bass lines?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Prowler, Jan 21, 2001.

  1. Prowler


    Jan 21, 2001
    just say you have an acoustic guitar or whatever kind of melody playing instument going. how would you create a bass line that is in key and sounds decent
  2. Greetin's & welcome, Prowler. :)

    And as my personal response to your question, I find the chords being played by the guitar/piano/keyboard, and start with root notes. After I get a better feel for the rhythm (usually after it's looped once), I start throwing in little fills/grooves that fit in with what's being played.

    Although, I personally prefer to get the drums going first, throw in a bass line, and let the other instruments go with what I've created. :D
  3. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    If I'm understanding your question, you're saying that all that's going on is a melody and NO chords. (If not,please ignore the rest of this post.)

    The first thing I would do is to WRITE a chord progression for the melody that is going on. That usually requires understanding the melody itself -- transcribing it is the best way. But this is usually something the songwriter does. There are lots of ways to harmonize (write chords to) a melody, and they can impart vastly different feels to the song. For example, it is rather easy to take a melody that is written in G major and reharmonize it in E minor. But, of course, it will then sound darker. So you would probably want to discuss this with the songwriter. If s/he is GIVING you that latitude ("Dude, I dunno what key it's in, just PLAY BASS, willya?"), then you BECOME one of the song's writers, so go nuts.

    First you determine a key. (You could start by asking the melody player what key they're playing in. Of course, they may not know so you'll have to do that yourself. This requires a little knowledge of scales.) Then you have to see what the notes are to figure out and/or decide when the chords are changing, and to what.

    Any time a note is on beat one or three, the chord for that moment frequently needs to include the melody note.

    Once you have a chord structure, the bass line will become easier. My recommendation is to play a DIFFERENT note than the melody, assuming again that the final product will contain only two notes -- melody and bass. This will help it to sound fuller. If there will be a chordal instrument playing along later, this becomes not so important.

    A good working procedure is to try to move the bass line in the opposite direction the melody is moving. That process may lead you to consider changing the chord progression you've already written. That's OK.

    After this, it becomes difficult to generalize the process. If there's any way you can email me an mp3 of this song, I'd be glad to listen to it and help out.

    Otherwise, have fun with it! You're a creator, so you get to decide what sounds good.