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What should I play? Bass guitar or Keyboard?

I am interested in learning both. I've already been playing guitar for about 3 months and have gotten pretty good at it. I also have been playing the alto saxophone for 4 years if that makes any difference. I play in a mini pop band at my school. I play guitar, and the other two play keyboard, whilst the other covers whatever we don't have: like guitar, keyboard, and is currently learning bass. We all sing. So what do you think? My birthday is coming up and I really want to pick up a 3rd instrument to play. Any suggestions? Thoughts?
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5 Answers

Hello,
I have to add to this answer pool
because it greatly depends on what you are hoping to achieve with your music that would help decide which instrument(s) you should learn.
If your main goal is composition, then piano might be a good route
On the other hand, part of being a good improvisor/composer is knowing how to create a great bass line
 
With both instruments you are able to play a wide variety of modern styles from jazz, pop, rock, and many more.
But to some degree the Electric Bass guitar is limited because it isn't exactly meant for any classical, romantic, or baroque styles. 
This is where the piano trumps, keyboard instruments go far back in our musical history, while electric bass does not, outside of semi-modern styles mentioned before.
Although, Double Bass or Contrabass (fretless upright) has it's deep history in the viol family of baroque and pre-baroque times. This instrument is highly regarded in any style of music from period, classical, modern, jazz, folk, rock, and more. 
There is never too many upright bass players out there!
 
If you were to decide to play all of these instruments at some point, I would recommend piano first, and then upright, and then electric.
Simply because piano is the most universal to learn, and if you learn upright second, switching to electric will be a breeze, while the contrary will be more of a leap uphill.
 
Good luck with this challenge!
 
-Matthew
 
 
My vote is keys, hands down, for three reasons...
 
1. The keyboard is often seen as the basis for all musical theory. In fact, when I studied music in college, we were required to learn how to play the piano. I play guitar as my primary instrument, and find piano to be a bit more cumbersome for me, (most will prefer one over the other), but I can not tell you how helpful it has been to be able to think about music with a visual understanding. I consider the guitar to be "scattered," (much like myself), while I consider the piano to be tightly organized; everything is in its place. Having a basic understanding of the piano makes it easy to pick up ANY new instrument.
 
2. You can get all sorts of other instrument sounds out of an electric keyboard. I have keyboard that has something called a "MIDI" input. With it, I can plug it into my computer to access hundreds and thousands of new and different sounds! Including other instruments!
 
3. You can play the piano by yourself without it sounding awkward, (unlike when playing the bass, a set of drums, or a saxophone alone). This is because the piano can cover such a wide range of emotion at once. (For example, your right hand can be playing the melody while your left can be playing the lower notes. And you have total control over how long and how loud each individual note is played). Not to mention, keyboards/pianos are one of the most commonly found instruments on display, and show up in the most random places. This means that you are far more likely to run into one at a friend's house, a party, a church, and immediately be able to make full sounding music without having carried an instrument case with you.
Alex, that's a good question.
Knowing that you already play the guitar, then you know what a fretted instrument is like (so no need for the bass).
The keyboard is also fun and (if you ask me) much easier to play.  It will also give you a wider range and other possible scenarios (in terms of music) if you like to compose or play for fun.
Have fun buying your 3rd instrument (you could opt for a fourth one too!).
 
Sincerely, 
 
Cesar

Comments

I would like to add that just because some one knows the 6 string guitar does not mean they know how to play bass guitar, or upright bass especially.
One might be able to find the notes on the bass, but the way the instruments are played are completely different!
creating a solid bass line in any style takes a understanding of the instrument that one might not necessarily learn from guitar.
The contrary is even more obvious, a bass player may be able to write a bass line and have knowledge of the notes on the fret board, it definitely does not mean that they can play a chord on the guitar without instruction!
 
I second Vivian's thoughts and add that learning keyboard really helped me understand music theory because it was easy to visualize concepts like major thirds on a keyboard. Although I now play much more guitar than keyboard, I'd say that having a background in keyboard helped make me a better guitarist because it was easy to understand what was going on musically when I played key changes, etc.
 
Hope this helps!
 
-Todd K.
Hi Alex;
The only thing I have to say is...
It is good to be as diversified as possible, and
Only do what you enjoy, not what others expect of you.