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Bass Solo Rant

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by faulknersj, Aug 22, 2012.

  1. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    Ok, when a sax player takes a solo, the rest of the band keeps holding it down. When a keyboard player takes a solo...the bass, drums, and guitar don't just stop playing now do they? When guitar players take solo's, same thing...right? When a bass player or drummer take a solo...seems like a lot of players take a smoke break. What's up with that? The drummer for Sister Sledge, another bass player buddy and I had a conversation about this last night and decided to start the revolution together. We concluded that we prefer some acompaniment when taking a solo; specifically, we all agreed that we prefer the band to provide 'hits'....little rhythmic stabs from the band that give us accents to bounce out solo's off of. What do you all think?
  2. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    I was in a Jazz trio for about four years and the piano and drums always did this.

    Another idea, and this may work better for jazz than rock, is, in lieu of a full solo, to trade fours or eights with the drummer and/or alternate with the drummer and other band members. This keeps folks on the stage or bandstand.
  3. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass **** Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    You have to let the other players know what your preferences are. I've asked for some rhythm/chords from the keys/guitar plenty of time during my solos. In bands I play-in regularly the other members know that I like some harmonic content to solo over, as well as some rhythmic playing if there's a groove involved and/or people are dancing.
  4. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    What? Solo means solo, no other instruments playing. Just the isntrument that is soloing. When you hear a sax or guitar or bass doing lead stuff its not a solo. Its the lead part of the music peice.
  5. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Northern California
    At the end of the day a bass solo is the same as any other part of performance and as always the goal is to keep the crowd's interest. However you can best do that (which may involve not soloing at all) is what you should do.

    That said, I certainly agree with the OP. Quite a few bass solos during concerts are set up like performance pieces and personally I just don't dig that. But a bass solo in the context of a song with some interplay with the band can be a wonderful thing when done right.
  6. placedesjardins


    May 7, 2012
    Depends on the music/song/piece. Sometimes, a break in rhythm guitar/keyboard is done. Other songs, the bass solos on top of the other instruments like the lead guitarist.
  7. FrednBass


    Feb 24, 2012
    You all could solo together:

    (1:20 and on)
  8. Why is this in *basses*?

    Edit: ON toppie, research the term *comping* :)
  9. matante


    Nov 3, 2003
    Los Angeles

    The word "solo" literally means "alone". If the other musicians are playing a harmony then you're playing a lead, not a solo.
  10. One Drop

    One Drop

    Oct 10, 2004
    Swiss Alps
    C'mon guys, let's not be pedantic. If you must be, at least be correct.

    It's perfectly clear what is meant here by a 'bass solo' as compared to 'solo bass', for example. People talk about guitar solos all the time, referring to a lead break or even a short line over a bridge, etc. No difference with bass or any other instrument. You might even find it is described thusly in the dictionary, e.g. a composition or part of one for one instrument with or without accompaniment.

    I'm all for presicion, but what is the point of incorrectly correcting someone while totally ignoring the point and progress of a thread? Is it just to hear one's own lovely soloed voice?

    Comping is an entire art in iself, maybe one people out of jazz circles are not so comfortable with. I think it's up to you to make your wishes known to your band, that they stay on stage literally and figuratively as well, watching your back and spurring you on. Good luck with your crusade!

    My own preferred solution is to almost never take a solo. Probably better for everyone.
  11. gordon5377


    Mar 15, 2009
  12. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    I don't want no stinkin' solo. But, I agree with the OP, it might be good to have the guys accompany the bass.
  13. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    This is incorrect. The word "solo" is routinely used in written music to denote a part played by one instrument with accompaniment by the rest of the band or orchestra. It is routinely used in classical, jazz and rock to describe a featured part (often, but not always, an improvised part) by one member of the group. The word "solo" is not limimted to situations where the player is playing without accompaniment.

    Look at the first definition here: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Solo?s=t

    As to the original post, by all means, communicate to the rest of the band what kind of accompaniment you want for your solo. Music, especially improvised music, is all about communication.
  14. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    If the bassist knows the music, why not play a solo in the true sense of the word?
  15. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    My idea of a solo is only during that painful moment that my somewhat square singer insists in introducing the band members. When he gets to me they all just play some light chords and I slip in a pentatonic run for a measure and nod that it's all over. I despise the entire exercise, I am no Wooten, I'm barely a Paul Simonon. I generally dislike bass solos as performance pieces, preferring to see the bass player handle their part of a song and do their job right.
  16. phillybass101


    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    Very good topic. IMO bass solos are hit or miss. I do believe they would be more effective if the band comps behind them. My pet peeve though is I dislike the drummer being too active during the bass solo. Just comp man and let me get to it before you start playing all over the place. I can understand playing accents, but let me develop where the accents are before you step all over them. I just recently saw Victor Wootens video where he talks about bass solos and them being possibly boring. He adds that they get boring because during a song, the bass is holding down the groove and when we start to solo, the groove goes away and people stop paying attention. According to him, and I agree the bass solo should be grooving as well. That is we should learn how to groove within our solos. One bass player who has done this is Tetsuo Sakurai when he played in the Japanese Fusion Group Casiopea. Check out the song Domino Line. Although he is doing his slapping thing he does keep the groove and the band does some comping behind him but it's mostly the drummer. I do agree that comminucation of what you want or need during your solo is key to a good bass solo. And just like a good song, a good bass solo just comes to you almost immediately. If you have to struggle to make it happen or find yourself relying on cliche's it's time to go back and work on your concepts so things are at your fingertips. Another good example of a grooving bass solo that guys in my generation HAD to learn was on the song Scorpio by Dennis Coffee. I think the bass player was Bob Babbit.
  17. mcm


    Oct 2, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    Bass solos are awful unless Lemmy does one
  18. bumperbass

    bumperbass Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2012
    Solos? Meh. Not into them. Some find it's a time to show off. Kinda like going into GC and listening to some kid try out a bass or amp. They have that one cool thing down that they've practiced at home (ad naseum). Put them in a band situation and ask them to learn a part or BE A PART of the whole thing and sometimes that soloist ain't what's needed and they just can't do it.
    As for the band introduction, I don't like solos there, either. IMO, in this situation ALL players should play while the member being introduced is playing, and even in this situation, I don't think 16 measures is needed for each member to play.
    If I go into a GC or any other music store, I play single notes or a short run to check out instrument playability and amp versatility (EQ, etc.).
    Yes, there are some pro virtuosos that have made a name for themselves and they deserve all the credit they get. I don't feel it's my place. I know my job and I try to do my part mostly so it's easier for the entire band to flow and groove.
    If I was into solos, I'd switch to guitar. As it is in my situation, I don't wish to be the star of the band.
  19. This thread sure tastes bitter.

    That said, just tell your bandmates to come up with something to do while you play your lead part.

    As far as my view on Bass solos. Yes. Very yes. So much yes that I am more inclined to make the Bass play "solo" leads than the Guitar. There is no reason the most powerful and full sounding instrument shouldn't take control.
    Brazilfunk likes this.
  20. PotsdamBass8

    PotsdamBass8 Supporting Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Long Island, NY
    I'm not into soloing either, although some do it really well. I always thought that the "tradition" of everyone stopping or playing soft during the bass solo started because of the volume limitations of double basses in jazz?
    Brazilfunk likes this.

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