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Dont want boring bass lines...

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by SmellyNerd, Sep 7, 2000.

  1. SmellyNerd


    Sep 5, 2000
    When I create my bass lines, they usually just use roots notes, and have little "spunk". How do I create bass lines that arent just roots notes, but have more of a poppy ska sound to them?? THanx
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Basically you need to learn some theory, so that you know what other notes are in each chord apart from the root. Usually you can play the 5th as well, but this might be flattened or augmented, so without knowing what chords are being played or implied you can't be sure what will work.The 3rd of the chord also varies, for example, depending on whether it's a major or minor chord. The other most common note, the 7th is flattened in things like Blues and Jazz, but not necessarily in other types of music - and as for 9ths,11th, 13th, etc. :rolleyes:

    You always have a root in a chord so you can play this with certainty as you have discovered; but any other note in the chord depends on the type of chord it is. People might tell you that there are "patterns" to use, but these won't always work for every type of chord.
  3. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Personally, I think the best way is private instruction. It's expensive, but if you find a good teacher, it's extremely valuable. Check the local instrument stores' posting boards, they usually have some bass teachers advertising for lessons. Or you can try the internet. http://www.harmony-central.com is a great site. Also, try out different teachers. If you aren't really comfortable with a teacher, the odds are their are others out there. A lot of teachers will offer the first lesson for a discounted price, some even offer it for free.

    Another piece of advice, is not only to learn some of the bass lines from you favorite songs, also learn the melody. Play the horn part on your bass, or the guitar lick. This will help stretch out in your head some ideas that might work.

    Most importantly, play play play play play play play. And, practice practice practice practice. The more you play and practice, the more you'll learn, that goes without saying. If you have the right teacher and the right approach to practicing you'll learn quickly. I can't understate the importance of quality practicing. Quality over quantity any day of the week. Have a specific idea of what you want to study, how much time you want to do each different thing, and go at it. You'll start slowly, adding 5ths and octaves. Then you'll add the 3 and 7 of the chord, then more scalar notes, then chromaticism, and so on.

    That all will help with melody, and some rhythm as well. Personally, I like to study drum patterns and the piano parts to some of my favorite songs to get a good idea of some fresh things to do rhythmically.

    Hope that helps a little.

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