First time writing a bassline...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Zeebs_23, Sep 15, 2017.

  1. Zeebs_23

    Zeebs_23 Guest

    Dec 17, 2013
    Calgary, Alberta
    So the group im currently with that has mainly been a cover band has (finally) started to look at original tunes. I'm super pumped and excited because its something i've always wanted to do. I mean who doesn't like creating something thats "theirs"?

    the first attempt is at a song my guitarist wrote like 4 or 5 years ago i guess. so me and my drummer(who has all the software and such) recorded my part to it last week, the guitarist couldn't make it out that day.

    personally i was pretty happy with it, and my drummer seemed to dig it as well. its a bit sloppy and theres some specific parts i do want to change. but yea, im kinda proud of it. however when i asked my guitarist what he thought after he heard it, well he's definitely not digging it. he wants multiple parts completely changed. in fact i got the feeling he wants a completely different direction with it.

    I just wanted to get some feedback from fellow bass players. how do you guys deal with the whole songwriting dynamic in a band? should the person who comes up with the idea have complete veto power, or should everyone write their own parts for their respective instruments if they're able and willing.

    also take a listen to the attached file if you want, I'd love some honest feedback from you guys.

    Attached Files:

  2. sirvill

    sirvill Guest

    Jan 15, 2016
    New Zealand
    I like it... I like how it foreshadows the incoming guitar riff, but maybe the guitarist isn't into it as he wants that main riff to be more of a "surprise" when it drops if that makes sense?

    Rest of it sounds fine too.

    Did you get specific feedback?
  3. RickyT


    May 29, 2015
    I've completely 100% changed basslines plenty of times, especially if it's a song that someone else has written. I've changed basslines because a drummer will change the beat.
    Part of being in a band is listening to feedback and working it out. It's all about communication, ask the guitarist what he doesn't like and what he's hearing in his head.
    Don't be precious about a basslines in a certain song. If you like it use it for something else, move it to a different root note and write a new song.
    mbasile, Londo Molari and Lobster11 like this.
  4. sean_on_bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    Sounds pretty good! Good rock vibe and the bass has some freedom too. Hopefully it jives well with the drums once they are added.
  5. BassFishingInAmerica


    Jul 24, 2014
    Everything about your bassline fits the song perfectly. I can't imagine what your guitarist would want to change. Now, just add drums and a vocalist who can sing like Shinedown, and you'll be all set.
    Ikkir and comatosedragon like this.
  6. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    I'm a strong believer in the philosophy that everyone in the band should be open to suggestions from anybody else in the band, and especially from the songwriter. No matter how much you or we might like the line you wrote, I think you should try to get an understanding of the songwriter's preferences and do your best to accommodate them. Maybe in the end he winds up liking your original part better after all, or maybe you wind up liking the new one better. Just please don't adopt the "nobody tells me what to play" attitude that I see too often around TB.
    RickyT likes this.
  7. BassFishingInAmerica


    Jul 24, 2014
    Completely agree. I've done studio work for people where I was hired to play exactly what they wanted. The question is whether this is a collaboration, or is the bassist just a hired hand. These things should be known ahead of time.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2017
    Lobster11 likes this.
  8. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    In this case it's clear that OP is not a hired hand; it's an existing band that is only recently starting to write originals. Your point about knowing ahead of time is still relevant, though: It would probably be a good idea to have a band discussion to agree on some "rules" about this issue, as it's bound to come up often as they write more songs.
    BassFishingInAmerica likes this.
  9. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    Story of my life, man... Sometimes you are the hero who propels the song into outer space, sometimes they think you ruined everything with the bass line you wrote. Personally, I think your piece sounds pretty cool.

    In my last band, someone would bring whatever they wrote and either provide instructions on how they wanted things fleshed out, or just let everyone do their own thing until it solidified into something we could agree on. That is not my usual modus operandi, but it worked well. Our best song wound up torpedoed by the guitarist because certain intangible qualities were not met. Being in a band is hard work.
  10. twelvetrombones

    twelvetrombones Martian Ambassador Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2017
    I like it. Only thing I'd change is the D# I think in the part around 0:37, but it's no biggie.
  11. comatosedragon

    comatosedragon Supporting Member

    Oct 12, 2014
    Rockingham VA {616}
    I think it's great -- fits the song perfectly. I would be proud to have written that.
  12. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    Most originals band I've been in, the songwriter has complete veto power if they don't like something somebody else is playing for their song.

    As far as the bassline you wrote, I think it works well. I'm guessing he doesn't like where you're mirroring the guitar part? That's not unusual if so. I know a lot of guitarists who are in the "don't ever try to borrow my riff" camp. And a lot of newb songwriters sometimes have trouble letting go of their babies long enough to allow the other musicians in the band to do their jobs.

    There's a couple of questionable (to my ears) notes here and there. And I think some if it is a little busy in places. But that's probably just me.

    Bottom line (no pun intended) I think it would work fine as is - and it's nicely done. And it's even more impressive considering this is your first one.

    Since I don't hear anything that's technically wrong (or even stylistically iffy) your guitarist either has a different idea for the overall vibe of the thing than you have, or he has different stylistic preferences. If so, welcome to the world of collaboration on originals. The devil is in the details, and one's personal tastes are what rules the roost.

    I suggest you talk to him to get a better idea of what he wants for this particular song. I'm sure you can come up with a bassline you can both agree on.
    twelvetrombones likes this.
  13. skwee


    Apr 2, 2010
    I like what's going on. I'd personally reserve judgement until I heard when the drums and vocals are layered in. Could be that your line would fit perfectly, and the things that bug this dude won't even register. I'd ask to hold on making new basslines until those other parts are laid in.

    Good news is, if you write the next tune, you can tell the guitarist to play only what you want. ;)
  14. Rayjay

    Rayjay If that’s even my real name..

    Sep 27, 2014
    Lahaina, Maui, HI
    The best advice I ever got on this subject: write basslines in your head FIRST, THEN transpose that sound onto your instrument.
    bolophonic and Seanto like this.
  15. I still write music and being that I play all the instruments I don't have that problem NOW. Years ago when I was in a band with my brothers, whoever wrote the tune called the shots. Everyone could make suggestions but in the end, the writer had the final say. Not that this is the best scenario, but that was my experience.
    40Hz likes this.
  16. Philly Watts

    Philly Watts

    May 6, 2016
    Cool song and nice bass tone! I think your tone and playing is great!

    I would (next time) record drums first and bass last. That way everything gels with the drums correctly.

    As far as changing parts, your parts will definitely change once those drum tracks are done anyways. Dont worry about it. For now, keep recording and jamming with your band and dont sweat it. The guitar player is going to have a strong opinion and that's OK.

    I think his tone can use a little work, almost sounds like he was coming in a little too hot. Try and see if you can get the drummer to record with the guitar signal coming in at around -5 or -6 db. That will ensure no clipping and lots of headroom. Cheers man, keep it up!
  17. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    Best band I was ever in worked that way. A songwriter would bring in a new song (we all wrote) and turn the band loose on it. we used to call it: The Process. It was more like panning the rough song for its gold. Or if that's too poetic, maybe more like shaking a can of marbles for a minute and whatever was still left in the can when you stopped was the song.

    But in the case of this band nobody felt they were the star - or were better than evryone else. We were very evenly matched as far as skills and talent went. So we were sufficiently confident in the strengths we brought to the table to trust the other guy's strengths to make up in those areas we each were lacking. It was the only band I ever was in that had that level of trust and lack of inappropriate ego.

    Sure do miss it. We wrote a lot of decent songs fairly quickly doing it that way. Adding them to the set list and playing them out led to further refinements. We used to joke our songs weren't truly "finished" until we had played them out for at least half a year. It was only later on I heard bands like Tull, the Stones, and Led Zeppelin say much the same thing.
    Fat Fingers likes this.
  18. Yeah, not a bad way to work. It worked for us. Everyone had their turn to be the "king" of tunes. Yes, I'm kidding but not entirely. Calling the shots can be fun (as long as you're happy with the end result).
  19. flam


    Sep 20, 2010
    Tempe, Arizona
    Everybody in my band has veto power. That doesn't mean that it gets scrapped if they are just a little unhappy with it, but if it's absolutely unacceptable, we can find something different to play.

    The problem might be in how old the idea is. There's stuff that I've had for so long, I can only imagine it being played one way. Generally when handing an idea to your band, you have to trust them to deliver the goods, even if it doesn't fit your exact vision.

    As to your specific bass track, I think it's pretty good. Not too busy for me, but I tend to shy away from simple lines. If I were the one playing it, I would probably take the line that mimics the guitar and move it up an octave. It sounds weird to me when the bass sits too far below the guitar, but is also playing the same thing.
  20. CRich0205


    Feb 17, 2013
    Our current process in my originals band is to come in with an idea, a riff or a complete song whatever you have. We will listen to the part and then jam a bit with it. Let everyone try different things out, I may play the line half a dozen ways until we find one we're all happy with. The drummer will mess with the beat and the guitarist may change something. We will adjust chord progressions or whatever.

    One other thing I like to do is record a scratch track of sorts in Logic Pro. I'll mix in the auto drummer track with the volume fairly low. This helps me make sure I'm playing the idea in time. Helps the guitarist because theirs a basic beat and I always tell the drummer to feel free to change and come up with something that fits.

    Ours is a very democratic process without lots of egos and drama involved in new songs. It works for us and seems like the best fit for us.
    Philly Watts and 40Hz like this.