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Do singer/songwriter who plays bass play diffrent then just ordinary bass players??

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Nicklas, Apr 20, 2003.

  1. Nicklas


    Mar 15, 2003
    I mean do they play in a diffrent style ?
  2. miccheck1516

    miccheck1516 Guest

    Feb 15, 2003
    id say it depends, if i was writing a song that i newe i would be singing and playing bass to at the same time it would restrict me so much. In my band ive found that i cant play as much funk/rap sorta music because my guitarist is also my singer, anything funky is purely instrumental, which sucks, but, if i was writing a songs lyrics i mite make a funky bass line, record it and then put lyrics to it, to me playing an instrument and singing at the same time is a restriction.........
  3. When i'm singing leads as i play bass, i find it easier to play with my thumb, a la Sting and Paul McCartny
  4. Nicklas


    Mar 15, 2003
    Many of the famous singer/songwriters who also play basses are more noticed for the skills to write and sing then theirs bass skills.

    Like Sting, Gene simmons and Brian Wilson(Carol Kaye)
  5. Nicklas


    Mar 15, 2003
    i have the Beatles new DVD Anthology and on slow songs Mccartney plays with thumb and on faster ones he plays with pick.

    Can you not play with pick on slow songs or thumb on fast songs?
  6. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Sure you can, you can do anything you want. But, it's not all that easy to play fast with your thumb.

    And presumably, he wanted the softer tone for the slower songs.
  7. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    Singer-songwriters who play bass, tend to have a more melodic style......to my ears anyway:)
  8. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    I think this is a really good topic. My whole deal has always been being a songwriter/singer/bass player (and probably in that order of importance...come to think of it, in that order of skill as well) and so I've always been drawn to guys who do that. I actually try to never think of the bass line when I'm writing a song. I write on guitar or piano and I'm very much about writing proper songs. I'm not going to try to pass off a series of riffs as a song (which I think is a danger when writing on bass- at least I've noticed that the guys who do this combination well tend to seperate them to some degree). So I get the whole chord structure, lyrics, melody, going before I even think about the bass line.

    Something I think either Sting or Jack Bruce said is that when they sing and play bass they think of it as two lines that get closer and then grow apart- like telephone wires. That kind of makes sense. I find that the basis of the whole deal is the song. It doesn't really matter if I come up with a cool bass line if the song is weak, and we've all heard people who can sing well but are saddled with bad material. The whole process is very natural to me, but I realize that it's a bit of an aberation.

    I know that songwriting is one of thsoe things that's a bit of a mystery. One has to have a little bit of a gift to go down that road (it would be hard to teach someone inspiration), but I cannot, for the life of me, understand bass players who don't sing. It just seems like the most natural thing in the world to me. A bass player who sings at least backups is about 50 times more valuable to a band than one who doesn't. Matter of fact, I think most bands would pick an OK bass player who sang over a monster bass player who doesn't. As far as I can tell, the only valid answer to "Do you sing, too?" is "of course."

    I've got theories,

  9. It's only recently I've started singing lead. I guess I sort of relegated myself to backing vocals out of lack of confidence in singing and playing at the same time. I think the biggest hurdle for me was just being able to tell myself "screw it", manning up and doing it. My first few attempts in front of a crowd were timid to say the least, but I'm finding it easier and easier to just let go and have some fun. I'm still trying to find my equalibrium, though. I still blow loads of bass clams if I'm concentrating on my singing, and I go horribly out of tune if I concentrate on my playing. I found trying to keep the bass line as simple as possible (simple, not boring) helps me.
  10. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    Hey Fall River,

    One thing that has really helped me over the years is singing off the bass note. I have the low part of the chord rumbling right into my belly and it makes it easier for me to visualize intervals off of that note. I often feel the key of the song in my whole body, sympathetic vibrations- especially with my hollowbosy basses buzzing up against my stomach.

    You're right, it does kind of force one to simplify one's bass lines which most people are going to consider a major positive. Whenever I have to decide between simplifying the bass line or not singing as well as I could, I always choose the singing- that's the thing that actually communicates to most of the audience. the only people analyzing bass lines are other bass players.

    Good luck, it's a worthy pursuit.
  11. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    Hay, don't forget Mark King from Level 42.
    Great singer-bassplayer.
  12. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    erm, well, great bass player, anyway. I never rated him as much of a singer.
  13. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    What I ment is Mark King can play complacated
    bass lines, and sing intracate lyrics. Not as eazy as it seems. anyone's voice is subjective.
  14. stuie86


    May 9, 2003
    mckinney, tx
    well this is just my 2 cents
    and maybe its biyist(cant spell)
    cuase im a bass player but
    i feel that if i write the song
    and write the bass part, the to
    two together can realy show
    the soul of the song but i
    would really rather write the
    instrumetntal parts together,
    with who im playing so the
    parts fit together better but
    if you have an idea for the
    bass part its a real good lead
    off for the rest of the
    instrumentntal of the song

    does that make any sence??:confused:
  15. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    Not really, no.
  16. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    I'm also more of a songwriter now than a bass player. When I write a song I've noticed that whatever instrument I am holding when the inspiration first hits gets the most interesting part. If I am sitting at a keyboard, even with my meager keyboard skills, when the inspiration hits I will come up with a good part.

    Now having said that, with the band I played in, I always played bass. But when I was writing, it might have been bass, guitar, or keys. It is hard to go to someone and say 'Okay. Play this.' and show them a better part than I get to play.

    Most singing bass players (not Geddy or Les, but MOST of us) will try to alternate the busy parts of the vocal line with the busy parts of the bass line. I think that is the only difference. For the most part, do what the song needs.
  17. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    "What I ment is Mark King can play complacated
    bass lines, and sing intracate lyrics. Not as eazy as it seems. anyone's voice is subjective."

    Neither of these strike me as positive attributes. Just out of curiosity, what's up with the iliteracy? Not trying to insult you, but I'm actually curious.
  18. stuie86


    May 9, 2003
    mckinney, tx
    every ones got there own opinions and thats yours. i see how that would work ive done it my self. so in a way your right but i did say "i may be biyest as a bass player";)
  19. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    In Boston here in the last five years there seemed to be a little push of the singer songwriting bass player.

    It started with a guy named Gonzalo silva


    a berklee grad who was a street musician with his bass ,great guy, great player lots of cordal stuff with moveing sub melodies in the bass lines. As a bonus he's a graphite neck poster child you would see him in a snow storm with a hondo stienberger copy with no case walking around going somewhere to play for hours on end.

  20. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    Gonzalo is a true beast! He's very talented and will play anywhere, no matter how cold it gets. Where has he been, though? I haven't seen him in a while.