The Bass-ment

Shocking Confession

1

I've...become a bass player. There, I said it.

It all started when I began subbing on rhythm guitar in an established Country band. That went along fine, but then they got a permanent rhythm player (they offered me the gig but I can't be in two active bands, keep the day job, and stay married, so I agreed to sub until they found a permanent guy). So, fine, I thought, I had a good run with them. Then their bass player quit. The booking agent/manager texted me and said "You need to learn bass." So I recorded myself playing along with some of the songs on the set list (thumping out a bunch of I's and V's) and sent them the recordings, and they texted back "Can you play with us at the Cowboy Palace next Monday night?" This was a couple of weeks ago.

I cobbled together a bass amp out of a Quilter Tone Block head, a Celestion 12" bass speaker and a 2-way 15" PA cab, and tuned up the Memphis P-bass copy I bought decades ago, and got through the night. It was so much fun, I concluded I needed a real bass, and my favorite real bass has always been the Reverend Dub King, so I found one of those in Alpine Green, nicknamed it "the Reverend Al Green," and played a second gig with it through the same rig.

The band said "Your playing is good, but your tone is awful," so for the 3rd gig this past Saturday they borrowed a Genz Benz 500-watt head and 2 Epifani 12" cabs for me to use, and they were right. A real bass amp makes that bass sound great. So now I'm on the hunt for a bass amp of my own. Many options out there, and I haven't decided what I want yet (that I can afford).

We've got a 3-day tour coming up this weekend and I've arranged to borrow the Lizards' bass player's Fender Rumble 500 2x10 combo and a 15" Fender extension cab for that, but after that, I'll be all out of favors to call in so I'll have to find something for myself.

As they say, pictures or it didn't happen:

Now before anyone reminds me, I'll admit that I'm aware that I'm not a real bass player, because I don't know how to play stand-up bass. Yet. But as soon as I can make room in my house and my budget, I may get one of those, too, and find a teacher. I also need to practice singing and playing bass at the same time. That's a lot harder than I thought it would be.

2

I love playing bass, there I said it. I feel better now.

3

You'll be able to go fishing now:

4

Go for it! Nice looking bass.

7

It could've been worse. At least it wasn't a banjo.

Bass amps? Getcha an Ampeg Flip Top or SVT. If you get the SVT, also get the number of a good chiropractor. BTW, that Reverend looks great!

8

If you're into the Class D scene, I can't recommend the Aguilar Tonehammer enough. Theres a 350 watt version and a 500 watt version. I use the 350 in my surf band with a Fender Rumble 2x10" cabinet and a P Bass. Very nice vintage bass tones (awesome overdrive too if you're into that sort of thing), easy controls, a great DI, and it fits in the gig bag pocket.

Nice bass BTW!

9

I've...become a bass player. There, I said it.

It all started when I began subbing on rhythm guitar in an established Country band. That went along fine, but then they got a permanent rhythm player (they offered me the gig but I can't be in two active bands, keep the day job, and stay married, so I agreed to sub until they found a permanent guy). So, fine, I thought, I had a good run with them. Then their bass player quit. The booking agent/manager texted me and said "You need to learn bass." So I recorded myself playing along with some of the songs on the set list (thumping out a bunch of I's and V's) and sent them the recordings, and they texted back "Can you play with us at the Cowboy Palace next Monday night?" This was a couple of weeks ago.

I cobbled together a bass amp out of a Quilter Tone Block head, a Celestion 12" bass speaker and a 2-way 15" PA cab, and tuned up the Memphis P-bass copy I bought decades ago, and got through the night. It was so much fun, I concluded I needed a real bass, and my favorite real bass has always been the Reverend Dub King, so I found one of those in Alpine Green, nicknamed it "the Reverend Al Green," and played a second gig with it through the same rig.

The band said "Your playing is good, but your tone is awful," so for the 3rd gig this past Saturday they borrowed a Genz Benz 500-watt head and 2 Epifani 12" cabs for me to use, and they were right. A real bass amp makes that bass sound great. So now I'm on the hunt for a bass amp of my own. Many options out there, and I haven't decided what I want yet (that I can afford).

We've got a 3-day tour coming up this weekend and I've arranged to borrow the Lizards' bass player's Fender Rumble 500 2x10 combo and a 15" Fender extension cab for that, but after that, I'll be all out of favors to call in so I'll have to find something for myself.

As they say, pictures or it didn't happen:

Now before anyone reminds me, I'll admit that I'm aware that I'm not a real bass player, because I don't know how to play stand-up bass. Yet. But as soon as I can make room in my house and my budget, I may get one of those, too, and find a teacher. I also need to practice singing and playing bass at the same time. That's a lot harder than I thought it would be.

– giffenf

It takes a lot of courage to "come out", "not that there's anything wrong with it".......

That is one fine looking Bass, Reverend, I assume....

10

Congratulations! Bass is fun and challenging. Singing and playing guitar or drums is way easier for me than singing and playing bass. Paul McCartney, Sting and Timothy B. Schmidt make it look so easy.

I was the bass player in an original band for about 6 months once until the singer and guitar player moved back to the East Coast. I loved it. I had to borrow a bass amp but my bass is an 80s MIJ E series Fender P Bass I found in a Beverly Hills pawn shop in the mid 1990s.

11

Buddy, our basses must be distant cousins! I have a '83 MIJ Squier (same factory as the MIJ Fenders at the time):

12

Aw Frank, now that took courage to admit. I'm proud of you, mate!

Well, there is only one thing that looks askew in that photograph...it's a short scale bass. You know that I enjoy hacking around a bit on bass as well and I have found that, if you play a short scale bass, you tend to play it like it is a guitar. Whereas, if you have the longer traditional scale length, you will tend to play it more like a bass is traditionally played.

As for an amp, it really depends upon how much you want to invest in your rig and the type of venues which you will be playing. I think that, if Quilter has an amp, that sounds like something that should be seriously investigated. I like my SWR Workingman's 4004 (400w) head with 4x10 and 1x15 cabinets, but they are simply too heavy if you are going to be gigging frequently.

13

Buddy, our basses must be distant cousins! I have a '83 MIJ Squier (same factory as the MIJ Fenders at the time):

– Otter

Nice color!

I used to think the neck was too thin but then when I started getting into it and improving as a bass player I realized that the left hand placement on a bass is different than on a guitar. It's more "thumb behind the neck as leverage" instead of "thumb wrapping around the neck". Now I think it feels perfect.

14

I played bass in bands for over 30 years. The biggest problem has been that bass gear is big and heavy. Go for a class D bass amp.

15

I forgot to mention, I've also developed a taste for Jack and Cokes, so maybe this bass thing is sinking in.

Yes, Quilter makes a killer bass head called the Bass Block, and an even more killer cab, called the Bassliner, but the two of those things are still a fair bit more than I anticipated spending. I am leaning toward an Aguilar ToneHammer 350 and some sort of cab, maybe a 410. But the rule of thumb in bass gear seems to be: affordable, good-sounding, lightweight; pick two. The guy I borrowed the Epifanis from will sell me an Ampeg SVT 410 upgraded with neo-magnet Celestions (to lighten the weight) at a good price, so we'll just have to see how this all shakes out.

As for scale length, c'mon Ric12, 30" is still 4.5" longer than my longest-scale guitar, and no, I don't play it like a guitar. Some observations I've made so far:

  1. Being a guitar player makes it easy to play bass...badly. The temptation to overplay needs to be recognized and controlled
  2. 85% of being a good bass player is just showing up for the gig. Not sure why this is so, but they're just so damned happy that I showed up at all, I could suck and probably still get paid.
  3. Jack and Cokes taste pretty good
16

The lesson is, as in life, the more you know, the better you are.

17

As for scale length, c'mon Ric12, 30" is still 4.5" longer than my longest-scale guitar, and no, I don't play it like a guitar. -- giffenf

Well, of course, I wasn't intending to say that you do. I have never heard you play bass and wouldn't have any idea of your manner of playing. However, it is clear to me from watching many new bass guitar players who were formerly guitarists that the shorter the scale, the more it simply feels like a guitar, which usually translates into a playing style that is familiar to a guitarist.

One thing that I would high encourage you to learn, Frank, is how to play with your fingers, as well as a flat pick. Some songs cry out for a pick while others (most others) sound better by plucking the strings with your finger.

18

You are now officially eligible for bass player jokes, Frank!

Like the one about the bass player who locked his keys in the car. He had to break the window to get the drummer out.

Or, how many Country Western bass players does it take to change a light bulb?

One. Five. One. Five. One. Five. One. Five. (etc.)

19

I'm a recent covert to the bass in a cover band project that just got off the ground. I bought a Hofner Cavern Ignition Bass. I play it DI and it sounds surprisingly good.

20

Check out some GK stuff before committing to an amp. I play a little electric bass, but more upright usually. I'm a guitar player convert as well. My GK MB200 head is about 6" square, 2" high, 200 watts, and about a pound. Sounds great for electric or URB. If you ever get into upright world, you'll quickly find not all bass amps work for both.

Welcome to the club, it's good to know multiple instruments. It will make you a better guitarist I believe. It certainly did for me. It also gives you a different perspective of what the other guys in the band are thinking.

21

I've only heard good sounding GK bass amps.

I play with a couple of guys who have been using Markbass amps. They are compact but still are able to achieve a great low end. I'm not sure how they do it.

22

Yes, I've tried GK amps and liked their sound.

After borrowing our bass player's Fender amp and cab yesterday, we talked some more and he said he got a Schroeder 410 cab with neo speakers that was given to him as an endorsement deal, but he's never used it, it's still in the box. He can't sell it, he can't give it away, but they didn't say he couldn't loan it, so I may be able to use a $1200 410 cab on indefinite loan for free. That might be too good a deal to pass up. I think I'll wait and see how many more bass gigs I get after this weekend to see whether I really need a bass amp of my own.

And thanks for the jokes, Parabar. Keep 'em coming.

23

GK's are really common with jazz players. They're spec'd for backlines a lot.

What do you call a bass player in a three piece suit?

Defendant.

24

Frank, have you had your testosterone levels checked lately? If I we hear you have taken up the banjo it may be time for a group intervention All joking aside you are one of my favorite guitar players from watching you at the No Cal roundups. You will be phenomenal bass player, if you want to be.

25

What do you call a beautiful woman on a bassist's arm ??

A tattoo.

What do you throw a drowning bass player ??

His amp.

Yeah, yeah, heard them all before. Plus, l WANTED to be a bassist !!! Have been since I heard McCartney 40 odd years ago. Then I discovered Duck, Geddy, Squire, Sting............etc.

And giffent, good luck with the bass playing, dunno about the Jack & Coke though.........


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