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  • Bassists of Singletrackworld….
  • Premier Icon sharkattack
    Free Member

    All the cool kids pretend they don’t know any music theory. It’s like a badge of honour.

    I work with a guitarist who scoffs at the very idea of taking lessons or learning theory. But, I’ve seen him in conversation with his band mates and he knows it inside out.

    I don’t know how you could ever get anything done if you knew literally nothing. How would you control a full group of people who all knew nothing other than playing random notes?

    Premier Icon mudmuncher
    Free Member

    Some pretty wise words on music theory from bass legend Victor Wooten that’s worth a listen

    Jump to 3m30 onwards…

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
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    That’s an interesting video, I’ll be watching that again.

    I wish I knew more about the theory, but as said that doesn’t mean you can play. It’s like language; and the mistakes we do and don’t make when teaching language.

    When we’re little kids we just pick it up. We improvise, we use what we have and we see what fits together to get the effect we want. The words, the volume, etc., all by trial and error and gradually we refine it and get better at it so we start to more closely mirror what is accepted as proper use of language. And instinctively we learn stuff like when to use flowery language, and when an expletive is and isn’t useful to create an effect….

    When we’re older they give us a text book and teach us vocabulary and subject verb object, and don’t forget that the genetive case has to follow the use of that preposition which means you need to add an ‘S’ on the object and the verb must always be second position in the sentance unless in certain cases where it has to go to the end….and no-one’s got a clue how to make it work.

    In music there’s only 12 notes but an infinite way you can put them together once you consider timing, volume (and the instruments you use to put them together). And then an acceptance, that certain things go well together and certain things don’t. That major chords are happy and minor chords sound more dangerous. It should be way easier compared to the average adult who knows 25-30K words. I’m astounded actually that we haven’t run out of tunes, and that you can hear a few notes (no vocal) of a new tune and ‘know’ that’s a Beatles or a Stone Roses or a whoever song even if you haven’t heard it before.

    So do we do it like kids, try it out and see which pairs and sets of notes work well and which make us wince. Or try to understand how it all fits together. I wonder if there is an optimal time to learn music but I suspect it’s before 52 – I suspect it’s similar age where kids sing nursery rhymes together and understand scales and so on from there. They instinctively know what notes are in each scale, or what the IV or V is from a root note, even if they don’t know what IV or V means.

    But how do I teach my fingers what my head seems to know…….

    Premier Icon mudmuncher
    Free Member

    But how do I teach my fingers what my head seems to know…….

    That will come with time.

    I took the bass up in later life around 5 years ago. I started out using tabs and was learning and memorising songs in a mechanical way. Ie learning what frets/strings to press, consequently I really struggled to hold more than a few songs in my head at anytime. Over the years my brain has gradually adapted so I’m learning the actual bass line in my head and I’m getting to the point where I don’t have to think so much about what fret/string to play, it just kind of happens subconsciously. I still do need to initially learn what frets to play but this is made much easier by hearing the music in my head and sometimes I’ll be playing a song and realise I’m playing the bass line on a completely different string/position on the neck than what I have learnt because I’m recalling the bass line rather than what frets to press.

    The biggest tip I can give if you want to get better is to join a band and start playing with other people. I had a couple of years of slow progress playing alone at home, but my skills went up another level within a few months of joining a band.

    Premier Icon sharkattack
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    The biggest tip I can give if you want to get better is to join a band and start playing with other people. I had a couple of years of slow progress playing alone at home, but my skills went up another level within a few months of joining a band.

    That’s what I’d like to do eventually. I know a drummer who lives in my street who’s been badgering me to play with him. The trouble is I know he’s very good and I’m a total amateur. It won’t be much fun for him when he hears my slow motion noodling.

    I’ve never played outside my own living room yet. Any tips for jamming with a drummer for the first time?

    Premier Icon Superficial
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    I’ve never played outside my own living room yet. Any tips for jamming with a drummer for the first time?

    To be honest, he probably just wants to hang out. I remember bashing out power chords with a band in my teens. I’m sure it sounded terrible but it was good to hang out with mates. A bit like going for a ride with a friendly who’s new to MTB. They might not be up to your level of skill, but you can both enjoy it for what it is.

    I started out using tabs and was learning and memorising songs in a mechanical way. Ie learning what frets/strings to press, consequently I really struggled to hold more than a few songs in my head at anytime.

    God, this is so true. I spent YEARS learning tabs and being a very mediocre guitarist (but being able to play a few cool tunes). Now I have done a bit of formal reading and can understand keys/scales/harmony a bit more, I’m a slightly less mediocre guitarist! Although this is the bass thread, and I’m only here to be nosy, I’m sure it’s the same thing.

    In music there’s only 12 notes but an infinite way you can put them together*

    This guy has copyrighted all the melodies (but not for the reason you might think).

    * I know you actually caveated that statement, but it was an excuse to post a sort-of relevant interesting video.

    Premier Icon chiefgrooveguru
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    “Some pretty wise words on music theory from bass legend Victor Wooten that’s worth a listen”

    This is a great video! Victor is as brilliant a teacher as he is a bassist!

    The points about theory being like tools that you use only when you need to and that right or wrong notes being all about context, everyone needs to remember that.

    When I write stuff it often starts from almost random noodling and I just go where my head/ears/fingers take me – but if I get stuck then some theory gets thrown at it.

    Listen to some bebop or some Motown and you’ll hear so many bass notes that aren’t in the key or the chord that’s being played. But they work because of context.

    Premier Icon chiefgrooveguru
    Free Member

    “I’ve never played outside my own living room yet. Any tips for jamming with a drummer for the first time?”

    Jamming with just a drummer is the best, especially if you’re a beginner. You can barely play a wrong note because you’re the only pitched instrument. Ask him what he’s into or tell him what you’re into and go in armed with a load of basslines/riffs you’ve learnt (or make up some of your own but that might be quite a big step). If you’re used to playing along with recordings, try playing along with just a drum beat (I’m sure there’s stuff on the web for that), or a metronome, or just own your own (and focus on making a groove happen).

    Don’t be scared, it’s fun and you’ll learn tons. The most important thing when playing with just a drummer is to keep grooving, don’t worry about the notes, he won’t care, he just won’t want you to stop mid-groove!

    Premier Icon sharkattack
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    The drummer I know is a Jojo Mayer fanatic but he’s currently in a band that plays really slow, ambient, droney stuff and he finds it boring. He really wants to attempt some D&B, jungle style stuff which sounds great to me.

    I’ll just go in with a few butchered Rage riffs and a minor pentatonic and do my best.

    I can actually practice in advance as the virtual drummers on Garageband are great.

    Premier Icon mudmuncher
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    That’s what I’d like to do eventually. I know a drummer who lives in my street who’s been badgering me to play with him. The trouble is I know he’s very good and I’m a total amateur. It won’t be much fun for him when he hears my slow motion noodling.

    I’ve never played outside my own living room yet. Any tips for jamming with a drummer for the first time?

    The key thing to remember is the bass is a rhythmical instrument, you can kind of think of it as drums with pitch, so you should focus on locking in with him and getting a good groove going.

    You won’t impress a drummer flying up and down the neck with hundreds of notes, much better to play a simple repetitive groove that is really locked in. Trust me, if you nail that you can play the simplest repetitive line for hours on end and neither of you will get bored.

    If you want to practice just type drum backing track with the bpm you want in YouTube, there are loads available.

    Premier Icon chiefgrooveguru
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    “You won’t impress a drummer flying up and down the neck with hundreds of notes, much better to play a simple repetitive groove that is really locked in.”

    This, this, THIS! You can also replace drummer with band, engineer, producer, singer, audience, in fact anything other than the phrase “other people who play that instrument who are browsing instagram”.

    Premier Icon Superficial
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    Interesting that that Victor Wooten guy up there ^^^ said playing the bass well was to make other members of the band sound good.

    Premier Icon funkmasterp
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    That’s one of the reasons I love the bass so much. Some of the grooviest, downright dirty bass lines of all time only consist of a few notes or are just one line with little variations. Doesn’t need to be complicated and still sounds absolutely fantastic.

    Premier Icon sharkattack
    Free Member

    Interesting that that Victor Wooten guy up there ^^^ said playing the bass well was to make other members of the band sound good.

    Yeah I’ve never been in a band but I’ve always thought that all music is drums and bass. Everything else is garnish. If the beats and the booms sound good, then that’s the platform that everyone else builds on. Let them show off and hog the limelight. We know who’s doing the heavy lifting!

    Premier Icon sam3000
    Free Member

    This thread is great.
    I’ll introduce myself. I’m Sam and have played bass since mid teens… I all but stopped mid twenties but have recently (past three/ four years) got back into bass in a big way. My favourite bass players, in no particular order are as follows:

    Jaco Pastorius
    Les Claypool
    Steve Bailey
    James Jamerson and Caroline Kaye
    Flea
    Victor Bailey
    Kinga Glyk
    Bakithi Kumalo
    (basically all the classics when you google ‘great bass players’)

    I’m currently studying for my grade 5… in bass and grade one in vocals. Currently I’m looking to join a band in the Huddersfield(ish) area (I live in Holmfirth).

    My gear is a follows:
    Fender American Deluxe V Jazz
    Yamaha TRB 1006j
    Fender MIJ Limited collection Jazz
    Squire Classic Vibe Fretless
    Fender 1987 MIJ P bass

    Trace Elliott GP7 SM head with SWR 1 x 15 cab.

    I’m looking forward to many a discussion on here…

    Premier Icon oldtennisshoes
    Full Member

    Waves to Sam 👋

    Trace Elliott GP7 SM head with SWR 1 x 15 cab.

    Sounds loud! I approve 🙂

    Premier Icon sam3000
    Free Member

    It sure is loud…

    I like this video by Victor Wooten….

    I like how he emphasises the importance of feeling….. i’ve been trying to remember this mantra ‘feeling is where it’s at’ … ‘play less techniques and more music’

    Premier Icon Scapegoat
    Full Member

    I’m currently studying for my grade 5… in bass and grade one in vocals. Currently I’m looking to join a band in the Huddersfield(ish) area (I live in Holmfirth).

    Hi @sam3000
    I’m also studying for G5 bass. Which songs have you done so far? Heartbreaker is the one I’m on at the moment.

    waves from Scapegoat Hill…..

    Premier Icon sam3000
    Free Member

    Hi Scapegoat…..
    I’m currently working through ‘Get Lucky’- Daft Punk and ‘September’ – Earth Wind and Fire. I haven’t decided on the other yet. I haven’t entered for the other grades before, however I have the theoretical knowledge to pass 6/7/8 in theory), I just wanted to start within my comfort zone. I’m going to do the assessment with three pieces and theory content rather than 5 performance pieces.

    If you’re in Scapegoat, chances are we’ve ridden together, perhaps around the CVMBC route.

    Premier Icon sam3000
    Free Member

    Is anyone on here going to the Uk Bass Guitar show in Liverpool in April?
    I’ve never been..
    is it worthwhile going?
    I’m always in the market for a new bass, or two, or maybe a new amp/ cab.

    Premier Icon Scapegoat
    Full Member

    Hi Sam

    Must be a different syllabus…. I’m doing Led Zep’s Heartbreaker and Tame Impala’s Cause I’m a Man from the Trinity College Rock n Pop Bass book so far ..

    Yeah, I did the CVMBC and the Holme Valley several times, so no doubt our paths have crossed.

    Premier Icon J-R
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    Hi @sam3000

    I’m currently working through ‘Get Lucky’- Daft Punk

    How does this work in music grading exams – do you have to work out the base line yourself or play a pre written one, or what? I been playing on and off since 1976 and never done a music exam, but always wondered about it.

    I’ve just had to play Get Lucky at gig last weekend and found there were loads of different tab, notation and you tube videos on it – all very diferent to each other and none of them that much like the acutal bass line. So what do you play to it?

    Premier Icon Scapegoat
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    Hi J-R

    The Trinity College course comes with a book with a election of songs/pieces. Buying the book gives you an access code for the songs in the approved list. You can stream or download the backing track and a demo track to practise and then you need to play to the backing track in the exam.

    The book comes with a score for each song, with musical notation and a tab version for each. The bass lines for each are kinda simplified for the exam…. for example Led Zep’s Heartbreaker has a simplified passage where Jones in the original plays a series of slides A-C, with an occasional mixture of passing or grace notes on the way back down between bars, but in the Trinity track and score these are left as simple slides and a rest. They’ve also swapped an instrumental passage and the guitar solo around, and tell you to improv

    The TAB is a bit naff. It would help a player who can’t read music, sort of, but I do an amount of accompaniment which means I like to read the notes and decide where to play them depending on the most efficient or intuitive positions to play passages or riffs and licks.

    Premier Icon Edukator
    Free Member

    Tabs have the advantage of being very easy to write down/type even if you can read music. A good tab wil get you very close to a score.

    Finding efficient intuitive positions is really easy on a bass where you have all four strings tuned in fourths. If you want to play a note on the next lower string it’s five frets up. If you want an octave up it’s two strings higher and two frets up, or just 12 frets up on the same string obviously. If you don’t like the tab, modify it. I’ve been doing a lot of this recently as I’ve been playing tunes on a guitar with a 14th fret neck joint that I usually play on a guitar with a cut away. There’s a limit to playing lead on bass because of the lack of octaves.

    Neither tabs nor the music score are a substitute for listening to the original or a version you like. Better still, take the score/tab as a start point and make it yours. I’m no good at that myself but love it when an artist takes a piece and turns it into something else whilst using the same notes.

    Premier Icon oldtennisshoes
    Full Member

    I’m using the Trinity books. I’m up to Grade 4, I like the mix of songs and that there are 2 versions of the backing tracks – with and without the bass parts.

    Premier Icon J-R
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    Thanks Scapegoat, I never knew about that. I’ll get one of their books and have a go.

    Premier Icon Scapegoat
    Full Member

    Neither tabs nor the music score are a substitute for listening to the original or a version you like. Better still, take the score/tab as a start point and make it yours. I’m no good at that myself but love it when an artist takes a piece and turns it into something else whilst using the same notes.

    That’s the joy of it. A lot of the stuff I’m playing was written for simple guitar chords and the basslines are often just the chord roots with a rhythm, or even simpler, all I get to see is the chord charts and the vocal score. That means I can find or set up a backing track and turn it into something more interesting.

    Other scores however are written or arranged by a mate who will include a written bass line, and these are more fun/challenging. Even those can be manipulated ….. I can simplify them if he’s got carried away beyond my skill-level, or I can play around and find a fun bridge, or a lick or fill that adds to the piece.

    Tabs have the advantage of being very easy to write down/type even if you can read music. A good tab will get you very close to a score.

    Of course, and I’ve learnt a whole lot of stuff using them. Musical notation has the advantage of rhythm, which a tab-only player would have to listen to the real thing to get a feel of. I’ve been sight-reading for voice since I was a child so feel perfectly at home with either method.

    Premier Icon oldtennisshoes
    Full Member

    I sold my Fender Mustang Short Scale last weekend, and almost immediately regretted it.
    I wanted to try something different from the usual Fender/Squire offerings in short scale offerings.
    The G&L Tribute Fallout Short Scale from Andertons looks interesting, but the Lobster review isn’t great. The Sterling shorty stingrays are hard to come by and not cheap at just less than £700. I’d really like a Chowny SWB signature short scale, but they are also OOS everywhere.
    So I finally settled on a SIRE Marcus Miller U5 in natural from BAX who had a B stock (returned item) available.

    Roll on Wednesday!

    PS Anyone want to buy one of these at a reasonable price
    https://www.fender.com/en-GB/electric-basses/jazz-bass/vintera-60s-jazz-bass/0149633304.html

    Premier Icon oldtennisshoes
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    One of these is also on the list – not sure I can get my head around the buttons though

    Premier Icon hatter
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    A mate of mine has just announced that he has a gorgeous USA origin J-Bass in sunburst tha’ts sat there doing nothing, he says he’s thinking of selling it but has offered to lend it to me.. sneaky bugger.

    Will be interesting to see how it feels compared to my trusty Japanese P, suspect with my meaty paws and love of chunky thunderousness I’m a P-bass man at heart but it certainly can’t hurt to have a go….. can it?

    Premier Icon oldtennisshoes
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    Defo can’t hurt 😀

    Premier Icon chiefgrooveguru
    Free Member

    So, I seem to have an escalating pedalboard situation! This is what happens when you have the bright/mad idea of not having a guitarist in your band and thus have a LOT of sonic space to fill with a bass guitar.

    The current board is:

    Barefaced Machinist (parallel fuzz/distortion with clean blend)
    MXR M82 Bass Envelope Filter
    Earthquaker Devices Grand Orbiter (phase/vibrato)
    Earthquaker Devices Hummingbird (tremolo)
    Barefaced Machinist (yes, two of them!)

    However, I’ve found a Boss Delay pedal here, which I think might be good for more textural stuff, adding space etc. And I’ve got a Hamstead Subspace overdrive pedal here which could add some colour before the modulation pedals. And I’ve realised that I can’t switch sound quickly enough without adding a loop switcher. So the next plan involves a DIY three way switcher, with the switches in a triangle so I can hit any 1, 2 or 3 in one go. And then buying some more pedals for textural (often chordal) stuff – having done a bit of hunting it seems these MXR ones are solid choices for bass chorus/flange/reverb but am open to suggestions!

    Like this:

    Loop 1:
    Barefaced Machinist
    MXR M82 Bass Envelope Filter

    Loop 2:
    Hamstead Subspace (overdrive-distortion but has clean EQ too)
    MXR Bass Chorus Deluxe (also has a flanger on it)
    Earthquaker Devices Grand Orbiter (phase/vibrato)
    Earthquaker Devices Hummingbird (tremolo)
    Boss Delay
    MXR M300 Reverb (I know, a reverb pedal on bass?!)

    Loop 3:
    Barefaced Machinist

    As I’ve been writing everything on my acoustic bass guitar at home (and imagining the FX!) it’s going to take quite a while for me to get used to pedalboard tap-dancing again!

    Premier Icon sharkattack
    Free Member

    Right, I marched into the local guitar shop this morning determined to buy this 70’s style walnut brown P bass. I’ve wanted one for ages and this is the first time I’ve seen one in the flesh. Plays nice, sounds mint, and they offered me a trade in on a 20 year old Washburn which I had zero love for. Done deal.

    The only problem was it was sitting next to this…

    This picture was taken in my living room. I had to have it!

    It’s a 50’s style whatever that means. Apart from the slightly wider neck I couldn’t see a difference. The bold white paint and anodised gold plate totally sucked me in. It makes the brown version look a little pedestrian.

    With the tone rolled off it makes an incredible fat, dull, thudding sound. With it on it makes an acceptable growl.

    So yeah, pretty happy with it. Now that our new arrival is sleeping better and we don’t feel like the walking dead every day, I want to get back into a regular practice routine. I might even go wild and post a video.

    A couple of things…

    How do you fix fret buzz? Is it purely related the string height, and do they just need winding up a little?

    Also any tips on sanding the super glossy finish off the neck? They showed me a second hand Fender in the shop where the owner has sanded it down and it felt lovely. Mine is incredibly glossy and quite sticky but how hard is the finish? Just checking before I attack it with the scotchbrite or wet n dry.

    Premier Icon Edukator
    Free Member

    I’ve successfully used 3M 784 P400, used wet very gently in line with the neck. It only takes a couple of minutes.

    Edit: I tried it on other surfaces first!

    Fret buzz on a bass, check neck relief first.

    Premier Icon Scapegoat
    Full Member

    Fret buzz on a bass could be so many things, so check out the videos on Youtube telling you how to set it up. You’ll need a string height gauge or a decent steel ruler, and the right allen key for the truss rod. Start with truss rod, then go onto bridge saddle height, check the nut height and finally go for the intonation and pickup heights. You should be able to find a list of “standard” measurements for your Squier, but if not go with Fender setup recommendations.

    I went with this guy’s 4 part videos.

    Premier Icon Edukator
    Free Member

    When you’re adjusting the saddles put some wood glue on the threads. Every Squier bass I’ve played has suffered saddles that descend when playing.

    Premier Icon hatter
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    Nice wee beastie you have there.

    Thanks to another ‘Oh I have a bass I’m not using’ conversation I’ve inadvertently obtained a 2nd bass in the form of a glorious mid-80’s vintage USA Jazz bass in Sienna Sunburst.

    It’s a lovely lovely bit of kit but… here’s the thing. I think I prefer my trusty Japanese P, the Jazz’s dual pick-ups are fun to twiddle with and the bridge pickup gives a nice parpy tone for fingerstyle funk stuff. just can’t seem to get the chunkiness that I can wring out of the P.

    Adding to this; I took the flatwounds off the P and fitted Dunlop Lemmy stainless steel rounds, wow, huge difference in tone, much brighter and growlier, they take overdrive much better, a big step forward in what I was after, in a perfect world I’d have both and put flats on the Jazz bass but that may be grounds for divorce.

    Premier Icon oldtennisshoes
    Full Member

    The tone from a p can never be under estimated. My American Pro Fender P is a beautiful thing with amazing tone through the rumble 500 amp. I just wish the neck was a little slimmer.
    I sold my fender mim jazz bass and I’m replacing it with a sandberg tt Electra. If that’s as lovely as I’m expecting then I’ll be chopping the p bass in for the sandberg equivalent too.

    Premier Icon hatter
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    The Sandbergs are lovely looking bits of kit, the Californias in particular, like the option for an added Music Man style bridge pickup.

    Premier Icon chiefgrooveguru
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    I liked this post by Ed Friedland many years ago on the old Bass Player Mag forum:

    “ To my way of thinking, the difference between a P and J bass goes way beyond the physical. Yes, P bass – fatter neck (usually), split pickup, chunkier tone, less highs. J bass – slimmer neck, easier to play, dual pickups, more note definition, more high frequency.

    But… I think P or J bass is a lifestyle choice as well. Committing to the P means taking on a set of preferences, and inherent parameters. You can’t or at least shouldn’t try to play a P bass like a Jazz. That would be missing the point. The P bass is a fat, chunky-butt animal that likes to take up space. It demands a high level of attention to what you play, because every note hurts – or helps. There ain’t no takin’ it back with a P bass. You better mean it, or be very good at making it work. You can play fast on a P, but it’s not nimble like a Jackrabbit, more like a Grizzly doing 60mph to catch something to eat. Slap on a P? Sure, it’s chunkfunk, think Boz Scaggs “Lowdown”. The pop on a P is not as sharp as a J. It’s like getting sliced with a serrated steak knife. Ouch! Use only when you gots to cut through some tough meat. Classic P guys… Jamerson, Rainey, Rocco, Bob Glaub.

    The J is a sleeker machine. Being a Jazz guy means having a little more wiggle room. It takes up less space in the mix, so you can get more active without squashing people. With great power comes great responsibility. Just because you CAN move around, does that mean you should? And if so – how to, how much, and why? The J is a bit skinnier, so you have to learn how to use that texture to fill it up, and how to play it fat when it needs to be fat. Soloing? Sure. Slap? You bet. Passive it cuts like a well honed Buck knife. Active with a good pre amp, more like a barbers razor. Classic J guys… Jerry Jemmot, Larry Graham, Jaco, Marcus…

    Some people make a choice early on and stick with it. Their entire style is built around that early decision, whether it was conscious or not. You may know some of these people. Players that would no sooner pick up the other axe than they would deliberately eat rotten food. There’s honor in this I think, it certainly makes your life simpler when it’s Friday night and you’re trying to decide which bass to put in the bag.

    I think it behooves (love that word) a professional bassist to have both and spend time cultivating the characteristics of each instrument. You need to make each one speak it’s native language. There are some gigs that just naturally call for one or another. Not to say you couldn’t switch around. You learn alot about the nature of the P and J when you try to make one do what the other does naturally.

    Personally, I’m more fascinated with the P because I’ve always been a J guy by first nature. The J thing is in my DNA, but the P has gotten into my blood. I love chunkin out some fat ass P bass. It feels like I’m on vacation. The J still feels like home even though I’ve spent years getting used to the 5 string. I am definitely a confirmed 24 fret guy now. I always wished Fender would come out with a killer 24 fret J bass. I know.. the Urge bass…. Like I said…..

    On most of my gigs these days, there is the expectation that I’m going to solo. If I wasn’t so damned attached to what happens between frets 21 and 24, I’d bring a J, but…. Luckily I’ve found something with 24 that does it for me. But I still miss the opportunity to play my Fenders. I actually go out of my way to cultivate Fender gigs. No solos please!”

    And from a subsequent thread I said this:

    “Difficult…

    As a main bass I prefer the Jazz neck, no question. But as an alternative instrument that I play differently then the big fat Precision neck helps me change my approach.

    I like the look of both, though they seem rather big bodied, short necked and lacking in frets compared to my bass.

    I like the big fat loud sound of the Precision pickup. I like the growly farty aggressive sound of the Jazz bridge pickup. I like the slinkier sound of two pickups and their handy ‘sit in the mix’ phase differences. I haven’t done enough experimenting to come to a definitive conclusion on the ‘best’ two pickup sound.

    If I’d been playing in the ’60s or ’70s I imagine a Jazz would have been my main bass. As it is, I prefer the even more versatile, clear and responsive sound of my ’87 Warwick. So I doubt I’ll ever need to own a J-bass. On the other hand I would really like a P-bass with big old flatwounds and high action, for greasing it up and laying it down like they did back in the day. Maybe one day I’ll get one – but a RIM Custom will come first…”

    I did get that RIM Custom 5 and played it a lot! 15 years on my position is definitely different – I prefer the P width neck (preferably not super deep front to back – the StingRay neck is basically perfect). My left hand seems to be happier even with fast complex stuff on a fatter neck, fewer aches and pains. I can live without a full two octaves of fretboard but please don’t make me have to fight with a big square neck joint when playing chords up high, give me one of those new ergonomic ones. And make sure it balances – this is where the Jazz usually beats the P.

    Tonally the P attitude is more my thing, it’s so much more of a sledgehammer. I struggle with the lack of highs on a lot of passive pickups – I like older strings (partly because replacing strings often seems so horribly consumptive) and it’s worse with a P than a J. I like the Jaco etc bridge pickup funk thing.

    Sacrilegious though it may sound, I’d rather have a P/J bass with EMGs – which I do though it’s a reverse P and the pickups are closer to the bridge than on a Fender. Or indeed a StingRay, which I also do!

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