So, why is the bass guitar underrated? Why do bass players get no respect? Are bass players underappreciated? Is bass more important than guitar? The Bass guitar is an integral musical instrument, especially when it comes to bands. They produce a unique tone that makes them a necessity for every music.
However, there is always a notion that bass players are underappreciated. Why is that? and is that true? Lucky for you as I felt that there is really a need to give some light to some people on how important a bass guitar is to a song. So, learn and enjoy, as we are going to go low.
As a musician, the first musical instrument I have learned to play was the bass guitar. For me, it was a little bit easier as you only have to play notes using one finger, while on a guitar, you will have to play a chord by using many fingers. This can be a little bit difficult as your fingers are not used to coordinate yet. Although the basics of the bass guitar felt easier for me, after I tried to improve my skills, I realized that it is one of the most difficult musical instruments to play with.
Why Bass Guitar Players Are Overlooked
The Bass Guitar Is Not Known To Be A Lead Instrument
Bass guitar players have become the center of memes nowadays, and this is one of the reasons why. Bass players are not known to be the leader of a band, so you can understand other band members have more fans than them. Being the lead instrument in a band also gives you more exposure to it, and it does rarely happen to a bass player.
When you look at bass players playing from afar, it seems like they are not doing anything. Using just one finger to play a note will give a look that playing the bass guitar seems boring. Rarely do you see a bass player play with such energy, unlike lead guitars doing solo, so when someone who wants to learn to play a musical instrument but also loves to be the center of attraction, his go-to choice would be to learn to play the guitar or the drums.
Bass guitars are not known to carry the melody of a song. You also rarely hear a bass guitar player do a solo. The bass guitar rarely gets attention when playing in a band, and it’s only main purpose why is it in a band is to provide rhythm and drive the music of the entire band. All in all, most bands have their bass guitar players act only as support and not the lead instrument.
You Cannot Easily Hear The Bass Guitar In A Song
Although this does not happen every time, most of the time, the bass lines are really the hardest to listen to when you listen to a song. As musical instruments like the drums and guitar are known to provide the melody, these will make it easier to hear than the bass guitar, as its main purpose is to provide rhythm to the band.
Usually, a human can hear from 20 Hz up to 20 kHz, and bass guitars are known to play around the lowest hearing frequency range a human can hear. This means that the bass guitar can easily be overshadowed by other musical instruments that produce higher frequencies. When more and more layers of musical instruments are used in playing, this will make the bass guitar harder to hear.
In mixing audio tracks, bass guitars are usually toned down compared to other instruments, and this makes them unattractive musical instruments to play with.
Bass Guitars Can Be Very Hard To Master
As I have said earlier, learning the basics of the bass guitar can be easier for many who are still trying to get a grasp of playing a musical instrument. The experience can be a little bit different when playing the guitar as you will have to play chords compared to a bass that you have to play notes for a beginner.
However, when you try to learn deeper, you will come to the conclusion that the bass guitar is really a hard musical instrument to master. When you provide the rhythm of the band, it also means that you do not miss any beat, and it takes a lot more time to perfect this skill. You do not want to mess up your band’s performance by messing up the rhythm, so playing the bass guitar can be really demanding.
Although bass guitars are known to be played with notes, you can also play chords in them, which can be very hard. Other complex bass guitar techniques to master are slapping and the harmonics. They can be challenging for others to learn, and many stop learning these techniques, which is why many dislike playing the bass guitar.
Top Bass Guitar Players You Should Know
Voted as one of the best bass guitarists of all time, John Entwistle is a name you should remember from here on. He is a famous English musician and is the bassist of the band “The Who.” Aside from being the band’s bassist, he also usually does backup vocals and sometimes lead vocals, if necessary.
He is widely known for his pentatonic lead lines and treble-rich bass tone. His career spanned over four decades before his death in 2002 due to a heart attack. He was also inducted into the famous Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 as a member of The Who.
If you are a bassist, then you should really know who Jaco Pastorius is. Jaco is an American bassist, composer, and producer, and he is widely known for his funky tones, harmonics, bass chords, and solos. Many musicians considered him to be the best bassist of all time. Aside from being a solo artist, he is also the leader of the band Weather Report from 1976 to 1981.
After his sudden death in 1987, he was elected to the DownBeat Hall of Fame in 1988, and as of 2017, he is still the only electric bassist that is included in inductees of the prestigious award. His famous works are The Chicken, Donna Lee, Teen Town, Portrait of Tracy, Come On Come Over, and many more.
The Beatles’ famous bassist, Sir James Paul McCartney, is known for being a singer, musician, and songwriter and for being the bassist for one of the most famous bands of all time. He has been inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Beatles in 1988 and as a solo artist in 1999.
Paul has written over 32 songs that have topped the Billboard Hot 100. He is widely known for using a Hofner 500/1 as his primary bass guitar and Fender Bassman for his amplification. He is also known for using a pick when playing the bass guitar.
So, are bass players underappreciated? Most of the time, yes. When you check the history of musicians, more guitar players are in the spotlight than bassists. However, I cannot say that guitar is more important than bass, as both instruments have their reasons for being used in a band. Band members are equal the way they should be.