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Blues Bass. What Makes it Good?

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by Rumbledom, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. Rumbledom

    Rumbledom Banned

    Jan 19, 2013
    Funny thing about playing the blues on the bass. Once you stop laying down simple support -- it no longer sounds bluesy. It's a thin fence to walk trying to show some skill and doing the proper job.

    A few people transcend it. Tommy Shannon is my idea of the perfect blues bassist. But overall, as much as I like some blues, playing bass in a blues nband can be a bit of a drag. For me.

    I'm not much of a blues guy but here I am doing my best Tommy Shannon impersonation. Comments and criticisms are welcome.

  2. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    I agree. Blues is simple and you can't mess with the form too much.
    I normally avoid Blues Jams because they are a bit of a drag.
    One bassist that can transcend it is Eric Czar with Joe Bonamassa.
    I like Robben Ford for blues.
  3. giacomini


    Dec 14, 2008
    Florianopolis - Brazil
    Endorsing: Copetti Guitars
    +1 specially with Roscoe Beck on bass!
  4. giacomini


    Dec 14, 2008
    Florianopolis - Brazil
    Endorsing: Copetti Guitars
    Just listened your Little by little, sounds great!
  5. TotteryManx


    Jan 15, 2013
    I'm mostly a rock guy, but I have to admit I hate playing rock music on bass. Some reason I love playing blues and funk music though. The bass is the backbone of all music, but lets be serious here, more so for those two genres.
  6. BobaFret


    Jan 22, 2008
  7. johng999


    Jul 14, 2008
    It depends greatly on the band. My current group is a blues trio. We never use a set list, never play any song the same way twice, improvise often. It seems to be working and we are getting great bookings in Nashville, Louisville, Indianapolis, etc. It is never boring, but I work with a phenomenal guitarist that lets me do the "Tommy Shannon" thing - long runs, pacing the music, building to crescendo during a solo and then bringing it back down - just like Tommy did for Stevie. I find it the most interesting work I've every had. Never dull, never know what you're doing next, and often will do a song none of us have ever done before - I love it.
  8. THIS!

    While none of my current projects have too much blues in them, they all have songs that mine the territory. When there is room to stretch out and improvise, it separates the real musicians from the mere players.
  9. Rumbledom

    Rumbledom Banned

    Jan 19, 2013
    Thanks. A great tune with a catchy chorus. (And funny lyrics). I tried to do the Tommy Shannon thing -- laying it down but using some movement and fills. Of course, it helps when you have total control over what the rest of the band is doing. ;)
  10. mcm


    Oct 2, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    Tommy Shannon is the best walking bass player around today. Dang he's good. Stole some walks from him.
  11. I have never considered Playing Blues a simple endeavor. Just listen to the Blues greats, and you will notice a common thread.
    They each have a unique sound and a truly authentic feel.

    Some examples are John Lee Hooker, Howlin Wolf, BB King, Albert King, Z Z Hill, Lightning Hopkins, Muddy Waters, Ray Charles, and Buddy Guy.

    None of these guys sounds anything like the other and most contemporary musicians search all of their lives to just to find a voice that is their own. The Blues greats have influenced the likes of Hendrix, The Stones, Led Zep, Miles, The Beatles, Clapton, Santana, James Jamerson, and Ron Carter, to name a few.

    Keep in mind that the Blues is the roots of all modern music. It is easy to play a 12 bar progression, but it is not easy to play the Blues. It's not what you play It's how you play it.
  12. Not yet

    Not yet

    Mar 26, 2012
    Outstanding playing but to me has absolutely nothing to do w blues bass (modern or traditional) beyond the I IV V. Blues bass should be the foundation and cut a groove in concrete. And overplaying gotta be watched..... I get nailed on that when I go play in Chicago, they got no patience for that where the world class payers hang
  13. FlatFive

    FlatFive Banned

    Jan 22, 2013
    Real nice playing! But I gotta tell you -- if anybody sat in with 90 percent of blues bands and played like that, they'd be kicked off the bandstand.
  14. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Meh. I was the house bass player for a Tuesday night open mic blues jam for the better part of a decade (great way to make some cash on a Tuesday). It was a blast! There are times to shine and times to lay back for sure. But it really depends on the song (or version of the song) and the players you are playing off of.
  15. BobaFret


    Jan 22, 2008
    Which is exactly why I don't do the blues thing. I'd get bored and could do fine without listening to another blues guitar solo.