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Bass improvising/jamming

Discussion in 'Ask Michael Dimin' started by tallicabassist0, Feb 16, 2005.

  1. tallicabassist0


    Feb 16, 2005
    hey, ive been playing bass for almost 2 yrs now and ive basicly been playing a lot of metallica since i am truely influenced by them the most.

    but my 2 friends, one a guitarist and one a drummer, wanna start a band. theres only one problem, i cannot improvise at all and also when it comes time when they come over to jam ill not know what to play or do

    so i really need help on how to improvise, make my own bass lines, and how to play along with other ppl (improvising)
  2. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    That is really the difference between being a musician and a mimic. To be able to create and improvise your own bass lines you really need to have a "toolbox". A set of resources to draw upon. Developing this toolbox takes work. You will get out of it what you put into it. If you have the right tools, it makes the job a lot easier

    Bass players need a good foundation in music theory. It provides you with the needed information to draw upon, the notes you need to play, the notes that are in the chords of the jam. It provides you with the scales to creat flowing, musical lines.

    Techniques - there are various techniques from slap and pop to tapping, playing with a pick or playing fingerstyle. These can help you develop the "sound" that you are looking for. There is also fretting hand technique which is vital to get clarity, speed, efficiency in your playing.

    A Good Ear - you need to train your ear to hear notes, intervals, chords and chord progressions. You need to listen and analyze the music that has come before you (in many different styles). In this was you can learn how others approached similar chord progressions. You will learn to recognize certain progressions by ear. If you were not born with a great ear - you can develop it. It just takes work.

    You need to take the tunes that you play now and analyze them - see how the bass player created the line over the chords of the song

    You need to play with others. pat Metheny says that it is best to be the worst player on stage. That is the way you learn

    I know I did not give you some quick-fix advice. There just isn't any. Hope this helps motivate you to do what it takes to become the musician you want to be (notice I did not say bass player)

  3. Im a sock

    Im a sock

    Dec 23, 2002
    Central MA
    +1 on all that. Learn your theory, jam with people (or CDs) and you'll be good to go.

    Really, all it takes is time (well, and some determination).
  4. Funkize you

    Funkize you Guest

    Nov 4, 2003
    Westminster Ca.
  5. All Marcus Miller had when he was a teenager was a record player and the first Jaco album...follow the advice Mike gives as the more complete a picture you have in your mind, and ears, of the music you are playing, the better chance you have of discovering something new within it - information unlocks doors - and should eventually open them wide enough for you to start improvising your own stuff, good luck and practice really does make a huge difference.

    Mike F
  6. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Well put - very well put
  7. Cheers Mike

    You give great advice too

  8. Bassist4Life


    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
  9. Jpat


    Mar 13, 2005
    Leonardville Kansas
    I was the same as you 17 years ago.... Metallica rocked.. But I also was influenced by Blues and Jazz. So when my friends got together with me to Jam, we did a lot of free style blues and rock. Sure it sucked a lot of times, but after a while we improved, and learned off each other. Then ideas started to flow. Cliff Burton from Metallica played a big influence in my learning as a teen. I learned his style through Master of Puppest. If you look closely in Orion, he does a lot of improv in that song. The Title song "Master" was a great fingering exersize for me to warm up to.

    Another Metal band to listen to is Iron Maiden. The old stuff really emphysizes bass. He was also an improv Metal Bass player. Also a good band to warm up with to build right hand stamina (if you dont use a pick) as well as left hand technique. Have funnn :bassist:
  10. You can come up with tons of improv material by just knowing the major and minor scales inside and out. The more familiar you are with the intervals in the scales the quicker you'll be able to apply them to what your hearing around you.

    I hope that made sense...