Question of the Week: What made you decide to play the bass?

This week, we’re picking another single question from our Player Spotlight questionnaire for our question of the week. (By the way, the Player Spotlight is open to all bassists).

The question this week: What made you decide to play the bass?

Answer below in the comments, or on our Facebook page.

Get daily bass updates.

Get the latest news, videos, lessons, and more in your inbox every morning.

Share your thoughts

  1. John Paul Jones

  2. Scannermann

    Learning all the chords on a guitar looked too much likie hard work. Surely one finger couldn’t get any easier

  3. George

    … because I wasn’t coordinated enough to play drums. :-)

  4. Hector

    By 8th grade, I knew I wanted to play an instrument. The first thing I decided was that it was NOT going to be guitar. Drums were too unwieldy and loud (I was less than 5′ tall). I didn’t even know what a bass was. Then I saw Cliff Burton on the “Cliff ’em All” video, and that was it. Sadly, I never knew about him while he was alive – I first heard Metallica in 1988. *sigh* I LOVE YOU, CLIFF!!!

  5. When I was thirteen, my twin sister and I decided we wanted to play guitar. She really wanted to play the guitar but I was given the option to choose guitar or bass. My sister played flute in the school band and I played the bass clarinet so I was beginning to really dig the low end. Therefore, I decided to learn the bass guitar! It was the right decision and indicated the beginning of my thriving musical life! :D

  6. Dario

    One of my friends was selling his old fake Pbass for 30€, how can one refuse such an offer?

  7. I was drawn to the string bass in fifth grade, when the elementary orchestra would meet in the middle school orch room. The big sound really made me want to switch from cello so in sixth grade, with the help of my mom, I convinced the orchestra teacher to allow me to give it a shot. As it turned out, my mom had played string bass in the community orchestra when she was in college, up to me being born (I still use her French bow).

  8. maria

    I wanted to be different !! I wanted to be the only girl in my friend circle to be a musician, but not to play any instrument , i wnated to play bass and not guitar…
    Im very good at it and i want to do it for the rest of my life

  9. JD Jenn

    I was between 5th and 6th grade when ,y guitar teacher of 2 years needed a bass player for the All-City Band. Due to time constraints he transposed all of the music to Treble Clef for me then taught me Bass Clef after that was done. I just fell in love with the instrument. Prior to picking up the bass my parents would have to force me to practice. It went from “Get in there and practice” to “Put that thing down and go to bed.”

  10. tom

    My first good impression of bass was Milt Hinton’s bass part on Bobby Darin’s “Mack the Knife.” On an old juke box in my Father’s friend’s tavern sounded wonderful….Then I saw the Beatles in 64 on Ed Sullivan and I pestered my parents for a year and a half to get a bass. I also remember when Comedian, Joey Bishop had a talk show for a while. In Bishop’s “House Band” was Guitarist, Herb Ellis and BASSIST, Ray Brown. Occasionally, Mr.Brown would double on a Fender Jazz Bass and when I saw him play , I was hooked!!

  11. John Entwhistle’s performance on The Who Live At Leeds. My first thoughts were “that ain’t bass!”

  12. Wyatt

    My friend emailed me a link to a video of Victor Wooten. I pulled it up in a tab and checked the weather while listening. It was the most amazing thing i had ever heard. I went back and WATCHED the video. I saw him play it and i went and bought an Ibanez GSR100EX that same day.

  13. Cause I Admired my Dad…

  14. Jnewman

    I was 12 years when i started playing bass. My dad has been a bassist since he was a teenager so I grew up around music and listening specifically to the Low End. My uncle owned a music shop and him and my Dad gave me my first bass, an ’89 Ibanez with some Emg’s in it. Wasn’t the greatest of things but i loved it and still have it. so here I am a decade later, and i’ve come along way but i’m still trying to catch up to my dad.

  15. I was formerly a guitar player in the band I play, but as we couldn’t find any bass player I decided to play bass.

  16. Bob G

    A friend left me a Fender Precision. It sat in it’s case for over 20 years. I put new strings on it and fell in love with it, unplugged! I finally got an amp and play everyday. This was 7 months ago. I’m 51.

  17. Michael

    Cliff Burton. Anestesia just seemed amazing when I was considering bass. There are other aspects to take into account aswell, like playing guitar and not getting anywhere. Also, the idea that bass was ‘easier’ appealed to me. Boy was I wrong.

  18. “Mr Big” on the “Fire and Water” album by Free was the first moment.

    I was 11 years old. Then I heard “Don’t say you love me” and never looked back.

  19. Alex Thomson

    I knew as soon as I listened to my brother’s “Humble Pie live at Fillmore East ” and the dude takin’ a solo in “I don’t need no Doctor”, that was it. No other instrument in the world said what that baby did!!

  20. Simon

    My uncle let me borrow his guitar and amp for about a month. After that month I knew guitar wasn’t for me.

    And then I picked up a bass.

  21. Shane

    Well it all started once I started listening to Iron Maiden.

    Now, most people who listen to Maiden are just blown away by Bruce’s sheer, raw, amazing vocal talent, and anywhere from one to three epic guitarists shredding the fuck out of gibsons and Fenders, or by the crazy drum beats to notice Steve Harris.

    But if you’re paying attention, you can hear that Fender P come ripping right through the mids and blaze up the track. Once I learned that he actually composed most of Maiden’s songs himself, I wanted to be like him.

    Then, like some people here, I found Cliff Burton. However, I did it vicarously through first finding Metallica. I was watching Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey, and listening to people give their testimony about metal towards the end of the movie, and this amazing melodic solo kicked in, that was just so beautiful. I had to learn who performed it.

    I waited for the credits, and found out it was Master of Puppets by Metallica, and was hooked. I listened to Puppets every day, just for that solo. Then I started digging, and found Creeping Death. Once I looked up the tabs for that, I realized how batshit crazy the bassist was. (And I mean that in the most endearing way possible)

    Reading that bassline was a sheer skullf*ck, and the funny part was I didn’t even have the real bassline. I had a watered down interpretation by some fan.

    I learned it by Heart, and then of course started to actually listen. And once I did, I heard what was REALLY there. It was around then that I purchased Ride the Lightning, what some fans consider Metallica’s Magnum Opus. It wasn’t long after before I picked up their other albums from 1 to 4.

    I’d learned everything I could about Cliff, and wanted to be just like him, even though I know Cliff would’ve told me to just be myself, and f*ck looking up to him. But in that way, I wanted to love the music just like he did. To be dedicated to the music, and nothing else. To him, The stardom didn’t matter, sales didn’t matter, what the fans wanted didn’t matter.

    What mattered was what he enjoyed, and the music he made. And that’s what really drove me and still drives me to play bass. Because of artists like Cliff who didn’t care what anyone had to say, and who made music they way they wanted to.

  22. The sound, the sound and only the sound. That and taking drugs, listening pink floyd and having orgasm on bass parts.

  23. Mike Farley

    Bill Wyman on ‘Goin’ Home’ from Aftermath, and Jerome Arnold on ‘Blues with a Feeling’ from the first Paul Butterfield album. I’ve never forgotten the first time I picked up a Precision Bass, either!

  24. It found me. Was going through a bad time in my life years ago. Was at a friends house party, there was a bass leaning against the wall I picked it up and sat down and noodled with it all night instead of hanging out with everyone else lol. It fit like a glove for some reason in a time in my life when nothing else did. I have been playing for over 16 years now and it’s a still one of my best friends ;)

  25. Every tune on the radio rumbled me with thunder!

    Larry Graham – Dance to the Music.


  26. DC Walsh

    Kinda funny in a way. I started out as a guitarist back in ’63. In ’67, my drmmers mom asked me to teach him guitar because she couldn’t stand the noise from the drums. I did, he got better than me and I switched to Bass in late ’68. Been playing it and loving it ever since!!!

  27. Growing up, all the motown tunes were seared into my brain. A few years ago I discovered why. James Jamerson’s bass lines were unconventional, melodic, and played in counterpoint to the melody… all with one finger. Simple, yet conceived magnificently. He continues to inspire me, forty years after the fact.

  28. Kjeld

    Growing up on a diet of Jazz, Blues, Motown, Classic Rock I became addicted to the grooves that drove that music; though I was too young to figure out why. I remember being a little disappointed in pre-school when none of the kids knew the words to any Temptations numbers. When I was 10, the penny dropped whilst listening to “Just another story” by Jamiroquai. I wanted to know what “that” instrument was. Now I play, all the time.

  29. Tim

    When i was a kid i started trying to learn acoustic guitar but had trouble with six strings. so i tried the bass because it only had four. the moment i picked it up it felt so natural i was hooked.

  30. Taylor

    I was in my hometown for my grandfather’s funeral and was with my cousin in his room, surrounded by guitars. I accidentally picked up a bass and picked a few notes on the rusty out of tune strings. A few months later I got my own bass. I felt like it was a “one door closes another opens” kinda deal. My grandpa passed away, but I was brought to the bass that way. I’m not a religious type of person, but I feel that something bigger than I brought me to something that is now a central part of my life and that’s what my grandpa would’ve wanted.

  31. farshore

    I picked up a friend’s bass while helping a band set up for a party gig. I started playing “A Love Supreme.” My bass playing friend said, “I didn’t know you could play.” I replied, “Neither did I!”
    First step on a road 40 years long.

  32. I was a drummer and my friend was a guitarist and we were looking to start a band. We tried out different singers and they sucked. We also couldn’t find a bass player. As fate would have it I was watching Mtv and saw Winger. I called my guitarist and told him I found a bass player and he excitedly asked who and I said me. Bought a bass and found out the instrument felt very natural to me. Since then I have been a bass player / lead vocalist and as they say the rest is history

  33. Starbuck Avon

    I started playing because I was told bassists were in demand, so I thought, gee, twist my arm.

  34. MUD

    Its a Family thing… :)

  35. Alex Chiarelli

    I played guitar for like 4 years, I was learning La Villa Strangiato and I herd the bass solo and couldn’t even like describe how it felt. I then decided I was going to play bass and my friend called me and said his friend needed a bass player.