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Creating bouncy basslines?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by A Mirror Somewhere, Jun 16, 2014.

  1. A Mirror Somewhere

    A Mirror Somewhere

    Jun 16, 2014
    Hi there,

    Do you have any advice on how I can learn to create bouncy or light basslines? I noticed regardless of the style I'm practicing or jamming in my basslines always sound heavy to me...a lot of weight on the 1, steady, thudding rhythm even when I'm walking or playing octaves. Basslines fitting for hard rock maybe but I'm trying to expand.

    Would you say that it is perhaps a rhythm issue, note selection, or somewhere in between? Also I tend to play very melodically so I don't always think to go for staccato, rhythmic sounds.

    Thanks for any advice.
  2. DreamError


    May 30, 2014
    emphasizing the upbeat is one way. one AND, etc.
  3. Remyd


    Apr 2, 2014
    St. Louis, MO
    Play around with the beat. Push a little, drag a little, swing a little, maybe syncopate or otherwise lay-off the downbeat a little?

    If it taught me nothing else, jazz taught me that the beat is the graph that you use to draw the chart, but the beat is digital and the line is analog, as it were.
  4. Kael


    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    Space/rests are your friend. Don't be afraid to end the note a brief moment before the the next begins.
  5. M0ses


    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    Driving home from last gig, guitar player asked me if I ever played anything right on the beat.
    I told him no, absolutely not. :cool:

    Some things I would experiment with to lighten up basslines:
    - don't play the root on the one
    - play the root on one but don't sit on it for more than an eighth note.
    - play on the "and"
    - space
    - more space while you're at it
    - play in front of the beat
    - throw in larger intervals like 6th and 7ths
    Remyd likes this.
  6. Listen to the Beach boys - "Wouldn't it be nice" , and Paul Mccartneys' - Another Day.
    Get those sounds stuck in your head.
    Melodic and " Bouncy "
    Just might be what DR. Vasilio ordered!!
  7. I find that using ghost notes helps a lot in that regard. One comment I heard at a gig once is that "Frank makes the bass sound fun..." That's prolly the best complement I ever got.
  8. tonemachine

    tonemachine Banned

    Mar 23, 2010
    Make good use of larger intervals between 8th notes, alternately moving up and down between notes-like you're bouncing up and down.. add other stuff for interest. Jeffrey Osborne Stay with me tonight.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2014
  9. bassdude51

    bassdude51 "You never even called me by my name." Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2008
    Central Ohio
    Playing staccato is the opposite of playing legato. Try incorporating some staccato notes into your lines. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Staccato Some walking bass lines are kind of bouncy. Using a mute to decrease the time of decaying notes adds bounce. Some of Sir Paul's lines with The Beatles are kind of bouncy. Like the song, LOVELY RITA. Learn to play bass to lines like that.
  10. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    Start listening to a lot of reggae.
    Remyd likes this.
  11. Dogghouse


    Jan 25, 2011
    Santa Barbara
    Bass Guy @ Seymour Duncan
    Man, there's some great info and suggestions here already. Hard to add anything else. I try to remember that half of the music we hear is silence. The space between the notes is critical.
  12. Sean Riddle

    Sean Riddle Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2013
    Ventura, California
    James Jamerson is what you need. Even though he wasn't playing hard rock, he grooves really hard and creates a very bouncy feel. Get the book Standing in the Shadows of Mowtown

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