Question of the Week: What Made You Pick up the Bass?

We want to know… what made you pick up the most awesome instrument ever invented?

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  1. Needed a break from guitar. 6 string was making me depressed.

  2. Shay

    My brother was learning guitar, so I picked up bass to compliment him.

  3. Tony Fisher

    Bass player quit on us and we had 5 shows left to play that week. So I put down the guitar and picked up the bass and haven’t looked back since.

  4. Nick Badgio

    In high school, most of my friends were in bands. I was jealous and I wanted in. I formed a band with a few friends, but I didn’t know how to play anything. I noticed that there were only two bassist in my high school, and too many guitarist and drummer. I took a crash course in bass playing, and prayed to the music god so I could keep up with my bandmates. Some how, it worked. I am not headed to the studio to work on my first project. Oh how the years have gone by.

  5. John

    My friends had a band and they never had a permanent bass player soo i decided to start playing the bass since i was always wanted to and join em.

  6. Happened by “accident”. COuple of my HS school mates (UK) where playing their guitars at a Friday Night Youth Club night in a church hall that was almost opposite to where I lived with my parents. I wandered over there to listen to them; they were very good.

    Up to that point, I’d had been having a very classical oriented education: Sang in school choir (we broadcast on the BBC and also did public performances of things like Handel’s Messiah) and played violin in school orchestra; Loved Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Bach.

    As I was listening to these two play, I remembered we had an old empty Tea chest in our attic and I also had a reel of telephone wire so I took the handle out of my Mom’s floor mop and quickly constructed a tea-chest bass, carried that over to the club and joined in.

    From there it was all “down-hill” much to my parents dismay …. but that’s another story.

  7. Jeff

    At age 43, with no musical background at all, I decided that I wanted to learn some music theory and the bass seemed a good way into it, with the flexibility to play in all sorts of settings with all sorts of other instruments. It’s been a fun, enlightening few years.

  8. David

    I really got into the bass after hearing Primus in high school. I thought Les Claypool’s basswork was the coolest thing I’d ever heard, and I wanted to be able to do that. Never even considered guitar!

  9. Paul Stroud

    Wanted to be a lead player…quickly learned I wasn’t that good at lead but was ok at rhythm. Around the same time a friends band needed a bassist. I borrowed a friends bass and figured out the bassics;) and tried out and got in. Really connected w bass a lot more than guitar and since then the calls keep on coming! Bringin the low end since July of ’05! :)

  10. One song more than anything that made me pickup the bass is Jimi Hendrix’ _Third Stone from the Sun_. There is something about that groove that just grabbed me and wouldn’t let go until I learned how to play it my self.

  11. Craig

    Back in ’06, two of my friends wanted to start a band. After graduating high school I had no use for my middling trumpet skills and had already been thinking about picking up either guitar or bass. Since one of them already played guitar, I dropped my cash on a Squire starter set. The band never got anywhere near off the ground due to extreme differences in musical taste between the other two members, but I just kind of kept playing on my own ever since. Still haven’t found another regular band, either.

  12. Kevin

    The cellos were all spoken for, and real men do not play viola or violin.

  13. Thomas

    I picked it up after hearing John Entwistle’s bass playing on “Won’t Get Fooled” again. I had attempted to learn to play guitar as a child but never really understood the mechanics of the thing. But after hearing that song as a teenager I knew that I wanted to be able to make the incredible sounds that John got on that record. I managed to save up enough to buy a Squier 5-string J Bass and that was it.

  14. When I was 14 I acquired a new step-brother who played guitar. I have big hands and found the guitar too “fiddly”, so it was logical to look at the “big guitar”. The more I looked in to it, the more I liked the idea, so I found a 2nd-hand P-bass copy. It wasn’t very good, and might have given up had I not tried a few other better basses and eventually bought another.

  15. Carlos Gonzalez

    When I was 14, I heard ‘My Generation’ by The Who, basically I was floored.
    I worked 3 jobs and bought a black 72′ p-bass…and began ear training before I actually discovered reading…eventually nailing that song.
    Though I discovered ,Rush,Zeppelin, Hendrix, Van Halen, and eventually various Jazz and Fusion artists, Mr Entwhistle is responsible for my love of the LOW end….Thank you sir…I’m glad I met you(at a solo gig in a local venue)….and RIP.

  16. Woody

    I wanted to be Gene Simmons…period.

  17. Derik

    I had a choice between chorus, band, and orchestra, in 6th grade. My mom convinced me to try orchestra, and bass. I kept going.

    I got my first electric in 10th grade. In high school, I played in the orchestra, the jazz band, the choral backup band, and for the musical theater.

    I’ve had several bands since I started playing electric. I’m not playing with anybody right now, but there have been several recent, positive developments in my life, including a fretless. :-)

  18. Doug

    Our church worship band needed a bass player, so I decided to try to fill the need. After I did, I wondered why I didn’t pick up this wonderful instrument when I was in high school.(I’m 55). This is the most fun I’ve ever had playing music!
    I started on a Fender acoustic bass. I now own a Fender P bass and a fretless vintage Squire Jass bass.

    • Doug

      *Jazz* (maybe I need to go back to school to learn how to spell)

  19. Rudy

    I’m a big kid. I started with guitar, but eventually my hands just got too big.

  20. I was playing keyboards in a band in high school. My brother was the drummer, which meant we always practiced at our house. One day our bassplayer quit, and left his bass behind. I figured we needed bass more than we needed keys, so I gave it a shot. The rest is history…

  21. Three things made me pick up the bass. Geddy Lee, Steve Harris(make it five), Jaco, Disco(if you say you didn’t dig it, you are a liar) and a Musicman Stingray. It all felt right.

  22. Chicks and the instant fame…lol… No one cares about bass players other than other bass players..
    I started playing bass when I was 6 my dad was the pusher and it just stuck.

    • Kevin

      it’s true nobody cares about bass players but ourselves hahahaha

  23. Aston Family Man Barrett… the first time i heard “Roots, Rock Reggae” i was hooked… also my fat fingers… i started on guitar but my teacher used to hit my fingers because i would make so many mistakes… my fingers were way too fat/big for guitar :)

  24. Keith Currie

    Firstly Geddy Lee, then John Entwhistle, Chris Squire, Geezer Butler, Steve Harris.

  25. Alex

    In the 3rd grade, I heard Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” for the first time, and instantly knew that I wanted to play guitar…

    So in 6th grade, it came time for me to choose band or orchestra, I chose orchestra and picked up the bass, because it was the most logical step to the guitar.

    Of course, I fell in love with the upright, then in May of 2010, for my birthday, my mom got me an Ibanez GSR200 for my birthday, and haven’t looked back since.

    • Alex

      Oh yeah, then I discovered Cliff Burton, Geddy Lee, Wally Voss, Alain Caron, Chris Squire, and Jaco.

  26. Allan Boyd

    I had a cheap acoustic guitar that I got for my 13th birthday; one day while messing about in the garden with my mates, it got split down the side and the neck immediately warped. So I took the top 2 strings off and tuned it down an octave, and in my imagination it sounded like Jack Bruce. In reality it sounded like a crap guitar with very slack strings, but it got me started as a bass player. A couple of years later I had saved up enough to get a Fender copy and I was away… and I still am.

  27. sandy

    I’m what Zappa would of called ” I failed Guitarist” , truth is I was the only one out of my group of musical friends growing up that got the groove. Every time they couldn’t find a basser they asked me. I didn’t get my first bass till I was in my late 20’s. I still play the Guitar but the Bass is my true calling.

  28. John

    I played guitar stating at age 10. When I was 13 (I didn’t know it the time) I heard James Jamerson on a Supremes Album. Been in love with the bass since. Got my first bass a few months later, a knock-off of a Gibson EB-0.

  29. Iain Holland

    My first bass was an impulse buy I guess. Like when you randomly buy a snickers waiting in line at the grocery store only way more expensive.

  30. Kyle

    Well I started playing when I was 12 and before that I didn’t even know what the bass was then one day a friend of mine gave me a live green day album and this one track came on. It was called longview, it had the most addicting bass line I’ve ever heard and that was the first time I ever heard a bass. Now I listen to more Chris Squire and John Entwistle but I will never forget longview. Besides everyone plays the guitar, I dont and I have an average of 4 gigs a week with 5 different bands/projects

  31. Simon

    In high school my best friend played trumpet in the school brass band. I wanted to be in the band, too, but I played the flute, but they weren’t using flute players in that band. The electric bass player for the band had just graduated, however, so they told me that if I could learn the instrument and read the charts, I’d be in. It all fell into place real nicely and real quickly and I discovered that I always had been a bass player at heart…


    When i was in 3rd grade, all the ids in my grade were given the choice of joining the orchestra or the band and taing lessons with an instrument. i wasnt very enthused about it, and just decided on the CLARINET on a whim. I took one lesson and, not surprisingly to me, it had no impression on me. within a week of that lesson, i was playing in a friend’s backyard on a pogostick, when i fell straight on my face. i smashed my front teeth in and needed surgery on my gums. needless to say, clarinet was out of the equation. a newly hired music teacher and jazz eficianado, Mr. Pierre-Louis, told me i had long fingers and would be perfect for bass. “what’s bass?” was my response. 16 years later ive moved from upright to electric, keeping in touch with my classical and jazz upright roots and play in a band in New York called Galleries. Check us out!(shameless self promootion)

  33. Grant

    In 6th grade, in orchestra, there were too many violas and only 1 bass. I absolutely sucked at viola (even after playing it for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade), so I switched and then 6 months later I decided “As long as I’m playing upright, I might as well try electric”.

  34. DC Walsh

    1968. My drummer, who I was teaching guitar got better than me at guitar. He took over guitar, I switched to Bass and we found a new drummer. We were pretty damn good, until drugs interfered in ’72.

  35. Tom Susala

    Ever since I saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show, I wanted to play “Guitar.” Then a couple years later, I saw Ray Brown on the old Joey Bishop talk show, Ray Brown used to double on Acoustic bass and he also played the occasional tune on Fender Jazz Bass. When I saw and heard that, I wanted to play Bass!!! However my parents in their wisdom offered to buy a six-string guitar because they said: “you can play chords and you didn’t need other people around to accomplish anything.” So, I got the 6 string and in so doing, I learned how chords were built and the scales that complimented those chords. Fast forward to 1980; My friend was a drummer in a band and he had just gotten into a fist fight with the bass player at the end of a history of bad blood between the two. So he mentioned that they needed a bass player, I ran to the music store and asked the owner if he had a cheap, used bass. He came out of the back room with a mid 70’s Fender P-Bass. I bought it on the spot. I went to the bar where my drummer friend was a tending bar and showed him my newly acquired P-Bass. His response was: “Looks like you’re in the band.” I never looked back!!

  36. Maurice

    Got tired of the playing the low notes on the guitar.

  37. Stanly Clarke did. He open my eyes to a whole new world of sound and rythm. Thanks to Stanly C.

  38. sam

    it all started one day when i was sitting in my room with my brother. i looked over at him (with no musical talent what so ever) and said “hey, lets start a band!”…. he wanted to play guitar, we had a friend who could play drums and all we needed was a bass player. i picked that up cuz it was something other than singing to do. lets just say that after a few months my drummer friend got tired of playing sunshine of your love over and over again and my little brother didn’t want to practice (he was only 8). i stuck with it and moved from playing straight rock (nirvana, guns n roses ect) to all kinds of music like jazz, country, really anything i can get my hands on.

  39. alexander freeman

    my inner soul! i eat sleep and poor my spirit into it!!

  40. Kevin

    About 2 years ago I was the rhythmic guitarist of a progressive metal band… so our bass player dropped out and we needed a bass player and when I picked up the guitar it wasn’t the same anymore so I new all the songs that we had in bass because i wrote the bass-lines, so I became the bass player and from then I tried to learn everything I could about the instrument and it never ceases to amaze me, because guitar can get boring, keyboard it’s the same stuff, there are not many techniques, but the versatility of the bass it’s something just amazing… I started to get more into it and tried to find the tone I wanted… maybe it’s true that the real bass player never gets the perfect tone that he or she is looking for…

  41. Chris Barrett

    I picked up bass in high school and bought my own to play in church. I stuck with it and bought a five string about 10 years ago. I play with my church orchestra and jazz band.

  42. Rodger

    When I was 7 years old, Atlanta Rhythm Section performed in my hometown of Wilmington, NC. Paul Goddard’s bass solo in Champagne Jam that evening started me down the path. After obsessive-compulsive listening and noodling the next day, I learned the solo on my Dad’s classical guitar- I was determined to get my hands on a bass to get that fat, meaty tone.

  43. 9.5 at the Epicenter

    Like many other youngsters of my era, I took up the guitar in the late 60s and in a couple of years I could accompany myself on some of the same tired old songs that every other delusional kid was playing at the time. The summer of 1970 one of my friends told me that I just had to hear this new record he had bought, Black Sabbath. I heard Bassically/N.I.B. and was blown away. I read the album credits and then asked out loud, Geezer? What kind of name is that? How does he get that sound? Bass? Hmmm…. I’ve gotta have one! Dozens of lawn mowing jobs and few thousand thrown newspapers later, I bought an Asian cartoon caricature of a jazz bass. A Radio Shack RCA to 1/4” plug adapter allowed me to use an old Packard Bell console stereo as an amplifier. Snicker if you like, I know some of you old timers have done pretty much the same thing . I was a couple of years into my garage band days and well on my way to being ostracised from polite society when I saw an episode of Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert. One of the featured acts was Return to Forever…..yeah, can you see it coming? In between some old geezer (See why I was puzzled?) promising to paint any car for $29.95 and some annoyingly happy people in stupid hats singing about me needing a break today, Stanley Clarke imploded my universe. The electric bass guitar has been a lifetime affliction for me ever since those days. When I finally step of this crazy ride, I will have a bass in my casket, but before you start an uproar about the terrible waste or some such, relax, it won’t be my Alembic.

  44. Rick

    My older brother joined the army…I got drafted to take his place on bass.

  45. Listening to Paul McCartney’s basslines on Sargent Pepper with the pan on the bass side and the EQ all the way bass! I played a bass for the first time on August 2nd 1996, will never forget the day I bought my first instrument – From that day on bass has been always present.