Bass guitar is one of the most underrated instruments. Although it is still a crucial part of pretty much any rock band in the world, it is often neglected because there is less glory attached to it than vocals, lead guitar, or even drums. In a lot of band I have been in, the bassist is simply the less talented guitarist. Because of this, many otherwise good bands are plagued by mediocre bass players who do not really feel all that passionate about the instrument.
This is really a shame because, when played well, the bass guitar can really do wonders for the music. A bass player needs a great command of dynamics, a flawless sense of time, and a minimalistic aesthetic that will keep him playing just what the band needs to keep going time after time again. Bass guitars form the rhythm section together with the drums, and this is the bedrock on which the rest of the music rests. If the bass guitar builds a really solid foundation, the music will benefit a great deal. If the bass line is sloppy and indifferent, however, the band will never really rock out to their full potential.
Nonetheless, although it is important, there are some features of the bass guitar that make it a great instruments for musical neophytes. First of all, it is really pretty easy to play. You usually only have to play one note at a time, and you can get by with playing very slow, simplistic things for most kinds of music. The bass guitarist does not have to be an innovator. All you really have to do is to keep everyone else together. If you can do that, you can do your job in the band.
When I first started playing bass guitar, I made the mistake of assuming that I could do it all myself. I got an inexpensive starter bass and started playing songs from the radio. Although I did learn to play, I learned sloppy. I did not really develop the techniques I would have, had I had instruction from a professional. I had to go back and take lessons eventually. If I had to do it all again, I can definitely say that I would start out with a few lessons before I went off on my own. It would have made it much easier to jump through those first few hoops and really get playing like a pro.
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