- Low barrier to entry – but hard to master
Like the electric guitar it’s easy to get started playing the bass guitar. Anyone can pick up a bass and start thumping out a basic low frequency tune. Many great rock songs feature very, very simple bass lines, making it easy to learn some of your favourite tunes. For this reason the bass has a very low barrier to entry and as such is a satisfying instrument to learn…initially. However, if you really want to master the bass you are going to have to develop a serious passion for the instrument. If you want to be the next Les Claypool (Primus) or Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers) then learning a few four-chord ditties isn’t quite going to cut it. And if you want to match the real greats not just the greats of rock like Pastorius and Wooten that’s very ling road.
Becoming a world-class bass player requires a serious commitment and years of practise. The advantage is that if preserver and become an accomplished bass player you will be a one of very few who make it. Most bassists don’t get past playing a few popular rock tunes, if you master other genres, such as jazz and funk then you will be a bass god among amateurs!
- Your musical taste will mature
As explained, becoming an accomplished bass player is no easy task. It requires a lot of dedication and, for most people, it will require a maturing of musical taste and knowledge. The world’s best bassists play jazz and funk, not rock ‘n’ roll. If you want to learn from the greats you are going to have to learn to appreciate the genres that they play.
For this reason, learning the bass will force you to develop a more mature musical taste. Try listening to James Jamerson of the Funk Brothers or Stanley Clarke, known for his role in Return to Forever and Animal Logic. Listen to some double bassists, like Ray Brown who played with Ella Fitzgerald and Charles Mingus, and listen to how they sound.
In conclusion, learning bass will expand your mind, man!
- A bassist is always modest
If you’re not an egoistic asshole then bass is the instrument for you. You don’t see bassists pushing forward to centre stage, jumping into adoring fans or talking themselves up every chance they get (Well excluding Pete Wentz, but he’s hardly the epitome of skill). No, bassists are the modest members of every band. Hardworking and diligent they work with the drummer to keep the music going, even when the frontman and guitarist are busy crowd surfing.
If you’ve got stamina and a serious love of music then you must learn to play the bass, it’s the instrument for you.
- So that you can “slap da bass”
Because everyone wants to slap da bass!