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Bass Drums Vocals

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by bigboy_78, Oct 3, 2013.

  1. bigboy_78

    bigboy_78 Supporting Member

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    I’m looking for tips (or musical examples) on shouldering the entire harmony burden. I’ve just landed a spot in a “group” consisting of percussion (conga, bongo, shaky things etc) and female vocals. I’m finding with no other instruments I’m required to outline the harmony as well as the groove and fill in a bit of sonic space that is left between the high register female vocals and the low register where the percussionist and I are hanging out. I’m really struggling to fill all the roles at once.

    When is clicks, it is a great stripped down sound, but trying to find songs that work and are a little up-beat is proving difficult. Any suggestions?
  2. FretlessMainly

    FretlessMainly

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  3. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties Supporting Member

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    The key to your success for this project is going to be...skillful, creative arranging. Even more so than savvy selection of material, though that also will be important. But I think you will find that it will be arrangements that ultimately define your sound.

    Unless I missed something, you haven't actually mentioned a thing about the genre(s) or style you favor. That would be a pretty crucial consideration, yes? :meh:

    With female vocals & percussion, I immediately hear something in my mind's ear that's in the vein of Sade or Morcheeba: a smooth, jazzy, sensuous kind of sound. But how you manage to make it work without any chordal instrument(s) is kind of a mystery to me.

    MM
  4. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

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    Who is the audience listening to? Yep the vocalist. You are there to provide a steady beat and augment her efforts. Like what the double bass is doing here. Generic repetitive bass line. Augmenting the vocalist. IMO sometime less is more.

    For some reason the sound is not there. Google; video, Nora Jones, Cold, Cold Heart.
  5. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties Supporting Member

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    I don't entirely agree with this. Or at least, I think it's not the only way to approach playing the instrument in this context.

    There are numerous ways to create and/or arrange bass parts, depending very much on the specific tune in question, the genre(s), the basic musical style & personality of the ensemble, and so on. A "generic repetitive bass line" isn't the only one, by any means.

    Since the OP is trying to at least hint at a harmonic structure as well as to (presumably) hold down the bottom end, he could experiment with the following approaches, for example:

    * create some space by suspending the bass line for a number of measures
    * play harmonics
    * try a few well-chosen double stops & triple stops
    * compose adventurous bass lines that simultaneously entail & transcend the root, i.e. arpeggios that hint at full chords enough to suggest them, without actually articulating the entire chord

    MM
  6. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

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    I'm listing to Sade's 'Paradise' right now.
    While there are faint other instruments that fade in and out here and there tastefully, it's basically a 2-measure bassline and percussion.

    If the percussion can be 'musical' (there are lots of options in tuned percussion...) it would give a little more breathing room for the bassline. And if the percussion is holding a solid beat, it gives the bass more room to explore some melodic or harmony flavor.

    There are effects that can expand the bass footprint - chorus and octave come immediately to mind.

    I think it sounds like a fun project - good luck with it !
  7. Vintagefiend

    Vintagefiend I don't care for 410 cabinets at all. Supporting Member

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    I would use a Squier Bass IV for that gig.
  8. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

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    do please elaborate rationale...
  9. RDUB

    RDUB Supporting Member

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    Check out a Toronto band called Autorickshaw. Rich Brown is the bassist - very good, and he's the only melodic instrument.
  10. Passinwind

    Passinwind Charlie Escher Supporting Member

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    Check out the work of Glenn Moore and Nancy King.
  11. the_stone

    the_stone

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    As long as you're doing a good job of outlining the harmony, I don't think the lack of a chordal instrument is that big of a deal. Check out the jazz trio "Fly," or Sonny Rollins "Live at the Village Vanguard" - just drums, bass, and saxophone.
  12. SidMau

    SidMau

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  13. bigboy_78

    bigboy_78 Supporting Member

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    Nice.

    Thanks for all the ideas, I didn't even know where to start.

    The singer had a fantasy of some sort of groovy blues band, but with the line-up we have I'm definitely going to have to work more on my jazz chops. Without a lead instrument a standard 12 bar is even more boring.

    I might record our next rehearsal and come back for some bass advice. :bassist:
  14. Passinwind

    Passinwind Charlie Escher Supporting Member

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    There's nothing preventing your singer from being the lead instrument. Or carrying the bass part for that matter...;)
  15. Vintagefiend

    Vintagefiend I don't care for 410 cabinets at all. Supporting Member

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    you can play chordally, and also there is harmonically more you would be able to attain than, say a 4 string P bass or a 5 string J, for instance.

    imho
  16. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

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    On a Squier Bass IV...
    What's special about a Squier?
    What am I missing ?
  17. SidMau

    SidMau

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    The Squier Bass VI is more akin to a guitar than a bass - it is tuned the same way (an octave lower, though), has a similar setup, controls, etc... You can play guitar chords on a bass VI, which can be a little more straightforward than playing chords on a regular bass.
  18. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

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    Which I totally get.
    However, the original reference was to a Bass IV which I did not understand.
  19. SidMau

    SidMau

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    True, I was just assuming a typo
  20. Orangeclawhamme

    Orangeclawhamme

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    +1 Even if it doesn't inform your playing, which I'm sure it will, you will hear some great music. Yu can also check out these guys, the Pair Extraordinaire https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bR4OsbMXQ7I

    Their recordings maybe harder to find. The only time I ever saw them was on Dean Martin's show in 1966.

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