How do you guys write bass lines if your guitarist writes in a different tuning?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by fdiaz05, Jul 6, 2003.

  1. fdiaz05


    Oct 24, 2002
    i have no idea what forum this would go under so i put it under misc...anyways...for any 5 string bass players out do you guys go about coming up with a bass line if your guitarist write in a different tuning...i'm jamming with a friend and at first i took my four string it wasn't working out cuz he was in c and i dont like dropping tune on my 4 string that how do you guys go about you find the notes and come up with something after ward? cuz i notice a lot of bands will have a 5 stringer and a guitar in like a c or c# tuning...any help..? thanks
  2. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    Chord changes my friend. If you guys are using a set of chord changes it doesn't matter if he's in drop C and you're on a standard 4. I know this might not work out for your style, but another option is for him to tell you the chord e.g. while you guys are playing have him yell out the next chord until you guys have the progression down. That's all :bassist:
  3. I don't worry what tuning the guitarist is using, I don't often ( = try not to )look at his fretting hand; I just listen to what he is playing, and (after finding the key) just play off him.

    That probably sounds waaaaaay pompous, but just using your ears is the best thing you can do.

  4. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Surely you must realize that the number of string a bass has has no relevance to the bassline writing method. You're still using the same 12 notes.
  5. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    What everyone else said. Determine the tonal center of the music, and the changes, and build your line off of that.
  6. Get your guitarist to tell you what the chords are called rather than what the shapes of the chords are called.

    Ie, if he plays an boring old open A triad (normally voiced A-E-A-C#-E) and is tuning differently, its not an A anymore is it? You need to know what it is.

    This goes for isomorphic tunings where everything stays the same shape on the fretboard and alternate tunings alike.
  7. it really depends on the kind of music, the riffs, the sound you want, personal preference

    If you're wanting to double some of the guitar parts and your guitarist plays a lot of riff that pedal of the open C or C#, it might sound better to follow his tuning

    If that's not the case, then stick with a standard tuning.

    Basically, whatever works best for you, sounds best and gives you the most flexibility.