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  #21  
Old 12-14-2012, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by jmattbassplaya View Post
I've come to the conclusion recently that most guitarists can't write on top of bass lines. That, or they simply choose not to. It's annoying, and it's one of the reasons why I'm not the biggest fan of songwriting as a whole group.
I'm not discounting your experiences, but I honestly have not run across this.

When I write on the bass, I definitely think harmonically, which means I can provide a chord chart to a guitarist. IME, that has been sufficient information to stimulate their creativity and get some good guitar parts happening.

Sometimes, if I have an idea for a guitar part, I'll jot it down and give it to the guitarist. But if he comes up with something we all like better, I have no problem with that either.

For me, the creative process is the #1 reason I play music. Of course, other people have different, equally valid reasons.
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...and all of the soul-sucking forces out there who think I should fulfill their idea of what I should be doing as a bass player can suck their own souls.
  #22  
Old 12-14-2012, 08:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmattbassplaya View Post
I've come to the conclusion recently that most guitarists can't write on top of bass lines. That, or they simply choose not to. It's annoying, and it's one of the reasons why I'm not the biggest fan of songwriting as a whole group.
I agree with this completely. That's why I make it a point to be included in the writing process. I can at least give them direction if they 'cant hear' the bass. I've actually been told that. Like unless there are other instruments, a bass' sound cannot be heard by the human ear. I have been lucky to find one guitarist that prefers to lay back and write stuff on top of the rhythm section.

I like to see how they like it when I come up with some crazy bass part and tell them to figure it out. And when they can't, then is when I'll just shrug and give them the 'I'm just the bass player' look. If anything it appeases the little chip I have on my shoulder for the time being.
  #23  
Old 12-14-2012, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Makatak View Post
My gripe is when someone comes up with a couple of chords and says " ive got an ides for a song " , then you totally invert it , add new chords/riff etc , turn it into a killer tune and then have it turn out that " its still their song " and get no credit, grrrrr
I know a guy who will write vocal parts for instrumental tracks written by other guys in his band, and then insist on sole copyright, because a song is defined as melody and lyrics, which he came up with. Never mind that the songs wouldn't have been written if he hadn't had someone else's creativity to build upon.

I once got an opportunity to play in his band. Obviously I declined.
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...and all of the soul-sucking forces out there who think I should fulfill their idea of what I should be doing as a bass player can suck their own souls.
  #24  
Old 12-15-2012, 12:51 AM
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Originally Posted by hover View Post
Wow...I mean, really wow. It's the part I enjoy the most. The creative side. Really listening to what the song wants, and trying to arrive there collectively...guess I'm in the minority...nothing more satisfying, not just with music but for many things, than that sense of accomplishment when you can step back and hear or look upon what you've created, and get that all over giddiness. The waiting part can suck, but I'd rather be in the moment than having things decided and then look in on something finalized without me where I "just put my stamp on it".
I love creating, too, and it's probably 75% of my music right now. I've written more songs in the last two years then I have in the last 10. However, I DON'T want to do that at practice. I do like slamming together a song in an hour with a band. That's usually how the best songs come around. When it takes longer and people start quibbling over different parts going when, etc., that's what I hate.
  #25  
Old 12-15-2012, 01:19 AM
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Originally Posted by grisezd View Post
I really thought that cheap digital recording and email would have changed this by now. When people were shorter and lived nearer to water I would record a super simple two part drum track (thank you mattel Synsonics drum machine!), bass, guitar, and scratch vocal on a four track cassette. I'd hand out copies at practice, others would hand me theirs, and we'd go learn or make up new parts for next practice. Structures were solid, though we'd work up an ending together. Done and done.
Digital recorders really did that for the last two bands I was in. Usually, one guy or maybe two guys would send a quick demo of the song recorded in someone's living room with just an acoustic guitar and vocals, we'd learn it and flesh it out in the next practice. Done and done.

However, that's not too far removed from the cassette days where the songwriters would hand out cassettes at a practice for us to learn before the following practice.

Now that multitrack recording on computers is so accessible, it's easier for me or the others to flesh things out even more before emailing them out. The youngin's on this board probably don't realize how much easier and better they have it now... and they don't even have to walk 10 miles in waist deep snow up hill both ways just to get to the rehearsal studio. Harrumph.
  #26  
Old 12-15-2012, 01:40 AM
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The songwriting process is where the art happens. The rest is craft and skill. I can't imagine not wanting to be involved in the actual creation of the musical ideas.

If your guitarist can't write on top of bass lines, don't limit yourself to just writing for the bass. Suggest ideas for drums, guitars, keyboards, vocals, horns, etc. It's a collaboration, you're not limited to only contributing by playing a part.
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Last edited by smeet : 12-15-2012 at 01:45 AM.
  #27  
Old 12-15-2012, 01:47 AM
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In my original band, we all write and contribute ideas. What irritates me to the brink of sanity is sitting around while the drummer shows the guitar player a chord progression on acoustic, and isn't satisfied until the guitarist plays it 100% the same way he does. Takes up to an hour out of practice sometimes, and all I do is write my bass parts within 10 minutes once they've finally finished. Then, the guitar player forgets the whole thing over the week and we have to do the whole thing over again next rehearsal.....
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  #28  
Old 12-15-2012, 02:11 AM
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We record each section and arrangement pass with an H2 and the singer emails it out. Then we do our homework.
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  #29  
Old 12-15-2012, 02:27 AM
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If there's too much trial-and-error in your rehearsals then it usually means those musicians need some theory, or someone else who knows a bit of theory to write their parts for them.

Tell them to do their musical guesswork at home instead of wasting everybody's time with it.
  #30  
Old 12-15-2012, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Ubersheist View Post
Ditto. It's a HUGE waste of time at rehearsals. For me, rehearsals are for rehearsing, not songwriting. Songwriting a t practice smacks of songwriters who are relatively young and/or inexperienced. When I hear about stuff like this, I think that the songwriters probably don't have an album's worth of material, or if they're older, maybe only a few dozen songs that are done. Good, proficient songwriters have hundreds of songs without any exaggeration or hyperbole.

I'm not a great songwriter, but I work on this stuff outside of practice. When I collaborate with others (band members or not), it's a simple process usually with just acoustic guitars, and it's done away from the studio. Unless I've got a grandiose vision for a song, the songs stick to standard formats - usually a pop format, or something common. If the song requires something beyond or different then that, it'll come out after the song is basically written to a format.

The only thing I will do at a rehearsal is jam stuff out in a band on occasion, as long as it's being recorded. I won't work on it there.

Ug... now I'm reminded of the frustration I had with several older bands, and all the time we wasted... UG.
I agree. I don't write the songs for our band, and I won't waste rehearsal time while the writers banter and stuff around with a song that's not even half written. The songs are written at home (or wherever), and they bring in a demo, or even just a chord sheet and we play it. Ideas develop from there, sure, and changes are made on the fly, but the songs are mostly written before rehearsal.

Trust me, you're not the only one who gets annoyed by this. Rehearsals are for playing music. If the band want to have a song writing session, then they should do that, and those who are interested can go.
  #31  
Old 12-15-2012, 09:28 AM
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I don't delegate my group time to solely rehearsal or solely songwriting. I prefer to let whatever happens to happen organically, and with the understanding that anyone can bring anything new to the table at any time, or as the muse strikes or whatever...I don't like it regemented because it gets stale. Leaving it open-ended...sure, it could lead to lack of focus or nothing accomplished but that is really on each person to ask themselves how motivated they are to be productive...we correspond prior to the day we meet and usually each have 2-3 things we'd like to work on, and it goes into it when we meet. Democratic-like...that way you can keep it interesting, keep it consistent, find a collective and consistent "voice" and out of that boring "run the setlist" rehearsals...if you're all together with any song at any given time, you don't need to run setlists...you'll know your settings, tunings, segues and intros all on the the fly and be more versitile.

If the songwriting happens separately, that's cool but you're still then bringing an idea into the collective, and that should be done, imo, with the intention that it would be further worked on collectively..that is, unless you're the only songwriter, and there's already the understanding that the song being brought in is finished and not to be "trifled with"...I find that a boring situation to work within. It's not about ego.

Last edited by hover : 12-15-2012 at 10:46 AM.
  #32  
Old 12-15-2012, 04:23 PM
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+1

Our "songwriting" sessions usually start out with a jam on an idea, either something somebody brought in, or a spontaneous inspiration. We all join in with our parts and group improvise from there. The ideas that work are kept, the rest are discarded, no arguments, no egos, no wasted time. Lyrics are usually added later, although some of the ideas may be improvised on the spot as well.

Of course we play fairly abstract and non-pop music, so maybe that workflow wouldn't work for all bands. My point is that it doesn't have to be wasted time. Sometimes one of us will bring in a fleshed-out multitrack demo of a full song, and that's cool too.
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  #33  
Old 12-15-2012, 10:11 PM
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It's hands down my favorite part! I usually start on guitar or bass sitting at home. I use a Line6 UX2 to record scratch drums, guitars and bass (never vocals). The one in my soundcloud link below stayed quite close to what I wrote, but once the band gets a copy, it comes to life at the next rehearsal. I wrote the song below in about 10 minutes, made a sloppy copy for the band in about 2 hours, we played it live at a show about 3 weeks later, was on the radio (homegrown local show) 3 months after that once we did a good recording. I love the transition from "an idea in my head" to live.

Everyone adds their parts and thoughts, total democracy, although it gets VERY passionate at times. Singer and I write the music, about half and half of what we play live. The harmonies we decide on, great drums, guitar solos, bridge ideas...all icing on the songwriting cake that I need my band for.

Being told what to play would be a nightmare for me.
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  #34  
Old 12-15-2012, 10:24 PM
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I play in a fully original band.
Composition is a part of our rehearsals and we all love it but there are rules to make it go better.
One must work home and provide a frame for the song. It can be a chord progression and rhythm, a melody or a few riffs that go together.

From there, method applies.

Everybody figures basic parts for the canvas provided, so we can play it.
Once a part stands by itself, we play it again and again, throwing as many ideas as we can. Then we do the same for the other parts. It's a lot like jamming.

The whole session is recorded, I make cuts and send them to band members.
Everybody works home to sort the ideas provided during rehearsal, we work on our own parts and prepare suggestions for the next rehearsal.

At this point, we talk together, define the structure and final parts. We play a rough version of the song, then work on each part to refine it, make sure everything is tight, no mystake in harmony, no conflict between parts.

The next step is to work on arrangements, sound and accidents like breaks, bridge, solos etc.
At every step there is discussion and exchanges. If we disagree, we record both versions and discuss it the week after. You have to try a lot of things to get an ideal result. It is an interesting creative process. Things must flow, everybody must focus on the result.

With this method we usually end with a finished song over the span of 3-4 rehearsals.
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  #35  
Old 12-16-2012, 08:45 AM
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I can understand when it is simple rock or pop song structure ... the kind o thing with few chords and a whatever-bass-line will do the trick ...

But I find those kind of music boring ... you could 1000 different bass line and the guitarist 1000 chords rythm... it wouldn't event change the song at all because what is important is the right chord and the lyric ...

On the other hand I really like to work on instrumental where you have to think and create something set in concrete otherwise you will destroy the harmony going on if you don't play the right thing at the right time.
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  #36  
Old 12-16-2012, 11:22 AM
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Writing music can be really fulfilling, but cooperation can be an issue especially when there is a bunch of ego in the picture. I can remember getting mad after a drummer and I wrote some arrangements from scratch then the singer guitar player claimed sole song writing credit for the melody and lyrics we inspired. I eventually left that project, because I wanted credit. There was just no use touring around for broke once it became clear that it was a bad deal.

On the other hand, the original project I am doing now agreed to share credit which is good. Four out of five of us contributed a song that the band arranges. The rest of the album is me writing lyrics and melody inspired by the guitarist's musical ideas the result being arranged by everyone. I think this is going to work out OK, but if we ever make money with it, I suppose the fur will start to fly!
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