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Fastest way to come up with basslines?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by StarAttraction, Sep 2, 2019.

  1. Not knowing anything about your own level of accomplishment makes this difficult to answer. Given the amount of songs and time, here’s what I would do:

    Make a cheat chart for each song I’ve never heard before. It would show style and tempo up top, all chords for Each section, a sample rhythm written out for each section, and notated signature licks. It would be laden with dynamics, articulations, and helpful text where applicable (Half time in verse, Driving Eighths, building, etc.)

    For lots of experienced players a chord sheet and style is all that’s required to fake a bass line, unless they are expecting recording-faithful parts.
  2. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Fort Worth, Texas
    This is the answer. I love doing this. I'm currently working with singer/songwriter and creating the bass lines for his material. I like following the melody, but I also pay close attention to what he is playing.
  3. SpazzTheBassist


    Jun 20, 2006
    for original songs, "sing" a few basslines in your head...then transpose to the instrument
    m-j and J-Mags like this.
  4. J-Mags

    J-Mags Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2018
    Durham NC
    ^^^^^ What he said. Sing some parts, then work em up on bass. But don't be surprised if the band doesn't always want your melodies. Sometimes they'll want you to play the chords, or whatever riff the guitar player is playing. That's fine too.
    m-j likes this.
  5. lokikallas

    lokikallas Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    los angeles
    For learning covers, Songsterr is a good place to start. Youtube videos work too, but it takes a while to find stuff that is even half correct.
    OogieWaWa likes this.
  6. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Learning 60 songs in a few weeks is not that difficult unless it's a Rush tribute band...depends on the songs and how much free time you have to work on them, really. I've done it, as Paulabass mentioned it's what you do as a sub. Really good subs sound as if they have been playing with the band their whole life even if they just met them for the first time 30 minutes before the first set.

    It's likely the band will not be playing it note for note anyway. But when all you have to go by is the original recordings, that's where you start. Then adjust as needed (sometimes a lot) on the gig.
    peter nicholas likes this.
  7. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia living la vida loca Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    I struggle to come up with lines for rock-n-roll. I either make it too jazzy (walking) or too funky (swinging upbeats). Turns out you can't go wrong with roots and fifths in straight eighths and emphasis on the downbeat. And playing with and around the kick drum is more important than which notes you're playing. You already know this, so you're good to go.:thumbsup: Just don't overthink it, like I always do.:dead:
  8. Outshined91

    Outshined91 Supporting Member

    Aug 23, 2019
    In terms of the notes, to create cool lines you can play the root of the chord, then the third, fifth, and then a chromatic note above or below the root of the next chord.

    If you don't speak theory, play the root of the chord. The third is one fingerboard dot behind, on the next higher string. Then the fifth is one fingerboard dot (what is the actual term?) above the root, on the next higher string. For example, if the first chord is a G maj, play a G (say 5th fret on the D string.) The third is 3rd fret G string, and the fifth is 7th fret G string. Then, if the next chord is a B flat, play B or an A before repeating the sequence with the B flat chord. Root-3-5-Chromatic note.

    For the rhythm, play whatever you feel is good with the music. Don't overplay the rhythm though!
  9. Well you could use the original recorded parts to inform you. Your parts should harken back to the original parts.
    peter nicholas likes this.
  10. peter nicholas

    peter nicholas

    Aug 1, 2019
    ma, usa
    dave larue learned the dixie dregs catalog in 2 weeks, went on tour with them, and ended up playing with steve morse for many years. i doubt the tunes our colleague is learning are as complex and demanding as the dregs music - it can be done! ^_^
    Outshined91 likes this.
  11. Koshchei


    Mar 17, 2019
    Peterborough, ON
    Pencil + paper + leadsheet. Even if you don’t remember them, you’ll have your notes to go back to (put them on a tablet when you gig — for some reason, it’s ok to have your cheatsheets on an iPad, but not a music stand.)

    If the genre is anything but blues/rock/country, you’re probably SOL unless you’ve got a music education and deep immersion into the genre’s cliches, standards, etc.
  12. JohnArnson


    May 28, 2019
    Well, without knowing for sure I doubt OP is as skilled and experienced a player as Steve More, and I bet Dixie Dregs provided Steve with more than just the guitar chord charts to the songs to go by when he was learning their catalog too.

    But, yes, guess it is humanly possible to learn 60 songs in a couple of weeks, though still without doubt quite a challenging and very time consuming task.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2019
  13. groooooove

    groooooove Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    whats the best way to come up with words?

    i guess you need to know your alphabet, how to spell (or spell well enough that the run underline corrects to you the thing you meant), understand what type of response, statement, or question is the goal. What type of setting these words will be met with; professional, personal, intimate, typing on a forum to strangers, and so on.

    long way of saying: learn music theory.
  14. JohnArnson


    May 28, 2019
    I think you missed the entire point of why OP is even asking this question in the first place, which is he was given a couple of weeks to learn 60 songs with nothing but the guitar chord charts provided.

    At this point, in his specific situation starting to dig deeper down into music theory wouldn't really help him with that but on the contrary only slow him down further, giving the circumstances.

    Though it might still be a good advice for the future, once he is done with this monster of a challenge.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2019
    peter nicholas and groooooove like this.
  15. TonyP-

    TonyP- Excuse me but you have your I-IV-V in my II-V-I Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2003
    Boston Mass
    A-Designs Mike Lull GK Tsunami Cables GHS Strings RMI Basswitch Nordstrand Pickups Darkglass
    I scanned through the thread (real Fast) and identifying the key and using theory is the #1 tool I use.
  16. ThudThudThud


    Jun 4, 2010
    It can be done...with covers. I did once join an originals band on Tuesday, and play an important gig on Thursday, but that was only a 45 minute set, and it was hard rock.

    Get the BL to provide the key they play the song in. This is important.
    Divide the titles by familiarity. Nail the ones you know for confidence.
    Play along with the ones you're less familiar with.
    Make a playlist to listen to in the shower, car, gym etc. Familiarity is important.

    Listen for signature bass licks - for example let's say you have to learn "Don't stop believing" by Journey: The bassline is extremely important to the song. Without the signature licks it would cease to be a great song. That said, something like "La Grange" by ZZTop wouldn't really rely on anything but a solid groove.
    Listen for those hooks. You can fake a lot, but you have to nail the 'gotcha' basslines. That's all the audience really hears, or doesn't hear if you miss it.

    Good luck.
  17. StarAttraction


    May 19, 2013
    Wow, thaniks everyone for your input!!!

    As I said, all those songs are covers, and they are famous pop and folk songs in my country, so it really helps tthat I already have heard them before

    I worked a couple of hours today, and I already have ready about 15 basslines, followiung the root / kick advice. I'm pretty sure, most of you could easily jam through the songs, without even knowing them.

    Also, I'm allowed to have infront of me my notes / chords charts during the performance
  18. Malcolm35


    Aug 7, 2018
    Great news. Having your music on stage takes all the pressure off. You may not need it on every song, but, it is there if you do need to take a peak.

    Take advantage of this and enjoy playing with the guys.
    StarAttraction likes this.
  19. Are you talking about original songs or covers?

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