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How to make my own bass lines?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by bass__player01, Apr 10, 2003.

  1. Ok... I've been playing bass for about 4 months and I can play pretty well... but me and my friend (he plays guitar) would like to play our own songs...

    No problem for him he can make good ones but every time... i just can't figure out a good bassline that fits....

    would any of you have any tips on how to create bass lines?

    thank you
  2. If you've only been playing for 4 months, you've got a long way to go. To make up cool basslines, you need to listen to, learn and absorb other peoples lines, then stuff will start coming out of you that is you. You need to learn some theory, so you know which notes fit which chords, and why they sound the way they do. Also to be able to create tension and release, which is the difference between a cool line and a boring line. Patience and perseverance, my friend!
  3. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    4 months? Peh.

    I have been playing over 2 years and my line developing is just starting to come about.

    Just play the root of the chord... maybe throw in some 5th's and some 3rds every few counts...
  4. sigterm

    sigterm Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2003
    Atlanta G of A
    if you've only been playing 4 mos you probably dont know your scales really well yet. i'd start out with the pentatonic and extended pentatonic scales first. learn them front and back and then start working on the major scale. http://www.activebass.com/basics/basics.asp has a useful page. for the scales go to scale finder, and select, where it says blues, pentatonic major (dont worry so much about minor right now, when creating a line in a minor chord you can skip the minor 3rd instead of playing it, but enough of that). dont worry when looking at these scales what the root note you selected is, the scale is the same for all the different notes. a scale is considered a c scale when the root note (the red dot) is a c, all c's or red dots here will be root. what you do to practice this scale is start on the big string (the e) and work your way down that string then onto the 2nd string (the d) and start from the top and go down and so on and so on. then start from the last note on the skinny (g) string and go up the board. now would be a good time to find a fretboard diagram so you can know where all these notes are. just worry about the first two strings, the other two strings are the same just two frets down from a string one over from it (1st fret thick string and 3rd string 3rd fret are the same note just an octave apart). now to construct a bassline you can try the common 1-3-5 pattern. you start with the first note in the scale and then the 3rd note in the scale and then the fifth note in the scale (for major). to write a song its useful to use 1-3-5 instead of notation as its easier and quicker to follow and lend out. to construct your line further lets say you use your 1-3-5 in the key of a (the red dot on an A scale) then the key of c (red dot on c scale) and then g (red dot on g scale). we'll call the a 1, the c 2 and the g 3. the pattern can be anything but lets say 1,1,3,2,3,1,3,2,3,1,1 this is starting the pentatonic scale on the first note of the a scale then the 3rd note in the scale and then the 5th note in the scale, repeating, moving on to the g scale and doing the same. this may seem like a bit much and it really is at your level, you should feel really accomplished when you can smoothly play the scale by itself without moving your thumb out of its position in the middle of the neck. each scale is used as a fingering that is very efficient and gives you a range of notes playable without moving the left hand. you should also buy a scale book that shows what fingers to be using. you should start using all four fingers (left) right now. this is a problem area for many beginners so focus heavy on it. if you are a finger player keep your 3rd and 4th fingers (right hand) up and your index and middle fairly straight, position your thumb on a string thicker than you are playing or on the pickup. always always alternate your fingers work on this heavily while playing the scales. if you are a pick player, you should just give up (just kidding sorry ;) ) you should practice playing each note twice, once up and once down and then alternate up on every other note and down on every other note. also work on muffling the strings with your palm when learning with a pick, it'll help later and keep your hand in a good position. hope this helps, check back with me if you got confused, keep hanging out here too. happy bassing!
  5. sigterm

    sigterm Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2003
    Atlanta G of A
    and someone please correct me if im a bit off on anything, this is how i was started out in lessons.
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I would, if I could read it!! ;)
  7. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Is that all one big sentence? My eyes hurt.
  8. Killdar


    Dec 16, 2002
    Portland Maine
    gave up readin that bout halfway.....lol......im sure anyone playin less than half a year would really understand all that. :rolleyes: hell, I barely want to piece all that together, but it might actually be useful......

    the bottom line: learn scales, listen to stuff, maybe buy a instructional book on bass improv, I have one, and it contains more scales than all of the doctors' offices in this hemisphere put together!
  9. well.. thanks a lot... that will be usefull... (maybe :p)

    no seriously.. i've already been practicing scales a bit but i guess i should do it a little more....

    i've already been piano for 5 years and guitar for 1 year... so i know all that theory stuff... what i really wanted was to create my own music... but i guess i'll have to wait untill it comes up by itself :(

    thank you for your help...
  10. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    What kind of music are you playing? For example, if you're writing something "punk-poppish", the bass tends to stay on the root of the chord, and usually in straight 8th notes. Ex: Blink 182. Simple lines that fit the songs. Since you've just begun playing, mess around for now with the R, 3rd, (and 5th) of the chord your guitarist is playing. Take some time to get comfortable with that. Then you can start adding the octave and some interesting fills.

    Knowledge of theory is so helpful when composing basslines...Scales, chords, chord progressions, harmonizing the scale, modes, intervals...all that fun stuff. :)

    When I write a bassline I try to find a balance between feeling and theory knowledge.

    I still think of myself as a beginner when it comes to writing basslines, but I hope this info helps you some. :)