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Ghosted Notes Overated? (not in response to CrawlingEye)

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by eViL cAkE, Mar 11, 2002.


  1. eViL cAkE

    eViL cAkE Guest

    Sep 6, 2001
    Just East of Dallas
    I'm just puttin' this out there out of curiosity.

    I don't know about ya'll but I don't think I've ever actually used (intentional) ghosted notes on a tune that I've written the bass line for. I prefer to leave that percussive stuff to the drummer.

    I think the bass "sits" in a very crucial spot in a band, being a middle ground between the easily heard midrangy to high range pitches of the guitar and keyboards, and the indefinate pitches of the drums. Just due to the bass being lower, the human ear tends to hear it with lower fidelity than say a guitar. So you have easily heard pitches on top, less distinct (but still beutiful mind you) pitches in the middle, and indefinate pitches on the bottom.

    On the same token, I love slap bass, respect people who do it musically, and have a lot of fun practising it; but just regular fingerstyle just always sounds better in the mix to me.

    And besides, my heart's really into contributing to the tune melodically. I like to contribute another layer of melody to songs. People like Jack Casady, Mike Mills, Robert De'Leo, and even the classic James Jamerson really inspire those sensibilities in me. These guys always seem to truly sing on the bass, rather than trying to assume a percussionists role.

    Well, hope I don't make anyone angry out there. I have nothing against expanding the role of the electric bass guitar as far as it will go, and understanding that percussive techniques are a part of that. I just wanted to see how many of ya'll kind of came to the same conclusion I did. Am I a weirdo?

    See ya Kimo Sabae's
     
  2. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    ghost notes are not limited to slap style. i use them all the time on finger style.

    then again, everyone know's i'm a fIeLdY wAnNaB3

    :D
     
  3. eViL cAkE

    eViL cAkE Guest

    Sep 6, 2001
    Just East of Dallas
    JT,

    Oh, when I mentioned slapping in my post, I didn't mean to infer that the two techniques were insepirable. Rocco Prestia is probably one of the most skilled practitioners of ghosting in the world, and he's all fingers baby. I just mentioned slapping, because it's another percussive technique.

    Ta, ta
     
  4. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Ghost notes have their place, like JT said.

    They can effectively enhance the rhythm of a bassline, especially in fingerstyle funk. It's like playing bass and drums at the same time. Listen to Tower of Power's Rocco Prestia for example.
    Or Jaco of course. There's tons more great stuff with deadnotes in it...
     
  5. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    Yeah, I mean, ghosted/muted notes work great for fingerstyle(Rocco, Jaco?), especially in those 1/16th-note grooves that percolate... ;)

    Way back-
    I played, almost exclusively, with a heavy muted style...basically, I kept my plucking fingers in constant movement as a timing device.
    Ever see a rhythm guitarist keep his strumming hand going in that constant down/up motion? That's his metronome...same principle I employed, ya just pluck the notes you want & mute the ones you don't want. ;)

    FWIW, I would not put myself in the 'melodic' school of bass players...I like the notion of the bass as a 'drum with strings'(like William Parker's concept); I like 'thinking like a percussionist'(same concept in Latin music...everyone is a 'percussionist first'). ;)

    Evil Cake-
    It's funny you mentioned Casady & Jamerson. Anthony Jackson cites those two players as major influences...one of Jackson's best known lines is the heavily-muted "For The Love Of Money" by The O'Jays.
     
  6. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    One of the main things that drew me to the bass is that it can be a "bridge" between lyrical and percussive functions. While I don't understand an aversion to ghost notes, I guess you have to do what you have to do.

    Ghost notes or percussive playing do not have to be extreme, there are subtle ways to use them.

    BTW I would think Jamerson, with his one-fingered approach, used ghost notes.

    One of the most facile practitioners today IMO is Gary Willis.
     
  7. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Yup, Gary's the man.
     
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I don;t understand what is meant in this context by "over-rated"? By whom? And surely it's just a technique you can use or not - I have mentioned recently that I have found them useful for "impossible" position shifts in lines where this was the only way to play it - so I don't see how they could be "over-rated".

    As others have mentioned they can be very subtle and used to "fool" the listener's ear into thinking you have played a normal note in position, when you haven't - so play a ghosted open string to keep the feel going.

    I think there are a lot of rhythmic subtleties to explore in this area and even Double Bassists will do things like this - it's another useful technique to add to your repertoire - I don't see the problem?
     
  9. IMsher

    IMsher Guest

    Mar 13, 2002
    Coos Bay OR.
    Ghost notes! I like them!!!! They’re so……………spooky
     
  10. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    GHOST notes are so spooky ...

    How's that? ;)
     
  11. IMsher

    IMsher Guest

    Mar 13, 2002
    Coos Bay OR.
    Ghosts notes, Ghost … you know… they’re suppose to be scary … SPOOKY!!!

    Ok ok, maybe my wife is right, I’m not funny. She even said I might injure someone.
    Is everyone all right, no one got hurt?

    Ok lets continue with our discussion on ghost notes. I like them, I use the when I slap and when use my finger funk.
    :D :D
     
  12. Ow! My head!

    Seriously, I love ghost notes... they've got SOUL

    wah wah wah waaaaahhhh


    I consider myself a melodic bassist, but even so, good melodic bass lines still have to have a good rhythm to be interesting. I write ghost notes into my bass lines because sometimes I can just feel the need for shootin' a blank. Also, layering such percussive techniques with the other instrumentalists sometimes yields a percussion rhythm the drummer couldn't have made alone.