How to write blues-rock music on a bass?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by HoosierBassist, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. HoosierBassist


    Dec 18, 2010

    I am in a band, our style is kinda bluesy-rock and funk rock. A couple big influences. Radio Moscow, The Black Keys, and SRV. At the moment of typing this, my guitarist is not with me, so I am sitting here by myself, I know I have written songs on a bass before but I need help with this. How can I write bluesy-rock songs on just a bass?
  2. Asher S

    Asher S

    Jan 31, 2008
    Why do you have to write music on the bass? Hum out a tune and see where it takes you.

    Who are your influences? Listen to your favorite tunes, start playing along with them, then shut off the track and keep playing around.

    I find it helpful to start with a good beat and groove and just noodle around over that.
  3. GypsyMan


    Jun 30, 2011
    You know scales?

    Blues scale in A

    A C D Eb E G A

    I Like a good,
    G A A C E G <-- I have no idea where that's from, Just Noodling :p

    I just know that's where the fretboard seems to naturally go when I'm sitting there killing time.
  4. fishdreams

    fishdreams Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2010
    Brooklyn, NY
    Endorsing: Arkham Vacuum Tube Amplification and and Martin Keith Guitars
    Just a few suggestions to get started....?
    1. Sing! then write a bass line to go with it
    2. Record yourself improvising, not thinking, for an hour or so; pick out the good bits a day later, and build those into a tune.
    3. Start with writing a chord structure. Or steal someone else's -they are free - and take it from there.
    4. Start with lyrics. Write some or ask your singer for some. Then start playing under, over and around them. A great way to give your music a reason to exist

    Musically speaking, everything goes-you just have to believe in it and stand behind it. Hope this helps
  5. Keyboard is best for working out the melody. Real chore on the bass IMHO.

    Start with the story you want to tell. i.e. lyrics first. Woke up this mor-ing........
    Put chords under the lyrics. I7-IV7-V7 has been used in a zillion Blues songs I'd start there.
    Pick your melody notes from the chord's pentatonic. Which notes? The ones that sound good with the lyrics.
    Move the chords, melody and lyrics around so they all fit together and flow into a verse format.
    Three verses, a chorus and you've got a lead sheet. Lyrics tell the story, chords and melody notes harmonize each other only thing left is the bass clef.
    Make the bass clef (bass line) from the chords used in the lead sheet. Roots, fives, eights and threes with some flatted sevenths thrown in for the Blues flavor.

    Have fun.
  6. GypsyMan


    Jun 30, 2011
    Oooh Lyrics? Blues Lyrics?!

    I aint got no money, I aint got no job. Then my baby left me...

    Oh, that could be a country song too! I'll have to pick this up at home, but

    A, C, E :)
  7. If it's a Country song you have to get Momma, Train, Rain, Drunk, Prison and Pickup Truck into the lyrics.

    But, being a Texas boy you already know that.
  8. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    "Fish camp woman, I love the way you smell..." heh, heh a friend of mine does that one. Then, it goes on to say something about, "I don't know if it's the shrimp or the catfish [something like that?], I just can't tell." LMAO.

    I dunno, sometimes when I'm playing by myself, the first thing that comes off my fingertips becomes a groove, even if it's just one measure's worth. I just lay in it for awhile until some other changes come along.
  9. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    IMO, if you have to ask the question..."how do I write an original song?", you do not have enough knowledge of the genre to move forward. Kinda like saying "How do I write a novel?". You can learn the basics but in the end, it comes down to you applying what you know in a creative manner. It's a talent that usually takes time to develop and apply. If you don't know much, you won't be able to write much.

    As for writing a song with your bass, play the root notes of the progression you create and sing your lyrics over it. I also suggest you pick up a cheap portable keyboard and learn to play blues progressions. That way you can play your bass and sing along with the keyboard progressions. Another idea is to find some websites with bass backing tracks and play your bass along with singing your melodies/lyrics.

    Also consider going back to the musicians your influences learned from, the originators of the blues to learn from them directly.

    Here are a few links:
    Influential musicians (mostly) pre-1959
    History and styles
    20 important blues recordings & more

    On you can set up a station for yourself and listen to blues all day long. Lots of other internet stations that allow you listen to a whole lotta blues.

    IMO, improving your understanding of how blues progressions and blues changes work would serve you well in your song writing. Learning some basic music theory on chord progressions can form the foundation of your writing skills, same as learning the details of English grammar for story writing. I also suggest, if you haven't already, learning the Cycle/Circle of Fifths/Fourths.

    That being said, you can always start off a song with: When I woke up this morning.... :)

    Blues-rock...mmmm.....check out some Creedence Clearwater. John Fogarty is a master of blues rock, especially all the tunes he's written over the years that never got airplay. Lots of English bands in the sixties aped their favorite blues songs and turned them into rock songs. Look up rock guitarists of the sixties and you'll find plentiful examples that you can learn from.

    Also you might like to check out the >500 links in my sig below. There's a section on learning the blues.

    Good luck.
  10. GypsyMan


    Jun 30, 2011

    Went to pick up my mother....

    SING IT! <-- Only a few words, don't give it all away!
  11. GypsyMan


    Jun 30, 2011
    Oh hey, take a notebook with you everywhere you go.
    Keep a journal of everything you do, and anything interesting you see during the day.

    Then at the end of the day take a few sentences from each page to compse a song. Just the interesting things that your audience might be interested in. Put some notes to it. Here mine goes something like this...

    Starts out in E# from the D string, then G, A
    (This is where writing notation comes in handy)

    E# F A C
    I was in the shower this morning, Playing the soapy soapy game!
  12. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jun 12, 2021

Share This Page