reasons that don't boil down to which style you personally prefere.

RHCP stuff is very funky, which means the bass is much more prominant.  Theres times when Flea and John almost switch roles, with the bass playing lead and the guitar doing a much simpler rhythmic part.  Californication (the album) has some great examples.

Whereas stuff like GNR and VR is very definately more focused on the guitar and vocals, with the rest of the instruments acting as support and emphisising the lead parts.  There are less oppertunities for a bassist to show off in that sort of music.  Although some do come up, the intro to SCOM being a classic example.  But that doesn't nessesarily mean the bassist has an easier job.  They're the one who has to bring together all these disparate parts of the song and make them work.

You've got the drummer setting the time and laying the basic ground work for the song but its the bassist who has to use that to create a platform for the guitars to work on.  As well as filling in space the guitars can't cover (where nessesary, as Duff has said its equally important for a bassist to know when NOT to play).

Admittedly I don't play bass but I am a huge fan of the instrument and that for me is what makes a great rock bassist, someone who can bring out the best in the other instrements and give them the best possible basis to create a great melody.

And personally I think Duff does that extremely well, esspecially when working with Slash.

Offline SilverWildCat

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Comparing someone like Duff to Flea is like comparing Slash to Joe Satriani.  You can argue that one is better than the other but the music they play is so diffrent that its hard to come up with reasons that don't boil down to which style you personally prefere.

RHCP stuff is very funky, which means the bass is much more prominant.  Theres times when Flea and John almost switch roles, with the bass playing lead and the guitar doing a much simpler rhythmic part.  Californication (the album) has some great examples.

Whereas stuff like GNR and VR is very definately more focused on the guitar and vocals, with the rest of the instruments acting as support and emphisising the lead parts.  There are less oppertunities for a bassist to show off in that sort of music.  Although some do come up, the intro to SCOM being a classic example.  But that doesn't nessesarily mean the bassist has an easier job.  They're the one who has to bring together all these disparate parts of the song and make them work.

You've got the drummer setting the time and laying the basic ground work for the song but its the bassist who has to use that to create a platform for the guitars to work on.  As well as filling in space the guitars can't cover (where nessesary, as Duff has said its equally important for a bassist to know when NOT to play).

Admittedly I don't play bass but I am a huge fan of the instrument and that for me is what makes a great rock bassist, someone who can bring out the best in the other instrements and give them the best possible basis to create a great melody.

And personally I think Duff does that extremely well, esspecially when working with Slash.

Very Eloquently put.  Duff is very good at complimenting the other instruments and creating nice background melodies to.