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a concept band idea

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by paul_mccartney, Feb 18, 2001.

  1. My idea is to have a band with a "lead bass guitarist" and a rhythm section consisting of a rhythm guitarist and a drummer (instead of a bassist and a drummer). Any ideas on how to make this work? Who should I try to look for for inspiration (besides Jaco :)?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Primus is a good example, it may not be your cup of tea sound wise but it shows that there aren't any limits.
  3. JimmyThePlumberMan


    Feb 4, 2001
    This isnt a new concept. Its really common.
  4. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Use the "Search" function for a thread I started titled, "Dueling Bassists." The concept, 2 bassists, is a little different as opposed to yours where the bass is the featured instrument, but there were many, manym excellent replies that you may find helpful.
  5. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Sounds like a nice idea, and there's no reason why it wouldn't work. If you're not planning on playing any 'bass' bass at all, then check out Paul Motian's bass-less trio with Bill Frisell and Joe Lovano - drums, sax and guitar. The sense of space that comes from having no bass line is wonderful.

    The best advice with any new project like this is, I think, to throw away the rule book. Get together with the other guys, start with some simple structures and jam, playing what feels 'right' in that setting. Don't think to hard about it, just see what comes out. hopefully your inbuilt sense of musiciality will come up with something cool.

    do check out Pat Metheny's 'Bright Sized Life' album, with Jaco and Bob Moses - lots of melody bass on there in a guitar trio, and the latest Jonas Hellborg CD, where he does a lot of chordal and melody stuff. it's called 'Good People In Times Of Evil' and is wonderful.

    If you find that the new trio isn't working out, try switching to hand percussion instead of drums...

    most of all HAVE FUN - don't get too serious about the whole thing. for me, music works best when I play it for it's own sake, and then offer it to other people if they happen to like it, rather than get hung up on someone else's definition of cool. If they don't like it, that doesn't invalidate it, it just makes the audience potential more selective! :oops:)


  6. Niels Keijzer

    Niels Keijzer Guest

    Nov 27, 2000
    You could listen to the Who, for some inspiration.
  7. Hey!

    On the TB Home Page there is an article about a band back east "Burn Guitars",they use three basses and a drummer.You may want to check it out,also has a link to their website.For $6.00 you can get a copy of their demo cd(with 4 songs on it).I think I may check it out!
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    In the 80s - Miles Davis had a "lead" bass player - Joseph "Foley" McCreary. John Patitucci is another bass player who plays lead a lot - especially on his solo albums - I like "Mistura Fina", which has some tracks where he just plays with an acoustic guitarist and takes the solos over the acoustic "rhythm" guitar part and percussion.
  9. yeah, I noticed that John Patitucci listed on the credits on one of recent solo albums "6 string piccolo bass".........a humourous reference to guitar, perhaps?
  10. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    I think the piccolo bass on 'One More Angel' is a one off built by Yamaha - it's strung one octave up from a normal 6 string, if I remember rightly (there was a transcription of the solo in Bass Player, with a description of the instrument) - if you listen to the piece, it's definitely a bass-derived sound, played using Patitucci's usual techniques...


  11. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Mock- doggone close. Look at this "thing." It may be a bass, technically, but I'd say we're definitely in hot dog guitar country www.twics.com/~shark/piccolo.html
  12. I remember someone in Bass Player questioning the validity of piccolo basses "why not just use a guitar?" and I remember a spoof April BP New Gear report of a "6 string piccolo bass" which went on to describe a strat:D

    In the "bass heroes" book in the interview with Stanley Clarke he talks about his piccolo basses, one made by Alembic with a Bigsby trem on it, and he mentions someone asking of one of his tracks (Quiet Afternoon) "who's the guy playing the strat?" when it was Clarke with the piccolo bass (the medium 32in bass scale apparently not causing much tonal difference to a guitar)- hmmmm.....

    I suppose piccolo basses allow bass players access to the guitar register without having to adapt to guitar string spacing, and having to change fingerstyle technique - but surely bass should be in the bass register? and surely there's enough upper range on a 24 fret Yamaha TRB six string anyway?
    are piccolo basses just a means for established bassplayers to play guitar without the stigma of having "switched sides"?

    now there's some controversy for ya....
    I'll have to check out the John Pattitucci track to hear it for myself, though...
    ps. Rickbass1, I agree, that piccolo bass sounds exactly like a guitar....
  13. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    It seems counter productive to think in terms of 'sides' - this is music, not a sport after all. David Friesen plays Shakuhatchi flute as well as bass, but I don't think he's sold out... :oops:) Whatever the instrument is that gets your sound out, it's cool. Piccolo bass and guitar are in a similar (if not identical) range, but are conceptually a long way apart - I'm a pretty rubbish guitarist, but can handle a piccolo bass with no problem. Whether or not a 24 fret 6 string has enough high register is for the person playing it to decide, surely... The great thing about bass being such a young instrument is that there are no rules. Calling it a bass is just a handy way of recognising the origins of the instrument. Music has nothing to do with the prescribed function of an instrument, and all to do with sounds that reflect the intentions and inner workings of the performer. If you get that by plucking elastic bands wrapped round your shoes, great. If you get that from a Yamaha 6 or Alembic 4 string strung with tiny strings, also great! People often talk about the open mindedness of bassists - let's prove them right!

    (and by the way, I disagree that piccolo bass sounds like guitar - there are differences, and the differences between Stan's piccolo and a strat are far bigger than between a Strat and a Tele, but that's considered a valid distinction to make...)


  14. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Well, er uh, I didn't say or intend that. I was referring to the flames on the Spector of whatever instrument that was I posted as a link and the verbage the guy put up about sounding like a guitar. It seems like any catalog you pick up, the guitar section has all the body styles and finishes that make you think of being at the zoo on acid. And when you get to the bass section, things get a lot less hot dog.

    I agree with Steve about the player's intended use of the instrument, or the musician's intended function within whatever musical context they're playing. For instance, Fender VI played by Jack Bruce on Cream's "Crosssroads," = Bass. Fender VI played by Joe Perry on Aerosmith's "Back in the Saddle," = Guitar.
  15. I'm all for open-mindedness regarding music, and I certainly don't consider it "selling" out for a bass player to play guitar as well on their solo albums eg. Marcus Miller, Geddy Lee etc.

    but, the distinction between bass and guitar gets very blurred with these hybrid instruments- what is a piccolo bass precisely? a long scale instrument in the range of a guitar tuned in fourths with wide string spacing? Allan Holdsworth had baritone guitars made with a 38in scale (I forget which tuning he used on them but I'm pretty sure it was lower than a guitar) and Ty Tabor of King's X has just had signature long scale Yamaha guitars made for tuning down to B, and Stanley Jordan uses tuning in fourths on his guitars.
    so is it just the wide string spacing that's different? classical guitars can have pretty wide necks.....

    and as for fingerstyle technique, some bass players use a hybrid guitar type thumb+fingers approach eg. Sting and Paul Westwood.

    it seems to me that the term "piccolo bass" has just arisen out of narrow mindedness - the kind of people (the purists) who consider bass players who play with a pick to be frustrated guitarists would look down their noses at a bass player playing guitar too.
    I'd call it a "long scale guitar", especially when it's got six strings on it!
    the original Fender Precision was derived from the telecaster guitar anway.

    as for the Fender Bass VI, guitarist Robert Smith of The Cure's signature sound is pretty much the Fender BassVI through chorus- he plays it like a guitar, but then so did Peter Hook with New Order- he was termed the bass player, he used a Shergold 6 string bass but also regular 4string basses too.
    but both these players use instruments in the bass register- it looks to me that there's considerable overlap between someone playing a piccolo "bass" in the guitar register and guitar-type stuff in the bass register.

    anway, this is just a pointless rant really, and I apologise for wasting everyone's time:D
  16. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Why worry about what it's called? :oops:)

    people coming from the guitar end will call it a baritone guitar, people coming from the bass side will call it a tenor bass, people who couldn't care less will just play it... :oops:)

    You can call my fretless 6 a long scale mandolin if you like, it's still the coolest sounding instrument I've ever picked up! :oops:)

  17. how about "long scale fretless baritone electric mandolin tuned in fourths"?

    I see Vigier do a fretless guitar......now if you were to put heavy gauge strings on it and tune down to.......okay, okay, I'll shut up now.

    BTW Steve, do you use pitchshifting in your stuff?
    I read that Doug Wimbish uses his Digitech whammy pedal to shift up his bass two octaves for odd effects.
  18. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    I do sometimes use pitchshift effects - I've got a sort of 8 string patch which doubles the note an octave higher, a patch that lets me kick in a delay that plays back the notes an octave higher in a mad soundtrack kinda-way, I use an E-Bow with the harmonic setting which gives me some really high notes, and I use the octave up/double speed button my my Line 6 DL4 all the time. But I also use natural and artificial harmonics to get way up high as well, especially with distortion on. Have a listen to the solo on 'Virtue Of The Small' (Real Audio on my site, or track three on the album if you've got it) to hear what I mean...


  19. Monkey-T


    Jan 24, 2001
    I'm inspired by Cliff Burton
    a true bass master
    others are my teacher, the guy from yes, the guy from deep purple and the guy from black sabbath
  20. dodgy_ian


    Apr 9, 2001
    Newcastle, UK
    Stanley Clarke was playing bad boy picolo bass in the 70's - i got School Days for 50p in a charity shop the other day! Get a hold of it! I saw a guy playing a 7 String bass in NY - anyone ever seen these played before? Steve - you interested???
    Plus, anyone know anywhere on the net with any good info on playing fretless - I've just picked up a second hand one and I'm keen to learn to play in a double bass style!


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