Improvising live

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by FLEABITE, Apr 23, 2001.



    Apr 13, 2001
    Kent, England.
    everytime I play live, I always try and improvise fills and melodies to push the limit and test my abilities. Just wondering what ppl's opinions are on this. Is it better to play the song as rehearsed/written and avoid mistakes or take a chance and improvise something to develop your style.
  2. Lovebown


    Jan 6, 2001
    Depends. Well, if you can pull off some pretty cool stuff without jeopoardizing (sp?) the
    song then you should probably rock loose with the improvised stuff IMO. Keep in mind, that you shouldnt do too much flashy stuff at once... cuz then it'll get boring... play the regular line, then blend in the fill then go back... etc.

  3. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    yep, contrast is good. I think live is a great time to push the limit though, just don't step all over the songs. Mistakes go by real fast live, so unless you screw up a lot, or hit something particularly sour, you can usually cover.
  4. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    I usually use live settings to refine bass lines. I'll improvise to the point where I find what I think works best, then lock it in. While some songs are open to constant variations, my goal is to find a groove that works and keep it.
  5. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...guys, there's a thread, with about 3 pages of feedback, over in Misc called "Are You A Chronic Improviser" that may be of some interest.
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    On reading this thread, I can't help remembering a job I used to do several years ago. I was producing statistical reports on the accidents that had occurred in our organisation. There was a complex bureacratic process, where you filled out lots of forms and registered "industrial" accidents in a workplace ledger and had to involve several managers as well as the local council.

    My favourite case was one headed "FLEABITE" - I remember the description of the "accident" as : " a flea jumped up from a bag on the floor and bit my leg". OK it was a boring job (!), but this kept me laughing for a few hours, at the time. ;)
  7. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Was that another story like the one about the woman who got ten million for pouring McDonalds coffee onto her crotch?
  8. Mike


    Sep 7, 2000
    Improvising is great but is also the great unknown. Some nights you'll do everything right and "feel" it and amaze yourself (maybe.) On other nights you'll hate everything you do and be afraid to look at yourself in the mirror the next morning (definitely.)

    It just depends on how comfortable you feel making mistakes now and then.
  9. duff_hodges


    May 15, 2000
    Suffolk, UK
    I agree with paleale. Its happened to me serveral times where I do a gig, improvise like a buggar, and come out on top feeling great. But the have been times where I have made a complete @$$ of myself when I couldn't pull of certain bass lines! :)