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  #1  
Old 03-30-2010, 06:17 PM
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Default Bass Player-less band?

Does anyone here play or have you played in a band where you had no bass player? How did it work out? What did you do to compensate for no bass?

Two guitar players and I are working up songs to play some small clubs but we have had no luck in finding a bass player that clicks with us. A few years back I watched a regional band called Stealin' Horses made up of three females that kicked booty: a drummer, an acoustic guitar player, and an electric guitar player. I swear you never missed the bass (or at least I didn't).

Anyone ever try this set up and did it work out? We'll be doing what I would call middle of the road type rock/covers such as Tom Petty, REM, etc.
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Old 03-30-2010, 06:31 PM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

To me, most basslines get drowned out in modern music anyway. Unless you focus on it as a band, like RHCP did, or give the bass player a prominent role, which is more common in trios like Sick Puppies or electronica bands like Birthday Massacre.

Personally, I think you'll work out just fine.
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Old 03-30-2010, 06:40 PM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

Well, theres two pieces like The Black Keys, who are awesome. Sometimes you miss the bass, other times you dont, it depends how much of a bass-lover you are.
I know I missed it when my band have played as a two piece, although people commented on the sound not necessarily missing the bass; I missed it as a drummer and music fan.

The Doors are probably the most famous example, but as Manzarek played a lot of bass parts with his left hand it doesnt fit what you are saying about missing it.

What Kyuss used to do (even though they had a bass player) was to plug the guitar head into a bass cab, so emphasise the bassiness. If a band was sans bass, then you could get the guitarist to plug into a bass cab and see how it sounds; having tried it, I felt it helped the overall sound and my playing.
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Old 03-30-2010, 06:54 PM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Masheanhed View Post
Does anyone here play or have you played in a band where you had no bass player? How did it work out? What did you do to compensate for no bass?

Two guitar players and I are working up songs to play some small clubs but we have had no luck in finding a bass player that clicks with us. A few years back I watched a regional band called Stealin' Horses made up of three females that kicked booty: a drummer, an acoustic guitar player, and an electric guitar player. I swear you never missed the bass (or at least I didn't).

Anyone ever try this set up and did it work out? We'll be doing what I would call middle of the road type rock/covers such as Tom Petty, REM, etc.
I know that I notice it as a player and as a listener, but I've seen some great bands who got away with two guitars. With clever use of effects, tuning, and voicings, you can do a lot to simulate the presence of a bass player.

Personally, I've never enjoyed playing without a bass player, because I feel like there's simply no bottom to help support the bass drum and anchor the music. Heck, I don't even love playing with bass players who spend too much time in the upper regions of their instrument outside of soloing for the same reason.

But if you don't mind, and you like the sound of it, go for it. Perhaps you should try recording your rehearsals and see if there is anything you need to do as a band to fill out the space left by the absence of a bassist. Or just let it be.
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Old 03-30-2010, 06:56 PM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

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Originally Posted by Moldy View Post
To me, most basslines get drowned out in modern music anyway. Unless you focus on it as a band, like RHCP did, or give the bass player a prominent role, which is more common in trios like Sick Puppies or electronica bands like Birthday Massacre.

Personally, I think you'll work out just fine.
Even when the bassline completely mirrors the guitar, you would miss it if it wasn't there. That bottom end simply can't be reproduced with a guitar, no matter how downtuned it may be.

I'm not saying it couldn't work, but it would definitely be a different sound than what you'd have if you added a bass player. I've heard a few bands that didn't have bass players, though, and it can definitely work if you work within your limitations. Maybe the guitar player(s) will need to downtune (or play a seven-string), or the drummer needs to think very carefully about where to place bass drum hits, but it should all work.
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Old 03-30-2010, 07:49 PM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

There have been plenty of bands who got away without a formal bass player, but they generally supplement the low end through either keyboards playing bass parts, or bass pedals, or a minimum splitting the guitar line and running part of it through an octave pedal and a bass amp.
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Old 03-30-2010, 07:54 PM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

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Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum View Post
There have been plenty of bands who got away without a formal bass player, but they generally supplement the low end through either keyboards playing bass parts, or bass pedals, or a minimum splitting the guitar line and running part of it through an octave pedal and a bass amp.
i think the white stripes do something like that.
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  #8  
Old 03-30-2010, 08:01 PM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

Pig Destroyer has no bass player. Never really caused an issue.
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  #9  
Old 03-30-2010, 11:25 PM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

I played with a guitar player that used a Les Paul through a Marshall stack that was completely overdriven. He was a very rhythmic guitar player (& singer/songwriter) that generated a massive wall of noise constantly.

We went through 3 bass players, but none of them lasted since we liked the guitar/drums combo better than the guitar/bass/drums combo. Sonically, things just got too crowded with bass in there. I, as the drummer, had so much more room to maneuver. It was a really fun and unique situation to be in.

I'll throw out another one: Jeff Beck's "Guitar Shop" was just guitar, drums (Bozzio), and keys. That was a great combo - they just killed it live!
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  #10  
Old 03-30-2010, 11:36 PM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

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Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
I'll throw out another one: Jeff Beck's "Guitar Shop" was just guitar, drums (Bozzio), and keys. That was a great combo - they just killed it live!
True, but Tony Hymas was playing a lot of bass parts on the keys. They didn't abandon the low end.

That was a great album. I recently picked it up again on CD (my old tape had long since melted). Killer album.

Last edited by DrumEatDrum; 03-31-2010 at 03:45 AM.
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  #11  
Old 03-30-2010, 11:52 PM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

I played for almost two years with a singer/songwriter who ran his guitar through a keys amp that had a ton of low-end. We too tried several bassists and it just didn't work. No one ever commented that we needed more low-end or a bassist, when checking out the recordings. He played down-tuned and knew how to fill in the stuff missing from the lower register. It was a lot of fun since there was no creative tension...we both loved the same music and I really dug what he wrote...so we went with it as a duo and it worked well.

I'd like to do something like this again!
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Old 03-31-2010, 03:43 AM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

depends what kind of music.

i often play without a bass player for dance music, we use low octave synths instead.
to be honest though i would want a bass player in nearly everything i do. playing with a good bass player makes your drum lines sound so much better.
infact i would even go as far to say that the bassists are the most important musician to me (putting the actual 'song' and singer to one side). a bad bassist will make your songs sound horrific, a good one will take you to another dimension.
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  #13  
Old 03-31-2010, 04:46 AM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

Thanks for all the replies. We'd prefer to have a bass player but unfortunately it just hasn't worked out that way. And being in a fairly rural area there is not a large pool of musicians to pick from. We realize to make this happen we are going to have to make some adjustments in how we sound/play, as well as it will limit us on what songs we may be able to pull off.
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Old 03-31-2010, 04:50 AM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

Most of the casino bands in Vegas I have played in just had a keyboard player that kicked left hand bass or we sequenced the bass and horns and such. I thought it was awesome, especially the sequenced version because it was always the same and it didn't want to borrow money!
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  #15  
Old 03-31-2010, 04:51 AM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

It's not the perfect qualities that make us unique, but rather how we cope with our imperfections. Who knows, lacking a bass may force you to do something that becomes a huge part of your signature sound, eventually. Had you not had this particular predicament, you would not have had to find this solution... etc etc. Just saying, lemons to lemonade.

Be sure to post up some vids or recordings when you get some demos done! I'm terribly curious how it would sound.
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  #16  
Old 03-31-2010, 05:11 PM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

yep that is very true too moldy. you don't nescesarily have to have a bassist, it's just i've never had the predicament myself.
that said, if you can play tight to a click track/backing track then you could just as easily sequence the bass with some software and simply play it back via ipod/laptop.
ofcourse that then adds in the extra problem of everyone having to stay locked in, but yeah. just another possible solution if you feel you really want bass in your show.
then again it might sound awesome without bass anyway! :)
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  #17  
Old 04-01-2010, 02:10 AM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

I played in a band with no bass player for a while. We looked for one, but never were able to gel with anyone. I like working with bass players, but it can sound OK if there isn't one, too. Here is a short vid of us playing out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNRf-i9SfvE
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  #18  
Old 04-01-2010, 04:14 AM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

One of the current bands I am with has no Bassist. We are going to hire one soon, but we have been doing photo shoots and just filmed a music video without one.
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  #19  
Old 05-17-2010, 02:14 AM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

if u find a good bass player than you should definitely add them to your band but if u find a bass player that is.
not dedicated
does not get into the music
never shows up for practice

or one that stands in a dark cold corner not making any body movements at all besides strumming the same note 3000 times with no change at all and after months you realize that what you thought was a bass player is now a lifeless corpse which you have not noticed because the notes were the same as the guitar. and you finally realize that you dont have to have a bass guitar to have a successful band.
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Old 05-17-2010, 04:13 AM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

It seems that few bands can really deliver the goods without a bass player. Some successful bands sans bass have already been suggested but they are rare. (I would like to add one of my favorites: the Cramps! RIP Erik "Lux Interior").

There are other genres of music that do not always have bass players (e.g. Sufi, some surf, some latin, etc). So whether or not you can be successful also depends upon the style of music you are playing.

GJS
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Old 05-17-2010, 03:05 PM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

For the style you are talking about, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that depending on the gigs you get, small bars and stuff, most people won't have the foggiest idea. The bad news is that that music really does need bass, and if you get into bigger places with sound guys, etc, they will want to pump the bass to ungodly levels, so that could be an issue.

You have a few options:
- Start working together now and keep looking, but don't turn down gigs.
- Run the rhythm guitar through an octive pedal to create that bass sound (this is common)
- Learn midi and work with a click track and sequencer (one of the top bands in our area does this for their keys, horns, and bass, as well as occasional symphonic sounds, etc...they are a three piece band that sounds however they want, though it takes away the ability to jam, etc).
- Start auditioning keyboardists who can add bass lines with their left hands.
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  #22  
Old 05-17-2010, 04:12 PM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

I really hope bass players donít become obsolete Ö

Drums are new to me, but in a band situation ďI amĒ the bass player.

Iím blessed to work with a really great drummer for the last few years who was my inspiration to even take up drums. We know each otherís style and nuances so well that if I hear him hit just one beat different in a groove I can feel exactly where he is going and it works in reverse too, he can follow anything I do. No matter what form of technology one may try to cover the bass part you just canít beat that kind of human groove factor!

We try to stay working as a team much like "Double Trouble" or "Fleetwood Mac" under the name Blackkat Bone ... actually just today we are meeting with new singer and guitar player on a project where we will be the rhythm section.



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Old 05-19-2010, 09:30 PM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

The first thing that comes to my mind when I read the

Bass Player-less band? / Does anyone here play or have you played in a band where you had no bass player?

Is the question Are we talking about function or instrument?
"bass" is really a range or musical function - could be a bass guitar, a 'cello, a tuba, a doublebass , tuned drums etc

I don't mean it as just some flippant semantic cleverness, I mean thinking about those aspects can help clarify our thoughts -- like in the keyboard examples, there may not be a separate bass instrument, but that musical function can be supplied by the left hand.
In classical guitar, the harmonic role is often supplied by the thumb.

I'm of the opinion that any set of instrumentation can "work", but we have to keep in mind good orchestration/arranging and the expectations for the sounds -- a band without a vocalist will sound this way, a band without drums will sound that way, a band without dedicated bass will sound yet another way
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  #24  
Old 05-19-2010, 09:57 PM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

The black keys are bass-less
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Old 05-19-2010, 10:10 PM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

You can find someone like (a version of) Ray Manzarek (The Doors), who played bass-line notes on a keyboard bass. The Doors never had a bass player, never did. Look all the music they created and invented.
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Old 05-19-2010, 10:45 PM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

I need bass guitar. Bass pedals, basslines played on a keyboard, are OK but have NEVER got me off. Yea gimme a bass guitar with a funky ass player thumping on it. The bass guitar is such a cool instrument. It perfectly bridges the rhythm to the melody. I would love to be a great bass player even more than a great drummer. (because I could get out front and be more a part of things).

So put me in the camp that needs low end in their songs, if not from a bass, then from something. I wouldn't play in a bassless band unless there was no other choice.
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  #27  
Old 05-19-2010, 11:20 PM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

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The Doors never had a bass player, never did.
kind of yes and no on that -- in the studio they used session guys like Jerry Scheff . Pretty much after "The Doors" debut album they had bass players in the studio
I don't mean that they hid bass guitar players or that there's a bass guitar on every track but they supplemented with a bass player a decent bit, esp on the harder driving numbers.
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  #28  
Old 05-20-2010, 01:22 AM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

The point of my initial post was that we haven't been able to find a bass player for a long while and in order to play we are looking at trying it without one. It wasn't that we don't want one, we just have not had any luck finding one that either plays the style of music we are doing or is just not compatible with us personally (want to use practice as party time, wants to practice seven nights a week and go on tour, etc). Do we want a bass player? Yes, and if we do find one this will all be a moot point. But as it is, after about nine months, we have not found anyone. So I wondered if anyone had tried it without a bass player, and what they did to compensate for it. I know that a bass will be missed...hell I would miss it, but sometimes you have to try different things when the need arises. Several intersting and helpful answers here on how to accomplish this.
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Old 05-20-2010, 02:26 AM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

FWIW - The Doors, as ian was talking about, went through this. very very early on when they were still growing out of Rick & the Ravens they actually had a bass player (Patty Sullivan), they even cut an early demo (go insane, and I think something else)
but it didn't work out
I think they tried a few others (auditions, not performances) but nothing gelled

so...it happens and people compensate.

since you have an extra guitar player, they may be able to pick up bass guitar duties (but probably not doublebass, but it doesn't sound like that's part of your deal) on some numbers
Schecter makes a "tic-tac" bass sort of like the old Fender Bass VI -- these are guitars tuned on octave down from a std guitar, but has 6 strings and the scale length is a guitar friendly 30in or so.
They actually have a decently rich sound for their scale and they don't intimidate guitar players
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Old 05-23-2010, 05:45 PM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

Oh, I guess I forgot to mention the model -
I'm not sure if they list it as a bass or a guitar in sales literature, so it might be a little hard to find w/o it

It's the Hellcat VI (there is a regular hellcat)

it looks like it has singles, but they are actually tappable humbuckers
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Old 05-23-2010, 07:06 PM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

you have to have solid time to play without a bass player, but in a way it can be easier and more comfortable, YOU are in total charge of the rhythm
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Old 05-24-2010, 03:00 PM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

Slightly random aside, but have you guys ever heard of bands that just use two bass players and no guitar at all? Two that come to mind are Dianogah (post rock) and Necromantia (black metal), both bands make it work really well...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAHGyan2yV0
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  #33  
Old 05-25-2010, 01:25 AM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

Get one of the guitarist to play bass
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Old 05-25-2010, 04:03 AM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Therma lobsterdore View Post
Slightly random aside, but have you guys ever heard of bands that just use two bass players and no guitar at all? Two that come to mind are Dianogah (post rock) and Necromantia (black metal), both bands make it work really well...

Indeed my good friends from Athens GA. ...

Bryan Howard and Jeff Rieter of The HEAP http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGUL-5F3Tfs


Last edited by Kenny Allyn; 05-26-2010 at 04:14 PM.
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Old 05-26-2010, 01:54 AM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

I've been playing duos lately with:

1/ piano & drums - don't miss the bass here

2/ guitar & drums - bass would be good here

3/ sax & drums - bass would be very good here.....
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Old 05-29-2010, 01:35 AM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

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Originally Posted by jonutarr View Post
Get one of the guitarist to play bass
This is exactly what I would suggest. A good guitarist can pick up the bass easily. Or maybe a keyboardist who can add some low end or an effects processor on one of the guitars to add bass.

In high school my friend who played guitar and I went through a lot of bass players. But that was in Seattle and we could always find someone in a pinch. Nobody seemed to work out long-term, though. We also tried a couple different singers before my friend decided he could handle vocals and guitar.

Anywhere you live, it seems guitarists are the most abundant musicians, followed usually by drummers. Nobody wants to play bass because of the perceived lack of glamour and nobody wants to sing because it seems like it would be the most difficult and embarassing to do in front of people.
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Old 05-29-2010, 02:42 PM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

Well, guys thanks for all the responses but it seems it is now a moot point. One of the guitar players is joining another "band" so won't have time for us. It may have worked out for the better as the other group of guys I play with are starting to step it up an I don't know if I would have time to do both projects anymore.

I do appreciate all the responses and ideas.
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Old 06-03-2010, 05:28 PM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

Quote:
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Anywhere you live, it seems guitarists are the most abundant musicians, followed usually by drummers.
I'm not sure where/how he got the numbers (so grain of salt, I can't validate), but in "Guitar : An American Life" Tim Brookes states that guitars currently (2005 for the book) outsell all other instruments...combined.

I assume this was for US or maybe western industrial countries, not sure.
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Old 06-03-2010, 06:47 PM
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

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nobody wants to sing because it seems like it would be the most difficult and embarassing to do in front of people.
could be worse

finding a (French) horn player is a bitch or a tuba for a "secondline" sound

and like DMC mentioned on the "band ad" thread - cellists for a pop-music context (seem like abt 80% of the time the search is really for -- , yeah, I want you to be good - and after paying the dues on that instrument can outplay me on that thing, but I still just want you to play weepy legato lines behind my wanking)
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Old 06-13-2010, 08:42 AM
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BassDriver BassDriver is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Australia
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Default Re: Bass Player-less band?

Jamming without a bass player didn't seem to bother Brann Dailor...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CGuw...eature=related

...he even developed his drumming style that way (ofcourse, before he met Mastodon).
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