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A way to thicken the bass during guitar solos

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Dkerwood, Apr 1, 2009.

  1. WRXbase


    Jan 14, 2009
    Clayton, NC
    On a dual pick-up bass, you could try rolling to the neck p-up and/or rolling more mids.
  2. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    Website with music player is here... www.leavethursday.com. Of course, the recordings are overdubbed so there is rhythm guitar under the leads. Heck, I rarely write songs anymore that have guitar solos- I'm not much of a shredder. More of a "lay down a tight groove" guy... I guess that's my bass playin' side coming through.
  3. try to cover more space musically during the solos. By this I mean, maybe throw in a few more octaves than normal, chromatic lines help build tension and will sound fuller if used right, spending some time on a flat third resolving to the root can help as well. I'd suggest working on note choice and rythyms before thinking that effects will fix everything.

  4. Agree + The dummer and bass player need to work on dynamics...not just louder or softer but when to use the ride cymbol or open hi-hat... a bass pattern counter to the guitar line. The drummmer could think of the cymbols as the horn section. The bass player quotes both the bass line and the rythm guitar. As for the lead guitarist, he also needs to remember he is in a 3 piece trio...what he takes away from the sound when he solos, HE is taking it something away...re-phrase the solos! Instead of relying on a pedal, try it without FX to see how much you can fill (with feel) with just the playing alone.

  5. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Otis is absolutely right. I was glad to see this thread take a turn to examining what you're playing rather than trying to add effects. I've played in great 3-pc bands that sounded amazingly full, and I've played in crappy ones that sounded hollow. What separated them from each other is the guitarist knew how to play to make it sound full, and I tried to maintain consistency in what I was doing and not try to get all flashy and fill in holes all the time. Sometimes I got flashy if it worked, or sometimes I might have played a higher octave along with the bottom note, but more often, I didn't do anything different than I would have done if we had a rhythm player, and it worked out great.
  6. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    See, this is how we usually work. I'm very pleased with our sound when I'm playing rhythm. Full, punchy, rhythmic... everything you could ask for. When I write tunes now, I write specifically for our group, so things usually sound full or I know how to fill the sound if I do move to a lead line.

    Where we have issues is some of my old music that I wrote before the band came along- I wrote a lot of it assuming that there would be someone to cover rhythm guitar. We've re-worked a few of the tunes and managed to fill some others with creative bass lines and drum licks, but there are still one or two that elude us.

    The main offender is a 140bpm straight-ahead in-your-face rock number. There's only three repeated chords going on under the solo. Bass is playing eighth notes, I'm doing my best to shred some sixteenth note patterns, drummer is crash riding... and yet it's missing something.

    What probably compounds the matter is that there are several times in this song that I simply stop playing to let it boil down to bass and drums. Thus, when the solo comes up, it sounds and feels like it should be "down" instead of in your face... does that make sense?

    If I was playing bass, I'd probably use a pick and just dig in more on this solo, but my bassist doesn't do picks very often or well. Hmm...
  7. allexcosta


    Apr 7, 2004
    Stop doing guitar solos, they're very annoying anyway... :bag:
  8. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    If it's just three chords, why not have him arpeggiate them instead of pounding out eighth note roots? He could also write a complete counter melody Jamerson style. At the very least he could vary the rhythm.

    Really, there's a host of things he could do, but I don't think switching on a pedal is the answer. Now that you've described the situation better, this is sounding even less like an effects issue than it was before. And it doesn't sound like a tone issue either - playing the same weak line more aggressively/with a pick doesn't change much. To me this is a note choice issue. Your bassplayer has more room in the mix and he needs to find the right notes/rhythm to play to fill it.
  9. tomhanzo


    Apr 20, 2008
    West Virginia
    listen to some Cream. There is a band that had a lot of solos, and amazing bass playing to fill it up.
  10. I had to explain this to a guitarist. "just because you cooked it does not mean it always tastes good!" Just maybe its not for a trio.

  11. Mo'Phat

    Mo'Phat Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2003
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Playing in a trio is truly an art form. It takes understanding of all the members to figure out how to fill the space and when to let the emptyness breathe.

    As others have said, listen to bands that only have guitar, bass and drums as their instruments, and who opt to NOT overdub extra guitar or synth tracks during the solos. Bands like Rage Against the Machine, Pantera, Living Colour, the Police, Primus, Red Hot Chili Peppers...of that ilk.

    These bands don't do this exclusively, and most will incorporate rhythm tracks onto their studio recordings to fill out the sound. But listen to guitar solos where the rhythm drops out hear if the bass is changing anything to compensate.

    I'd reckon the majority of the time both the bass and drums change something up to alter the feel so it's not just the rhythm guitar taking a solo break. They make it a dynamic part of the song.
  12. I'm kind of new to all this but my first reaction is that this is a great time for the Bass Player to "step up" and have a little more fun filling the gap while still holding it all down.
  13. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
  14. Vic Winters

    Vic Winters Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    Western NY
    EHX Bass Big Muff in Dry mode. Keeps the clean bass signal and adds fuzz on top of it. I use it all the time to fill in space under solos.
  15. TrevorOfDoom


    Jun 17, 2007
    Austin, TX
    not to start a fight, but aren't you the guitarist? don't you have a bassist who can think for himself, make decisions for himself?
    shouldn't he be looking for the right tone, the right sound in his head?
    yeah, he should play for the band, but if he's not all about getting his ideas out there and playing what he wants to play and sounding how he wants to sound, i wouldn't take him seriously as a bassist.
    you should talk to him, voice your frustrations, and ask him to work on it. if he won't, then talk to him again. if he still won't, then reconsider his future with the band.
    he's a bassist (hopefully) because he loves to play and the rhythm moves through his soul.

    sorry for the rant, i'm just tired of bassists being "just a guitarist who wasn't doing anything at the time," or "the guitarists cousin who's never played an instrument before". not to say that your bassist is, but seems to me you're making all his decisions.
    IMO, and what-have-you.
  16. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    I sort of came at things sideways with my thoughts that the bassist should try a more o complex, space filling line rather than play the same thing while stomping on a pedal, but your post is very close to what I was thinking when I read this thread.
  17. TrevorOfDoom


    Jun 17, 2007
    Austin, TX
    glad to know i'm not the only one.

    i feel like a grumpy old man when i talk to others about this sort of thing, but it's true:
    they built 'em better back in the day!

    to all guitarists who want to solo and think they need a rhythm guitarist:
    listen to Black Sabbath!
    Geezer takes off when Tommy shreds, and it always sounded huge!:bassist:

    and now, back to your regularly scheduled thread.
  18. Sithian

    Sithian Operator! Give me the number for 9-1-1! Supporting Member

    Aug 17, 2008
    New Jersey
    Our job as bass players is to play a support role... When the rhythm guitar / vocals drop out this basically opens up our playground and allows for space to be filled/ left unfilled that ordinarily was not there- Our sonic footprint widens and this gives us a chance to step out and play a bit busier or propel the rhythm in a way that would not have been appropriate before- This can be a great bass zone- the music can breathe, and often some of the best bass lines shine through during these moments- not necessarily effects driven either-
  19. I play in a 3 piece and we never had any problems filling it up... until we tried to play a part just like you described. I tried mixing it up in a bunch of different ways, but in the end I'm using a HOG with some up 1 and 2 octave and sometimes I use the 5th and 3rd options as well into a Holy Stain Fuzz into my Muff'n (which I use largely as a preamp). You could definitely get away with the POG and maybe the MicroPOG. It just never sounded big enough without a wall of sound behind it and no matter what I did to the bass tone or my playing, it really wanted a full rhythm section to sound right. I can't stress enough that the guitarist solos all the hell over the place in our songs and this is the only one that sounds just dreadfully empty without the effect.

    My two cents.
  20. Mo'Phat

    Mo'Phat Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2003
    San Diego, CA, USA
    I should also add, that I much preferred to play in bands without a rhythm guitarist. When the guitar began to solo, I always thought to myself, "Finally!" and let it rip. Not to upstage or overshadow him/her, but to lend the song a bit of syncopation, harmony, and interest.

    I know that when a bassist embellishes during a kickass guitar solo, I'm thinking, "Wow, that's a ripping guitar solo, but that bassist is killing it. So much better with the 2-ring circus." And, if the bassist and drummer really lock into a rhythmic interplay, so much the better.

    In my opinion, solos should be looked upon as 'instrumental breaks' to give the singer a breather and let the band shine...not to let the guitarist have the total spotlight.

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