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Question about a Guitar vs A Base
#1
There are some things I've always wondered about the difference between a guitar and a bass.

I don't know hardly anything about music and so when I was a kid and I watched some of my favorite bands (like The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Animals, etc.), I would see several of the band members playing what looked like guitars and I read the descriptions that said some of them were playing, lead guitar, rhythm guitar and bass. But I never really understood the difference and I'm hoping someone here might be able to give me a brief overview of the difference between an electric guitar and an electric bass.

They both look identical but the only thin I ever figured on my own was that before electric guitars, people used to play these huge bass fiddles that had four strings and I figured that the electric version would just look like an electric guitar but only have four strings.

I often see all kinds of books on how to learn to play guitar but almost never see any books about learning to play electric bass. Why is that?

I always had the opinion that it never really took much talent to play a bass guitar or at least it took much less talent than it did to play a guitar.

I have wondered about Paul McCartney. He played bass and was often considered to be one of the most talented of The Beatles.

Was that just a convenience because none of them really knew how to play guitar except for George?

I saw a documentary about George that explained that neither John or Paul really knew anything about playing guitar although they were really talented musicians in other ways). Does it make sense that John and Paul could be the most talented musicians yet still know almost nothing about playing guitar? As I understand it, George was a fantastic guitar player and far more talented at guitar than both John and Paul.

Can anyone tell me about that? Is is true that it takes a lot more talent and work to get good at playing guitar than it does at playing bass? If so, do all band members usually all get an equal share of the money? Or does the bass player usually get less because it takes less talent and work to get good at playing bass?

I honestly don't know any of these things and I'm asking cuz I'd like to find out. Anyway, I guess you must get the idea of the kind of info I'm interested in and I'm hoping that someone here might be able to help me out.
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#2
A guitar has six strings (or 12, or 7 or 8) and and bass guitar has 4 strings (or 5 or 6 or 7).

On the guitar the strings are generally between 0.13 and .60 in diameter while the smallest of bass guitar strings are larger than .80

It is generally accepted that it is easier to learn to play bass guitar, but it is still fair to say that to master the instrument would still take years.

Musicians in bands work out the money situations separately or through management. Every band's percentages are different. It matters less what instrument you play- it is more about how vital your role is within the band. McCartney may have played a rhythm instrument, but he also had a large role in the songwriting and arrangement of The Beatles' music. Also, both Paul McCartney and John Lennon were proficient guitar players at least on some level.
Wildcard is awesome.
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#3
Hey Mark.

Thanks for the info. Much appreciated. One thing though.

McCartney and Lennon may have become proficient guitar players. But when the band first started, the George Harrison documentary has George saying that John was playing a guitar with only 4 strings because he didn't know any better. According to George, Lennon knew almost nothing about playing guitar. Obviously he learned a whole lot very quickly though.

According to Harrison, both McCartney and Lennon knew close to nothing about playing guitar around the time when the band first formed.

I highly recommend this documentary about George Harrison. It is one of the best movies I've seen in a long time. Of course, you really have to like The Beatles I suppose.

It's called George Harrison Living in the Material World and it comes in two parts. The part about Lennon knowing almost nothing about playing guitar is in Part One. It begins around the six minute mark. But the part where George talks about Lennon knowing almost nothing about playing guitar is right around the 8:35 mark.

I always really disliked McCartney. I thought he just provided a sort of "style over substance". I always figured Lennon was the heart of the band. But only after watching this documentary did I realize that George was as tremendously talented as he was. He was the "lead guitar" player because he was apparently some kind of guitar prodigy.
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#4
the bass is very important to a band..... im a massive beatles fan...my view is this..these four guys were in the biggest band ever and without mccartney on bass/piano/keyboard and writing all the best songs they would not have been as big as they were...in fact the beatles without mccartney would be just another run of the mill 60s band...sure harrison is by far a better lead guitar player than lennon and mccartney but they brought more to the band then harrison...but thats just how they worked together....lennon and mccartney changed the face of music forever[of course with a little help from harrison that is] ...ringo on the other hand could have been replaced with just about anyone
I don't sugarcoat anything.....do i look like willy fucking wonka to you
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#5
(08-07-2012, 03:44 AM)zeberzee Wrote: the bass is very important to a band..... im a massive beatles fan...my view is this..these four guys were in the biggest band ever and without mccartney on bass/piano/keyboard and writing all the best songs they would not have been as big as they were...in fact the beatles without mccartney would be just another run of the mill 60s band...sure harrison is by far a better lead guitar player than lennon and mccartney but they brought more to the band then harrison...but thats just how they worked together....lennon and mccartney changed the face of music forever[of course with a little help from harrison that is] ...ringo on the other hand could have been replaced with just about anyone

The size of the text indicates how much I agree Smile

Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison- in that order. jmo
Wildcard is awesome.
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#6
Very interesting.

I don't really know enough about the bass to comment about that. But I suspect you are correct.

I do believe that George was massively underrated as a song writer and he wrote some really great songs. George was ten years younger than John and Paul and came to writing and expressing his POV much later than John and Paul. I suppose it is impossible to really know the truth. I just hold on to the belief that George was just as talented as Paul and it was the age difference that really made him appear to be less talented.

In that documentary, Paul agrees with you. He says The Beatles were like a picture frame. They had four corners and without all four, it couldn't have worked. He says that each of the four were equally important and all were necessary to make the group great.

It's JMO, but I don't believe him. I think he feels that Ringo was much less talented and could have been replaced by just about anyone. I say this because I have read that they had to hire a session musician to play drums on The Abbey Road album. Remember that very long drum solo? I read somewhere (sorry but I can't remember where) that Paul has said they had to hire a session musician drummer because Ringo just couldn't handle the drumming work on that solo. How sad is that?

IMO, the really sad part is that he would say that. That is something that a respectable person would never talk about. It would be massively hurtful to Ringo to hear that Paul had said that. All I can say is, "Shame on Paul for saying such a thing." Even if it is the truth.

Anyway, I guess everyone has their own opinion as to which member of the group was the most talented. After having listened to some songs that Ringo wrote and recorded, I have to agree with you that he was very much less talented than the others. But I don't know of any case when Ringo has ever claimed any other thing. He was plucked from obscurity to join the greatest band in the history of the world and he did his best. IMO, he deserves massive props for that. How could he ever have been expected to have as much talent as the others? No one ever did.


I carry a grudge against McCartney. I'm sure it is not rational because much of the reason I don't like him is because he lived while John and George died. So, obviously that doesn't make any sense.


Anyway, I do hope that you both will get ahold of that George Harrison documentary. It is really wonderful. It reveals so much about their early days and it has so much great footage showing them performing.

I'm fairly certain that if you watch it, you will enjoy it very, very much.
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