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Bass Duets?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by petergp, Jul 2, 2012.

  1. petergp


    Apr 16, 2010
    Buenos Aires
    Hi, im sorry if there is already a thread on this topic, I havent found anything.

    I was wondering what you bass-lords know about bass duets.
    Me and a friend started up playing some pieces written for 2 basses but we haven found much material, aside from a few Bach pieces and a Tango book. In addition to written material, what do you do you think would work best for 2 basses? also, do you know any duet out there so that we can take a look at what they do?

    Thank you in advance, cheers!
  2. mbeall


    Jun 25, 2003
    The Bass Extremes stuff is the first thing that comes to mind. Not exactly standard stuff but definitely 2 basses. I think the first in the series comes with the transcriptions as well. If your looking for things in the classical vein you'll find more duets written for cello or violin and other strings. Transpose them. :)

  3. docalex


    Aug 15, 2009
    check out the work of Mark Sandman (RIP); Morphine; Do Her Right; Twine-men; Morphine Orchestra

    i've seen this 'genre' referred to as "lo-rock"

    *not* bass duets (apologies if this is off-topic,) but bass and only bass + drums. The usual instrumentation was Sandman's self-made two string bass guitar (in some 'drop D' tuning) played with a slide, plus bass and/or tenor sax, plus drums.

    perhaps it will give you ideas?

    My fave: this live version of "Cure for Pain" - http://doctordeluca.com/wordpress/archive/morphine-cure-4-pain/
  4. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    I own several of these and used them back in the day with Bruce Gertz when I was formally studying the DB:


    Classical may or may not be your thing, but learning the older "long-hair" pieces and then taking what you've learned and turning it into something more contemporary wouldn't be the biggest waste of time I could envision.

    International Music Co. also has a few that I have, but I don't see them listed on their website.

    As for viddies, check out all sorts of stuff:



    Don't be afraid to push the outer limits:


    Can't say I dig that one too much, but it has it's place (welcome sarcastic suggestions here). Robert Black is a very accomplished player, however.

    Many more to be found on youtube.

    There's one DB duet that I think was posted here in the past year but I can't find it. A couple of insane Europeans (possibly from Sweden or another Scandinavian country) just ripping the whole world apart with some fantastic grooves on DB.
  5. Mostly Jazz stuff but here is a few duos:

    Alain Caron and Michel Donato with the album intitled "Bass Contre Basse": http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/alaincaron1

    If you check out the evovling bassist book by Rufus Reid I'm pretty sure there are a few pieces for bass duo: http://www.alfred.com/Products/The-Evolving-Bassist-Millennium-Edition--46-SB11A.aspx

    I Know that Michel Donato has done some other bass duos (both upright) with another guy but not sure who, I saw it on TV once but it may be hard to find...

    There is also victor Wooten and steve bailey on the bass extreme stuff.

    I believe Jaco did some stuff with a tuba player or something like that (not bass but he was was playing bass lines), I remember a video on youtube of him playing Donna Lee with tuba but can't find it right now.

    I would'nt be surprised if Ron Carter has done some bass duo stuff, I know that he did some stuff with guitar player Jim Hall, not bass but hey, guitar is just like bass but easier to play right? :D

    There is also the bass trio SMV that you could check out also.

    Hope this helps

  6. http://www.pjperry.freeuk.com/bassrecorder/518scr.pdf

    Found these in about 2 minutes by looking for bass recorder duets. The only thing is that they are range limited because the recorder only plays a little over 2 octaves.

    If one of you reads treble clef, you'll find a ton of stuff for tenor or alto and bass.

  7. ptuckerbass


    Sep 12, 2000
    Orlando, Fl.
  8. vonsparks


    Jul 13, 2011
    there are a lot of Casiopea Vs The Square videos on youtube, you could try that:

  9. Recently I've been working up duet versions of I Wish (Stevie Wonder), Take 5 (Desmond/Brubeck), St Thomas (Sonny Rollins), Song For My Father (Horace Silver), Rock Fort Rock (Skatalites) and a few others.

    The key is the 6 string bass (I'm using an MTD Z6) with upper register room for chording. If one bass can comp with chords, the other is free to play bass lines or melodies. The comping is very similar to what a jazz guitarist would play, rhythmic or sustained, and with the benefit that you can switch roles on the fly and solo in bass range.

    There are really no limitations to what can be done with this instrumentation.
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Me too. But Dave thought I wasn't into it and he dropped it. It wasn't that I wasn't into it...I just didn't get to practice much that week ;)
  11. petergp


    Apr 16, 2010
    Buenos Aires
    Wow!! thanks everyone, very interesting stuff, you gave me plenty to check out!

    im curious about this Dave Larue and his Double Vision book, it might be just what i was looking for, unfortunately its not available in local stores or the web, so i think i'll have to pass on that for now (unless you guys know of a secret digital version)

    AngryClown5, when i comp with chords, it doesnt seem right to use more than 3 strings, having that high C makes the difference, harmonically?
    it would be ultra fantastic to take a look at those arrengements, do you happen to have a digital version?

    The kind of thing we are into right now, Tango Bass, awesome book by the argentinian bassist Bucky Arcella (not the dude in the video,)
  12. walldaja


    Apr 27, 2011
    You could use any collection of trombone or euphonium duets in any genre.
  13. petergp


    Apr 16, 2010
    Buenos Aires
    off topic.
    Hey AngryClown very nice, let me ask you, what fingering would you suggest for a -7b5 chord? Between the fundamental, third, fifth and seventh, which one do you omit?
    also having problems deciding chord tones for the diminished seventh chord, basically because of the bass's inaptitude to play all the four notes involved..
    hope it makes sense!
  14. So far I've been using Rb5b7 and omitting the 3rd. But I'm learning new things all the time. I've only been studying and practicing this style for a few months, with no guitar training. Just working out things that sound good in context.

    There's another current thread on chords containing a good chart of useable forms. I've attached that here. Credit to FretlessMainly for the chart.

    Attached Files:

  15. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    Glad to see it getting some use. Thanks too for the acknowledgement. On min7(b5)'s and dim7ths, consider dropping the root. It's a nice jazz sound - somewhat ambiguous yet appropriate. I think it's important to have either the b7 or bb7 because that defines the difference between min7(b5) and dim7 and, more importantly, the difference between a chord being potentially dominant in character (min7(b5)) and potentially passing in nature (dim7). Of course, the dim7 chord could be a Dom7(b9) substitution when resolving to a minor chord.

    I realize that I don't have any of those rootless dim7 or any min7(b5) voicings in the file - I really need to expand on what I've got down on paper so far. Stay tuned.

    Lastly, try to use the voicings I've included in close position - that is, choose voicings that allow you to change chords with minimal position changes and minimal finger movement where possible. You'll find that this often requires the use of inversions. The good news is that I've constructed the voicings with root position, 1st inversion, and 2nd inversion already in mind.

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