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Help with creating Trance basslines

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by GroovinOnFunk, May 20, 2011.

  1. GroovinOnFunk


    Apr 30, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Endorses Cleartone and SIT Strings
    Hey guys, so I just started a new band Open Source or Open Source (on Facebook) and I need some help. What we're trying to do is create a prog rock/trance fusion sound. If you take a listen to some of the clips, you'll notice that for right now we're mostly a rock/progressive band but we are working on incorporating more trance into it. The ultimate idea: a mix between Umphrey's Mcgee and The New Deal.

    My favorite thing about The New Deal is that their bassist is really good :bassist: . All those guys are trained jazz musicians and they make awesome trance music using that influence. Anyway, I've been studying Dan's basslines (the bass player for New Deal) and trying to get inside his head to learn how to create my own trance, electronica, dance, etc bass lines, and I'm having a really tough time figuring it out.

    Wondering if anybody has some tips on how to create trance basslines... :bag:
  2. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    Just checked out a couple new deal videos to see what you mean by "trance"
    It's very much influenced by techno/electronica music of the last 20 years, as such it doesn't have much of stylistic instrumental tradition among bassists like jazz,blues etc...
    there are not any techno/ trance "bass heroes" -with the possible exception of Bill Laswell, who is both a bass player and experimental dub producer with a prog background.

    The player for the new deal -from the few vids I checked out -seems to draw alot of influence from synth arpeggiator type lines. Constant16th notes with repeated melodic phrases.

    If wanted to emulate this I'd practice alot of 16th note figures (to a metronome) that incorporate frequent string crossing like alternating between a root note and ascending scale tones
    something like A A A' A G A F A E A D A...repeat (A' =octave of A). And I'd practice it slowly with a light touch until I cna play ti smoothly, then gradually increase teh metronome speed.
  3. cire113


    Apr 25, 2008
    check out lotus, sound tribe sector 9, and disco biscuits they got some nice trance bass lines in their songs
  4. GroovinOnFunk


    Apr 30, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Endorses Cleartone and SIT Strings
    Hey man, that's awesome! I love that. Any chance you could send me a few more lines like that to practice? Up and down the neck. That's exactly what I was looking for.

    Yeah, I have checked all those guys out. New Deal is by far my favorite. I think I've realized that a big problem of mine is that the bass in fact plays a relatively minor or background (not to diminish its importance) role in this kind of music. My drummer, in particular really struggles to maintain the same 4 on the floor beat and gets bored way too easily. He also insists on emphasizing beats 2 and 4 (rock style) instead of 1 and 3 (trance style). Call it trance, call it livetronica, whatever you will, I think you get the idea of what I'm going for.

    Keep the ideas coming!
  5. GroovinOnFunk


    Apr 30, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Endorses Cleartone and SIT Strings
    Any more suggestions?
  6. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    The basic idea can be moved around to different scales.
    You just pick a root note and alternate the root with a some kind of ascending or descending pattern in the scale (a minor pentatonicin this case), while maintianing a strict 16th note rhythm.

    Here's the original riff with scale tones indicated:
    A A A' A    G  A  F  A    E  A  D  A
    R R 8  R    b7 R  b6 R    5  R  4  R
    In this example, playing the root note for the first two beats displaces all the remaining root notes on off beats (if you count "1 e & a " it's the "e" and the "a")
    this makes the melodic stuf a happen on downbeats while the unaccented beats hold the tonic.
    You could reverse it , so the melody jumps to the off beats:
    A A' A G 	A  F  A  E 	A  D  A  A
    R 8 R b7	R  b6 R  5	R  4  R  R
    Or you could play two scale tones for each root and create more rhythms
    A  A' G  A	F  E  A  D 	C  A  B  C
    R  8  b7 R	b6 5  R  5	b3 R  2  b3
    Or you can throw in more traditional chromatic funk /blues runs somewhere
    A  A  A'  A 	E  G  G#  A'	E  A  D  A  	E D D# E
    R  R  8   R	5  b7 7   8	5  R  4  R	5 4 b5 5
    This is the general idea behind Chris Wolstenholme's very synthy bass line on Muse's Hysteria.
    It starts in A minor then jumps to E, D and back to A.

    the first bar of A minor goes:
    A  A  G  A		G  A'  A  G  	A  F  A  D		E  A  C  D
    R  R  b7 A		b7 8   R  b7	R  b6 R  4		5  R  b3 4
    hope fully thats enough info for you to explore other keys...
    On a standard tuned bass, It is easiest with scales whose root is E, A , D or G since you can use the open string as your "pedal" tone.
    But ultimately you'd want to be able to hold one Left hand position and cross strings to hit the scale tones, freeing you from open strings.

    I have to say that I think of this kinda of stuff as "synth-y bass" -bass lines emulting synth arpeggiators and sequencers.
    When I think of "trance Music" bass lines, I think of the down tempo 90's dub stuff, a la Bill Lasswell
    Which is more based around reggae and funk grooves.
  7. Sketchy


    Jul 15, 2010
    Bristol, UK
    GroovinOnFunk, I would suggest some early Porcupine Tree (especially Voyage 34), but I would not be surprised if you're already a fan. I think I'll have to check Open Source out.
  8. Col Pruse

    Col Pruse

    May 28, 2003
    Savannah, GA
    "a mix between Umphrey's Mcgee and The New Deal" you mean like the disco biscuits?

    to add to what others are saying, listen to New Deal, Umphrey's, Bisco, STS9, etc, jams, learn the parts you like, play them over and over, change em up slightly, different keys. You'll be playing like that in no time.
  9. GroovinOnFunk


    Apr 30, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Endorses Cleartone and SIT Strings
    Honestly, I'm not the biggest fan of the Disco Biscuits, but I can see how they do sound like a mix of Umphrey's and tND, lol. Thanks everybody for the help. Going into the studio tonight to rehearse. I'll try to implement some of these ideas.
  10. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    The Brains: FretNation.com
    Trance? Like progressive trance? Christopher Lawrence, Sasha & John Digweed, that kinda stuff?

    Root on the up beats... If you want to get fancy, lower octave on the down beats, octave higher on the up.

    Or even something like...

    1... 8. b7 in the rhythm - Beat 1 play the 1, "ah" of 1 play the 8, on the "e" play the b7... repeat for beat 3&4...

    A lot of them also go 1 8 then down a whole step repeat... rhythm 1 & 2 &
  11. funkcicle


    Jan 9, 2004
    Asheville, NC
    +1, some of the smartest bands I've ever seen, right there.

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