Ideas and phrases in bass lines... they used to be common.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by NCD, Mar 28, 2011.

  1. P-oddz

    P-oddz Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2009
    Milwaukee, WI

    I get what you're saying, completely. I am just a hair over 30 myself, and am familiar with Kansas to an extent (more radio-played Kansas anyway). After listening to the clips of the songs you mentioned, I get a feeling of where the original thrust of your comment came from regarding a bassist's role or even possibly, their take on the instrument these days. As a blanket statement, I guess it sounded generally like a busier role for rock bass (which I guess was your point from the start).

    Without going into what's popular these days, I would hazard a guess to say that things changed particularly because of genre changes, and evolving styles. Specifically in the second song you mentioned, I noticed an almost "funk" approach to some of the lines. I guess I would be the whipper-snapper to say that the popularity of some of these styles maybe just kind of fell off the map, due to new sounds (for better or worse). I would also say (if this was your point, then yes I am in agreement with), that bass has seemed to take on a different role in music. No longer is it really an up front type of instrument, rather than most of the time as a background pocket-glue. There are absolutely exceptions to this rule, and there still are great players getting their sound and style out there, but I would agree with previous comments that the hook is where it's at these days (again for better or worse).

    I play in a band with a few music snobs (particularly my lead singer :bag:), and he talks of knowing the difference between something being "phoned in" or not. It took me a while to understand this idea, and even as pretentious as it sounded to me to label someone's music as "phoned in", it actually makes a lot of sense. The thing I guess you need to discern for yourself (meaning all of us) is what is good because it is simple, and what is lazy because it is simple.

    But I digress...

    Anyway, after realizing a bit more of where you are coming from interest-wise, I'm not so sure you'll find too much in my list that floats your boat. :D

    A lot of things that I posted are less bass-centric, but heavier on the overall "swagger" as I like to coin it. Maybe that reflects my opinion of what type of bass player I admire - "The pocket groover". Often times if the song catches me right, I know the bass is doing a huge part of that. Seemless music, rather than a collection of instruments.

    That being said - I really admire the rhythm sections in some of the bands I posted. I Love what Mew does, period - and Coheed and Cambria and Them Crooked Vultures have solid rhythm sections. (Then again Them Crooked Vultures is Dave Grohl / John Paul Jones so what else would you expect).
  2. NCD


    Mar 19, 2011
    P-oddz wrote:

    The thing I guess you need to discern for yourself (meaning all of us) is what is good because it is simple, and what is lazy because it is simple.

    But I digress...

    But actually you don't digress... this is at the core of the issue.

    Jamerson and Dave Hope (the bassist for Kansas) got completely different results but both were awesome. Their approaches have a LOT in common.

    Each was an integral part of the songs they played on, they weren't background fill or just a foundation for chords and melody. Each could play a simple line with just enough accent to have it's own hook or do mind bogglingly complex lines in ways that always made the songs better for it.

    Kansas and Motown are completely different sounds... but the role of the bass in each is similar. It's what I grew up listening to and to hear music without that, after you've gotten used to it, leaves you feeling that the music without it is missing something important.

    It took a while but you do seem to get what I'm trying to say, so I'm hoping others do too.
  3. masterFlash


    Jul 6, 2009
    Oh and how could we forget SquarePusher. He's a fantastic blend of technology and sweet innovative bass playing.
  4. NCD


    Mar 19, 2011
    THIS is what I meant to say all along:

    I can't believe it took me 3 pages of back and forth to think of this when this should have been the first thing I wrote.

    In manufacturing they used to hand craft everything. Then they came up with molds and just started popping out copy after copy, and just changing the paint.

    Now in television if one show gets popular, you see six more clones pop up. The "Judge" or "Court" shows and "reality television" are perfect examples of this.

    In music they've done the same thing. It's no coincidence that Jessica Simpson and Brittany Spears both were blondes with a tan, etc. etc. and both singing the same style music. How many gangster rappers came out of the woodwork when one got popular?

    But when you make music by using a mold to produce copy after copy, with basic rhythm and bass, then they all sound like shallow copies of each other... with a coat of paint.

    But good music has to be hand crafted. You need to take care to ensure that all the parts fit together seamlessly and no one part is bearing any more or less weight than the others, or gets in the way of the others.

    Old, new, country, rock, alternative... it doesn't matter. If you use a cookie cutter approach then all you get is a copy of a copy.

    But a fine artisan crafts each masterpiece by hand, one at a time.
  5. NCD


    Mar 19, 2011
    A closing thought...

    Many of you know that Etienne38 does some great work providing all of us with tabs here in the Tablature forum. One of those tabs happens to be for a song I had mentioned above as one that's "fairly simple" yet still has a great part for the bass.

    Well, I retract part of my statement... it ain't simple at all when you dig into it. If you enjoyed Darling Dear or get into creative bass with interesting rhythmic elements, you'll love this.

    Just play through the intro an first verse... it's only about the first 40 seconds of the song. By that point, you'll know if this kind of playing is for you.

    Odds are you'll be hooked and want to finish the song... so don't start this 20 minutes before you're supposed to take the wife or hubby out for dinner!

    Kansas, "What's on My Mind".
    Tab brought to you by Etienne38:
    I love tabs .com : Tablators "+R" for bass guitar
  6. OneMoreRobot


    Jan 23, 2009
    I'm so ****ing sick of people ranting on here about how great old music used to be and how everything sucks nowadays.

    There are great new bands that are MORE talented than other bands who get moaned about on here. If people would just used the goddamn search function on other websites...

    Yeah, pop music sucks. Don't listen to it. I don't know a single Top 40 song, and I have nothing to complain about.
  7. + a million. You can't just turn the radio on...
  8. NCD


    Mar 19, 2011
    Nice to see that some people have hours and hours to spend sifting through thousands of songs to search out the things they like. As for the rest of us, not so much.
  9. Nice sour grapes.

    It's not that difficult.
  10. NCD


    Mar 19, 2011
    Sour grapes? :rollno:

    Not hardly LOL... After three sessions of about two hours each and nothing found to show for it I just shrugged and went on to do more productive things with the time. Things such as learning to play songs I do enjoy and learning how those lines were constructed so I can create some of my own.

    A person will only put effort into a search that gives no results for so long. After that you check out leads you get here and there to check out specific bands but you don't spend any more time on random searches.

    But if you want to imagine that it has to be some form of sour grapes then go right ahead... who am I to destroy your illusions by pointing out reality. lol
  11. OneMoreRobot


    Jan 23, 2009

    Plus I'm sure plenty of other people can suggest more. Spend the 5 minutes it takes to make a station, listen to it while you do something else, and tag songs you like. I discover at least 2 new bands that I like EVERY time I use Pandora or It's not difficult.
  12. What he said...
  13. 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 23, 2021

Share This Page