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Bass soloing

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Bass_Is_Life, May 3, 2002.

  1. Bass_Is_Life


    Apr 26, 2002
    Hey guys,

    I'm in a kind of funk/jazz trio and I regularly have run-ins with the lead guitarist regarding the length and frequency of my bass solos. Surely he as a guitarist cannot have a monopoly on the main soloing?

    Does anyone else have these problems and if so how do you go about convincing them otherwise?

  2. *ToNeS*


    Jan 12, 2001
    Sydney AU
    prove his misconceptions that solo'ing on a bass guitar can't be very interesting wrong - a blistering display of your finest technique should do it.

    of course, if you ain't got the skills, you might as well just shut up anyway.
  3. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Get the drummer on your side? :D

    How about working out why you want to get some solos? A good answer would be "to express who I am and where I've reached on my musical journey"; a less good one would be "because I'm the most important and skillful member of the band and everyone else is there to shine the spotlight on me".

    Once you've got an answer you're satisfied, gently ask the guitarist his answer to the same question. If it turns out that he's never thought of the bass as a solo instrument, there are plenty of examples of players who can set him straight, particularly in the jazz / funk vein. If he's concerned that the music looses the groove, you may need to work together on arrangments that keep the song going (just like you have to adapt between the guitar taking a lead and rhythm approaches).

    If the guitarist comes up with the self-centred answer mentioned above, it may be time to play the infamous musical differences card!

  4. This sounds like maybe an ego issue with the guitar player. The important thing is to do what will sound best. A good bass solo can add more variety to a peice.
  5. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Dude, you should count yourself lucky if you play with a guitarist that lets you solo at all... :rolleyes:
  6. Why can't you both just solo as and when you want? If you take the RHCP song aeroplane for example, you will see an excellent bass solo followed by a very nice guitar solo and each helps the other with their solos.

    If he refuses to see this, he is arse and leave (or threaten to leave) the band unless a compromise can be reached.
  7. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    In an ideal world, this would be the case, but the world is obviously not ideal. If it were, guitarists would solo according to chord changes. :p The fact is, many of them want root-note chuggers as bassists so that they can wank freely and with no competition...
  8. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    I would say, "so they can wank freely with no skill! I takes a little more to solo with music played by people who know what they are doing!
  9. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    The reason may also be that every song doesn't need a bass solo any more than it needs a drum solo.

    As a bass player I hate to say it but most of the time, less is more.

    There are two or three songs that to me call for a bass solo. I.E. Route 66 and The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise are two that quickly come to mind.

    Two or three solos a night are enough. Any more and you are no longer playing for the song as much as you're playing for ego.

    I've NEVER asked the members of the bands (and there have been a lot of them) that I've played in for an attempt at a solo and been refused.

    The solo that I tried may not be used in performance. If it added to the music it was practiced and used. If the solo just didn't add anything, I didn't pursue it.

    Granted, bass can be used as a lead instrument but that is not it's main function.

    Just my own humble opinion!

  10. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    I feel that way about every instrument. Solo's for soloings sake are boring. A few by everybody a night is cool, but constantly can, for me, in most cases, get really old really quick. That goes for guitar, bass, drums, horns, anything. I think the bass's function depends entirely on the context.
  11. I agree. Why can't you just work it out where you both can solo. There's lots of things that you might be able to work out if your good enough.
  12. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Personally, if I was listening to a band that does the type of music you play, I would be expecting a few bass solos.

    Still I agree with Pkr2, I wouldn't really be interested in a solo in every song, unless everyone was everyone was very excpetional. I've always thought that music should allow each player to express theirselves in a solo situation once in a while, as long as they can perform the primary function of their instrument well when they aren't soloing.
  13. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Respectfully acknowledged that you don't agree with my post! :)

    As you said, our disagreement may be a genre thing.

    There is also the possibility that it is a terminology thing.

    I'm curious about everyones definition of what a solo is.

    The definition from several musical dictionaries seem to agree with each other.

    Solo: To perform alone or as the predominant part.

    The solos that I perform, more often than not, consist of either me playing alone, the rhythm section playing only the first chord of each change or the rest of the band reducing thier volume to spotlight the bass solo as the bass plays the melody line.

    Using the dictionary definition, I still think that it can become boring very quickly if the bass solos on every song.

    I do agree if you are listening to a band that has a heavyweight bassist that you will, and should, hear a lot more soloing on the bass.

    As bassists we all can appreciate what the bassist is doing. However, I think that it can become boring to a non-musician.

    It's pretty subjective, really. Good thing we both can have an opinion, don't you think?

  14. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    O.K., Ed. Let me see if I can say what you seem to want to hear.

    You, as a self made, very brilliant jazz musician are absolutely right.

    I thought I had an opinion but since you don't agree, I'm obviously wrong. So therefore I have no opinion. That honor is reserved for you.

    There was nothing in my post that resembled a slam on anyone. There was nothing argumentative intended.

    In the interest of avoiding a ******* contest, I concede that you are right in everything you say.

    I don't quite understand how someone as talented and brilliant as yourself is not famous and rich. But then, I'm just a dumb hillbilly from Bum**** NC.

    So there you have it. YOU WIN! Everything all better now?

  15. See if this makes any sense. If your band makes its money by playing clubs where people want to dance on every song then keep the bass and drum solo's to a miminum. Just play the music that keeps them on the dance floor. If you play clubs where no one dances but comes to hear the music then by all means solo all you want. After all, believe it or not, you must play what makes the club owner money. Music business my a^@#s. We are all really in the LIQUOR business
  16. *ToNeS*


    Jan 12, 2001
    Sydney AU
    overreact much?
  17. Bass_Is_Life


    Apr 26, 2002
    Thx for advice/views guys,

    I think a lot of it does come down to genre. The type of music I play does lend itself to soloing by all the musicians involved, there needs to be restrain yes but sometimes when the music takes hold someone in the band may solo for 20mins+.

    I have been in a few different bands and have seen many different attitudes. I remember auditioning for an 'alternative' band and after I produced my 7-string being told to leave immediately before I'd even laid down a groove.

    As for my current situation I think a lot of it is down to my own personality clash with the guitarist, we tend to disagree on most things including gig dress? (He is more extrovert while my only concession is a modestly embroidered leather waistcoat).

    I think I may be looking for a new band soon;)
  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I think this is a sweeping generalisation and not necessarily true - it's also quite insulting to us as bassists - I mean, we need all the support we can get and to put every bass player down in one short sentence is pretty overwhelming!

    I go to my local Jazz club every week (more or less) and the audience in general are very appreciative of solos and generally applaud the effort hat has gone into producing a good improvised statement - regardless of what instrument it was played on!

    The week before last, the band was led by a drummer and his solo in the final song of the set got the biggest applause of the evening!

    I have also seen the Electric bassist Franc 'O Shea perform (and lead ) with small Jazz groups - usually a quintet - and his solos have been greatly anticipated by the audience and have brought the house down - while at one of these gigs a Substitute trumpet player only got polite applause for his contributions which appeared weak in comparison.

    I think that many Jazz audiences I have been part of, have been open-minded enough to appreciate a good solo whether it was from a violinist, sax player, trumpeter, drummer or bassist - so why can't we as bassists ourselves (!) be open-minded enough to admit that bass solos need not necessarily be boring! :rolleyes:
  19. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    "I think this is a sweeping generalisation and not necessarily true - it's also quite insulting to us as bassists - I mean, we need all the support we can get and to put every bass player down in one short sentence is pretty overwhelming!"

    You are not only taking my statements out of context, you are even applying YOUR meaning to What I'M saying.

    "- it's also quite insulting to us as bassists-"

    If you can find any insult to any bassist in anything that I've posted, then you are trying to find something to be insulted about. You probably wont have to look too far to find an insult though.

    "I mean, we need all the support we can get..."

    Could that not be construed as saying that all bassist can't stand on thier own merits because we all have this shortcoming?

    It certainly can if your words are judged in the same light that mine were!

    "to put every bass player down in one short sentence is pretty overwhelming!"

    You really don't seem like the sort of person who would be overwhelmed by anything I might say.

    If you feel "put down" by anything that I've said, then it's your problem and not mine. I suggest that you just deal with it.

    Again, this is ONLY MY OPINION: Bruce, I think that you smelled a little blood in the water and jumped right in with both feet, thinking that once again, you could get some crap stirred up. You have become quite predictable.

    Well, sorry, no blood, no argument, nothing that will make you happy.

    If you have anything further to say to me, take it to PM.

    Bass_Is_Life, my sincere apology for getting your thread so far off topic. Believe me, my intention in responding to your post was not to turn it into an argument.:)

  20. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    I do one true solo. It is only about 20 seconds as a lead into a song.
    The reason it works is because it's appropriate. If it didn't fit, we wouldn't do it. It's not soloing for the sake of soloing.
    I want to be in a band known for individual musicianship as much as anything else. I do most of my work in the context of a song. We all know the bass goes largley unnoticed. A solo can be a nice way to get the audience to notice you are there...if that's what you want.

    Be careful: they may notice you're good; they may notice you SUCK too.

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