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gear for solo bass?

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by cubanbass, Mar 2, 2008.


  1. cubanbass

    cubanbass Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2006
    Hoboken, NJ
    I was curious about what kind of gear people are using? Loopers seem to be pretty much a standard, I was wondering if anyone is incorporating a laptop for beats or synth pads w? a controller.
     
  2. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    hey cubanbass,

    There are a lot of different approaches going on - some guys use laptops for beats (I've seen Janek Gwizdala and Matthew Garrison both do that), or running samples in Ableton live, which can be triggered or manipulated live. Some guys are just playing with processing or midi pickups, but without the looping, and a fair few seem to be experimenting with altered tunings, which is cool.

    As you say, Looping is v. popular, I guess because it allows it to all be 'you' but still be live and malleable, so not stuck with the feel and format of a backing track...

    Steve
    www.stevelawson.net
     
  3. cubanbass

    cubanbass Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2006
    Hoboken, NJ
    Thanks Steve! I have been spending more time figuring out how I am going to approach it as opposed to just getting it going. Time to get busy.
     
  4. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    That's a really good idea - far too many people jump in and never think of the point of what they're doing. It probably works best alongside some open ended experimentation and some investigative listening.

    Re: listening, Last.fm is a good place to start - you can listen to a lot of different artists to get a feel for what it is that really excites you about music. You can then work out how that can happen in the context of your solo performance...

    What shape has your thought process taken so far?

    cheers

    Steve
     
  5. cubanbass

    cubanbass Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2006
    Hoboken, NJ
    My inspiration came from my girlfriend who asked me to play some stuff during one of her night yoga classes. I kept it pretty minimal but made some nice layers with two delay pedals, chorus, distortion. Basic stuff just layering chords and lines, muting w/ my hand and using my thumb for some percussive sounds and scratches. I am getting a boss rc50 to start playing around with. One guy (well they are a duo +) that inspires me is Doug Kallimeyer from 302 Acid (302acid.com). I really love their textures and soundscapes.
     
  6. jenich CZ

    jenich CZ

    Feb 4, 2006
    I think that the most important thing in solo bass playing is to know exactly the right amount of notes, rythms and melodies to play. IMHO a solo player of any kind has to balance his playing an inch above sounding empty, boring or whatever and to take this area as a base camp - if someone plays an inch under the top and wants to move it higher....he moves just one inch and the listener thinks - "huh..cool...where is the band?".

    Looper helps you to fill the space, yeah....but i find it quite unnatural...I see one musician and hear three....How can I, as a listener, understand and feel what is the musician playing, when I hear the background played with the same feeling...each bar? This is maybe a good point: If the player is using looper, he must perform like he is playing with a looper, not a band. He got to work with it that way.

    PS: I hope you would understand me properly....i dont want to criticize guys who play with loopers in general - lot of them make really cool performances...but there are also tons of guys who remind me of those one-man-show entertainers with a kick drum on the back, harp in a mouth and a guitar in their hands.
     
  7. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    jenich,

    That's a really good point, or two points, in fact - we should always be aware of how the chosen parameters of what we do affect the way the audience engages with what you do, but also the point about 3 layers with the same feeling... I think if you work with that, it can provide continuity, rather than confusion, or it can be inspiration to broaden the scope of one's playing.

    Good stuff - like any performance medium, playing with a looper has inbuilt pitfalls. In the same way that bands can easily fall into formulaic arrangements, loopers can use the same arrangements time and time again. It's fine to do if that's what works for your music, but as always it's vital to mindful of what we're doing rather than letting it happen TO us...

    Steve
     
  8. jenich CZ

    jenich CZ

    Feb 4, 2006
    thats it...

    anyway Ive been looking for thist to add it to my previous post :) finally :)

    - its not Boss RC20XL looper, but it is something :)
     

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