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Country, basic and theory

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by altman, Feb 14, 2002.

  1. altman


    Oct 7, 2001
    can anybody recommend some sites that tell me the basics and theory behind country style bass.

    I think what's going through my mind is kinda polka, but I'm actually interested in country style general.

  2. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    there is no set theory when playing country music. theory is theory, the rules are the same in all the styles.

    IME from being in a country band, most of the bass lines are I-IV-V pattern. You can play them in a few different ways to give it that country flavor. You can walk them, just outline the root motion (ride the root), bounce back between the I-IV in qtr note fashion, or even play a shuffle. Theres more than that you can do, but its late and I cant think of them right now.

    Best thing to do would be for you to saturate yourself with country music to give you an idea of how the basslines sound. IMO the bluegrass/hillbilly type stuff ed's talkin about is older country, imo and ime, the newer country (5 years or newer) has a much different flavor than the old school, honkey tonk style. just listen to as much of it as you can stomach and decide what you like about each and try to learn what ya can from all of it.
  3. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    The most common line in country is alternating between the root and the fifth (listen to "Good Hearted Woman" for an example of this pattern). Another common pattern is root/major third/fifth/major third (Shania Twain's "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under" is an example of this one). These two patterns are often used in the same song, with the root/fifth on the verses and the root/third/fifth/third on the choruses (Travis Tritt's "The Whiskey Ain't Workin"). Other songs, particularly ballads, stay mainly on the root, playing with the kick drum. As cassanova said, newer country is different from older country, and has a lot of rock and pop influence. Listen to a lot of country, and learn as many songs in as many styles and feels as you can. Some of the styles used in country are cha-cha (Brooks and Dunn "Neon Moon", using a root/third/fifth pattern), waltz (Leann Womack, "You'd Be Lonely, Too"), two-step, swing, and shuffle. Country music today is very diverse, and occasionally you will even hear slapping (Wynnona's "No One Else on Earth", for example). These examples should get you started. You could probably find a book on country bass playing, but it is easy enough to learn on your own. I spent 20 years playing rock, without really listening to country, and then I joined a country band and learned fast enough to play a gig 2 weeks later. And I'm no genius, believe me.
  4. altman


    Oct 7, 2001
    hey, those were some good ideas.

    good point about getting some country CD's. It helped me clarify my thinking. Actually, I realize what I want to do is a rockabilly or country/punk. thanks, good suggestions

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