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5 Questions

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Surprise Panda!, Sep 11, 2008.

  1. Hi,

    I got this from Bass Player Mag, here we go!:

    Why do you play bass?

    Do you practice? If so, how?

    How do you stay focused on a session? How do you come up with lines?

    What musical concept have you had to learn the hard way?

    What non-musical thing inspires you the most?
  2. aidan.thorne


    Mar 25, 2008
    1) because when i was 11 the instrument was asssigned to me in a friends rock group and parents made me play double bass if i wanted to play bass guitar (cant thank them enough now!)
    2)yes i do practice - i focus on certain aspects of music to practice. For example, the past two months I have been hooked on trying to get the dorian mode down - so ill spend an hour or two working on exercises i come up with or making new ones to help me know the sound of dorian and its ins and outs. Most recently(last month) ive been working on stamina of the right hand as im going to music college in a few days just to help ease into playing all the time
    3) I guess im just a very focused guy when it comes to music. It helps if theres a specific set of tunes we are learning or writing. I come up with lines by......just do....
    4) Definatly needing to know lots of tunes - At a certain gig I was playing with a rather good saxophonist whos had a heck of a lot more experience than an 18 year old music student and I knew hardly any of teh tunes he called - need to know ltos of tunes!
    5) Good actors and acting
  3. CraigG


    Mar 14, 2006
    Mechanicsburg, PA
    Because it is the one instrument that I have found which really allows me to express myself.

    I go through spurts. Some days I'll play along with my MP3s and CDs for hours (I especially enjoy playing through the songs I have enjoyed over the past 30 years). Some days I'll play for 15-20 minutes and that's it; I don't have a ritual of doing scales or focusing on technique - I suppose I'm too ADD. Other days I'll skip playing completely. And, on days when I'm not doing either of those I have rehearsals and focus specifically on the music we will be playing.

    I listen to what everyone else is doing and try to fit in with whatever is happening in the song.

    Not quite sure. Most of the time it just happens and, most of the time, it just happens to be really good. For me, as a Christian bass player, I would attribute it to largely being a "God thing!" I hear it in my head as the music is playing and then I do it.

    Less really is more. I'm pretty comfortable playing all over the bass and I have background playing a lot of different styles. For the longest time I took nearly every chance I could get to throw in a tasty lick. In the past several years I have found myself enjoying holding back and letting the music breathe and being much more selective about the location and type of lick I throw in. I have found that restraint and strategic planning where I can throw in "teaser licks" has made me a better player than all the flashy licks I could ever do.

    I like relaxed mornings, when the air is fresh, around 65-68 degrees, with the wind blowing very lightly from the south east and the sun still low in the east. I don't know why but that particular combination really leaves me feeling more refreshed and inspired than practically anything else.
  4. When I was 16 and in college, most of my friends were playing in rock/metal bands. It made me want to play in a band too ... so I listened to my favourite records of that time to decide which instrument I'd like to play ... And it was bass, definitively !

    I try to play every day but I've no rule to stick to. Sometimes I'll spend hours working on a tune or writing stuff, sometimes I'll just pick a bass, play for 5 or 10 minutes and then do something else and that's it for this day.
    And I definitely don't practice theory or technics on bass. I barely know scales, I never practice my chops. I play the tunes from my bands, sometimes a cover just for fun, or I just play alone, but I never plays scale with a metronome or things like that

    when I play or when I listen to music (I mean, really listen, not just "hear" music), I tend to disconnect from the outside world and completely immerge into the music. It's no problem for me to stay focused: the outside world just doesn't exist anymore.

    I don't know. I listen to a melody, and other melodies and counter-melodies just cross my mind. I sing or whistle them, then put in down on bass (or other instrument), and that's it.

    playing with a drummer on reharsal or along a playback is one thing. playing to the clic of a metronome on the studio is something very different. You can rehearse as much as you want ... but you won't be sure to nail it down to tape right until you try to play it alone with the metronome. And playing won't be enough: you can't be really sure to be perfectly tight with the beat while you play. So when I have to record something, I prepare myself not only by playing the song, but also by recording it again and again and again ... Until I'm really sure to be perfectly ready (which of course never happens)

    landscapes, emotions, books, people, questions. Lots of any of those.
  5. jomahu


    Dec 15, 2004
    Bos, MA
    1. drums got too heavy.

    2. yes. warmup, jam (with metronome or random guitar riff), work on band stuff, work on my stuff, more jam.

    3. i stay focused because i always really really look forward to playing!!
    my lines always start jamming on the root and listening to the drums. then i overplay as much as i can (for melodic purposes) and then i take out 90% of the notes, playing the ones what leave the most space and kinda fit in the cracks of the drums and percussion.

    4. reading is the bane of my existence!!! it has always been, even with other instruments.

    5. non musical? i dunno, everything sounds like music to me. :)
  6. magickbass

    magickbass Guest

    May 24, 2008
    Why do you play bass?
    It's a rush that cannot be captured by any drug, natural or synthetic.

    Do you practice? If so, how?
    I always start out with note reading studies, then some time signature studies, scales, chords, and finish with some ear training. Then I get to jam on some songs.

    How do you stay focused on a session? How do you come up with lines?
    I have only begun to play bass again, I am not in a band and have not written anything of my own yet.

    What musical concept have you had to learn the hard way?
    Not to use tablature. I have lost a lot of valuable learning time but not reading music in my younger years when I first started playing the bass.

    What non-musical thing inspires you the most?
    Sex and guns. Not necessarily together, of course.
  7. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    (1) Because I'm a musician, I like to play in rock bands, I'm a much better bassist than six-stringist, I much prefer being at the front of the stage than buried behind my keyboard rig.
    (2) Yes. Drills and exercises, playing along with recordings, working repetitively on particular passages I want to improve.
    (3) Staying focused has never been a problem for me, so I have never considered "how" I do it. I don't think many bassists "come up with" new lines very often - the vast majority of what we play is learned and adapted from listening to other music of all types, not just our particular genre(s). The more diverse music I listen to, the more creative I become in adapting what I've heard to the particular song I'm playing at the moment.
    (4) "Play fewer notes, and put more soul into each one you play." I had heard that advice many times but never paid enough attention to it until a person I much admire and respect, Willie Dixon, told me.
    (5) Children. If we could only keep our thirst for knowledge and pure sense of joy when we become adults!
  8. 1. Because the bass sounds so good. I started playing drums at age 11, 17 years later I was in a friends music room and after we were done playing everyone wanted to walk to the bar except me, so I stayed there and decided to mess around on the bass. I think someone put crazy glue on it, cause I can't put it down.

    2.I do practice about every other day. Work on scales, finger exercises, ect. then spend the other half of the time playing to cds or trying to make up my own lines.

    3. Thats easy to stay focused, its what we like to do.

    4. hmmm....can't really answer that....still learning the hard way.

    5. Stand up comedy....I have yet to meet someone that doesn't like to laugh.
  9. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I grow organic carrots and they are not for sale
    Why do you play bass? - I love low notes
    Do you practice? If so, how? - I play almost every day
    How do you stay focused on a session? How do you come up with lines? - I'm sorry I started to answer but I lost my train of thought
    What musical concept have you had to learn the hard way? - some bands just plain suck
    What non-musical thing inspires you the most? - eating chocolate and chasing it with beer
  10. From elementary school I played violin. As I approach middle school I knew that I'd want to play in the high school jazz band and that there wasn't much call for a violinist, so I chose to switch to upright bass in the orchestra in Jr. High even though I sat 1st chair, 1st violin (most of the time...)

    So to answer the question directly - I play bass because I wanted to play jazz in our high school's killer jazz band.

    Depends - If I am with a gigging band (which I am not at this time) I practice frequently - every night for about an hour or so.

    How? Jamming along with the tunes from the set list focusing on shaky parts and unfamiliar songs.

    If I am not gigging and just jamming with friends (which I currently am) I focus more on practicing my technique. Arpeggios, scales, riffs, speed, dexterity, exploring new ways to create lyrical lines and new ways to create killer grooves.

    Under both circumstances, I warm up with scales, arpeggios and other dexterity exercises.

    I live by the mantra "Be where you are while you're there". If I am in a session, I am IN a session and the rest of the world doesn't exist as far as I am concerned.

    I come up with my lines by first nailing down the groove, outlining the changes in a very clear fashion, and figuring out where the drummer's head is with regard to his/her approach to the tune. Then I listen to what the other players are bringing to the table to see if there are any really interesting statements being made that can become the "style" of that section and adapt my line to it.

    When it comes to a solo or a bass feature, I focus heavily on being "lyrical" and melodic. I imagine what a singer or trumpet or other more commonly melodic part would do. I also focus heavily on making sure my phrasing "makes sense" in that what ever melodic statement I make, it always has a logical evolution and a good resolution.

    NO EXCUSES - You either deliver the goods or you fail. I'd played in a lot of cover/original bands but had been out of the game for a long time. I then joined a gigging cover band and had a gig or two where I just didn't have my parts down. Excuses, excuses - didn't matter. You don't have the part, you don't have the part. You are the only one to blame for that.

    Life in general. I have a personal philosophy that everything is the same if you look at it the right way. Knowing that, I can find beauty in a traffic jam or a mole hill. Recognizing the similarities in all things helps to simplify life for me and apply a similar approach to whatever I do whether it be mowing the lawn, cooking, or jamming with the band.

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