Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Basslines

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by stephanie, Dec 2, 2000.


  1. stephanie

    stephanie

    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    Hi...


    I really want to do some writing, but I am stuck on how to start, like what to start with.


    It's funny cuz when I'm just sitting here fiddling with my bass I come up with some wild stuff, but when I want to be serious my brain just seems to freeze. LOL.


    As I mentioned in a previous post I was playing around with scales. Now I am learning the Jazz Melodic Minor Scales. Yesterday at my lesson my instructor was giving some bassline examples made from this scale. He made me jealous! LOL. He can play so well, and I just sat there thinking to myself: 'yeah right...I can do that? huh..'.


    I can play the scales and all but everything seems so broken up, not smooth and cool like I would like it to sound. I know practice will do that, right?

    But what's the key to make a good bassline? Chords...scales...etc. What sounds good blended together?

    Take care,

    ~Stephanie
     
  2. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    OK rule no 1 - there's no difference between 'fiddling' and 'being serious' - music's music. It's sounds like you're being very creative outside of the rules, but as soon as you try to constrain yourself, you get stuck...

    So for writing stuff, don't bother with rules - just set a tape recorder going and play - come back later and listen to it, and find the cool stuff. Don't think to much about it now - what it seems you need at the moment is a little encouragement, not the feeling that you can't get anywhere, so do what you're good at and enjoy it!

    The key to applying scales, or 'tonalities' (the scale is just the version of that group of notes from start to finish - what you're working with is the over all effect that that group of notes have in relation to one another) is I think, hearing it - being familiar with the sound. Next time you're practicing the scale, don't worry about whether it sounds 'right' or not - just make sure that what you're playing is within the key that you're working with. What we're aiming to do here is subtly indoctrinate your ears :oops:) To get you familiar with the sound of the scale. If your teacher can suggest some things to listen to that relate to that weeks lesson that would help as well, as you'd have more of a reference point. Take it slow and just keep playing through those notes until you can 'hear' what the next note will be - once you've played in one key for a while, try singing a tune using those notes, then work it out - you'll find that it's more stuck in your head that you thought it was... :oops:)

    As for using patterns like that in more conventional bass line construction, the key to it is what's happening with the chords - your jazz melodic minor is only going to work with chords that relate to it - as you play around with it, try to be aware of what interval of the chord you're using. Bass lines sound most grounded when you spell out the root, third, fifth and seventh, and more airy and melodic if you're toying with the extensions, or notes inbetween. Start off by just using the four note arpeggios, and get familiar with the sound, then try stacking the whole scale or mode in thirds - Root, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 11th and 13th - that's the entire mode or scale as one chord, and gives a function to every note - all the other inbetween notes can also been seen in relation to that (b13 or #11 or whatever...)

    I hope that has helped and not confused you... :oops:)

    cheers

    Steve
    http://www.steve-lawson.co.uk