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Help Composing Bass Solos

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by merlin, Sep 3, 2000.

  1. Ok, Well I would've posted this in techniques but they still haven't replied to my Slapping question.
    Anyways, I was wondering, how to people write bass solos?? I can understand the years of playing and background like Cliff Burton, Jason Newstead, but is it easy?

    Have we got bass players here who've done it? If so, your thoughts? Teach me! :rolleyes:

  2. it all depends on how much theory ya know and your creativity =) hehe I can mini solos and I've been playing 10 months and I can still make ppl's jaws drop =) just use all the theory and scales and if it sounds good to you and other ppl, bravo

  3. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    It depends on what you're trying to accomplish in that solo moment. If you're just trying to show off, then fast fret work might do it, but you could lose people's interest. I'm not big on soloing, but bands have a funny way of insisting that everyone have "that moment", whether they want it or not. Since mine was launched in the middle of a song, I at least had a starting theme, which was the basic lick of the song (in my case, "Take Me to the River"). You can then move onto variations of the theme, which launch into some freeform runs to show off, pulling back on the dynamics and playing with chords and more subtle phrases, which eventually leads back into the song.
    In short, a solo (at least a GOOD solo), should follow some of the same ideas that a song does. It has a central theme, a bridge, a climax, and an epilogue.
  4. Do make a bass solo, you have to know your scales, and more specifically what scales you can play over certain chords. For example, if the guitar player or pianist was playing a C# minor chord, I would use the scale C# minor and improvise out of that shape. Just get familiar with chord changes and scales and you'll be able to blow some minds...
  5. I have two major solos, which I wrote by literaly sitting down and messing with sounds. I just took some older solos by different people, changed notes, added, subtacted, moved. In the end the solos are NOTHING like what they started out as. Have about three of the same notes. One is based off of the second mini-solo in Anesthesia, and the other is based off of a Primus solo that I slowed down and messed with. Thank god I was able to do that, I couldn't play that fast.:D

    Rock on
  6. Deynn

    Deynn Moderator Emeritus

    Aug 9, 2000
    Hey...no bass stuff over here!...... Where's a dang moderator when ya need one???? :D
  7. One just walked in from a LONG day of watching football (unhappily) and a gig (at least that part went well and was good fun :) ).

    ::Sniff, sniff::

    ...this thread smells suspiciously like Miscelleanous material, and possibly even General Instruction....so I'm faced with a dilemma...do I inflict this upon Big Wheel or Chris A???? Hmm....decisions decisions.....option anxiety sucks.....I think I'll just sleep on it, and if it's still here when I wake, I'll deal with it then.....yes, that's what I'll do. :D
  8. *gets on hands and knees*

    If u move this post don't put it in general instruction! I posted a slapping question and they took two days to reply with only one reply saying "go to this site"!! As for anywhere else sure, I only posted here cause it gets instant replies, i was unsure.


  9. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000

    You're welcome to post it in Miscellaneous. I should point out, however, that I already have a thread called "Bass Solos" (Sans question mark), which asks members to list their favorite solos. I'm afraid having two threads with the same name will be confusing.

    People, let's be more specific with these thread titles! C'mon!

    Another option would be for Merls to repost the thread in Miscellaneous with a different, if more specific, title. Then this particular thread could be closed or deleted.

    Right now, I gotta try to recover from a hangover inflicted on me thanks to a co-worker's party. Saxophonists and bartending equipment shouldn't mix...

    Will C.:cool:
  10. gmstudio99


    Mar 11, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    One of the pluses of this new board is that we moderators can edit thread titles...use "edit thread" down there at the bottom to change the title to something more descriptive...

  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Yes a better title would be "How do you write or compose a bass solo?".

    I think that those asking about this need to realise that there are different types of solo. In Jazz for example, solos are improvised over the chords of the tune and a Jazz player will have a variety of scales and modes open to them as "material" from which to compose a solo on the spot. Your experience goes into this as well as having an idea of the idiom - what do Jazz bass solos sound like on songs like this , what does sth song sound like, what rhythmic options do I have - etc. etc.

    In rock/pop music this can be the case - Cream for example, started off the trend for very free improvisation. But usually everything is worked out and there can be a fair ammount of work in developing what is in effect a new tune. But in either case, the solo is going to be more interesting, the more you know about musical theory - chords,scales (modes) and rhythms, in particular. Actually trying to improvise solos over Jazz strandards is probably the most "fun" (motivating) way to learn about this - even if you are only interested in playing rock/pop/reggae whatever. The theory you learn in Jazz and the experience of improvising will greatly help you in any form of music that is tonal and rhythmic and you also get to play with other people -which is what makes it fun.

    The other thing you can do to help with soloing is to programme chord sequences into a computer or sequencer/micro composer type of thing. Then just set it to "loop" the sequence and play stuff over the top. Eventually, you will learn by experience what sounds good and more importantly what doesn't ! I think that this can be hard though, as without the human interaction you have less incentive to be inventive and to play better - if you play Jazz with other people, you get constant feedback and can continually improve and also know why you're improving.
  12. gmstudio99


    Mar 11, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    Very true, Bruce...and another way to look at the question is in terms of a solo in the middle of a song vs. a song for solo bass (such as playing the Bach Suites for Unaccompanied Cello on your bass...)..I really enjoy the latter, and am exploring writing songs like that more and more...I've plugged my website enough, but for the curious, try "Alex's Song" at http://www.mp3.com/prlj/ It's played with one bass and no overdubs...that's the kind of bass solo I prefer...

    I personally rank wankfest solos in the middle of a song right up there with drum solos...major yawn time if it lasts more that 4 bars in an entire set...

  13. OK - Upon further reflection, and much more importantly, some desperately needed sleep, this thread will be BOTH renamed and relocated. Unless there is some dissent of note, the new title will be: Help With Bass Soloing; its new location - in deference to Merlin's request - will be the Miscelleanous forum (having already been given Big Wheel's permission, with the caveat of a thread name change). Effective tomorrow morning....sometime...depending on when I wake up and finish mowing the lawn :eek:.....
  14. john turner

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

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i concur...in fact...:D
  15. john turner

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

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    there we go! :D
  16. Hey, no fair!!!!!! I was gonna do that :p

    Eh, it's done, I'll get over it....one day......BUT YOU OWE ME A BEER, JT!!!

  17. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    There are books you can buy to help you delvop your soloing abilities...One book I like is Building walking bass lines by Ed Fridland, Stu Hamms, Instructional video Slap, Pop and Tap for the electric bass is also very handy to have. The book teaches you many of the aspects that go into building a walkin bass line and you can apply them all to making a solo.
  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Actually, Ed Friedland has another book out, which is probably more appropriate in this context, called "Bass Improvisation - The Complete Guide to Soloing". This is in the "Bass Builders" series and has a CD to play along with.
  19. Well thanx for all people who replied, It helped, i think.. lol

    As for the above quote I agree. Jason Newstead did a brilliant solo on a vid of mine, then he srewed it by having 5 minutes of waa stuff, managed to pull it back tho when he turned the waa off.

    Drums solos? phhfftt Drummer :Duhhh I hit bits of leather really really hard! :)
  20. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    And, if you've ever read Tony Levin's "Beyond the Bass Clef", his intro is hysterical. I don't have it in front of me to quote, but essentially he equates the bass solo as everyone's queue to go to the bar for a refill.

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