Finally, they done it without me!

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by zoran, Oct 7, 2004.

  1. zoran


    May 10, 2002
    I play in a 5-member band, and we do mostly our songs. We perform electronic music with chemical brothers, fatboy slim influence, but with live instruments, also with groove box and nordlead keyboards.

    Yesterday, our keyboard player came with new idea, and everything was just perfect, the drummer start to jam, guitarist played some high notes, and me... well, let's just say there was no room for me and my frequencies at all. We tried everything but at the end we agreed that I made bigger confusion.

    I had to agree, that bass line my keyboard player is played was very groovy, ballsy and articulate... with weird sound. That is one thing that I cannot perform with my bass, even I have very good equipment.

    So, my question is are there some of you have the same problem and how you manage it?

    I'm not afraid about my future in band, but sometimes I'm afraid how that electronic stuff is better and better everyday, and can catch more and more of bass dynamic, tone, and performance.

    Shold I buy MIDI keyboard and start to play it?, some bassist do that
  2. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    This was big around here in the early '80s.
    Yes, I bought a Yamaha DX synth.
    Yes, it was more crap to bring to the gig.
    No, I could not improvise or groove on it.
    Yes, I hated it with a thousand suns.

    Back then, it was fairly common for an electric bassist to practice synth bass lines(a lotta Pop tunes were using them). I took a certain amount of pride in copping synth lines & their feel...I really felt sorry for the drummers who hadda compete with Linn drums & other percussion machines.
    True story-
    I was checking out a friend's band & he was showing me his new synth(an Ensoniq Mirage, I think...very new technology back then). Anyway, the bass sounds floored me: Jaco/fretless, Louis thump, Rocco fingers, Ray Brown acoustic, etc. He told me, "See, you can be replaced".
    Well, that stung. What he didn't realize was, eventually & soon after...the WHOLE band could be replaced. Technology got to the point where it was cost-effective for a club owner to ditch the LIVE band in favour of an 'engineer'/programmer playing music.

    In your case, I don't know what to tell you. I'm from the era where LIVE musicians are 'it'. I do not like programmed/sequenced/sterile machines over a living hand physically pushing a string down upon a wooden plank to make a tone.
    Generally speaking, that is.
  3. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    If the keys player was laying down a bassline, who was playing a keys part? ;)

    You've got lots of options (other than selling your bass and learning to tinkle on the ivories), such as sitting out for a song, singing, playing some percussion, doing some kind of chord based thing, doubling the bassline (perhaps an octave up or with a complementary effect), etc....

  4. If you think of the pop music of the 80's, a lot of it is purely synth and drum machines. Stuff like the Human League, A-Ha, Billy Ocean, Will 2 Power (ugh!). Listening to it now it seems like there's not a lot of organic musicianship there- compared to the music I liked back then, and now.

    Around 1991 the band I was in was friends with a top 40 band that was relatively popular in the area. They had everything sequenced to the point that anyone in the band, except the singer, could walk away and grab a beer at the bar and you really wouldn't be able to tell.

    These were the days of Milli Vanilli. :D
  5. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    I played a gig opening for the Tony Rich Project, and he even had his background vocals sequenced!
  6. natrab


    Dec 9, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    The keyboard player's right hand.

    I do know some keyboard players who make bass players seem obsolete. Especially those that can just drop in all the bass lines to any song while keeping their part going. There is always something lacking though. A tonality created by the player and his gear that hasn't been replicated (though it may one day happen).

    All in all it comes back down to the bass player vs. keyboardist's left hand battle.
  7. But did he have an entire backing band playing redundantly? :p
  8. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    Yep! :D
  9. yeah, i was thinking along these lines too. maybe you could double the guitar line? or maybe get a little synth pedal and play a part independent of the keyboard bass, maybe harmonize with the guitar part?
    i wouldn't give up...otherwise sitting out for one song can have its advantages too. maybe grab a drink, find some girls for the after gig party...maybe dance!

  10. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    I'd just make some other noises that have nothing to do with bass.
  11. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    When we do non bass songs, I do false harmonic/harmonic fill ins. I've positive comments every time I've done this.
  12. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    How about 'fills'...pick your spots & do them tasefully(or maybe not tastefully).

    Example...and I know Woodchuck will relate-
    Prince's "I Feel For You" recorded by Chaka Khan. Killer synth bass part with an electric bass playing some octave slap/pop fills.

    Something elese to maybe consider-
    If you have an Octabass pedal...have the keyboardist teach you the part & maybe double it or come up with a 'counterpoint' line/figure.

    ...or pretend your bass is a percussion instrument & come up with a repetitive rhthmic figure(not a 'busy' one); ONE(1) note may even suffice.
    Or use your instrument as a Funk guitarist...again, pick your spot & use some doublestops.

    Or hopefully-
    Make the song the last one in the set & get a headstart on everybody at the bar.
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    This happened to me in the 80s - I found my basslines being replaced by keyboard synths and I bought several keyboards and guitars!! I ended up being in a duo with a singer - playing and programming everything myself.

    But eventually I decided it was boring and gave up....

    My interest in playing music was only re-kindled - by JAZZ!!! ;)

    No programming in Jazz - real Jazz that is of course!!
  14. kyo


    Jul 6, 2004
    how about getting a synth pedal?
  15. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    Aye, go find other frequences that might add to the music.

  16. DemoEtc


    Aug 18, 2004
    Great ideas and responses.

    There's another thing that hasn't been mentioned, but it's more on the keyboardist's side. I used to play with a 'free jazz' group back in the late 70's and the leader was a young guy who was sort of a combination of Mozart and Chick Corea - incredible left hand. He wrote wonderful tunes but always managed to include all the band members in what he was doing. I mean, he could play a better bass line with the left hand than I could ever play, but he worked with it until it became 'bass-guitarish' if you know what I mean. He wanted it to be the bass player's part but he wrote it on the Rhodes and then modified it. Nobody got left out. They were still some wicked-hard parts, but my point is, the keyboardist in question should perhaps learn to arrange more for band. It all comes down to arrangement. I mean, let's say I wrote an entire piece all on guitar, all the melodies and counterpoint and fills -- I wouldn't take that to a band and expect them all to pick up guitars and play their parts on them. The keyboardist has to, for one thing, *not* play the bass lines on the keyboard. I call that hogging the frequencies, like with this other piano player I worked with for awhile. He was used to the stride-bass or octaves in the left hand sort of playing -- real full sounding for playing alone -- but when he played with a band, he was all over everybody else's range and so for that particular band, I stopped playing bass and picked up the guitar. He had no idea how to arrange for a combo or band.

    Getting back to that Chick Mozart guy I knew, he would actually play with his left hand tucked in his back pocket so it wouldn't creep out and start going by itself; sorta like that movie "The Hand." After awhile, he started to play just below middle C to give room for the bass and then leave a space for the guitars and sax and go up higher with the right hand.

    You keyboardist, zoran, should focus on his arranging a little more, and not try to play everything. The well known person I'm thinking of in this case would be Duke Ellington, where he's hardly playing anything on the piano and it's his *arrangement* that's swinging, you know?

    Just a suggestion though :)
  17. bassturtle


    Apr 9, 2004
    First let me say congrats on being humble enough to realize that it's about the song and not about you as a player. That's a huge step and one that more people could learn from.

    I'd say use this as an opportunity to branch out a bit. Pick up some hand drums and try that. Or even try playing some upper register stuff to compliment everything that's going on. Experiment with pedals or other noise makers. If nothing else it might be a good excuse to buy some new gear :D

    Think of this as a time for you to have fun and do something a bit different. Look at it as an opportunity and not a set back.
  18. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    This is an excellent post, I think.

    If there wasn't sonic room for you, it was because somebody decided to play your hz's.
  19. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    LOL!!!!!! Funny you should say that! I've covered that before with a wicked keyboardist, and he left the slapped octave walkdown to me.
    BTW, I think that's Nathan East on the Chaka version.
  20. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    You sure it ain't Hungate?

    I 'played' "I Feel For You" with a not-so wicked keyboardist...ugly, especially the section towards the end where it modulates(IIRC).
    Nathan East is on that album(e.g. the ballad, "Through The Fire").

    Back when Oteil played around here-
    ...between tunes, he would utter that "I think I love you" exactly how the guy does it on "I Feel For You". Funny guy!