Musical styles, theory, and more....

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by glocke1, Dec 17, 2002.

  1. glocke1


    Apr 30, 2002
    Ok, how many people are in this boat.

    In some musical settings and with some players I can really shine, and can get really high playing. coming up with great bass lines, really feeling a great groove, etc....

    In other settings I just simply suck and don't feel anything. Case in point. When playing with some guys doing original music (electric or acoustic rock), I can play some really great melodic bass lines, and keep a great groove. At the other end of the spectrum, I play in a big band orchestra, and really just have a very, very hard time struggling with it. My reading is so-so (been reading for about 3 years or so), but the guys I play with are in their 40's and up and have been playing this stuff since they were kids probably.

    Is it possible to just suck at one genre of music and be great at another? how many people feel its important to excel or at least be more than fairly competen at all styles of music?
  2. Zon Bass

    Zon Bass

    Jan 20, 2002
    Dallas, TX
    I am in the same boat that you are. There are a lot of inexperienced "musicians" in my concert band, and they just suck the grove out of me. But when it comes to jamming with my friends, I can improvise great bass lines, and everything comes much easier.
  3. Chuck M

    Chuck M Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
    Duke Ellington once made the observation "There are two kinds of music. Good music and bad music"

    I believe that we should try to be open to all good music even if it forces us to address our weaknesses as musicians and bassists.

    I've spent most of my time listening to and learning to play jazz. It has been great fun and a wonderful experience, however, I ignored a lot of other wonderful music along the way.

    I believe a well rounded bassist should be prepared to play "Born Under a Bad Sign" as well as "Joy Spring" and "What's Going On". It does not hurt to have some of Bach's wonderful music memorized as well.

    It is not possible to grow in some musical situations due to attitudes or limitations of other players. I try to avoid those situations. I love to play with musicians who are much better than me. That is when I learn the most.

  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    It just seems obvious to me that if you are going to play where people are reading everything, then you are going to have to be a very good reader yourself - nothing to do with musical styles.

    Wasn't it Jaco who complained about a lot of his students saying their reading was so-so - when what they meant was : I can't read music. Either you can play anything put in front of you or you can't - this would be the case no matter what the style of could be Latin, Tango, Orchestral, Big Band Jazz etc etc
  5. glocke1


    Apr 30, 2002
    Good point Bruce....either you can read anything put in front of you or you can't....I guess that means I can't read...But does that make someone less of a musician or a player than a guy who can read all day long no matter what it is?
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    No - but that wasn't what you were asking - so :

    "Is it possible to just suck at one genre of music and be great at another? " - well possibly but in this case it sounds more that your reading skills are not up to what is required.

    So it is not about musical genres - but rather a case of either choosing sitiuations where you don't need to sight read or improving your reading.
  7. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Well, I see your point - in the situation of sight reading on a gig - yeah, either you can play it straight off or you can't. But if you can't, that doesn't mean you can't read music, just means you're not very fast at reading music.
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    No the point is - either you can do what is required in a situation or you can't - it's not necessarily to do with the musical style
  9. Larry Kaye

    Larry Kaye Retailer: Schroeder Cabinets

    Mar 23, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    Bruce, I think your point, after clarification is well taken. You either can do what is required, be it site reading, recognizing chords by ear and developing a bass line that fits, having someone tell you the chords and arrangement and your being able to perform, or you can't. It doesn't matter whether any of the above requirements are for big band, jazz, classical, R&B, Metal, or anything else. I

    I tried out for a community big band several years ago and couldn't site read the parts without getting lost!! Some AHOLE keyboardist or other non-bassist wrote the parts and they absolutely had nothing to do with reality of how walking bass is played by anyone I've ever heard, from the simplest to the most complex of players. I'm a superb ear player, chord player, and usually can get by on big band stuff doing a combination of reading the chords and making up my part as I go along saving the reading specifically for arrangements and occasional bass type solo breaks that appear once every blue moon.

    Because the bass parts written for this band were absolutely so "unnatural", I could not follow them at all, causing me to not only play the wrong notes and wrong rhythms, but to get lost multiple times at repeat signs and first, second, and third endings/coda's etc. As far as they were concerned, and I agreed, I couldn't read!!! Even though I know how to read bass clef and rhythms, my site reading skills suck, I know it, and I bottom line avoid any gig where I have to perfectly site read a bass line the first time, no matter how simple.

    I'm also not a full time, do it for a living player so having fun in my comfort zone is more important to me at this stage of my life than overcoming my obvious weakness for site reading.

    My elongated point is I can read music, just not good enough to be a first second or third call studio bassist if site reading is required. If it isn't, I'm as good as anyone else at what I do. Reading isn't a function so much of style problems, although I don't know if I could read even with time a complex slap bass part as easily as something else, but then again, for me and it looks like others, there's no type of music that's easy to read if you don't have that skill down pat, eh?

  10. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    I make it a point to practice a different with a different style of music every time I practice and it REALLY makes a huge difference.

    Obviously, the more styles you practice, the more versatile you are. This helps when I play in a situation in which the band switches from jazz-oriented stuff to bluegrass to latin at the drop of a hat.

    But one of the main benefits of practicing this way is the way it affects your ability to create new basslines for originals. You can really alter the way your band's music sounds by incorporating different elements and influences. Keeps things interesting and it makes for originals which don't all sound alike.
  11. vegaas


    Nov 6, 2001
    Glocke, I know exactly what you mean. I posted last week about the hard time I was having with my second band. I feel like I can play anything metal, I have no problems coming up with originals or learning covers of metal songs. It all feels very natural.
    The problem is the second band. They play light rock. I thought it would be very easy. I was wrong. My timing feels off, and I feel like I am throwing in basically the same bass lines in each song.
    It is starting to get a bit better, but it is frustrating.
    If someone saw me practicing with my metal band, they would think that I am pretty damn good, if they saw me with the light rock band, they would think I just started playing.