I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, or not.
But, me & my band have been writing some new material, & I really feel like one of the new songs could benefit from abit of a ska-esc bass part in the verse section.
Now, you may look at this & wonder why I'm asking for help, but, I've never even looked into playing ska, so I don't really know where to begin with writing the parts.
We're a pretty traditional sounding hard rock band, & I've mostly just played rock, metal, punk, doom, hardcore etc, etc.
So, long story short, can someone give me some pointers for nailing a ska type vibe?
This is what we sound like btw, if it's much help to anyone: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qcz3OSo0g8
Best way is to try some of the best Ska originals first to get the feel. Download some Specials tunes and try to copy them. You might also try the Mighty Bosstones, that would probably fit what you're trying to accomplish.
IME getting that Ska feel if it isn't your thing is much harder for guitar and piano. A lot of them have trouble doing that feel without speeding up or otherwise messing up the timing.
As a bassplayer your part does not have to be fast or complicated (but it can). Sometimes just quarter or 1/8 notes will do. It does have to be on a pulse that's independent from the guitars and drums and gives everybody a foothold for finding beats one and three. They have to be able to play around you. The hard part with fitting in a Ska feel in another type of music is that musical roles in the band get shifted around.
Also the bass part is often a little melody that fits in with the main melody or singing part. A nice example is Monkey Man by the Specials.
I agree with Matthijs as well. There are a chock-full of ska bands out there that you shouldn't have problems gathering some ideas/inspiration. Operation Ivy, Rancid (Matt Freeman plays bass in both bands) and Voodoo Glow Skulls are good 3rd wave ska-punk bands. Pick players. Another 3rd wave ska-punk band with fingerstyle bass is The Suicide Machines. I won't go into theory because honestly it's been a long time since I've touched that and it's pretty hard as it is typing in English. BTW, that's a cool band you have going on! :)
I liked that clip too, you seem to know what you're doing. Fitting in some ska should not be a problem. Ska bass is very much about mastering that attitude, not about making things complicated.
Well it really depends by what the rest song sounds like, I think. Ska is quite a wide genre you see. E.g.
This is early ska
and this more modern 3rd wave stuff (same song)
The basic principle bass-wise is the same for both styles though.
Bass is playing a walking bassline around the chord progression.
I think this is a great example of what I mean:
The difference between the old school and more modern stuff is the one-drops (avoiding to play on the 1 of each bar). However you can use this effect to a varied degree depending on the vibe of the song.
Whatever the case good luck. It sounds like it will be an interesting song. Mixing reggae and ska with rock and metal can sound epic!
I was in a band in the early 80's that I joined the day of recording a demo and had been listening to a lot of English Ska at the time ( The Specials, Selector, English Beat).
They had already written the songs and they ran me through a briefing. 1 tune was sort of dark and brooding with a very regimented beat. I suggested we change the feel in the chorus to a ska feel and they loved it... and it made the song 10x better.
I played a jumpy standard pattern and the drums played double time and the guitar and keys played on the off beats... wish I had a copy.
My fav ska bassist now is Roger from Less Than Jake... saw them 2 nights ago and he is amazing.
Agreed. The prominent sound of ska is the guitar. I've heard, that the word "ska" is actually onomatopoeia for the sound of a staccato strum on the guitar that you associate w/ ska music when played on the offbeat.
The bass does play an role tho and the major thing is what they've stated: walking bass, sometimes drop the 1, and my addition: double up on the root.
I agree... what kind of ska... like Reggae skankin ska, or punk ska?
Not sure the feel of your particular song but you cant really go wrong with 16th note arpegios maybe ;)
Try some material from the O.C. Supertones. His bass player, Tony Terusa is one of my inspirations. Very creative and nice tone.
It might not hurt to go to the source. Check out Lloyd Brevitte of the Skatelites from Jamaica.
When you say Ska, what do you mean? Can you post an example? I'm really curious to hear how the metal band in the video approaches a ska vibe
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