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8 Things Bassists Hate To Hear


So, you’re a bassist, well get used to hearing a few of these.

Any Failed Guitarist Reference

There are some guys who got relegated to bass for sucking at guitar because their high school rock band just wanted someone to play root notes, this is true.  But, not everyone is that guy. Hell, not even the majority, at least of competent bassists.

“slappah de bass”

Sigh….. we know you think you’re being funny, it’s just old. Same goes for any all about that bass reference.

So, can you play proper guitar?

Ok, sure a lot can, the skills aren’t exactly entirely non transferable, if you’ve learned one of course it will be easier than starting from scratch next time, but not everyone wants to play guitar. Odds are though you can probably play enough that non musicians will think you can play it, which just makes the whole thing more annoying.

Bonus points for if you can and then you’re asked why you wanted to play bass. Minus if you do actually prefer playing guitar, but, play bass because it’s harder to find a good bassist and then lie about it actually being your preference. You know who you are.

I couldn’t hear you at all

OK, this is annoying for 2 reasons, in one case the sound guy had you sow low even you were wondering what you were doing there, or the second being the guy saying this to you doesn’t actually know what he’s listening to and thinks unless you’re at the forefront of the mix jumping up and down like Flea then you’re not there.

Can you play Seinfeld?

Not only is this annoying and old it was played on a Korg M1 not even a bass. True this is more of a stateside issue. Anyone overseas, let us know if you have got an equivalent?

Just play the root notes

Look, sometimes, just hitting the roots is the right call, but surely that’s the bassists call, at least during the writing process. But, everyone knows the guitarist who needs to show off and really what he wants is backing musicians not a band. Bonus points if he’s not actually particularly good. In fairness this is normally from an inexperienced younger guitarist.

Why do you need more than 1 Bass?

This goes for guitarists too, but come on, it’s obviously for different sounds. And another bonus added on if you’ve got a 5 string or a fretless and comments on why you want/need one.

The pick, fingers, slap

So, it wasn’t so easy to directly quote for this one, but, you’re not a good/real bassist if you play in X way statement in general is obnoxious and shows a limited knowledge of music in general.

So, any we missed? Any you hear more than the others? Let us know!


  1. I’ve got a million of ’em. But two in particular get me…

    People who ask me to play bass like on an original song.

    Folks who tell me I’m playing the wrong bass on a song, and that I should purchase a bass.

    Bonus: Getting real tired of the “What do you call a bass player without a girlfriend” joke. Yep. Still hear this at least once every few weeks. (If you don’t know the answer, just google it.) 😉

  2. “Here is the deal guys: I’ve got my guitar and amp. Whichever of you two is first to buy another guitar is the band’s rhythm guitarist. The other one is stuck with bass.” True story. I was the poorest. And so it began in ’62. No regrets. Learn bass. Someone was always looking for a competent bassist, especially if you could count to four and sing on key while playing. During your time not spent looking for a band, you can sit back and grin indulging your hobby of also becoming a damn good guitarist. And you will, because you’re under no pressure to be one.

  3. I can play guitar. I own several nice ones. I am semi retired as a musician but play gigs at least three months a year on bass. I changed over in 1978 to playing bass and haven’t looked back.

  4. Constant shouts of ‘come on the drummer’ as the unitiated peasants believe he is the only source of the rhythm – and even more galling when he loses the tempo.

  5. I’m a guitarist first and foremost. I have full bass rig too. I play bass with fingers or a pick. Whatever the song demands while on bass. I play for me. I get paid. I don’t what people say. I’m marketable as a lead guitar player, rythm guitar player or bass player. Ya get what ya pay for.

  6. I like playing bass. I prefer playing bass with my fingers. I am not a fan of using a pick on the bass guitar. I mostly slapped be bass playing upright Bluegrass style but I can be done on electric. I use my fingers but have on occasion used my thumb. I can and do play guitar with a pick sometimes.

  7. The root note issue is often thrown about during sub standard AC/DC stuff …. Jesus I’m a rocker / metaller but Christ on a bike, music needs to swing regardless of style … and moving from the root does that… not that straight 8s can’t be effective but taste is the watchword ….

    And i can’t use a plectrum, never been able to … it don’t feel right for me personally… I have 4 plectrum and a thumb for right hand work …. it’s the bassists choice and his only


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