To a Forgotten Instrument

This week I want to rant. One rant that I may as well get out the way now as not to torture you with it in the future.

The Stigma of Bass Guitar.

For so long in the modern age within pop and rock music the bass has been given a bad press. The main view is that it is an easier version of a guitar. Unfortunately, this is the job and role that has been reluctantly forced upon the bass. For those of a musical nature will understand what I am about to say, but when guitar plays a chord the bass player is expected to play the root note and follow the rhythm of the guitar and to not stray from this.

The bass (not the bass guitar) in “modern” music such as jazz, rock’n’roll, folk, rockabilly was usually played and controlled by a double bass. A large and imposing instrument which was respected in its day as a difficult instrument to play well both musically and physically. Its role to create a solid rhythmic melody to help create a flow between chords. Rather than the static solid ‘dum dum dum’ of the bass AND guitar today.

The bass guitar was invented to make the double bass a more practical instrument to be transported and played more comfortably on stage. Due to its striking similarity in appearance and its given name of “guitar”, it was slowly compared to its six stringed and very distant cousin. And so the Stigma of the Bass was created. To compare a guitar and a bass is like attempting to compare a nose flute to a timpani drum, two completely different instruments which have two completely different jobs and roles. They are even separated with two different musical staves (the five lines that music is written on).

All instruments from an orchestra piano to a triangle are easy to play but difficult to master.
So this week I will include 3 songs, all of which show what the bass/ bass guitar is meant to do and what they can do. I ask you to turn the bass E.Q. on your computer up and try to listen past the guitar, keys and drums, and find that melodic rhythm that you cannot really hear today with it blending in too well with the guitar.

Modern Pop

Three Killer Bass Masters

Just as Awesome as Guitar

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2 comments

  1. […] Don’t forget about the Bass Josh loves the bass guitar and wants everyone to appreciate it as much as he does. It does tend to get a bit forgotten in the world of modern music so Josh is asking us all to think about this unsung hero. […]

  2. Otherwise, I simply can’t hear the bass over the other instruments! It’s a shame because when I watch those ‘Making of (Album)’ shows and they isolate the bassline in the studio, they unearth cool riffs.

    Conversely, I HATE it when the bass is too loud, especially at a gig. It drowns out everything else, including the singer, so all you hear for the next hour and a half is an annoying warbling.

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