Do basslines ever start on the 5th instead of the root?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by armand, Dec 23, 2016.

  1. armand


    Jan 12, 2015
    I was wondering if anyone knew any commercial pop / rock songs where the bassline starts on the 5th of the chord instead of the root note?

    thank you
  2. bass12

    bass12 Have You Met Grace Jones?

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    There are quite a few reggae songs that start on the fifth. Two examples would be "Juvenile Child" and "Tell Me What's Wrong" - both by The Mighty Diamonds. "Lively Up Yourself" and "I Shot The Sheriff" by Bob Marley also have patterns that start on the fifth. "When The World Is Running Down" by The Police.
    Remyd likes this.
  3. Turock


    Apr 30, 2000
    My Girl.
    mtto, Ikkir and LeeNunn like this.
  4. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Beat me to it (although the fifth is more of a pickup note).
  5. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I was going to say, it's very common as the pickup note.
  6. armand


    Jan 12, 2015
    I looked at this video which shows the tablature and chords and it looks like the bass plays the root notes of the chord at the beginning of each chord
  7. armand


    Jan 12, 2015
    thanks, some good examples there. Can you think of any pop or rock song where the chords are played on the 1st beat along with the 5th being played by the bass? or is this not really something you can hear in these styles of music?
  8. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    Janis Joplin's Cry Baby is the first that comes to mind.
  9. Jloch86


    Aug 1, 2016
    What Is and What Should Never Be.

    The bass line is built around that high B that Jonesy slides into at the beginning of each verse. This increases the tension of the E7 chord that Page is playing. Dominant chords create enough tension, but when the bass note is the fifth of the chord, it's even MORE tense, and results in a beautiful cadence when he resolves down to the A7 for the next chord.

    Not sure if that was the thought process when he wrote it, but, there's my interpretation.
    JJR58 and Thisguy like this.
  10. Turock


    Apr 30, 2000
    The very beginning of the song starts out GCC GCC. The G is the fifth.
  11. Turock


    Apr 30, 2000
    A masterpiece.
    Thisguy likes this.
  12. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I'm A Man (Spencer Davis Group, Chicago)
  13. 12BitSlab

    12BitSlab Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2016
    Liberty Township
    Used ALL the time in jazz. I did an arrangement once of "Take the 'A' Train" where the bass starts almost every chord on the fifth.
  14. GuilhermeBMotta


    Jan 2, 2017
    What about Walking on Sunshine? I heard a while ago the bass is always on the 4ths (which is PRETTY weird to me, the only instance I saw a chord with the 4th on the bass was a m6, making it a dominant seventh, I guess). I really can't check right now to see if it's true, so if anybody knows something about it, please lemme know.
  15. Rev J

    Rev J

    Jun 14, 2012
    Berkeley, Ca.
    You can start a bassline on any damn note you please and on any damn beat you please as long as it feels good.

    Rev J
  16. GuilhermeBMotta


    Jan 2, 2017
    I'm afraid it's not that simple...We can use that feeling-y, more instintive approach to our playing, we all should...But the point of these discussions is understanding new things, theory, analysis, how it all applies to music. It all depends on what kind of music you play or want to play, and what level of amateurism ou professionalism you're at or strive for. You do have a good point, but I don't think that's all, and I don't think that's the point of the question raised by the OP.
  17. Hahaha


    Sep 26, 2003
    Olympia, WA USA
    Jimmy Ruffin's version of What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted doesn't start on the fifth during the intro, but the verse rides the fifth at the beginning. I love the way the bass treats the chords on that song. It's a very interesting approach.
    JimmyM likes this.

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