Bass Player's Frequently Asked Questions
Special thanks to Lesa McCabe for compiling this Bass FAQ:
For those of you that are new to ActiveBass, we ask you to please review this FAQ page. This will answer many of the "newbie" questions you might have. If there is a question you have that has not been answered on this page, please enter your question into the Fretbuzz Search Engine. Many questions you may want to ask have probably already been answered in a previous thread.
1. Who Is The Best Bass Player?
There are several names that always come up whenever this question is asked. Jaco Pastorius, Victor Wooten, Les Claypool, seem to be mentioned the most, although we all have our one favorite - the one player that really inspired us to take up the bass guitar. Here is a list, in no particular order, of the "most favorite" bass players listed over the years here on A.B.
- Dee Murray
- Jack Bruce
- Jaco Pastorius
- Les Claypool
- Krist Novoselic
- Billy Sheehan
- Matt Freeman
- Charlie Migus
- Justin Chancellor
- John Entwistle
- Mark Hoppus
- Cliff Burton
- Stuart Hamm
- John Patitucci
- Paul McCartney
- James Jamerson
- Mike Mills
- Nic Seymour
- Paul Simonen
- Bruce Thomas
- Bruce Foxton
- Bill Wyman
- Antony Jackson
- Vic Wooten
- Stanley Clarke
- Mike Inez
- Marcus Miller
- Steve Harris
- Cliff Burton
- Roger Waters
- Del Puerto
- John Myung
- Louis Johnson
- Donald "Duck" Dunn
- Verdine White
2. What Is The Best Bass Solo?
To this question, there were a million answers. Everyone had their own idea - everyone had a different favorite bass solo. My conclusion? There is no "Best Bass Solo".
3. Picks Or Fingerstyle?
Both. In my own humble opinion, please learn both. Someday, you will be glad you did. I had the callous on the end of my middle finger peel off one Friday night, first set. I had an open wound and there was no way I would have been able to fingerpick. Thankfully, I had taught myself to play with a pick when I had first started on the bass. It not only saved me a massive amount of pain, but allowed me to play the rest of the weekend.
4. Best Bass Guitar?
Here is another question with as many answers as there are members on A.B. If you are looking for that perfect bass, the best advice is to visit your local music stores and take some time and play them all. There will be one that will feel perfect, look perfect, and have that perfect sound. That's the one you want to buy. Check out some reviews in the Resources section
. Some common choices are:
- Fender Jazz Bass
- Fender P Bass
5. What Are The Best Bass Strings?
Everyone had their favorites in this category too.
- Blue Steel
- Ernie Ball
- GHS Boomers
- LaBella Deep Talkin Bass
- DR Hi-Beams
- Ken Smith Taperwounds
6. What Is The Best Bass Amp?
Again, it depends on many factors on what is the "best amp". What type of gigs will you be playing? How large are the rooms? How much money can you afford to pay? What style of music does your band play? Most of these amps have had reviews done on them, and you can read about those by going to the Resources section
- Fender RBX 25
- Fender Frontman
- Fender M-80
7. What's The Difference Between J-pickups, P-pickups & Soapbars?
The P in P-pickups stands for Precision Bass. They are made of two single coil pickups that are offset so they each pick up vibrations from two different strings. The signal is combined before it reaches the volume and tone controls. Each single-coil is wound in opposite directions to reduce hum. Basses usually have one P-pickup.
The J in J-pickups stands for Jazz Bass. They are made in one piece that picks up vibrations from all four strings. J-pickups are single coils, and J-bases usually have two of them: one near the neck and one by the bridge.
Soapbar pickups owe their name to their shape. These one-piece pickups are about twice as wide as J-pickups, and can be wired as either single-coils or humbuckers.
8. Should I Use Straplocks?
Yes! Please refer to this article
for more info.
9. Should I Get A 4 String Or A 5 String?
Get the bass that is right for you. Take into consideration the style of music you will be playing. Do you really need that lower string? Can you easily access the fretboard? 5 string basses have a wider neck, and may be a bit more difficult to play for those with smaller hands. A few players use 6 stringers, but for most of us, a 4 is sufficient. But again, it comes down to what is best for you - simple as that.
10. Where Can I Find A Good Blues/Rock/Punk/Metal Song To Play?
Check out the hundreds of lessons offered in many different styles. From beginner to advanced, rock to reggae, there's something for everyone. Just go to the Lessons section
, and pick the category interests you. Don't forget to turn up those speakers!
11. What Should I Put In My Bands Promo?
Once again, that and many other questions can be answered by looking at our fine selection of Articles. From hearing protection to getting that gig, it's all available to you in the Articles section
12. Does Anyone Have The Tab For "Feelings"?
Tab? Do we have tab? You bet your sweet bippy we have tab! And it's as easy as going to the Tab section
13. What Do You Think About That New Lime Green 20 String Bass With ...?
If it exists, then there is a good possibilty that someone has done a review of it. Check out the Resources section
14. What is the "Circle of Fifths"?
Have a question about theory? Look it up in the Bassics section