-Happy 2012! Last month I talked a little about the role of guitarists in a “1 person” band. This month’s topic-bassist-will be similar, but there are differences….
-A bassist without a band isn’t as common as a guitarist who is bandless. There are plenty of ads out there from bands looking for bass players. It probably wouldn’t take a bassist too long to get into another project. However, some bass players might not be able to find their ideal band so an alternative would be to become a “hired gun”-especially if they’re good enough to pull off different styles. Between studio & live work, a bassist could keep themselves quite busy just doing that while making some decent money as well.
-But what if that’s not happening? I would 1st suggest learning to sing-if not lead, then at least backing vocals. Not only will this make you more valuable, but it will also help with songwriting. This leads to the next step-learn at least how to play chords on the guitar-even learning how to be a solo acoustic act. Again, increasing your skills & songwriting abilities. Plus you can use this to make money (as a solo acoustic guitar act-since I don’t recall seeing any solo acoustic bass guitar acts).
-There’s also the teaching route. This is even better if you’ve developed a rep as a great bassist. You could make a decent living just from teaching alone. On top of that, you’ll learn a lot as well. However, if you don’t want to genuinely teach, I wouldn’t suggest it.
-Another thing that bassists can do is work on learning skills in regards to programming syths & keyboard bass-especially if you work in the realm of pop music. (For country & alternative-try upright bass). These skills-like singing & guitar playing-will help make you a better all around musician.Sometimes having that extra skill is what’s going to separate you from the pack.If you ever decide to do the home studio route and make your own music, you basically can do it all by yourself. Plus bassists usually know more drummers than others so it can all work out easier. Of course, programming drums can be another skill to add as well…
-As you can see, there are a lot of similarities to a guitarist here. Make no mistake though. While you can play bass just by hitting root notes and following what the guitar is doing (& sometimes that’s all a song requires), actual bass playing has a different approach & mind set than guitar playing. While many of the options are similar, digging into those options is where the differences lay. The opportunities for your talent are out there-you just have to make the effort to find them.
-On deck-drummers! See ya next time…
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