1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Bass support during the lead solo

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Thumper, Mar 20, 2001.

  1. Thumper


    Mar 22, 2000
    Syracuse Ut
    I am in a rock and roll cover band which has recently gone 3 piece. Since we are also gigging, I am interested in making our sound as complete as possible. To do that I feel my job is to be more basic during the lead solos (as opposed to fairly adventurous when we had a rhythm guitarist going). This is even more important as our former rhythm player is now becoming a lead player and I don’t want to distract him by wandering too much. Can anyone suggest an effect I can use during the solos to make our sound a little fuller? How about one of those octavers I have heard about? Any input is appreciated (anticipating a thread move, but thought this would be a good place to start).
  2. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Having played in trios, I know where you're coming from. But I have to disagree with your feeling that your "job is to be more basic during the lead solos."

    You have two jobs during the lead solos - keep the beat, the groove, accentuated, AND fill in the space that the lead leaves during the solos. If you stay simplistic and in lower registers during a lead solo, it's like there's this huge canyon, or gap, in the sound between you and the lead. This is the space you need to fill up with runs, lines, chords, whatever it takes to keep it interesting. If you're just sitting on the roots, your sound will be sparse unless you really have a virtuoso person taking the leads and filling in the gap by playing all over the instrument.

    Take a look at two bassists with two great guitarists - Bruce/Clapton and Redding/Hendrix. Redding could pretty much stay at home, in the pattern, because Jimi was just covering the entire fretboard, low to high. However, Clapton would stay up high on the G, B, and E strings during a solo and Bruce knew to step in and throw in lines that would simultaneously fill in the sonic gap but still kept the song anchored on the beats.

    Whenever a lead break came up when I was in trios, my playing got more elaborate, not basic. Effects can help somewhat. Something that will give you a treble boost can be good or overdrive. Anything that just tries to cover up your lack of ability to jump in and lay down substantial lines during a solo is a one trick pony that won't get you very far. Using it once is an effect, using it twice is a gimmick.
  3. Thumper


    Mar 22, 2000
    Syracuse Ut
    Good (and interesting) insite rickbass1. Most of the trios I'm familiar with, the album would always be double-tracked with a rhythm fill during the soloes. Some of those bass parts are pretty sparse. Of course as you mentioned, others like JB, JPJ do get to flying around. Unfortunately, my former rhythm player and I are lightyears away from Clapton/Bruce, etc. I guess we'll have to talk about it, and both of us have a lot of work (and fun) ahead of us. Until I can fill in those empty spots though I still wouldn't mind some sort of tasteful "gimmick." ;)
  4. brewer9


    Jul 5, 2000
    I know where you're coming from. One of the things that developed as I became a more experienced bass player, was the ability to know how not to "overplay." A common thing that many bassists do is to try to showoff their licks and ability in places that dont need it. When you do that it often conflicts with the overall feel of the song. There is a time and a place for everything, make sure you understand how important it is not only to know what to play, but also what NOT to play.
  5. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Well, if you don't have enough theory/experience under your belt to come up with lines, the easiest thing in the world to do that won't sound gimmicky is to just take a root note and couple it up with the note on next string, 2 frets up, and pluck them together, e.g., A string, 3rd fret/C and D string fifth fret/G. And you can do the same for all the rest of the root notes until you have to play on the E (or B if you're playing a 5 string). The string is just too thick to work, sonically.

    At least it adds texture and you can stay on the beat. This simple little "chord" will take the place of a rhythm guitarist during a solo quite well if you can boost treble and add overdrive, (or if the addition of treble makes you sound like you're using an overdrive unit).

    But just staying on the root usually doesn't sound too great. Standing in front of your amp, it may sound like your playing is taking up the space left when the lead solo occurs. But listen to it on a recording or from where the audience is and it's a different story.

    An E-bow is a "gimmick" I've used that can take up a lot of space left by a lead solo because it can give you long, drawn out notes like a bowed double bass instead of resorting to an ostinato or something else that screws up the beat. Steve Lawson is an E-bow fan, too. When you come to a lead break in the next song you will sound more authentic instead of people thinking, "There he goes with that phaser thing again."
  6. I actually found that some of the best places to cover the fretboard and use lots of different effects is behind the solo. I have used the boss overdrive behind solos, a light amount of flanger, and sometimes ever the mxr phase 90 (which has to be one of the coolest effects ive ever played... and the cheapest i own!). It really depends on the song and the style of the lead, just find what's right for that song and for you.
  7. Good points rickbass.
    Taking the doubling a little further...... I use a loop. I'll loop the part i was playing, and then add on top (or underneath). Then I can use different accents, voicings, effects, or whatever without losing the initial groove. But you had better have a good drummer. Digital loops don't lie. It will play exactly what you tell it to, so you have to be sure you are with the drums.

    And it's great to get the thing going when I know there are no changes coming..... I can go to the bar and get a drink!
  8. HeyHey! Does this mean that guitarists who use the same distortion all the time are gimmicks LOL!
  9. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Punk - Sounds like you have someone in mind. :rolleyes:
  10. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I pretty much agree, but you will have to be careful...some drummers may hold you back and other drummers may see you're being more melodic as a reason to get too busy...and, many guitarists I've played with, tend to get frustrated when they can hear anything other than root notes:mad:

    It's sometimes a very fine line to walk (pun intended).
  11. ga_edwards


    Sep 8, 2000
    UK, Essex
    Hmmm, that's what practice sessions are for.
  12. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    RAM's point is well taken. If the band is a democratic outfit, you should discuss what your role should be during solos. If it's a leader/sideman thing, do what the leader wants, period.

    I don't personally think effects are the answer because effects on bass tend to sound gimmicky. You can't just kick in your fuzz box on every guitar solo, eh?

    During solos you want to SUPPORT the soloist so what you should play are things that will frame his solo, match rhythmic accents or echo back his licks, for instance. You also need to get on the same page as the drummer as he will also tend to play differently during the solo.
  13. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    The original posts states that the band is (now) a 3 piece rock and roll covers band, so with that in mind heres my take on it.

    1 being a covers band the instruments will be emulating the original or 'best' version. This will dictate what you and your lead guitarist play.

    2 being a rock and roll band you will be walking and the guitarist 'chugging' away until the solo kicks in. The solo will normally be short and have a lot of double stops.

    Heres my advice

    You-decide to play the pattern as is or embellish it, but you play a little harder and louder.

    Guitarist-plays louder to using a 'clean boost' or second amp channel or guitar volume. He can spend a fortune on a dedicated pedal or use a cheaper overdrive treble/level booster, compressor or eq, that’s his problem. If he gives you grief tell him he must have spend $300 on a Klon Centaur. :) He could also add some delay (short delay time, two or three repeats, wet signal slightly lower than dry one).

    Drummer-plays slightly louder and could hit the ride for a bar or two.

    Another thing to consider is to drop the guitar out for a bar or two before the solo comes in. It will be perceived to be a bigger sound rather than smaller. You are a team and should work this out together.

    All IMHO and offered on a works for me basis.
  14. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Well, I tend to agree with you, but it also depends on the drummer/guitarist...Some drummers are great an really know how to support the song. Others just like to go off on tangents and will use any excuse to do so. I'm not too sure that practice can fix that.

    Bands should be democratic, however! I totally agree with that! But, how often do we encounter one person in a band who feels that he/she should be the front man, tries (successfully or unsuccessfully) to become THE songwriter, and the ego thing just takes off?
  15. Thumper


    Mar 22, 2000
    Syracuse Ut
    Thanks CS, rickbass, and others. You have given me some good advice bassed upon experience, which is what I was after. I think I'll use a little boost and a little embellishment (I'll also try that 2 note recommendation where I can) while leaving out any effects. The good news is they are letting me keep a couple of bass leads (not solos) in a few songs while the guitarists just plays rhythm. I did it just to fill in some holes and they got used to it. Teamwork, just like this forum!
  16. APouncer


    Nov 3, 2000
    Lancashire, UK
    Yes it does, a horrific gimmick! Distortion is s@#t! A horrid sound! I can't bear to listen to it for longer than 1min 23secs!!!!!!!
  17. Brooks


    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    I spent two years in a 3-piece rock cover band, and faced a similar situation. My solution was to get a Ric 4003 and run it in stereo. Output from the neck pup was fed to a bass amp, clean. Output from the neck pup was run through overdive/flanger/phaser into a 200W valve head with a 4x12 JBL box. I used RotoSound Piano strings and played with a pick (bass line) and index finger for power chords. This gave us a nice, full sound. Like many have said, I found that playing in a 3-piece band demands that you play more, rather than less.

Share This Page