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hey advice on some bland music??

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by bigbassman8342, Apr 14, 2009.

  1. bigbassman8342


    Apr 4, 2009
    so i want some input from TB "my experience bank here".
    I'm starting to play bass with a group that i've been traveling and running sound with for about a year now. while we're christian we play alot of different styles. Before me they used click track for bass and keys.

    we play stuff from country style southern gospel, one really bluesed up song, praise and worship, and classic rock stuff (the ten year old drummer re-wrote drift away cause he like the beat)

    ok on to my question i'm supposed to be playing this stuff pretty close to what was on the track and they're gonna still use the track on the songs i can't get as they still need it for the keys and so far i'm only having trouple with two things.

    1. slapping on this really funky song. i just gotta practice slapping apparently once you get it right you can't get enough so i'm sure that will come

    2. the real problem the country style stuff is i'm sure not hard just hard to find the bass in it. i was told by my uncle who has played for churchs before that alot of country style stuff is just a Root, fifth or Root, fourth following the chord progression. IS THIS TRUE??

    I've tried it playing along with the songs from both cd's and it sounds ok (not wrong) but seems kinda.... well lacking.

    but then again the prais and worship we do isn't that amazing either i put in some walks here and there to improve on the track or it would just be the Root all the way through the songs.

    we practice tonight so i guess i'll find out how it goes then but i still want some opinions on if that is true and if it's outside my boundary's to add to what they already had??
  2. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Well, it ain't about you (refer to Rick Warren's "Purpose Driven Life" if you need amplification of that one). That means as a bassist, the bass line is way less important than the SONG. If the song needs root and fifth (which indeed is the heart of most traditional country style bass) then that's what we gotta do. Some bass lines are pretty boring by themselves.

    Here's an example. "Good Hearted Woman" by Waylon Jennings. When I started gigging, and for years afterwards, it was a staple of every band I was in. It's dirt simple- just 1/5 for each of the three chords, a diatonic walk-up from I to IV. The most interesting thing about it is the very unsubtle key change- no modulation, you just jump up a whole step. I hated it. Absolutley hated that thing. But I had a choice- I could either hate those three minutes of every gig (or more depending on if we got requests to repeat it) or I could deal with it.

    I chose to deal with it. Since it didn't take any thinking about the notes, I decided I'd use it to really hone in on other musical concepts. I'd focus on the exact way to hit the strings with my fingers to get the sound I wanted. The exact time to hold the note before going to the next one. Exactly when to hit the string so it locked exactly with the kick drum (and each drummer is different so that's a lot of difference). How to give the chorus a lift within the harmonic and rhythmic constraints of the song. How to control volume, density, and tone with just my fingers. Etc. etc.

    All that made me a better bassist, and I got to look forward to that song so I could experiment with those things. It was still root/five but I learned a lot. So, what I suggest is to start with really simple straightforward parts. Get the lock with the drums down cold. Get your sound control sorted out (with your hands, not with gear). Learn where the guitarist rushes and the singer drags so you can hold it all together. Then you'll start finding things about those songs that will lead you to other bass notes. But let the song lead you, not the bass.

    There's very much a servant leadership role to playing bass. Check out Matthew 23:10-12 and all John 13:12-17. Apply that to your bass playing.

  3. bigbassman8342


    Apr 4, 2009
    wow i never really thought about a very simple bass line being an opportunity to work on technique and styles and those sorts of things. Thanks that really put (me in my place haha) it in a whole other perspective than i was thinking about it. My membership has already change the way i think of myself alot but that adds more to it. I'm not only the foundation of the music but the glue to. Thanks again

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