Hey, James here!
One thing about teaching on YouTube and other social media platforms is that I get a bunch of comments—both good and not-so-nice. Some of the comments are super nice and complimentary, which is awesome.
Now, what's interesting about the not-so-nice comments, and I usually don't take them personally, is that it makes me wonder where these folks are coming from and how they think bass guitar should be taught.
A few weeks ago, I posted a video of me jamming to a track inspired by the legendary Doobie Brothers. On that video, two comments stood out to me. The first one said:
"No offense but your thumb is in the wrong position for a bass player. Just saying."
And then the next comment which really caught my eye was:
"If you don't know the correct way to position the thum(b) on a bass or a guitar, maybe we shouldn't buy the lessons..."
After thinking about these two comments, I realized something crucial. Neither of these guys mentioned if the bass line sounded good or not, which is the main thing that matters.
In my opinion, if it sounds good, it is good. Now, in the video's context, I was playing a simple two-in-a-bar country bass line in which honestly, you don't need a ton of technique for. But if you're diving into more advanced stuff, that's where solid technique comes in handy.
Generally, good technique is better, but there are times when experimenting with different techniques can inspire us to play in new and exciting ways.
So, I've come to realize that messing around with different techniques, even the ones labeled as 'bad,' can actually produce unique musical sounds and vibes. Today, I'll show you a bass line. First, I'll play it with good technique, and then I'll go all out with some over-the-top technique. What I've noticed is that I end up playing it in a completely different way in each scenario.
Playing bass is a mix of rules and rebellion. While it's smart to learn the basics, sometimes ditching the "right" way can lead to cool sounds. Think about famous bass lines—they often come from players doing their own thing. Jaco Pastorius and Flea, for example, didn't stick to the usual rules. They messed around with techniques and made awesome music. So, while it's good to get the basics down, don't be afraid to break some rules and find your own groovy style on the bass.
Which version of the bass line do you prefer? Let me know in the comments below!
I'll see you next week!