Finding the balance between groove and melody?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by StrudelBass, Dec 15, 2002.

  1. StrudelBass


    Jul 6, 2002
    I'm having trouble with coming up with stuff on the fly. I'll start off playing the roots of the chord, and I try to add at least something better by adding in more notes but it just doesn't fit. I think my problem is playing just enough that its not boring but not too much that I sound to melody crazy. Can someone help me with this? I can't seem to groove without having a boring line or something crazy.
  2. The best thing that I ever did for myself as a groove player was learn to solo in a jazz context. I still suck, but I don't think anyone ever stops sucking until they hit playing-Trane-licks-at-double-speed level.

    When you learn how to solo, you learn how to hit the sweet notes when you need to, and add the passing tones and color tones that make a functional line genuinely cool.
  3. StrudelBass


    Jul 6, 2002
    Thanks for replying at such a late hour pete, you're post somewhat helps but I have no idea where to start.
  4. Hugh Jazz

    Hugh Jazz

    Sep 13, 2001
    Atlanta, GA
    I'd say the most important thing is to hear something in your head. Try to sing a bassline to the music, and then figure it out with your hands. What I often do is stop playing, listen to the progression, think of a melody in my head that keeps the groove going, but also "connects" the chords and helps lead into different areas. Then I pickup up the bass and figure out how to play it, and see how it actually sounds in the band setting.

    Hope that helps a bit.
  5. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Remember that you can play a groove with tons of notes in it and still have it not border on melody. It has to do with lining up your notes with certian drum hits, like the bass, snare, and closed high hat. If your drummer is playing an active line and you match your notes to his hits while staying within a reasonable range of notes (say just one position), then your line will sound much more rhythmic than melodic, and to me, groove comes from rhythm. Basslines start sounding more melodic when they either start to go off on their own or start following a more melodic instrument, such as a guitar. Bass has the unique stance of being greatly influenced by the other instruments it plays with. On one hand there's drums-ultimate rhythm, and on the other hand guitars or piano-ultimate melody, so when your playing leans towards one, the other instruments influence how the bassline is percieved. You want to groove? Lean towards the drums.
  6. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Its kind of like avoiding imperial confrontation...and as Han Solo says "thats the real trick isn't it"