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anyone ever busk with just a bass.

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by fr0me0, Jan 21, 2006.

  1. fr0me0


    Dec 7, 2004
    Winnipeg Canada
    I recently got a whole lot of free time handed to me and was thinking bout doing some busking. I don't know how to play an upright or accoustic guitar so I was thinking about buying a cheap accoustic bass, or playing where ever I could plug in a small amp.

    I did a search and read that the trick is to play familiar songs. does anyone know any familiar songs that might sound good with just an unaccompanied bass?

    I saw a post about the solo version of Purple haze but I don't have any 24 fret basses and if I bout an accoustic one i doubt it would be 24 frets and the tab looks to be a little bit above my skill level anyways.
  2. Petary791


    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    Gonzalo Silva does. I have his CD and he is just amazing. He just uses a 5 string steinberger and a little amp that looks like a coffee pot. I'll try to send you the CD when I get home over AIM (EyCroce791.)
  3. daofktr

    daofktr irritating, yet surly

    Feb 15, 2005
    aurora, IN
    there's a couple guys in boston who do (or did...i moved west a couple years ago).
    one only had a four string, a mic for vox and a mega mouse, i think. the other guy had the same, but used a delay to fill it out.
  4. BassChuck


    Nov 15, 2005
    What about jamin' with a drum machine? Or.... get a laptop and something like Ableton Live, a small amp and playing with that?
  5. what about a little keyboard with a drum machine and you
  6. Mulder


    Jan 30, 2006
    If you're looking for basslines that do great on their own check out some of Jamerson's work.

    "Grapevine" for instance..very recognisable and a very nice line to do on bass..even without any other instrument added.
  7. ignignok


    Dec 25, 2005
    Busking is where you just sit outside in a well populated area and play for people for change, correct? If you were doing this in the city, wouldnt you want to use the cheapest equipment available, due to the crimerate in urban areas?
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I've seen a guy doing quite well busking, playing electric bass guitar on his own, through a small battery-powered amp using delay and effects.

    The thing was he had a phenomenal tapping technique - so he was metronomic and could play melodies as well as accompanying chords through two-handed tapping - but it didn't sound virtuosic for the sake of it - in fact the delay and other effects made it sound like "chill-out" electronic music! :eek:

    I think he did well, as people were fascinated by his technique - almost mesmerised, by so much fast movement, but a gentle relaxed overall sound!
  9. Tomass


    Nov 1, 2005
    i saw a guy in melbourne busking with a bass and a Ghetto Blaster AKA "Boombox"
  10. Check out Brian Bromberg's album "Wood" for a couple of nice covers. John Lester also does a very fine line in solo bass / vocal tunes. His version of "All Blues" (sung) is really killer.
  11. Alex Scott

    Alex Scott

    May 8, 2002
    Austin, TX
    The King of sixth street in Austin, TX, had been doing it for more than a decade:

    They even made a movie


    basically free form funk grooves over which he would sing, some earth wind and fire covers, talking dirty to the ladies, and just about everything else.
  12. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Check your local laws first.

    For example in Boulder, CO you can busk as long as you don't use amplification. Loud obnoxious bagpipes that can be heard for miles is ok, but you'll get a ticket for bringing your 10W Gorilla amp.

    In some large cities like Chicago, you need a permit. Panhandlers don't, but buskers do.

    If you can't amplify, it's not worth it. I have yet to hear an acoustic bass that will project enough for busking. Not only are you competing with street noises, but with other buskers as well. Lord help you if there's a Mariachi band playing down the street.
  13. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    heh, we saw that guy when we played ATX a few weeks ago. Went over and watched him for a while- funky stuff!
  14. The Owl

    The Owl

    Aug 14, 2005
    Atlanta GA
    I remeber them both from my Beantown days too. There was another 4-stringer Gonzalo Silva, who played with a drummer, he wrote some very interesting material (I actually bought one of his CD's).
  15. just play slap lines, it will please the masses, sad but true
  16. I saw this band at a party here in town a while back called "Dig Shovel,Dig"... the bass player was singing and playing a casio keyboard with his toes. He was damn good at it too.
  17. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    I've seen him too - I was very impressed at how one man, a bass and a small multi-FX/drum-machine did such great renderings of dance/electronic hits. His hands were all over the place but the music was simply groovy.

  18. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I wish i had the NERVE to busque. It's just not in me. :) My guitarist in The Nerve!earns his living that way. Makes over $200 a day sometimes. Walks through the subway cars, plays, sings, and passes a hat around. he'll sometimes just sing 3 songs all day long. He tries different ones and see's which ones earn him the most. I know My Girl was getting a lot of money for him. Ironically enough, so was Ain't Too Proud to Beg. People seem to always like beatles too. I think a lot of the money making in busqueing comes from whoever's doing it's attitude also. My pal really LOVES doing it, LOVES talking to people, and couldn't care less if people didn't give him money. He's also fearless, and 100% blind to anyone his playing might be annoying.

    There's an awesome drummer in NY that a couple of months ago got a gig opening for guns n roses cuz he was annoying axl who was trying to sleep before a show. He's going to be opening for a pretty happening show we're doing with Bumblefoot on August 17th ibn Brooklyn. 24/7 Spies is playing also. If ya wanna read his story it's here www.shakerleg.com. Ya never know wuts just around the corner. :)
  19. I've never busked alone, however busking with a guitarist in my experience has thought me a few things.

    1. Singing while playing gets peoples attention and they open up their wallets faster

    2.Cheezy tourist songs work. If the area you live doesn't have any well known cheezy tourist songs, make them up at sometime. While playing House of the Rising sun we made about $10 tottal for about three times of playing it. North too Alaska made us about $50 after about 3 times of playing it.

    3.People PAY when it's raining. If you can make sure that you have an umbrella befor you go, playing in the rain will always seam too make people feel bad and hand out money even if you aren't doing alot.

    I've only busked with my upright though. Eletricity can be a major factor. Make sure you have an idea of where your going too do it where you have acsess to electricity and alot of people.
  20. I guess this thread is a little old, but maybe it can be revived. So I’m interested in trying out busking with just bass as well. I did a bit of busking last year, playing guitar with another guy. I’m thinking about trying solo bass as I’m a much better bassist than guitarist. So I have a set list in mind of mainly rock and funky tunes which I think might be cool with just bass, and vocals in some cases. I’ll probably use a drum machine and some pedals to spice them up. I’d love to hear any impressions or suggestions about this list.

    Cissy Strut
    Mr. Cab Driver
    Heard it Through the Grapevine (Gladys Knight version)
    Continuum (haven’t got the solo yet)
    Ramble On
    Purple haze
    Flirting with flowers (melodic original)
    Flaneur Funk (original funk rock)