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4-String Bass Vs. 6-String Guitar

Discussion in 'Music, Movies, TV, & The Arts' started by Green Tea, Dec 4, 2007.

  1. Green Tea

    Green Tea Tequila Mockinbird

    Alright so today i was in the local music shop replenishing my ever-disappearing stock of picks and i some kid that wanted to take lessons asked my friend Ron (who's a tutor there) which is easier to learn, a classic 4-string Bass or a classic 6-string guitar. Well this seemed to hit nerve with a few guitarists and bassists in the shop on which was "easier" or "harder" etc..

    As it went on for a 15 minutes it was brought to the conclusion that bass is easier to learn BUT harder to master.

    Then another nerve was hit, a bassist (another friend of mine) decided to say that most Guitarists are only for show and that drummers and bassists are the real backbone of the band. that bassists are highly overlooked as a musician etc.. this continued for another good 15 minutes..

    Then once again the conclusion was made that in the term of a band, bassists tend to be overlooked, but without the bassist the band would sound like a transistor radio.

    I dunno how it ended.. after staying for like 30 minutes i left.

    So yeah.
    what do you guys think about all this?

    Bass vs. Guitar...DUN DUN DUN DUNNNNNNN...
  2. SurfSarge

    SurfSarge misfit

    Guitar is a bit harder to play then a bass for sure..Mastering either one
    is hard..If you can play a guitar Bass will naturally come to you..
    At least it did for me..Slap Bass and shit like that is tough but
    you can get the hang of it..And yeah both compliment each other
    so in conclusion I'm still undecided..They are pretty much equal.
    It's also true the Bassist doesn't usually get as much credit!
  3. scx1984

    scx1984 Lurker

    I agree, both are easy to begin playing, but it's really all in what extent of playing/mastering that determines difficulty. Just about any person can pick up a bass and make a good rhythm within minutes of first touching the instrument. I have, and believe me, it wasn't tricky. But just about any one can grab a six string and play a riff or melody from a song within minutes too. But if you want to master technique, from slapping a bass to picking the hardest solo to ever exist, then you are up for a challenge either way.

    I think it is more in how the person learning interprets music. Their brain's understanding of what they are trying to play is the most vital part of learning an instrument. Some people simply cannot "hear" the instrument properly, and it will take more effort to play, regardless of what it is (besides the cowbell).

    As far as who is the backbone of a band, as far as I am concerned, they are all equal. The drummer keeps the rhythm there, the bassist gives the rhythm feeling and emotion and brings in a deep tone, and the guitars add a "voice" to the song and re enforce the mood of the song's meaning.

    The only thing not required in a song is vocals. Instrumentals (The Crusade by Trivium or Orion by Metallica) prove this, whereas a song without instruments is more tribal chant.
  4. SurfSarge

    SurfSarge misfit

    the only thing I disagree with you on is"But just about any one can grab a six string and play a riff or melody from a song within minutes too."
    If you mean someone thats practiced guitar before..I don't think a person thats never touched one could play any riff within minutes.
  5. scx1984

    scx1984 Lurker

    I meant any simple one. Back when I first played guitar, I was just a kid. Maybe 10 years old. And my friend's dad showed me the beginning of "Enter Sandman" and how to play it. After a few tries, I got it. Sure, he showed me. Sure, my technique was totally off. My timing was horrible. But I still took only minutes to learn it, and before that my musical expertise was limited to one of those fisher price xylophone thingers.

    I can now play many instruments, although I am master of none. From Harmonica, acoustic, bass, electric, drums, piano, saxophone to even the violin, I have learned the basics of playing various pieces without ever having professional instruction.

    But even if you take existing songs out of the question, people can still pick up a guitar for the first time, and after a few minutes of fucking with it, can play something they made up, with a rhythm and good sound. Even if it's only on one string, and it's only four different frets. It's still music, and it's still tough as hell to master. But beginning to play is easy.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm no David Grohl or Zakk Wylde. I am probably the furthest from their kind on this forum.

    Playing music is like sex: The general process is simple, but technique and timing take hella practice and you can only get great through determination. Whether it be bass, six string, piano or the gong, they are all easy to learn and hard to master at the same time.
  6. Butterz

    Butterz Well-Known Member

    I play both...and picked up bass MUCH easier, but was already accomplished at guitar, so that carried a LOT of weight with it.

    I personally find guitar 'easier' to play than a bass...but, I've been playing guitar for 25 years. I think bass would be easier to pick up for someone who'd never played either. I do think people underestimate great bass playing...pretty much anyone can play basic rock on a bass, but the basslines written by Geddy Lee, Cliff Burton, Tom Araya, Les Claypool etc. are no small feats.

    The bass and drums ARE the backbone of the song, the rhythm section...but, to say the guitar is 'for show' is a pretty lame description, imo.

    Rip away the bass, drum and vocal tracks of any song...can you still recognize the song? Of course...because the guitar track in many ways IS the song.

    Now, rip away the vocal, guitar and drum tracks of any song...can you still recognize the song from the bass track alone? A 'musician' can, but I highly doubt the average listener can. The bass is the bridge between the guitar and drums...it's function is to help carry and accent both instruments...it doesn't 'define' the song the way a guitar does and doesn't keep time the way drums do.

    Neither instrument nor their importance can really be overlooked, imo. Guitarists get all the glory, but in many ways the bassist has all the guts (if he/she is good).

    I 'prefer' guitar, personally, because I can be more creative with it. I really only pick up my bass when it's to lay down tracks on an original, and that always follows the guitar tracks.

    But, to each his own...
  7. SurfSarge

    SurfSarge misfit

    I wish I played like I used to..All my friends had guitars so there
    was always one hangn around everyone's gone seperate ways..
    I get bored or have no time nowadays..
  8. Butterz

    Butterz Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I hear ya...I've got a home recording studio right behind me (our master bedroom is a renovated attic, so it's a HUGE room separated into three...dressers/entrance...bedroom...work office/recording studio.

    Got my acoustic, electric, bass and all my equipment less than 10' away, and it's just sitting there collecting dust! lol
  9. SurfSarge

    SurfSarge misfit

    Yep so many people I know like that..LoL...
  10. Spleen

    Spleen Well-Known Member

    Neither are the 'backbone' of any band or musical piece. The songwriters are the backbone of every band.

    You don't need a guitar or bass to make music, you need a songwriter, or some creative input, from anything from a platinum album to a jam session in someones garage, you always have some creativity, it's what turns sound into music.

    Unless you only do covers, in which case your an impressionist and not a musician, you need a decent songwriter. It's the hardest thing to do regarding music imo. You can be thick as shit, and still learn to put your fingers in the right place on some strings and a chunk of wood, you can be thick as shit and be born with a beautiful voice, you can't be a drooling retard and write a great piece of music. It takes imagination and inteligence to write a sucessful piece of music.

    I'm going to use the Beatles as an example here, because their the most famous band in the world, and I doubt theres a member of BCF that hasn't heard a Beatles track. None of the 4 members was the best guitarist or singer or whatever, don't get me wrong, some of them were bloody good, but it's the songwriting and creativity that made them the legends they've become, the Shakespear of the music world. In a thousand years time it will be the Beatles that are in the history books when it comes to music and culture of the last century, before any other band are mentioned, thats because of their songwriting and being the first, not because Harrison was the best guitarist in the world.

    Guitar and bass can be the 'highlight' of a band though, Jimi Hendrix is an example of this, the Guitar is obviously the thing your paying for when you buy a Jimi Hendrix album.

    On the other hand another sucessful band like Death from Above 1979 don't even use a guitar, so bass is much more important in their music.

    So imo, which is more important depends on what music your playing, but songwriting and creativity shits on them both, and will always be much more vital to music.

    As for whats harder to play, I don't give a shit, I don't play either myself.

    Guitarists seem to get more glory, I think this is down to public tastes and being a more versatile instrument, theres more you can do with it, more chance to expand your creativity. Nearly every Basist that has become as famous as a 'guitar god' has also performed another role in the band, whether it be vocals, songwriting or being the frontman/spokesman for the band, the one in the public eye, Paul McCartney, Roger Waters etc fit into this catagory imo.
    Butterz likes this.
  11. Butterz

    Butterz Well-Known Member

    ^^^I gotta agree with this.

    The Beatle's reference is a good one, because aside from McCartney who is actually a great bassist, no one else in the band was anything 'special' in terms of the instrument they played. Lennon and Harrison were 'good' guitarists and Ringo is really only a very average drummer (I think I'm actually being kind there). But, there songwriting is spectacular.

    Same thing with Metallica. Kirk Hammett is a fantastic guitarist, much better than James Hetfield...but Hetfield, imo, is far more talented because he's such an awesome songwriter/lyricist.

    Being a songwriter is really of the most value. A great songwriter who's an average guitar player can get much further than a great guitarist who's an average songwriter...Kurt Cobain or Yngwie Malmsteen? I'd pick Kurt any day of the week.
  12. Spleen

    Spleen Well-Known Member

    I think John Lennon was once asked 'Is Ringo Star the best drummer in the world?'

    And he replies 'He isn't even the best drummer in the Beatles!'

    Everyone always says he was a crap singer too, he's no Robert Plant, but I don't think his singing in With A Little Help With My Friends is awful.

    I like unconventional singing though, the voice dosn't have to be in tune to be enjoyed etc, just like guitars don't need to be in tune to make decent music. The whole in tune thing annoys me, just because it's In Tune dosn't mean our ears can hear it any better.

    It's all done for convience sake.
  13. Butterz

    Butterz Well-Known Member


    That's so funny, and true. Paul was a better drummer. The 'rumor' is, the reason they brought Ringo into the band was because he was better known in the Liverpool circuit at the time and less of a 'threat' to Paul...Pete was a good looking guy and they wanted to have Paul as the 'lead cute' guy.

    Did you know that Paul would wait for Ringo to leave during the recording of Let it Be and Abbey Road and redo the drum tracks? Ringo would come in the next day and pretend he didn't notice, but it supposedly really hurt him.

    Ringo never progressed as a drummer, music was changing so quick back then and he didn't do a very good job adjusting to the changes.

    If you listen to the Beatles first album and Abbey Road, there's no change in drums, same basic beats.
  14. Spleen

    Spleen Well-Known Member

    He did write Octopusses Garden though, lovely track.
  15. Butterz

    Butterz Well-Known Member

    Yeah definitely.

    I don't know if it's my life-long infatuation with them, but there isn't a single Beatles song that I don't like.

    Some I like more than others, but I don't dislike anything they've done.
  16. Spleen

    Spleen Well-Known Member

    Naaah, I think theres definetly some pretty weak songs from the Beatles, from the perpesctive of someone born after Lennon died. Love Me Do, You're Gonna Lose That Girl etc.

    You can't seriously enjoy Revolution 9 either? :p
  17. Butterz

    Butterz Well-Known Member


    It's gotta be an age thing. I was so amazed and in awe of the Beatles as a kid, that everything they did was gold to me. It's like your first girl, your friends think you're nuts for being so gaga over her, but in your mind, she can do no wrong.

    We used to get so fucking stoned and just veg out to Revolution #9! Buddy of mine freaked out to it one time and made me turn it off. haha

    I know what you're saying...I think it's just a 'hero worship' thing with me.
  18. Spleen

    Spleen Well-Known Member

    Ahhh, I have the same thing with Floyd.

    I first heard Eminem when I was 10 or 11, got obbessed with the swearing, Hero worshipped him, didn't listen to ANYTHING else til I was 15, then I heard some Queen, loved it. Slowly started enjoying the guitar etc in music other than just vocals. Remember seeing The Wall film as a kid and thinking it was pretty weird, so I downloaded some Pink Floyd.

    Was like someone kicked open a door in my mind and I suddenly could see so much more in music, so I worship Floyd, even love the track that only features dog barks, Seamus.
  19. Butterz

    Butterz Well-Known Member

    Yeah, same thing.

    See, I love Floyd, but there's stuff by them I just can't appreciate, especially the really early stuff.

    Some of the stuff afterwards, without Waters, is good, but I have a hard time stomaching that, too.

    The classic Floyd lineup is the stuff I'm into, not so much the Barrett or post-Waters stuff.

    I totally missed the whole Eminem thing. I just don't get it. More of a rock/metal guy and the only rap I'm into is Public Enemy.
  20. Spleen

    Spleen Well-Known Member

    You were born afew decades too early, like I was born afew decades too late to get into metal properly. Only metal I listen to regularly is Sabbath.

    The Barrett era Floyd imo, is Floyd at it's most creative, it's mad, it's freedom, it's just letting go and being crazy. It's not as perfected as Dark Side etc, but it's very charming music, draws you right in to a fantasy world of insanity. If you can get into it, It's not accessable at all though.
  21. Butterz

    Butterz Well-Known Member

    Metallica is another 'Beatles' for me. They came out right when I started playing guitar, right when I was getting into smoking weed and music. It was this new type of music that felt like it 'belonged' to kids my age...the preppies had Michael Jackson and Van Halen, older brothers had Black Sabbath...Metallica was this new, intense music that was 'ours'.

    A lot of people hate them now, but I can't bring myself to. I much prefer their classic stuff, but still sucker myself into buying their albums everytime they come out, just because it's Metallica.

    May sound weird, but how you are into Floyd that way, I get into U2's the 'Unforgettable Fire'. I used to just lay back all wasted and totally get absorbed into that album...there was just something about it that was pacifying and meditative to me. They aren't psychedelic at all, but it had that effect on me for some reason.
  22. Spleen

    Spleen Well-Known Member

    Metallica have never been my favourite band. I've got greatest hits, love One, and For Whom the Bells Toll, the rest I can take or leave. Listening in the background at a party is all good, but not nothing i'd stick on myself.

    I never had music that was 'mine!'. Never liked music at all til I heard Eminem, only listened to him for ages, then discovered 60's and 70's music and realized I wasn't a wigga and stopped dressing like Eminem and trying to rap along in the back of the car hahahaha

    Adopted 'old' music as mine.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 28, 2008
  23. Butterz

    Butterz Well-Known Member

    Yeah, there's not a lot of new music that I get excited about. Some...but not like the classic stuff.