bossa nova bass

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by SugarLounge, Apr 12, 2001.

  1. SugarLounge


    Jan 13, 2001
    I love bossa nova, and I'd love to find some good instruction on playing bossa nova bass. There seem to be plenty of books on bossa nova guitar, but I'm not finding anything for bass. Any ideas? Any ideas at all? Thanks.
  2. slam

    slam Guest

    Mar 22, 2000
    You should check out samba. Bossa is just cut-time samba, same rhythm at half the tempo.

    I played surdo (bass drum) in an all-drum samba band for a while and it was a blast. The tempos can be extremely fast. The main bass drum pattern is a double hit (heartbeat) on the 4-and and the 1 and the 2-and and the 3. You should also learn the clave for samba which is the basis for the music.

    I once saw a samba band at SOB's in Manhattan. The band had 13 members, consisting of 11 drummers, a keyboard and a guitar. Very intense show.

    You might have some luck with some of the latin bass books that are out there.
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I play in a band that plays both sambas and bossas - we have a Brazilian singer. But I think I tend to agree more with Ed, that Bossas can be a lot more fluid and follow the song/singer, whereas Sambas are more based around the Surdo rhythm and are therefore in stricter time.

    Typically Bossas have more chord changes and are much lighter in feel than sambas. Mostly they are tunes written for just guitar and voice, which is why you won't find much about how to play bass "authentically" in this style. They were famously taken up by US Jazz musicians from Stan Getz onwards and have been developed into a variant of Jazz ballad style that is more rhythmic, but is now a sort of Jazz "fusion". So you can find them mentioned in Jazz tutor books and if you get books on Jazz bass, you will often have sections on "Latin" which includes bossas.

    I often find that it's better to follow the singer rather than anything else on bossas and tailor the bassline to the way they sing - I think they are songs that are easy to play from a bass point of view, but not easy to play well.
  4. They're a long way easier than any other latin rhythms. In my experience, most jazz players tend to think bossa nova if the term "latin" is used, they would'nt know a salsa or guaguanco if it bit them on the bum.