You find keyboard players, guitarists, drummers, and vocalists in a band. But apart from these popular positions, one more member works alongside the band, and that is a bass player or a bassist. The bassist is not a well-known position. Resultantly, you would not have heard people talk about it. If they are not so popular, it is only natural to wonder: Are bass players in demand?
The answer is yes; bass players are very much in demand in almost every region. The rural part tends to have a higher proportion of bass players than the urban areas; still, it’s nearly impossible to find an unemployed bass player.
Due to the fewer bass players in the world, finding one free to play your church gigs or join your choir becomes an ordeal. While in rural areas, people still take up the instrument and learn it, urban areas are only filled with guitarists and vocalists.
In this post, let’s examine why bass players are in demand. But before that, you need to learn how a bass differs from a guitar:
What is a Bass or a Bass Guitar?
Bass is also known as bass guitar or electric bass around the world. In essence, it belongs to the family of the guitar. However, instead of the regular six strings in an acoustic guitar, a bass only has four strings you can pluck with fingers, thumbs, or a pick.
But that’s not all: a bass has a longer neck and scale length than your usual guitar, and if it’s audible over other instruments, you will find it producing low-pitch sounds. Bass is not audible on its own over a set of instruments, especially drums. For that, amplifiers are available that connect with the bass to produce a more powerful sound.
Are Bass Players in Demand?
Bass is never the main act. The bassist must always stay behind and support the entire band, which is why many people don’t learn to play it. This leads to a scarcity of bass players and increases their demand in every region of the world.
Furthermore, a bass player has a vastly different role than the other instrument players in a band. And hardly any person that plays both the guitar and bass understands this role. A guitarist is looking for popularity and center-stage attention, which a bassist stays away from while dealing with the melody and rhythm. Hence, skilled and full-time bass players are hard to find, leading to higher demands.
So, yes, a career as a bassist can flourish quickly if you are skilled enough because everyone is looking to find people like you!
Here’s a list of top 10 bass players to help you get inspired:
- Michael Manring
- Mike Elizondo
- Michael Rhodes
- John Campbell (Band: Lamb Of God)
- Jesse Keeler
- Chris Wolstenholme (Band: Muse)
- Joe Dart
- Jeff Ament (Band: Pearl Jam)
- Neil Stubenhaus
Why are Bass Players in Demand?
Let’s look at the few reasons that make bassists so sought-after band members and musicians:
You cannot form a top-class band without a bassist:
Bass players provide the foundation of a band’s music. The low-frequency notes establish harmony and rhythm. They hit your body the most; without bass, you cannot make people dance with your beat. Moreover, the bassist’s notes are the most crucial because an out-of-tune bassist gets caught immediately. Therefore, you cannot form a band without a bassist, plus you need a skilled one to make it successful.
Bass is one of the least popular instruments with the common audience:
Bass is an extremely unpopular instrument. It rarely ever makes the list of people’s favorite or most played instrument, mainly because it requires maturity and sense of responsibility most youngsters cannot muster. Resultantly, very few people learn bass as their first instrument. However, the lack of popularity of bass does not make it any less important, only scarce. Hence, it is high in demand.
Bass players are few and far between:
The lack of any type of professionals, while their need is high, makes them high in demand. Bass players are no different. Lack of popularity shuns youngsters away from the bass; hence, lesser people grow up to be bass players, increasing their requirement. Interestingly, there are more female bass players than male ones but still not enough to fulfill their demand.
What makes the sound of Bass so important?
While some music genres can replace a bass with a keyboard and get away with it, you cannot do without a bass player if you play indie rock, metal, funk, or other heavy-sounding genres. In fact, a bassist is what gives depth to such type of music. Otherwise, it sounds thin and lacking.
A bass player bridges the gap between a drummer and a guitarist and vocalist. They lead and strengthen the melody of the guitarist and vocalist by playing towards the guitar pitch. On the other hand, they can also play in tune with the drummer to make people feel the beat.
While some machines and instruments can try to recreate the bass guitar’s sounds, having an authentic bassist in your band makes your music complete and lets your audience hear the drumbeat vividly.
Here’s how they differ from a guitarist:
|Takes Centre Stage||Rarely ever gets attention|
|Plays chords, melodies, or solos||Play simpler lines, sync with the drummer|
|Precise finger movements on tiny fret||Large frets and stay on the low end|
|Use picks||Use fingers|
How much a Bass Player makes?
The salaries of bass players vary greatly, from $98,000/ year to $15,000/year. The earnings depend upon the city, the venue they play at, and their side hustles.
Bass players that end up in popular bands and play stadium tours earn a multiple of $98,000. On the other hand, bars and clubs tend to pay less for the gigs, and those bass players can end up with as low as $5000 per year.
Bassists with side hustles along with playing for bands and choirs, for instance, giving online lessons or teaching bass at some academy, fare much better than those who don’t. However, the best bet for a bassist is to find a famous band and stick with it.
Bass players are not very popular, yet they are one of the most sought out professions due to their small numbers. A bassist always ends up with a job quickly; however, they rarely get salaries comparable to the most popular instrument players.
The bassist holds the entire band together. Therefore, if you are one and have the skill, once you are discovered by a good enough band, the only way is up!