The Low-Profile, Cool-As-Hell Bass Player!

Learning bass with out all the pressure

By Jon Liebman
March 15, 2024

Have you ever felt bogged down with all the things you need to keep track of when learning bass? Time. Groove. Feel. Tone. Learning songs. Locking in…

Sure, those things are important. But what would happen if you took them on little by little, making steady progress, totally at your own pace? 

Wouldn’t that be a lot more enjoyable?

Think about how good you have it

Look, you’re not 24 years old, dreaming of touring the world and playing sold-out arenas to adoring fans. You’re not trying to be a first-call session player getting hired to lay down your flawless, exquisite bass lines for major recording projects.

You love music, especially your music, and you want to learn bass so you can have fun playing it.

So stop for a minute, and think of all the things you don’t have to worry about.

When you’re learning bass just for fun, you don’t have to worry about whether you’re making enough money, if your gear is good enough, or if you know enough of the “right” people. And if you get a gig, great. If not, you’re still okay. 

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue those things to whatever extent makes sense for your own situation. But when you’re not facing the pressures like the people who play bass for a living, it’s a lot more fun. Isn’t it?

It’s so liberating!

I had a very enjoyable conversation with Steve Di Giorgio the other day, published as this week’s FBPO interview. Steve has a long history as the bass player with the popular thrash metal band Testament, along with a whole bunch of other really cool stuff.

When I told Steve about the people coming to to learn bass, mostly adults over 50 who just want to make music and have fun, he almost sounded jealous. I asked Steve what advice he could impart to those people.

“I hate to belabor the old cliché,” he says, “but if you love doing it, do it. If you’re not a professional level player and you’re just a hobbyist or just interested, to me that sounds so liberating!”

Not that he doesn’t love what he does, but the thought of not having to worry about making a living at it and playing bass just for fun sounded pretty good to him.

“Just to be a guy who plays in his own man cave or personal studio, garage or even at the pool hall on the weekend,” Steve says, “that just sounds so fun to me because then you’re just doing it for the joy of the instrument, the music.”

Why learning bass is better – and easier – than ever these days

“Obviously, this is for bass players,” says Steve, “musicians that enjoy the support role. And what a fun way to just groove with a group, completely ‘pressure-less.’ You don’t have to stand up there and do a wailing solo or sing in pitch or anything like that. You’re just being the low profile, cool-as-hell bass player!”

Steve made reference to how much easier it is to learn bass these days than it was when we were kids, “dropping the needle” on the record player when we wanted to learn a song. He also mentioned how easy it is to access online sources for learning bass, like

“I think for people, like you said, 50, 60, whatever years old,” he says, “it’s easier to learn. If anybody has that desire burning in the back of their head, I would just say jump in and go for it.”

What about you?

Have you ever felt overwhelmed trying to keep track of all that’s involved in learning bass? I hope you’ll find some takeaways here and feel at least a little relief from some of that pressure. And I hope it makes learning bass easier and more fun for you. Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. And be sure to watch my interview with Steve here.

Comments on The Low-Profile, Cool-As-Hell Bass Player!

  1. Guy Witherbase says:

    I started playing again after a multi-year hiatus to reconnect with and increase my appreciation and understanding of music.

    If I dream a bit, I figure I could be credible at a gig that required a cowboy hat, and maybe make the grade for one needing a tuxedo or a captain’s cap. If it requires a beret it’s definitely out of reach at the moment.

    My current aspiration? Playing in the pit at a local community theater production. I wonder if those still exist.

    1. Jon Liebman says:

      Pit orchestra work does still exist. I used to do a ton of it and I always loved it. Go for it, Guy. You can do it!

  2. Michael Skovgaard says:

    At 69, after being damaged in a motorcycle crash and surviving a stroke, this all makes sense to me as I’m getting back into the instrument and music…
    No pressure is good!!!

    1. Jon Liebman says:

      You’re an inspiration, Michael. Sorry to hear about your misfortunes, but it’s so good to hear that you’re getting back into music. Good for you!

  3. mark globerson says:

    I’m 62 and switched to double bass 7 years at age 55 after playing electric bass for about 8 years. There is no way I will be a pro player. The commitment and time investment to be a pro jazz player is huge. But as an amateur jazz player there are tons of places to play. There are some big bands, lots of small groups, etc…I love not needing to worry about making a living doing this and getting to work on only music I enjoy playing. We do a handful of gigs and most of them are for charity events so they are low stress.

    1. Jon Liebman says:

      Sounds like you’re really enjoying things as they are. Glad to hear it, Mark. Thanks for weighing in!

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