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melody bass break

Discussion in 'Bluegrass [DB]' started by patrol35, Dec 9, 2011.

  1. patrol35


    Dec 9, 2011
    I have been playing bluegrass bass for some years now and learning to sing. While I do take a few bass breaks, it is not the melody I play. My question is (are) there a song or two that comes to anyone's mind that the melody would be easy to learn of a bluegrass song. Something like Tom Gray's Grand Fathers Clock is too much for me to learn by myself. Suggestions.
    Thanks in advance,
  2. I'd suggest something like "I'll Fly Away" or "Bury Me Beneath the Willow".

    Decide on a key that suits your voice, sing it slowly and try to pick out the melody on your bass as you go along.
  3. MaxJohnson

    MaxJohnson Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Angeline the Baker, Clinch Mountain Back Step, the vocal melody of Goodbye Liza Jane, learning vocal melodies of Jimmy Martin are good too. But you should challenge yourself to learn something like Dailey's Reel or Blackberry Blossom, as they will get the blood flowing.
  4. superman


    Mar 5, 2007
    Nashville Tenn
    Check out my YouTube page,,It's full of great bass solos from the master of solo slap bass Joe Zinkan,,this is where the rest of it came from,. Alabama Jubilee.Joe Zinkan - YouTube
  5. Amazing grace is a great tune to learn on--simple melody that almost everyone knows. Old Joe Clark is one that is faster and a little more challenging but still fairly simple.

    A lot of it has to do with the key. I find G, D, and A to be the easiest key to solo in because I can really take advantage of the open strings.
  6. skwee


    Apr 2, 2010
    Black is the Color of my True Love's Hair.
  7. WilliamJames


    Mar 2, 2011
    Seller of Hand-Knit Strap Pads
    x2 for Amazing Grace.

    The melody is easy to play on bass. If you pick a song you have heard a million times it comes a lot easier.
  8. rprowse


    Dec 17, 2005
    Wellington NZ
    This guy is wonderful! Thanks for posting. Can you share any insights into how he does this - how I could start practising this style?
  9. bobsax


    Jan 16, 2011
    Southern Oregon
    Old Joe in A is pretty easy and I'm not that good.

    Charlie Haden/Quartet West/ Taney County is a nearly 8min solo bass medley of a boot load of bluegrass and old time heads.
  10. skwee


    Apr 2, 2010
    I've used Black is the Color of my True Love's Hair
  11. Gratefull Dead's Friend of the Devil is a good one for bass. Simple descending G scale for the beginning.
  12. bobsax


    Jan 16, 2011
    Southern Oregon
    We do this one in my Jam group. It's a fun bass line. It also works on Blackberry Blossom.

    I put up a lot of our tunes on the iReal B forums. You can find both songs here http://irealb.com/forums/forum.php
    Now that you mention it I think I'll practice it in Ab and F# and some other keys to work on my harder scales in tune.

    Right now I'm working on the melody to Arkansas Traveler and House of the Rising Sun (it's a nice bluegrass tune)

    I also worked up Angeline the Baker. It lays well in D.
    This album has a great version with Samson Grisman playing the melody on bass. iTunes has long samples* http://acousticoasis.com/rooms/studio/slapback/slapback.html

    *I listened to and learned the Grateful Dead's version of Cold Rain and Snow listening to 90sec samples on iTunes, almost all different recordings.