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Anyone else a chronic improviser?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by DanGouge, Apr 21, 2001.

  1. DanGouge


    May 25, 2000
    I should preface this by saying I generally don't play jazz...

    Does anyone else find that they learn the basic chord progression and structure of a song as well as any signature hooks and then just make up the rest? I never seem to play anything the same way twice, I always make up stuff and change things around. Anyone else find themselves doing this?

    BTW: as of this post I am a full fledged member! :D Newbie moniker be gone!
  2. Dave Castelo

    Dave Castelo

    Apr 19, 2000
    *raises hand and gets up:

    "Hi my name is David... and I'm a... chronic improviser"

    *everyone in the room:

    "Hi David!"
  3. *looks at Les weird*


    I am the same.. hehe.. my band still loves my playing though... *shrugs* I'm here to have fun! haha
  4. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    I'm lazy, old, and don't have but one day a week to learn the songlist for the next practice. Just rip through it once to get the hang of it, then fill in the blanks as I go along. My main practice method lately is listening to the cassette in the car on the way. I also find that by playing along with the high-speed dub as I make the tape cuts my time in half :D
  5. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I play a lot of 50's, 60's and 70's stuff in an oldies band.

    If a song has a bass hook, I play it.

    If it doesn't, I improvise. After all, that kind of stuff is what got me this nickname when I was a teen.:)
  6. Chris A

    Chris A Chemo sucks! In Memoriam

    Feb 25, 2000
    Manchester NH
    Me too. Too lazy to learn someone else's improvisation, so I make up my own.

    Chris A.:rolleyes:
  7. You mean there are people out there that actually learn the basslines note for note? :confused: :eek: ;)

    Heck, I can't even do the lines I recorded exactly like the record! :D
  8. just because it is Sunday here and i am feeling lazy i will quote these people with my reply to the question. :D

  9. You sir are a slug. Write your own responses in the future or I will be forced to charge you royalties next time!!!! :p :D
  10. If it's a clearly defined part, like playing a unison line with the guitar player, then I don't stray too much and play the same part most of the time. Even then, I might get a wild hair up my a$$ and try a syncopated harmony line...you never know.

    If the guitar player is comping on some chord and there's know singing (I'm always careful not to step on the melody of the song) then the sky is the limit. If I play something that ends up sounding real good, I'll stick it in my back pocket and I might reference it some other time. Normally, at any point in the song, I'll have 4-5 options that I've used before and I know will work. There's still a good chance that I might just try something new anyway, just to keep it interesting. That way my bass lines are always evolving.;)
  11. YooHoo (waves hand) Ya got another one over here.

    Sometimes I wonder if, as I play a song for the umptheenth time differently, that I might have forgotten the best improv from a former version. But I don't wonder for long.

    I have taken to recording 1 minute bass licks and keep them for reference. Man, I come back and listen and sometimes can't even play them again.
  12. *raises hand*

    I can never play a groove the same way for more than 20 bars or so. If it can work within the song, I'll add a slide here, a double-stop there, some ghost notes, and a 16th-note upper- or lower-register fill (nothing like shaking the stage every so often), just to mix things up.

    I'm from the digital age. If you want somebody to play the same way for the whole song, get a sequencer. If you want to use live musicians, you should allow them to mix things up.
  13. DanGouge


    May 25, 2000
    Last month I recorded a lick I played by mistake. I thought the song was going to a Em when it was going to a G and I did some sort of weird fill so what I was doing made sense. Now the guitars and drums have been redone for the song I was recording and I have to do it again, and my guitarist (who's sort of organizing the whole thing) wants that lick just like before.
  14. I can never play a groove the same way for more than 20 bars or so.
    Can you guys say "I lack disipline? lol No wonder bands often have ofte said they love my solid playing as compared to other bassists they've had. What would happen if your drummers were changing the pattern/groove every 20 bars or so? Bass and drums are the foundation of a band. And if the foundation isn't solid....well. Trent
  15. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...the trick is to stay "solid" while embellishing & interacting with the other musicians. If a part requires one to stay put(like some techno-1/8th note Root movement line or a basic 12-bar Blues/Rock piece or a Reggae tune)then do it...

    Listen to Jamerson; he's improv-in' through the changes while groovin' & remaining rock solid.
    Maybe it's just me, but a static rhythm section puts me to sleep...zzzzzzzz.

  16. :D

    Gard i can be slower than a slug on sunday.
    my parents had slugs in their garden, i tried to catch them so they would stop eating everything.
    darn slugs were to fast for me. ;)
  17. Rockinjc


    Dec 17, 1999
    Improvising is fun, but it's nice to know you can honker down and stick to a pattern when needed. Even so, I mess around with tone and dynamics when the notes have to be as written.

    Still, I try to stay away from situations where others limit my creative options. In a band with no chord instruments you can play almost any note you want except at the beginning of a phrase and pull it off, especially if you mean it.

    One thing I find I can't get a way with, is getting overly expressive when key lyrics or melody licks are going on. Still, I think a little counter melody can go a long way in this situation.

    For sticking to a particular line, I like tunes I hardly know. That way, my energy is focused on sticking to the changes and syncing with the other musicians, rather than coming up with options. I was playing with some Old Time musicians over the weekend, and if you know what that stuff is about, you know that you don’t embellish much. On the tunes that I was in fear of getting lost on, I did my best.

    My .02
  19. NJXT


    Jan 9, 2001
    Lyon, FRANCE
    I totally support you, DanGouge.
    Even if I play 70% fixed parts and only 30% improvisition (depending on the song).
    But it's enough to piss off my singer/guitarist who keeps yelling "We play rock, dammit ! Stick to your parts !" (he's only half jocking because when I improvises too much ... he gets lost :D)

  20. ;) Musta been some of them "racing slugs"!!!! I hate it when those get in the garden....

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