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Methods to solo song writing

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Aaron Saunders, Jul 21, 2004.

  1. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    How do you approach writing a song?

    Recently I took a shot at writing the lyrics to a song first and base it on a modified 12 bar blues pattern (I V VI instead of I IV V). As I was playing it and singing the lyrics over top (I was playing ths on my fretless), my playing doubled what I was singing. I found it sounded much better without the singing (and not just because I'm a poor singer :p). It made my bass playing very lyrical, and very singing -- something I've been wanting to do since I first uncovered the awesomeness of fretless. It came out with the best bassline I've ever written, and I know it was because it started out as a vocal line. It made the bass so much more expressive, and it's a perfect example of instruments having words too. All in all, it was a success and I'll probably do it a few more times in the future.
  2. You have just discovered one of the secrets of lyrical bass playing. McCartney used to do this sort of thing all the time, and IMNTLBHO more bassists could and should be doing exactly what you're doing.

    Bear in mind though that while the function of the bass can be expanded to include melodic playing (hello Jaco Pastorius, Stanley Clarke, Ray Brown, et al.), it's still got to be the bedrock foundation of the harmony as well. Unless your band has two basses, you probably won't want to pursue one function at the expense of the other.

    My two hundredths of a dollar.
  3. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    A tuba teacher of mine once told me, "If you can't sing it, you can't play it. If you can sing it, you can play it better than you can sing it."

    Using your voice to come up with lines or riffs or whole songs is one of the easiest ways to do it. It takes no technique to be able to do it, you can do it anywhere, and there are no barriers like hand stretches, intonation precision, or anything else. If it sounds like crap, it doesn't matter, you know what it is supposed to translate to, and then you translate it to whatever instruments you need to.