Is writing music on solo bass HARDER?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by JeffVanter, Dec 18, 2013.


  1. JeffVanter

    JeffVanter

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2012
    For me, I find that writing music isn't easy. I really enjoy it but I have to work hard at it. I'll come up with an idea that I really like and then I can never come up with anything after it that sounds good. If I do, I'll only get passed the "chorus" and from then on it'll be difficult to continue writing.

    I have this problems with some of my songs to the point of never writing anything more than that one particular idea and then some ideas turn into full songs within minutes.

    Does anyone feel like writing music on bass can be difficult?
    What's your take on it?
    Guitarists use chords (it's not like we don't) but everything on guitar has pretty much been done. You use four chords, do a few changes, call that part the bridge and then add lyrics and such.

    I don't think I'm wrong even if I am over simplifying it.
    Anyone feel the same?
  2. sonicblue62

    sonicblue62

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    Location:
    Twin Falls, Idaho
    I agree. I don't think it's just a bass thing either; so much has already been done (at least in the rock world) that it's pretty hard to come up with something that doesn't resemble something else. I am of course, speaking for myself; there is still a lot of creativity out there.
  3. JeffVanter

    JeffVanter

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2012
    So much has been done on bass or guitar?
    I think rock is a genre that is really cool but it has almost no originality left in it. If you try composing rock bass, I wonder what kind of cool stuff you could do!
    I'm talking about just solo bass music in general. So much stuff to work with indeed.
  4. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

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    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    I don't write on bass. My writing is done on piano or guitar. Sometimes I'll come up with a chord progression on the bass, but then trasition to piano. Or sometimes I'll even write it out. Writing on bass is very difficult.
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  6. Clef_de_fa

    Clef_de_fa

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Location:
    Canada
    Sure if you write song ... there is no orignality left

    instrumental music shouldn't be harder but bass player lack that thing to compose music ... so it end up being an harder more complexe groove but it still a groove ... no real melody or real harmony ... nothing to say or convay. No wonder it is very often boring to listen to solo bass ... and when someone has those skills he is ridiculed as not really a bass player.
  7. Nev375

    Nev375

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    Originality is not hard

    Just pick notes out at random. Of course it probably wont sound good, but nothing that is truly original ever does.

    The reason newly written music sounds good to anyone is because theres a familiarity to something the listener has heard before but may not be able to specifically identify.

    The trick is to strike a balance between the familiar and unfamiliar to make the originality listenable.
  8. ffutterman

    ffutterman Talentless Bass Enthusiast Supporting Member

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    I have a really hard time writing songs on bass. I usually come up with chord progressions on ukulele which then gives me a framework for a bassline. If I'm just messing around on bass, though, all I can come up with are intros and riffs and not much more.
  9. Lownote38

    Lownote38

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2013
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    I've written tons of songs on just a 5 string bass (chords and everything). I write when something I like happens when I'm playing any instrument. It doesn't matter if it's guitar, bass, piano, etc.
  10. stuj26

    stuj26

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    Aug 9, 2013
    Try playing along to a drum track or metronome. Sometimes it helps just to keep time.
  11. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Gold Supporting Member

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    Mar 16, 2002
    Location:
    Reims, Champagne, France
    Most songs are based on the classical rondo form with a selection or mix from a dozen popular chord progressions.
    They make solid frames that people easily follow so they're good to write catchy tunes. The listener isn't disturbed or surprised by the form, his attention can go toward movement (dance music) or feelings (love songs).

    Songwriting is an art or rather a technique of itself that requires hard work and talent, barely linked to musical practice. There are methods to it but basically you need to study what others have done to understand how and why it works and create many, many crappy songs to reach a jewel from time to time.
  12. FretlessMainly

    FretlessMainly

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2010
    Writing on bass vs. a more chordal instrument comes down to two primary factors:

    1. Is what you are composing more of a riff-based piece or a more chordally-oriented piece?

    2. How well do you understand chordal harmony?

    If it's based more on chord changes in contrast to riffs, you really need a good understanding of chordal harmony to write the piece on bass. As someone who's played guitar for 36 years and bass for 33 years, I can write on bass because I can envision different chord options that a bass line suggests.

    But riff-based pieces are fairly easy to write on bass. These generally will have fewer chord changes and the chords are often well-outlined by the riffs (depending on complexity, of course).
  13. Nev375

    Nev375

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    If you know how to play chords on the bass in the first place I don't see what difference it makes what instrument you use.

    However chord shapes are seldom taught to bassists.

    I play chords and compose on the bass all the time. At times I have composed on different instruments not so much because its easier but because its harder and unfamiliar.

    Sometimes in searching and reaching for the notes I hear in my head im encouraged to try something different for the sake of playability. This can spark originality or sometimes be a revelation in understanding for me.

    Youd be surprised how much better a bass player you might become by dabbling with a banjo (or anything else) a few weeks.
  14. poit57

    poit57

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    Apr 30, 2010
    Location:
    Oklahoma City, OK
    When I write a song, it almost always starts with lyrics and whatever melody fits with those lyrics in my head. I then work on accompaning chords using guitar or piano or both (neither of which I am particularly skilled at playing).

    Any music I have come up with on just my bass has ended up just being an instrumental song, and I have a hard time figuring out how to flesh that out with other instruments.

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