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Christmas Bass with no drummer

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Hairycary, Jan 4, 2014.

  1. Hairycary


    Jan 4, 2014
    I play only in church and we have no drummer, 2 guitars, and a tambourine for percussion. I would like advice as to how to accompany Christmas Carols. I am not sure if I should play an accompaniment part or the main melody as suggested by most bass books. I would rather accompany but am open to suggestion.
  2. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    1) Christmas carols are in most part simple I-IV-V songs with 4/4 time. You keep the beat and the vocalist get the melody.
    2) Most "Church Music" that will be using guitars, etc. is also normally dirt simple.
    3) As to us playing the main melody. We are not a solo instrument, yes we can take lead breaks, but our main function with "Church Music" is to follow the chords and play root on one and provide a steady beat for the band to follow. The keyboard or lead electric will take care of the melody.

    That out of the way.......

    OK we need rhythm, harmony and melody.

    I presume some of you are singing, that takes care of the melody.

    Two guitars, I bet both are playing rhythm accompaniment (harmony) as they sing. If one takes lead breaks, that will add some melody. If none take lead breaks, you could if you want, but, it is not necessary.

    The tambourine and you are the rhythm section. If you want to play accompaniment - chord tones to the beat of the song I see nothing wrong with this. Roots may be all you need, just be sure you hit the chord changes dead on. Who is going to set the beat? You or the tambourine? I would think that would fall in your lap.

    Sorry I've never considered a tambourine as a viable part of the band. It's just been something the girl vocalist used while singing. Or a few are scattered out in the congregation to help the people clap to the beat. People do a terrible job of this, but, it gets them involved; they like it and because of that they ask you back.

    Recap - If you want to play accompaniment go for it.
  3. Hairycary


    Jan 4, 2014
    Thanks Malcolm. You hit it right on the head especially in regards to the guitar and tambourine players . At this point , I am keeping it simple , holding down the rhythm and not getting too fancy. In the church environment, this works better. However, we only use Major, Minor and Minor 7th, and Dominant 7th chords, which tend to become redundant. thanks for your insight.