Bill Clements has one arm, still plays too many notes

Bill Clements is a Michigan bass player with one arm (or at least one hand). Fortunately, it's his left arm, and he's exceptionally good at playing jazz bass with that it (and a bandanna tied around the neck to stop notes ringing on). Unfortunately, as this pretty awesome video [wmv} shows, he can't resist playing far, far, far too many notes. At least he hasn't got, like, 18 strings on his bass. More on Bill and the Kalamazoo Music Group. (Via Audio Mastermind)


Comments:
Awesome! And inspiring...
 
Fretless,even!
 
it's some buisy playing, but i like the basic sound texture. the tone is nice, with the bandanna mute. kinda different, which is good. i could hear such tone on a peter gabriel ar kate bush album.
 
agree with the too many notes - but this would seemingly be because of the technique he has had to uniquely master - the notes are never going to have any sustain to them by using only the fretting hand (especially with a bandana mute on) - so he makes up for it by playing lots of shorter notes...

it's admirable what he has ahieved with such an obvious limitation, but i don't like his style much.
also, seeing as he favours Jazz basses, why doesn't he put the original string mutes back on by the bridge. he'll be able to play a low-F again then :-)

s.e.
 
the mute would only effect open strings, kind of like the mute/dampener on Chapman Sticks

Not sure where the comment about too many notes or two many strings is about, especially for a site that seems to drool over walls of nearly useless synth modules or keyboards with a gazillion knobs on them. pot, kettle, etc.
 
That's just it. This site is less about talent than it is about all that gorgeous equipment out there. Hence the slogan "You can't buy talent, but you can try." That guy is very talented so we need to rip on him a little bit.
 
I have a friend who can play like this -- and I think he is just as sucky an egomanical bass player as this cat in the video. How lame. But thanks for the post, it was interesting; perfect title too.
 
"I have a friend who can play like this -- and I think he is just as sucky an egomanical bass player as this cat in the video. How lame."

that's allright, you sound like a twat.
 
dunno if you caught it, but he's missing his right arm, and you said he's missing his left.
 
too many notes?? ... hmm - maybe.. but considering there is only drum and bass playing in that video, maybe its just that song or whatever.. but i dont think its an obscene amount of notes

didnt you guys ever listen to Primus??

BTW - im not especially impressed with his playing... not bad - but not mindblowing amazing either... his timing needs work too - usually bass and drum should be as tight as possible, this shit is loose
 
"He's missing his right arm, and you said he's missing his left."

Nope, I said...

"Michigan bass player with one arm... it's his left arm"

I think psychologically, we're so obsessed with the 'missing' bit, we assume that's what's being discussed.

When I was writing it I had to go back a couple of times to check.
 
If I overcame all the obstacles and developed a workable style of one-handed bass playing, I'd wanna shred too, not just sit around playing "Green Onions."

Besides, the guy probably made the video with the express intent of flashing his chops.

Still, I'd be interested in seeing a video of him locking into tighter grooves -- swing, funk, whatever.
 
Somebody take the drummer's ride cymbal away!! Why do they ALWAYS insist on riding the bell like that -- just because it's there or just because they can???

Chris
http://www.chrisbreitner.com
 
because it's fun ;)
 
I agree with awakened_yeti, the reason he's playing so much is because it's just him and drummer. If he was just playing a rock bassline or a walk, it would have gotten old after about 3 bars. Listen to the "Les Claypools and the Holy Mackeral" album for some good bass-drum stuff. Anybody else notice he doesn't use his pinky at all?
 
Let me see if I've got this right. If you only have one hand and you play weedelee-weedelee-weedelee on the bass then you're awesome and inspiring and you don't "Play Guitar like a SuperDork"?
http://musicthing.blogspot.com/2005/06/learn-to-play-guitar-like-superdork.html

Is that right or am I missing something?
 
missing quite a bit - a few billion neurons, give or take
 
Hammer-on's on a bass with the pinky? hmm he'd have to be a smith or an very specialized athlete or something to have that much strength in his fingers to keep playing for more than a minute without having his forearm feeling like it's burning in the deepest pits of hell. ;)
A normal bass player can pull this off once or twice in a song but all the time? ...
 
I can't believe ANYBODY would dis this cat.

Jeez! you shut up and practice.
 
I think he's playing a fretless bass on the video, which is a feat in itself.
 
If each note is in his soul, it can't be too many. This guy plays better with one hand than most people I've seen with both of theirs.

Criticize all you want, but it's guys like this with the music clearly in their blood and breath that keep music from decaying into commercials and keep the heart of humanity grounded in something other than flash.

Nice to see the comments about the guy being an "egomaniac" and such - especially since you can completely tell his personality from five minutes of playing a guitar. Way to be a judgemental prick.
 
Bill is an amazingly talented bass player that can play circles around most bass players with two hands. Having seen him play on numerous occassions with several different groups, he can hold his own, no matter what you throw at him. Check out his old band Burning Tent Revival to hear him in context of a rock band.

http://www.burningtentrevival.com/
 
Well I have only played bass for about a year now and I really don't practise religiously, so this guys playing circles around me in comparison. but to me his playings awsome :/
 
I think it's amazing that the guy is playing with just one hand. Some of us would stop playing if we lost one of our hands. Some might not like his sound or style - that's understandable. Not everyone likes Jaco, Vic, Stanley, etc either. Some people like grind, others like groove. To all of those that criticize his playing, I wonder if you would be willing to post a video of yourself playing with just your fretting hand that demonstrates a higher level of playing than this guy? Once you've done it can you let us know how long it took for you to get to that point?
 
BTW, Bill CAN hit a low F, and lower. He tunes BEAD for his unique technique, with standard strings. I've met the man and watched him jam in person. Truly inspriational. He's a damned cool Cat to boot!
 
wow what a great site, truly no one here appreciates talent except for the last few posters. and yes it is a fretless bass, you can tell by how shiny the neck is, means it was defretted and coated with epoxy. and as for too many notes...wtf is that even supposed to mean? would you rather him play 4 quarter notes a measure? that would be boring as hell. im glad some people here are psychic, with the ability to judge someone's personality from 5 minutes of jamming. damn i wish i could do that.
 
Lol, this guy is an amazing bassist, better than anyone who has posted comments here, so why dont the people who diss him shut the fuck up and salute him, he plays with one hand and is amazing at it (bla bla bla timing isnt right bla bla bla) HE HAS ONE HAND, and has more technical skill than some people have with 2 hands!
 
I agree I would be stoked sit in on a session with this dude. Some people just like to talk bad things about people, have a little respect for someone who persivers and overcome something like this. I lost my left foot when I was 19 and I am a drummer little different of course but I have guys at my studio all the time and jam for hours, i also play hockey often at a high level. So my point is give it up for the folks who do not give up and travel on in this not so normal world......
 
Too many notes? He played what he meant to play, how can you call that too many notes.

Its like, if someone's music doesn't fit into a certain pattern or mold, its too much or too little or WRONG. Which its not.

Stop trying to correct someone for doing what they do. Why can't you just admire someone for the UNIQUE style they have.
 
This comment has been removed by the author.
 
Bill is a good friend of mine. We spent some time at NAAM eating Chinese over some Coors, ok alot of Coors. He is very intelligent and funny as hell. There are some ignorant people out there who spout off without knowledge,if you see Bill, walk up to him and say yo , chances are you will be talking music over a beer. JBYPSI
 
Awsome!!!
Also do not forget mark goffeney my good friend out in el cajon Ca.Who was born with "No Arms",and plays bass guitar with his FEET!!
Joey The DRUMMER
 
I met Bill a long time ago, when I was a teenager back in Kzoo .. a friend an i showed up at a concert for a band he was in (I think it was KillSwitch .. no relation to KillSwitch Engage) .. and only like 2 other people showed up.. so he stuck around while the rest of the band ditched out, and he chatted with us and played bass for a while. it was great!
 
There's too many notes? Who cares!? You know why he's cool? Because he has has hook where his hand was, and he should jam that thing in your eye like an angry pirate. You little whining f**ks, you would spend the rest of your life crying to your mother if that sh** happened to you."I could have been a star!" you'd holler every night....this guy? He got on with it. Appreciate the motherf***er, get your hand off your c**k and get out of that bedroom...He's a f***in champ, no matter how he plays. And he's out there playing..unlike, I suspect, YOU. Wankers.
 
If this story doesn't inspire the lazy, but healthy individual to get going, I don't know what will.
 
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