Bass Playing in Folk Music

Discussion in 'Music [DB]' started by bdengler, Oct 4, 2006.

  1. bdengler


    Jan 23, 2000
    New Albany, Ohio
    Does anyone have suggestions on good examples of double bass playing in folk music? I will be playing with an all accoustic church group in a "folk" style and I'd sure would like to listen to some good examples of the DB in folk music. Most of my background is orchestral. Thanks for your suggestions,

  2. rprowse


    Dec 17, 2005
    Wellington NZ
    Edgar Meyer... "Uncommon Ritual"!
    Be creative with it, follow the same rules as a bass guitarist would in a pop song, try strong roots and 5ths. to start with. Then use major and minor scales to add notes.Don't forget to think rhythmically.
  3. mcnaire2004


    Jan 17, 2006
    Depends on what type of church your playing at. If you go to a black church like me they want a jazzier "crunker" style that is in rythem with the corus (the drummer will kill you though). If it's a white church (i know i'm 1/2 white even know I look and claim my white side) then it's more of a classic rock(been to a few white churches with friends). Or if you go to a hickier countrier church well... you know. Well, thats down here in the south don't quite know how it is in ohio. Good luck though.
  4. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147

    It doesn't matter if it is electric or double bass, IMHO. Check out the
    archive of webcasts at . :cool:
  5. Brian;

    When I hear the term "folk music", I'm inclined to think along the lines of classic 50-60's era folk music. Such groups as the Limelighters, Peter, Paul and Mary, etc. If that is the kind of thing you are talking about, listen to music by both of the above groups. PP&M had a bass player that played with them most of the time. If you are playing more modern acoustic music, I can think of no better example than The above mentioned Edgar Meyer. You might check out a cd he is on titled "Skip, Hop and Wobble" Acoustic music at it's finest.

  6. oliebrice


    Apr 7, 2003
    Hastings, UK
    I really, really reccomend Danny Thompson, who can be found on records by Pentangle, John Martyn, Nick Drake, Richard Thompson and countless others...
    wondeful player, with a gorgeous tone. he was the first person to make me want to play the double bass.
    BobDeRosa and johnh89 like this.
  7. For some modern Americana kind of music, check out the Wood Brothers' new CD - Ways not to Lose. It's pretty much just double bass and resonator guitar and good old front-porch singing.
  8. A good cd for this is Alan Jackson's "Precious Memories." Has a lot of timeless standards in pretty short versions. The chord charts are availabe at This is a fun break from what most of us usually play.
  9. bdengler


    Jan 23, 2000
    New Albany, Ohio
    Thanks for the suggestions, it looks like I'm on the right track. I have most of Pentangle's CDs, and I had the honor of meeting Richard Kniss a few years back when PP&M played in town. That's the type of playing I'm interested in. I'll look into the Wood Brothers and Limelighters as well; I found a few good DB lines in some of Beth Orton's CDs as well.

    Regards, Brian
  10. Pete G

    Pete G

    Dec 31, 2001
    Northern Virginia
    This is a really creative three-person group of singer-songwriters working out of the Chicago area.

    I've been listening to folk music for forty years or more, and the bass part on their song "Consequence of Speech" (CD by the same name) is one of the sweetest bass parts I've ever heard in the genre.
  11. Gotta love this place!! You guys have given me some new music ideas to listen to. Thanks!!
  12. rprowse


    Dec 17, 2005
    Wellington NZ
    Don't forget what Louis Armstrong said about folk music,
    "All music's folk music, I ain't never seen no singin' horse."
    jthisdell and AGCurry like this.
  13. Bobby King

    Bobby King Supporting Member

    May 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    How about Harry Shearer in "A Mighty Wind"? His bass (and singing) in "e** a* *oes" and "Never Did No Wanderin' " are classic examples of the genre.
  14. Pete G

    Pete G

    Dec 31, 2001
    Northern Virginia
    I have very mixed feelings about that movie.

  15. I currently have Pentangle's anthology on my MP3 player as well as The Blind Boys of Alabama's 'Spirit of the Century'. Danny Thompson plays well throughout.
  16. Jason Sypher

    Jason Sypher Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2001
    Brooklyn, NY
    I've been out of the picture for awhile but this post caught my eye. I don't know the groups you are referring to but I get the idea that we are using the word "folk" here to describe a sixties kind of singer/songwriter/folk/revival sort of music. There is some good music there to be sure but my inclination would be to go beyond that to earlier folk forms and learn closer to the source. Folk music is such a broad term. Like a person who is first getting into jazz it can be daunting. My advice would be to possibly start with some folk samplers like the Putamayo label etc and sample folk music from around the world. For more american stuff browse the Alan Lomax recordings, oldtime-fiddle/stringbands, early blues, shapenote singing, early gospel, western swing and even the earliest jazz recordings such as Louis Armstrongs Hot Fives and Sevens, The Jean Goldkette Band and Jelly Roll Morton. The idea is to build a musical foundation which will inform your folk playing and inturn, all of your playing. For more modern listening try Charlie Hadens "Steal Away" album. There along with Hank Jones you will find some stripped down folk songs played by two of the best, most restrained, tasteful players in the business.
    Reiska likes this.
  17. fcleff


    Apr 22, 2005
    Austin, Texas
    Bruce Robison has an album called 'Country Sunshine' that has some really beautiful, simple DB playing on it. The album came out a few years ago and is really more in the traditional country style (isn't that folk music?). But the basslines are really good examples of how something simple can really shine.

  18. bdengler


    Jan 23, 2000
    New Albany, Ohio
    Good ideas. Jazz and rock lines won't work with the type of music that I will be playing. The musical style is closer to what Pentangle did in the late 60's, and other sweet DB bass lines that I'd love to build would be in the style of the lines used in Elton John's "This Song" or Peter, Paul & Mary's version of "Leaving on a Jet Plane."

  19. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    IMO, the players that really shine in this genre are the ones that pretty much ignored existing rules and made their own. Now the singers might not agree....

  20. Nor the guitarists, or drummers.
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