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creating bass lines?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by The Long Distance Runner, Nov 14, 2000.


  1. what is a good technique of creating bass lines.
     
  2. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Well, there's a BIG question.

    1. Know the chords to the song
    2. Know the melody of the song
    3. Know the rhythms in the song

    Then pick out notes that outline the chords, complement the melody and fit with the rhythm.

    How you do this will vary somewhat with the style of music you are playing, what might be acceptable in a funk tune will be different than what is acceptable in a country tune which will be different than what is acceptable in a jazz tune.

    If you could be more specific about what you want to know, it's easier to give you an answer!
     
  3. dot74

    dot74

    Aug 24, 2000
    Well, there's a BIG question.

    1. Know the chords to the song
    2. Know the melody of the song
    3. Know the rhythms in the song
    ------------------------------------------------------------

    and I have a few questions to ask.....

    let's pretend for a minute that I'm knowledgeable with the aforementioned 3 things(i like to pretend that I am anyways :D ).....and I want to play heavy metal....what are the ingredients to a bassline and in what order should I mix them in? Is there a bassic "recipe" to build basslines off of? Is there something that "you" go by to create a bassline? What about a professional, how do they create some of the best basslines in music?
    anything you could shed light on would be great!
     
  4. Player

    Player

    Dec 27, 1999
    USA Cincinnati, OH
    I just play what I hear. When someone presents a tune, I usually hear a bassline and that's what I play.
     
  5. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    California
    Listening to the chords and using the correct "Punctuation". Wink, wink...


    Will C.:cool:
     
  6. yeah i just want to make like a 20 second bassline in the middle of like a rock song how do i come up with the right notes and all that
     
  7. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
    Play it in your head before getting it on the bass. Come up with a bassline in your head. Sing the bassline to yourself, record it on to tape, listen to it and try to transcribe it to bass.
    This is a good ear training as well, so that you soon will be making your own tabs instead of asking us (you know what I'm getting at! :D).
     
  8. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    One way is the "reverse engineering" approach. Take a bass line you dig, learn it and then ANALYZE it. Do this enough times and you'll start learning how bass lines are put together.

    Now if you want to start form scratch there are various "rules" to most bass lines (varying somewhat by the style you are playing in) that can be used as staring places:

    1. Play the root on the down beat of any measure when the chord has just changed

    2. Play a strong chord tone on the down beat of any measure where the chord has NOT changed (this can be the root, but needn't be)

    3. The strongest chord tones are (in order) root, fifth, third, seventh.

    4. Any time you want to strongly emphasize a note, place it rhythmically so that it lines up with a kick drum hit.

    5. Use tension and release as appropriate. Tension means using notes that have a strong tendency to resolve. The fifth, for example has a strong tendency to resolve to the root (i.e. your ear will anticiapte the resolution).

    6. Try not to conflict with lines played by other instruments (including the drums).

    Now before the flamefest starts, all "rules" can be broken. It's simply a fact that these techniques have been used over and over again to create bass lines so when in doubt, follow them and you'll come up with something that should work.

     
  9. dot74

    dot74

    Aug 24, 2000
    NOW there's an answer that I can understand.....Thanks brianrost, it gives me sumthin' to go off of.
     
  10. Dragen

    Dragen

    Aug 31, 2000
    humm......when and how do you begin to recognize and seperate the different tones? I've been playing for a short six months.....and I don't think I have aquired that skill yet. My friends have to tell me if it is a B, A, F and so on. I feel incompetent.
     
  11. Player

    Player

    Dec 27, 1999
    USA Cincinnati, OH
    It's probably more important to be able to hear intervals than to pick out like "oh that's an A". If you can learn to hear the difference between a 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, etc, then you can use a common refference to determine the note. I find it easy to hear "D" so if someone plays an "A" I think "it sound like the 5th above D (or A)". Get it.
     
  12. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    The first volume of the Mel Bay Electric Bass methiod (the one written by Roger Filberto) has all the basic chord arpeggios broken out in the back of the book with fingering diagrams. If you work through that material for a while you'll learn to hear the chord tones (it will also help you learn the notes to the fingerboard).
     
  13. JWC

    JWC Banned

    Oct 4, 2000
    When I make up a new bassline, I usually play the root for at least the 1st 2 beats and for the rest of the measure I do scalar fills. Like on a cminor. I play C a few time, and then fill with the 5th, b3rd, 2nd, and maybe even back to the root. Whatever fits the song best.
     
  14. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    I've just ordered the book, Crawl before you walk by Tom Warrington. Basic how to construct a walking base line from fake chord sheet music. I'm hoping this will give me some more ideas than my old standbys R-5, and R-3-5-3 ...... R-3-5-7 was mentioned, I've not got that one in my gig bag yet, should be a simple addition.

    Have any of you worked with that book?