How to Get Along With Your Bass Player

As part of the rhythm section, you’ll likely spend a lot of time being grouped in with the bass player. The guitarists and singers of this world get to solo on their flaming amps and stand around as a queue of hot chick or hot dude sluts forms to blow them, but you and your four-stringed partner have to “hold it down” or “keep it in the pocket” or some such bullshit. You’re like a less racially transcendent Defiant Ones, working together to make sure your Puddle of Mudd cover is a hit at Skeezer’s Bar and Grill next Tuesday. So here are some basic rules to keep the peace:

1. Remember, there is a good chance your bass player is a failed guitarist. This means he either feels rejected or he’s a little dim. Neither scenario is ideal. If it’s the former, make sure you help him sow a deep-seated hatred for the guitarist. Then when you’re asked to just play a woodblock for a song, you can unleash your attack dog. If it’s the latter, just smile and nod when he tells you about his plans to chug a shit ton of Robitussin.

2. It’s highly unlikely you’re going to get more respect than the prick guitarist and dickbag singer, but you’re probably going to be more popular than the bass player. Don’t be a slave to your pity, though. At some point he’s going to say you’re playing too fast or not keeping a steady tempo and you’ll have to remind him that you’re using all four of your limbs while he’s playing with one fucking asshole finger.

3. If your bass player tries to make a “drummers get drool on their SATs Haha”-type joke, try to laugh along. Remember that bass player jokes don’t really exist for the same reason jokes about accountants and civil engineers don’t exist.

4. If your bass player asks you to “get a little funkier” and he is not Flea or a certain crazy motherfucker named Bootsy Collins, you’re in trouble. If you can’t fire him, quit.

5. Don’t ask your bass player to turn down. You should focus on building a solid rhythmic backbone and it can only happen with both of you knowing what each other is doing. But definitely ask him to stop playing the fucking root note on the 1 for every goddamn part.

6. Help your bass player break down and move his equipment for the first few weeks. It’ll be a little inconvenient, but he’ll be so happy someone’s paying attention to him that when you ask for assistance in tearing down and moving your drums he’ll be more than willing to lend a hand. Just make sure he doesn’t start unscrewing your tom heads or anything. Remember, he’s probably a little dim.

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