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I want to start to do arrengments on bass

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Alejandro Q, Nov 26, 2018.


  1. Alejandro Q

    Alejandro Q

    Jun 16, 2017
    ...But I don't even know where to start. You know what I'm talking about, soloing and all that stuff. Portrait of Tracy, Isn't she lovely or just arrenging a song for bass. Do you know what could I do to start to learn to do that? Not only the theoretical side of this stuff, but also the technical one.

    In a nutshell, what I want to be able to do is pick up my bass, go to an open mic and entertain the people without the need for other people to play with me.
     
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Me too. I've been trying, puts some examples in my old thread here: "You can't play chords on bass"

    I've just been trying to come up with cool bass arpeggios and lines that highlight the chord structure enough to sing along to. The best examples I've managed so far:



     
  3. Alejandro Q

    Alejandro Q

    Jun 16, 2017
    But that sound great, man! I can't even do half of that. How did you approach it to get there?
     
  4. Assuming you can already play to some extent, I would say the next thing you need to learn is how to play chords on bass. You will end up basically (no pun intended) learning to play a bass like a guitar.
     
  5. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Have you learned "Portrait of Tracy" and "Isn't She Lovely" note for note, by ear? If not, that's a good start. :)

    Once you've learned some solo-bass arrangements by other musicians, then it's time to start making your own. I suggest to start with incredibly easy songs like "Happy Birthday" or "Mary Had a Little Lamb." First learn the melody, then add the bass notes, and then finally add the harmony.

    Another tip is, if you can sing the songs, the entire process will be much easier.

    Good luck! :)
     
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  6. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Well yes, but no, need to play it more "bass-like" than on a guitar, some things don't work the same, I use a hybrid approach, even finger-picking sometimes (but it comes out differently than on guitar).
     
  7. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Well, first you need to really know the song well enough be able to play the song and sing it backwards and forwards on some instrument at least - but if I can play it on guitar, it seems I ought to be able to arrange it for bass. Figuring out how to use chords on bass (started with scales and arpeggios) is half the battle - still working on it.

    And thanks for the compliment! :D
     
  8. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I'd put the order the other way around - start with the chord structure first, that's the key to arranging. ;)
     
  9. Yeah, I get what you are saying. I worked briefly with another bassist to do some bass duet gigs but other stuff got in the way. But we did a version of this song which came out pretty good. My friend did the chords and I did the melody line and solos.
     

    Attached Files:

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  10. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Wow, excellent, really digging that, very close to jazz "comping" - something I'm in awe of but haven't yet learned to do - the jazz cats who can play the melody and enough of the chords and bass line to sketch out the whole song at once just amaze me. More practice! :D
     
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  11. I suggest you listen to some jazz guitarists. Concentrate on how they play a mixture of notes and chords to present the whole picture. Phrasing, chord voicing and deciding what to keep in and what to leave out are crucial. If you play chords (three notes or more) try to include the notes of the melody you're playing to give continuity to it. Usually sticking to double stops is just as effective in conveying the chord structure. By alternating between root third, root five, third fifth, third octave, etc. the background will be recognizable but not boring. Hope this helps.
     
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  12. We must have been answering at the same time. I didn't mean to repeat what you just said. I must have taken too long proofreading. :cool:
     
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  13. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Another of my examples - since OP asked "how" - I called this "Whale Noodle Casserole", since it was "leftovers" from making "Nantucket Sleighride" - basically just a chordal inversion study of all of the usable inversions I could find of Em and D Major going up and down the neck - not much standalone, but could be part of something larger. But really just exercises / chord studies.

    (It's just the same chord block repeated a bunch of times, I use it for practicing guitar soloing over.) ;)
     
  14. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Jazz guitarist Jody Fisher has some really excellent courses on simultaneously playing chords, melody, and walking bass. Check out some of the free samples on YouTube to get a taste!
     
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  15. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    It's actually kind of funny, because I was responding to Spin Doctor's previous post (great example of bass chord comping), while you were responding to OP, but yeah, I agree. :D
     
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  16. BMGecko

    BMGecko

    Sep 5, 2002
    Albuquerque, NM
    I've got just two words for you.

    Andres Rotmistrovsky.

    Guy does some beautiful playing, great tunes, backing folks up or playing unaccompanied. Might not be some folks' thing though.
     
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  17. rwkeating

    rwkeating

    Oct 1, 2014
    Chicago
    none
    Rather than focusing on chords I tried to capture the essence of the song from the bass line and the melody. I alternated between the bass and the melody and tried to use space and rhythm to convey the feel of the song. Just another approach.
     
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  18. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Very Tasty!
     
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  19. Yeah the guy is pretty heavy. The style he plays is more or less the vibe I would go for.
     
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  20. Well first, I’d say you need to develop a guitarist’s chord vocabulary. You’ll need to figure out a way to play all your major, minor, dominant 7, suspended, diminished, and augmented chords in all their inversions, so you can place any chord note at the top for melody purposes. Then you string them together to make the song. It also helps to have a high C string for higher voicings. Low bass chords are just muddy.
     
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