Can anyone here play any motown bass lines?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by megatron, Jul 12, 2003.

  1. megatron


    Jul 9, 2003
    I was just wondering if anyone here can play any of the great motown bass lines,you know from songs like "midnight train to georgia","my girl" or any of marvin gaye's songs? For those of you familiar w/motown groups like the temptations,the supremes and the like how difficult do you find it to play the bass lines to these songs?

    I'am only 24 but am really into these groups and thair music,I've heard that bass lines are pretty easy to pick up,but I would think this refers to rock music vs. motown for example. With that said does/can anyone here play any of this music mentioned? If so how easy or hard was it? I'am trying to get a feel for the music I'd like to play on my bass,while I plan to start playing soon i will also practice alot to. Thanks for any info
  2. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    The only one I know is "Wrong Forum" by you! :p
  3. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I can play most of that stuff. How easy? Well, if you have a great ear and feel, it's not hard. Now to get the same sound is a different story! You definitely have to have some funk and groove chops as well as feel.
  4. I grew up listening to that stuff. It's built in at the cellular level.
  5. BoiNtC


    Nov 25, 2002
    NYC, USA
    My girl isn't that hard, I can do parts of What's Goin On, Get Ready, and a few others, the only song I've learned fully (not by memory of course) is Ain't No Mountain although I changed like 5-6notes to make it easier for me.
  6. It's that 5 or 6 notes that'll take you to new places. Worth working on them with a metronome and taking the whole chart only as fast as you can make it squeaky clean through that passage. "What Is Hip" has one string crossing that limits my speed for the entire tune. When I can do that as fast as I can do anything else, I'll be able to crank on that tune at any speed I want to take it and I'll feel like I've really accomplished something.
  7. Motown Bass

    You didn't mention if you already play bass or are just starting to play bass for the first time. If you are just starting to play bass the Motown sound might be a little difficult to pick up. If you already play it isn't so tough. I would reccomend a book that Hal Leonard puts out named "Motown Bass". It gives you the bass lines written in notes and tab plus comes with an instructional CD. This book helped me quite a bit.

    Remember the Motown Sound was all created by The Funk Brothers.
  8. Thassafack. Even if you absorb all there is to get about how Jamerson constructed such beautiful lines, if you don't have a drummer who will support you as well as give you your space the way all those Funk Bros. drummers did for him, may as well hang it up for that situation.
  9. BoogieNight


    Jun 15, 2001
    Yeah! Great tune! But the odd 13/16 meter is one of the most difficult to learn!
  10. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Central Texas
    Ah, Motown. The background music of my youth. Comfort music - the musical equivalent of meat loaf or mac & cheese.

  11. tuBass


    Dec 14, 2002
    Mesquite, Texas
    How well can you read? If you can read good to great, pick up "standing in the shadows of motown" the book is loaded with grerat transcriptions of many motown classics.

    There are some great CDs that come with the book. The tracks are sepatate so you can isolate the bass part from the rest of the music.
  12. megatron


    Jul 9, 2003
    salsjag yes Iam aware that the funk brothers created the motown sound,also I am going to be taking bass lessons soon,but wanted to get a general idea of how difficult it was to play motown bass lines. That being said i guess its all in how much you apply yourself to playing you instrument.
  13. First off you need the right setup. P-bass, flat wounds, and a piece of foam rubber touching the strings at the bridge to act as a mute. I can't ( at least ) get that choppy funky sound without flat wounds and a mute. Next, listen and practice.
  14. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Yes, I can play "I Was Made To Love Her", "Bernadette", "Reach Out", and many others.

    In fact, it was me who played the bass lines on all those records.
  15. Wow...Mrs. Kaye, when did you move to merrie ol' England?!?!?


    I made my living playing those tunes for quite a long time. Wonderful stuff, and I can't recommend a better starting place for a bassist as far as tunes to learn.
  16. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I can play them, I grew up with them.
    I find playing the songs generally to be easy,
    but I find playing Jamerson's bass lines
    precisely is much more demanding.

    It is certainly ok to start playing these songs in a simplified form, since you enjoy them, it will motivate you to practice regularly.

    As you get better, go back to the bass lines and buff them up closer to the original lines to improve the sound.

    Happy thumping!

  17. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Are they hard? It depends which motown artist you're talking about. Just quietly, I've had a bit of a love affair with Stevie Wonder's bass lines.
  18. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    The Mitten
    Challenging yourself is the only way you are going to get better, I am self taught, by all means I am not a pro but what helped me was utilizing tabliture., are just a few and you can just do a regular search and find a lot of good tab sites out there. Shoot for S & G's I think I will learn some motown to add to my arsenal, I have heard some funky bass lines from motown. But try out some of those websites there should be some stuff out there for you to learn from. There is tab on this site as well. good luck
  19. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    Get Ready was one of the first real songs i ever learned on bass. I don't get the P-Bass w/foam mutes w/flats sound as i don't have a P-bass w/foam mutes and only 1 of my basses has flats on it. We play that song in show [pep] band all the time. It's a great one to get people motivated. Motown bass is awesome. I wish i could just get a fraction of the feel ,in which Jamerson and pardon this description but that white guy that also played Bass in the Funk Brothers have. Motown is a great place to learn about bass lines. That's all
  20. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Looks like I'm partway there! 5 month old flats on a P/J bass! All I need now is the foam...and the ability to play that stuff. *sigh*