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Me do a solo? That's unpossible!

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by scottfeldstein, Jan 17, 2013.

  1. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    I'm a rock n' roll hack of a bass player. Never studied, but I've been around a while and I pick up a thing or two. Some folks think I'm pretty good. But the hidden truth is... I have no idea how to bust out passable a solo. Never really tried.

    Now I'm being threatened with a few measures of just that in a song we're recording. Here's a tiny bit of what the track is sounding like thus far.

    Do Right clip

  2. Red_Merkin


    Nov 12, 2012
    Minor pentatonic and blues scales, and don't lose the beat.
  3. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    Really? Don't lose the beat? So don't go full on melodic? Groove? That I know.
  4. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    Anyone else? This is your chance to tell me some cool technical trick, turn me on to some awesome internet resource, or tell me to just man up and go for it!
  5. Yeah, for me a solo means laying back on the track until the solo part and really just busting out the groove. For a solo you just want people to feel your part and think "that sounds really NICE" and have it stand out from the rest of the song. And I'm good at grooving, you say you're good at grooving, so do what would sound best out in front: Groove harder than usual.
  6. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
  7. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    Thanks! I'll check those out!
  8. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist Bassist for Michael "Epic Mic" Rowe

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Perhaps try playing with a different technique that lends some unique dynamics to the part? I'll throw in pop/slap or tapping to give it some vibe. For a more rock-ish style, try some aggressive double-thumbing like Victor Wooten does. You could play the same bassline you play during the song, but the subtle change of that will grab the crowd's attention in a good way. You could also try experimenting with effects that don't normally cut through the rest of the band...like fuzz, wah, envelope filter, or something along those lines.
  9. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    I actually am toying with the notion of busting out my Hot Hand and going full dub wobble on part of it. I'll be sitting down this weekend in earnest to work out that idea and all these others.
  10. viper4000


    Aug 17, 2010
    I'm in the same boat. Good groover, but not good at solos. When I am supposed to solo, I take the primary groove line, go up an octave, and embellish it. Not the best solution out there, I admit.
  11. Anthony Fury

    Anthony Fury

    Jan 20, 2009
    I like to find something familiar that "works" over the chord changes and then quote it. 99% of people won't catch it and will think it's unbridled genius. 0.9% of the people who actually do catch it will still appreciate it and will have to at least admit it was clever. The 0.1% of people who catch it and don't like it can go back to their house and listen to John McLaughlin for 6 hours straight through their $28,000 McIntosh sound system while they sniff the corks of their vintage wine collection. (BTW I like John McLaughlin; not hating.)

    I had a big (and technical) "what I'd try in this case" typed out...I'll post it if you want to read it.

    Anyway, YMMV. As stated, always keep the groove and keep in mind the wisdom of Victor Wooten, who once pointed out that nobody wants to hear a bass solo because the groove usually goes straight out the door.

    BTW, I liked the Ralph Wiggum reference. :)
  12. BobaFret

    BobaFret Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2008
    I'm also in this boat and while I really don't like or enjoy soloing, I'm going to try to effects them where it counts. Octaver/Filter/Dirt whatever. Less solo, more soundscape. We'll see how it work on the 27th.
  13. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    Yeah, I heard him say that, too. Could be that taking that advice will be capitalizing on my strengths, too.

    And please do post whatever you have, man! Rest assured I'll read it!
  14. After listening to the clip, I will second using minor pentatonic and blues scales.
    Check out MarlowDK on you tube. He has a great video of the complete minor pentatonic scale, and follow up video's with some cool licks based on the scale, and some backing tracks minus the bass.

    Hope this helps.
  15. capncal


    Apr 14, 2009
    dude, i'd go all Dethklok on they asses and pull yer dong out and slap the finish off yer bass for a few measures. that's rock and roll right there.
  16. PauFerro


    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    Try creating a melody that uses only the root, third, fifth, seventh and octave of the chords. Don't be afraid to use repetition in your solo, or even stay on one note for a while, changing the rhythmn. That has gotten me through many a jazz gig before I knew how to improvise. Also, try embellishing the melody or at least using the notes from it, but changing them rhythmnically.
    Throw in some chromaticism leading up to the chord tones to keep it interesting....
  17. I always attempt to lay down something that is singable and doesn't make the song lose its feel and pocket.

    watch the clip from Victor Wooten's Groove Workshop about why people don't like bass solos (I think it can be found on YouTube).

    also, the best example of the kind of bass solo people like (at least IME) is Willie Weeks' solo on Everything is Everything, Donnie Hathaway. perfect example of a solo that is catchy, singable, and doesn't at all diminish the feel and pocket of the song.

    obviously your group's tune is a little different stylistically than Everything is Everything, but these same principles can absolutely be applied.
  18. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    If you can't catch it by the clip, it's a cover of Why Don't You Do Right (Peggy Lee, Jessica Rabbit) with a hip-hop beat and some synths, etc.
  19. Anthony Fury

    Anthony Fury

    Jan 20, 2009
    HAHA!! An example of technique I would avoid totally -

    "What key is this song in? Because F*** it, I'm bringing this bitch down to E so I can throw EVERY open E trick I've got in there. BOO YEAH."

    I still can't believe YANNI -who could probably afford anyone in the world- got this clown in his band AND let him do this on his bandstand in front of paying concert goers, 1993 or not!

    Anyhow....."for instance:"

    In the front 4 bars,

    (i i FlatVI[SUP]7[/SUP] V[SUP]7[/SUP]) x2

    I think I'd try to steal from / quote one of the Brian Setzer solos in "Stray Cat Strut". His lines are simultaneously melodic and groove-able (IMO).

    For the back 4 bars,

    (FlatVI[SUP]maj7[/SUP] FlatVI[SUP]maj7[/SUP] FlatVI[SUP]maj7[/SUP] V[SUP]7[/SUP]) (i i i i)

    I'd find something to throw over the FlatVI chords which picks up where I left off with the Setzer quote off and links to a minor version of the last lick in the theme from "This Old House" (which goes V I). That part might sound a little cheesy so play with it, haha.

    Or pick a couple of melodies from songs you really like and hammer them around to get them inside the changes. Many ways to skin the cat.

    Again, YMMV, HTH.
  20. Itzayana


    Aug 15, 2012
    Oakland Ca
    I always think, how would I sing it. That anchors me into the motif of the song. I play that singing melody while keeping the groove going with ghost notes around it.
    A solo needs (IMHO) to serve the song. Otherwise it is just a bunch of fast runs and tricky licks or a continuation of the basic groove. Either of which a too boring to be an effective solo.
    Just my 2cents.