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I'm not comfortable soloing....

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Tony G, Aug 15, 2007.

  1. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    I've been playing over ten years. I feel I can hold my own for the most part and enjoy playing bass. I have alway been the funker/groover/foundation kind of guy. However, I've not been comfortable soloing in a band context. I lay down the groove, keep the song moving, and enjoy playing some funky, sometimes exotic, bass lines. I don't know if it is just that I don't know what to play, or how to play it, or whatever, when it comes to solo during a song. Give me a funky beat though, and I'll come up with a funky bass line no problem. I very rarely venture up past the 12th fret. I keep it low, I keep it funky, I keep it grooving. But, there have been the occasional time here and there where I've been asked to do a solo in a song. Now, I'm not talking about crazy blazing fast rock bass solos, or insane slap solos. I would just like to come up with something tasteful and fitting for the song, and be just as comfortable with it as I am coming up with funky bass lines. Any suggestions?
  2. You know, your best option might be to look into some Jazz. I find the Todd Johnson section of TB has a very nice section called "The Jazz Gym" that would help. Maybe if you belong to www.musicdojo.com (Which I highly reccomend) you could check out Adam Nitti's Jazz improv class.

    The reason I bring up Jazz is because I know learning to play jazz and learning the fundamentals of it have helped me and many other bassist's I'm sure re-approach soloing.

    Hope it works for ya! :)
  3. Poop-Loops

    Poop-Loops Inactive

    Mar 3, 2006
    Auburn, Washington
    Look at some guitar solos and see what those guys do. Some of my favorite solos end up being insanely easy.

    Not so much the mechanics, i.e. "blazing fast", but the intervals and timings they use. That can give you an idea of how to do your own solos.

    Oh, but don't follow a guitar solo's time structure much... guitarists don't really care. So a bass solo will be harder... =/
  4. KayCee


    Oct 4, 2004
    Shawnee, KS
    Try singing some ideas and work them out on the bass. As the jazz players say, "Tell a story".
  5. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
  6. dogbass


    Aug 9, 2006
    Bay Area, CA
    I love listening to a funky groove ! Keep that going, make sure your guitar mates drop way down (or out) for 8 bars or so, pop a couple of octaves and voila...you've nailed a solo. :bassist:
  7. ben_the_bass


    Jul 12, 2005
    then don't...
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Sorry, "don't" is not an option. Unless you play in the same band forever, someone somewhere will call upon you to take a solo at some point.
  9. Rune Bivrin

    Rune Bivrin Supporting Member

    Oct 2, 2006
    Huddinge, Sweden
    If Jeff Porcaro could be adamant about not playing drum solos, I'm not beyond refusing to play bass solos. An audience of regular people rather than sociopathic musicians will thank me.
  10. Just get up the neck and create some pentatonic riffs that will cut through. No need to actually solo - just get an octave up and change the groove. Try doubling the speed you're play up there as well. Just run down from the root note in three notes at a time in triplets - each three notes starts a note lower on the pentatonic scale intil you nail the root again - that's 5 triplets.
  11. Deacon_Blues


    Feb 11, 2007
    I've read a lot of your posts here and you seem to be a guy with a pretty good theoretical knowledge. Use it. Remember nothing comes without practicing. Practice soloing over your favorite tunes and I think you will start to come up with some ideas.

    I don't solo very much and I'm not really very confident in it either, but I've found the method above to be very handy when trying to come up with ideas on soloing.
  12. El Bajo

    El Bajo

    Apr 12, 2006
    If you can do funky grooves, check out Aeroplean by chilli peppers. He barely plays yet its such a powerful solo.

    Personally I'm not a naturally funk orientated player so I'm already jelous of your knowledge of the style and all you need to do really is expand on your already existing grooves. A few walk ups, octaves, pops and slides and you'll be fine

    I also find it helps to put a slight bit of overdrive on the to make it leap out but also soften the tone a bit
  13. Humblerumble


    Feb 22, 2004
    I am not a big fan of solos either, but there is a lot of good advice here. I hate to drop the groove to solo so I try to keep the feel and add to it. The overdrive tip is good and sometimes I will kick on my dynamic wah for a different sound.
  14. Matthijs


    Jul 3, 2006
    I can really relate to your problem, I could have posted it myself. Lately I find my rocco Prestia quote: "Why am I not playing any solos? I'm playing solo all the time!", doesn't work as wel as it used to do. I can find something usefull in most of the replies to your post, especially the ones telling us we have to practice (duh), but there's something else too: there's a reason we didn't practice playing solos for the last ten (in my case 25) years; we just do'n't like doing them as much as locking in in an inventive groove. My worry is: if I do a solo it will sound as a chore, not as me having fun on the bass.
  15. dvh

    dvh Supporting Member

    Sep 1, 2006
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    THe first and last (above) posts could have been written by me. I love to lay down a solid groove and am a "time machine" (the drummer has said if he starts to lose it he listens to me) but I'm totally unconfident soloing.

    Good advice above, I'll try some of it.
  16. BassChuck

    BassChuck Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Good posts here. I'm in the same situation/opinion. Let me add that solos reallly don't have to be all that complicated. I've seen a lot of young musicians (or musicians who don't solo very much) try to do everything all at once. Keep it really simple. Most of the time a bass player has a solo everyone else stops and the drummer gets really light and simple. The audience will hear what you are doing, you don't have to compete with a busy drummer and funky bass player.

    If you can't come up with a cool line, just keep your groove going and let people hear it clearly.

    OTOH.... Lynn Seaton says that a "well-dressed" bass player should be able to solo through blues changes in all keys. Of course that's a jazz players comment, but I think its great advice.
  17. jeffbassguy

    jeffbassguy "Less is more, unless the guitarist sucks"

    Feb 4, 2001
    ignore the first 12 frets completely and play the songs you normally would in the upper register. You'll hear much better what you want your hands to do. I also love 6ths and chords when soloing over a groove funk song. As always....just an opinion
  18. DougD

    DougD Bassman7654

    Sep 19, 2002
    North Las Vegas NV
    I have the same problem. Funny thing is.. I can play someone elses solo almost note for note. But for some reason my mind goes blank when it's time for ME to solo. I can solo inside a song or groove all night long, but if the band drops out i start shooting blanks. :meh:
  19. Sixths for the win...

    Don't worry about impressing anybody - just play a groove up high
  20. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    thanks for all the advice everyone. I'll keep plugging along with it.

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