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Guitar music only?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Ticktock, Jan 5, 2004.

  1. Ticktock


    Sep 3, 2003
    I've been playing in my church's youth group's praise band for a while now, and a question just popped into my mind.

    Some of our music has only the guitar chords written. I mean, it has the lyrics and all, with the names of the chords placed above the words. This is (evidently) fine and dandy for our guitarists, but what's a bassist like me to do, other than play the roots multiple times? Is there some sort of pattern I can follow or something? I want to keep things interesting.
  2. bassmantele


    Jul 22, 2003
    Boston MA USA
    The bass player is expected to know how to create his own part, just like the guitar and piano.


    Root - fifth

    Arpeggios - root - three - five in some combination.

    Leading tones - all of the above, plus add a half or whole step leading tone into the next chord root.

    There are some good books that teach how to create bass lines. I just saw one by Ed Freidland (sp?).
  3. chardin


    Sep 18, 2000
    You should probably get some lessons from a teacher. Lessons can give you a lot of information and you can ask questions.

    On the book front, Ed Friedland has a new book coming out soon called "Building Rock Bass Lines." Check out a sample page from the book at http://www.edfriedland.com/brbl.html
  4. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Listen to a lot of music, including contemporary christian worship stuff (I recently reviewed Paul Baloche's new album, 'Offering of Worship' - if you want a suggestion, that's mine ;) ) and try to figure out some of what's going on. You don't have to figure it all out note for note but get a handle on how the bassist approaches things so you can hear where they are going and sing along with the bassline in your head. If you can find recordings of some of the songs you're playing, that's a bonus - although the chord sheets are often not entirely consistent with the recorded version!

    Next time you're practising with the group, try to remember some of what you've learnt. Sit out the first verse and sing a few different ideas to yourself. As you go round the song, try playing a few of these ideas, using the chords as a guide but your ears as the master. That should open up some new territory.

    Another idea is to stick to the root note (or the bass note in a slash chord like D/F#) but experiment with different rhythmic patterns. Don't go off in your own world - listen to what everyone else is playing and try to complement that and bind it all together.

    Let us know how you get on.

  5. LoJoe


    Sep 5, 2002
    Concord, NC USA.
    That's all our music leader uses for our praise and worship sets also. A lyric sheet with some chord names written in above the words. The guitarist, the keyboard player and I all get the same sheets.

    When I was a beginning bass player, I simply banged out the root like you say you're doing and you're right. While it got the job done, it was far from interesting.

    I found what was most helpful to get me out of that rut was to learn the basic scales, modes, and chord patterns. You can get these out of a lot of beginning bass books and probably many online lesson places. While many would still consider it far from "interesting", just adding some scale, and or chord tones and using the "target/approach" note concept, you can really spice things up a little. Once you get out of that root banging rut, you'll really start to have some fun. Just keep it tasteful and don't walk all over the vocals. Here's some resources I'd recommend:

    1st, check out THIS LESSON right here on TalkBass. It gives a very basic way to get started in creating your own lines and was a great help to me early on.

    2nd, you may find use in the Norm Stockton Grooving For Heaven video series. They are geared towards playing bass in worship settings and are most excellent. Other than that, there is some great advice already in this thread also. Best of luck!
  6. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    Welcome to the real world where often times you are given nothing more than a set of chord charts and expected to create a functional bass line based on the chord changes.

    If you are having difficulty figuring out what to play over the changes that chances are good you need to learn music theory or possably brush up on it.

    Once you know some of the basics about theory you'll notice that the charts follow certain progressions. (ex: I-V-IV or II-V-I patterns.)
    When you know theory it gives you a better understanding of what to play over these changes.

    Id suggest you get a teacher or at the very least some method books dealing on the topic. Then before you know it you'll be creating working bass lines. I also agree that you should listen to many different types of music and take notice to the chord progressions on those to get some idea of what you can do over the changes.
  7. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    The Mitten
    Get some recordings of the songs and learn them by ear or you can get them close.

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