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Horizontal or Vertical Approach?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Mikhail, Mar 16, 2009.

  1. Mikhail


    Jul 18, 2006
    This might seem a dumb question, but it is sincere. I'm not an accomplished player, but I do study and try to improve my ability and understanding of the instrument, and music in general. I have been studying Carl Radle's approach to the bass, and would like to understand it better. Frequently, I find his lines can be played in one position vertically across the fingerboard, like scales, as well as horizontally, as if around chord tones. I'd like to think as a bass player, and approach tunes in the context of what the artist/player would. A few of the tunes I've been getting together are "Keep on Growing", "It's Too Late", and "Bell Bottom Blues", from Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. I've also worked through a bunch of "Mad Dogs and Englishmen", Gary Lewis and The Playboys, and early solo Clapton. By ear I can get the notes, but not necessarily the approach that could crystalize the music. Thanks for any help or suggestions to improve my understanding.
  2. onlyclave


    Oct 28, 2005
    I think playing horizontally or vertically depends on the context of the song, how you want to connect the notes, what notes you're coming from and where you're going. There is no hard and fast rule. Even as a 6-string player I still do a lot of shifting because I can connect notes better on one string that I can jumping 2 or 3 strings.

    Notice that the timbre of a C on the A string, E string and B string is different even though its the same pitch. The notes also speak differently. Which is the best one? I don't know, what song are you playing?

    If you want to become a more rounded bass player, take those bass lines you're working on that are "vertical" (playing across the fretboard) and now play them horizontally (up and down one or two strings).

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