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a few questions

Discussion in 'Ask Mike Watt [Archived]' started by Bryhey, Apr 3, 2003.

  1. Bryhey


    Mar 23, 2002
    Ft. Myers, FL
    Sir Watt (outta respect...not dissin englanders) and all other folk,

    Ive been playing the bass for about a year and a half now...and Im getting alright, I guess....and I cant seem to find a band that fits my liking, i dont want to be in a punk band with no decent bass lines or any bass noise, and I dont want to be in a metal band, because metal aint just me....

    I guess Im trying to say Id like to do solo stuff...just me and my bass, my questions are as follows

    1) Does the watts of your amp really matter? I mean if your just miking through the PA then can you really tell the difference between a 15 and a 50?

    2) Is there a certain thing you guys do (mike and all) when coming up with bass lines? I try to switch it up but I find my self drifting back to my A string and D string 5-7th fret routine....the same question goes for solo, do you guys often play close to the same thing?

    3) at a year and a half playing, were/are there any mistakes you were making? This is for me trying to become a better bass player by eliminating errors.

    4) Im home recording, and I can play bass and record covers easily, but I find it harder to place my voice in the bass line that I made up, any pointers you can add to ideal voice placement on a track?.

    5) has anyone heard of a solo bass player giging? Im asking this to see if it would be accepted, or laughed at.

    6. Is there some kind of mailing list or email address people like us can get on to email watt when hes on tour?

    thank you all

  2. Subculture13

    Subculture13 Jamming Econo

    Apr 9, 2003
    Toronto, Ont. Canada
    The only "solo bassist" that comes to mind, assuming you are referring to a bassist onstage by him/herself would be Mr. Wrong. Rob Wright of NoMeansNo / Hanson Brothers fame does this on occassion under the name of Mr. Wrong. The last time I saw him live "solo" was actually opening for Mike Watt. (talk about an amazing lineup for a show) That being said, this is the exact forum to see a show like his, something you may not always have the luxury of. Also, Mr. Wright commands HUGE respect in the industry and from fans as he is afterall, from the legendary NoMeansNo. That made it an even easy sell than (nothing personal but...) just another dude on bass. His show was amazing though, just him and his bass, singing and playing away. He wore a german WWII style outfit which only made his show even more unique. I would say doing visual things such as this make it seem all the more intentional, you don't want to come off like your band just bailed on you, you want the crowd to know that you are there alone on purpose. There are no hard and fast rules to the industry, to quote the great Canadian band Sloan... "If it feels good do it, even if you shouldn't. Don't let others mess you around."
  3. I'm definately not Watt...but I have been playin' the bass forever so I thought I'd kick down my $0.02:

    1. Watts matter...the amount of power your amp is pushing can affect your basstone in a big way. The type of wattage matters too: tube watts or solid state watts or a combo of the two. You are correct to assume that most of your sound will be projected through the "house sound" PA system, however, your tone and most of your onstage sound is still coming from your personal amp setup. At plenty of smaller clubs and outdoor park settings I have relied on my amp alone for the bass tone. I can't wait to hear what Watt says about watts.

    2. Bassline inspiration comes from all around. Cool chord changes. Cool scales. Get yourself a Mel Bay book of scales and chords and flip through the pages...I bet you'll find some cool ideas.

    3. dude trial and error...always trial and error.

    4. Dude, I'm not sure I understand what you are getting at with this one...maybe Senor Watt can shed some light here.

    5. Ron Carter and Stanley Clarke have been known to be sort of "solo" acts. They kick butt! John Entwistle was sort of a solo act sometimes too...even when he played with the Who.
    John Pattatucci and Jaco Pastorius did sort of solo stuff too. Bootsy Collins is a solo dude, even when he's playin' with 40 other people. Mr. Watt's old band Dos was sort of a "dual-solo" type band.
    So, I guess I would say...check out what other dudes have done, and see where it takes you.

    good luck,
    Dave P
  4. Bryhey


    Mar 23, 2002
    Ft. Myers, FL
    cant wait to get a response
  5. watt

    watt the man in the van w/a bass in his hand Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2001
    san pedro, california

    some answers, by the number:

    1 - watts do matter cuz you gotta hear yourself over the drums and the guitar - not drown them all but at the same time, not allowing yourself to be drown out. I usually think for beginners, 300 watts (rms) and a 2x15 cabinet is a good start.you don't want to power the house from the stage, just have enough to have a good stage sound. too much bass coming of the stage and make a soundman's job at mixing impossible so watch that. bass frequencies can develop much further from the cabinet than where you're at and add to the potential bogart.

    2- you can keep track of the chords and make the song move that way instead of staying in one riff or sometning - have the bass line follow some chords or mix it up between the two. if you put your hands always in the same place, there's a good chance of always playing there so you have to lay out challenges to yourself, having yourself go to different places on the neck, following different harmonies.

    3- clams (mistakes) happen all the time - I was making them after a year and a half and I make them now! read about some of them in the tour diaries... they way I see it, I'm trying to play the way someone would ride a skateboard and sometimes you're gonna take spills cuz you're taking chances.

    4 - one good trick to finding a place for the singing in "play the holes" - put them where the other instruments are having a rest or a more of a minimum. it's hard to have a fast rule about this cuz it all depends aesthetics of the song and that's part of the writer using his/her creativity.

    5 - I have a cd of william parker playing bass all by himself at a gig. he's great.

    6 - go here to get on the hoot line:


    on bass, watt

  6. Bryhey


    Mar 23, 2002
    Ft. Myers, FL
    thanks for all the help...Ill help you know how it all turns out

  7. watt

    watt the man in the van w/a bass in his hand Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2001
    san pedro, california

    good luck and keep the mind open - watt is not the last word on bass... only part of a freaky autonomous choir!

    on bass, watt