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Making the switch: more playing?

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Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 159
Topic starter  

I am contemplating switching to bass from guitar. While I like the bass sound (but prefer the upright), my main reason for switching would be to increase my chances of joining/forming a band.

So you folks that have made the switch, or double on bass and guitar, did you find you got more gigs/opportunities as a bass player?

Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 10264

Depends on whether you sing or not! I don't know if it's just me, but I can sing and play rhythm guitar at the same time - but if I'm playing bass, I find my vocal melody tends to follow the bassline rather than the actual melody.

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"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)

Noble Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 1196

Oddly enough, I have a friend who has primarily been a bassist for at least 15 yrs. His current gig is playing as a guitarist (mostly rhythm, but some lead) and back up vocals.

It is a small world for metal fanatics. I welcome you fellow musicians, especially the metalheads!

Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2096

I find that I cant sing if Im playing the bass but have no problem if Im playing the rhythm guitar.


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Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 189

I think the singing part is something that anyone can work through--some of the great singers were also bass players. It may not be easy, at first, but it is certainly doable!

I'm more interested in the switching from guitar to bass. When I scan Craigs List and other musician boards, I see losts of ads for bass players--so much so that I'm certain that a decent bass player will never lack for work. Perhaps thats just a New Jersey....but I doubt it. Bass seems like the land of opportunity!

Anyway, I'd like to hear from guitar players (especially strumming rhythm players like me) who made the switch. Was it difficult? Did it take a long time?

Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 4472

I may, and please pardon the pun, be totally off base here but I think that "strumming rhythm" guitar players tend to have an easier time of making the switch to bass than lead guitar players owing to their awareness of the importance of rhythm and rhythm patterns. Plus, many strummers (especially ones that play solo) have already learned to incorporate short walking basslines into their strums, so they also have a sense of how to fill in spaces with bass lines.

It doesn't take long to get reasonably competent. With some concentrated practice, you might be able to surprise yourself at how quickly you make the change. But, as with almost any instrument, moving from a competent beginning to an interesting intermediate does require time and practice. It's an ongoing thing, again like any instrument. And it's a lot easier to get better faster "on the job," as it were. Next time you're at your local neighborhood jam, show up with a bass and see how things go!


Famed Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 4338

Honestly, guitar players are a dime a dozen. Throw a rock anywhere and chances are good that you'll hit a guitar player (or the wife of one, or the friend of one, or the sister/brother of one). Bassists and drummers are harder to find, though. So, IMHO, yes, you are likely to find more work/opportunities as a good bassist. In the bands I've dealt with, we spent more time looking for bassists and drummers than anything else.

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"Don't wanna ride no shootin' star. Just wanna play on the rhythm guitar." Emmylou Harris, "Rhythm Guitar" from "The Ballad of Sally Rose"