Articles, Blog

How to not COMPLETELY SUCK on bass guitar.

October 9, 2019

Hey, guys. My first “Viewer’s Comments” video got quite a bit of traffic, and I really got some great responses. I must thank Rezaka116 for his question, “What about a ‘how to be a good bassist’ video?” That’s a fantastic suggestion. You asked for it, you got it. Be careful what you wish for. [Intro music] Bassists. Nothing raises my hackles in utter contempt like a bass player. The murderers of music, exterminators of entertainment, The demolishers of dreams, the executioners of enjoyment, If there’s ONE THING I dread more than anything else in the studio, It’s recording the meathead known as the bass player. When most bands form, it’s usually a group of friends. And it typically goes like this: The talented guys play guitar and drums. The guy who can’t play at all, winds up as manager. And the shitty guitar player winds up on bass. Now, the problem here, is that the role of the bass guitar in a band is so rarely given the respect, and importance that it deserves. Bass guitar not only adds bottom to the guitars, It also locks in with the drums. And this is incredibly important in metal. A great bass tone performed by a competent bass player, will make your band sound huge. It will add girth to the drums, And a gigantic bottom to the guitars, Creating a massive mix. So, when you put the shitty guitar player on bass, you wind up with a shitty bass player! And, guess what? Your whole band sounds weak! One doesn’t have to look very far to see great bass guitar players in metal. For example, Steve Harris. Geezer Butler, Cliff Burton, And Billie Gould from ‘Faith No More’. And you don’t have to look very far to find some lousy ones, either. Nicki Sixx was notorious for not being able to play his bass very well on the first couple of Mötley Crüe albums. And, to his credit, he did get better. But, you don’t have to be a shredder to be a good bass player. I look at Ian Hill from ‘Judas Priest’ as a great example. This guy has had a 40-year career playing to massive audiences all over the world. He creates tension when needed, yet keeps his playing in key, and on time. And by doing so, he became the foundation of the band. And, if you want to play bass in a metal band, that should be your first goal. Be the foundation. Be the guy who’s always on time, and in key. So, when things get crazy on stage, everybody looks to you. Be the reliable one. Because bass guitar should never be approached as, “Guitar, but lower.” A bass can counterpoint a guitar riff, Or stay on a root note, and it can create tension and release. Bass is also about working with the drums, Driving the rhythm, and accentuating the fills. So, when I’m working with a bass player in the studio, I’m looking for two things. Knowledge of the song, and technique. If you don’t know how a song goes, if you don’t know the arrangement, If you don’t know how long a verse goes before the chorus, How many choruses, that sort of thing, THEN, DON’T COME INTO THE STUDIO! You’re just wasting everyone’s time and money. PRACTICE YOUR SHIT. You should be able to play everything with ease before you walk into a studio. Because, a studio is for capturing a great performance. It’s not the place for learning a song. That’s what rehearsal is for. As for technique, this gets lost on a lot of people. The strings on a bass guitar are much larger than on a regular guitar. That means, more energy goes into making them move. That energy also bleeds all over the place, creating sympathetic vibrations on the other strings, Usually out of key. So, when I talk about “Good bass technique”, I not only mean the notes being played, But equal importance must be given to what’s not being played. A bass player must learn to mute the strings at rest, so they stay silent. This can be done by the pick hand, or the fretting hand, or by a combination of both. It’s critical to learn good muting technique. Otherwise, it dilutes the overall sound of the band. Out of key strings buzzing away sound like absolute shit. And the reason I hate bass players so much, is because they usually miss the obvious. It’s usually a lack of motivation in tandem with deficient intelligence. It really pisses me off when a meathead comes into the studio, Doesn’t know his material, and expects me to fix everything. The “Instant Rockstar” button does not exist. If you want it, you’re gonna have to work for it. And what’s really aggravating is, I see people with genuine mental disabilities Far more motivated than these jackasses. It’s like, “For FUCK’S SAKES, you’ve got all of your abilities, do something, be something, FUCKING PRACTICE!” And if you don’t know how to change the strings on your own bass, DON’T COME INTO MY STUDIO! Because, that tells me everything I need to know about your ability. If you wanna be good on bass, LEARN YOUR INSTRUMENT. Learn how to maintain it, And, by crumb’s balls, change your fucking strings more than once every three years, you cheap bastard! Oh, and here’s one final tip. The easiest way to a great tone, is fresh strings. I like to put ’em on right before recording. But, if you’re just jamming, and you wanna save a few bucks, you can bring your bass strings back to life by boiling them. I’m not making this up, it actually works. That way, you can spend your money on what you think is more important than your band. Like a new tattoo. Captions by Davin Liming


  • Reply molochfeeds May 21, 2019 at 9:02 am

    James Jamerson never changed his strings .

  • Reply raconbacon 5641 May 21, 2019 at 11:57 pm

    Im fucked. My band has two……..

  • Reply CANnibleSER Gaming May 22, 2019 at 7:16 am

    Imagine the music industry without drums and bass smh

  • Reply Jeffrey Paasch May 22, 2019 at 1:01 pm

    I like dirty bass strings laced with WD40 🙂

  • Reply Darrylizer1 May 22, 2019 at 11:48 pm

    Wow, I've been in that band.

  • Reply Por Ter May 23, 2019 at 3:26 pm

    Damn good advice, I’m a drummer and looking for a bass player tho

  • Reply Idiotic stuff May 26, 2019 at 6:37 am

    Im a bass player myself, and um……. lesson learned, change strings

  • Reply borderline delusion May 26, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    U r the best.thank god for this video

    I am the guitar player and word man for borderline Delusion band

    I am In the studio putting bass on our songs .
    I have never played bass.
    Bass player is on tour with major band.

    This sucks. Thanks for this video
    God bless u
    Danny jason
    Words and guitars
    Borderline Delusion band

    We also need one more guitar player for European tour.anyone who loves TOOL and lives in Los Angeles please email me

  • Reply borderline delusion May 26, 2019 at 5:23 pm

  • Reply AbandonedCowProductions May 31, 2019 at 3:42 am

    watching this while playing bass

  • Reply lewis ather June 1, 2019 at 10:04 pm

    I feel bad about my new tattoo now…

  • Reply Emmett Flores June 2, 2019 at 4:59 am

    Hahaha. . The talented guys guitartists and drummers… Yeah right… I'm guessing he's got it in for bass players because he can't play it. My guess is this guy plays guitar and drums…. Yes be the glue to the band whole the guitartists whails on a shitty solo with a million notes and nothing to say, and s drummer that falls off time after every fill. Lol… Yes that is talent… Shredding… and not understanding the concept of time.

  • Reply Nicholas White June 4, 2019 at 7:48 pm

    Fuck you I picked bass at 13 after hearing iron maiden so it's not always a last pick. 25 years in. We own a studio totally agree about knowing your shit before wasting studio time. Been boiling for 15 years at least once a set .

  • Reply AssholeManifesto June 5, 2019 at 3:42 am

    Bass player of 17 years here. Not only have i never ever wanted to be a guitar player (i literally bought my first electric guitar 2 years ago just to say i own one) but i basically write most of the songs for my band. There's nothing worse than a shitty guitar player getting demoted to bass and then still feeling like they need to compete with the guitarist.

  • Reply Mat Zim June 5, 2019 at 2:07 pm

    Look at the like / dislike ratio 😀

  • Reply Jay Diem Band June 6, 2019 at 10:22 pm

  • Reply Nathaniel Ruddell June 7, 2019 at 1:29 am

    Not all basses start on guitars idiot. I came to bass first before guitars. OH… AND ITS NOT BECAUSE IT IS A "EASIER" VERSION OF GUITARS. Ya I have to tell everyone that so suck it guitar players.

  • Reply ZerOGameR Org. June 7, 2019 at 11:02 am

    As i started i sucked for like a year with guitar

  • Reply Christopher Miller June 10, 2019 at 8:18 am

    Pffft. I haven't changed my cables in 10 years.

  • Reply chuckschilling June 11, 2019 at 1:55 am

    Faith No More were metal?

  • Reply chuckschilling June 11, 2019 at 1:58 am

    Oh, by the way….Carol Kaye NEVER changed the strings on her basses. She just traded whatever bass she was playing for another one.

  • Reply Evan MacDonald June 11, 2019 at 12:27 pm

    Sent this to my bass player, who is a totally competent musician and person, but is still a bass player.

  • Reply Tau Noctua June 11, 2019 at 5:50 pm

    Most Bassists suck. The Doors and the White Stripes had none.

  • Reply John Anderson June 13, 2019 at 1:18 am

    Let's be clear. One is referring to incompetent players not bass players.

  • Reply Brian McAlpine June 13, 2019 at 3:32 am

    God I would have so much fun showing glen what intricate and complimentary bass looks like on a metal record, one day. One day.

  • Reply Jani Ukko Virtanen June 13, 2019 at 9:27 pm

    Justin Chancellor by Tool is missing in the exceptional Bass player list… just sayin 😉

  • Reply TyDie85 June 14, 2019 at 1:02 pm

    I know Glenn likely respects a bassist like Cliff Burton. I'd just love to see Cliff play bass while Glenn records him. 🙂

  • Reply Usagi Dahlia June 15, 2019 at 2:02 pm

    After watching this video I have confidence that I'm on the right track, thank you very much c:

  • Reply Austin Chamberlain June 16, 2019 at 7:58 am

    I cannot believe how many retarded people have money enough to come into a studio without even knowing how to play. Jesus. I've never even thought about approaching a studio(though anyone could mix better than me) since I don't have enough money to pay for what is only a hobby to me. Spoiled assholes.

  • Reply Rob B June 16, 2019 at 1:31 pm

    Nothing more cringeworthy than a shitty bass player. Unfortunately 9 out of 10 are frustrated guitarists/shitty musicians that think bass is easy. Dude I wouldn't want your job…

  • Reply Zap A Bee Fart June 17, 2019 at 2:20 pm

    Les claypool is laughing

  • Reply Trevor Lambert June 17, 2019 at 4:03 pm

    Maybe if the bass player, as a position, got the respect it deserved, you wouldn't end up with so many failed guitar players playing bass in these bands.

  • Reply Mitch Jarvis June 20, 2019 at 1:57 pm

    So hard to come up with a song when you rely on the bass. The second to last to put in his two cents.

  • Reply Other TechLead June 21, 2019 at 3:01 am

    It's the steve jobs of bass guitars

  • Reply Cid Russell June 21, 2019 at 5:00 am

    Boil your strings. Why not. Buy a new set of strings, plunge them into boiling water, put them on your guitar and record the result for youtube. Why not? your life is pointless.

  • Reply Roddy gogo June 22, 2019 at 10:34 am

    Go and get fucked….oh and great youtube channel.

  • Reply 1500Ninja Gaming June 23, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    Glenn says 'respect the bass?' What universe is this?

  • Reply Myro Clydo June 26, 2019 at 11:33 am

    A- fucking – men!!! Oh boy have I had trouble working with bass players. As a bassist you're supposed to be with me on drums and make the power foundation of the band. It is as important what you don't play as much what you do play. I will do a Jo Jones on you if you mess with that.

  • Reply Rob June 26, 2019 at 5:44 pm

    Jacob Umansky is probably my fav harder rock/instrumetal bassist, he's actually good

  • Reply Paul Lee June 26, 2019 at 11:22 pm

    Haha. When I was a lad I was the third best guitarist in the band and hence the bass player. Never a truer word spoken. I actually enjoy playing both now and they don’t seem to be that closely related to me.

  • Reply Paul Lee June 26, 2019 at 11:26 pm

    A band is playing the most important gig of their lives: the A and R men are there looking to sign.
    Drummers brain: “I’m gonna be a rock star at last, playing stadiums, travelling the world…”
    Guitar players head: “ at last all the hard work is paying off and I will get the respect for my talent”
    Singers mind: “at last, think of all the groupies! I’m gonna be famous!”
    Bassist’s thoughts: “e e e e b b b b e e e e”

  • Reply Bubble Bass July 1, 2019 at 10:48 am

    Great video!

  • Reply Robert Wessel July 3, 2019 at 2:51 pm

    Most all of this stuff is simple common sense, and/or stuff you can find out if you read guitar magazines. Even the thing about boiling strings. I remember reading an interview with Rush, where Geddy Lee said he used put his bass strings in boiling water to restore their like-new tone back when they were a broke struggling band.
    If musicians read about being a musician, or exercised common sense, poor Glenn would have nothing to tell us in his videos.
    Keep up the good work, Glenn!

  • Reply kutulukutu July 4, 2019 at 6:17 pm

    I like how your first example of what a good mix with bass sounds like included poorly aped Danzig vocals. Don't know why. It made me chuckle.

  • Reply Noah July 6, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    The vocalist from that first example was horrendous lmao

  • Reply William Sessions July 8, 2019 at 11:01 pm

    What is a Hackel?

  • Reply William Sessions July 8, 2019 at 11:03 pm

    Guitar players, talented? Wow! Wish I knew a few!

  • Reply Prob Llama July 9, 2019 at 5:30 am

    My teacher took electric guitar out of the band but now i wonder how its going to sound it without it and made me learn bass guitar during the summer but so far no susses

  • Reply Hockey and Heavy Metal July 10, 2019 at 3:39 am

    Have you ever worked with a band where the bassist and drummer are the smart and talented ones and the guitarist is an idiot?

  • Reply That bloody spy July 10, 2019 at 6:11 pm

    Adam Nolly Getgood is a great bassist

  • Reply SentToTheGulag July 11, 2019 at 11:26 am

    I am a bass player and I 100% support this message. Be the fucking glue you terds. Can't be the glue between the drums and guitars with rustry strings, sloppy muting, and no rhythm…. You're very likely nowhere near Cliff Burton or Geezer Butler talent, so don't try. Also, buy a tuner and fucking use it (of course, this also applies to every single guitar player I've played with except one). Those bass players that cut out the… BASSSSSS frequencies with oversaturated tone distortion in every song they play deserve the gulag. BLENDDDDDING is a beautiful thing… If you started at guitar, and had to 'revert' to bass then you likely just shouldn't play music period, cause if you suck at playing chords you're definitely going to suck at playing the instrument that makes up the soul of a band… The bass has to be everything the other instruments can't be and also its own instrument! So stop fucking sucking air and get good at being a musician! If I can learn to play guitar chords while only having one fretting finger and kill bass with the same 'limitations', you shit buckets need to step up your game. Shred at bass, and you could likely easily make a guitar your bitch. Suck at guitar, you should just call it quits, cause no one needs anymore hacks giving us bass players a bad name.

  • Reply SubZER01993 July 15, 2019 at 3:23 am

    Just found a bassless metal band. They sound really great without the bass. The heavier tone of the rhythm guitar seems to substitute the need for a bass.

  • Reply Howard SIX July 16, 2019 at 2:20 am

    Listen old Yank Mate, the best way "How not to." in your series is not to do it in the FIRST PLACE…..Self evident………….jeesus, going for a brew, more fool me for watching…mind you, your uploads are a bl00dy good cure for insomnia………………………

  • Reply Miki Ryann July 16, 2019 at 9:33 am

    Bass players who are flashy annoy me *coughjazzbassistscough*. Nikki sixx was an ok bassist for being wasted 27/7 he got the job done.

  • Reply SilentViolent July 18, 2019 at 5:49 am

    Adding girth to the drums 👌🏻

  • Reply TheThrashyOne July 18, 2019 at 9:57 pm

    Honestly this sounds more like general advice for all the band members, not just the bassist; EVERYONE should be showing up to the studio knowing their shit beforehand. Most of Glenn's negative experiences obviously seem to center around bassists, but let me tell you, I've got two very talented guitarists in my own band and – far be it from me to talk shit about them – but on more than one occasion both of them have shown up to rehearsals saying "Oh yeah, still haven't really practiced that one yet…" And I'm there all prepared with my basslines going "Welp, guess I'm just gonna go play with myself then."

    Where's the drummer in this equation, you may be asking? Well, say what you will about a bad bassist being unable to reliably stay on in time and tune, but fucking drummers, man, these motherfuckers can't reliably STAY IN A GODDAMN BAND for more than two weeks. Flakiest, most non-commital musicians I've ever dealt with. Our last drummer was a cool guy and all, but not only did he never bother to practice the songs in his own time, he randomly just dipped out on us at the end of last year. "Oh yeah, I'm moving out of state at the end of the month, just so you know." I sure was happy to hear that news, I tell you whot.

  • Reply Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa July 21, 2019 at 8:23 pm

    some people want to see sound engineers burn. they are called bassists

  • Reply ZerOGameR Org. July 23, 2019 at 12:29 pm

    I bought today me 1st bass an ibanez205 gsr with amp stand and case for 55 dollars

  • Reply John Goblikon is my spirit animal July 29, 2019 at 7:51 pm


  • Reply legasiguy July 30, 2019 at 2:57 pm


  • Reply Demian Osorio August 1, 2019 at 2:18 pm

    You know what really grinds my gears?! Lol

  • Reply Justin Osborn August 3, 2019 at 10:22 pm

    There is nothing useful in this video.

  • Reply Jason Reynolds August 8, 2019 at 1:50 pm


  • Reply Lawyer Morty August 11, 2019 at 8:26 pm

    Did a bass player killed your father?

  • Reply Aaron Overbey August 13, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    I wanna hear this idiot play an instrument. He seems to talk a good game

  • Reply Han van Litsenburg August 14, 2019 at 12:55 am

    Yes boiling strings works fine. But after that the strings turn old again really fast!

  • Reply Juggernaut August 16, 2019 at 12:50 am

    Well there’s your problem right there: they aren’t bass players. They’re shitty guitar players who just happen to be holding a bass.

    That’s you hit the nail on the head: bass isn’t guitar.

  • Reply Tucker August 18, 2019 at 4:11 am

    Hey Glenn! Love your videos. I was wondering, could you do a video over setting up instruments? Such as standard guitar, and bass? Possibly drums? The do's, and dont's; annotating strings, etcetera.. not that i myself am too lazy to look on a forum, or search through other youtubers.. I would just like to see your personal preferences/methods, and hear you rant about ignorant musicians.

  • Reply Dark Daisy Bell August 20, 2019 at 10:43 am

    Truth hurts meathead 😏😳

  • Reply Patience Prevails August 22, 2019 at 12:06 am

    Someone needs to show this video's intro to Davie504

  • Reply New bassist Bwet August 23, 2019 at 1:19 am

    I didn’t get stuck playing bass I want to…also we have one talented person in my band and that’s the drummer are guitar only plays two chords

  • Reply Shane Collins August 23, 2019 at 2:56 pm

    It sounds like your talking about shitty guitar players than actual bass players…

  • Reply Семен Ваймер August 23, 2019 at 3:06 pm

    i think you need to change the titles of videos from 'how to not suck' to 'how to suck'

  • Reply Dj_jazzy_djent August 24, 2019 at 9:42 am

    Whoa Alliteration Andy lol.
    David Lee Roth secretly wants that hair !
    I hope you make more money on camera than recording someday; you entertain us all !!

  • Reply Daniel Manicolo August 25, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    “Pick hand”

  • Reply PsychedGuitar August 28, 2019 at 4:54 am

    I really like the deep wide chunky yet clean tone of the guitar tracked on your intro. Would be cool of I can find a video on how you obtained that tone.

  • Reply Todd August 29, 2019 at 6:42 am

    I feel kinda lucky. Our band was just made up of friends but our bassist was a bassist for several years already. Glad we're not one of those startup bands with a shitty bassist

  • Reply AncientRunesMusic August 30, 2019 at 10:21 pm

    Now at least one person mentioned Ian Hill. His unbelievable keynote-hogging…..has it ever been outdone?
    In "Heading Out to the Highway" he keep on playing A so relentlessly, even on top of two guitars playing G. That stuff never ever, ever ever, ever happens any more.

  • Reply lil vinc August 31, 2019 at 7:24 am

    I m scared

  • Reply Ryan Lauderdale September 1, 2019 at 9:20 am

    0:54–0:56 Like Lars Ulrich? #fingerscrossed #davelombardo

  • Reply No thankyou September 1, 2019 at 6:46 pm

    A good bassist knows when to stfu. A great bass player is the conductor

  • Reply Thor Gould September 2, 2019 at 10:42 pm

    This should be required viewing for ALL bass players, period. I’ve been playing bass for 30+ years and I wish it had existed when I was starting. I’m not some failed guitarist, bass has always been my main instrument. Not only do I agree with everything you said, I’ve been saying it for years! One thing I would like to add is to become friends with your drummer. You two are the rhythm section of the band. You provide the foundation for the rest of the band to build on. Learn to communicate with your drummer so you guys know what each other is doing. Once you can do this locking down the bottom and the beat of any given song becomes so much simpler and you can play off each other even better. At the core of every good band is a great rhythm section. If you can’t be part of that you have no business playing bass in a band. Thanks for the great advice for aspiring meatheads!

    Oh, in a pinch you can get a little more life out of old strings with a good dose of Windex on a cleaning cloth! Not a gig or recording session, but a jam or rehearsal.

  • Reply Daniel Tittyfish September 3, 2019 at 11:33 pm

    How long should i boil the strings on my practice rig?

  • Reply XxXnandyfilth6XxX September 9, 2019 at 10:45 pm

    Ryan Martinie from Mudvayne is a hell of a great bass player and he was the reason I started playing bass after almost 10 years of playing guitar. Its been 12 years since I touched a bass for the first time.

  • Reply stub mandrel September 10, 2019 at 6:49 pm

    There's a serious point behind this video. Playing bass well is as hard as playing guitar well, in fact harder drummers have to keep in time, guitarists need top keep in key. Bassists need to play in time and in key. If you think bass is easy you have very low standards.

  • Reply David Lawson September 11, 2019 at 12:01 pm

    Lol I can tell you’ve dealt with some winners down there where you’re from haha even in this video I could hear the frustration you have had with working with a few morons lol. That’s gonna happen being a engineer in metal music and other genres as well haha very entertaining. I’m glad I’ve alway been blessed with working with professional musicians for the most part lol thanks for making this video, keep up the great content.

  • Reply Cobra5727 September 11, 2019 at 9:39 pm

    Why is Ryan Martinie never on the list of great bass players?

  • Reply Relentless_Nomad September 12, 2019 at 5:19 pm

    I love my bass player, he’s my best friend but he also slaps at the fuckin bass better than I play guitar!!! Obviously, I’m not a guitar god or anything, but I do practice and I’ve been playing a while. My bass player has a really good ear for playing what’s missing in the songs I write!

  • Reply Ankush Shetty September 15, 2019 at 10:25 am

    I was shitty guitar player so hahahahhahaha

  • Reply rtz549 September 15, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Just make it chug.

  • Reply Colton Shaw September 16, 2019 at 8:59 am

    Love this guy

  • Reply Ace Pumpkin September 17, 2019 at 6:30 pm

    So true, I got the band complete….except, the bass player. (Every other combo outside metal calls them bassists…)
    Guess what ? He failed the time it was important.
    He just walked into the recording session unprepared. (Lousy gear maintanance, and no clue about the respective song….)
    The whole sad story….
    We, the band, made him pay the lost studio bills, after a poll…;)
    Guess who stuck on it 🙂

  • Reply My Name September 18, 2019 at 5:06 am

    5:10 I heard ICP

  • Reply imirik September 18, 2019 at 6:09 pm

    From being a guy who genuinely loved being a bass player for so many years, when learning the guitar to improve my writing knowledge I found you can get cool sounds by swapping the techniques you would use on each.

  • Reply gdrx September 21, 2019 at 5:04 pm

    Im a 15 year old female bass player who has barely even touched a guitar, i practice everyday and im not a dumbass….. Lets hope i don't turn out as a shitty bass player

  • Reply Alex Whybrow September 23, 2019 at 11:11 am

    I just started bass and I'm already being made fun of by my friends who play guitar

  • Reply gmtgsong September 24, 2019 at 4:39 am

    As a bass player, I love it! Playing your hilarious outrage like a violin, you're like a musical Lewis Black!

  • Reply dmoura54 September 25, 2019 at 9:36 pm

    You had me going off at beginning of vid. Was gonna let ya have it. But then you got serious,and you have great advice,one being muting open strings that vibrate on their own. So, Great advice all around. 1000 thumbs up.

  • Reply Josh Tolbert October 8, 2019 at 8:42 am

    I wish I could thumbs-up this multiple times.

  • Reply Shawn Engelbrecht October 8, 2019 at 8:54 pm

    Don’t play like Dawie594:)

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