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Thread: Tips From You Bassists?

  1. #1
    Forum Member OldStrummer's Avatar
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    Tips From You Bassists?

    Okay, I'm going all over the map with my new bass. I need to find a way to play the bass, and not try to make it a bottom-strung guitar. I thought the best way to get comfortable with my new Spector would be to just play the root notes of the songs I'm working on with my guitar, but I feel that something is missing.

    Am I just being impatient? Here's an easy example: Billy Roberts' "Hey Joe" is a song played using all major chords in an easy repeating pattern: C-G-D-A-E. I can play all the root notes without moving my fretting hand off the open-first-second frets. But it just doesn't sound like much. When I add runs, fills, and riffs, it sounds more like the song I know, but in my mind I think if I were playing both instruments, the two would collide somehow.

    Perhaps I should try the backing track route? Maybe record the guitar part and then accompany it with the bass? Or vice-versa? How do you do it?
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    Forum Member ch willie's Avatar
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    Re: Tips From You Bassists?

    Nothing helped me better than learning the bass licks note by note from the records. I began by learning the old 50s and Elvis stuff and went from there. You’ll find that vocabulary to be the basis of what came afterwards. Remember to listen to the drumming carefully too because when you get the subtleties of the way bassists lock in with the drums, that’s where the power lies. Then you can graduate quickly to players like Dewar, Casady, and others that you like. I went towards McCartney and Bill Wyman cos Brit rock is my thang.

    I love playing guitar, but I first played in bands as a bassist. After years of playing guitar in bands, I rediscovered my passion for the bass and now, I find myself playing bass as much as I play guitar. I love that power a bass gives me. Frickin’ rumbles everybody’s innards.
    If we'd known we were going to be the Beatles, we'd have tried harder.--George Harrison

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    Forum Member Tele-Bob's Avatar
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    Re: Tips From You Bassists?

    What chwillie says!

    Don't go it on your own. Learn what others have done before you. It's so much easier! There are excellent tutorials free on youtube that will show you how to play the bass lines to an insane number of songs.

    Bass guitar is a whole other animal and taking a guitar brain approach to it just isn't going to work!
    If you're bored, you're not groovin'.

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    Forum Member blackonblack's Avatar
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    Re: Tips From You Bassists?

    I ditto everything said.

    I found it helpful to-
    1. Think of connecting chords together rather than with scales like you do on guitar.
    2. Listen to a LOT of Motown songs
    3. Listen to piano based classical music and what the pianists left hand is doing - that is what you are replacing
    4. As you listen to casual music, think of bass fills that would work
    5. Realize you and the drummer are there to compliment each other, not to only reinforce each other

    As you progress, realize you will become the best friend of the keyboardist and drummer as you are the liason between rhthym and the lower range.

    Also look up Scott Devine on YouTube. While he offers classes (which are excellent) he has a good amount of free material.

    38 of my gigs last year were on bass. When I moved here and got talking to the local mom/pop music store, they said if you want to mainly play guitar, don;t let them know you play bass. Reason being bassists are few here. Oops I mentioned I played bass.
    Mark

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    Forum Member OldStrummer's Avatar
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    Re: Tips From You Bassists?

    Quote Originally Posted by blackonblack View Post
    38 of my gigs last year were on bass. When I moved here and got talking to the local mom/pop music store, they said if you want to mainly play guitar, don;t let them know you play bass. Reason being bassists are few here. Oops I mentioned I played bass.
    Very good info here and in the other posts. Thank you!

    Isn't there a line about this? Something like, "A bass player never has to worry about being out of work?"
    Striving to be ordinary

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  6. #6
    Forum Member blackonblack's Avatar
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    Re: Tips From You Bassists?

    True! Everyone wants to be the driver vs the head mechanic (just finished watching a F1 race)

    Then again, I’ve heard it said the true chord is unknown until the bassist comes in.
    Mark

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    Forum Member phantomman's Avatar
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    Re: Tips From You Bassists?

    Quote Originally Posted by OldStrummer View Post
    Isn't there a line about this? Something like, "A bass player never has to worry about being out of work?"
    The same can be said for fiddlers and pedal-steel players among the country community.
    "When injustice becomes law then rebellion becomes duty."

  8. #8
    Forum Member Laker's Avatar
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    Re: Tips From You Bassists?

    I started as a sax player who dabbled around on guitar when a friend began showing me basic chords and early rock tunes like Link Wray’s Rumble back in the late ‘50s so I’ve never approached bass thinking as a guitar player. I sat and listened to what the bass was doing on the 45 records I owned and realized that I began thinking more about the “feel” of what I was doing rather than trying to play patterns of notes. Players like Carol Kaye, James Jamerson, and Richard Evans had a major influence on what I did. Give listen to the song “Groovy Situation” and you’ll get an idea of what I’m saying.

    Playing with bluesman, Bryan Lee, was also a huge contributor to what I do on bass as he was, to me, one of the best rhythm guitar players I ever worked with and I learned to be an “in the pocker” player.

  9. #9
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    Re: Tips From You Bassists?

    I am a guitar player-turned bassist... I say that because I am good at guitar, but people want me for my bass playing. I still play guitar and joined this forum for help with a guitar build. I did well in HS as a guitar player... seriously... I would make $500 plus per month as a Rhythm guitarist/back up vocal in my high school band (at 17, in 1999) and when I moved on to University (you Americans call it "college"), I covered bass for some acts that I had previously met in my HS days. "Hey, you play guitar, you can play bass!" I bought an American Deluxe V, to cover the demand... and the demand became more intense, the more I was known as a bassist.

    IMO, the key to being a good bassist, coming from a guitar background, is knowing your place. I love to say "no one ever fucked to a guitar solo." The same could be said about dancing. No one dances to anything Slash ever played.

    The bassist and the drummer are the core for the crowd. Angus Young gets the chants and attention, but the crowd doesn't bounce up-and-down until Phil Rudd AND Cliff Williams are involved. The singer and lead guitar do not need to keep time. The bass and drums, do. It is their job. MJ's Billie Jean is a great example.

    I am super happy that you mention "Hey Joe" in your OP...

    Hey Joe involves what I call blues 4-fret walk-ups. If you listen to Hendrix' single of "Hey Joe" https://youtu.be/rXwMrBb2x1Q?t=139 the bass walks from C-E-F-F#-G, to B-C-C#D, to F#-G-G#-A, to C#-D-D#-E...

    The same walk, and also much easier to hear because it's done only to one root note, could be found in ZZ-Topp's "Tush" https://youtu.be/P7iPkiyG2jQ?t=16

    And THAT is the EXACT same walk as George Thorogood's "Move it on Over." Same key and all.

    The same similar walk can be found in Tesla's cover of "Signs." https://youtu.be/epbOHloSpZM Where is goes from E-F#-G-G#-A.

    Rocky Mountain Way... same walk... https://youtu.be/4Fz-mHGXgzs




    That's a wall of text to explain one part... The other part of good bass is playing a Major line against the Guitarist's minor expression...

  10. #10
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    Re: Tips From You Bassists?

    Round Two:

    Go to some tutorials for playing bass to "Pride and Joy," and "Mary had a Little Lamb" by SRV and learn the verse bass lines.

    Couple that knowledge with the same line in the Doors' song... https://youtu.be/n2_X4VTCoEo?t=80

    You now have a solid base (bass? lol) in your tool box.

    Ultimately, a good bassist is ON TIME! On time is seriously all you need, as long as you hit the appropriate note on the "one" count in the measure. The less people notice you on stage, the better bassist you are. Les Claypool, being the biggest exception, lol!

    After some time practicing and learning walks in major and minor keys, you can cover over your mistakes, with ease. Make a mistake- walk it off... hehe. Chromatic movements save my arse all the time.

    I am sorry if I have insulted your intelligence about the theories, here, but hopefully, someone else sees this and gets better.

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