googled06bb313055e587a.html Rock N Roll Rehab for the Control Of Rock and Roll Starring Greg Piper and The Tooners: Greg Piper - Rock N Roll Bass Beginnings

Greg Piper - Rock N Roll Bass Beginnings

Hi!  I'm Greg and I'm a Rockaholic!  I started playing bass guitar on a six string instrument back in 1971.  Why? At the time my bizarre show-biz family was putting on a theatrical production of "Curse You Villain", a musical melodrama, in Vail, Colorado and I was part of the music ensemble and understudy actor for the Villain.  The show was far from Rock N Roll, but nonetheless it was a great, easy & fun paying gig.  Imagine that, being 17 and getting paid to play music.  I was hooked!  My mother, Beevie played piano, my brother played banjo and I have my six string guitar that I'm playing bass with. 

We start rehearsing together and at first I am strumming along on the guitar along with the others and I realize there's no sound separation - too much similar rhythm style playing.  So I decided to play the four bottom strings of my 6-string guitar to sound more like a bass, which happen to be the same notes as used on a normal bass guitar.  I changed the EQ on my guitar amp to sound more low end and all of a sudden we had this great banjo, piano and bass sound happening.  It was a perfect trio.  And that is how I officially became a bassist.  

I soon realized quickly that there was a great demand for bass guitarists.  Why?  Everybody wanted to be the flashy lead guitarist, turn up the fuzz, sustain those lead notes, get the girls and all that.  Nobody wanted to play the bass.  There was not much glory in playing bass because few listeners recognize the sound of the bass.  But, I didn't care what people felt.  I liked playing bass and I had plenty of other ways to get attention, believe me.  Plus, for me, playing bass was more natural than playing guitar.

How did I learn to play bass?  I listened to my 4 favorite bass players from my 4 favorite bands . . . Paul McCartney of The Beatles, John Paul Jones of Led Zepplin, John Entwistle of The Who and Jack Bruce of Cream.  In the Rock N Roll world these four greats cover all the bases!  I did not take bass lessons, I cannot read music notation or music charts either.  I learned by listening.  I play by ear.  Besides, most of the sheet music is wrong anyway.  Back when we were playing cover songs we would have to learn 1 or 2 new songs every week to keep up with the club gig scene.  It was just a matter of getting the record (remember 45's?) listening, picking out the notes, the feel, rhythm and arrangements, and then play.  Of course we never were note for note geek freaks, we were more into performance.  You want to hear note for note?  Go home and listen to your records or CDS or the radio.  We definitely got the song down, put some of our own personalities into the songs and we were good to go.  I've been playing bass professionally every since. I still play and I love it! 

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