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Introducing New Material in Original Projects

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Unrepresented, Feb 23, 2008.

  1. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    This seems like it should be an easy question, but I'm interested in nuanced answers here.

    As a bassist, how do you introduce new material for an original band? It seems fairly easy if you're a guitarist/vocalist, as typically that's the focus of rock music, and the rest of the band is usually focused around playing to those parts.

    Is it harder for guitarists to play to basslines than for bassists to play to guitarists as it can be a bit of a role reversal? I've tried to bring in a couple ideas recently and it seems like only the drummer can get on the same page as me.

    What techniques do you use? Recording ideas in advance? Bringing in charts/tabs? Using a different instrument (guitar/keys/etc) to walk them through changes? Let the other members struggle through and work out whatever they want through jams?

    Basslines are foundation but unfortunately don't often easily convey the "meat" that they support. How do I get the meat sections properly processed?

    I'm just trying to figure out if it's the instrument itself, or my approach that's not yielding the results I'm looking for.
  2. I'm rather interested in this too, because things that sound good in a band context rarely sound particularly interesting on a single lone instrument, bass in particular. As a result, you can't judge whether what you got will yield anything useful to the group.

    Personally I find your best bet for writing new stuff and coming in with ideas is to record your jams. We just go out on tangents for half an hour and theres all these ideas mixed in there. If you come in next practice with an idea based of something in the jam then you can easily say "listen to this in the jam, now imagine if I were doing this, or you were doing this, or...or". The recording serves as a good way to take people back to the moment they were jamming and it's easier to see how things will sit in. I have a hard time just sitting there by myself and thinking up something cool, so I try to be as involved with the other instruments as possible.
  3. El-Bob

    El-Bob Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2006
    Hamilton, ON
    we use guitar pro to get our ideas down, send the files back and forth adding on to what the other band members do and continue until we have a full song, then we learn it at home, and practice it when we jam.
  4. ric1312

    ric1312 Banned

    Apr 16, 2006
    chicago, IL.
    As far as bass, lay the bass line down and have the drummer lock with you. Any good gui**** will be able to make up a complimentary rhythm or solo over it.

    Now if you have it in your head to write their parts and yours thats a different story. You'll have to learn their instrument to show them or both read and write music..... and have a guitar player not get mad at you for writing their parts.

    It also helps if you have a structure for the song already layed out with obvious verse chorus and build ups and breaks. Also if you are the singer and the bas player it helps.
  5. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    I'll typically record at least scratch demos (drums, bass, guitars, vocals) to map out tempos, chords changes, any signature instrument lines, and song structure.

    In most situations, once the band has heard what the song can sound like, I usually want them to use the demo only as a starting point. YMMV, but if I'm bringing tunes to a band, I don't want them simply parroting the demo. It's a fine line sometimes, fleshing out the demo enough to guide the band's thinking without making it such a finished recording that the demo becomes THE arrangement.
  6. anderbass


    Dec 20, 2005
    Phoenix. Az.

    Get yourself a guitar, mic and some type of home recording device.
  7. when it comes to introducing new material, as a bassist, it is crucial to have a good drummer with creative phrasing. I generally have a one-on-one session with my drummer when my guitarist is taking a break. And from there, everything jives.
  8. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Yeah, drummer and I click together well, it's just trying to introduce an idea to a guitarist without telling them what to play while still keeping a vision somewhat alive. Perhaps I'm asking too much.
    I'm competent/fairly good at guitar. That's not an issue. I just don't want to restrict them and consequently decrease the camaraderie and unity by writing parts for other instruments any more than I have to.
    This is sorta where I'm at. I don't want to write the parts for other musicians. I want them to create the parts I would never have come up. But as it is, I come in with a bassline and it seems like they're strrrrruuuuggggling with following my lead -- minus the drummer, who's is sharing a growing "rhythm section identity" with me. I'm not sure how responsive they'll be to me bringing in a multitrack demo. To me that feels too constricting and presumptious. Most of the material was already written before I entered in as bassist, and most was shown to me as more/less a completed piece that all of the band was familiar with -- catching me up to speed. I can do that, and in fact have a number of multitrack recordings of my ideas, but I do want to maintain a feeling of inclusion and inclusion and shared creativity at the same time.

    In my head, every aspect that I get them to contribute to "my song" gets them more involved and therefore interested in it -- and hopefully creates something greater than I, as a bass player -- could do singlehandedly. I just need to facilitate that act.
  9. Maybe it's because when coming up with songs or parts- I'm not completely stuck in a mindset as to EXACTLY what the part or song is going to sound like.

    I play with some really great musicians. Generally speaking, they don't need to be told what to. If there IS a part that anyone's adamant about- Guitar players can get the point across by playing the line- I'm relatively fluent on guitar, so I can show the part- the keys and drums are just humming or a 'bam bam' sort of thing.
  10. Groover


    Jun 28, 2005
    Ohio, USA
    It varies I guess on the people you play with. In my case, I'm the one with less experience, so when we first started playing together, I was asked to play something and then they'd come in. Many of our original's songs came about from some of my bass lines. However, our lead guitar/singer is really talented, and actually likes it when I bring in a new bass line so he can work with it (as long as it’s within our style of course). Oddly, the drummer has put in his part after the guitar and I have already nailed-down the main structure of the tune.

    We're a three piece, so that may have something to do with it too.

    To answer your question, I’d probably present your idea by playing the main hook, and a maybe a change or two so they get the feel, but don’t play the entire song because that sets it in stone so-to-speak. Perhaps give an idea on how you think the songs should end, but let the guitar/lyricists work out on how to put it together, as in how many changes, etc. That will give them room and flexibility to place their solos, fills, and place lyrics where he/she feels they need to be.
  11. llatikcuf


    Aug 24, 2007
    Sitting in the mix well
    The guitarists I write with usually just have trouble seeing what notes I'm playing, especially if I'm playing something melodic. After a while it occured to us that I only have a 12th fret marker that is visible to them (I just see my side dots). I just strip down what I'm playing and give them the important notes and then they can find the starting chords and we're off.
    In our case it also helps that we all play bass and guitar to some extent, so we understand the different ways they can work together.
  12. In my current project if I'm bringing in a song I've written and arranged, I'll give my guitarist the changes and the hook/riff, if there is one. He'll then usually find the best chordal voicings and add embellishments. Same deal with the vocals. My voice sounds terrible but I can sing in pitch well enough to convey basic melodies to the singer and then let him riff off that. The drummer plays along with the rest of the band. If I like what he's playing I'll leave him alone. Being a drummer as well often I have a particular groove/feel in mind and I'll sit down and show him what I'm going for.

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