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Avante Garde Bass Techniques?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by chaosMK, Mar 23, 2006.

  1. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    I thought it would be fun to start a thread on the cutting edge of bass playing. I dont really keep up with these things, but Ive been feeling like bass playing in general and the role of the bassist in some of the music coming out has definately been changing in recent years.

    What are some new (or new to the ears) techniques that are coming into the forefront?
  2. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    All the cool kids are getting wiggle sticks on their basses. Start there and you'll be cutting edge in no time.
  3. To me, Marcus Miller has done a great job bringing the bass to the forefront. Thanks to him no one can say "The bass can't be lead in a band". Obviously Jaco, Stanley, and others have pioneered this too, but IMO Marcus is currently kicking the most butt.

    As far as techniques,

    Michael Manring uses a bunch of altered tunings, as well as changing tuning while he is playing. It sounds cool with all of the harmonics he uses.

    Adam Nitti also uses a cool sweeping technique.
  4. WillBuckingham


    Mar 30, 2005
    It seems to me that to the general public, playing a slap bass solo still makes people's jaws drop to the floor.
  5. jeff schmidt

    jeff schmidt no longer red carded, but my butt is still sore.

    Aug 27, 2004
    Novato, CA

    I think you need to include most other bassists in that group too. :smug:
  6. narcopolo


    Sep 12, 2005
    richmond, va
  7. I like slap bass solos:bassist:
  8. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    Anyone seen vic's solo with Dave Matthews Band? That's some rockin' stuff.

    But my favourite soloist will always be Jaco, he just had the most incredible expression on that fretless. he made it sing like no other bass player.

    I recently found out about richard bona, and he's one hell of a musician.
  9. Reuben


    Aug 8, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    I think you folks have a different definition of avant garde than I do.

    Skuli Sverrisson is the most happening avant garde electric bassist I've heard. His solo disc is truly amazing.

    Stomu Takeishi is also an incredible player. His stuff really stands out, though his sounds are more conventional than Skuli's.
  10. Futurebass


    Jun 22, 2005
    Skulli is one of the best players out there. I'm glad somebody else knows about him.
  11. Audiophage


    Jan 9, 2005
    Mike Watt does some pretty crazy things on his bass. That stuff would probably be considered more Avant-Garde than anything else in this thread so far.
  12. anonymous278347457

    anonymous278347457 Guest

    Feb 12, 2005
  13. FunkSlap89


    Apr 26, 2005
    Albany, NY
  14. Jimbo


    Dec 4, 2000
    Philadelphia, PA
  15. Tired_Thumb

    Tired_Thumb Guest

    [reposts video of Bill Clements]

  16. Brad Maestas

    Brad Maestas Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2003
    Oakland, CA
    I love Skuli and Stomu! I sometimes share the bass spot with Stomu in the Nublu Orchestra. He usually uses lots of crazy effects while I just plug right into my amp. They're both great guys! ;)

    I would say that some of the techniques that could be considered 'avant' would include:

    •Moving the strings with something besides a plastic/metal plectrum or your fingers. This could include the E-bow, 'funk fingers' (wooden dowel finger extensions), wooden hammers ala hammered dulcimer and 'prepared' bass where you put various objects in the strings' path and use various materials to put the string(s) into motion. Examples of prepared bass are Skuli Sverrisson of course, "Paper Bass" by MMW and "Buzz" (from Medicine Wheel) by Ben Allison.
    •Playing a string while it's being pulled (or pushed) off the edge of the fingerboard. Chris Wood and Victor Wooten, among others, do this.
    •Playing with a slide. Very common on guitar but not so much on bass. RIP Mark Sandman!
    •Pressing the string down between the end of the fingerboard and the neck pickup. Regi and Victor Wooten do this a lot.
    •Playing the non-vibrational (non-critical?) parts of the string (behind the nut or behind the saddle/bridge). Although that's the term that's commonly used, those parts of the string do, in fact, vibrate.
    •Sympathetic vibration. By setting the bass' wood in motion you can get the strings moving sympathetically.
    •Tapping the bass' body like a drum. Much more effective on DB but possible with EBG, too.
    •The 'free-stroke' method ala Willis, Garrison. This is very similar to classical guitar technique and can involve anywhere from one to all five fingers of the right hand. This is probably the most visible and exciting new technique, although it is anything but new.
    •Using thumb position on electric bass (fretting hand). Notable users of this technique include Steve Bailey. I've seen Patitucci do it, too.
    •Double-thumb or 'double-thump' technique. Popularized by Victor Wooten.
    •Thumb-slapping on DB. Not to be confused with regular ol' slappin'. Stanley Clarke does this thing on Rite of Strings where he plays with his thumb right in front of the bridge and he gets a really cool sound. I would equate it to electric thumb slapping technique on DB although his thumb is facing into the center of the bass rather than parallel with the E string or facing away from the bass like it would on EBG.
    •Using an apparatus built into the bass to strike the strings ala Neuser Claudia http://www.neuserbasses.com/claudia.html
    •Playing from underneath ala Spector video dude. I've seen a couple people play this way before. Crazy stuff!

    Yes, Mike Watt's "flipper" technique definitely qualifies as non-standard! He does all kinds of stuff. When I lived in Lawrence, KS for ten years, I saw him every time he played at the Bottleneck. I even did sound for him there a couple of times. Super cool dude! :bassist: :cool:

    These are just off the top of my head. I suppose there are as many as our imaginations will allow!
  17. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    Tony Levin with the chopsticks taped to his fingers or playing the Stick. Very unusual approach in his lines and sound as well as technique.
  18. That Neuser is wicked. I really want to try (or at least hear!) that!
  19. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Holy cow! Who is that guy???

    It may not be a practical technique for ensemble playing, but it sure is for solo playing...


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