Hey, James here!
The bass is an incredibly popular instrument that has found its way into a variety of musical genres. For many, picking up a bass guitar is a natural step after mastering the guitar, but for others, it’s a unique and personal journey. In this interview, I will share my experience of how I got into bass playing, and why it has become such an important part of my life.
When I think back to my childhood, there's a pivotal moment that always stands out. I was just seven years old, and my dad, who was a drummer himself, had a drum kit set up in our house. And so I was always surrounded by this world of rock music, and I started thrashing around on the kit. It was the beginning of my musical journey.
Then, at some point, my parents bought me the Genesis VHS of the "Mama" Tour, and I watched Phil Collins behind the drum kit obsessively. I must have watched that VHS a hundred times! That was really what solidified my love of music.
When I was ten years old, I graduated from being a drummer to becoming a bass player. I remember walking around a local music shop just a few days after Christmas and seeing a red Encore Fender Stratocaster copy. I pestered my dad for days to buy it for me, and eventually, he gave in. That was when I fell in love with playing the guitar. I got obsessed with two guitarists: Nuno Bettencourt from Extreme and Gary Moore.
At some point, the bass guitar started coming into play. My parents thought it would be good for me to learn a proper instrument, and they decided on the double bass. I started taking classical double bass lessons at school, but on the side, I was learning those extreme Gary Moore solos. It was just a natural fusion of the electric guitar and the double bass lessons I was having that led me to the bass guitar.
Before I knew it, there were no bass players around, and the school jazz band needed a bass player. I became that guy. For many years, I wanted to play guitar in the jazz band, but I had to play bass. Then, when I was about 16 years old, I played the bass guitar with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, and that's when I started becoming a bass player.
There was this gradual shift over the next couple of years where I got less interested in "foot on the monitor", and just more interested in just being in the back going, "Dum. Do-do do-do dum..."
And so I was at a point where I thought, "Well, what am I going to do next with my life?" When I turned 18, I scored a place at Trinity College of Music in London to study bass guitar and double bass full-time. And that's how I transitioned from a drummer to where I am now, as a bass player.
Today, I’m proud to say that bass playing has become an essential part of my life. It’s given me a sense of purpose and identity as a musician, and it’s allowed me to connect with people in ways that I never thought possible. Whether I’m playing in a band, jamming with friends, or just practicing on my own, the bass always has something new to offer.
In conclusion, my journey into bass playing was not without its challenges, but it was worth it. For anyone thinking about picking up the bass guitar, I would encourage you to take the leap. It may be different than what you’re used to, but it’s a rewarding and fulfilling experience that can open up new avenues of creativity and expression.
What's your bass-playing journey been like? Share them in the comments!
I'll see you next week!