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Actually Writing Bass Lines

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by 50cal58, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. 50cal58


    Jan 22, 2012
    This is more so in the context of,
    'I already wrote a song on guitar but the bassline is sparse'
    I just want any tips or tricks related to having a solid bassline that isnt just following the guitar part.
    Anything at all:help:

    really appreciate it guys
  2. You could do the "opposite" of the guitar? Like if the guitar line starts going lower, make the bassline go higher or vice versa. Or try and come up with something written around the drum pattern maybe
  3. bigswifty1


    Dec 8, 2011
    I have two words for you:
    Chord Inversions (I am counting this as one word:) )
  4. FrednBass


    Feb 24, 2012
    This +1

    But the best thing to write a bass line is to hear the song complete. Record the drums (even if is an eletronic one), guitar (the rythm is enough, but the lead will give you ideas) and vocals/melodies. Don't need to be great of a quality, but enough so you can know exactly where the song is going and what it needs.
  5. 50cal58


    Jan 22, 2012
    Thanks guys

    do you think it would help writing in a full band setting? Or should I come to rehearsals with atleast an outline of something?

    I've been at this particular bassline for almost a week and Im beyond out of ideas
    But I dont want to be the bass guy that just holds down the fort with quarter notes. Id stick with playing at my church the rest of my life if thats all I wanted.

    I just think this is the perfect song for the bass to stick out.
    Whats some stuff thats worked for you guys?
  6. FrednBass


    Feb 24, 2012
    record your band's rehearsals so you can listen to it at home, play your curent bass line for that. Ideas will come as you hear the song as a whole without having to think what's the next note you're going to play.
  7. FrednBass


    Feb 24, 2012
    Just keep in mind: the bass don't stick out jsut because you want... most of the time it sticks out because the song 'allowed' it to. Won't sound nice if you start to fill the music with notes where there's no need.
  8. 50cal58


    Jan 22, 2012
    I really appreciate it
    I wont try to force the part
  9. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    What do you hear in your head? Play that.
  10. 50cal58


    Jan 22, 2012
    Maybe if I leave it alone for a few days and work on some other stuff It'll come to me better.
  11. JoshXR


    Apr 3, 2008
    Missoula, MT
    When I am having trouble writing a bassline, I will try this...

    Play the rootnote version of what the guitar is playing. How does it sound? Sometimes, that's all a song needs. If you think it sounds a bit bland, change it up a bit to groove more with the drums (bass drum specifically)

    Pretty simple, but it can be a great start to figuring out a quality bass line.
  12. I really like to press interesting rhythmic ideas based on what the drums are doing while staying within the chord structure of the song. Start off with a basic idea based on what the guitar is doing, even if it's just root notes and lay something solid rhythmically... Record it! Play with the track and add ideas, as it becomes more interesting record a new track and drop out the old one. Do this enough and your bass lines will become better and better on the first go.

    I personally like to have a basic rhythm track, guitar over that... Nothing fancy just a basic idea then proceed as described above. You can add interest with overdrive, octave ect. Or try pushing or laying back and see how that influences things. Maybe see what happens if you pull out a pick... No slapping!!

    I you're playing riff based music just stick to that and maybe a fill or to.
  13. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    My favorite way to write bass lines is to just write them. Then I get the band to write around it.

    If I am doing non prog metal stuff I go for what suits the song. Sometimes basic with a good tone works best, but I'll throw in killer fills or transitions.
  14. PlungerModerno


    Apr 12, 2012
    +1,000 on the syncopation.

    Thing JPJ. Make the song swing! :cool:

    EDIT: don't be afraid of a few choice rests. Letting the drum poke through a bit and funking it up is all in a days work for BASSISTMAN!
  15. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    Try writing a song from the bass line up. That is, jam on bass and begin making it up. You will end up with a song that most likely has a cool bass part. Imagine the chords as you play. Try to create a bass motif (lick, or hook line) that works. Find the groove with the bass first and your song will have a groove.
  16. Doing this helps me a lot as it gives me rhythmic ideas. I also like to come up with counter melodies.
  17. Piggy8692


    Oct 2, 2010
    Northern Utah
    You could do some sort of 'call and answer' style bass line.

    I don't know exactly what your guitars are doing, but you could maybe copy what they are doing when there is a break in their rhythm.

    It would keep the song going and your part would stand out even though it isn't really any different.

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