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Are You a Bass Snob?

bass snob

Bass Guitar

I’ve been lurking around various bass guitar discussion forums for quite a few years, and one thing is very clear: There’s a whole lotta bass snobbery going on out there.

I don’t know if this kind of snobbishness exists in other circles. But in the bass world, it’s everywhere.

Use a pick? You suck. Play a Squire bass? You suck. Don’t care for Victor Wooten? You double suck!

I wish the snobs would just freakin’ relax and learn to appreciate ALL things bass. But to be fair, some bass players might be unaware that they have snobbish tendencies. So to help, I’ve put together the following top ten list.

If you recognize yourself in any of the following items, well, you just might be a bass snob.


  1. You wear your bass chest-high and spend a lot of time looking at your fretboard instead of the audience.
  2. You carry a Sharpie around for the sole purpose of blacking out the word ‘plectrum’ from every dictionary you come across.
  3. You worship Jaco Pastorius. No, really . . . you literally WORSHIP Jaco. You have a creepy shrine set up in your bedroom with candles, pictures and a roach clip he allegedly left behind in a dressing room after a Joni Mitchell concert in 1977.
  4. You still can’t believe Flea sold out and started playing all those ridiculously melodic and tasteful bass lines.
  5. You’re annoyed with the oak tree in your front yard, because it “just kinda sticks to the root.”
  6. You haven’t had a paid gig in seven years, but you’re the KING of open-mic jam nights.
  7. You hate your drummer because his hi-hat, kick and snare drum interfere with your free-form improvisational jazz techniques.
  8. A Fender Precision plugged directly into an Ampeg SVT is an affront to your delicate sensibilities.
  9. You believe your custom-built six-string fretless boutique bass is perfectly suitable for that classic rock cover gig you just landed.
  10. You HATE this post!

16 thoughts on “Are You a Bass Snob?

  1. i think that sort of snob attitude exists in just about all circles … i have found it to be strongest in guitar players … maybe cuz they are out there up front putting the icing on or getting too many compliments or something like that …. but no matter how it happens it boils down to the same ol reason … what they are doing or what they like is the shit and nothing else matters … and that is not generally limited to their musical interests … the same guy that tells u the only way to go is svt and precision rig is the same guy that would tell u his buddy who grows some high grade wheelchair weed by the hundreds doesnt kinow what he is doing …. try some of this dirt weed i grew …i got 4 plants off this year … that same attitude is going to slow progress to a crawl when it comes to learning new shit … everybody knows something you dont … and without an open mind you are going to miss out on a lot of good info/knowledge … and of course licks … although a lot of these snobs are good players …. some of them are not …. there is only one consanant difference between snob and slob …. coincidence?… maybe
    i dont need a sharpie to use on a dictionary …. however … i do need a dictionary to find out what the hell plectrum means lol

  2. I had a guitar player like that. He would do simply leads and think his crap didn’t stink. Went as far as to say :I’m the icing, the bass means nothing and is just there for the low end. The singer agreed. I kept quiet because I had an ace up my sleeve. three night later, in the middle of the second song at our show – I stopped playing. Flat out 100% stopped and stood there and looked at the guitarist. It was funny to watch his “lead” fall apart with no rhythm to sit on and the crowd was looking at me like I had lost my mind. The singer lost some of his growl without a deep low end rhythm to lay it on. I didn’t play the entire 2nd song. I did this again on the 5th song only that one they couldn’t finish and the singer told the crowd I was having techincal difficulties. I then got on my mic and corrected them and told the crowd I was just making a point and was actually applauded. The guitarist called me every name in the book and the singer wasn’t too happy. the drummer just laughed and laughed and the other guitarist gave me a high 5. Sometimes you don’t know what you have or you take things for granted, those SNOBS were given a lesson and I dare any other bass player out there that is dealing with the same thing – to do the same thing.

  3. LMFAO … high fives and a free beer to ya deedz … i did the same thing only it was at practice …. everyone looked at me and stopped playing …. my reply to their puzzled looks and comments was … ohhhhh … thought u wouldnt notice …. a few giggles and a couple eye dagger looks later the icing players admitted i do in fact make a difference …. doesnt matter how good the icing is …. ya gotta have the cake under it for it to be any good …. and when ya try and stand up the candles without the cake …. the icing gets burned

  4. HAHA! I’ve done that a couple times with my band too, although not for an entire song (I think they’d fire me if I tried to pull THAT one!). Mostly, I just think it’s funny to see their reactions. Nobody cares about the bass until it disappears!

  5. I’m about half and half about this post.

    The thing’s I didn’t really agree with are
    1-Looking at the bass/wearing it high. I don’t wear mine chest high(about waist high or a little above) but wearing it that high actualy helps your hands reach out farther down the neck. And if you look at the fret board while you play, you’re just making sure you’re gonna hit the right notes. In other words, you may just need more practise (although I’ve seen some professionals do it.

    2-Using squire basses. Squires are cheaper versions of fenders, basicly for those of us who don’t have $1000 to spend on original fenders.

    3-Using a pick. I don’t personaly use picks, however I’ve seen Flea use a pick. Watch the Slane Castle concert, songs like “Parrellel Universe” and one or two others I can’t recall the names of. And some songs just sound better with a pick rather than finger picked.

    Other than that, I do agree with most of what you posted.



  6. i do not disagree with u evan , but i think a lil clarification is required here … i believe the point paul was trying to make is if u have all (or most)of these qualities u are likely a bass snob …. we all look at our fingers at some time or another … even if it is just a quick peek to be sure we are in the right position ect … but a player that never looks up to interact or absorb the whole experience is just too far into his bass part to be a part of the performance …. performing in a band is not an individual sport …. it is a team effort ….. as for the squire bass …. u are right …. u gotta buy what u can afford …. and u hit that right on the head as far as opinion goes …. what paul conveyed to me with that statement was that if u are the guy that sais if u aint playing a precision thru an ampeg svt then u aint the shit …. just another bad attitude from a snob …. seen it before …. the guy sais i can t play thru this crap …. im going home to get my rig … the gear doesnt make u better …. in just the same way a $300 hockey stick isnt going to get u to the other end of the ice any quicker than the $30 one … all in all the points discussed in this post points to evidence that the player COULD be a snob or whatever …. not necessarily a definate fact … although if ya hit 10 out of 10 then the odds are very good that u are one of those guys paul is refering too

  7. i love your post but sumtimes a i think of number 1 on ur ten list when im playing and it makes me sad=[[

  8. I think bass players rule! But as we all know, any of us can go solo on a street corner in our local slum-city for a few dollars a weekend. In a band, everyone is valuable as the other. The bible talks about how parts of the body–speaking about the different parts of the church–all compliment one another and work together as one (my paraphrase). Anyways, yeah, bassist are needed and my hat is off to their important part!

  9. LOL great post!! I used to be a snob but then I grew up. Now I just enjoy the sound on my bass and how it builds up the low end in the band.
    It’s weird how I loved trebly sounding bass guitars with lots of bite and now I feel I just can get enough fat low end.

  10. What about the inverted snobbery?

    1. You think that any baseline which isn’t roots and fifths is too busy and keep harping on about “the pocket”
    2. You think any bass with more than 4 strings isn’t a bass (that one drives me mad)
    3. You think Fender is the only company who make actual basses
    4. You think effects have no place in bass playing at all, and regard anyone who uses them as “not a real bass player”

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