The bass guitar isn’t as common as other instruments. And that is certainly a good thing. And you’ll understand why in a moment. Here are five of the most common questions about bass players that you should definitely know the answers to. Without wasting much time, let’s get into it.
Why are bassists so hard to find?
Bassists are hard to find because many people are not interested in learning to play bass compared to other musical instruments such as guitar or drums. So there are not many bass players out there.
As surprising as this may sound, the bass guitar is not an instrument that attracts many people who want to learn a musical instrument. Firstly, most people don’t know what bass guitar is
Many people won’t recognize the sound of the bass in a song, but they will easily recognize guitar, drums, or keyboard sounds in music. That’s because the bass is a low-frequency instrument that is hard to hear, especially when there are many other instruments in that music that catches our attention easily due to human hearing.
Also, in music concerts, bass guitarists are usually in the background, holding down the groove and keeping the music heavy. So they don’t get the opportunity to be seen or heard as a guitarist or a drummer would.
Also, there are not a lot of mainstream musicians who double as bass players. But off the top of my head, I can mention about five singers who play the guitar or piano — John Mayer, Jonas Brothers, Taylor Swift, Alicia Keys, and Elton John. This has made other instruments more popular than the bass guitar.
Thus, there are not many people interested in the bass, which makes it quite hard to find a bass guitarist when you are looking for one.
Are bass players in demand?
The role of a bass player requires him to lay back and play a supporting role. In a band setting, bass players are not noticed as much compared to singers, guitarists, or even the drummer. A bass player’s role doesn’t allow him to stand out like the rest of the band members, which is why many people don’t pick the bass as their first choice of instrument to learn.
Yes. Bass players are always in demand. That’s because not many people are learning to play the bass guitar. Also, only a few bass players understand the role of a bass guitar in a band. For this reason, there are few skilled bass players for the many bands who need a bassist.
Also, the few people who decide to learn bass are drawn to the “flashy” side of bass playing — soloing and playing chords. Many beginners are drawn to bass virtuosos like Victor Wooten and Jaco Pastorius. There’s nothing wrong with being inspired by some of the best bassists in the world. However, in most genres and bands, bassists are not required to solo or play chords.
A bass player’s role is to provide a solid and consistent groove that will enhance the music. A bassist should think both as a drummer and a guitarist at the same time. This means they have to play rhythmically and lock in with the drummer, at the same time, hit the right notes to be in sync with the chord progressions of the music.
This is what many bass players, especially newbies, fail to understand. Many bands require a bassist that will play the supporting role and glue the music together with a groove. Unfortunately, many bass players don’t have that skill.
There are only a few bass players who understand groove and how to play in a band. So the demand for these bass players is very high. It has been like this for ages, and I don’t think it’s changing anytime soon.
So trust me, if you put in the work to learn how to groove, play in a band and stay in pocket as a bassist, there will be many bands inviting you to join them.
Why are there so many female bassists?
There are so many female bassists because the bass guitar is an easier musical instrument to learn as a beginner compared to other instruments such as the guitar, piano, or bass. So females find it easier learning the bass than other instruments.
Ok, let me start by saying this: Females are generally not as technical as men are. What do I mean by this?
Men have a natural tendency to figure things out, no matter how complicated or difficult it is. This is why you find a lot of men compared to women in music, software and hardware development, engineering, and more. The majority of women are not as technical.
Why do I say this? Well, the bass guitar, compared to other instruments such as the piano, guitar, or drums, is an easy musical instrument to learn. After going for a few bass lessons, you will be able to play the bass lines of some of your favorite songs. And that will definitely motivate you to keep learning.
You can’t say the same for other instruments. For instance, when starting out with guitar, you’ll need to understand basic music theory right from the start, how to play chords, which is quite challenging for beginners, how to use the pick, and more.
All of these technical guitar lessons you need to take as a beginner can easily discourage you when starting out unless you are very technical and highly motivated. Most females aren’t as technical and driven as males. No disrespect to females; this is a fact.
However, after females take bass lessons for about a week, they’ll be able to play the bass lines of some songs, and that keeps them motivated to continue learning the bass. This is why there are so many female bass players.
Don’t get me wrong. The fact that bass is easier to learn for beginners doesn’t make it easy to master. To be a professional bass player requires you to learn many techniques such as slaps and pops, muting, fretting, playing in time and rhythm. And all of these techniques are no easy task.
Do bass players have big hands?
Not every bass player has big hands. There are many professional bass players with small fingers. Although big hands can be helpful in playing the bass, it is not required to play the bass proficiently.
There’s no denying the fact that having big hands as a bass player can be quite useful. Firstly, most bass guitars have big fretboards. So you’ll definitely need big hands if you decide to use the “one finger per fret” technique of fretting.
However, that’s not the only way to fret on the bass. In fact, depending so much on the one finger per fret thing can actually hurt your fingers.
Also, with the bass having bigger strings, it’ll be easier for someone with big hands to hold down the notes firmly compared to someone with small hands. However, finger strength will come after months of practice, whether you have big or small hands.
So, yes, someone with big hands will have a good head start, but it wouldn’t matter as long as you keep practicing.
Victor Wooten, Steve Bailey, Matt Freeman, and Bill Wyman are some of the bass players that come to mind with small hands, and they are all very professional and successful bass players.
If you practice the bass using the right techniques, finger positioning, and posture, it wouldn’t matter if you have small or big hands. Your fingers will be stronger, and your dexterity will improve.
Also, there are many short-scale basses to choose from if you have small hands. Short-scale bass guitars have a smaller neck and fretboard. This makes it very easy to play for bassists with small hands. You wouldn’t need to stretch as much to hit notes, and they are overall much easier to play.
Although you can play long-scale bass guitars just fine if you have small hands, I highly recommend you pick up a short-scale bass such as the Ibanez GRSM20 Bass Guitar (on Amazon). Not only is this bass excellent for bass players with small hands, but they sound great too.
Here is Aron Hodek’s video (AronTheBassist), when he was 7 years old, playing the Ibanez GSRM20 at a music shop.
If Aron can play the bass with his tiny “7-year old” hands, I don’t see why you can’t play the bass if you have small hands.
Why are bass players made fun of?
Bass players are made fun of just as any other musician. There are jokes for every musician in a band, including singers, guitar players, drummers, keyboard players, and bassists.
Bass players are not the only musicians in a band that is made fun of. In fact, there are a ton of jokes targeting singers, keyboard players, guitarists, and singers.
Usually, after rehearsals or a gig, band members throw jokes at each other just to blow off some steam and to have fun. Also, on forums and groups dedicated to musicians, you’ll find members throwing jokes at each other from time to time.
So if you are a bass player and you find your band members or friends making fun of you, don’t take it too personal. It’s just for fun.
Here are some funny bass jokes I came across while I was researching this:
Being a bass player is awesome. Not only do you contribute tremendously to how a song feels, but you also get called for many gigs even if you are an average bass player. This means you can easily make more money than other musical instrument players.
Now go and practice your bass and make yourself a valuable asset. And have fun practicing.