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My guitarist says my lines are too complex

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Delgado91, Apr 28, 2009.

  1. Delgado91


    Jun 28, 2008
    So im in a band with these 2 fellows. they both play guitar.
    Now my main problem is that one of the guitarist well call him. Ken.
    He says my bass lines are "too complex" and he complains that he cannot make anything to compliment that.
  2. tdogg


    Jan 17, 2001
    Brooklyn Park, MN
    tell him he's boring.
  3. RHFusillo

    RHFusillo Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Phoenix, AZ
    You tell that boy that the big dog's gotta eat, and if he can't lead, then he needs to either follow or get outta the way, 'cause the train's a-comin'. Like Dikembe Mutombo says, "You do not run towards the train. You run away from the train." (Sounds better when he says it.)
  4. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Possible. Do your bass lines complement the tune at hand?

    We have a Ken in our band, too. Does a stellar job on "Troubador"....3 chords and I have the tendency to over-embellish. Our drummer....we'll call him Steve Meadows....taps me on the shoulded and says "hey, a simple dotted quarter note pattern might work a little better". He was right and we all gigged happily ever after.

  5. Tell him to listen to some stuff that's along the lines of what you play...

    See if he can get some ideas and become more creative.
  6. RobertPaulson


    Dec 11, 2008
    Des Moines
    Without hearing it, I can't really say he's wrong. I've seen a lot of bass players that overplay most of the time. The real question should be is if what you're playing fits the song.
  7. spigmu


    Mar 25, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Maybe it's not that they're too complex but that, for him, every time there's a gap you're filling it in. As far as complex lines, it's not that a busy bass line is never good, but he's feeling it's not appropriate all the time (?). As RP says, it's hard to say without hearing it, but I've played other instruments in enough bands with bass players I was unhappy with to know people have very different ideas of what serves a song. You should talk about it.
  8. 2x4 to the side of the head. BAM- repeat whenever he complains. Should clear things up pretty quickly. :)
  9. PBass101


    Jul 3, 2008
    Delgado91 - are you playing originals?

    My band does "Heaven and Hell" by The Who ala Live at Leeds/Isle of Wight. The guitar player was struggling with the solo section while I played faithfully to John Entwistle's embellished bassline. One of my favorites. Said guitar player complained that he couldn't solo as well when I played "all that stuff" and that it would be easier on him if I simplified the bass part.

    Our solution? I told him to go to hell - he needed to become a better guitar player and learn some respect for the bass guitar, which he really has very little of. I didn't need to become less of a bass player. I would quit the band before dumbing down an Entwistle bassline to suit the mediocrity of another bandmate.

    Contrast that with something like "Sunshine of you Love," which we also do :)rolleyes:); if I played out a really aggressive bassline, he'd have every right to complain. I play the line faithfully to the song, and all is well.

    +1 on playing to the song - if it fits, great, if it doesn't, ditch it. But don't sacrifice your musical abilities to compensate for an under-skilled guitar player. It's okay for the bass to play a lead roll once in a while, but don't be a hog about it.
  10. excane

    excane Banned

    Aug 23, 2005
    New York, NY
    Tell him to concentrate a little more with his Les Paul knock-off and metal zone and worry a little less about what you're doing.
  11. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Nuh-uh....whiffle ball bat. Gets the message across but leaves him with enough of his faculties to at least finish the set.

  12. Mike151


    Dec 22, 2008
    Sherman Texas
    It is difficult to comment when we don't have the audio to go with the description but I'll just add my general 2 cents.
    Sometimes the best note is the one not played. I think I recall John Paul Jones saying that in a lesson video or interview.
    I keep that in mind almost every time I play so experiment with less fill and more space just to see if YOU think it sounds better or not. Maybe record your practices and then listen back to how you sound in the mix.
    Nothing wrong with being complex if it fits in with the overall sound.
  13. For my guitarist, a wiffle-ball bat would NOT do the trick. :D
  14. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Here's my post from your other thread on this topic:

    Without hearing a sample of your music, it's hard to tell whats going on. Either you are overplaying, or they are full of s**t. If you are overplaying, you need to rethink your parts. If they are full of s**t, you need to find another band.
  15. Thankfully for me I have an open minded band, who is open to ideas
  16. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    Find another band. If the same thing happens repeatedly, its probably you. If it doesn't, it's probably Ken.

    In any case, a guitarist offering suggestions to a bassist is a red flag.
  17. jschwalls


    Sep 4, 2007
    Savannah GA
    2 words..
    Power Chords
  18. spigmu


    Mar 25, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY

    And no thirds.
  19. Just tell him this and you're golden
  20. meta


    Mar 11, 2009
    depends what he means by complex. are you supporting the chord and making the foundation, or playing off of what the foundation should be?

    it's a tricky balance, but if left to their own devices most guitar players and bass players will always start to noodle too much, ie. always playing off the foundation ;) The hardest thing is to hold yourself back sometimes - especially on the bass because you can always hear the foundation, and it is difficult not to build on it sometimes. I used to play keyboards before picking up bass and that was always my impression anyways... I found that the best bass players were the ones that could do both (you know, lay some foundation, and also not be boring)

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