Bass line first?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by 10cc, Dec 23, 2013.

  1. 10cc


    Oct 28, 2013
    When I first heard this song it struck me that maybe this fellow on the bass who I think was John Porter might have just simply came up with a bass line that this entire song might have been written around. Either way I love the bass line and I like to think it may have happened this way.
  2. Jaco Taco

    Jaco Taco

    Jul 30, 2012
    You can bet your bottom dollar that all Primus tunes are written bass line first.
  3. Guitalia


    Jun 7, 2008
    Baltimore, MD
    Bass players were always given lots of freedom by Bryan Ferry in Roxy Music and in his solo stuff (and by Brian Eno in his solo stuff); for some wild bass lines, search Youtube for the songs Manifesto (Roxy Music) and Sky Saw (Brian Eno). I still listen to those bass tracks for inspiration.

    As to 10cc's question about Bogus Man: a bass player who did some of the bass tracks on '80s-era Bryan Ferry albums said in an interview that the producer who called him for the first song said that Bryan Ferry wanted 150 yards of G minor.
  4. 10cc


    Oct 28, 2013
    Gonna have to get my hands on that "another green world". I've always thought Roxy Music had great bass lines along with everything else being equally impressive. I love Eno but never ventured into his solo stuff. Something I'll have to make myself get around to doing.

    Here is another bass line I never get tired of hearing, it's off the same Roxy album as before:
  5. GastonD


    Nov 18, 2013
    Belgrade, Serbia
    It's not uncommon for a song to grow and develop around the bass line. Heck, I know for sure we did it a few times in my previous band :)
  6. pfox14


    Dec 22, 2013
    One incredible bass player that doesn't get mentioned a lot is Percy Jones who played some incredible stuff on a lot of Brian Eno's solo albums. He also played with Brand X, a great fusion band in their own right.
  7. Milk


    Sep 16, 2013
    Montreal, Canada
    I write 100% of all instruments in my band and 99.5% of the time, the whole of the bassline is written before i add anything else. The truth is if i start with anything else, i usually end up having trouble coming up with a good bassline. I tailor everything to the bassline, not the other way around (as it usually is in most bands). I also think that what i come up with on guitar is always a lot more interesting when i already have the bassline to play around. If I start the song on guitar, i'm likely gonna end up playing more classic rhythm guitar chord progressions. Writing songs on guitar first usually seems to limit both my guitar and bass playing. I find its an approach more bands should try and i know some of my favorite bands work this way.
  8. Melonthief


    Jan 25, 2013

    Whatever works for you. It doesn't sound like much fun for your band members.
  9. Milk


    Sep 16, 2013
    Montreal, Canada
    First of all, when i say approach other bands should try, i dont mean someone writing 100% of stuff. I mean starting with the bassline.

    As for writing 100% of music, I should specify that when i say band, this is actually a duo (the other member being the singer who writes lyrics and the vocal melodies), which is still just in the writing process. We'll start looking for other members to play live (basically will need a drummer, and two guitarists, one of which will also need to play keyboard) when we we're ready to play the songs live which should be some time in 2014. So they'll basically be "hired hands" (in quotation because its not like there is likely money, or at least much of it, to be made...). No idea how easy or not that will be to find (creative input required from them will be next to 0)...there's at least one friend i know that can fill the drummer role.

    I find writing songs as a band frustrating.
  10. Melonthief


    Jan 25, 2013
    I just quit a situation like you describe. Playing with a shred guitar guy who had just released his solo cd.
    He needed really good players because the material is very technical. So I accepted and embraced learning the material as it already existed, and played it faithfully for almost a year.
    But when it was time for new material, instead of allowing for any discussion or collaboration, one day new songs were emailed out to us.
    If you want to grow as a musician you will want to play with good players. Good players want to have a hand in the creating of music eventually.
    Especially if it's not going to be a paid gig, you are asking guys to devote their time and talent to fulfill your vision.
    It's not sustainable.
  11. almost human

    almost human

    Sep 30, 2010
    Most of the early Jane's Addiction songs were written around bass lines that Eric Avery came up with.
    I also prefer starting with a bass part, then fleshing out the other instruments to fit- it's easier for me than trying to come up with a bass part to something that's already written.
  12. rupture

    rupture Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2012
    this.i write all songs on bass. the way i figure is if the bassline is strong on its own then adding drums ,guitars, keys and vocals after will only make a better more complete song
  13. Milk


    Sep 16, 2013
    Montreal, Canada
    See this is all hypothetical right now but if it works and i find like minded musicians (which they will need to be if they are to have any fun at all playing the songs) then i am not ruling out working on new songs with them in the future. I do realise otherwise unless you can provide hired hands with money (which is likely not gonna be the case here..), it's not that much fun for them. I understand that no creative input becomes boring fast. I wouldn't want that in a band myself.To be honest to play the stuff i write i dont need very good players since i don't write technically challenging songs.