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Should I learn Bass or Drum as an additional instrument?
#2296275 06/28/14 06:30 PM
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Hi. I have this question in mind and am not sure if it is the right place to post here... (But where else could it be)... I hope it is ok..

You see... I am a pianist, trained classical and later on I started to play jazz and all sorts of contemporary music... I went this part to the point where I know how to go further and further, deeper and deeper into the particular styles and stuff, not that I am extreme good at them (yet!) But at least I know how to go there...

One thing I also realized is that, learning another instruments would help me to become a better musician as in general.(and if you notice, almost every great musician, except in a classical scene are able to play more than one instrument.... Chick Corea, Stevie Wonder,.. you name it!) Not that I would to be a real virtuoso on either instrument, but just to be able to perform the basic functions of the instrument, when my working circumstace need to. And to another level, to be able to apply some aspects of these instruments on piano, which is my main instrument.

Now... the question is which instrument to learn? Why? I am choosing between bass and drums because both instruments perform the most fundamental part of music.. Although I would probably end up playing both instruments through time, I would like to know opinion from you guys which one to start first...

Some says, for pianist, drum is better because pianists in general need to improve a rhythmic aspect of music. But would one improve rhythmic concept from bass too? Bass line is also very important in any types of music as well? Plus Bass players are always in demand.... (I'm leaning towards to Bass, actually. So I might be bias...haha)

Any comments on this, guys?

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Re: Should I learn Bass or Drum as an additional instrument?
champy #2296345 06/28/14 09:34 PM
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do the bass... that's the root of jazz. and u already know piano, so you will pick it up quickly... and we all know, drummers are'nt really musicians. lol (ex drummer here)


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Re: Should I learn Bass or Drum as an additional instrument?
champy #2296376 06/28/14 10:52 PM
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I would also say go for bass. As much fun as it is to play a bass lines on the piano, its nowhere near as much fun as playing it on the bass xD

BTW what kinda bass? bass guitar? double bass?

Last edited by noobpianist90; 06/28/14 10:53 PM.
Re: Should I learn Bass or Drum as an additional instrument?
noobpianist90 #2296440 06/29/14 04:23 AM
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Thanks guys for a reply... Yeah, I think learning a bass sounds more "appropriate" for me for the time being.

BTW, it will be a bass guitar not a double bass... Because I feel that a double bass would need too much time and effort to learn and to be good at it... Well all instruments take a lot of time and effort to learn, but I think maybe with bass guitar I can get away with it easier than DB.

Re: Should I learn Bass or Drum as an additional instrument?
champy #2296503 06/29/14 10:00 AM
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I would say it depends... if you want a thorough understanding of rhythms and how to twist and bend them there is nothing better than joining an afro-cuban or tradtional African percussion group. There will be plenty of swinging 6/8 riddims. You'll be amazed how hard it can be to play a simple cow bell pattern while everyone else around you is doing something completely different. Playing along with other percussionists will help you to make a solid foundation for any Jazz tune or bass and drum combo So go traditional if you want to concentrate solely on rhythms. But if you already have a good foundation and if you'd like to add a melodic component then bass is perfect. Playing drums will give the benefit of perfect timing and a feel for polyrhythms (hand separation, hand-foot separation).

Re: Should I learn Bass or Drum as an additional instrument?
champy #2296563 06/29/14 12:26 PM
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Another ex-drummer here. I vote for the drums. I also play a little bass but for players of melody instruments there's so much to be gained by getting inside the concepts of rhythm and pulse. For drummers there's also and incredible amount to be gained by learning a melody instrument. When I took up the bass while I was a sort or working drummer, within weeks, other people were commenting on the changes in how I played and how my drums were tuned.

Kurt


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Re: Should I learn Bass or Drum as an additional instrument?
champy #2296927 06/30/14 10:01 AM
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i'm a piano player and i just took up the acoustic bass about a year ago. i wanted to learn the fundamentals so i could show my son how to play when he got into 6th grade orchestra (and eventually be my duo partner on gigs).

as a pianist i was hesitant to learn bass because, let's face it, when you play piano you press a button and you get a perfectly articulated note. on a bass you need to know where to press to get the note which i thought i would struggle with. it turns out it was much easier than i thought. i was able to learn the positions pretty easily and when you are plucking the strings (for walking lines) the intonation is much more forgiving that when you bow.

i would vote for acoustic bass. you can rent before you buy and if you are like me in about a year you should be able to play two feel and walking lines to tunes without a huge effort and you will always be in demand as a bass player.

btw my son took to it really well and we play together all the time. two more years we should be playing gigs.


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Re: Should I learn Bass or Drum as an additional instrument?
JazzPianoOnline #2297068 06/30/14 06:26 PM
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You meant, you showed your son how to play the bass? or you showed your son how to play piano and you played bass to comp your son?

Re: Should I learn Bass or Drum as an additional instrument?
champy #2297117 06/30/14 09:30 PM
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I doubt there's anything about drum skills or percussion skills that's going to translate to the piano. Yes piano is a percussive instrument but the technique you use to play rhythm on it is totally different than any technique you would use in drums, congas, tymbali, or whatever other percussive instrument.

If you want to improve your rhythm on piano then you do piano exercises, you don't go play drums.

So in that sense, I would vote for learning bass because bass lines can and do translate directly onto the keyboard.

now that said if you want to learn some percussive instruments so that you can play with your band when you're not on the keys, then you can learn techniques for tamborine, clave sticks, shakers and so forth. I use these things during "percussion jams" (when I'm not on the keyboard) on the tunes we do in the bands I play in.

my motto is: more percussion is better.

Last edited by Michael Martinez; 06/30/14 09:33 PM.
Re: Should I learn Bass or Drum as an additional instrument?
champy #2299010 07/05/14 08:02 PM
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Bass or drum? How about bass drum?

Seriously, both are good choices. In fact, I would highly recommend that all players, if they can. learn at least a little of both.

First off, bass is a theory instrument. You really have to think, and think ahead. Playing the instrument is only half the battle.

It is always a good idea to learn to play percussion. Playing percussion is the ONLY way to get really good at rhythm playing, and it's something you should keep up all your life.

MOST good musicians I know play at least one rhythm instrument regularly. There are things you can do with and to rhythm that ONLY percussion players and bass players know (which is why they form the rhythm section).

For example, when you reach a fairly advanced stage on bass, you learn to play on, ahead of and behind the beat. This is something you also learn playing drums. You can't play a genuine shuffle beat without it, and the interplay between bass and drums is critically important in this area.

Few keyboard players are even aware this is going on when the rhythm section is cooking away. Most keyboard players simply play along. Precious few have the knowledge and the chops to contribute in a meaningful way.

Re: Should I learn Bass or Drum as an additional instrument?
champy #2299016 07/05/14 08:33 PM
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As someone whose principal instrument has been the double bass since the first term of the Nixon Administration, my advice is: Learn to play the piccolo.

You'll be in great demand around the Fourth of July.

Last edited by ClsscLib; 07/05/14 08:35 PM.

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Re: Should I learn Bass or Drum as an additional instrument?
ClsscLib #2299409 07/07/14 05:48 AM
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Florence Foster Jenkins! A great movie just waiting to be made! By Woody Allen, of course.

Re: Should I learn Bass or Drum as an additional instrument?
gsmonks #2299435 07/07/14 07:42 AM
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I would say go with acoustic guitar, not particularly for the (fingers) physical aspect, but from the benefit of producing multiple musical tones at the same time and listening for what works and doesn't work, plus how rhythm from guitar can be duplicated on piano.


Rerun

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Re: Should I learn Bass or Drum as an additional instrument?
champy #2299585 07/07/14 03:39 PM
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Hi Champy,

I would go with the Bass. Start on electric and move to upright later if you desire later when you are ready. I know and play with plenty of electric jazz players. Depends on your style of Jazz I guess.

I had to learn bass in my degree course for my second instrument. At the time I didn't like it too much however I noticed later that the bass showed me ways to walk lines on the piano. It helped my left hand on the piano as I learn't how to approach notes, chords and grooves a different way.

Take it easy,

Greg

Re: Should I learn Bass or Drum as an additional instrument?
champy #2299739 07/08/14 03:32 AM
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At the moment, I decide not to learn drums, simply because it involves too much investment. I don't have a place where I can do a regular practice... So I decide to learn cajon. It guess there is no real substitute to the real drum but cajon itself is also a practical percussion.

So I guess, I'll pick up cajon... and as soon as I am ok with it, I'll move to bass!

Re: Should I learn Bass or Drum as an additional instrument?
champy #2299749 07/08/14 04:42 AM
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champy, After listening to some of your pop covers I'd say you're well beyond the level where one could advise with any authority, particularly where rhythm is concerned. Your 'Superstition' is expertly played and if it's your own arrangement then clearly you're way ahead of most of us. Still, I’ll offer this. Rather than bass or drums I would focus more on your piano approach which is rhythmically tight and reliable but could be just a tad more fluid, less robotic. I'm thinking specifically of Superstition where, as a piano solo, it's hard to strike a compromise between precision and 'feel'. Learning how to use your limbs to play the drum part like Stevie won’t help you to find a way to use your fingers on the piano to bring any of that rhythmic feel to the groove you’re playing which to my mind relies on the mix of legato and staccato in the LH figure to simulate the clavinet plus everything else that's going on.

Like you, I'm interested in how piano arrangements can simulate a full 'band' but it's not a task either bass players or drummers are capable of taking on, IMO, their skills are too specific to their own instruments, unsurprisingly. The problem solving required for arranging solo piano for pop music is of a very different order. That's not to say you won't acquire some new perspective by playing another instrument but I think your skills suggest your time would be better spent on the piano where you already shine and could become exceptional in a very particular niche. Drums or bass would be an unnecessary detour.

Re: Should I learn Bass or Drum as an additional instrument?
champy #2299816 07/08/14 09:22 AM
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I think it is always a great idea to learn another instrument, it can always help in broadening horizons and an understanding of music from a different perspective as well as more prospects for employment! I play bass and more recently drums as well and they have both helped my piano playing a lot. Learning bass can really help with an understanding of harmony (and how it can be reshaped just by an adjustment or placement of a bass note) and the drums, well all instrumentalists need a good sense of rhythm and groove and it can do wonders just to focus entirely on that.

Re: Should I learn Bass or Drum as an additional instrument?
gsmonks #2299882 07/08/14 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by gsmonks

Few keyboard players are even aware this is going on when the rhythm section is cooking away. Most keyboard players simply play along. Precious few have the knowledge and the chops to contribute in a meaningful way.


Any salsa keyboardist will disagree with this.

Re: Should I learn Bass or Drum as an additional instrument?
Michael Martinez #2299984 07/08/14 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael Martinez
Originally Posted by gsmonks

Few keyboard players are even aware this is going on when the rhythm section is cooking away. Most keyboard players simply play along. Precious few have the knowledge and the chops to contribute in a meaningful way.


Any salsa keyboardist will disagree with this.


I said "most", and I did not mention salsa players.

Salsa players are one of the rare exceptions.

Re: Should I learn Bass or Drum as an additional instrument?
champy #2300259 07/09/14 12:31 PM
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The Cajon is a cool instrument but in the same price range you might find the Djembe more all encompassing. The Djembe plays all lines while the Cajon tends to play only low parts.

Learning the afro-cuban 6/8 (nañigo) which is the basis of son clave and therefor foundational to so many latin beats, will definitely work your internal clock and make you think of the relationship between duple and triple meters in whole new ways. Of course the afro-cuban 6/8 can be done on the cajon as well.

Even before you buy a cajon/djembe, and if in fact afro-cuban, salsa etc. is your interest, there's good to be gotten from learning just the palitos parts to the classic rhythms. Your investment will be two dowels 3/8 or 1/2 inch is fine; round the tips with sandpaper and whack on anything that will go "tic-tic-tic" when you hit it. If you get something that can go "tic-tic- tac" like an upturned bucket you'll be that much ahead of the game. In cuba it was common to use a shovel blade for palitos parts so anything goes.

Kurt



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