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My Keyboard Player is playing bass parts in his left hand

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by dthorpe, Jul 20, 2004.

  1. dthorpe


    Jul 3, 2001
    Moorhead, MN
    I need some advice here. I'm playing bass in a rock band, all covers, classic rock, r & b, etc. Our keyboard player is quite good, but in my opinion, he plays too many (from my perspective) bass lines in his left hand. I have mentioned it to him and he even commented once that in his keyboard magazine they said not to worry about really using the left hand much, but he continues to play like he is accompanying a choir and needs to cover all the parts.

    Has anyone else encountered this? It seems as if there are two bass parts at times. Since I'm the bass player, of course I'm the one who's most tuned in to this.

    I'm looking for suggestions on how to deal with this, if, in fact, this is not appropriate for him to be doing.

    Any thoughts?

  2. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    you can both do it.

    here's a riddle which goes well with your thread

    how many bass players does it take to change a lightbulb?

    none! the piano player will do it with his left hand.
  3. Bass player and keyboard player both playing bass to a song?

    I'd tend to think it would make the low end / bass line muddy, unless the BG and KB sounds complimented each other and you both played exactly the same groove.... ??

    As a performing bassist and keyboardist, I for one (when I'm on keys) would not think of playing a KB bassline while our other BG player is playing.

    Should I add my own version of lead vocals while the lead vocalist is singing? :eyebrow: :scowl:
  4. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I had to tell our old keyboard player to lay off the left hand about five times. He finally got the message. When we got our new keyboard player, I just flat told him, "I don't want to be fighting your left hand." Never had a problem. You need to be adamant. It sucks to the audience's ear. Tell him that.
  5. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I'd recommend listening to piano players such as Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, and the like. See what their bassists do. Perhaps you can draw some inspiration to work with your keyboard player rather than against him.
  6. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    I'd be a little hesitant to recommend ol' stevie, as much as I love him, his keybass work is some of the most definitive left hand grooving out there.
  7. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    There are lots of possible approaches - for example, amputate the keyboard player's left hand or fire the bassist...

    What you want to avoid is fighting for the role of providing the bassline. Ben's recommendation of listening to some top flight artists who play keys is a good idea - learn from what they and their bassists do. Maybe there are some songs where you could take a break or play a different kind of role. I rarely take a solo with Lovesjones because I get locked into playing the grooves (albeit that it's all good fun and plenty of room for self expression) and also because the song normally sounds empty when I stop providing the anchor; if your keys play can really fill those shoes, there's your opportunity to try on a whole new outfit.... :D

  8. fastplant


    Sep 26, 2002
    I went through the same thing, and the bass did sound muddy. We talked about it, I wasn't confrontational about it, I just said that our frequencies were fighting and since I need to play bass parts since I'm the bassist, that he should concentrate on the higher end.
  9. Edwcdc

    Edwcdc I call shotgun!

    Jul 21, 2003
    Columbia MD USA
    I say, wack him with a stick when he steps on you. ;)
    No, the guys are right. Just tell him that it's killing your buzz. You guys have a bassist in your band for a reason.
    Besides if he just plays with his right hand he can be feeding you cubes of cheese with his left or some other usefull function.
  10. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I knew that. But he does have a bassist, and somehow they work it out.
  11. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    Get a MIDI controller and start playing synth parts with your bass. Kick off VH's "Jump."
  12. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    In my current group the Keyboard will play many a basslines. I will lock in tight and we both work it...or just come up with another, usually more melodic line, that I play if he holds down the bassline for the entire tune.

    If the keys is playing melodies with the right you could double that...sometimes it works out nicely and lets you stretch out a bit.

    Or who ever else is playing the melody line...

    Otherwise, as many people have said already it could get muddy as hell.

    Or even better...take a solo
  13. MILES DAVIS had Herbie Hancock sit on his left hand.

    and herbie grooves hard...

    sometimes you gotta tell them keyboard boys what's up!
  14. dthorpe


    Jul 3, 2001
    Moorhead, MN
    Thanks for all the replies. I'm sure we'll be able to work it out. He and I are both reasonable guys, so we'll make it happen using your suggestions.
  15. I have a fantastic Jerry Lee Lewis Style keyboard player in one of my bands. Obviously that honky tonk boogie woogie kinda style tends to require some left hand groove, but it's never been a problem for two reasons.

    First, I make sure my tone and his low end EQ's are adjusted so that we aren't stepping over each other. The resonanance in other words, only comes from the bass guitar. And I try to use more mid-range tone unless we are playing something that needs a thumpy stand-up bass, low sustain kind of sound.

    Second, I try to use a lot of walking basslines to differentiate and complement the boogie woogie left hand of the keyboardist.

    Works pretty good.
  16. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    There are two types of keyboard playing. The first is like the Doors, they did not have a bass player so the keyboard player played the bass parts. The second is like most bands, Mc Cartney, Billy Joel, Stevie wonder, Ray Charles, whoever... this style the keys played only thier parts. Why is this cat playing your parts? He is not Vanzandt(SP?) so tell him to back off.
  17. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    You could get the guy a 61 key keyboard. Or better yet 49 keys.
  18. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    I dont see what the problem is. Ive played with several keyboard players who always did some amazing left hand work. It never got in the way of my lines nor did mine interphere with his. IMO/IME they can both compliment each other. If mixed proporly it sounds very nice too.
  19. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
  20. Schwinn


    Dec 4, 2002
    Sarasota, FL
    I hate that, when the keyboard player and I are hitting the same note and I'm not sure if what I'm hearing is him or me. I don't really like playing with keyboards. I'm finding that I prefer just to play with one guitar, drums, and vocals so I have more space in the music... but my favorite bands have keyboards so maybe I just need to get used to it. :bawl: