When people think of learning an instrument, the first they’re likely to pick up is, unsurprisingly, the guitar. Pop culture has given our guitarist friends a certain sleek, cool sex appeal that truly can’t be rivaled by any other instrumentalists, at least through the eyes of the musically uneducated public. But is the guitar really the best instrument for you? There’s a reason that many people end up switching from guitar to other instruments, like the bass, and it’s not because it’s “too hard”. Everyone has their own set of skills and personality traits that are conducive to a certain instrument, but it’s rare that these talents are discovered on the first try without help.
Are you meant to slap out some sick beats on the bass, or shred some solos as a guitarist?
Answer each question honestly and keep track of your score.
1. Listen to your favorite song, but ignore the lyrics. What instrument do you notice the most?
D. All of the above
2. Your band is playing a huge gig! What’s your pre-show routine?
A. Running around, warming yourself up just to jump around more onstage
B. Stretching your hands and body and chilling, talking to some friends or bandmates
C. Double checking with the sound guy and your crew to make sure everything is ready
D. Hanging with fans or signing autographs
3. Practice is going well, but your drummer decides to start an argument with your lead singer over something stupid. How do you handle things?
A. I play devil’s advocate. They’ve gotta just let it all out so we can move on with our lives.
B. I shake my head at them and let them try and sort it out themselves for awhile before I even try to step in. I don’t want to make things worse.
C. I ignore them and work on my own part so I don’t get yelled at next.
D. I mediate for them even though I’m not necessarily involved. We’re a band, so their problems = my problems.
4. You see someone attractive in the crowd of a really important gig. How do you react?
A. I try to woo him/her subtly. If he/she notices, then great. If not, at least I’ll sound good for myself and my band.
B. I go into overdrive; he or she won’t be able to take his/her eyes off me as I jump around the stage like the Energizer bunny!
C. I move to the side of the stage closest to him/her and try to engage with the crowd more, including the person but not singling him or her out.
D. I try to stand out onstage without making a fool of myself, but I do send a few smiles or winks in his/her direction.
5. There’s an instrument for sale that you really want need for your upcoming gig, but it’s super expensive. What do you do?!
A. I buy it. Who cares about the price?
B. I haggle the price down and buy it. Better instrument = better sound = more $$$.
C. I buy it but feel kinda guilty about it…
D. I find another instrument for a lower price.
E. I don’t buy it because I’m a loser who has enough instruments.
If you picked mostly…
Choice A: You’re a lead guitarist! Six strings are better suited to match your never-ending energy and passion for fiery riffs and detailed solos. Make sure you pick a guitar that can keep up with your style!
Choice B: You’re a bassist! You might be a little more laid back than your extra string-laden counterparts; why add more drama to the mix when four strings sound just fine? The rhythm section needs your steady presence— don’t let anyone tell you you’re unimportant.
Choice C: You might be a bassist, too! Bassists have many jobs in a band; often, you’re tasked with making sure each song runs smoothly, and that means being in touch with everyone, both on and offstage. Although some of these characteristics can be shared between both guitar and bass, you’re more likely to enjoy slappin some strings than strumming them.
Choice D: You’re probably a rhythm guitarist! Yeah, lead guitar sounds cool and all, and bass is quite funky, but you get the best of both worlds! You can’t quite be classified; you bring the rhythm section and front of the band together, so you tend to embody the best characteristics of both your four and six-stringed brethren. Keep rocking!
Choice E: You’re obviously a loser who is under the impression that it’s possible to own enough instruments. Time for a trip to Guitar Center to fix all your problems!
No matter how many strings your instrument has, the most important thing is that you love what you do. This quiz isn’t meant to actually help you pick between bass and guitar, but if it does, then great! Whichever instrument you choose is bound to be a lot of fun, and you’ll be great at it if you put the time in. Practice makes perfect!
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