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Music Demographics (Is 'slap bass' the new 'guitar solo'?)

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Brat Kenhater, May 23, 2017.

  1. Brat Kenhater

    Brat Kenhater

    Jan 7, 2010
    I was having a discussion with another musician

    the other guy was an old school rock guitar player that believes that the entire musical universe revolves around the guitar. his attitude is the audiences in general, but lets just say the 40 and above crowd in particular, like the guitar god philosophy

    my response was that in 2017, folks of all ages including the 40+ crowd like to be entertained and want to hear players play on all instruments including bass, flashy playing in particular. slap bass is flashy to an audience and they seem to respond to that much in the same way folks used to respond to the guitar solo back in the 70s and 80s because it seems that everytime i do a slap solo, or see another bass player do it, the crowd lights up in the same way they did for flashy guitar soloing back in the day

    my question is am i really making an observation about a truth or is it my blinders-on ego talking?
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Nah. You must just really be able to groove well. And I'm not kidding.

    Audiences like simple, memorable songs with great grooves that are easy to dance to (talking bar gigs here), or party rock/modern country for the most part.

    They don't know or care if the guitarist and/or bass player is amazing....unless you really go out of your way to prove it to them.

    If bass solos are working for you, great. But I don't think audiences i general are starting to "get it" when bass players do flashy slap solos.

    If Bootsy does a really simple bass solo, the crowd is going to go nuts because he is putting on a show! If you stand in the back of the band, in a shadow, look bored or mad, don't dress the part or work it, and play an incredible solo, nobody will care. The totality of "the show" gets the crowd. You are obviously putting on a show....whatever that means in your particular band.
  3. Brat Kenhater

    Brat Kenhater

    Jan 7, 2010
    i only do a few here and there. our band throws the spotlight all around the stage. its just an old-school style top 40 band with guitar, bass, keys, sax all getting features throughout the night. kinda like a fusion band approach. a lot of times, the covers that we pick are too short so we extend them by adding feature sections for the players for two reasons : to keep the dancefloor full and creativity fun. guitar, keys, and horns of course do them mostly but they throw me a few here and there. ill play fingered things on some but the audiences really lights up on the flashy bells-n-whistles slap stuff
    Last edited: May 23, 2017
  4. Brat Kenhater

    Brat Kenhater

    Jan 7, 2010
    interesting thread. thanks for the link. one thing i noticed reading it was that some of the people responding were talking from their point-of-view as a fact.

    one person said 'I'm pretty sick of the bippidy-bippity-bap-bap-bippidy-bippity-bap-bap at 90 miles an hour when someone is demoing an amp. That does not show off the tone of an amp at all'. i disagree because i personally can judge the amp by how crisp and clear those notes are when demoing the amp. i know that if that sounds right, all my finger playing will sound right . but i dont just limit demoing to all the fancy stuff. i will also play simple ringing whole notes and staccato finger playing to hear how the string is being reproduced. i usually cover a wide gamut when demoing an amp

    your response was about playing things in a practical situation. i agree with this if i played in country bands and rock bands but i play mostly in dancey funky top 40 bands and the occasional jazzy fusiony type bands so i would consider those situations practical
  5. Brat Kenhater

    Brat Kenhater

    Jan 7, 2010
    i never thought about that
  6. murphy


    May 5, 2004
    Toronto, Canada
    Since the 70s ,80s and on... people loved a funky slap solo.. Stanley Clarke....Brothers Johnson.....Level 42......Marcus miller ++
    Red Hot Chili Peppers....Les Claypool.....etc etc etc...Michael Jackson...and so many more...even Olivia Newton John...lets get physical live had a wicked slap bass groove solo

    Did I mention LOUIS JOHNSON?
    Brat Kenhater likes this.
  7. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    Did you mention anyone from the last 20 years either?
    murphy and Brat Kenhater like this.
  8. Brat Kenhater

    Brat Kenhater

    Jan 7, 2010
    To a certain extent, you can say the same thing about guitar solos: they aren't anywhere near as prevalent in music as they were 20-30 years ago. the Guitar Hero game is predominately 70s and 80s rock songs. however, even in 2017, a guitar player playing live with a bag o' tricks eddie van headache chops can 'wow' audiences. im glad i started this thread because i think two fingers answered it correctly in that, in any general live context, people just want to be entertained and see a show, and it doesnt matter what instrument its on.
    Funky_Be and murphy like this.
  9. murphy


    May 5, 2004
    Toronto, Canada
    No...I'm old....lol
    petrus61 likes this.
  10. Chicory Blue

    Chicory Blue

    Oct 9, 2016
    I clapped like a maniac at a kazoo solo once.

    I think the musical community places a lot of value on the solo due to its showcase of the kind of expression and dexterity we all generally aspire toward, but your audience usually isn't going to be made up of musicians. I'd hypothesize that the average live listener is going to be most moved by a hooky/powerful chorus or a danceworthy groove.

  11. 5544


    Dec 1, 2015
    The original Rocksmith was full of songs that were released within 2 years of the game's release and those were nothing like the EVH bag o' tricks like you say. Even most of the downloadable content didn't feature anything older than 5 years in the beginning.
  12. murphy


    May 5, 2004
    Toronto, Canada
    But Live and in the jazz/funk world there are many artists doing this...including my hero Marcus Miller
    and cover band /bar gigs...there is probably lots of room to do such....and Flea probably still does live
  13. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    It's still quite prominent in commercial jingles. I actually have rock (not metal, not stoner doom, but rock) albums that feature plenty of guitar solos from the last decade, so it's probably not a fair analogy.
  14. murphy


    May 5, 2004
    Toronto, Canada
    The kind of music I play generally now....Blus...Reggae...RnB , soul and some pop...no...I do not play slap solos any more

    From Paul Young, Pino Palladino slapped so many wicked grooves.... to exclusive finger style in the last 20 years to now
  15. murphy


    May 5, 2004
    Toronto, Canada
    I thought we were talking about bass slap solos
  16. bobba66


    May 18, 2006
    Arlington, Texas
    Good time to take a leak.:woot:
    5544 likes this.
  17. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    We are, but the context of the thread was comparing them to the guitar wankery so prominent on the music of yesteryear.
  18. I look at it this way, there are very few people there to see one member of the band play. Some people though (typically other musicians) want to see something cool...if you give them just enough it'll keep them interested. If you give them too much then they won't feel like there is anything else for you to show them and they will get bored. If you lose the groove or start really departing from the piece you are soloing over then you will not only lose the select few, you will lose the whole audience and kill the entire bands show momentum.
    murphy and Medicine Man like this.
  19. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    <sarcasm>What? NO!</sarcasm>

    I wouldn't say this is a new thing at all. The idea of every instrument getting a "solo" goes back to old jazz, so I wouldn't call that a new trend. Jaco was soloing the bass in the 70s. Geezer Butler said that the intro to NIB stemmed from 10 minute long solos Sabbath did back in their early blues days when they needed to stretch a performance. John Entwistle and Cliff Burton were soloing with distortion in the 80s. BTW, none of these guys used slap.
    Things like slap and tapping on the bass are popular for soloing because they get into a frequency range that grabs people's attention more. Plus they sound cool.
    Flashy guitar solos haven't disappeared either. They are still around, but in the styles where they are still the most prevalent, they aren't the focal point or crescendo of the song anymore. They are just part of the whole musical narrative.
    Brat Kenhater likes this.

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