Solo Bass Playing?
To some it is a sacrilege – using bass outside of the band context, using bass for anything but grooving in a band.
I challenge that view – amazing solo bass music has been made. It is a very special sound – even though it is “just bass”, the variety of tones and textures solo bassists create is incredible. It is an amazing sound to my ears, and the variety of approaches is mind blowing! I list a few of my personal favorites in the article below.
So, just bass? Well, why not?
“Because then it is guitar playing, not bass playing.” (Um, no. It is played on a bass. It is bass playing. Even when imitating guitar techniques on the bass, it is still bass playing. Plus, what would be bad about that?)
“It’s not what a bass is supposed to do.” (Okay, hail the rebels, then! And, you are supposed to open your mind – wink, wink)
“It is egotistical to play all that great music and play it alone.” (Such a strange argument I don’t even know where to begin…)
“Basses have a job to do in a band context. End of story.” (A good story, but not the only story! Also, what this “job” is can vary greatly)
The above comments were harvested from various youtube comments sections. These arguments make no sense to me. I may not like a piece of music because it does not move me, but to just reject an entire way of using an instrument a certain way just out of some ill defined or implied principle seems wrong.
If you are on the fence, interested, intrigued, to “go solo” a bit, go for it. I started as a bass player because I loved the supportive role the instrument has in a band, the groovin’, the “holding it down”. Then I ran into Todd Johnson, Steve Lawson, Jeff Schmidt, Dave Grossman, Michael Manring and the lot. And I fell in love with the bass all over again! With solo bass, you still get to do the groovin’ and holding it down, and then there is more you may do. It’s a beautiful challenge.
Who are your favorite solo bassists? Comment here.
My Quora answer is below.