Do your bandmates give you any tips on how to play?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Trent-35, Jul 27, 2000.

  1. I've been in alot of bands, including some artist gigs, and i can count on 1 hand with fingers left over at the number of times anyone has told me how to play or change something. They either say they like it, or they say nothing. I'll even ask if you want this or this there and try both out for them and they usually say, whichever you think is best. I've been in bands where new guys, esp drummers and lead guitar players were ridden very hard, including being ridden by me, about exactly how a certain song or part was to be played. Only in 1 band where there was a keyboard player with great musical theory knowledge was there anyone that rode me at all. It did annoy me to an extent at the time, but i did learn alot about playing 1 over 3's ect, bacically playing notes against the root, stuff that i use alot today that people really like and are impressed by. There is only 1 bass player in virtually every band, so i'm just wondering if every bass player is pretty much on his own like i always seem to be.


    Keep it country!
  2. Hey Trent.. good question.
    The guitar player in my band writes 95% of the material, and sometimes he has a specific idea for a bass line. When he's showing us a new song, he'll let me know right off the bat if he has a bass idea for a specific part of the song, instead of letting me come up with something and then shooting it down. I appreciate that approach. This doesn't happen too often, but the few parts he does suggest are usually good. And they're usually rhythmic ideas, not actual notes.
    On the flip side, he always lets me know when he thinks I've come up with a cool part.
    Communication of this kind is crucial in a band, IMO.
  3. Doug


    Apr 5, 2000
    Buffalo, N.Y.
    I'm in a similiar situation as Dave. If the guitar player, even drummer, has an idea in their head about a particuliar bass line, they usually will let me know. I'll listen to what their idea may be and openly try it. If it works, great, if not, we discuss why it won't work and what we could do in it's place. Most of the time I'm on my own, which I prefer, but I also like getting new ideas and hearing what the other guys perspectives may be.
  4. brewer9


    Jul 5, 2000
    all the guys in my band are quite vocal with each other. we all suggest ideas to each other and try different things. i suggest ideas to them and they suggest ideas to me.

    if your band doesnt do this you may want to try asking them for ideas. or just open up the thought that you would welcome any ideas when they arise.

    no matter how good you are, you can only benefit by expanding the inflow of ideas. you take the good ones and reject the bad ones.
  5. Scok


    Apr 20, 2000
    It's the same del with us. We're a 3 piece and the guitar player writes most of the songs, he jams it out and we jump in and play. If he has an idea or something isn't working right, we stop and figue it out. He pretty much comes in with the riffs, we rearrange and finish it off. Egos get you nowhere but pissed off. IMO if your band is always walking away pissed off, why jam.
  6. Well, my situation is a bit different i guess as i live in Nashville and am with 4 bands right now plus some other freelance work. I have a real quick ear and great memory which serves me well, but one of my weakest points is coming up with an origional bass line to someones origionals. If they just play it for me on guitar or whatever, i can come up with something to put on it, but i listen to these licks and basslines guys come up with in studios and am sometimes blown away, I can learn it and comp it note for note, and think to myself, man, i wish i'd thought of that. Of course, at times i'll "steal" something cool and use it on someones origional. he he he I just kinda tend to play it "safe" on origionals though. But, there has been times on covers i played but never heard, that if i happen to hear it, i had the origional bass line almost exactly right. But i haven't run into that many guy that had a def idea of what they wanted to a bass line on a song. I've been in 1 of the bands i'm in for over almost 4 years. We are doing alot of showcasing now and have a big one in early August that if it goes we'll, the girl singer will get signed to a major record deal, and still, none of her producers or managers have told me how to play. Trent


    Keep it country!
  7. Doug


    Apr 5, 2000
    Buffalo, N.Y.
    Trent, one thing I have found that works for me, is this. When our guitar player plays an original for the first time, I just go through the motions of laying down a basic rythym of root notes and follow along. He then makes a copy of the entire song, by himself or with all of us playing. After listening to it a couple of times, at home or in the car, I begin to get the direction I want to take it in. I then sit down and come up with a line for it. Sometimes very basic and simple, sometimes a little more complex. I'll work out any of the changes, afterwords with my drummer. I'm very comfortable doing it this way, because I can actually lay down what I really want and feel. It took some time for my guitar player to get used to this idea, but he now realizes the benefits. Alot of professional musicians do it this way. I've read that this was a popular method for the band Queensryche. They record their tracks on DAT and then send it off to the rest of the band members. Once they come up with their parts they then go into the studio for the final cut.

    [This message has been edited by Doug (edited July 27, 2000).]
  8. Yeah Doug, that is a good idea. The thing is, i never have that kind of time to work stuff up. It's usually they want a bassline boom on the sopt. Arrangements while you wait i call it. On Amy's origionals over time i put stuff i was happy with by playing them live and trying some stuff myself before gigs. I don't know about you guys, but once i learn a song i play it the same way everytime and try to nail it everytime rather than keep improving on it. On her new origionals, there are already full band demo's available for me to leran from. But how bout the sporatic, yet semi regular studio demo stuff i do? Sometimes i listen to the song and have a simple bassline for it no problem cuz that's all the song requires, but other times, i wish i could make something up real cool on the fly, but i'm just not that innovative i guess. Trent


    Keep it country!
  9. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Doug:
    If the guitar player, even drummer, has an idea in their head about a particuliar bass line, they usually will let me know. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    That kills me, "...even the drummer" [​IMG]
    Fact is, I encourage input from all, ESPECIALLY the drummer! I may come up with one of my patented half-baked grooves & BAM! or two little SUGGESTIONS from the drummer(like a displaced note here, a rest there, an odd measure here/there)& presto, "my" idea becomes something more. Too, just about everything I come up with sounds like me; if the others offer a suggestion, I play "unlike" me(somewhat) [​IMG]

    One time I was asked to lay down a track for a New Country-ish original. I listened & came up with a Motown meets Nashville kinda vibe; The verses=Motown, chorus=Nashville, Anyway, the writer asks me to play a little less "busy"; I oblige. Again, he asks, "a little less busy".
    Well, I think I ended up with this rhythm for the verses-
    The chorus became a two-beat root/5 pattern.
    very, very boring & typical...he was happy, though. [​IMG]

  10. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    I thought I'd jump in here after returning from practice tonight. One of the bands I'm currently rehearsing with has had a rough start, but we're finally making some progress. Tonight was a good example of what we're all discussing. The leader of the band (harp, and a weak lead vocal) was pointing out spots he thought needed work. One was in a bass line I was playing, and another was in the guitar work. I, on the other hand, was doing some simple arranging, and was directing the drummer, and sometimes the guitarist. No-one got their hair out of place over it. We worked things out, and everyone was pleased for having gone through the exercise.
    In the last all-original band I was in, we practiced the songwriter's prerogative; if he had a specific part in mind, we played it. If he didn't have it laid down, anything was fair game, but he had the final say-so.
    In both cases, it really does depend on everyone's attitude. In my case, both situations turned out to be open and productive.
  11. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago

    Our new drummer, whom I respect greatly as both a musician and a human being, has been on me to SIMPLIFY. Usually, he gives me a rhythmic figure that'll lock with what he's playing.

    This is tough for me. I LOVE busy bass lines (Rocco and Jaco, right?) and I tend to play lots of notes. But when I do agree (often reluctantly) to try the figure he suggests, it always seems to groove better. At least he lets me pick the notes...

    And on a recent recording session for another song, the bandleader (who wrote the song, BTW) forced me to switch from a rolling, bouncing line to... TWO NOTES PER BAR, ALL ON THE ROOT. Thought I was gonna DIE... hard work suppressing all my tendencies. (Yeah, I snuck a few little fills in there, but mostly I was a good boy.) But durned if we didn't make the doggone thing actually ROCK by the time we got done.
    And, yes, I've gotten away with suggesting to our drummer not exactly WHAT to play, but HOW to play... like, "Do more fills and kick us around a little!" (my "busy" tendencies again...)

    So we all seem to be meeting in the middle. Kind of a cool dynamic. We're all learning and growing. (Though one would think a 43-yr-old bassist would know how to groove by now...)

  12. Doug


    Apr 5, 2000
    Buffalo, N.Y.
    Yeah I know Jim, when you think about a drummer telling you what to do can be pretty funny. [​IMG] But when you play with an experienced drummer, it makes a HUGE difference. Like Eli had said, it really makes a big difference when you can listen to each others ideas. IMHO, locking in with your drummer should be your first goal. If your not locked in with them and on the same page, the whole project suffers.
  13. Acacia


    Apr 26, 2000
    Austin, TX
    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Doug:
    Yeah I know Jim, when you think about a drummer telling you what to do can be pretty funny. [​IMG] But when you play with an experienced drummer, it makes a HUGE difference. Like Eli had said, it really makes a big difference when you can listen to each others ideas. IMHO, locking in with your drummer should be your first goal. If your not locked in with them and on the same page, the whole project suffers.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    awww, it's nice that someone loves us drummers! [​IMG]

    In a few of the band si have been in over the years, I was asked to add/subtract certain things. I would try them and if it fit, the keep it.

    A few of the guitarists would get a little bent out of shape if I would suggest a change or lick or something. "You're a drummer, what do you know?" attitude. Never once can i remember my bassist telling me what to play or vice versa.
  14. I've never been a busy player. What do you guys hope to accomplish by playing super busy? Impressing other bass players in the house? It clutters things up and makes it harder for the crowd to dance if it's a dancing situation. To me, bass is not meant to be a lead instrument in a band. Less is more is true i think. I play licks of course, but try to make them count when i do it. I think if you do them less, they mean more to the crowd when you do so rather then play every lick you know halfway thru the opening song. Now, i have been in 3 and 4 piece bands where i will play busier to fill things up, but in a 6 piece band, i'm gonna play bass,and be glad to do so.
    The bass player and drummer do have to lock in. It all starts there in a good band i think. Once the foundation is solid, then you can put some paint on the house. I luckily get to play with the same drummer in a few different bands and we know each other real well and can lock in super tight. It helps on songs we don't know too because we know what direction the other is going in. I really miss him on a gig i'm doing now that he's not doing. At the same time, i never tells me what bass line to play as long as we lock. Sometimes we disagree when he wants to put a punch in a spot where i'm between notes, but we work it out.


    Keep it country!
  15. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Different bands do things diferent ways. I probably was in one of the extremes for autocratic. The lead guitarist wrote the music. He also wrote the bass lines and drum lines and they were to be played HIS way, note for note, measure for measure. He wrote the lyrics, accepting NO input as to better phrasing or words that fit the riff better. There was no room for doing things any other way. It was literally "his way or the highway." Even though he was not a trained bassist and I would say, well, we could do this at this point and it might be cool, but he'd NEVER have it. Once I brought my Octave Divider and thought it sounded so cool using it on the choruses of one of our songs. He arrived late to the practice, when he heard that...boom...sparks flew. It wasn't HIS idea, so it wasn't in HIS song. Another time we had a big falling out over technique. I wanted to downpick every stroke like Metallica to get that really ...I can't define it...sound. But he demanded up and down strokes. It HAD to be his way. End of discussion.

    Why did I stay in such a demoralizing situation? Because that egotistical jerk wrote some of the heaviest music and I LOVED it. I loved to play it; I loved to perform it and I loved how our fans responed when we played.

    The dude was a genius, but he couldn't get along. The band lasted about a year. A highly sucessful year, then inner band politics swirling around the genius jerk broke us up. Too darned bad. I lament the demise of that band to this day, but that's life in the music world. Jason Oldsted
  16. Jason, I was in a similar situation, first real band I was in. The guitar player wrote all the bass lines and showed them to me note-for-note. But this guy has a degree in music and all his bass parts were well written and fit the songs very well. Learning his parts taught me a good bit. And as I learned I was able to inject some of my own thing into them.
    Kinda the same deal as your band, though.. the guy ended up being too difficult to work with and everyone quit. I still jam with him though.

    [This message has been edited by Dave Siff (edited July 28, 2000).]
  17. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    If it grooves, I don't care if it's "busy" or "simple"...period. It's all about SPACE for me. Nevertheless, some of those "busy" 1/16 note grooves take on a life of their own, too(even when playing behind a vocalist, IMO, Jamerson, Jaco, & Rocco didn't clutter anything up).
    "Simple" groove-
    ..."Hollywood Swinging"-Kool & The Gang
    "Busy" groove-
    ...Sex Machine"-James Brown

    Finally, there was a day when I played in some kinda Avant-Funk-Latin thing(bass-drums-sax-guitar); at times, that environment calls for a lotta notes to be somebody. [​IMG]
  18. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    The biggest factor in this discussion is the structure of the band and the status of the bassplayer. Being a band member is different to being a hired hand (usually unpaid). Being in a covers band is different to being in an original one. You all know this but I said it for background.

    Being in a band you come up with stuff and its liked or not. You also come up with stuff to fit a riff whatever. The result may become a song.

    Some songwriters as stated will come up with a song in chordal form and its game on for the arrangement.

    As sideman you have to completement the solo artists style and half the time guess what people want because they dont know. Coming up with an original line in this context is difficult and sometimes fraught. If you significantly alter a song did you co-write it? I am sure that Mick Taylor and Jagger/Richards have had many discusssions on that one ( I know Taylor played GUITAR its the principle)

    The other point, and dont get upset, if you are competant and playing formulaic songs you cannot get it wrong. (well if you try maybe).

    I find that there are people who want you for what you do and if you do what you do they wont tell you what to do. (with me?)

    Anyway good thread and I going to look at my thread in off topic which is a blatent plug.

    Hello JimK

    Say something clever and someone steals it


    [This message has been edited by CS (edited July 28, 2000).]
  19. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    What you play is dependent on the musical content. The last regular band I was in didn't seem to feel right, and I definitely felt it was my role that needed changing. I went and saw a band in Chicago called the Elvis Brothers, and it hit me. They were a trio, and the bass player over-played to the hilt, but IT WORKED! I decided to open up my playing in my band, and everything fell into place. Ironically, one of the best songs I ever played had me locked on 4 notes, which the guitarist dictated to me. Again, IT WORKED!
  20. HORRIBLE, i had to teach the drummer, but now he has it under control, the guitarist.........just doesn't try or PRACTICE! i have to make his riffs up and the lyrics with the drummer and when i show him how to play it and give him maybe a week to practice when its the day to practice i tell everyone to play a certain song........then he goes like this.......

    "uhh.......i don't know how to play that yet............"*shrug*

    I mean......the whole purpose of a band is to work together and practice and be ready but this fatso just ain't budging! we're gonna use our drummers cousin, which plays guitar 100% better than our guitarist now, i play bass if your wondering, oh yeah and another thing, it was his idea to start the band, and now all he's doing is slowing us down, if he isn't gonna commit then he better pay me bake for making me waste money one the bass guitar and everything i bought for it!!!!!!!!:mad: :mad: :mad: