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Having Some Trouble, Looking For Some Guidance

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by stevetravale, Apr 24, 2006.

  1. stevetravale


    Apr 24, 2006
    Hey everyone, ive been a long time reader of this forum, never posted though. Anyways heres my problem.

    I can play bass, and i can play it fairly well, damn near any bassline you throw at me, slap, finger pick, pick, tap, i can play it, if not right away give me a couple days and id have it down. But i couldnt make a cool bass riff unless you gave me a whole day and even then it wouldnt soound that cool. Im in a band, and i have some riffs during the songs, but most of the time im just playing the bass note of the guitar. I assume some theory would help but i dont really know where to look for this, and i dont really have the money to spend on lessons. Any ideas or links to help a fellow bassist out?

    Anything is appreciated.

    Thanks much

    --steve :bassist:
  2. nonohmic

    nonohmic Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 2005
    ABQ, NM.
    If you know that many tracks, can you not break them down, rearange them to give something new.

    If you do this enough, then eventually your own style will come through in the pieces and you will have a line that is your own.
  3. thewanderer24


    Apr 29, 2002
    SJ, CA
    If you really are that good, and can play anything by ear, it's time to slow down and pick out some lines you like and analyze them. What is the bass doing vs. the guitars, the drums, the vocals? Do that with a few songs, and start to understand why you like the parts you like. Theory will help you with the analysis, but that's where you start.
  4. stevetravale


    Apr 24, 2006
    Thanks much guys, and when i said that i dont mean i know lots of songs, just the tougher songs i can play with relative ease. But thank you very much for your input!
  5. Sean Baumann

    Sean Baumann Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Livin' in the USA
    I'm working toward similar things. I can cop the lines of most basic songs if given enough time, but 99% of the time I have to improvise a line (at church) because we have no recording. This left me in the rutt for a long long time until I just got bored of playing the root and sometimes fifth. I started adding other intervals (6th for major cords, b7th for dominant and minor). From there, I'm just adding in other things to taste. I have to learn about a million songs (half originals half covers) for my new band, and I am having to cop the feel of their old bass player. His style is primarily based on playing straight from the arpeggio and some times from the blues and penatonic scales.

    Thankfully, I was able to record their last show, and now I am disecting what he was doing. This is really opening new doors for me, because I really hadn't done much transcription before. Now, listening to those tracks like dozens of times and picking out the lines is getting those interval sounds in my head. I think this is the first step to me being able to hear a bassline in my head, and being able to tell my fingers how to make it...

    Don;t discount rhythm studies. This is a very important part of bass line construction. It's amazing what a little space or unexpected triplet will do for the groove.
  6. steveb98

    steveb98 [acct disabled - multiple aliases]

    Mar 15, 2006
    Venice, CA
    There are lots of websites that have material on basic theory of scales and how chords are created from scales. You don't need a lot of theory to get started. Then you can start analyise the bass lines you do know to see what notes they are using. Just that little bit of knowledge can take you quite a way. Main thing is learn lots of songs and bass lines. Take the time to analyse line you will be surprise how basic most lines are theory wise. Also if you don't read learn the basics so you can write down the lines you learn so you can analyize the rhythms, again most aren't that complex you will see a lot of common things going on.

    Also if you don't already start playing Blues. Yes, simple tunes, but those simple tunes can teach a hell of a lot. Blues basslines are great fundamentals to use to start building your own lines.
  7. Sean Baumann

    Sean Baumann Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Livin' in the USA
    Blues like what? I have zero blues in my collection.
  8. stevetravale


    Apr 24, 2006
    Well i have been looking at things on many different sites now, mostly activebass.com. I have learned alot, i know the notes that correspond with certain frets and strings, and im working on memorizing the circle of fifths. Hopefully this will get me somewhere, and also i have been analyzing the basslines of some of the bands i enjoy and trying to see how they construct there basslines. My bass playing is getting better and thank for all your input, im on my way to becoming a better bassist.

  9. unity bass

    unity bass

    Dec 15, 2003
    Modesto, Ca.
  10. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Listen to some old jazz, some nice swung roots and fifths have really done something to my playing. Frankly, anything that got me out of straight 8ths and quarter notes helped a lot.

    I've also started to play a bit of piano, and that has certainly helped me building basslines. Try some arpeggiation, throw in some thirds, fifths, or sevenths depending on the chord your're up against.

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