Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Improve...or making up stuff

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by FourStrings88, Jun 20, 2004.


  1. FourStrings88

    FourStrings88

    Apr 17, 2003
    Well I have some issues on Improveing or making up a bass lick on my home need some help.For Instance if my buddy(guitarist)starts playing something how do you make up somethign for whatever it is?



    THANKS-
     
  2. Mudfuzz

    Mudfuzz

    Apr 3, 2004
    WA...
    Just start messing around in the same key until something happens. No can teach you how to make something up , you either do or you don’t, the important part is to try.
     
  3. jazzbo

    jazzbo

    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    FourStrings,

    You ask a complicated question with no easy answer. Have you considered a teacher?
     
  4. As Jazzbo said there is no easy answer to your question. However I´ll post as couple of links to some articles and lessons on the subject of bassline construction that I have found to be very good.

    http://www.harmony-central.com/Bass/Lessons/

    http://www.harmony-central.com/Bass/Articles/Running_with_the_Bass/

    http://www.harmony-central.com/Bass/Articles/Running_with_the_Bass/00index3.html

    Hope that helps, I dont know wich level you are on but those sites are good for beginners aswell for people who have been playing a while.

    Good Luck! :bassist:
     
  5. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    California
    You need to listen to more music.

    Shakespeare didn't set out to write Hamlet right after he learned how to write, just like Woody Allen didn't become a comedian right after learning how to talk. They developed a appreciation for the craft and took in as much of it as they could until they felt the need to express themselves in that way. What is this need? Probably the same thing that made you want to pick up the bass guitar.:)

    Let's go further. Writing and Performing standup or acting are similar to expressing oneself on an instrument because there are two aspects involved: the technical and the creative. The technical aspect is not hard to learn. They are the cliches, the trappings of the idiom. All you have to do is listen to what others have done and imitate them. You can get by this way, but it's not a lot of fun. This is why musicians of moderate talent who are focused can become more successful than those who are very talented but unfocused.

    The creative aspect is a lot of fun. It's expressing what you hear when you hear it in the manner that you hear it. That's what makes you different from all the other bass players in the world and what makes music worthwhile to perform, but you need to channel that creativity through a framework that allows you to present your ideas to others and allows them to have an appreciation, good or bad, of what you're doing or trying to do. By the same token, it'll be that same framework you'll use to determine whether another person's creative expression is working or not (I won't use words "good" or "bad" to qualify creative expression. Like Frank Zappa said, A lot of people are serious about expressing themselves. Whether they're successful or not is beside the point.)

    How does one learn about the framework? They expose themselves to it as much relevant music as possible. Not just music they like, but also what they might not like. Listen to the greats, listen to those the greats listened to. Also listen to music that's not so great and try to put your finger on what's wrong with it. Learn the melody and the basslines. Once a player has enough melodies and basslines internalized, ideas for basslines will flow very naturally, limited only by the framework of the music and the player's technical ability and natural talent.

    With all respect to Jazzbo, I will disagree that a teacher can be of direct help. A teacher can help a student with the technical part, but if a student does nothing but learn what they're being taught, and assuming the teacher is good and teaches everything s/he knows (a long process in and of itself!), the student will only become a carbon copy of teacher. A teacher can help a student indirectly by turning their ears to new music(s) that will excite them and stimulate their creativity within them and fuel their desire to improve. In the learning process, too much is expected of the teachers and not enough is expected of the students, IMO. Study = work.

    Like Charles Mingus said: "Better get it in your soul".

    Maybe now the voices in my head will go away. :rolleyes:
     
  6. jazzbo

    jazzbo

    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I agree that too much is expected of teachers, and not enough of students, but I definitely disagree that a teacher cannot be of direct help! Blackbird, is that smog down there getting too thick! :D A teacher can open up new concepts and ideas you wouldn't have considered on your own. A teacher can introduce new rhythms, demonstrate scales of practical value, analyze recorded music with you, and much more. In the end, would you hear my teacher's influence in my playing? Of course! But, you would also hear Jamerson's, probably more so. And I'm not a carbon copy of my teacher. First, he's far more talented and competent than I will probably ever be. But further, we're still quite different. A good teacher is key!
     
  7. Mudfuzz

    Mudfuzz

    Apr 3, 2004
    WA...
    For you, but you can not wrap everyone in a nice neat little package. I agree that getting a good framework is important, but no amount of learnin' can make you write or create music. All it can do is allow you to get it out of your head and into your hands, that's it. I think it is very irresponsible to say that there is only one way to learn anything. A teacher can help you learn the basics but he can not make you any more or any less creative then you are your self. I think that saying all you need is a teacher is a copout when dealing with the subject of making up stuff.
     
  8. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    California
    I live between a freeway and an airport. Air quality's not great, but it's not as bad as L.A. itself.:p

    You see, I'd put rhythms, scales, and song analysis (for purpose of transcription or study of song structure) under the "technical" heading. It's stuff that one could learn off a book with a modicum of success. The act of taking that information and using it in a more personal way is the real challenge and it's something that I think is very hard to teach someone else to do, if it can be taught at all. I think that's achieved by having a broad listening habit and internalizing various styles.

    And unless your teacher is phenomenally good, I don't see why you can't be as good as he is. Actually, I'm curious, who is he? PM me if you want.

    Oh, and I don't think you're irresponsible.;)
     
  9. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    You should bear in mind that every teacher is different, instead of trying to wrap them all in a nice little package. :smug:
     
  10. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    You're a spy aren't you? :ninja:
     
  11. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    California
    I'd tell you, but then I'd have to kill you. :eyebrow:
     
  12. Mudfuzz

    Mudfuzz

    Apr 3, 2004
    WA...
    The best that the best teacher can do is bring the best out of YOU; no more, no less.
     
  13. McHack

    McHack

    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    Woody Allen's a comedian? Funny, I find him more creepy than anything.
     
  14. jazzbo

    jazzbo

    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I agree. I am very glad that I didn't do that.

    "No amount of learnin' can make you write or create music." I'm sorry, I just don't understand that. Could you clarify, please, how you mean that?

    Me too, and I would never say that. The fact that you believe I said that is quite surprising, and I believe that you have misinterpreted my posts, which were very clear.

    A teacher can help one learn a lot more than just basics. Perhaps the teachers you've encountered in the past were inadequate.

    I just don't understand. Honestly. I never, ever, ever, in this post, or any post, of my over 6,500 posts, have ever, ever, insinuated, implied, stated directly or indirectly that "all you need is a teacher." Wow. You truly have misread my posts.

    Here's my first statement: "Have you considered a teacher?"
    Here was the next statement, followed up by facts to support it: "I definitely disagree that a teacher cannot be of direct help."

    I'm afraid that you may have interpreted my posts as one of the type of people who just says, "you can't learn on your own, get formal schooling." And further, I fear, and this is only an assumption, that you might be inclined to believe that theory and that sort of thing stifles creativity, and that either you have talent and musical ability or you don't. Hell, I don't know what you think. Maybe not.

    Here's what I know, in no uncertain terms, the ways in which you've misinterpreted what I've said are astounding to me. Here's where I was coming from: FourString felt that he didn't really know how to improvise well, and was having trouble. Trust me, not only have I been there, I'm still there, struggling to find the voice, etc. etc. Lots of people offered lots of advice, and sure, I could've typed a 600 word statement on different techniques, theory, learning, etc etc.. In fact, I'm quite known for that, and have contributed quite a bit of significant and extremely helpful information to this forum, (I can provide links if you want). But, it just seemed to me, that as he looks for his goal, and other people give advice, the idea of him sitting down one on one with an instructor, might really open up new ideas and concepts to him, stuff that he hadn't developed yet. Now, I'm not sure where this all got all convuluted or what, but I dont' know about those the-talent-is-within-you vs. the-talent-can-be-developed vs. anything else arguments. I just don't know.

    Here's what I know, and truly believe: A good teacher can be beneficial to most students.

    That's it. That's where I'm coming from. If you disagree with above statement, fine. No problem. You may be right, as truth be told, I'm often quite wrong about this. But, man, oh man, I just don't understand where some of the stuff in your post came from. Seriously.
     
  15. Mudfuzz

    Mudfuzz

    Apr 3, 2004
    WA...
    I might have gone off the deep end a bit, and I sorry if I offended you. I agree that a teacher can help with all that you have listed. In the end though you have to make the connection, you have to find your own voice,you have to take all the knowledge that your teacher and any other form of inspiration give you. That is my point.

    I am not one of those players that say that theory and that sort of thing stifles creativity, I just think that in the end you have to be able to use it and not limited by it [note: I did not get this from your post]. But I do think that there is a difference between improv and writing; be that as it may, a rather small one. I will admit that I have a hard time relating when people say they are looking to find their voice; I always have had a voice I just needed the knowledge to let it out.

    I think that WE BOTH are nitpicking, so I call truce; hear is my e-hand lets shake.

    Aaron N
     
  16. jazzbo

    jazzbo

    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Cool. :)
     
  17. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    California
    If you go back far enough in his history, you'll find that Woody Allen achieved fame through his standup comedy before going into filmmaking.

    There are recordings of that period of his career and it's pretty funny stuff that still holds up today.

    Makes Seinfeld sound stupid, actually.
     
  18. cassanova

    cassanova

    Sep 4, 2000
    Florida
    Originally Posted by jazzbo
    I agree that too much is expected of teachers, and not enough of students, but I definitely disagree that a teacher cannot be of direct help

    I agree with you on this. For some reason people think its the teachers responsability to make the student good. One thing I tell all my students before hand is "I cant make you good. I can only instruct you and show you what it takes to get good, its up to you after that."
     
  19. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    Personally, I spent about ten years "improvising" by ear and without the help of a teacher. Then I took some lessons and realised I was "improvising" the same tired old lines all the time and I didnt even realise it.

    Now, I still play the same old tired lines because they work, but at least I know I'm doing it! :D

    Seriously tho folks, just one years worth of monthly lessons set me in good stead to teach myself more effectively and begin to hear and understand music on a deeper level. I teach the basics to students now myself and being 100% honest, I dont even need the money, I do it because it made such a positive difference to may playing :)
     
  20. FourStrings88

    FourStrings88

    Apr 17, 2003
    I have the Best Teacher I could possibly get I think he isnt overwlemed with students which is good.He actually gave me a Eric Claptin Pick that was played by him in 1998 in Korea.I thank YOU ALL FOR THE INFORMATION feel free to IM VIA AIM-Silverpenny88 Yahoo-Silverpenny88.

    THANK YOU
    BY THE WAY CHEKC OUT THIS RADIO STATION IF YOU LIKE LOVE LINE YOU LOVE THIS-WARING EXPLICT CONTENT
    http://pervertradio.com/
    THANKS AGAIN